DWP apologise to Andy Halden as he struggled to cope financially
A Crewe couple have been left struggling to pay the bills after changes to disability entitlements denied them access to essential payments.
Andy Halden was employed by the Highways Agency until poor health prevented him from working. As his physical and mental well-being deteriorated, he became registered as disabled.
In March this year the government stopped adults claiming DLA (Disability Living Allowance), and claimants were required to apply for a benefit called PIP (Personal Independence Payment).
PIP is provided to help with costs associated with long-term ill-health or disability, for adults between the ages of 16 and 64.
When Andy was assessed to determine whether he was entitled to the new payment, he was declined. That left him struggling financially and increased his anxiety.
He said: “I was devastated. My physical state wasn’t good, but the stress that I suffered following that decision was unbearable. Some days I struggle to get around the house, and I have fallen down the stairs recently. The assessment just didn’t make sense. One day I was registered disabled receiving DLA, the next I was supposedly okay and not entitled to anything.”
Andy’s partner, Lisa, is employed as his care provider. When the PIP payment was declined, the carer’s allowance was also stopped, heaping further pressure on the household.
Lisa said: “I provide 35 hours of care for Andy each week. Losing that allowance made it almost impossible to balance the books. We appealed to the Department for Work and Pensions about the decision, and in July a tribunal ruled that Andy was entitled to the payments. We got this in writing.
“But the saga went on and on. Every week we get another letter but no payments. We received some money for the arrears, but the regular weekly entitlement never started. The carer’s allowance is also still stopped. I was on the phone every single day to the PIP department, but I got the same message each time. They told me it was being looked at.”