‘I can’t breathe and can barely walk’ Shock as gran who is in pain 24 hours a day ruled fit for work only weeks after suffering a stroke

Pauline Pike has battled cancer, uses a nebuliser to help her breathe and has just suffered her second stroke – but hardhearted benefits bosses have ordered her to find a job.

A shocked gran who battled cancer and suffers chronic breathing problems has been told she’s fit for work – just weeks after having a stroke.

Pauline Pike has a history of health problems stretching back more than 30 years including cancer, diverticulitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and asthma.

She has also had a kidney removed and suffered her second stroke six weeks ago.

Yet hardhearted benefits bosses have just told her they’re taking away her benefit payments and ordered her to find a job.

read more here: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/i-cant-breathe-can-barely-10878261

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Stroke victim ‘told to take back-to-work test while still in hospital’

Labour MP Iain Wright said the case was one of the most disgraceful he had heard from constituents on sickness benefits

An MP is demanding an investigation after a stroke victim claimed she was told she must undergo a back-to-work test – while in a hospital stroke unit.

Labour’s Iain Wright said the case was one of the most disgraceful he had heard from constituents on sickness benefits who have been told to undergo a work capability assessment (WCA).

Mr Wright said the woman, who did not wish to be identified, had come to him in great distress, blaming the actions of the private firm Maximus, which carries out the assessments.

He told The Independent: “I found this case both utterly shocking and completely disgusting.

“It demonstrates all too vividly how inhumane and uncivilised the Government’s welfare reform policy is.”

Mr Wright vowed to write to Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green to demand to know whether such practice was allowed – and to get a “full apology to my constituent”.

The case is the latest in a very long line of controversies surrounding the WCA, which is undergone by sick and disabled people attempting to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

read more here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/stroke-victim-told-to-take-back-to-work-test-while-still-in-hospital-a7318766.html

Stroke survivor forced to sell home after being stripped of disability benefits

A MAN left unable to walk or communicate properly following a stroke has been forced to sell his home after being told he was no longer eligible for Government help.

Anna Hewison’s father, who does not want to be named, suffered a stroke in July 2012, forcing him to leave his job of more than 16 years at Mech Tool Engineering, in Darlington. The previously fit and healthy 59-year-old now needs constant help from his daughter, who is his full-time carer, as he cannot walk or speak properly, and suffers from memory loss.

 Following the stroke, he had been receiving Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA), and was given a blue disabled badge, as well as the use of a mobility scooter.However, after the Government began the switch from awarding DLA to offering Personal Independence Payment (PIP), he has been told he is no longer eligible for disability benefits, leading to his income being more than halved. He has also been stripped of his blue disabled badge and scooter.

Although he still receives ESA, the money is not enough to pay the household bills, food and mortgage and, as a result, he has been forced to sell his Darlington home to move in with his daughter, Mrs Hewison, and her family.

 The 32-year-old said: “It has made me so angry. He has worked his whole life and has never claimed benefits before. It is as if they have picked him out and said we are going to strip him of everything he has got. It is hard to see somebody who has been financially independent and who has worked their whole life have everything stripped away.”

The decision to not award Mrs Hewison’s father PIP was made following a 45-minute assessment. The family is in the process of appealing the result. “This will be happening all over the country to people who haven’t got anyone to fight for them,” she said. “If we hadn’t been here for him, they would have effectively been leaving him homeless.

 

read more herehttp://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/darlington/11864967.Stroke_survivor_forced_to_sell_home_after_being_stripped_of_disability_benefits/

Bedroom Tax forced stroke victim to turn to crime so he could pay rent

Ex-airman Adrian Brown begged for a smaller home but council bosses said they didn’t have another – so, hit by mounting debts, he sold a rented TV for £100

Stroke victim Adrian Brown turned to crime to pay the hated Bedroom Tax.

The ex-airman had to fork out an extra £34 on his £97-a-week rent because his council house had unused spare rooms . The 51-year-old begged for a smaller home but council bosses said they didn’t have another specially adapted house. So, hit by mounting debts, he sold a rented TV for £100.

