A man with one leg was accused of being a benefit cheat – because officials had examined the wrong limb. Former lorry driver Robert Punter, 63, was hauled before court and accused of falsely claiming benefits despite having his left leg amputated in January. The confusion over his benefit claims was because he also later suffered a serious toe injury to his right foot.
Mr Punter, from Newton Abbot, Devon, made a full recovery from the toe injury but the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) mistakenly believed he was claiming benefits for it. After worrying about his appearance at Exeter crown court for months, the case was thrown out in less than five minutes after Emily Pitts offered no evidence on behalf of the DWP.
DISABILITY ALLOWANCE payments to under-18s will be ended in the budget if the Government adopts a proposal from the expert group that recommended reducing the rate of child benefit.
The Coalition was forced into a U-turn after last December’s budget when its plan to stop the practice of paying disability allowance directly to 16- and 17-year-olds met strong opposition from the parents of severely disabled children and Opposition parties.
The contentious proposal to increase the minimum qualifying age for the allowance from 16 to 18, while providing a compensatory payment for the teenager’s parent or guardian, is back on the agenda as Budget 2013 approaches.
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has said the EU-European Central Bank-International Monetary Fund troika has raised concerns about social welfare payments going straight to under-18s and said she was worried about young people losing the incentive to stay in education.