A severely disabled man, who cannot leave his care home except in a specially adapted van, has been told he no longer qualifies for assistance with mobility and will have to return the vehicle.

Andrew Knowlman has motor neurone disease, a progressive and always fatal neurological disorder. He is completely immobile, is fed through a tube into his stomach, and uses an eye gaze computer in order to communicate.

Since being diagnosed three years ago, Mr Knowlman has become a children’s author and also writes a blog about his experiences of living with MND.

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Mr Knowlman lives in a care home and needs his adapted van in order to go to his children’s school events, to go to football matches and to ‘be in nature‘.

However, he has now been told that he will have to return the van because of a loophole in the benefits system. This would mean he would not be able to leave his care home or attend any of his children’s events.

Andrew Knowlman’s care is paid for from the NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHSCH) fund, for people who have long-term and complex health needs which mean they need social care, but don’t need to be in hospital.

His vehicle had been paid for by the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) but under the current regulations, anyone living in a care home, with their care paid for by NHSCH, is ineligible for PIP, and thus for a motability vehicle.

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Ironically, Mr Knowlman points out that if he was living at home and being provided with full-time nursing care, the costs to the state would be very much higher – and yet he would be eligible for a vehicle.

Because he lives in a care home, however, he is deemed not to need transport – despite his van being the only way he can get out of the home and continue with his family life. He says:

Although I have a terminal illness, in no way do I see my life as being over. I am a dad to my children and I need the Motability vehicle to enable me to be just that. This is a very distressing situation.

Mr Knowlman has been given until March 9 to persuade the DWP to close the loophole in the system.

This is just one more example of how DWP rules, made with the sole purpose of saving money, can impact so badly on people who are unlucky enough to be severely ill or disabled but are trying to continue with their lives as normally as possible.

It seems insane that having paid for a van to be specially adapted for Mr Knowlman, the DWP now wants to take it away.

Get Involved

A petition has been set up calling on Sarah Newton, the Minister for Disabled People, to allow Andrew Knowlman to keep his vehicle.

Please sign and share it: in a supposedly civilised society, people with disabilities deserve much, much better.

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