Elderly, sick, and struggling to prove her right to live in the UK

Sonja Brain is 84-years-old, losing her sight, and bed-bound in a British hospital after a cancerous tumor was removed from her spine.

Adding to her troubles - proving whether or not she's allowed to stay in the country she's called home for more than half a century.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HUSBAND OF SONJA BRAIN, PAUL BRAIN, SAYING:

"I just found it bizarre there's any doubt whatsoever that she should be entitled to stay here."

Sonja's British husband Paul has been trying to secure his Dutch wife "settled status" as the UK moves towards its exit from the European Union, currently scheduled for October 31.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HUSBAND OF SONJA BRAIN, PAUL BRAIN, SAYING:

"She's been here 59 years. She's spent most of her working life in the UK. She's raised four children in the UK. She's now got six grandchildren."

Sonja's troubles began in May last year when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Her passport was due to expire seven months later, but the couple decided to renew it once her condition improved.

But the cancer spread, and Sonja developed cerebral palsy and macular degeneration.

In order to achieve settled status she needs a new passport, but that involves traveling, in person, from her home in south Wales to the Dutch embassy in London - something Paul says she is to ill to manage.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HUSBAND OF SONJA BRAIN, PAUL BRAIN, SAYING:

"I think it's added stressors to her at a time of life when stressors are the least thing that she wants to be exposed to… and it's actually made her feel unwelcome."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he wants European Union nationals to stay after Brexit.

But some EU citizens are worried they would lose the right to live in the UK, or access to free healthcare or employment.

The3million, a group campaigning for the rights of EU citizens in Britain, says tens of thousands may be struggling to secure their rights, or are being given the wrong immigration status.

It's worried the EU Parliament as well. On Wednesday (September 18) it debated a resolution expressing its concern at the settlement scheme, and urged the British government to review the system.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HUSBAND OF SONJA BRAIN, PAUL BRAIN, SAYING:

"It should have been evident to anyone..."

As far as Paul is concerned, though Sonja's situation is unusual, it is not unique.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HUSBAND OF SONJA BRAIN, PAUL BRAIN, SAYING:

"...that there are 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK at this present moment of time, that there are going to be a fairly substantial number of odd cases which are difficult to resolve."

A spokesman for the Home Office recommended the Brain family contact the EU Settlement Resolution Center, a telephone advice service.

The Dutch embassy did not respond to three requests for comment.