Man born without arms or legs says Tories are targeting disabled people

A man born with no arms or legs has blasted cruel benefits cuts after being asked to fill in a fitness-to-work questionnaire for the third time this year.

Thalidomide survivor Kevin Donnellon, 58, has had to complete “intrusive” 24-page booklets from the Department for Work and Pensions in order to keep receiving benefits.

Kevin said: “It’s not like my arms and legs have grown.”

The dad-of-two was one of around 2,000 UK babies affected by the morning sickness drug Thalidomide.

Fewer than 500 have lived past 50.

Kevin has battled to live as normal a life as he can, getting a degree in social sciences and working with adults with learning disabilities.

But he is fighting deteriorating health.

He said: “My last paid job was 15 years ago. Now I’m not as healthy. I’ve got severe backache from the artificial legs I used to wear – they weren’t the fantastic prosthetics you get these days. I’ve also got type 2 diabetes.

“This government seems to have targeted disabled people.

"I have a lot of disabled friends who are terrified when they get these letters they’re going to have benefits taken away.

“Twice in the last year I’ve had to fill in questionnaires. Now I’ve a third, due back on December 25. Merry Christmas.

"It feels vindictive. The questions are intrusive, very personal.

“I was born like this – you’d think my details would be on the system.”


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Kevin, of Liverpool, had to fill out a form for PIP payments to replace his Disability Living Allowance, and two “capability for work” forms for Universal Credit , to replace Employment and Support Allowance.

He said: “I’ve worked in the past, but I can’t do anything full-time. All these cuts are simply cruel.”

The DWP said the reassessments were part of the transition from DLA to PIP and those with life-long conditions would then only have “light-touch” 10-year reviews.

A spokesman added: “Mr Don­nellon has been awarded ESA indefinitely following a recent reassessment, and the highest rate of PIP with a light-touch review in 10 years.”

Meanwhile, Tory candidate Sally-Ann Hart has been blasted for saying it is right to pay people with learning difficulties less than minimum wage as they “don’t understand money”.

Ms Hart, standing in Hastings and Rye, was defending a post she shared that said the “therapeutic benefit” of working was better than pay.

Trainees at charity Little Gate Farm, in Beckley, East Sussex – where disabled adults are helped to find full-time jobs – said: “If it became legal to pay any of us less, it could easily become more difficult to get full pay.”

Aaron Plummer, 19, of London, who has cerebral palsy, said: “I did maths at school. I’m getting paid, I earn money… and I understand it.”

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