New welfare reform proposals will result in many disabled children facing a cut of up to £1,400 per year (£27 per week) compared to their current welfare entitlements.
By Sam Royston, Policy Adviser the Children’s society
A coalition of 30 national organisations and charities, led by The Children’s Society, are calling on the Government to reverse their planned cut to support for disabled children under the new Universal Credit.
The organisations have identified that new welfare reform proposals will result in many disabled children facing a cut of up to £1,400 per year (£27 per week) compared to their current welfare entitlements. By the time a disabled child reaches 16, this could cost the family £22,000.
Raising a disabled child is extremely expensive. The range of costs can include higher travel costs, increased fuel bills, extra childcare and loss of income due to hospital appointments.
The government estimates that 100,000 disabled children will be hit by this change.
The £27 lost per disabled child a week (which could double or triple if there are two or three disabled children in a family) is more than half the average family’s food budget. This can make the difference between a family coping or falling below the breadline. This shift will force families into poverty.
So why is the government making this change? It claims that the measures are being introduced in order to align child and adult rates of disability support.
But the group of adults with whom support is aligned are at some point likely to be able to move back into work. Children cannot work to raise extra money to increase their income, so have no way to escape poverty. It must be recognised that disabled children face additional barriers to escaping poverty and therefore require extra support.
It is absolutely crucial for people to join us in petitioning the government to understand the significance of this change for disabled children and their families. For many low income families already living on the breadline, this will make the difference between meeting their children’s basic needs and finding themselves unable to cope.
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