A Ripley mum and dad have been left “disgusted” after benefits chiefs ordered their teenage son who lost both his arms and legs to meningitis to prove his disability - or risk losing his allowance.
Inspirational Edward Bright battled the infection when he was aged seven and his parents Clare, aged 46, and dad Steve, 47, were told to “prepare for the worst”.
The youngster’s legs were amputated and he later had both of his arms removed.
But his parents, who are separated, have been told that Edward needs to be reassessed in order to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - an allowance created to help cover the costs of a long-term illness or disability when someone turns 16.
“It is quite disgusting,” dad Steve, of Newlands Close, said.
“The biggest issue for us is that he has already been assessed, we have got all of his medical records.
“There is nothing that can possibly change, it is a nightmare.”
Mum Clare, of Morleyfields Close, said: “It was just a shock really. I came home from work and opened the post and I was just in disbelief. I just thought ‘oh my gosh’.”
The family were told by Capita - the company that assesses claims on behalf of the Government - that Edward would need to attend a meeting in Derby in order for his claim to be successful.
“What people don’t understand is that everything we do with Edward is a lot of hard work,” Steve said.
“Me and Clare would have to take a day off work and it would take hours and hours.
“I know that there are a lot of people who claim for benefits when they don’t need to but there will also be a lot of people attending these interviews who don’t need one.
“They say ‘just pop down for an interview’ but we can’t ‘just pop down’. it is not as easy as that.”
Edward fell ill in February 2007 - but dad Steve and mum Clare knew it was meningitis straight away as Edward’s twin brother, William, had also had it when he was younger.
The Department for Work and Pensions have since said that a face-to-face meeting was no longer needed and that a paper assessment could be submitted.
The family are now awaiting for an official letter to hear whether the claim has been successful.
“They have apologised now,” Clare said. I am just pleased that it is over. It is just a shame that it went as far as it did.”
“It is brilliant news,” Steve said. But it should never have happened in the first place. It is a relief.
“Edward appreciates what he has. He has a different outlook on life.”