St Sophias orphanage in Moscow, a place caring for children with developmental disorders. Photograph: Artyom Geodakyan/TASS
A petition launched by Daniils mother last month gathered more than 7,300 signatures. Money should be saved on the salaries of officials, not on sick children, wrote one signatory.
This is a monstrous government that has no money for sick children but has millions for war, wrote Tamara Gil of Omsk, in Siberia, referring to Russias costly recent campaign of air strikes in Syria. Have mercy on parents who didnt abandon their children in orphanages.
No one cares
Nizhegorodova says she was told that her son needed to have at least five vomiting episodes each year in order to reach the 40% threshold that would entitle him to benefits.
She is outraged. I cant imagine how Im supposed to sit and watch my child die, she said. When he has a crisis, he throws up every two or three minutes. After 15 minutes, hes already thrown up all the bile in his body and he starts vomiting blood. The ambulance may not make it, he may not reach the hospital in time. But no one cares.
Olga Murtazina, a Magnitogorsk resident whose daughter Kristina was denied her disability status last year, shares Nizhegorodovas anger.
She says Kristina, 17, has suffered from chronic exhaustion, dizziness and fainting spells since her thyroid gland was removed due to a medical error in 2006.
Authorities ruled that Kristina, who will be on hormonal medication for the rest of her life, was not sick enough to receive disability benefits. She had previously received a monthly pension of 15,000 roubles.
Murtazina also believes that the new disability systems true purpose is to save money at the expense of Russias disabled population. Asked whether she is considering taking the matter to court, she laughs. Do you really think that would work? she says. Ive long since stopped believing in this.
Despite the show of support for her petition, Nizhegorodova too is losing hope of reclaiming her sons right to government assistance. She cant afford to hire a lawyer and says the Ministry of Labour has asked her to stop sending letters of appeal.
All they care about is reducing the number of disabled people and cutting the budget, she says.
A version of this article first appeared on RFE/RL