A MUM whose five-year-old son fights for his life every day has hit out at the government for cutting off vital benefits.
Little Bradley Webber suffers with a form of brain damage called lissencephaly, also known as smooth brain, and was not expected to live past his third birthday.
The rare disorder means the Weymouth youngster cannot hold his head up, walk or talk and his mum Ali says every day of his life is a blessing.
Last week the family were told by the Department of Work and Pensions that their benefits, which included disability living allowance, mobility and carer’s allowance, had been stopped. The Government department said it had not received renewal forms in time.
However, mum Ali told the Echo that all forms had been completed correctly and handed in several weeks before the deadline. Without benefits the family are set to lose almost £600 a month.
It would also mean losing their mobility car, which the Chickerell family rely on to get to his hospital appointments in Southampton.
A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions it had followed ‘proper procedures’ and added: “If people don’t complete their forms on time we can’t process their claims”.
Bradley’s family have since been told a review of their case will take place in the next eight weeks.
Mum Ali, 25, added: “Bradley can’t walk or stand. He can’t drink or crawl or talk. He cannot communicate at all.
“His condition is terminal and life-limiting. He suffers with uncontrollable epilepsy where he can be in hospital fighting for his life and has scarring on his lungs and can’t control his secretions.
“Every day now could be his last. We tick the special box on the form so we just can’t believe we don’t meet the requirements for disability living allowance.”
She added: “I’m so angry and annoyed now as that £600 we lose means he can’t get the things he needs like all his equipment.
“I filled out his DLA form with all his doctor’s contact details and a statement from his community nurse.
“I received a letter last Saturday saying he is not entitled to DLA nor are we entitled to a carers’ allowance for him.
“He was awarded the middle rate care component from the DLA since he was two and high rate mobility from the age of three. We were eligible for all of these allowances before and now we apparently don’t meet the requirements.”
Bradley, who attends Wyvern school, has lessons each day in a bid to hold his head up for at least 30 seconds. The youngster is fed by a tube into his stomach and has seven types of daily medication including creams.
His condition was diagnosed when he was one.
Little Bradley is much-loved by his dad James and siblings Caitlyn, nine, six-year-old Tyler and the family’s newest addition – baby Felicity.
The family look set to lose around £542 disability and mobility allowance a month, around £62 a week carers’ allowance and income support and a reduction in child tax.
Echo launches appeal for Bradley
THE Dorset Echo has launched the Bradley Appeal in a bid to raise funds for the brave five-year-old and his family.
Money donated will go towards urgently needed equipment that the terminally ill youngster needs including a hood and rain cover for his wheelchair, proper flooring for his bedroom and maybe even a well-deserved holiday for his family.
His mum Ali told the Echo that her family don’t go on holiday very often due to the financial strain.
She said: “We sacrifice our holidays so Bradley can have the equipment he needs – that’s our priority.”
You can donate by:
Cheque: You can send a cheque to the Dorset Echo, made payable to the Dorset Echo and posted to Fleet House, Hampshire Road, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 9XD
Cash: You can drop cash in to the Echo offices in Weymouth or Antelope Walk, Dorchester.
Please make sure you include your name and contact number with the donation.