Family of ill girl fear being homeless

The family of a five year-old girl who suffers from a rare bone disorder are facing being made homeless as their benefits have been stopped.

The family of a five year-old girl who suffers from a rare bone disorder are facing being made homeless as their benefits have been stopped.

Sarah Morrison was born with brittle bone disease and has only survived due to specialist care received in the UK.

The family moved to Sheffield from Letterkenny so that Sarah could be close to the specialists in the Sheffield Children’s Hospital. The family returned to Letterkenny in October and made claims for benefits.

The Department of Social Welfare has written to the family saying payments will be stopped until information requested has been given. Sarah’s father say he has given all information requested and cannot understand why the payments will be stopped. The family’s landlord has now ordered them to leave their home in Letterkenny by the end of the month because €970 of rent has not been paid. The family were hoping that back payments from the department would cover the rent arrears.

Mr. Morrison says he has stopped social welfare payments he was receiving in the UK, closed his bank account that the payments were being paid to and has sent his tenancy agreement to the department as requested.

Sarah requires 24-hour care and Mr. Morrison had been receiving carer’s allowance while Sarah’s mother has been receiving disability allowance because she suffers from severe epilepsy.

Sarah was born with 30 rib fractures due to the rare bone condition osteogenesis imperfecta she was given just 48 hours to live. But she has defied medical experts by surviving to five

She needs 24 hour care and has a feeding pump and a nasal-gastric tube. She could break bones just by sneezing or coughing.

She attended Letterkenny General Hospital up to 15 times a month and must attend a Dublin hospital every three months for treatment.

“We are going to be homeless at the end of the month. A disabled child is going to be on the street. We do not have nay money to secure another tenancy. The landlord has been very patient.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Social Protection said the department could not comment on individual cases but claimants who come from another jurisdiction have to fulfil the habitual resident condition. “It is designed to show that you have an attachment to the country that you have moved to and you have not just come here for the purpose of claiming social welfare,” she said.