Monday, 20 June 2011

Tax benefits halved for 100,000 disabled children

This past week we've been distracted by the ill-judged comments of one MP who said that disabled people should be willing to work for less than the minimum wage - our hackles rose and the story was all over twitter.

But while this happens, other stories go under the radar. For example, the news that under the new Universal Credit, parents of disabled children could lose £1400 per year.

At present, parents can receive up to £54 per week via the disability element of tax credits; this helps with some additional costs of looking after that child. But the new Universal Credit will see this halved to £27, the Children's Society has said. The Welfare Reform Bill was passed by the House of Commons last week.

Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of the Children's Society explained to the Observer "This cut threatens to push many disabled children back below the poverty line," he said "With 100,000 children affected by this, there are 100,000 reasons to rethink this policy."

All but the most disabled children - those who receive Disability Living Allowance at the highest rate for care - will lose out.

While some families will lose £1400 a year, this sum could be even higher if the family has more than one disabled child to care for. The Children's Society calculates that it will cost families with just one child born with a disability about £22000 by the time the child is 16.

Of course the government has tried to lessen the blow by saying there will be transitional payments to cover the changes, but this does not apply to new claimants. Nor will the payments be protected from inflation.

With the swathes of council cutbacks already threatening services for disabled children, this cut to tax credit is yet another way that the families of disabled children will be suffering.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, but that money will now be going to the MOST disabled children. So that's okay, then...