Kayleigh Haggo has a strong, bright spirit. Her being disabled has not stopped her from working hard to reach her dreams, and she is now one of Scotland’s and Great Britain’s best paralympic athletes. She won 16 golds European Paralympic Youth Games, and set 13 world records and 4 national age group records in swimming, race running and club throw sports. She is also training as best as she can to compete in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
This girl certainly has a bright future ahead of her. However, the Tories’ new rules on disability benefits may have just jeopardized that.
Kayleigh, 16, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, will lose her mobility car, no thanks to the Tories’ cruel changes to the benefit rules.
Under Disability Living Allowance, disabled applicants who could not walk unaided under 50 meters qualified. However, David Cameron reduced the distance to 20 meters, leaving out many disabled citizens who may be in dire need of it. Kayleigh can manage within those 20 meters — which ironically had happened because of her discipline and tough training — and is thus deemed unqualified for the benefit.
Her mobility car, which is perfect for bringing around her wheel chair and other athletic equipment, is now being taken away from her.
Alas, the sad state of affairs that Russel Brand had once predicted on his Youtube channel is coming to pass.
Kayleigh bemoans, ““Do they want me to stay at home for the rest of my life? When I leave school I’m hoping to train full-time and also go to college or university. But I won’t be able to get there. I really want to compete in the Paralympics, but not having a car will mean that can’t happen. To get the bus would mean I’d have to go down the stairs myself, and I can’t do that.”
Mobility is not the only thing that could be taken away from Kayleigh. Scottish Disability Sport boss Gavin Mcleod says: “Without her Motability allowance, she will not be able to benefit from her participation in sport and continue on her performance pathway.”
“This is also a significant concern for SDS as Kayleigh has undoubted potential to represent Scotland and GB on the international, Commonwealth and Paralympic stage.”
Kayleigh and her family were served a notice by the Department for Work and Pensions on May 26 that the car must be returned on June 16.
Kayleigh’s mother Sandra was furious: “I’m really angry. Her whole future independence and life depends on this decision. She’s an exceptional young lady who’s worked hard to get where she is. There are now two questions which relate to mobility, One is whether the person can plan and follow a journey unaided. The other is whether they can walk more than 20 metres unaided, which she can. So if Kayleigh wasn’t pushing herself to walk short distances, she would have qualified for her car. We’ve always pushed her to be as independent as she can be.”
The Haggo family have created a petition to reform the PIP guidelines, which may be signed here.
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