'˜If they take my car they take my world': Northampton woman scared for future after PIP refusal
A former Northampton checkout assistant whose life was shattered by botched spine operations fears the Government will now take away her car after being told she is not eligible for disability benefits.
Sandra Moloney had been training to be a support worker for domestic violence victims when in 2000 a decompression operation on her spine went horribly wrong.
Since then, and after two further operations to but rods and bolts in her back, the 58-year-old from Fairway, Kingsley has been in constant pain.
She can only walk a few metres, uses a wheelchair, and her situation has left her with crippling depression.
But she has become the latest person in Northampton to voice dismay at Conservative welfare policy, after she was turned down for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Now she fears her whelchair adapted car, which she gets as part of her soon to be outgoing benefits package, will be taken from her too.
“If they take my car, my world will be shut down,” she said.
“With one swipe of the pen they have taken everything away.”
Like many who have spoken to the Chronicle & Echo in previous weeks, who were assessed for PIP by the Northampton branch of Capita, Sandra feels her assessment largely ignored evidence give to the assessors by her doctors.
A letter from her GP supplied to Capita states she is only able to walk a “few yards, usually around her bungalow,” adding “I feel that she should qualify for the higher rate of pip.”
Yet she only scored half the amount of points needed to qualify for the mobility component of PIP.
The assessor noted she showed good “manual dexterity” handling paperwork, even though Sandra claims her sister handled all the paperwork at the assessment.
Sandra is one of a growing number of people to call for a reassessment from Capita.
She has also written to Northampton North Mp Michael Ellis to raise her concerns over the PIP system with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
For now she will have to make ends meet with just £106 a week, because she says she simply cannot work.
She said; “I have bills to pay like everyone else, but I just don’t know how I’m going to do it.
“I’m terrified that I’m just not going to exist.
“I can’t stand and I can’t sit for long periods, I don’t think any employer would touch me with a bargepole.”
Last week a spokesperson for Capita said that all of its assessments are carried out using guidance set by the DWP.
“Assessments do not focus on diagnosing or treating a particular condition. The purpose of the assessments, and therefore the role of the assessor, is to consider the impact of a claimant’s health condition or impairment on their functional ability,” the spokesperson said.
But Annie Sotheby from Northampton’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau, says the services is seeing a drastic increase in people appealing PIP refusals.
She too feels there should be more requirement for assessors to take a clamant’s medical history into account.
“I just don’t think the medical history is given enough weight, I don’t think they look at their real problems.”