Cruel benefit bosses at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have refused a man living with life-changing injuries access to vital disability benefits, in spite of the fact he is missing a quarter of his skull, it has been reported.
Umar Hussain suffered life-threatening injuries after he drove his MINI into a tree in a serious car crash and was not expected to survive the awful accident, which was so severe the car’s engine detached from the rest of the vehicle.
Mr Umar, from Great Barr in North-West Birmingham, suffered injuries to his head and spine and upon waking up from the ordeal in hospital discovered that surgeons had to remove a quarter of his skull to ease pressure on his brain.
He is now waiting for a plate to be fitted to aid his recovery and claims his brain can be felt through the gaping hole in his skull.
“You can literally feel my brain and the edges of my skull where it’s been cut off”, he told the Birmingham Mail.
“The doctors said I had a 10% chance of making it through the night”, he added.
Mr Umar claims the accident has seriously affected his ability to walk and left him with debilitating mental health problems.
He was advised to make a claim for the disability benefit Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
“The assessor asked me if I could twist round and touch my toes”, he said. “She could see how much of a struggle it was – I was wearing a back brace at the time.
“They can clearly see there are marks all over my face and there’s a big dent in my head.
“I can’t walk more than ten minutes, it was difficult for me to even sit down in the chair.”
Despite his life-changing injuries, Mr Umar says he was refused PIP and has had to rely on family to friends due to having no income.
“They thought that because I can plan routes and walk for short distances then I’m OK,” he said.
“I can walk for ten minutes but I can’t do much in that time.
“I’ve been getting no income, I’ve had to live off family, which has put me in an even more depressed state.
“I’m 24 years old and I have to rely on my mum and dad and girlfriend for money, and that’s killing my pride inside.”
His case is the latest in a growing list of cruel and callous benefit decisions by the DWP and private contractors, which have led to a large increase in the number of decisions overturned on appeal.
Ministry of Justice statistics released earlier this month revealed that 69% of PIP decisions were over-turned at Tribunal in favour of claimants between October to December 2017 – the highest on record.
Commenting on those statistics, Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive at disability charity Scope, said the figures “show that despite dire warnings, these assessments continue to fail disabled people”.
He continued: “The Government needs to get a grip on this situation, as both PIP and ESA appeals are still being won at alarmingly high rates.
“Disabled people rely on these financial lifelines to live independently and be part of their community.
“Without urgent action, vast numbers will continue to be denied this support unfairly.
“The assessments for PIP and ESA must be overhauled to iron out the mistrust, lack of transparency and routine inaccuracies which disabled people report on a weekly basis.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring that disabled people get the support they’re entitled to.
“PIP considers how impairments affect a person’s ability to live an independent life, rather than labelling individuals on the basis of a condition.
“Decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist. Anyone who is unhappy with a decision can appeal.”
Last updated at 09:43 (GMT) on 21st March 2018 to correct an editing error.