While researching another article, I came across a story on the Disability News Service website about Paralympians fearing they would lose their Motability vehicles after being reassessed as part of the governments programme of cuts and reforms.
Young wheelchair track star Ben Rowlings currently receives the higher rate mobility component of DLA which has allowed him to lease a car. He trains miles from home and said that losing his car could put his career in jeopardy.
However like thousands of other disabled people he will be reassessed next year for the replacement for DLA called PIP (Personal Independence Payment) introduced in 2013 in a bid to cut working age DLA spending by 20%.
DNS also spoke to Hannah Cockcroft who said she dreads reassessment and the possibility of losing her car, “if I don’t have my car I will lose everything, I will lose my independence”.
According to Disabled Go, another disabled athlete, Carly Tait, in April of this year found out just what the governments welfare cuts and the change from DLA to PIP would mean to her. The Paralympian who has cerebral palsy, received a lifetime award of DLA when she was 18 and for the last 12 years used part of the benefit to lease a car.
Tait, like many, describes the car as her “lifeline”, having it meant that she could attend university, have a job, get to training sessions about 10 miles from home and compete in track events all over the country. However after being assessed for PIP she was told she would be losing her car and in April of this year it was taken back by Motability.
Motability has said it expects 35,000 vehicles will have been returned by disabled people during 2016 as part of the reassessment programme. So far 44% of those who have been reassessed have lost their entitlement and had to hand back their vehicles.