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Carly Canavan- Mental Age 4, Forced To Prove She Can’t Work

October 14, 2015

A severely disabled young woman with a mental age of a four-year-old has been ordered to prove she cannot work.

Carly Canavan, 21, has been warned she will lose vital benefits if she and her family don’t fill in detailed forms and submit to their “work capability assessment” to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Carly distressed mum Victoria Lamont says Iain Duncan Smith’s department should already know her daughter will never be able to work, the Daily Record reported .

And she slammed the pen-pushers yesterday for hounding her family instead of making sure they get the help they need.

Victoria, 43, said: “Carly was born with part of her brain underdeveloped. It won’t grow back.

“She will never be independent. She won’t get any better.

“I have to help her with everything, from getting up to dressing and washing. She needs assistance when she goes to the toilet and she still wears nappies at night.

“She can’t walk far and is scared of uneven ground, even going out her own front step. She needs care in every aspect of her life.

“I called up the DWP twice after receiving the forms and the people I spoke to said the same thing – fill them out or her benefits will stop.

“There was no compassion. Nothing. The system is heartless.”

Mum-of-five Victoria, of Uddingston, Lanarkshire, also looks after three of her other children on her own as well as holding down a part-time job working 16 hours a week at a petrol station. Dealing with pressure from the DWP is the last thing she needs.

She says she has been told in the past that her daughter would get disability living allowance for the rest of her life.

DLA was replaced recently by the new “personal independence payment”, and Carly has also been receiving around £500 a month in employment and support allowance.

But last month, work assessment forms for Carly dropped through Victoria’s letter box. She says she has been ordered to fill them in by the middle of this month or Carly’s ESA
will be stopped.

Victoria said she was “upset and emotional, really angry” when the forms arrived.

She says she has spent years filling in forms about Carly’s condition. And she doesn’t understand why the DWP can’t simply check her daughter’s files rather than making threats and insisting on reassessing her from scratch.

Victoria said: “This can be done so much better. If they examined her file, they would understand the problem.

“Why can’t they communicate better with other departments?

“I’ve filled in loads and loads of forms, including invasive questions about whether Carly is ever likely to be pregnant.

“They kept phoning me up to ask me different things. It’s upsetting to keep getting asked the same questions.

“A doctor who examined Carly years ago once told me, ‘If you lost a leg, the DWP would expect it to grow back.’ That’s how I feel about it.

“I would love for Carly to get better and have a normal life like her brothers. That’s what upsets me even more.

“She may be asked into a face-to-face meeting with the DWP. I’d be so angry if that happened.

“They say they understand your position. But until you have a disabled child, you’ll never understand.

“She is my lassie and I want to protect her for as long as possible.”

A DWP spokeswoman last night claimed the assessments were designed to help disabled people. She added that officials offered help to fill in the forms.

She said: “It is important that we occasionally review someone’s employment and support allowance claim to ensure they are getting the right level of support, rather than just automatically writing them off to a life on benefits.

“Decisions are taken after consideration of all the evidence provided by the claimant, including any supporting medical evidence from their GP or medical specialist.”

Carly is the latest in a long line of severely disabled people to fall foul of Duncan Smith’s hardline approach to the most vulnerable families.

The Work and Pensions Secretary recently revealed he wants to change the rules to force severely disabled people to work even if they can only do two hours per week.

Duncan Smith was widely criticised for punching the air and yelling “Fantastic!” at the end of Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget in July.

He said he was celebrating the announcement of Osborne’s so-called National Living Wage. The Budget also took £12billion from the poor, including an average of £1000 a year from three million households on working tax credits.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 14, 2015 8:49 am

    Reblogged this on lawrencerowntree.

  2. October 14, 2015 10:13 am

    I would be very tempted to put one word on each page: MENTAL AGE 4 LABOUR LAWS DO NOT PERMIT THE PERSON THAT AGE TO WORK. Put that on the form they may get the message

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