YOUNG Olivia Robertson had a leg amputated after almost dying of meningitis, but she has been told she’s not disabled enough to deserve benefits any more.
The ten-year-old and her two sisters have lived with aunt Sheryl Robertson in Hillmorton since their mother died of cervical cancer.
But now their aunt, who also has two children of her own, is to be stripped of the £300 a month Disability Living Allowance she says she relies on to give her niece the best qualSity of life possible.
Olivia endures constant pain. She survives on a couple of hours sleep a night and is unable to use her right arm.
“I’m being told Olivia’s not disabled enough to qualify for the allowance,” said Ms Robertson, of Eden Road.
“How disabled do you have to be? It’s diabolical.”
She is outraged that Olivia’s condition was assessed over the phone with one of her school teachers.
“It’s disgusting,” said Ms Robertson.
“They don’t see Olivia take off her prosthetic leg after school because she is in so much pain.”
Ms Robertson said: They don’t see the sores on her body. They don’t see how long Olivia takes to get dressed in the morning and they don’t see me having to put the toothpaste on her toothbrush.”
Olivia is constantly in and out of hospital. She will have an operation on her toe soon that will leave her unable to walk.
Ms Robertson added: “Will that make her disabled?”
Olivia’s mother Tracy Robertson was 21 when she lost her battle against cervical cancer.
Her sister immediately stepped in to take care of the three children - Olivia, Beth, 13, and Georgia, 12 - she left behind.
Ms Robertson, 32, also has two young children of her own.
But she doesn’t complain and says very matter of factly: “My sister would’ve done exactly the same for me.”
She added: “Olivia is quite resilient but she does find it a struggle. She can’t even catch a ball or a ride a bike.”
“This system has got to change, especially for children.”
The £300 a month benefit (minus £45 taken out to pay for a car) means the family can easily get to hospital as well as on day trips.
Oliva said: “Life can be hard with my false leg, it can hurt me quite a bit too. It aches and I have to take it off.
“It can be tough when I get out of the bath. Running around with my friends can be hard too because my balance isn’t very good and I fall over.”
Olivia added: “I would be really upset if we couldn’t go on our days out and holidays. I like going to Center Parcs, especially when we go swimming.”
The decision has gone to appeal for a second time and will be decided before August.
A spokeswoman at the Department for Work and Pensions confirmed the case was being looked at but declined to comment further..