In recent months, i has been uncovering the impact the Government’s move to universal credit is having on Britons across the country. Many are suffering from long-term disabilities, yet now face cut to welfare payments that are threatening their health, and often their lives.
These include Sarah Brown*, a young mother living in the East Midlands who is entirely reliant on benefits due to being a full time carer for her disabled husband.
However, she has just been informed that almost all her payments – totalling £1,200 – are being cut, because her renewal form was returned a day late. Below, she tells her story.
A few years ago, not long after the birth of our child, an accident left my husband permanently disabled. His healthcare needs are so demanding that I had to leave work to become his full time carer, and now we are now entirely reliant on the benefits system to survive.
Our lives have been devastated by the accident, in which James* was not at fault. He can only leave the house with the aid of a mobility car paid for through a Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which is our only means of getting the four to six medical appointments he has to go to per week.
Source: DWP takes away £1,200 monthly benefits for handing in renewal form late : i News
A disabled father and military veteran says he has been left “freezing” and “starving to death” after callous DWP officials stopped his vital benefit payments, it has been reported.
Mark Smith, 46, from Hull, suffers from cervical myelopathy which has caused considerable damage to his spine leaving him unable to work.
Mr Smith was diagnosed with the debilitating condition in 2016 and has since had two vertebrae removed from his neck, which he claims means he struggles to walk and is in constant pain.
In spite of his obvious disability, Mr Smith says he has been waiting “years” for Employment and Support Allowance, and also that his Personal Independence Payments (PIP) were axed in November 2018.
Source: Disabled dad ‘starving and freezing to death’ after benefits axed : Welfare Weekly
A Sheffield mum who was assessed for a new disability benefit says it was so “horrendous” she suffered a panic attack. Jennifer Dunstan, 38, was left sobbing and shaking after an assessment for new Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
People who used to receive a disability benefit now have to apply for PIP. The Department for Work and Pensions is reviewing every claim – a total of 1.6 million claims nationwide.
Jennifer lives at Arbourthorne and says her neighbourhood will be the second biggest in Sheffield to be affected by changes to benefits. She has urged people to appeal if they are initially refused the new benefit.
She said: “I had a PIP assessment this year and the process was horrendous. I was sent to an assessment centre in Doncaster but part of my disability is high social anxiety affected by bipolar condition. I also have some physical and neurological disabilities caused by fibromyalgia.
“It’s a horrible combination of things which restricts how far I can travel. I did contact them and at first they said I could be sent anywhere within 90 minutes drive. They eventually changed it but I was assessed by a midwife.
“The assessors are medically qualified but she didn’t know anything about neurological or mental health conditions. She described fibromyalgia as a psychological symptomatic condition but it’s a nerve pain disability. She didn’t do any physical assessment but when I received the notes, she described a physical assessment.
“I was described as being really calm when I had two people supporting me walking into the room because I was shaking and sobbing all the way through the interview. I couldn’t keep up with what she was saying and had a panic attack but none of this was referred to in my notes.”
Jennifer asked for her application to be reconsidered. “You can request a mandatory reconsideration although a lot of people don’t realise this.
Source: Sheffield mum left sobbing over disability benefit – The Star
Draconian eligibility rules for disability benefits are preventing people suffering with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) from accessing the support they desperately need, a leading charity has warned.
People with MS have been losing support since Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was replaced by the Tory-led coalition Government in 2013 with Personal Independence Payments (PIP), the MS Society claims.
The charity argues one of the main reason for this is the introduction of the 20 metre rule, which is used to assess disabled people’s mobility.
Under DLA the measure was 50 metres, but was reduced by more than half in spite of concerns raised by charities and disability rights campaigners that the move would impact upon large numbers of severely sick and disabled people and limit their independence.
According to a report from the MS Society, the change is causing preventable harm to MS patients who have transferred from DLA to PIP.
The charity has also calculated that the NHS is spending more than an additional £1.8 million a year on GP services and £5.9 million a year on A&E services for people with MS who’ve lost support when moved to PIP.
Source: ‘Senseless’ disability benefit rule costs the NHS at least £7.7 million a year
This is good news for once and I would suggest that you be proactive and do not reply on the DWP to contact you.
We are all aware, especially taking into all the publicity given with regards to benefit assessments that you have to look after number one. If you feel there is the slightest possibility that you could be eligible for a benefit increase contact you local government DWP office. Alternatively, access a support group in your area. If you are unsure where these are this information could be available from your local authority, GP Surgery, other health areas and many others. If you have internet access then conduct an internet search, as it could well be in your interests to do so.