Disabled youngsters unfairly locked out of savings – help us campaign

3 mins read

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Tags: Child Trust Fund, learning disability, finances, savings, disabled children, mental capacity

Contact is supporting parent campaigners, Child Trust Fund providers and law firms in campaigning for disabled young people to have fair access to their savings.

Tens of thousands of disabled teenagers have a Child Trust Fund savings account, with the average account value is estimated to be around £2,000. However, families of young people who are unable to manage their money as they lack mental capacity have to apply through the Court of Protection to access their Child Trust Fund. This is a lengthy, costly and complex process.

Una Summerson, Head of Campaigns at Contact, said: “This affects every child born between September 2002 and January 2011 who needs help managing money. Non-disabled children get the benefit of these savings hassle free, while some disabled children and their families are faced with an enormous battle to get their own money.

“Preparing for adulthood is already a difficult time for families with disabled children. We fear that many will not have the capacity or funds to use the Court of Protection process, which involves completing around 60 pages of forms. This means that their child’s savings are at risk of remaining locked indefinitely. This money could make a difference during this cost of living crisis.”

It was hoped that a recent government consultation would change this. But last week, the government announced that it would not allow for a new, simplified mechanism – and will instead stick with the current system of asking parents to apply through the Court of Protection.

This was despite 87% of respondents to the consultation saying these changes were necessary. 

Are you affected? Sign up to support our campaign to unlock savings

If your child was born between September 2002- January 2011 and needs help to manage their money independently, please sign up to our campaign to unlock savings in Child Trust Funds. 

Una added: “Many families don’t know that their child has this savings account, others have decided it’s not worth pursuing due to the difficulties. A small number have been successful in getting their child’s savings and talk about the difference it has made.”

A parent carer’s view

Andrew Turner, dad to Mikey, has been campaigning on this issue for the last six years. He eventually managed to get Mikey’s savings, but is continuing the fight to help other families.

Andrew said: “I really am disappointed and saddened at last week’s government announcement which means the savings of many disabled teens will be unfairly locked away for good. The Ministry of Justice says it recognises the frustration of parents of youngsters unable to access their own savings, but since 2020 have done nothing to simplify the process or make court documents more user friendly.

“The consultation initiative was an opportunity to help young people with learning disabilities benefit from their own savings and to take pressure off their families. During this cost of living crisis, that money could really have made a difference.”

What is a Child Trust Fund?

Find out more about our campaign and what a Child Trust Fund is.