Teenage quadruple amputee told to prove he is disabled to keep benefits

Edward Bright was asked to attend a face-to-face meeting for assessment 

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The Independent Online

A teenager whose arms and legs were amputated after he nearly died from meningitis was ordered to attend a meeting in person or risk losing his disability benefits, his parents have said.

Edward Bright, who uses a wheelchair, was told he would have to make a new claim for the Personal Independence Payment benefit after his 16th birthday last month, The Daily Mirror reported.

After his family, who live in Derbyshire, filled in a form, they were sent a letter saying Edward had to attend a face-to-face meeting.

His father Steve Bright, 47, said: “It’s­ absolutely disgusting. He’s a quad amputee for God’s sake.

“It isn’t like he’s going to get better. He isn’t going to suddenly grow new arms and legs. We were shocked to be asked to attend the meeting.

“They know full well the extent of his disabilities. They have no hearts.”

Currently studying for his GCSEs, Edward came close to death in 2007 after he caught meningitis.

Surgeons amputated his legs and then his arms, below the elbow, as blood poisoning ravaged his body.

“If they made a mistake with my son’s case, how many other mistakes are they making?” Mr Bright said.

After the family complained to Capita, the private company that assesses claimants on behalf of the Government, the firm agreed to send their staff to visit Edward.

His mother, Clare, a medical secretary, said she was told he would be given interim payments, but said no money had gone into his account since last month.

“I rang them and they said they needed proof it hadn’t gone in. So I have literally had to take Edward to the bank to get statements, which they’re now looking at,” she told the Mirror.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) admitted a “mistake” had been made and Edward would not now need to be interviewed.

“In this instance, a paper-based assessment has been completed and there is no need for a face-to-face assessment,” it said in a statement.

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The DWP insisted interim benefits payments had been made.

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