Derby

Meningitis limb loss boy told to prove disability

Edward Bright at home
Image caption Edward Bright lost all his limbs when he contracted meningitis as a young boy

The family of a teenager who lost his arms and legs from meningitis were shocked when told he had to prove he still needed a disability payment.

Edward Bright, from Ripley, Derbyshire, lost his limbs when he was seven and needs help with much of his life.

When he turned 16 and reapplied for a benefit he was told he had to attend a meeting to be assessed.

The Department for Work and Pensions has now said a face-to-face meeting is not necessary.

Image copyright Bright family
Image caption Edward Bright as a young boy in hospital with meningitis

Edward's family claimed disability living allowance (DLA) on his behalf to help towards the added cost of life as a quad-amputee but when he turned 16 he had to reapply for a personal independence payment (PIP).

The family were horrified to receive a letter calling him to a meeting with an assessor in Derby and threatening to withdraw the money if he did not attend.

His dad Steve said: "He has already been through all the assessments. Nothing has changed [in his situation] in the last seven years; nothing will change, so being called in to interviews every year is pointless.

Image caption Edward Bright was sent a letter saying he needed to meet assessors face-to-face

"People with disabilities have enough appointments anyway. You should reach a level when it's flagged up on the system: no more interviews needed."

Since the family's case featured in the Daily Mirror, the Department of Work and Pensions has admitted the assessment is unnecessary.

"All DLA claimants are invited to apply for the working-age benefit Personal Independence Payment when they turn 16. In this instance a paper-based assessment has been completed and there is no need for a face-to-face assessment.

"We've tried to call the Brights numerous times to make clear there's no need to attend a meeting on Monday. A letter has been sent through the post."

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