21:21 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Pedestrians walk past a newspaper stand announcing the terrorist attacks after subway and bus lines were closed in London 07 July 2005.

    London 7/7 Bombings Survivor Asked to Prove Disability or Lose Benefits

    © AFP 2019 / Paco Serinelli
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    A badly injured survivor of the 7/7 bombings in London has been requested to prove his disability or lose his benefits. It appears the British authorities’ fresh urge to crackdown on the so-called "benefits tourism" by European immigrants can sometimes lead to paradoxical consequences, even for British citizens.

    Dan Biddle, who lost his legs, one of his eyes and his spleen in the 2005 London attacks, was asked to give information about how long he can stand and how many steps he can take. 

    In an interview with the Sun, 36 year old Biddle, who is Welsh, said:

    "It is a betrayal. To be asked questions like 'How long can you stand for?'. How insensitive is that? If this isn’t re-affirming how bad my life is going to be because of my injuries, I don’t know what is." 

    Biddle had left his job in 2014 after suffering from stress disorder and started claiming Employment and Support Allowance. Now, if he does not provide the requested information, he could stop receiving his money. In a statement, a spokesperson of the  Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said:

    "It’s important that people claiming Employment Support Allowance receive all the support and benefits they are entitled to which is why, on occasion, we ask for questionnaires to be completed by the claimant or their next of kin."

    Biddle’s is not an isolated incident. Just hours after the terror survivor’s story emerged, reports were published of a Derbyshire boy without arms and legs at risk of losing his benefits.

    Edward Bright, a 16-year-old who lost all four his limbs to meningitis when he was seven, has been receiving a monthly US$482 (£388) Disability Living Allowance.

    On turning 16, Bright was ordered to attend a face-to-face meeting with DPW to demonstrate his disability or lose his Personal Independence Payment.

    The agency backtracked only after Bright’s mother complains and eventually accepted to carry out the meeting at Bright’s home and pay him interim allowance until the meeting takes place.

    Benefits Tourism

    Benefits have been at the center of the UK’s political debate for a while, and the issue is intertwined with the Brexit negotiations. It is thought that some European immigrants engage in "benefits tourism", visiting the UK just to claim benefits and mail the money back home.

    During the ongoing talks ahead of a Britain’s referendum on EU membership the UK PM David Cameron has put forward the demands for a limit on benefit payments for non-UK workers until they had been working for four years – the so-called "emergency brake".

    This includes tax credits, housing support and payment of child benefits to children not living in the UK

    Between 2008 and 2013, the number of EU working age benefit claimants doubled from 65,000 to 130,000— but EU citizens still make up just over the 2 percent of the total claimants.


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