ACT NOW is very concerned about the reduction in support for families living with autism and other disabilities when we change over to Universal Credit. This new system has the ability to severely impact on the income of families living with autism.
At the moment anyone who has a disabled child is entitled to the disability element of child tax credit. This support will change under Universal Credit and will be provided through a disability addition as part of the benefit entitlement of a household.
Families with a child not getting high rate care component DLA will see the current rate of £54 per week drop to £27 per week, this adds up to £1400 per year but as the rate is paid per child a family with two or more disabled children will lose far greater amounts of financial support.
We are deeply concerned about the reduction of £27 per week for those whose children get middle or low rate care component of DLA because the vast majority of autistic children get those rates. A huge proportion of parent carers will face this cut whilst already struggling financially.
Families of autistic children often face far greater costs than many; paying for therapies and interventions that are not freely available to our children, buying special food because of sensory issues and restricted diets, special clothing due to sensory issues as well as damage often caused by their meltdowns. There are all reasons why this cut will have a negative impact, it’s like we are being told our children aren’t quite disabled enough. Autism for many is a hidden disability, especially children and many families are close to breaking point.
“Families living with autism are under so much stress given the views held by many about autism and how it manifests. Most live with no support and are now living in real terror of how some aspects of Welfare Reform will affect them.” Jon Cruddas MP (ACT NOW Patron)
Jon is going to table a question in the House of Commons for ACT NOW regarding the impact of this cut on families living with autism. ACT NOW will also raise this issue in a report that is currently being drafted for members of the House of Lords.