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A woman with an extremely rare disability was told she qualified for a bare minimum on the disability benefit PIP – until a newspaper put it under the spotlight.
The Department for Work and Pensions changed its tune sharpish when The Lincolnite took an interest in Chelsea Tyler’s story.
Ms Tyler, 22, has Glutaric Aciduria Type 2, which means she cannot wash, take medicine or even go out to the shops without the help of her partner and full-time carer Michael Mitchell.
She cannot eat normal food because the fats and proteins will clog up her system and potentially kill her. It also means that she could go into a coma if she does any kind of strenuous exercise.
Her condition has worsened. She was diagnosed with respiratory and heart failure, so she is now forced to rely on a wheelchair.
But after her assessment for Personal Independence Payment, she was told she could have only the standard rate of £58.70 per week for her daily living needs and did not need help with mobility.
She was told she would have to submit more evidence to have the decision overturned.
Then suddenly everything changed – after she shared her story with the news outlet.
The form letter she received almost defies belief – because of the straight-faced way it pretends that it isn’t a complete change of direction on the basis of no new evidence at all.
“I can still award you” is as in the initial letter, but suddenly Ms Tyler was being awarded “the enhanced rate of £87.65 a week to help with your daily living needs”.
And instead of being told, “At this time I can’t award you PIP for help with your mobility needs,” she was now told: “I can still” – still? – “award you the enhanced rate of £61.20 a week to help with your mobility needs.”
It’s a great result for Ms Tyler – but it proves beyond any doubt that the assessment process for PIP is a fiction; a fake; a mockery.
It seems – and forgive me if you’ve read this many times before – that people are awarded the benefit, not on the basis of their needs, but on whether civil servants working for the Conservative government think they can get away with cutting these claimants off.
Can anyone deny it?
And now the Conservatives – who enforce these bewildering, nonsense policies – are seeking re-election with promises of change. Based on what?
It seems clear there is no rationale for providing or denying benefits.
The aim is to harm people – without being seen to do so.
That will continue, as long as we have a Conservative government in the UK.
The general election is a desperately-needed chance to make a change. Let’s take it.
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