Mother to battle move to end son’s disability benefit

Jacqueline says Paul's condition which made him eligible for benefit is unchanged
Jacqueline says Paul's condition which made him eligible for benefit is unchanged
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A MOTHER-of-three is fighting for the right to keep a car used to transport her disabled son – despite officials telling her he no longer needs it.

Jacqueline Moffat’s 11-year-old son, Paul, has autism, learning difficulties and mobility problems.

He is unable to tolerate the noise and confusion of public transport, so was granted funding for a Motability car, through the Disability Living Allowance, nine years ago.

But today the car is to be removed from the Sighthill family as government officials say Paul’s condition has improved, but his mum says the move will leave them “practically housebound”.

Ms Moffat, who is a full-time carer for Paul, a pupil at Prospect Bank School, said: “She [a Department of Work and Pensions advisor] said it’s something to do with the fact that he’s started to be able to read, and the fact that he can move about in PE at school.

“But the physio at school said Paul is actually struggling and they’re trying to get him to do a bit of physio.”

She insists the car makes a huge difference to Paul’s life and is essential to the family.

She said: “He’s got poor coordination of motor skills, he’s got no spatial awareness, and he can’t go on to buses or anything like that. He can only walk for a certain distance and he gets sore legs. The car makes a huge difference to Paul’s life, but without it I’m going to be practically housebound.”

Paul is reassessed every few years to ensure he is still entitled to the benefit. In October, doctors and occupational therapists submitted written information on his condition, which Ms Moffat says is unchanged from previous assessments.

But she then received a letter saying the benefit – around £200 a month, which is paid direct to Motability – was being withdrawn. After being told by an advisor the reasons for the rejection, Ms Moffat is waiting for a formal explanation in writing so she can appeal.

She said: “I spoke to the doctor and he’s saying that it’s shocking. Everybody that works with Paul has said it’s absolutely awful and they’re all willing to support me.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “Disability Living Allowance is paid to help people who cannot do things like walk or wash or dress themselves. If someone’s needs change they may not be entitled to the money. ”

A spokeswoman for Motability added: “Motability has no involvement in decisions about eligibility. If the Department for Work and Pensions decide that a customer should no longer receive the higher rate mobility component, the leasing agreement is terminated and the car must be returned.

“We understand the distress this can cause for our customer but we cannot leave cars on the road for which we are not being paid as that would impose an unfair cost on other customers.”