The shadow minister for disabled people has called for an urgent investigation into a fall of more than 22 per cent in the proportion of older people receiving a disability benefit designed to help them with their daily living costs.
New analysis of government and Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures by Disability News Service (DNS) shows that the percentage of those aged 65 and over who receive attendance allowance (AA) fell by 22.3 per cent in the six years after the coalition came to power in 2010.
In August 2010, more than 16 per cent of people aged 65 and over were receiving AA, but by August 2016 that had fallen to 12.6 per cent, a drop of 22.3 per cent in six years.
Last week, DNS reported for the first time that the number of older disabled people receiving AA had fallen from 1.6 million in August 2011 to 1.435 million in August 2017, a fall of about 165,000 (just over 10 per cent) in six years.
But DNS has now compared these and earlier government figures with population statistics from ONS from 2010 and 2016, which show the number of older people rose from 10,043,926 in mid-2010 to 11,516,330 in mid-2016 (there are no figures yet for 2017).
Taken the ONS data together with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures, which show the number of AA recipients fell sharply between August 2010 (1,624,660) and August 2016 (1,447,460), reveals the striking new figures.
Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, said: “It is deeply troubling to see a completely unexplained 22 per cent fall in the proportion of people over 65 getting help with the personal care and support they need.
“I fear that this will have led to vital support being lost by vulnerable people.
“The DWP clearly needs to investigate this as a matter of urgency. We cannot allow people, for whatever reason, to be left without the personal care they need.”
Tracey Lazard, chief executive of Inclusion London, said the fall was “shocking” and “cannot be justified in any way”.