A former paralmpian has slammed the UK welfare system after his only means of transport was removed because of cruel welfare reforms, it has been reported.
ITV News reports that Michael Willavoys from Tiverton was born with cerebral palsy and required the use of a motability car to travel the 50 mile round trip to work in North Tawton near Okehampton.
The 64-year-old had been in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), which also provided him with a specially adapted vehicle, before being asked to attend a reassessment for Personal Indepence Payments (PIP).
PIP is replacing DLA as the main disability benefit designed to provide extra financial support for additional living costs associated with living with a disability.
The disability charity Scope says many disabled people face extra costs as a result of their impairment or condition, amounting to an estimated £570 per month.
The charity says the financial support provided through disability benefits, such as PIP, is vital for a disabled person’s independence, without which they would unable to partipate in society or pursue career goals.
Mr Willavoys, a boals player, who represented Great Britain at the Paralympics, was told that we would no longer be elible for disability benefits after attending a face-to-face medical assessment for PIP.
He said: “I was an independent person to do these sorts of things and I just feel with this now, as I’ve lost the mobility car, I’m losing my independence rights and that is not fair.
“I just can’t believe how the Government is treating disabled people, as cruel as this.”
Without his motability car, Mr Willavoy was forced to give up his job as a warehouse controller.
His employer says the lack of transport means he limited to what he can do, even though he is physically capable of doing a number of jobs.
The loss of his specially adapted vehicle effectively means that Mr Willavoys is unable to travel to and from his workplace.
Michael added: “If the Government is trying to get disabled people in work, how can they do it if they are going to lose the mobility car?
“It’s the most important thing of their life, to have a car, to get out and do what normal able-bodied people are able to do”.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “We’re committed to ensuring that disabled people get the support they’re entitled to and under PIP, 31% of people receive the highest possible award, compared with 15% under the previous benefit DLA.
Despite being a former world championship golf medalist, Mr Willavoys says the cruel DWP decison to stop his benefits has cost his independence and undermined his ability to contribute to society.