By Tristan Harris Friday 04 October 2013 Updated: 10/10 00:05
A BROMSGROVE mum has made a desperate plea to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) after an application for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) her three-year-old son depends was rejected.
Julia Boonnak contacted The Standard about the issue surrounding severely disabled youngster Finnan, who has the incurable Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation.
That means he will never be able to walk, needs 24-hour care and has to be carried everywhere.
The family also needs specialised equipment to help Finn with his condition, including a specially adapted car, car seat, buggy and low-level toys.
Julia lives in Catshill with her three children and her husband William, who is Finn's full-time carer.
The problem started when Julia, who is the head of Bromsgrove School's international department, undertook a two-year secondment to Thailand with her job.
As a family they decided they should all go as it would be a great experience for them.
Finn was entitled to £79.15 DLA a week and £55.25 mobility allowance, along with funding to help pay for the specially adapted car, free road tax and a blue badge.
But when she returned and applied for the DLA she was told that a change to the rules that applied to three-year-olds and only came in on April 8 - 19 days before Finn's third birthday - meant he would have to wait two years to receive his allowance.
The new rule states he must have lived in the UK for two years before being entitled to DLA. Prior to that, it was only 13 weeks.
That change now means, unless something is done, Finn would not be due to receive any of his allowance until he is five-years-old.
Mrs Boonnak told The Standard: "When we got the letter through, I had to read it twice - I couldn't believe they would turn down a three-year-old's Disability Living Allowance.
"Everyone I have spoken to has been really shocked - it just seems so unfair.
"It seems like they are taking money from the wrong people.
"I just hope we can get the decision reversed."
Mrs Boonnak has contacted Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid about the issue, started a blog about the family's plight and launched an online petition.
Mr Javid said: "It is was important to remember it is about Finnan, a very disabled little boy at the centre of this is case.
"On hearing, from Mrs Boonnak, the family's predicement I have imediately written to the Minister for Disabled People at the Department for Work and Pensions, and also to the Pensions, Disability and Carers Service and am following up with them directy."
A DWP spokesperson said she was confident correct procedures had been followed in the handling of the case.
"As with many other benefits, claimants must satisfy a Habitual Residence Test and a Past Presence Test to be eligible for DLA, which means they need to be present in the country for two years before claiming.
"This ensures that those living in the UK receive the support they need."
To read Mrs Boonnak's blog, visit cantdogymnastics.blogspot.co.uk
To sign the online petition, go to http://www.activism.com/en_GB/petition/pay-finnan-boonnak-cdg1a-disability-living-allowance/45239
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