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“Apparently I’ve Lived Too Long For The DWP”

April 16, 2016

A terminally ill pensioner and lifelong supporter of the Conservatives has hit out at the Government for slashing her disability payment by £80 a week.

Cancer sufferer Susan Whitby’s financial support from the state has plummetted by more than half – from £135 to £55 a week – after she was reassessed for the controversial new Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The ‘stressed, upset and extremely bitter’ Woolbrook Close resident, told by doctors she could have months or years left, feels she has ‘lived too long’ for the Department for Work and Pensions.

Mrs Whitby, 64, said she has paid more into her pension than she will ever live to take out and, with the cash instead going ‘overseas or to the wealthy’, she will never vote for the Tories again.

She has sent an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron and East Devon MP Hugo Swire speaking out for herself and the thousands of others she says must be affected.

“The money I was on was just about enough,” said Mrs Whitby. “I’m going to be in treatment indefinitely. Apparently I’ve lived too long for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

“I’m sure there are thousands and thousands of others who don’t know what their life expectancy is.

“The Government will benefit from my pension – I won’t be here in my 80s. After all I have paid in, I deserve a little support now.”

Mrs Whitby was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 40 and was successfully treated with radiotherapy. Three years ago she was ‘shattered’ when doctors said the cancer had returned and spread to her lungs and brain, just months before she was due to retire.

“My oncologist said I could live six months or several years,” said the former legal practice manager. “I just don’t know, but it’s a terminal diagnosis.”

Surgery on her brain meant Mrs Whitby’s driving licence was suspended. She was assessed for the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), put on the ‘enhanced’ rate and later allowed to join the Motability scheme to rent a car when her licence was returned. Mrs Whitby, who has been divorced for 25 years, moved to Sidmouth after her treatment in Rugby to be nearer to her two sons and three grandchildren.

She rented a home in Woolbrook Close assuming she would stay on the higher rate allowance – but in February she was reassessed by the DWP for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP). She lost her car and saw her benefit slashed by £80 a week to £55.

The rate of PIP depends on how conditions affect individuals, rather than the conditions themselves. It is made up of two components – daily living and mobility – each set at a standard or enhanced rate. It requires a face-to-face interview rather than the self-assessment form for the DLA.

Only those who are not expected to live longer than six months qualify for the higher rate daily living component. It has not been explained to Susan why her allowance was cut.

“I’m loathe to leave this house, but I can’t keep losing the money I have,” said Mrs Whitby. “It would have been better not to be on the higher rate in the first place.

“I’m eating into my savings. They’ll probably last 12 months at the most.

“I can’t treat my grandchildren and I daren’t spend anything. I feel like a second class citizen.

“I rely on lifts because I can’t use public transport. My big outing a couple of times a week is to hospital appointments.”

Mrs Whitby said she got involved with the Conservatives in her 40s, raised thousands of pounds and supported Jeremy Wright’s campaign to become an MP.

“I had always voted Conservative, same as my parents did,” said Mrs Whitby. “I suppose it was the natural thing. I wouldn’t vote for them again unless they can see the big mistake they have made.

“I’m speaking out for everyone suffering the way I am.”

A DWP spokesman said: “Decisions on eligibility for PIP are made after consideration of all the evidence, including evidence from the claimant and their GP.

“If a claimant does not agree with a decision on their benefits, they can ask for us to look at it again.”

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Ted Tench permalink
    April 16, 2016 12:30 am

    They only refuse to vote Conservative after they are affected. They ignored all the info saying they were coming for ALL disabled and pensioners and yet they STILL voted them in. Blindly believing the rubbish in the tax avoiding Mail, Express and Telegraph means we must have political tests before voting. The Tax Credit woman in Folkestone confirmed her ignorance as has this lady…

    • April 16, 2016 6:18 am

      Excellent point Tes🙂

    • April 19, 2016 12:55 pm

      I totally get all the “Hoist by her own petard” comments.

      But I guess that in most cases you really have to experience for yourself just how vile some lowlife who claim to be ‘human’ can be before understanding that, yes, they actually are that sick.

      And for anyone who just wants to make party political points….
      Did you know that *All* MP’s have a ‘Public Duty’ to –
      “5. Members have a duty to uphold the law, including the general law against discrimination”
      Not just the conservative ones.

      *All* local authorities have a ‘Public Duty’ to protect vulnerable adults from abuse.
      Not just the conservative controlled ones. (It’s called POVA, Protection Of Vulnerable Adults)

      The governments in scotland and wales are not conservative, so what are they doing?

      And that *All* police forces are supposed to enforce laws and investigate crimes, like Misconduct In Public Office – Willful Neglect Of A Public Duty.
      Not just the ones with conservative Police and Crime Commissioners.

  2. April 16, 2016 6:12 am

    Reblogged this on disabledsingleparent.

  3. April 16, 2016 6:13 am

    Tweeted @melissacade68

  4. Bookworm permalink
    April 16, 2016 8:35 am

    I’m sorry for anyone with cancer but how did this lady view other sick people who have been denied their pensions and are struggling on jsa/esa and being sanctioned and evicted from their homes? She has got the government she was happy to vote for and inflict on others who she probably termed as scroungers.

  5. April 16, 2016 9:29 am

    Reblogged this on Benefit tales.

  6. April 16, 2016 10:31 am

    I’m so tempted to be bitter towards this lady, but no I’m going to think a different way, she sadly has been conned by the ‘cons’ for a long time, she rightly got DLA and should be getting the same now. There are so many been born into and have been turned into the I’m alright Jack brigade with the I paid in I should get attitude, I find it sad people get so brainwashed they’re missing out on so much warmth that being a brainwashed Tory removes from your life.If she and others like her could have had that warmth that you get from caring about others and having that care returned she would have a better not bitter end to her life

  7. April 16, 2016 8:25 pm

    i must be wrong in thinking they werent supposed to be touching pensioners yet but seems they are re-assessing pensioner DLA claimants for PIP anyway..have heard nothing anywhere which says they are doing this until i read this account. or is a 64 yr old woman not classed as a pensioner now?

  8. April 16, 2016 9:37 pm

    Reblogged this on campertess and commented:
    Spot on the money, or should I say no money!! Ted, Bookworm & Fibro…. I wonder how many people are regretting voting Tory? Everything that goes around comes around, so the people who haven’t yet been affected by the cuts better watch out because it’ll be their turn next….

  9. April 17, 2016 2:31 am

    Just to say this: “Only those who are not expected to live longer than six months qualify for the higher rate daily living component.” is total rubbish. I have a normal life expectancy but I get the Enhanced Rate of both elements of PIP. It has nothing to do with being terminally ill.

  10. April 17, 2016 10:09 am

    No-one is safe unless you are a member of the elite. I don’t think that the tories will be in power for much longer.

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