A disabled man who can't walk, talk or feed himself has had his benefits stopped and has been told he must prove he is unable to work before they can resume.

Ryan Norman, 20, from Darlington has required constant round the clock care from his mother, Ceneta, since he contracted meningitis at the age of four months.

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She claims to now be in serious financial difficulties after the benefits were stopped on Ryan's birthday on September 1st.

benefits

Ryan and his mother, Ceneta

He is now classed as an adult and faces a lengthy wait while his case is transferred.

Cenata, who has two other children aged 15 and nine, told the Northern Echo: "Everything seems to be such a struggle, they [the authorities] don't seem to think of him as a person at all.

"There's no communication between the children's side and the adult side at all - they blame each other and I'm passed from pillar to post. I don't know what I'm going to do."

Children's benefits operated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are stop when an individual turns 20.

Adult benefits are managed by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). With the introduction of Iain Duncan Smith's radical overhaul of the benefits system, those benefits have been required to undergo a Work Capability Assessment.

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Ceneta said: "Ryan cannot walk or talk, I have to feed him, help him to drink, do everything for him.

"He'll never work or do anything for himself. That didn't change overnight when he turned 20."

A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council told the Daily Mail: "The changes in benefit referred to are a result of Government policy.

"DWP are responsible for the assessment for these benefits not the council. However, the council is providing the family with advice regarding completion of the relevant forms and will continue to support the family throughout this matter."

The DWP insisted an assessment was not always necessary.

A spokeman said: "Disabled adults often have different support needs to children, and this is reflected in the different benefits available to people when they reach adulthood.

"Employment and support allowance is a benefit for adults who are too ill or disabled to work. To apply for it, someone just needs to fill out a form and provide some medical evidence.

"If we are given all the information we need to enable us to make a decision, there is often no need for a face to face assessment."