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Grandad Christopher Larson told he has no right to claim benefits despite living in Medway for 44 years

A grandad who has lived in Medway for more than 40 years has been told he has no rights to claim benefits.

Disabled Christopher Larson moved to Twydall with his mum Victoria Aspinall when he was six. The 50-year-old was born in Canada to a Canadian father and moved to Twydall with his British-born mother in 1973. He has lived here ever since.

After leaving school and starting work as a machine engineer he met his partner. The couple had a son together.

Chris Larson
Chris Larson

During his working years, Mr Larson paid into the National Insurance and tax contributions system in this country until his disability forced him to stop work and start claiming benefits.

At this point he and his partner, who he was with for 15 years, made a joint claim, but now the couple have separated.

As a result, Mr Larson submitted a new claim for himself but was told because he
was not British, he was not entitled to anything, despite already receiving Disability Living Allowance.

Mr Larson has told the Medway Messenger he received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) stating he failed the Habitual Residence Test (HRT), which qualifies people from outside the UK to claim benefits.

The letter stated he was “deemed a person from abroad with right to reside in the UK”.

'This is the only place I've ever known. I've grown up here' - Chris Larson

He said: “You feel like you don’t belong anywhere anymore.

“I didn’t come over here out of my own choosing. My mum brought me over when I was kid. Now I’m here, I’ve been here all this time, this is the only place I’ve known. I’ve grown up here.

“I’m as British as everyone else I meet really. I’m British because of my mum, I’m British because of my grandparents, I have a 25-year-old son who’s British. I have two grandchildren here too.”

Mr Larson, of James Street, Gillingham, said he has no idea how he is going to afford to live if the situation is not sorted out soon.

He was born with one leg longer than the other, a condition which has lead to him developing chronic back pain. He has been registered disabled for 11 years.

He added: “I’ve worked, paid taxes, all the time I could. I enjoyed work. I am running out of time. I am getting to the point where I will have no money whatsoever.”

A DWP spokesman said: “People who have moved to the UK are asked to provide certain documents when they apply for benefits.

“We have advised Mr Larson to contact the Home Office to arrange the documents he will need.”

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