Around 100 people a week in the UK are having to return their equipment after losing their eligibility for the Motability scheme.
That’s according to Disability Wales which claims changes to the benefit system mean people are being dropped from the scheme, which allows disabled people to lease equipment like mobility scooters, powerchairs and WAVs.
The Motability scheme is one of the largest customer pools for mobility retailers in the UK, with some large fleet dealers having in excess of 200 clients on the scheme.
While the Department for Work and Pensions has defended the changes to disability benefits, a new BBC report has revealed the impact of being dropped from the scheme on some disabled people, with one citing “suicidal” thoughts.
As part of changes to disability benefits, the Disability Living Allowance is gradually being replaced by Personal Independence Payments (PIP). If someone is assessed and granted a higher amount PIP they are allowed to exchange their mobility allowance for a scooter, powerchair or WAV.
Miranda Evans, director of Disability Wales, told the BBC that people are losing their vehicles because they do not meet the criteria of the new system after they have been reassessed for the new system.
The figure however, is lower than the estimated 900 vehicles apparently being removed from people every week, according to the Muscular Dystrophy charity, which produced the figure in April.
Earlier this year the Motability scheme said that more than 50,000 clients (45%) had their adapted vehicles taken away since the changes to disability benefits in 2013.
The new PIP scheme has come under intense criticism recently because of alleged failings in its assessment process, which many people claim are unfair and mean some disabled people are missing out on funding to help them purchase independent living equipment.
The Department for Work and Pensions said: “PIP is a better benefit which takes a much wider look at the way an individual’s disability or health condition impacts them on a daily basis.
“Under PIP, 29% of claimants receive the highest rate of support compared to 15% under DLA.”