Wheelchair user Adrian, cared for by partner Linda, 43, said: “They were going to kick us out and it was the only thing of real value. It’s disgusting how they have treated someone who served their country. I was willing to put my life on the line for them. I didn’t ask to have a stroke and I didn’t ask for three bedrooms – this was the only one available. Now they have punished me for it.”

He added: “When I knew the bedroom tax was being brought in I asked the council to put us in a one bedroom house. But they said there wasn’t another specially adapted house and we would have to pay the extra money. I didn’t ask for three bedrooms – this was the only one available – and now they have punished me for it.”

Adrian, of Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, was given a conditional discharge by the town’s magistrates and told to pay a £15 victim surcharge.

After the case, housing officials said an adapted one-bed bungalow was now available. But Adrian, paralysed down his left side in 2005, will have to pay the extra rent until he moves in six weeks’ time.

Working stroke survivors struggle most to make ends meet

Stroke is having a drastic impact on the finances of stroke survivors and their families according to a new report, published today by the Stroke Association. Those affected the most are working age stroke survivors who, unable to return to work, are coping with a fall in income, increased household bills and a benefits system that fails to fully understand the impact of stroke.

Short-changed by stroke, is based on the findings of a survey(i) of over 2,200 people affected by stroke and in-depth interviews with stroke survivors on their experiences of applying for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and undergoing the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

Findings from the survey found that of those aged between 25-59 (ii):

  • Almost two thirds (65%) reported an increase in household bills and expenses. The same percentage reported a fall in their income.
  • Over two thirds (69%) of people whose income went down reported that the main reason for this is because they are now unable to work.
  • More than a third (38%) cut back on food.
  • The majority (80%) are worried about their financial future.

In addition:

  • Almost 60% of carers report that caring for their loved one had affected their employment. Carers are faced with the stark choice of reducing their hours or giving up work to support the stroke survivor but still requiring an income to pay the bills.

Further research with 120 stroke survivors(iii) brought to light problems when applying for ESA. Their experiences revealed that staff conducting WCA often failed to understand the impact of stroke beyond that of physical disability, leaving some ineligible for ESA (which is worth up to £105 a week) and struggling financially.

Peter, who was 36 when he had a stroke, comments: “I don’t have many physical disabilities but I suffer with lots of things you can’t see, like migraines, motion sickness, seeing flashing lights, poor concentration and problems with my memory. The assessors just don’t get it. Being assessed for ESA left me feeling humiliated and I spent a year fighting for the support I’m entitled to from the benefits system.”

Jon Barrick, the Stroke Association Chief Executive says: “Stroke is often thought of as an older person’s issue, yet about a quarter of strokes occur in people of working age. There are over 300,000 people under 60 living with the effects of stroke in the UK(iv).  Our report shows the heavy financial impact of stroke on families who may face a dual loss of income at a time when financial commitments are likely to be at their most stretched. Not only are they struggling to make ends meet on a day to day basis, but they are unable to plan for their future financial security.

“Stroke survivors face additional problems when seeking Employment Support Allowance telling us that too often the wide ranging impact of stroke is not understood by those who are undertaking assessments. Having a stroke is bad enough, but too many stroke survivors have to fight for financial support when they should be focussing on their recovery.

“Stroke is the leading cause of severe adult disability in the UK and it is inexcusable that the DWP processes are being carried out by undertrained assessors with a view to restricting support rather than enabling help.”(v)

The Stroke Association is calling on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to make sure:

  • The benefits system is fair and respects the dignity of stroke survivors and their families.
  • All assessors and DWP staff are trained to understand the impact of stroke and recognise the range of the disabilities it causes.
  • The guidance that assessors use in the WCA is clear and accurate on the hidden effects of stroke.
  • DWP learn from the mistakes that have been made with ESA and the WCA and do not repeat them when the Personal Independence Payment replaces Disability Living Allowance.
  • Click here to download the report

Find out more about the Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Campaign or sign up to show your support by visiting www.stroke.org.uk/campaigns

Read more here: http://www.stroke.org.uk/news/working-stroke-survivors-struggle-most-make-ends-meet

Disabled man suffers ‘mini stroke’ during Watford Job Centre interview

A brain damaged disabled man who regularly suffers seizures thought to be possibly ‘mini strokes’ was struck down by one – midway through a Watford Job Centre interview, geared towards getting him back into work.

