Thousands of teenagers have discovered they won't be able to access their savings accounts when they turn 18.

As many as 78,000 young people with disabilities could find themselves unable to spend - or reinvest - their child trust funds, which were handed to them almost two decades ago.

Child trust funds were automatically opened for children born between September 2002 and January 2011 under a policy by then-Chancellor Gordon Brown.

It was part of a pledge to invest in the next generation, and under the rules of the scheme, young people would be able to access the money at 18.

However, there is no mechanism in place to allow parents of children with learning disabilities to access their accounts - despite being able to save into them for years.

Parents could find themselves paying to access the money they invested for their kids

Their access could be blocked by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 - designed to protect people who can't make decisions for themselves.

According to experts at Renaissance Legal, around 78,000 children with mental disabilities could be affected by the issue.

It said families and carers will need to apply to the Court of Protection to act as the child’s deputy, which would cost an average of £365, potentially more than the fund is worth.

Children born from September 2002 were given £250 vouchers by the government to invest for the future, with the money accessible at the age of 18.

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For lower-income families, the payment was £500.

The savings pots could now be worth £1,000, or more if parents added contributions.

Disabled children receiving Disability Living Allowance will have also received an extra payment of £100 or £200 in 2011 before the scheme was scrapped.

Parents, family and friends could also contribute to the account, up to set limits.

Has your child been affected by this? Get in touch: [email protected]

All disabled children received an extra payment of £100 to £200 in 2011

The scheme was watered down, then scrapped entirely by the coalition government.

Labour MP Vicky Foxcroft, shadow minister for disabled people, said there are concerns the access could affect other scheme for young people.

"The government really needs to get civil servants to look into this.

"This carries on into Junior Isas in the future so they really do need to get to resolving this as soon as possible," she said.

Responding to the fact it was a Labour government which set up the original scheme, she said: "I think this wasn't something that we foresaw at the time. It's something that's been raised quite a bit since 2017, so I think it's up to the current government to find solutions to this."

The Ministry of Justice just referred us to the present scheme, saying it is "vital to ensure the vulnerable are not exploited".

A petition to ban fees for disable children, has now been launched online.

The Change.org page, which has more than 4,000 signatures, argues young people - especially those who are vulnerable - should not have to pay fees to access their money.