One off payment offered to Preston family in benefits row

Photo Neil Cross'Ava Jolliffe has Brown-Vialetto-Van-Laere syndrome and now the Department for Work and Pensions is withdrawing her disability living allowance
Photo Neil Cross'Ava Jolliffe has Brown-Vialetto-Van-Laere syndrome and now the Department for Work and Pensions is withdrawing her disability living allowance
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Bosses at the Department for Work and Pensions have offered a one off payment to the family of severely disabled Preston girl Ava Jolliffe - but still maintain they must claim help from the German authorities.

Ava needs round-the-clock care, is profoundly deaf, certified blind, has to use a wheelchair, can’t feed herself and her eyes shake permanently.

But because the eight-year-old’s father works in Germany for BAE, and pays the equivalent of National Insurance there, the Government say she is not entitled to the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Instead, bosses at DWP have told the family they should be claiming help from the German authorities.

But today the DWP said it will give them a one off payment to tide them over while the claim is processed in Germany.

A spokesman said: “After reviewing Miss Jolliffe’s case, and as a result of the errors that we have previously acknowledged, we have offered the family a one-off payment which is equivalent to six weeks of the care component of DLA. This is intended to support them financially while the German government processes their claim.”

Ava’s mum Laura, 43, of Barton, said: “All they are giving Ava back is what she is entitled to. It’s nothing above and beyond what she is entitled to. It does solve some of our issues for the next six weeks. I am assuming this means in six weeks there will be a resolution - for Ava’s sake.”

Preston North and Wyre MP Ben Wallace is currently working with the family to seek a resolution.

And Ava’s mum Laura and dad Graham phoned the DWP DLA helpline and were told that National Insurance contributions have no bearing on claiming DLA for Ava.

Laura said: “We have had massive amounts of support from other people saying they have been let down by the system. We are highlighting Ava’s situation but she is one of thousands.

“We are in awe, it just shows the power of the people, all these people are offering support and kindness.

“We have had no further contact (from the DWP), no letter of apology. They have made a statement to the press saying it is to do with NI contributions but we have not had a letter to say that. The whole thing is an absolute farce they are contradicting themselves and there has been no communication with us.”

The DWP explained it intends to offer a written response and confirmed that DLA is not assessed on the basis of National Insurance contributions, but said because Ava’s dad Graham works and pays tax and insurance in Germany, EU regulations rule that the German government should pay the care component of DLA.

A spokesman said: “Our staff have spoken to the Jolliffe family on a number of occasions to explain the status of the claim and also to apologise for the errors that occurred. We intend to offer written responses as soon as possible.”