Ciaran Vassie had been told he would receive his benefits for life but the new PIP payment means he is being forced to attend a meeting.
A teenager who is blind, severely autistic and barely able to speak has been ordered to attend a meeting – to check if he should continue to receive benefits.
Ciaran Vassie, 16, was told four years ago that he would receive disability living allowance for life as his condition won’t change.
But now that benefit is being replaced by the personal independence payment, which is for a maximum of £141.10 a week, he needs to be reassessed – and faces going through the process every three years.
The Department for Work and Pensions have refused to carry out the eligibility check at his home in Clarkston, near Glasgow, because Ciaran’s “unpredictable” behaviour could pose a risk to staff.
It means his mum Colette, 45, who is also disabled, will have to fork out for a taxi to take Ciaran into the city centre for his assessment.
She said: “It’s ridiculous. They know the condition he has and what is he going to say in an assessment anyway – he doesn’t speak?
“This is causing stress to us, yet the DWP aren’t even willing to relieve some of the stress of the situation by coming out to the house. This money is for essential adjustments to Ciaran’s life – he needs braille books, which are very expensive, he needs to get taxis and, if he wants to go out, he might need to pay for someone to go with him.”
Colette said she contacted Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson and her MP, Paul Masterton, to ask them to go along to the assessment.
She added: “It was their party who introduced changes to PIP and I want them to see the process. It is ridiculous.”
The Tory Government have been slammed for their welfare reforms, with opposition parties accusing them of treating disabled people with contempt.
In April, it was reported that private firms Capita and Atos, who run the assessments, stood to earn nearly £700million from the work between 2013 and this year.
Inclusion Scotland policy director Bill Scott said yesterday: “We have a lot of concern about this new system. It was originally estimated that the DWP would only need to do face-to-face assessments with 60 to 70 per cent of people but now 95 per cent are being seen.
“We believe the reason is that there is a fee of approaching £200 for each assessment. There is a financial incentive for the private companies.”p
Ciaran was born 11 weeks premature and was left blind at the age of five after suffering a serious eye infection.
A DWP spokesman confirmed the department were reassessing his case.
But he added: “We’re looking again at whether a face-to-face assessment is required.
“We’ll be in touch with the decision as quickly as possible. In the meantime, his benefit payments will continue as normal.”