HER life has already been devastated by multiple sclerosis – now welfare officials have dealt a young York woman a fresh blow by refusing her a vital benefit. Care assistant Lorna Taylor, 25, woke up one morning last June to find her legs had gone numb.
Within a month, the numbness had spread to other parts of her body and the former Joseph Rowntree School pupil was diagnosed with an aggressive form of MS. Today she can only walk short distances with crutches and uses a wheelchair to go any significant distance, and she is cared for full-time in her ground floor flat in The Groves by her partner Eddie Hughes.
Unable to work any longer at a York care home, and with Eddie unable to work because he is caring for Lorna, she applied for the Personal Independence Payment benefit and went for an assessment, expecting to receive at least some benefit.
But then she was told by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) earlier this month that she would not be awarded any PIP.
A letter to her from an official said: “You said you have difficulties preparing food, taking nutrition, managing therapy or monitoring a health condition, washing and bathing, managing toilet needs, dressing and undressing, reading and understanding signs, symbols and words, engaging with other people face to face and making budgeting decisions.
“I decided that you can prepare and cook a simple meal unaided, eat and drink unaided… wash and bathe unaided, manage your toilet needs, dress and undress unaided. You said you have difficulty moving around. I decided you can stand and then move more than 200 metres.”
Lorna said her ill health meant she had little chance of ever realising her dream of becoming a mother and she was already depressed and she was upset when she received the letter. “I was crying but I was also angry,” she said. “They say I can prepare a meal but when I tried to prepare a meal, things got dropped and smashed and I burnt myself.”
A DWP spokeswoman said PIP assessments were carried out by qualified health professionals and looked at how people were affected by conditions such as multiple sclerosis over the majority of days in a year, rather than just assessing ability on a single day.
“Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal, and may submit additional evidence,” she said. OH PLEASE CHANGE THE RECORD!!!!
She added that other benefits were available to support people who could not work due to their disability, such as Employment Support Allowance and if an individual needed a full-time carer, they may be eligible to claim for the Carer’s Allowance benefit for additional financial support.
“Decisions on eligibility for PIP are made after careful consideration of all the evidence provided by the claimant and their GP or medical specialist.” – careful consideration of all the evidence MY A$$!!!!
Lorna told The Press she would be appealing the decision, but was concerned about how she would cope financially in the meantime.