Woman Who Missed Two DWP Appointments While In Hospital For Open Heart Surgery Loses PIP
A woman who missed two appointments because she was in hospital for open heart surgery has been stripped of her benefits.
Lyn Wright, who has a heart condition, says she has been left feeling suicidal as a result of the effect of the decision made by Capita, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, to stop her Personal Independence Payments (PIP) which will see her lose almost £140 a week.
After rearranging one appointment because she was due to undergo life-saving surgery in May, she did so again after the surgery was brought forward to earlier that month.
Lyn’s mother Margaret Unsworth informed Capita she was unable to make a third appointment after she collapsed during her recuperation and was rushed to Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor in June.
On August 3, the DWP informed Lyn that she had lost her PIP payments due to her “refusal” to make the assessment appointments.
The 48-year-old from Colwyn Bay says she is now on anti-depressants because the affair has affected her so badly and it made her feel suicidal.
A tearful Lyn said: “I never refused the appointments. I was in hospital in May having a mechanical valve put in my main aorta in my heart and I told them about it. I have been suffering for years and I finally found I had two valves missing from my main aorta. I was born with it apparently.
“Then I was rushed back into Ysbyty Gwynedd on June 20 after I collapsed and I got a letter while I was there asking to meet me at home for assessment on June 22.
Is it right that Lyn Wright was stripped of her benefits?
She tried to discharge herself from hospital
“My mother called Capita on June 21 and told them the situation and asked if they could do the interview while I was in hospital but they said they couldn’t and it would be classed as my third ‘refusal’ and passed back to the DWP.”
Lyn, who has also been diagnosed with Lupus, tried to discharge herself from Ysbyty Gwynedd because she was worried about losing the payments but doctors persuaded her to stay and called in a clinical psychologist because she was so upset.
Lyn’s mother called the DWP a week later, offering to send proof of her admissions, operation and discharge dates but she says the DWP said that would not be necessary.
After being discharged from hospital on July 5 she received a letter from the DWP on August 3 saying her PIP payments had been stopped, effective from August 1.
She will now have to wait a further six to eight weeks to see if her payments will be reinstated.
Lyn added: “I’ve lost £139.75 a week and had to stop my carers and my cleaner who helped me while I was recovering. I don’t want to run up bills… because I’ve worked all my life.
‘It’s the injustice of it that eats you up’
“I had a good enough reason. I tried everything to offer to send them the proof I was going in hospital. Then I get the letter saying I didn’t provide a good enough reason and my benefit is stopped.
“It’s the injustice of it that eats you up. If having open heart surgery isn’t a good enough reason for not attending an interview what can you do?
“I asked them to come and see me in hospital and they wouldn’t. I did everything I could.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “Decisions on PIP are made based on the information provided by the claimant and their GP.
“We expect the highest standards from the contractors who carry out assessments on our behalf.”
A Capita spokesperson said: “In line with the agreed operating guidelines, where people are unable to attend two PIP assessments Capita refers their case back to the DWP. We are working with the DWP to investigate this case.”