Man in dispute over disability allowance

An investigation is under way after a severely disabled Norfolk man claimed his specially adapted car had been taken away from him and his disability allowance slashed.

Former offshore worker Jamie French is paralysed down the right hand side of his body since a major stroke in February 2010, and his doctor says 'he is only able to walk 30 yards'.

But a month ago the father-of-two received a letter from the Disability and Carers Service – based 275 miles away in Blackpool – telling him: 'You can walk about 200 metres slowly.'

He says he was not given a face-to-face health assessment and claims the decision was based on 'misleading' paperwork. The Burgh Castle man, 40, says his life has been miserable since his stroke as he is unable to work and he has been reduced to living in a trailer in his dad's garden. But until this decision he was coping with his Motability car and �500 disability allowance per month to cover his living costs.

Now this lifeline has been taken from him, with his disability benefit cut to �80 per month and his car confiscated, he says. He also says he is being asked to attend a job centre interview with a view to a back to work course.

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Trevor Wainwright, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, is fighting for his benefits to be reinstated.

'People like Jamie should be seen by doctors, not just on a piece of paper,' he said. A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said: 'We're aware of Mr French's concerns and have been looking into his claim. As part of this we requested a report from his doctor, and this will now be taken into account when reconsidering his entitlement.'

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