James Laver, 46, has to endure unexplained episodes – thought by some doctors to be transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs), or ‘mini strokes’ – which leave him temporarily paralysed.

Despite the fact his GP said he is ‘completely unable to work at present’, Mr Laver was still called into the Job Centre, in Exchange Road, on Tuesday afternoon for an appointment as he had been placed into the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG), which is aimed at ‘preparing him for work in the future’.

Since having a full stroke in 2008, in which he suffered minor brain damage and nerve damage to his left side, Mr Laver has suffered seizures which paralyse him for an hour and cause him to feel dizzy and to slur his speech.

The exact nature and cause of the seizures have divided opinion among doctors, with some believing they are TIAs, which are caused by a temporary disruption in the blood supply to part of the brain resulting in a lack of oxygen to it.

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This can cause symptoms similar to those of a stroke, such as speech and visual disturbance and numbness or weakness in the arms and legs. However, a TIA does not last as long as a stroke. The effects only last for a few minutes and are usually fully resolved within 24 hours.

Nevertheless, Mr Laver has still been classed as someone who can prepare to go back to work and attended a Job Centre interview on Tuesday.

Mr Laver, who claims disability living allowance, said: “I was put on the floor and was swallowing my tongue, and began to choke. I managed to get myself into the recovery position, but staff then put me back on my back. I quite possibly could have died. “The attacks are getting worse and are becoming more frequent. Whenever I’m in A&E I’m told it’s a TIA, or possibly a TIA, or not a TIA or stroke, or possibly epilepsy. I think it’s a TIA.

“When I visited my partner in Australia two years ago I was having fits and the Royal Melbourne Hospital said they were TIAs. I’ve had five attacks this week in the space of a few days. Nobody this week has told me what they were. The woman in the Job Centre was mainly going on about why was I there when I was obviously not fit to work. She was just reading stuff on the screen, saying they couldn’t overturn the decision made that I should be in a WRAG.”

An Atos Healthcare spokeswoman said: “We were able to advise Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that Mr Laver was not fit for work without the need for a face-to-face assessment. DWP makes all benefit decisions and has found that he should continue to receive sickness benefit.”

Regarding Mr Laver’s seizure at the Job Centre this week, ambulance service spokesman Gary Sanderson said: “We were called at 2.19pm and we conveyed a male to Watford General Hospital for further assessments.”

From the ‘Watford Observer’ 22nd August 2013: http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/10628897.Disabled_man_suffers__mini_stroke__during_job_centre_interview/

I’m so scared and stressed I don’t know what to do

In 1996 I was dx with fibro and managed to continue to study for a degree with it until I had my 1st stroke in Feb 2001. My life completely changed. The stroke left me very shaky mobile wise and I used a stick until my 2nd stroke when I had to change to a trolley to help me walk. With the strokes my fibro got much worse as I eventually had/have to take 14 diff tablets a day (without painkillers) and the side-effects make it very hard for me and make the fibro much worse. Xmas 2010 I got swine flu and as I’m immune to anti-bio’s I spent a month in hell as it ravaged my compromised immune system. This brought on ME which my doctor dx in August of that year. I also had another stroke in the September. Since then I have hadanother 2 strokes the last one which has had a bad effect on my ability to think, reason and do any daily things. I also have, and had previous to 1996 several metal health issues mostly arising from childhood abuse, physical and mental from my father and sexual from a neighbour. I am on high level mobility and care dla and other things like housing benefit and stuff. I am almost 57, my OH is my carer and is 63 and has also prostate issues which needs him to take medication which makes him tired and unwell. On Sat I got a letter saying that someone was going to phone from the place that gives you incapacity and income support benefits to ask me questions. I can’t talk very well to starangers as I get tonguetied due to the recent stroke and never answer our landline. Thery also said they were going to send me a form to fill in, my writing and thinking processes won’t be up to that and that they will want to see me for an assessment to help me go back to work. I am so scared and stressed I don’t know what to do please someone help me.

 

from the facebook page The People Vs The Government, DWP and Atos,

16/6/2013