A MAN who has been severely disabled since birth says he is set to become a prisoner in his own home after his mobility allowance was downgraded.

Alastair Wardhaugh, of Thirsk, North Yorkshire, said following a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment last month by Atos Healthcare, on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), he had been told to surrender his lifeline mobility car by December 21.

Mr Wardhaugh was born with congenital hydrocephalus and a form of spina bifida, and, aged four, suffered paralysis on his left side following an injection, which left him struggling to walk.

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He walks about his house using a zimmer frame for support and can manage about 20 metres with a crutch, but is unsteady.

The 48-year-old said in 1995 he was told he would receive high rate mobility payments for life, and a previous attempt to downgrade his allowance in 2014 was overturned on appeal.

His latest assessment included being watched from a second floor window while he walked to his car. It came just three months after he was released from hospital having fractured his right leg in four places after becoming unsteady and falling down stairs.

Mr Wardhaugh said: “I have survived hydrocephalus and 40 operations, but this is the worst. I will be robbed of my independence. Anybody to look at me would think I was Quasimodo’s stunt double and need my car to get anywhere, so I was absolutely devastated to learn they had exaggerated my walking capabilities. There are thousands of disabled people suffering due to Draconian measures the Government is implementing.”

He said he has launched an appeal against the decision, but that could take up to a year to conclude, and in the meantime, he would be housebound.

An Atos spokesman said: “Our team deliver PIP assessments in line with the policy and guidelines laid down by the UK Government and only the DWP can take a decision on a person’s award of PIP or benefit support.”

A DWP spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr Wardhaugh’s case. She said: “Decisions on PIP are made based on the information provided by the claimant and their GP and claimants can appeal a decision.”