No bonanza for disabled teenagers barred from accessing child trust funds


Payments from “baby bonds” will be made to young adults beginning in September when they turn 18, but those with mental capacity issues will be unable to access their funds, writes Andrew Turner.

The good points of child trust funds were discussed in our article (£9bn bonanza begins as child trust funds come of age, 22 August). This won’t be a time of plenty for the thousands of disabled youth and their families.

In September, when he turns 18, our disabled son will be among the first young adults to be given full access to their child trust fund account. Except he can’t take charge because he’s terrible with money. He has no assets other than a child trust fund and totally depends on us for financial support. He wants to use his savings to buy a new adapted bicycle, but he won’t be able to after September because the scheme doesn’t have a procedure for dealing with mental capacity issues. In that case, we’d have to apply to the court of protection on his behalf, which would be expensive and time-consuming. As a result of the backlog caused by the Covid-19 motion, we’ve been told it could take up to a year to get this approval, and that the price tag could range anywhere from £365 for a simple court application to £2,500 if a lawyer is needed.

Also Read: £9bn bonanza begins as child trust funds come of age

If a parent was receiving disability living allowance in 2005, they were eligible for additional incentive payments from the government to put money into a child trust fund. Many of these young people with disabilities who rely on their parents for financial support will lose access to their savings accounts beginning in September. Many families will be overwhelmed by the thought of starting a formal court process on top of the difficulties of caring for a young person with special needs. Many parents’ savings accounts are not worth the time and money it would take to file a court case, with providers like OneFamily citing an average fund value of £2,079.

The time for inaction is over, and Rishi Sunak and the government must act immediately. One simple solution is to simply apply the child trust fund process already in place for children with terminal illnesses to those who lack mental capacity. If this happens, no young disabled person will be denied the opportunity to put their savings to use. That would be a windfall indeed.

Also Read: Child trust funds: parents urged to move ‘forgotten’ savings