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SBD Global/February 26, 2013/Olympics

U.K. Paralympians Worried About 'Imminent' Disappearance Of Disability Living Allowance

British Paralympic stars "have voiced anger about the imminent disappearance of the Disability Living Allowance, a benefit they say provided them with vital support during training," according to Amelia Gentleman of the London GUARDIAN. The athletes have expressed concern that they "may not be eligible for its replacement" -- the Personal Independence Payment -- which will be available to fewer claimants when it is introduced in April with "tightened qualification criteria." Disability Living Allowance, worth between £20 ($30.4) and £131.50 ($199) a week, is "designed to help disabled people meet the extra costs of disability-related care and mobility." It is not means-tested and is "available to those in or out of work." Sophie Christiansen, who has cerebral palsy and won three Gold Medals at the Paralympic Games in dressage is "worried that under the new criteria she may find herself no longer eligible for the benefit, depending on how assessors judge her ability to get around." Wheelchair basketball Paralympian Ade Adepitan said that without DLA or equivalent support he "would not have been able to train, because of the inaccessibility of public transport." He added that if athletes found themselves no longer eligible for the payments, "only the rich would be able to contemplate competing in the Paralympics." Adepitan said, "A lot of our top Paralympians were labelled superhuman. In the sports arena they are superhuman, but in everyday life they need just as much support as every other disabled person" (GUARDIAN, 2/25).
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