PICTURE THIS: Americans with disabilities are constantly being told they must prove they are disabled, even when the disability is from birth and is recorded clearly in the person's medical and social record. One person received her form in Braille. We must now prove that living without home health care would cause us to live in a nursing home within 30 days. Lucky? I was able to prove it. I am asked each year to prove it to one agency, another one has to contact me every three months with a home visit to prove that I am disabled.
You live next door to :Ali".
PROVE YOU ARE DISABLED, ALI
IRAQ war orphan Ali Abbas has been robbed of Government financial help - because officials suggest he cannot prove when he lost his limbs.
Ali, who lost both arms when an Allied missile hit his home killing 15 relatives, applied for Disability Living Allowance last September.
That was when aid from the Kuwaiti government stopped.
< style="font-family: american typewriter;">Ali, now a British resident living in South West London, is otherwise dependent on charitable donations
Officials at Work and Pensions lost his forms, they were re-submitted, and he got a reply dated March 7.
The letter said he would not be entitled to aid until March 21 - last Monday - "because the conditions have not been satisfied until then".
Last night Zafar Khan, chairman of the Limbless Association, asked what on earth Ali had to do to prove his disability. He added: "It is ridiculous to say he is only affected from last Monday."
Payments are usually made from the time of applying.
ANGER erupted last night as Iraq war victim Ali Abbas was told he will lose disability payments – because he cannot prove his arms were blown off before last week.
The world knows that the 14-year-old almost died in the Allied missile attack two years ago tomorrow that destroyed his Baghdad home and killed 15 members of his family including his parents.
Zafar Khan, chairman of the Limbless Association that arranged for Ali’s UK treatment, said: “What does this innocent little boy have to do to prove he is disabled?
“It is ridiculous to say he is only affected from last week. It is insensitive and appalling.”
Lib Dem Dr Jenny Tonge branded the Department for Work and Pensions ruling – amid the row raging over the legality of the Iraq war – “typical bureaucratic nonsense”.
And shadow work and pensions secretary David Willetts said: “This seems very harsh. Clearly Ali should receive proper help immediately.”
But, despite the indisputable evidence, DWP penpushers will not backdate his Disability Living Allowance as he cannot show his injuries were inflicted before March 21.
Ali, who also suffered horrific burns to his torso and legs, was airlifted to Kuwait for a life-saving operation before he arrived in the UK in August 2003 for treatment. He is now a British
resident – though his future is by no means certain because he is an orphan and totally dependent on charitable donations.
But he learned of the astonishing ruling that he will not get any benefit before Monday last week in a letter dated March 7 – six months after he submitted his claim.
Last September he applied for DLA after financial aid from the Kuwaiti government stopped.
After DWP employees lost his forms, copies were submitted in January and Ali – who lives in South West London – at last got his reply in the letter stating he must wait two more weeks for his first payment.
It read: “You are not entitled to Disability Living Allowance until 21/03/05 because the conditions have not been satisfied until then.”
An insider at the DWP said: “Ali’s injuries are well documented. It is insulting for some penpusher to say that not only is he not eligible months ago but that he has to wait a few more weeks.
“According to the rules, you are entitled to payment from the date you send off the forms so I don’t know what has gone wrong. Maybe it’s a mistake but they should be more sensitive.” DLA has two parts. Ali was granted the full rate of £58.80 a week for “help with personal care” but only the lower rate of £15.50 for “help with getting around”, the equivalent of £2.21 a day.
Charity chairman Mr Khan said: “We were most surprised that Ali was deemed only eligible for the lower amount when it comes to mobility. He falls down a lot because, not having arms, he obviously has problems with his balance. He is not independent at all and cannot go out on his own.”
Dr Tonge, the local MP, added: “This adds insult to injury. It is particularly poignant considering we have inflicted these injuries on Ali.
“We should feel a duty of care towards him. It is the least we can do. Without arms one can’t balance properly. You do not just require two legs to walk. And he can’t even open the door. Do they expect him to use his teeth on door handles?”"
Ali lives with Ahmed Hamza, 16, and Ahmed’s dad Mohamed. Ahmed lost his right hand and left leg in the war. The boys met in hospital.
The Daily Mirror calculates that Ali should have received almost £2,000 in payments since September.
The DWP is infamous for inefficiency. Last year a Commons Public Accounts Committee report found it to be riddled with error.
An astonishing half of all decisions on DLA were found wrong.
The form for claiming has 47 pages and, according to the MPs, “many customers find it hard to complete, even with assistance”.
Mr Willetts said: “If Ali’s forms were lost by the DWP then the
department should accept responsibility and backdate payment. It is most unfair if this is the case."
The DWP said: “We cannot discuss individual cases but every customer has the right to appeal.”
Mar 29 2005 By Alexandra Williams