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'Scott can't walk or talk - but they're making him prove he's disabled'
Scott Harrison's mother says the family is having to live off less than £40 a week
The mother of a severely disabled man who cannot walk or talk and is partially sighted says she was told he must complete a full medical exam to prove his disability.
Anya Sparks, who cares full time for her 20-year-old son Scott Harrison, says she is also effectively having to live off less than £40 a week in benefits.
Anya, from Linton, is now no longer entitled to child benefit since Scott turned 20. Previously he was eligible as he was in full-time education.
Yet, as he is still a student at Sense College in Cambridge (for blind and deaf students), he is classed as a student and ineligible for any benefits, other than personal independence payments (PIP).
Scott was required to visit the job centre earlier this month having been ruled unsuitable for benefits, and will have to undergo a full medical examination within the next few weeks.
Anya has been told that a decision on whether they will be eligible for Universal Credit will be reached within the next three weeks, but if approved, she has claimed they will still have to wait a few more weeks until they receive the first payment.
The family are currently living off Anya’s Carer's Support, meaning that they get £64 a week, £50 of which has to go to Papworth Hospital, which operates the accommodation the family lives in.
Scott’s PIP payments go almost entirely on his medical costs, and the only other source of income is a £41 income support top up every fortnight.
The family have no additional income, and are falling behind on bills. Anya said British Gas is threatening to cut them off, on top of a £900 water bill that needs to be paid imminently.
'It's been a nightmare'
Anya said: “It’s been a nightmare trying to get [Scott] signed up for Universal Credit - they weren’t acknowledging my emails asking for help, and when I called, they kept asking to speak to Scott, despite me repeatedly pointing out that he was non-verbal.
“When we were at the job centre, the staff were confused why he was being sent there.
“It’s terrible having to take him into public spaces for this reason; transport and noisy places upset him, and cause him to self harm. He has to have a restraint in place at all times.
“Our bills run high at home as my 22-year-old son has a colostomy bag and needs the heating on more due to feeling cold, while our water bill is needed due to Scott frequently soiling himself, and we need to wash him and his clothes multiple times a day.
The housing association have been seeking a possession order, and I barely have enough money to feed myself on top of my sons. What’s going to happen to them if something happens to me?
“I don’t want to get in more debt, I just need the help to cover these costs. I don’t want to have any more sleepless nights worrying about whether we’ll still have a roof over our heads in a few weeks.”
Anya claimed she has only heard from the Department of Work of Pensions since the Cambridgeshire Live contacted it, in order to arrange a date and time for Scott’s medical.
She said: “I feel discriminated against. I’ve spent the past 20 years just fighting to get the basic stuff, and it never ends. I have to apply for loans just to afford food.”
Scott’s medical exam is due to take place today (Friday).
Updates appear here
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