Should bureaucracy, whether intentionally or not, cause people to suffer? This is the discussion I have been having with Teddy and Sossa, who along with their four-year old son live in Evercreech, Somerset, (a village near Shepton Mallet) that I represent.
We know many people are suffering because of the cost of living crisis, in the case of Teddy and Sossa, their situation is extreme.
Sossa has end-stage kidney failure and is waiting for a lifesaving operation.
Teddy is giving a kidney to a transplant donor pool to expedite a reciprocal donor for Sossa (this is complicated even more by the fact she is a rare blood type). These operations are lifesaving and high risk.
Teddy is his wife’s full-time carer.
Rent and energy bills take most of their income and they rely on food banks to get by.
As an American citizen, Sossa is not eligible for disability benefits, and Teddy cannot claim carers’ allowance because Sossa is not receiving disability benefits (based on entitlement instead of eligibility). The family is disqualified for the 30 hours free childcare because of Sossa’s status – they have a 4 year old son.
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 is one year off from applying for Permanent Residence in the UK, but her application could be rejected if she were to access life-saving public funds, as her visa takes no account of kidney failure or any further hardships thrust upon upstanding people when it states carelessly, “no access to public funds”.
They need immigration to advance their case by 12 months – and I am looking into (with the help of Lib Dem colleagues) how we can make that happen. They did ask David Warburton MP for help, and initially he was going to help their “extreme situation” but he has taken time off due to his ill health and their case seems to have been dropped by his office.
To help them raise the money for the visa application process they have set up their own GoFundMe page.
The people in the bureaucratic system Teddy and Sossa deal with want to help them, but the bureaucracy is the barrier, so their hands are tied.
Should people suffer at the hands of bureaucracy? Shouldn’t Government and Local Government systems make people happier, heathier, and empower people?
I am, and my colleagues are doing what we can to try to unpick this unfortunate system failure, that doesn’t take account the extreme situation that Teddy and Sossa find themselves in because Sossa is ill.
Do let me know your thoughts on this.