Saw this in our local paper. Another example of our caring society helping those that try to help themselves. Sutton Coldfield Observer 10:30 - 25 May 2007 A Sutton man who was maimed and blinded by an IRA bomb has had his compensation claim slashed because he has learned to cook for himself. Stephen Menary, now 20, was a 14-year-old army cadet when he lost his sight, hearing in one ear and his lower left arm after picking up a booby-trapped torch.Since that day he has refused to give up, and his determination has seen him re-learn everyday tasks we take for granted, like cooking and doing his own washing. But his efforts to improve his well-being mean the Government's Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority have decided not to grant him the full Â£150,000 compensation he was expecting. Speaking to our sister newspaper, The Mail on Sunday, Stephen said: "I am being punished for seeking to do basic things for myself. "The system favours those who do nothing to improve their lives at the cost of those who struggle to achieve a little independence." Stephen is a victim of the CICA's policy of delaying payments to younger victims to see if they complete educational courses or improve their life skills. He has still not received a penny. "Maybe they are waiting in the hope that I will be able to do everything on my own one day and they won't have to give me any assistance," Stephen added. "But my left arm isn't going to grow back and I'll never be able to see again. My hearing will never be better than partial." Stephen's life changed forever in 2001 when he found a military-issue torch outside the main building of the Territorial Army Centre in London, where he was attending a meeting. He could never have known that the IRA had left it there, packed with Semtex. The bombers have never been caught. Stephen now lives off disability benefits in Sutton Coldfield. "There is no excuse for my compensation claim taking six years. I was always aware that it would take a long time, but six years? "I've worked very hard, pushing myself and doing all I can to improve my life skills, but the harder I work to be independent the more I am punished for it."