Autistic Man Forced to Live on Dog Food Amid Benefits Suspension; Council Criticized for Denying Emergency Aid.

A distressing incident has highlighted the plight of an autistic man in his 60s who was left to subsist on dog food for several weeks after his benefits were abruptly halted and emergency financial support was denied by East Riding Council. The incident sheds light on the challenges faced by vulnerable individuals when navigating bureaucratic systems and raises questions about the adequacy of support networks for those in crisis.

The unnamed man, grappling with autism, found himself in a dire situation when his Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was suspended due to a change in his circumstances. Stripped of this crucial financial lifeline, he was unable to afford food and struggled to meet his utility bills. This left him in a perilous situation where he resorted to consuming dog food in a desperate bid to sustain himself.

Facing dire circumstances, the man applied for Local Welfare Assistance (LWA) from East Riding Council, seeking urgent help to alleviate his crisis. However, his request was shockingly denied without proper assessment or explanation. The council claimed he didn’t meet the eligibility criteria for LWA, failing to recognize his vulnerability, mental health issues, and the severity of his situation.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) undertook an investigation into the man’s grievance and found East Riding Council’s actions to be both unlawful and unjust. The LGSCO’s inquiry revealed that the council neglected to consider the man’s unique circumstances and failed to extend alternative support or guidance.

In light of the investigation’s findings, the LGSCO mandated that the council offer a formal apology to the man and provide £1,000 in compensation for the distress and hardship he endured. The council was further instructed to review its LWA policy and procedures, emphasizing the necessity of properly addressing the needs of vulnerable applicants. Training for staff to effectively handle such cases was also deemed imperative.

Acknowledging the LGSCO’s conclusions and recommendations, East Riding Council accepted accountability for its actions. The council affirmed that it has taken steps to enhance its services and bolster its support mechanisms for vulnerable individuals facing crises of this nature.

The harrowing ordeal faced by the autistic man has thrown into sharp relief the urgent need for transparent and compassionate support systems for vulnerable members of society. The incident underscores the vital role that local governments play in safeguarding the welfare of those who are most susceptible. As communities continue to strive for inclusivity and protection for all, instances like this serve as reminders of the ongoing effort required to ensure a safety net for those in need.





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