Man worries how he will survive as disability allowance is cut

Christopher Buckingham, 29.

Christopher Buckingham, 29.

First published in News Times Series: Photograph of the Author by

A man left for dead in a horrifying attack is worried how he will pay for food and bills after his Disability Living Allowance was cut this month.

Christopher Buckingham, of Brent Cross, was hit over the head with a gun in a violent attack in November 2008. 

He was in a coma for two weeks and had to have part of his skull removed. When he came through he could not speak, eat or move from the neck down, he had two strokes, meningitis, was blind, deaf and incontinent and had just a 12 per cent chance of walking again.

Mr Buckingham, 29, said: “When I was in the wheelchair I made a decision to get myself better. I didn’t want to be in a wheelchair forever.”

Since 2008, Mr Buckingham has received just over £400 DLA to help him live an independent life and in November 2010 he moved into his own flat.

With the money he was also able to start a course to help him learn new skills, learn to control his emotions and work on his CV in order to get a job.

He said: “The course really helps me. I’m dying to get a job, it’s driving me bonkers not having one. I don’t want to be disabled but while I’m like this I need a bit of help.”

He is still incontinent, has no sense of smell, is deaf in one ear and has permanent frontal lobe damage which causes him to forget everyday things like closing and locking the front door.

He said: “I fall over quite a lot because I have a problem with my balance, and I don’t have judgement skills so I leave the cooker on and fall to sleep.”

Despite this, Mr Buckingham’s DLA has been cut to a staggering £19.55 a week leaving him unsure what his future holds.

Mr Buckingham also has a three-year-old daughter, Demi Preston, who he sees every two weeks.

He said: “I can’t even afford to feed myself properly – and I have to get food for Demi when she’s here too. I have bills to pay too. I can’t afford it. It’s a joke.

“I give Demi’s mum £25 a week to look after her. Now I can’t provide for my daughter. Everything is annoying.”

A spokeswoman for Department for Work and Pensions, said: “We are committed to supporting disabled people and continue to spend over £40bn a year on disabled people and their services.  

“DLA is paid to help people who are unable to walk or virtually unable to walk or do things like wash and dress themselves.

“People have the right to appeal if they don't agree with a decision.

“If an individual does not qualify for DLA, they may get other disability benefits including Employment Support Allowance, Access to Work and Disabled Facilities Grant - amongst others.”

Comments (13)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:12pm Wed 26 Sep 12

OhWiseOne says...

That foreign aid has got to be paid for somehow! Cant have the likes of China and India not being able to afford their aircraft carrier and space programmes can we!
That foreign aid has got to be paid for somehow! Cant have the likes of China and India not being able to afford their aircraft carrier and space programmes can we! OhWiseOne
  • Score: 0

1:23pm Wed 26 Sep 12

harvey_uk says...

OhUnWiseOne, not sure you understand how these foreign aid schemes work, rest assured the UK pays a small carrot to China/India in return for huge investments and returns. It's the open door EU policy that's the real issue and threat to this country and future generations of UK citizens. Just take a look at the amount of Eastern Europeans flooding this country, and overflowing from the maternity units.

I'm confused about this story, this man got a flat, was getting DLA, most likely with a host of other benefits 4 years ago, as well as his kid getting child benefits etc and his ex-partner probably getting free accommodation. Is this man now walking, as his issues were 4 years ago. From judging this story, this chap is back on his feet and is moaning he can’t find a job (maybe down to the Eastern Europeans flooding the UK!). As the DWP mentioned, he can appeal.
OhUnWiseOne, not sure you understand how these foreign aid schemes work, rest assured the UK pays a small carrot to China/India in return for huge investments and returns. It's the open door EU policy that's the real issue and threat to this country and future generations of UK citizens. Just take a look at the amount of Eastern Europeans flooding this country, and overflowing from the maternity units. I'm confused about this story, this man got a flat, was getting DLA, most likely with a host of other benefits 4 years ago, as well as his kid getting child benefits etc and his ex-partner probably getting free accommodation. Is this man now walking, as his issues were 4 years ago. From judging this story, this chap is back on his feet and is moaning he can’t find a job (maybe down to the Eastern Europeans flooding the UK!). As the DWP mentioned, he can appeal. harvey_uk
  • Score: 0

1:33pm Wed 26 Sep 12

OhWiseOne says...

