Disabled people avoid exercise as they fear being stripped of much-relied on benefits for appearing “too independent”, campaigners say.
New research, published by Activity Alliance, says that almost half (47%) worry the government will cut their benefit if they seem too active for a disabled person.
But almost two-thirds (65%) said they rely on benefits to maintain a healthy lifestyle and that, without support, they could not afford travel, specialist equipment and paid-for exercise.
The study by the national body for disabled people in sport also found that four-in-five (83%) long to be more active.
Many told researchers they dread being reassessed for benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), even if their reassessment date is years away.
Former British wheelchair athlete Carly Tait, who has cerebral palsy, told HuffPost that during her assessment for PIP her adapted car was almost removed, just four months before she was due to fly to Rio to compete in the Paralympics.
She said “the bottom fell out of my world” and feels the UK benefits system is “fraudulent”.
The 32-year-old, from Wythenshawe in Manchester, had access to a car under the Motability charity scheme and needed it to train at her local club, the Stockport Harriers.