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Tribunal Restores Benefit Payments To Acid Attack Victim

April 23, 2019

The victim of an acid attack who suffered 50% burns to her face and body has overturned an attempt to strip her of a disability benefit after being told she was fit for work.

The woman, who finds it difficult to sit or stand for long without pain, and is bed-bound for weeks after reconstructive operations, appealed after officials awarded her zero points at an assessment to test her eligibility for disability employment benefit.

A tribunal hearing on Thursday took less than 20 minutes to uphold her appeal, awarding her 24 points, and restoring her employment and support allowance (ESA). The appeal panel, consisting of a judge and a medical doctor, paid tribute to the woman’s courage.

Her solicitor, Sophie Earnshaw of Hammersmith and Fulham Law Centre in west London, said the case was one of the most upsetting of its kind she had been involved in.

She said: “This is a truly horrific example of the Department for Work and Pensions’ poor decision-making when it comes to disability benefits.”

The DWP said it was unable to comment on an individual case but insisted it was committed to ensuring people received the benefits they were entitled to, and would review cases to learn lessons where they had fallen short of “high standards” and ensure claimants were paid any money owing to them as a result.

The case comes amid continued concern over the reliability of the assessments for both ESA and personal independence payment benefits, which are carried out by private contractors on behalf of the DWP. Nearly three-quarters of ESA appeal and 73% of PIP appeals are successful.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a British citizen who suffers from constant pain, trauma, headaches and isolation. She rarely leaves her home except to go to her GP, the hospital or local shops.

Having received ESA for several years, she was reassessed and found fit for work by a healthcare specialist employed by the private firm Maximus last October, not long after she had undergone an operation to reconstruct part of her ear.

She then submitted her case to the DWP for reconsideration, but officials upheld the assessment award of zero points. Had she not subsequently appealed the decision, she would have been moved on to universal credit, seen her benefit income cut, and be required to spend 35 hours a week looking for work or face sanctions.

Earnshaw said the failure of the work capability assessment to properly assess her client’s health was compounded by the DWP’s failure to take into account the evidence presented to them. The DWP did not send a representative to the tribunal hearing, which was held in London.

She said: “This case should not have been before a tribunal. Already our client is suffering from life-changing burns that have a significant impact on her physical and mental health. The anxiety of appealing the decision and attending a tribunal has been extremely upsetting.”

The woman was referred to Hammersmith and Fulham Law Centre by her local Citizens Advice Bureau. The removal of welfare benefits from the scope of legal aid in 2013 meant specialist support for her appeal was only possible through a pro bono project the law centre runs with the City law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.

The DWP was heavily criticised earlier this year after a Liverpool man, Stephen Smith, 64, was denied benefits and deemed fit for work, despite multiple debilitating illnesses that shrank his weight to 38kg (6st) and left him barely able to walk.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 23, 2019 5:27 am

    Fake News hacks still haven’t heard of –

    Fraud Act 2006 –

    So where are the Police???
    So where are Social Services???

    Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre – Registered Charity No. 287462


    Financial year end 31 Mar 2018 –

    Click to access 0000287462_AC_20180331_E_C.pdf

    Page 14 –
    L B Hammersmith and Fulham Annual Grant – £107,452
    L B Hammersmith and Fulham one of Organisational Development Grant – £98,000

    The Bribery Act 2010 –

    Perverting The Course of Justice –

    Misconduct in Public Office –

    Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre Our trustees –
    Are these bribed abusing hate criminal rats in prison yet?
    eg –
    CLARE RADCLIFFE – Clare works as a lawyer for central government.
    TUSHAR SINGH – Tushar is an employment lawyer for a large trade union
    ANDY SLAUGHTER – Andy is the Member of Parliament for Hammersmith. He is currently a Shadow Justice Minister
    “He had previously been MP for Ealing… and before that, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council.”
    It’s on the far left –

    It’s ‘Slaughter’ not ‘Holocaust’ –
    Slaughter (far left) Corbyn (far right, obv)

    Here’s what the BSing do-nothing hate criminals at Hammersmith and Fulham Council are SUPPOSED to be doing –

    Care Act 2014 -Safeguarding adults at risk of abuse or neglect –

    Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 –
    Ill-treatment or wilful neglect: care worker offence –
    Ill-treatment or wilful neglect: care provider offence –

    Misconduct in Public Office –

    Is Vulnerable Adult abusing hate criminal nonce Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council Cllr Stephen Cowan, Labour… and it’s gang of Course of Justice Perverting filth in PRISON yet?

    WCA criminal Quacks Union UNISON has a branch office IN Hammersmith Town Hall –

    Vulnerable Adult abusing hate criminal nonces Hammersmith and Fulham Council EMPLOY CAPITA –

    “Welcome to the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham 24 hour secure internet payments service”
    “Your payment card details are directly processed by the Payment Management division of Capita Software Services”

    As do Sadiq Khans Bent Cops –

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