How can he walk steadily on his feet whenthe damage to his brain means he cant balance properly?

Selective reading as usual.

Oh and by huge returns do you mean the failed Eurofighter bid for India who subsequently went for the Dassault Rafale?
How can he walk steadily on his feet whenthe damage to his brain means he cant balance properly? Selective reading as usual. Oh and by huge returns do you mean the failed Eurofighter bid for India who subsequently went for the Dassault Rafale? OhWiseOne
  • Score: 0

1:44pm Wed 26 Sep 12

leigh1964 says...

He lives in a council flat,
and He has difficulties working and also
how can anyone survive on that amount money a week. He has appealed the decsion meanwhile he still has to survive
He lives in a council flat, and He has difficulties working and also how can anyone survive on that amount money a week. He has appealed the decsion meanwhile he still has to survive leigh1964
  • Score: 0

1:58pm Wed 26 Sep 12

paisley says...

this has got to be a joke, how can anyone live on £20 a week, do the somalians and other ethnic groups live on that much? i doubt it, we have only ourselves to blame, we voted them in,next time it will be B.N.P, i have no choice
this has got to be a joke, how can anyone live on £20 a week, do the somalians and other ethnic groups live on that much? i doubt it, we have only ourselves to blame, we voted them in,next time it will be B.N.P, i have no choice paisley
  • Score: 0

2:36pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Reestan says...

I wonder what kind of company would hire a man that is incontinent, has no sense of smell, is deaf in one ear, falls over a lot, and has permanent frontal lobe damage causing a whole host of other problems. This man is not moaning about not being able to find a job! He wants the help to be able to be a candidate for a job! He has survived a vicious attack, death even and against the odds is actually walking. To come this far in 4 years only to be starved to death by the state....Shame on them!
I wonder what kind of company would hire a man that is incontinent, has no sense of smell, is deaf in one ear, falls over a lot, and has permanent frontal lobe damage causing a whole host of other problems. This man is not moaning about not being able to find a job! He wants the help to be able to be a candidate for a job! He has survived a vicious attack, death even and against the odds is actually walking. To come this far in 4 years only to be starved to death by the state....Shame on them! Reestan
  • Score: 0

2:44pm Wed 26 Sep 12

leigh1964 says...

To be attacked violently, kicked in the teeth by the GOVERMENT and have the guts not to let you give up He is in my eyes a very brave young man.
To be attacked violently, kicked in the teeth by the GOVERMENT and have the guts not to let you give up He is in my eyes a very brave young man. leigh1964
  • Score: 0

6:41pm Wed 26 Sep 12

kooljeff says...

Why has this story been hijacked by racism and ill informed notions? The victims of this cruel practice are being persecuted by the Tory led government full of Posh Boys & Girls who think anyone beneath them are Plebs. Not by immigrants nor reipients of Foreign Aid. Here are a few facts. Fraud for disability benefits is less than 2% and this figure includes mistakes and over-payments made by the DWP, actual fraud is around 0.7% (yes 7 tenths of 1 percent). Compare that to the Billions of pounds lost to tax avoidance. Those who say well it's alright, he can appeal should look to their conciences. The fact is that Atos get it wrong a lot. The man who was passed fit for for work who died 6 weeks later. The man in hospital in a coma and on life support found capable of work. The Downs Syndrome girl who was asked by (a supposedly qualified medical practitioner) "How long have you been suffering from Downs Syndrome?" There are hundreds, if not thousands of similar stories from around the country. And the Atos test is NOT a medical test, it is a computer based tick-box exercise. Medical reports from GPs, consultants etc are ignored by Atos. One last point, where are all these jobs for severely disabled and mentally ill people?
Why has this story been hijacked by racism and ill informed notions? The victims of this cruel practice are being persecuted by the Tory led government full of Posh Boys & Girls who think anyone beneath them are Plebs. Not by immigrants nor reipients of Foreign Aid. Here are a few facts. Fraud for disability benefits is less than 2% and this figure includes mistakes and over-payments made by the DWP, actual fraud is around 0.7% (yes 7 tenths of 1 percent). Compare that to the Billions of pounds lost to tax avoidance. Those who say well it's alright, he can appeal should look to their conciences. The fact is that Atos get it wrong a lot. The man who was passed fit for for work who died 6 weeks later. The man in hospital in a coma and on life support found capable of work. The Downs Syndrome girl who was asked by (a supposedly qualified medical practitioner) "How long have you been suffering from Downs Syndrome?" There are hundreds, if not thousands of similar stories from around the country. And the Atos test is NOT a medical test, it is a computer based tick-box exercise. Medical reports from GPs, consultants etc are ignored by Atos. One last point, where are all these jobs for severely disabled and mentally ill people? kooljeff
  • Score: 0

