1. ITV Report

The benefits minefield faced by adults with disabilities

Finding work can be difficult enough but for someone with autism finding and holding down a job can be really tough.

One man from Cornwall has spoken to ITV News about how people like him, with autism, find themselves in a spiral of not being able to work - but then not being able to claim the benefits they're entitled to because they're told they've not paid enough National Insurance.

Christopher Burns says many claimants have to fight for months to get the money they're entitled to.

Credit: ITV West Country

Christopher has autism and as many people with autism or family members will tell you, it's often because this isn't an immediately obvious disability to see that makes others think you're more capable than maybe you are.

There is no feeling with autism, it's just the way you are and it's just the way you present yourself and it's just unique to you.

– Christopher Burns

Autism affects how a person communicates and relates to other people.

Christopher knows he's lucky to still live with his mum - but although he's grateful for her support he's the first to admit he hates being at home all day and desperately wants a job. But finding the right kind of work, and then holding that job down isn't always easy.

But one of the biggest challenges Christopher says he faces is battling the benefits system.

The structure says that he hasn't been in work long enough, and hereby isn't paying his National Insurance. As a consequence, he's then not eligible to claim the full range of benefits.

A spokesperson for the National Autistic Society says this is a a huge flaw in the system.

Some need help with benefits and benefits can be quite a tricky one because they're dealing with professional people that don't really understand their needs. We try to go along and help with that - housing benefit can be a particularly huge problem.

– Jayne Chugg, National Autistic Society

Henry Barnes from the organisation joined us in the studio to talk about the issue and how it affects autism sufferers:

Christopher is adamant he won't give up the fight, not just for him but for others like him, who because of the severity of their autism cannot speak out for themselves.