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Man worries how he will survive as disability allowance is cut
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.”