Man crippled by cancer for two decades loses life award after being forced into PIP assessment
PUBLISHED: 08:20 07 February 2017 | UPDATED: 14:37 07 February 2017
Archant Norfolk 2017
He has spent two decades battling health problems after being diagnosed with cancer aged 32, and now Richard Green has had his independence taken away.
Diagnosed with T cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1996, he underwent nine hours of surgery to remove a brain tumour. Doctors at the time told him they would never be able to say he was in remission, so he was given a life award for mobility.
As a result of taking experimental medication methotrexate in 1997, Mr Green contracted cirrhosis of the liver, and was put into a coma for 18 months in 2013 as he received a transplant.
A combination of nerve damage, graft vs host disease and a femoral neck fracture after a fall means Mr Green cannot walk unaided and can only travel two metres with use of a frame.
But with the introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Mr Green was forced to attend an assessment last October, which deemed he could walk 20 metres and his mobility scooter was taken away.
“The entrance to the assessment place had steps,” said the 53-year-old. “I think that was the first test - if you got up the steps you had already failed. “The man came out and helped me out of the car, into my wheelchair and pushed me in. Then he wrote down I could walk 20 metres. He never asked me to take one single step. “I think he made his decision before I even got there.”
An appeal to reconsider the decision was rejected, and Mr Green was informed of the outcome on his birthday last December.
His mobility allowance has also been slashed from £53 to £26 a week, and he has lost his £87 carer’s allowance.
“That scooter was my independence,” he said. “Without it I can’t go and get my food shopping, go down the cafe or get involved in any activities. “I can’t move from this room unless someone is around. I thought a life award meant life. Obviously not.”
Now two of his daughters have to visit Mr Green daily at Bowthorpe Care Village to help with his shopping and bills. The family are planning an appeal.
A DWP spokesperson said: “Decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.
“Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal and most people leaving the Motability Scheme are eligible for a one-off payment of up to £2,000 to help meet their needs.”
PIP cuts “appalling”
Thousands of those reassessed for Personal Independence Payments have lost their motability vehicles, with 14,000 taken away in the first two years.
Mark Harrison, CEO of Equal Lives, said the PIP assessments are a “chaotic” money saving exercise.
“They have raised the eligibility bar, and what we can see in this case is the bar is so high even people with a life award under DLA (Disability Living Allowance) can’t get help under PIP,” he said. “The PIP assessments were one of the things the United Nations focused on in its inquiry that found the British government were guilty of systematic violation of disabled people’s rights.
“I am appalled, because it is confining this person to be a prisoner in his own home. Cuts to PIP is one of the things that is destroying people’s lives. They become isolated, alone and depressed because they can’t live as equal and active citizens. “These are the consequences of the austerity cuts.”