Hundreds of Wigan children had benefits cut on 16th birthday

Benefits cutBenefits cut
Benefits cut
More than 400 Wigan children were stripped of disability benefits after their 16th birthday.

Over a third of those who claimed Disability Living Allowance in childhood failed to qualify for the adult version of the benefit, Personal Independence Payment

Disability charity Scope said the numbers losing disability benefits at 16 was unacceptable and said the PIP assessment process was fundamentally flawed and in need of an overhaul.

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Around 583 young claimants in Wigan - 51 per cent - saw their benefit award rates increase or stay the same after moving to PIP but 435 had their awards withdrawn, Department of Work and Pensions data show.

Of the cases disallowed between Octobers 2013 and 2020, 314 applicants were rejected after failing to score enough points - awarded to reflect their mobility and care needs - during assessments.

There were also 45 refused due to failing to attend assessments and 76 who did not meet basic eligibility criteria. Another 120 were approved for PIP but had their rate cut.

A DWP spokesman said: “Many DLA claimants have not undergone any kind of assessment of their needs for several years and as a result their condition or their needs arising from their condition may have changed substantially.”

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DLA and PIP are awarded to help individuals and families meet the extra costs associated with long term health conditions and disabilities, with claimants currently entitled to receive up to £152 a week tax-free.

Ken Butler from Disability Rights UK said sudden withdrawal of benefits at a young age could be traumatic and impact upon household finances, care payments, local authority support entitlement and the ability to remain in education.

He said: “If a young person is still meeting the conditions for DLA while a teenager, it is difficult to see why they would not continue to have the same level of needs at 16.

“The level of support and extra financial costs do not disappear overnight when a disabled young person becomes 16.”

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