More than 50,000 disabled people have had specially adapted vehicles taken away since changes to disability benefits in 2013.
The Motability scheme entitles disabled people to lease a specially adapted new car, scooter or powered wheelchair using part of their benefit, but the assessment process changed when personal independence payments (PIPs) were launched to replace the disability living allowance (DLA).
Recipients of PIPs are assessed using a points system to determine what level of help they receive. To qualify for the higher level of the mobility component of PIPs, which is needed to lease a Motability vehicle, there are a number of criteria, including being unable to walk unaided for 20 metres. This is compared with the previous distance of 50 metres under the DLA.
The charity Muscular Dystrophy UK said 900 cars are now being taken away every week, as more people are rejected for PIP.
Campaigners are now demanding changes to the Motability programme, so that vehicles are not taken away before claimants have had a chance to appeal against a decision.
Former work and pensions minister Angela Eagle said: “What’s happening in the worst cases is, from being mobile and being able to get out and about in a car, that’s been removed and this may mean people have had their ability to live their life taken away, and some of them are left housebound.”
Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that since PIPs were introduced, more than 160,000 people have had their original rejection overturned at mandatory reconsideration or at appeal.