A BROMSGROVE mum whose severely disabled son has been denied his Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is challenging the laws which affect his payments.
The Standard reported in October how the situation arose when Julia Boonnak took up a two-year secondment in Thailand with her job as the head of Bromsgrove School’s international department.
When she returned with her husband and three children in July last year and applied for DLA for her four-year-old son Finnan it was denied.
Mrs Boonnak claimed she was told the rules had changed so her son would have to wait two years until he could receive it, previously it was only 13 weeks.
She added so far Finn had lost £12,000 and his quality of life had suffered so they were now relying on charity grants to buy the specialist equipment he needed.
Finn has an incurable Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation which leaves him unable to walk, needing 24-hour care and having to be carried everywhere – he needs a specially-adapted car, car seat, buggy and low-level toys.
Before they left Finnan was entitled to the highest level of DLA available along with funding to help with a specially adapted car, free road tax and a blue badge.
She added Finnan was never even discharged from his doctors and if they had known about the change they would have returned earlier.
Mrs Boonnak said they appealed against it at a tribunal on August 12 this year but the judge said he could not change the law so she was now working with solicitors in London to try and challenge the verdict through a judicial review.
“The judge said to me quite openly that a European child coming into the UK would have more chance of receiving DLA, over Finnan, who is British, and has been temporarily abroad.” she added.
“My friends have helped out by doing a number of charity evenings to buy him specialist toys and a specialist exercise mat to do his physiotherapy on.
“It was not so hard when he was a baby but now he is bigger and he was getting harder to care for.”
MP Sajid Javid said children must now live in the UK for two years before they received DLA, a change made to prevent benefit tourism.
“I understand the upset from the outcome of this appeal.
“From the outset I have raised Finnan’s difficult case with ministers personally.
“Unfortunately Finnan has been caught up in this and must live in the UK for two years to qualify.
“Mrs Boonnak has pursued this case diligently and had every right to take it to appeal.
“However, I’m pleased that as Finnan’s application for DLA began in April 2013 he should qualify for the benefit early next year.”