Disabled man left ‘gobsmacked’ as he is told to work

INJURED Graham Bain, 53, of Cosham who has problems with his benefit payments. Picture: Paul Jacobs  (133508-4)
INJURED Graham Bain, 53, of Cosham who has problems with his benefit payments. Picture: Paul Jacobs (133508-4)
Donna Jones and Roy Perry Pictures: The News

Emails expose ‘fractious relationship’ between council leaders over Solent devolution

0
Have your say

A DISABLED man who has not been able to work for 30 years after an accident has been left penniless since his benefits were cut off.

Graham Bain lives with his terminally-ill mum and 19-year-old daughter, who has a two-month-old baby.

After falling while working as a roofer at the age of 17, Graham shattered his feet, ankles and legs.

He has been claiming disability-related benefits since then – now called Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – which is £120 a week.

‘I was in a wheelchair for two years and I have been disabled since then,’ he said.

‘Because of my injuries, I’m on strong painkillers and I’m suffering from depression.’

Last month, when Graham, 53, of Cosham, went to withdraw his ESA, he found the payment had been cancelled.

He was then told he had been found fit for work following his Work Capability Assessment.

He was told the Department for Work & Pensions had written to him with its decision after his reassessment – something he says he never received.

‘I rang up the department and they said I had got enough points in the medical to claim. When I went down to the job centre, they told me I had to claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance. They now want me to go back to work.

‘I was gobsmacked – I just could not believe it.’

Since November 22, Mr Bain has been without any money. He been told that he cannot apply for JSA – which is £71.70 a week – until his appeal is heard.

After approaching The News for help, Graham was pointed towards Advice Portsmouth, which has taken up his case.

The advice centre has seen increases in demand since benefit changes began to come into effect.

Graham has been told he must wait for the DWP to reconsider its decision. He can then appeal if it does not find in his favour.

As The News reported yesterday, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, has written to the government to voice his concerns over the reassessment of ESA claimants.

WE’RE NOT WRITING PEOPLE OFF, SAYS GOVERNMENT

THE Department for Work and Pensions said people were not being ‘written off’.

A spokeswoman said: ‘It is important that we don’t write people off.

‘There’s strong evidence that working can be beneficial for many people who have a health condition. But we also want to ensure those who need it get the right support, which is why a decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken after consideration of all the supporting medical evidence.

‘Anyone who appeals against a decision can claim the basic rate of ESA while the outcome is being decided.’