Disabled fear losing cars in rule changes

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DISABLED people who are admitted to hospital for more than four weeks face having their adapted cars taken away under “short-sighted” new Government rules.

Campaigners in West Yorkshire are fighting changes to the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which they fear may leave patients and families stranded and thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Those who have the mobility part of the benefit paid directly to transport charity Motability to lease an adapted car will now have this suspended and the vehicle may be “repossessed” if they are admitted for 28 days or longer.

Liz Schofield, a support officer for the Halifax and Calder branch of the MS Society whose husband, Richard, suffers from multiple sclerosis, said it would leave families without transport as they were often the only cars in what are typically low-income households.

After going home, disabled people would have to reapply for another car, which can take up to 12 weeks, and find money for another advance payment, which was £6,000 in their case, she added.

She said: “It is shortsighted. The most vulnerable in society are always the ones paying the price.”

The branch is urging a rethink from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), which introduced the changes as part of wider benefits reforms.

A DWP spokeswoman said: “When someone is in hospital for 28 days or longer, we put their DLA on hold because their needs are being met by the NHS.

“To be fair to all people who receive DLA, this now applies to those people who choose to use their DLA mobility payment towards a Motability vehicle. We’d urge anyone who thinks they might be in hospital longer than 28 days to contact Motability.”