Just over a year ago I was elected as a Somerset Council Unitary Councillor. This was also when I met Teddy and Sos and learned of the terrible circumstances they were living in, due to cruel Government legislation around Sossa’s visa status (she is a US citizen).
Since then we have taken their visa application nightmare to the national press, had a dialogue with the Home Office, and set up a gofundme page.
Sadly they remain stuck in a system where Sossa dying is part of the outcomes the Conservative Government’s immigration policies seems to accept.
There are three strands to this story, that make it particularly tragic:
- Sossa is waiting for a life-saving operation because of kidney failure, her husband Teddy is giving up a kidney to a donor pool to expediate Sossa’s transplant operation. There is no date for either operation, at the time of writing this.
- Financial support for the family, such as 30 hours childcare and carer allowances, is refused even though the family is eligible. This is simply down to Sossa’s visa status, where the word entitlement overrides eligibility. As an American citizen, Sossa is not eligible for disability benefits, and Teddy cannot claim carers’ allowance because Sossa is not receiving disability benefits The family is disqualified for the 30 hours free childcare because of Sossa’s status. Teddy would work, if vital care was available for his wife. Meaning Sossa could safely be with someone 24/7 in case of seizures (side effects of Sossa’s renal failure include seizures, gout, & worse).
- Sossa’s permanent Visa application process deadline is September 2023, this is likely to be refused because the family don’t meet the minimum financial criterial because of above points. Teddy and Sossa have been together for 10 years, married for 6 years and have have a young 5 year old.
Teddy told me today that “no one wants to have a human conversation about our situation”. After rent the family have £385 to survive, they rely on foodbanks to eat. Sossa and Teddy will struggle to pay for Sossa’s visa application and all the costs associated with that.
I have helped this family with fundraising and I am continuing to press the Government and grab as much media attention to raise awareness of their situation.