A SEVERELY disabled young man who is unable to talk, read or write and needs round-the-clock care from his mother is the latest target in Iain Duncan Smith’s campaign against Scotland’s most vulnerable.
Stuart Chester, who has Down’s syndrome, epilepsy and autism and is unable to feed or wash himself, is being told by officers in the Tory minister’s Department for Work and Pensions to prove he is unfit for work.
The 25-year-old has been sent a controversial 20-page work capability assessment form to fill in that will investigate his fitness for work and whether he deserves his Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) benefits.
Last night Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil described Stuart’s case as “absolutely outrageous” and “shameful”.
Stuart has been given a deadline of September 18 to complete the complicated and detailed document and return it to the DWP.
His mother Deborah McKenzie, 51, said receiving the form had caused her “undue stress” and said Duncan Smith’s plan to deliberately target the sick and disabled was tantamount to “genocide”, after shocking DWP figures were released last week showing more than 80 people were dying each month following work capability assessments.
She said: “Stuart gets the high-rate DLA and he was supposed to get that for life because his condition will never change. He also received ESA benefits.
“I cannot understand why he was sent this capability for work questionnaire because he cannot talk, read or write or do anything for himself. There is no way he could work and this is just causing a lot of undue stress and anxiety.
“I was really upset when the form came through the door. I called up the DWP and asked them why they would send it out to someone like my son when he is supposed to to get DLA for life and they told me it was tough luck, that it’s just the way it is and I would just need to fill out the form for him just like everyone else.
“I know other disabled people in wheelchairs with conditions like cerebral palsy, also people like Stuart who cannot do anything for them, are being harassed by the DWP to fill in fit for work forms when there is absolutely no way they could work.
“I used to have to fill in a form for my son every three years but eventually we were told he had the DLA for life because his circumstances were not going to change and he I no longer had to fill in an application for benefits for him.
“I am his full-time carer and there is no way my son could work, no chance. He needs 24/7 care and cannot feed or wash himself and he has a lot of accidents toilet-wise. I have to do everything for him.”