PIP Leaves Disabled Couple Isolated At Home In Plymouth
A disabled man from Plymouth who has had his benefits slashed will no longer be able to afford his mobility vehicle which he relies heavily upon to get to work.
Tim Hill who has suffered from scoliosis since birth can’t walk without assistance.
Tim uses the vehicle to get from his home in Leigham to his job in Dartmoor, but with the large cut to his Personal Independence Payment the car will be taken from Tim in the coming weeks as he simply cannot afford to stump up the extra cost needed to keep the car.
Whilst also holding down a job at the Two Bridges Hotel in Dartmoor, Tim was a part time carer for his disabled wife Michelle, who has to use a power wheelchair to get around.
But since he received the letter from PIP six weeks ago telling him that his benefits were to be reduced he has had to be signed off from his job due to depression.
“All aspects of our lives will be affected by this” the 44 year old said.
“It’s devastating to think I might have to give up my job.
“Even if I could get a bus it would only get me as far as Yelverton with no way of getting out to the hotel.
“And since Michelle finds it very hard to use public transport with her wheelchair, its going to be very tough.
“We’ve managed to live independently as a couple together and that’s going to change now.
“This doesn’t just affect my independence, it affects my working career too.”
Tim has been in work for 27 years and has worked as a guest liaison for Warm Welcomes at the Two Bridges for 13 years.
Changes in the benefit payment Tim receives come from PIP replacing the Disability Living Allowance, meaning Many people on DLA would qualify for PIP but it was possible that applicants could get a lower rate than before.
The Grimspound Close resident had to attend a meeting with PIP representatives to be assessed for his benefits, and feels the questions he was asked were “cleverly worded” which he claims “have condemned him in the eyes of the law.”
Tim was asked if he could plan a journey, and feels that most people, disabled or not have the ability to plan a journey.
Tim said: “In the eyes of the law, if you can get from A to B maybe using a bus pass or a taxi which would be very expensive, it means you don’t necessarily need your mobility aid.”
The couple have had to bring in a personal assistant to help with enabling Michelle at home, which has further added to Tim’s depression diagnosis.
Jared Lothian, general manager for the Two Bridges said: “It would be a great shame to lose Tim.
He is a well known and well loved character; he always gets the most Christmas cards from guests and staff.
“We will try and help Tim in any way we can to try and ensure he can stay with us at the Hotel.”
In a bid to change his mobility entitlement, Tim has contacted Plymouth’s Conservative MP Johnny Mercer to see if anything can be done.
A representative for Mr Mercer informed The Herald that conversations are ongoing with Mr Hill regarding his situation.