A Shropshire mother has called for changes in the way disability benefits are awarded after her severely disabled son – who is unable to walk or talk and has the understanding of a toddler – was told he had to have a return to work interview.
April Normandin, a registered carer for her son Carl, 20, was left frustrated at having to put her son through the stresses of the interview process despite having documents from his doctor saying he would never be able to work.
Carl, who lives in Bicton, near Shrewsbury, suffers from the rare rubinstein-taybi syndrome. He relies on carers helping with his personal tasks and has autism which leaves him with behavioural problems and anxiety.
After the interview process for Employment Support Allowance caused Carl distress and panic, his 47-year-old primary school support worker mother has called for changes in the way benefits are awarded.
She said: “Since Carl turned 20 his child tax credits, with the disability element, was stopped by the DWP and I had to apply for ESA.
“As it was acknowledged that he was severely disabled as a child, I didn’t think it would be a problem applying for his benefit once an adult.
“After being on the basic ESA for 13 weeks it was decided he was to be put in the work-related category instead of the support category.
“I had sent in a doctor’s letter confirming his disability and him being unable to ever work. I received a letter inviting Carl to attend a back to work interview and if he didn’t attend his money would be reduced.
“The decision to place Carl in this category made me feel cross and frustrated, as it had taken me so long to fill the forms in, which is extremely upsetting, as you have to explain how bad things are for your child when in life we try to look at his positives. Then you have to take the time to go to the doctors to get written evidence to confirm what you’ve stated is true, and they still obviously took no notice of what had been sent in.
“To expect Carl to be capable of any form of work is totally unrealistic if not ridiculous.”