11:03pm Wed 26 Sep 12

leigh1964 says...

I agree with the previous comment, I feel sorry for the young man and his family. He is trying his best to succeed in life and he was probably ATOS tested too
I agree with the previous comment, I feel sorry for the young man and his family. He is trying his best to succeed in life and he was probably ATOS tested too leigh1964
  • Score: 0

7:03pm Sat 29 Sep 12

jessicafeldman says...

Christopher my thoughts are with you and your family it must be awful living like that i am sorry to hear you were so brutally attacked aswell. They SHOULDNT cut down your benefits because

1. it will make your health worse worrying about it

2. YOU need that money to live and possibly even get help doing day to day things as they are probally very hard for you.


ANYONE interested in signing a petition to help Christopher by making sure he still gets his benefits I will put up the link to it please sign it, tell your family,. friends, neighbours, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins everyone you know to help him.

I hope you are well christopher and I hope you read this

All the best

Jessica
Christopher my thoughts are with you and your family it must be awful living like that i am sorry to hear you were so brutally attacked aswell. They SHOULDNT cut down your benefits because 1. it will make your health worse worrying about it 2. YOU need that money to live and possibly even get help doing day to day things as they are probally very hard for you. ANYONE interested in signing a petition to help Christopher by making sure he still gets his benefits I will put up the link to it please sign it, tell your family,. friends, neighbours, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins everyone you know to help him. I hope you are well christopher and I hope you read this All the best Jessica jessicafeldman
  • Score: 0

2:10pm Sun 30 Sep 12

Educate Me says...

paisley wrote:
this has got to be a joke, how can anyone live on £20 a week, do the somalians and other ethnic groups live on that much? i doubt it, we have only ourselves to blame, we voted them in,next time it will be B.N.P, i have no choice
I feel for Christopher. I wish him well and hopefully he can overcome the situation that he's facing.

People like Paisley what can I say you will need to find a solution for your ignorance by blaming Somalians and other ethnic groups for your problems. Please Vote for Black Not Pimp

Paisley a solution for you stop wasting your benefit money stop smoking and drinking so that you can have the life style which the ethnic minority and Somalis have.
[quote][p][bold]paisley[/bold] wrote: this has got to be a joke, how can anyone live on £20 a week, do the somalians and other ethnic groups live on that much? i doubt it, we have only ourselves to blame, we voted them in,next time it will be B.N.P, i have no choice[/p][/quote]I feel for Christopher. I wish him well and hopefully he can overcome the situation that he's facing. People like Paisley what can I say you will need to find a solution for your ignorance by blaming Somalians and other ethnic groups for your problems. Please Vote for Black Not Pimp Paisley a solution for you stop wasting your benefit money stop smoking and drinking so that you can have the life style which the ethnic minority and Somalis have. Educate Me
  • Score: 0

8:52pm Tue 2 Oct 12

mamma mia 66 says...

a DWP spokesperson is quoted as saying " DLA is paid to help people who are unable to walk or virtually unable to walk or do things like wash and dress themselves " WHAT UTTER RUBBISH !!

a woman who is always in my local gets DLA because she has mental health issues, she also gets sickness benefit & full housing benefit oh and also a freedom pass so gets free buses & tubes as well yet she not only walks without problems bus runs quite fast to catch buses as ive seen on several occasions,
She also works for an " escort agency " & is known to service men at her home all hours of the day & night....

