A mother and father in London were outraged after they were told their disability benefits would be cut because their child is too sick.
Mandy and John Kirsopp say they are running low on options. Their 7-year-old boy, Dylan, was born prematurely at 23 weeks and was diagnosed with intestinal pseudo-obstruction, a condition that means he has to be fed through a drip, the Daily Mirror reported.
Dylan’s twin brother Murray made a better recovery. He has autism, but is otherwise healthy. But Dylan needs special care and also has epilepsy and cerebral palsy.
Now the family has learned its disability benefits will be axed due to a rule at the Department For Work and Pensions, which cuts funding after a child has been in the hospital for more than 12 weeks.
"It feels like we’re being punished because Dylan is too ill,” Mandy told the Sunday Post.
Mandy’s Carer’s Allowance is also in jeopardy. The department claims it is the hospital that is providing medical assistance for the child, not the mother.
"I think it’s really, really unfair. When you’re in the hospital 24 hours a day with your child, you are giving them as much if not more care than you would if you were at home,” said Mandy, who quit her job so she could look after Dylan. "Yes, the nurses are here to provide a medical service, but they’re not the ones who are sitting up all night cuddling him when he’s unwell."
The family says that once Dylan’s Disability Living Allowance and Mandy’s Carer’s Allowance are cut, half of their income will be lost. They would have to rely on the father’s part-time warehouse job as their main source of income.
They will also no longer have a means to transport Dylan as the wheelchair-adapted car they received will be taken away from them.
Mandy says she doesn’t understand the 12-week limit rule for disability benefits. She called the policy “absolutely ridiculous,” and said that no parent would ever leave their child after 12 weeks to try and find a job.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family and has raised about $5,000 so far. The family says it has also received support from disability charity Contact a Family.
"We want to see the unfair rules that remove vital DLA from disabled children like Dylan when they are in hospital to be urgently scrapped,” said Una Summerson, who works for the charity. "Most of the children affected by this rule are likely to have severe disabilities or complex health needs and the welfare system should be there for them and their families when they need it most."
The Department for Work and Pensions released the following statement:
"DLA provides a financial contribution towards severely disabled children's care or mobility needs. Those needs are met in full by the National Health Service when a child is in hospital so stopping DLA prevents double provision. This Government is committed to supporting disabled people, spending (about $78 billion) a year on disabled people and their services."
Photo Credit: The Kirsopp family via GoFundMe