A “suicidal” mother claims she is facing the prospect of life on the streets after the Department for Work and Benefits (DWP) “cruelly” slashed her disability benefits.
Vicky has been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, but despite her deteriorating health Vicky was told by the DWP that her claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) had been rejected following a reassessment.
The 37-year old, who has been fighting a 15-month long battle with the DWP to have her benefits reinstated, says she was refused PIP even though her health has gradually deteriated to the point where she now struggles to live an independent life.
Vicky had been in receipt of disability benefits for three years before a medical review resulted in her payments being stopped by a DWP decision maker.
“They said it had come up for review, and a woman came out to see me at home”, she told Birmingham Live.
“I showed them all my drugs.I was in tears throughout the assessment, it was very personal and they made me feel very uncomfortable.
“But when I saw a copy of the report, she wrote that I seemed fine.
Vicky later learned that her PIP benefits had been stopped, but disputes the details in a report sent to the DWP.
“It even said I was smartly dressed, although I was in my pyjamas at the time”, she said.
“They just don’t seem to believe me, because I look well from the outside they think I’m OK.”
Describing how the illness affects her from day to day, Vicky said: “It started off like a stomach bug, it just wouldn’t go away.
“That went on for four months, the doctors kept fobbing me off and telling me it was a milk allergy.
“In the end it got so bad that I went to A&E and within two hours they told me it was Crohn’s.”
The decision means that Vicky now struggles to pay household bills and afford rent payments.
Vicky’s case is just one in a long line of controversial benefit decisions by the DWP, which campaigners and charities say are causing unnecessary misery and distress to vulnerable people.
The latest official DWP figures show that 72% of PIP cases are over-turned in favour of claimants on appeal to a social security tribunal.
Welfare Weekly reported last week on the case of a severely disabled woman who says she can no longer “face life” after a prolonged battle with DWP.
Patricia Nimmo, 62, from Hull, was forced to give up her job as a carer in 2016, due to suffering with Fibromyalgia and severe arthritis in her hands, but has reportedly been told by DWP decision makers that she isn’t eligible to claim the full amount of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
The decison left her feeling as if she had nothing left to live for and has been contemplating suicide.
“I think I’d have just killed myself like my mum did, as I just couldn’t face being here anymore if I had nothing to live off.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “We’re committed to ensuring that disabled people get the support they’re entitled to.
“Decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the individual, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.”
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the Samaritans offer a 24-hour advice and information line for anyone in need of support and can be contacted free on 116 123 (UK).