I think I have seen the ideology that creates this ethos, Ivy. There was a Government report on this a couple of decades ago, set in a time of "Get these skivers back to work!" enthusiasm.
The idea in the background is that younger people have a larger social network (
), have more resilience (until it runs out of course) and most importantly of all from a funding point of view, have parents and siblings to look after them, thus freeing up resources for the older, more socially isolated, less capable patients. Of course, these people very likely got to be that way from neglect in their earlier years, when given resources they would have had a fighting chance of doing something with their lives educationally, socially and careerwise, thus contributing to the economy instead of becoming a net drain. You'd think an economist would have worked that out by now, but economists don't tend to exist in the twilight world of the chronically subsisting ill, do they ? And politicians never do anything long term; history is nothing but a catalogue of political problems left to simmer for thirty years by the only people who had any chance to nip them in the bud.
Politicians will talk of getting tough on benefit cheats to one audience, talk of improving benefits to another group, and talk privately of scrapping benefits to each other. What a politician says is in itself worthless as a promise, it is the context and the audience that defines whether the words are a true indicator. Bankers and political clubs tend to hear the truth as truly believed - the press and the public hear what will keep them onside. Ignore the headlines, ignore the bits of government papers that they release to the press. Read the whole paper - if you can suffer boredom that much ! - and you will usually find that the true picture emerges. The devil as always is in the detail; if you are lucky, they have debated the matter properly, there is no big hidden agenda making it all a foregone conclusion, and you will find that they have mentioned those who don't fit into the more socially acceptable tickboxes, and there is, in theory at least, provision for them.
But there is every chance that unless there is a pressure group specifically having a publicity campaign, doing press releases saying, "Look at Cathy, aged 21 and has no help because.." there will just be no resources. An invisible needs group is just left standing behind the door when resources are handed out. And as with chronic fatigue sufferers, young people who are chronically ill are innately disadvantaged when it comes to campaigning.
Is omission discriminatory ? Perhaps not purposely so, but in effect it is.