Sidmouth family’s anger after disabled child’s benefits slashed

PUBLISHED: 15:40 18 July 2011 | UPDATED: 09:03 20 July 2011

Isabella Pearson with Mum Heather sister Beckie and brother Charlie at home in Sidmouth. Photo by Terry Ufe ref shs 6867-28-11TI To Order a copy of this photo visit www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Isabella Pearson with Mum Heather sister Beckie and brother Charlie at home in Sidmouth. Photo by Terry Ufe ref shs 6867-28-11TI To Order a copy of this photo visit www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

Funds cut because seven-year-old Isabella can walk just a few steps

ANGRY parents have lashed out after losing £150 a month mobility allowance because their disabled daughter can walk a few faltering steps unaided.

Heather and John Pearson, of Manor Road, Sidmouth, are fighting a decision by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to cut youngest daughter Isabella’s Disability Living Allowance for mobility from its higher to lower rate.

It leaves the couple with £150 a month shortfall, which, they say, they rely on to transport Isabella to Millwater School, Honiton, and to school holiday activities.

Isabella has global development delay. She is nearly eight, but her disabilities leave her with the mental capacity of a toddler.

Mum claims because she noted Isabella could take a few steps when completing her latest Disability Living Allowance claim form, the mobility allowance was slashed by the DWP.

They say they cannot now afford to run their diesel van for school runs to Honiton for three of their four children.

“It is very frustrating. Why do I bother to put down she has improved a little bit?” said Heather.

She believes the DWP decided on the reduction purely on her comments, without any reference to the professionals who work with her daughter.

After talking with Millwater School, she believes she is not the only family affected by allowance cuts and urges other parents of disabled children, whose DLA has been reduced, to appeal as well.

“It is not just about us, other families should be aware they are not on their own,” said Heather, who has asked for a re-consideration, which could take 12 weeks to decide.

She is also appealing the decision.

“I would encourage people to make a stand if they feel their DLA is wrong,” she said.

Full-time carer John claimed: “The DWP is trying it on with lots of disabled children, it is targeting them.”

However, a DWP spokesman vehemently denied this, saying the judgement on individual cases had nothing to do with cuts.

According to a national newspaper on Saturday, more than 650,000 people face losing their benefits because the Government had decided to introduce a new medical test for disability.

DWP’s spokesman said: “Disability Living Allowance helps disabled people with the extra care and mobility costs they face.

“Decisions about the benefit are made based on evidence provided, but if someone feels the decision is wrong they can ask us to reconsider and we will look at any new medical evidence they want to include.”

While refusing to comment on individual cases, the DWP confirmed it will look into the Peason’s claim.

A Devon County Council spokesman said because of Isabella’s special needs, the council would provide her transport to school.


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