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Kevin and Amanda Stannard [Image: Daily Gazette].

Long-term disability campaigner Samuel Miller sent me the article quoted below, with the following words:

“The news story that I just brought to your attention is solid evidence that seriously ill and disabled people in the ESA WRAG are suffering immense hardship—and validates my tireless campaigning against these life-threatening cuts.”

He is absolutely right, of course.

And he quoted the following, from the Huffington Post:

“Nor are we dealing here with people with minor illness. Charities report that 45 per cent of people who put in a claim for ESA, and had Parkinson’s, Cystic Fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, or Rheumatoid Arthritis, were placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG).

“Around 700,000 apply each year for ESA, of which number around 60 per cent proceed to full assessment (the others generally return to work before the process is complete). Currently around 14 per cent of these go into the WRAG. That’s around 60,000 people affected every year.”

A survey of people claiming ESA shows 60 per cent of 1,755 respondents say the amount they receive is not enough to live on.

When asked about the consequences of this, 62 per cent said they struggled to stay healthy, while 49 per cent said they could no longer pay their bills.

For most people, the news that you have Parkinson’s Disease is earth-shattering enough.

But for sufferer Kevin Stannard, 62, the worst was yet to come.

In 2010, he was made redundant from the blind-fitting firm [where] he had worked for … 40 years due to his worsening symptoms.

He was forced to begin claiming disability benefits or Employment and Support Allowance.

For the next few years, he and his wife, Amanda, struggled financially as part of the ESA Wrag group – which was set up especially for people who may be fit for work in the future.

Unfortunately for Kevin and Amanda, 60, from Colchester, the allowance was not enough to cover the cost of living.

The stress of working while dealing with the “confusing” process of claiming ESA for her husband led to Amanda suffering a minor stroke, which meant she also had to give up her part-time work as a director with a housing association.

The struggle experienced by Kevin and Amanda is not uncommon, according to the latest findings of the Disability Benefits Consortium, a national coalition of more than 80 different charities and organisations.

Source: ‘Sickness benefits just aren’t enough to live on’ says family of Parkinson’s sufferer

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