Disabled Haworth woman's anger at 'unfair' benefits system

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Disabled Haworth woman's anger at
'unfair' benefits system

A disabled Haworth woman had to wait
12 months for an appeal to be heard after her
benefits application was rejected.

Even after winning her appeal, Jayne Pickard
had to wait another nine weeks before the
Department of Work and Pensions sent her

The money was eventually paid into her bank
account – the day after the Keighley News
approached the Department about her case.

Mrs Pickard, of Mytholmes Lane, said her
experience highlighted the unfairness of the
Government’s changes to Income Support.
She said she was one of thousands of people to fall foul of new-style
medical assessments.

Jayne, a charity campaigner, suffers from problems with her spine, neck and
legs, including a degenerative disc disease and spondylitis. She said she was
in permanent pain and had been unable to work since the condition forced her
to leave her supermarket job.

She said: “Most days are a struggle to even get out of bed, let alone function
relatively normally.”
Last year, Jayne was summoned for a medical assessment regarding a claim
for Income Support and was shocked to fail by three points. The rejection was
all the more surprising because her condition already entitled her to receive
higher-rate Disability Living Allowance for both care and mobility.

Jayne said: “I lodged an appeal within 24 hours and my benefit was changed
from Income Support to the assessment rate of Employment and Support
Allowance, which was a drop of £60 per fortnight.

“I have struggled to make ends meet ever since. Bills are behind so I incur late
fees, bank charges from failed direct debits abound.

“There’s nothing spare to enjoy life and even shopping is basics, no treats. I
don’t smoke or drink, my only luxury is the internet and cable TV.”

Following a successful appeal hearing in August, Jayne expected to receive
benefits at the proper rate along with the arrears, but despite several phone
calls nothing arrived.

She said: “The sad thing is that I know I’m not the only one. There are
thousands like me, some more disabled than me.”

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions confirmed a staff
member from Jobcentre Plus had called Jayne to resolve the issue, and
arrears were paid in full by electronic transfer.

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