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Kestna’s #WCA and other reasons not to be cheerful

October 3, 2014

Ann McGauran

Kestna Marsh is disabled. He was forced to the foodbank after a tribunal upheld a  DWP decision to stop his benefit. Kestna Marsh is disabled. He was forced to the foodbank after a tribunal upheld a DWP decision to stop his benefit.

Kestna Marsh was 62 this week. At the moment he probably feels he has little cause for celebration.

This former construction worker struggles to walk  as he has arthritis in his right knee,  left leg and left shoulder.  He can’t lift anything with his left arm. On the day he came into this London food bank with his voucher, his mobility was obviously restricted and he struggled with his walking stick  to move from room to room. Because of his mobility issues I felt hesitant about asking him to move even a few steps into a quieter room. Kestna walked that distance because he wanted to share his experience of Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

He was left without the money to buy adequate food after a tribunal hearing at…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jeanette Traynor permalink
    October 3, 2014 3:00 pm

    I hope someone is giving this man some help. I appreciate the reporting of such stories to highlight the cruelty and inhumanity of this Government, but the article does not say whether anyone has stepped in to help him. I live too far away to be of any use to Kestna – can anyone confirm whether he is getting support? If his condition has worsened he should go back to his GP for a doctor’s note stating this and make a new claim for ESA. He will need help completing an ESA50 and being accompanied to a medical (ask for it to be recorded). The fact he is in receipt of DLA and therefore recognised as having care/mobility needs should be stated in his application. As for his under-occupation, he should apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover this and priority should be given to sick and disabled by Housing Benefits. Alternatively, if he needs and receives overnight care, he can apply for an exemption and will be taken out of the BT regulations. I would check with housing benefits why they paid rent for 2 properties – it may be that they say he did not give sufficient notice of termination on his previous tenancy. A kind letter requesting they cover this (HB can do this for up to 4 weeks) and if not, a menial payment plan of say £1 until his situation improves. It could be that he doesn’t owe arrears at all – landlords and HB make errors all the time. Whilst not on benefits he should make a nil declaration to HB and his rent and council tax should be covered until he is in receipt of benefit (the DHP application should be done at the same time). If he has moved to a new landlord, the previous one cannot pursue him for any arrears other than through a civil law route. If with the same landlord, the arrears will be held in a separate account and can be paid off in small instalments. They cannot initiate an action against his current home for arrears on a previous property. His Council should have a fund where they give out food bank vouchers and vouchers for his electricity and gas, but this may be limited to 3 applications (depends on the individual Council scheme). They should also have something similar to cover his Council Tax contribution (where I live it is 20%). I hope this helps and I apologise if this has already been done for Kestna.

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