Benefits officials reinstate payments to disabled grandmother after suicide bid

A disabled grandmother who tried to kill herself after she lost her benefits when she was deemed fit to work has since had her payments reinstated after a campaign that highlighted her case.

The unnamed woman, 60, was born with cerebral palsy and a twisted spine, suffers from arthritis in her spine, hands, legs, feet and neck and generally feels chronic pain, she said.

But officials awarded her zero points in a health assessment and withdrew her benefits after saying she should be able to hold down a job.

After receiving the news in the post, the woman was found by her daughter at her home in Glasgow in a critical condition after taking an overdose of pills, the Daily Record reported.

She was rushed to hospital and spent several weeks in intensive care. She has since been released but doctors fear she may have badly damaged her organs and she needs care at home.

Her case was raised by her son with local MP Alison Thewliss who in turn contacted benefits officials and a decision was made to restart her payments.

Ms Thewliss welcomed the move by the Department for Work and Pensions – but called the earlier decision to revoke the woman’s Employment and Support Allowance an “utter scandal”.

“It is welcome news in light of her harrowing experience,” she told the Daily Record.

“That the DWP have put her in this position in the first place is a complete and utter scandal.

“This case shows the reality of what many people have to endure. The DWP and their partner agencies must stop this kind of unjust suffering immediately.

“If anyone needs help, or knows someone who does, they should seek assistance from welfare rights advisers and MPs.”

Her son, who was not named, said the grandmother’s family had planned to challenge the decision made by DWP’s partner health assessment firm Maximus.

“We were set to appeal then out of the blue we received another review letter after our MP got involved, awarding my mum her ESA for two years on the grounds she tried to kill herself,” he told the Daily Record.

The DWP ruled to make the payments for at least two years and also paid out arrears due for the months when the grandmother’s benefits were stopped.

“Decisions are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical professional,” a spokesman said.

“As requested, we reviewed the claim after receiving additional information and we’ve been in touch to confirm she is being placed in the ESA group.”


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