Betty Whyley had been receiving up to £454 each month from the government for more than 30 years as part of her Personal Independence Payment
A wheelchair-bound pensioner who contracted polio as a baby claims her benefits have been slashed – because she couldn’t name the doctor who diagnosed her 67 years ago.
Betty Whyley had been receiving up to £454 each month from the government for more than 30 years as part of her Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – a benefit that helps with the extra costs of a long-term health condition or disability .
The pensioner, from Dudley, West Midlands, who recently fell and broke her leg, has been plagued with health problems since catching polio as a newborn baby and has been in and out of a wheelchair for most of her life.
However, following a recent assessment on May 2, Betty received a letter saying she didn’t qualify for PIP because she didn’t fully take part in the consultation.
She claims this decision was made on the basis that she was unable to name the doctor who diagnosed her with polio when she was just six weeks old.
She has been cared for by her husband of 48 years, Paul, who worked in the building trade while looking after his wife before retiring.
Paul, 66, said: “The first question was who diagnosed her with polio. Well we were really rather stumped.
“Being six weeks old she obviously didn’t know so we couldn’t answer the question. We hadn’t got a clue.
We were immediately dismissed and sent on our way. She went away in tears. We’re so worried now.
“She has been receiving that money for over 30 years and it’s been a huge help for us.”
A spokesperson at the Department for Work and Pensions said Mrs Whyley’s PIP claim was disallowed because she left her assessment before it was completed but that she was welcome to submit a new claim.
She said: “Assessments are necessary to determine someone’s eligibility for PIP. If a claimant doesn’t follow the process then their claim may be disallowed.”
According to the NHS post-polio syndrome can include a wide range of symptoms that develop gradually over time, including extreme tiredness, muscle weakness, shrinking muscles, muscle and joint pain and sleep apnoea.
The condition can have a significant impact on everyday life, making it very difficult to get around and carry out certain tasks and activities.