Before anyone moans about her ethnic origin she is white/ British
a DWP spokesperson is quoted as saying " DLA is paid to help people who are unable to walk or virtually unable to walk or do things like wash and dress themselves " WHAT UTTER RUBBISH !! a woman who is always in my local gets DLA because she has mental health issues, she also gets sickness benefit & full housing benefit oh and also a freedom pass so gets free buses & tubes as well yet she not only walks without problems bus runs quite fast to catch buses as ive seen on several occasions, She also works for an " escort agency " & is known to service men at her home all hours of the day & night.... Before anyone moans about her ethnic origin she is white/ British mamma mia 66
  • Score: 0

9:07pm Tue 2 Oct 12

mamma mia 66 says...

kooljeff wrote:
Why has this story been hijacked by racism and ill informed notions? The victims of this cruel practice are being persecuted by the Tory led government full of Posh Boys & Girls who think anyone beneath them are Plebs. Not by immigrants nor reipients of Foreign Aid. Here are a few facts. Fraud for disability benefits is less than 2% and this figure includes mistakes and over-payments made by the DWP, actual fraud is around 0.7% (yes 7 tenths of 1 percent). Compare that to the Billions of pounds lost to tax avoidance. Those who say well it's alright, he can appeal should look to their conciences. The fact is that Atos get it wrong a lot. The man who was passed fit for for work who died 6 weeks later. The man in hospital in a coma and on life support found capable of work. The Downs Syndrome girl who was asked by (a supposedly qualified medical practitioner) "How long have you been suffering from Downs Syndrome?" There are hundreds, if not thousands of similar stories from around the country. And the Atos test is NOT a medical test, it is a computer based tick-box exercise. Medical reports from GPs, consultants etc are ignored by Atos. One last point, where are all these jobs for severely disabled and mentally ill people?
i also know of people Atos have made mistakes on,

they passed a young lad as incapable of work which meant he received sickness benefit but he was working illegally ..

they passed a woman as fit to work despite having heart disease, the woman was forced to seek employment and within 3 weeks was in hospital with heart failure

and yes it was the same atos GP who asked the girl with downs how long she had been downs

The people carrying out these health assessments are actually qualified GP's... quite worrying one would say !!!
[quote][p][bold]kooljeff[/bold] wrote: Why has this story been hijacked by racism and ill informed notions? The victims of this cruel practice are being persecuted by the Tory led government full of Posh Boys & Girls who think anyone beneath them are Plebs. Not by immigrants nor reipients of Foreign Aid. Here are a few facts. Fraud for disability benefits is less than 2% and this figure includes mistakes and over-payments made by the DWP, actual fraud is around 0.7% (yes 7 tenths of 1 percent). Compare that to the Billions of pounds lost to tax avoidance. Those who say well it's alright, he can appeal should look to their conciences. The fact is that Atos get it wrong a lot. The man who was passed fit for for work who died 6 weeks later. The man in hospital in a coma and on life support found capable of work. The Downs Syndrome girl who was asked by (a supposedly qualified medical practitioner) "How long have you been suffering from Downs Syndrome?" There are hundreds, if not thousands of similar stories from around the country. And the Atos test is NOT a medical test, it is a computer based tick-box exercise. Medical reports from GPs, consultants etc are ignored by Atos. One last point, where are all these jobs for severely disabled and mentally ill people?[/p][/quote]i also know of people Atos have made mistakes on, they passed a young lad as incapable of work which meant he received sickness benefit but he was working illegally .. they passed a woman as fit to work despite having heart disease, the woman was forced to seek employment and within 3 weeks was in hospital with heart failure and yes it was the same atos GP who asked the girl with downs how long she had been downs The people carrying out these health assessments are actually qualified GP's... quite worrying one would say !!! mamma mia 66
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree