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  1. ITV Report

Boy with no arms or legs told he must prove he is disabled to keep benefits

Edward pictured during an interview with ITV News Central in 2011. Credit: ITV News Central

The family of a teenager who lost both arms and legs to meningitis as a child have told how they were left "horrified and disgusted" when he was asked to attend an assessment for his disability benefit to continue.

Edward Bright became a quadruple amputee after developing meningitis-related septicaemia as a seven-year-old, and before recently turning 16, the GCSE student received a £388-a-month Disability Living Allowance (DLA), his family told the Daily Mirror.

Edward Bright lost all four limbs to meningitis at the age of 7. Credit: ITV News Central

But after his 16th birthday in January he received a letter instructing him to attend a face-to-face meeting with an assessor in order to claim the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), successor to the DLA, the newspaper reports.

Despite his condition being known to benefits staff the teenager was told to travel from his home in Derbyshire to an assessment centre. When his family complained managers allegedly backtracked and arranged for a home assessment instead.

Edward's mother, Clare, told the newspaper:

We assumed his case would be as exceptional given the fact he has had his legs and arms amputated. We were horrified and disgusted to get the letter saying he needed an assessment.

They wanted him to go to Derby and even gave instructions on how to walk to the office from the station. It's a shambles.

– Clare Bright, mother

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said there was now no need for Edward to undergo a face-to-face assessment and explained that all DLA claimants are invited to apply for the working-age PIP when they turn 16.

"In this instance a paper based assessment has been completed and there is no need for a face to face assessment," it said.

Edward will hear the outcome of his claim "imminently", a DWP source said.