A seriously ill woman has had her disability benefits axed for missing an interview, despite being in hospital after undergoing life-saving open-heart surgery, it has been reported.
Lyn Wright, from Colwyn Bay in Wales, says she’s been left feeling suicidal after callous contractors Capita stopped her Personal Independence Payment of almost £140 a week.
Lyn was forced to rearrange one appointment after the date for open-heart surgery was brought forward.
The Daily Post reports that her mother Margaret Unsworth informed Capita that her daughter Lynn had been rushed into hospital after collapsing at home following surgery, but Lynn was later informed that her benefits had been stopped for “refusal” to attend a third appointment.
The 48-year-old has been left so distressed by the ordeal that she is now on anti-depressants and has considered taking her own life.
Speaking to the Daily Post, Lyn said: “I never refused the appointments. I was in hospital in May having a mechanical valve put in my main aorta in my heart and I told them about it.
“I have been suffering for years and I finally found I had two valves missing from my main aorta. I was born with it apparently.
“Then I was rushed back into Ysbyty Gwynedd on June 20 after I collapsed and I got a letter while I was there asking to meet me at home for assessment on June 22.”
She added: “My mother called Capita on June 21 and told them the situation and asked if they could do the interview while I was in hospital but they said they couldn’t and it would be classed as my third ‘refusal’ and passed back to the DWP.”
So worried about losing her disability benefits, Lyn even tried to discharge herself from hospital. But caring doctors managed to convince her to stay and called in a clinical psychologist due the immense stress she was under.
A week after leaving hospital, Lynn offered to send the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) evidence which would show she was in hospital at the time of the appointment but was told it wasn’t necessary.
Due to the shocking decision, Lynn has now been forced to turn away a carer and cleaner who were helping her at home whilst she was recovering from surgery.
Lyn said: “I’ve lost £139.75 a week and had to stop my carers and my cleaner who helped me while I was recovering. I don’t want to run up bills… because I’ve worked all my life.
She added: “I had a good enough reason. I tried everything to offer to send them the proof I was going in hospital. Then I get the letter saying I didn’t provide a good enough reason and my benefit is stopped.
“It’s the injustice of it that eats you up. If having open heart surgery isn’t a good enough reason for not attending an interview what can you do?
“I asked them to come and see me in hospital and they wouldn’t. I did everything I could.”
A DWP spokesperson said a decision to stop PIP is “based on the information provided by the claimant and their GP”.
They added: “We expect the highest standards from the contractors who carry out assessments on our behalf.”
A Capita spokesperson said the decision had been taken “in line with the agreed operating guidelines”, which requires them to forward cases to the DWP “where people are unable to attend two PIP assessments”.
The spokesperson added that Capita “are working with the DWP to investigate this case”.