A SCOTTISH schoolgirl who falls asleep 30 times a day has won her battle for disability benefit after she was first told: “You’re not disabled enough”.
The government has backed down and agreed to pay Chloe Glasson’s family up to £537 a month to help deal with her chronic narcolepsy.
The 15-year-old from Kirkcaldy, Fife, hit the headlines last month after it emerged she falls asleep dozens of times a day, including at school, on buses, and out with friends.
Chloe and her family are convinced she developed the devastating condition as a result of getting a swine flu jab in 2009.
The Department for Work and Pensions refused Chloe’s claim for disability benefit eight months ago, claiming she did not “satisfy certain criteria”.
The DWP’s refusal letter said: “Chloe may fall asleep easily but her ability to walk and self care is unimpaired.”
“The available evidence does not indicate that risks are present that reasonably require continual supervision… throughout the day in order to avoid substantial danger.
Chloe, who wants the cash to pay for extra school tuition as she approaches her exams, has been battling the DWP ever since.
This week, after winning the backing of her local MP and former PM Gordon Brown, the DWP performed a U-turn.
Chloe’s mother, Rebecca, 32, said: “We’ve been battling them since February this year and it’s been a complete mess from start to finish.
“When we got the refusal letter we were absolutely gutted. It was a slap in the face really comparing her with a ‘normal child’ when she clearly does need extra help and through no fault of her own.”
“We were at breaking point, just treading water to get by and it broke my heart that I couldn’t afford to pay for the little extras Chloe needs.”
Rebecca added: “I got the phone call on Tuesday saying she had been approved and a wave of relief washed over me.
“Now we’re arranging taxis to get Chloe to and from school and organising her a tutor so she can achieve what she’s more than capable of achieving.”
Chloe falls asleep several times a day despite being on medication and also suffers from cataplexy, which means her muscles can give way without warning.
Rebecca said: “Chloe can’t cook a meal, can’t use public transport alone and the even bathroom door must always be unlocked in case she falls asleep or collapses.
“Luckily she has never badly hurt herself but she went missing a few months ago in the town centre after entering ‘an automatic behaviour’ state.”
The UK Government recently admitted that the Pandemrix Swine Flu jab, the same one Chloe received, could be to blame in certain extreme cases.
It is thought that for every 55,000 children who were given the jab, Pandemrix, one has developed narcolepsy.
Chloe is one of several sufferers still waiting to hear if the DWP will pay out £120,000 in compensation.
A spokesman for the DWP said: “We have contacted Miss Malone and the issue is now resolved.”