Mark Smith, 46, suffers from cervical myelopathy and he is in need of disability payments to survive
A disabled Hull veteran says he has been left feeling suicidal and says he is “starving” and “freezing to death” after he claims his benefits were stopped.
Mark Smith, 46, of Holderness Road, says he suffers from cervical myelopathy, a compression on the cervical spinal cord, which makes it impossible for him to work, and he is in need of disability payments to get by.
The dad-of-two was diagnosed in 2016 and had two of the seven cervical vertebrae in his neck removed, which has left him struggling to walk and get out of the house.
Mr Smith claims he has been waiting “years” for his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) to come through, and says his £200 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was stopped in November, leaving him with no money to live on.
However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says Mr Smith has been in receipt of a higher rate of ESA, apart from a short break of about a month, since November 2016 until November 2018. His ESA benefit was reduced when his PIP was stopped.
A DWP spokeswoman said that his PIP benefit may increase when he makes a new claim, which he is being supported with by the department.
“I’m starving because I have no money for food, and I’m having to rely on Hull Veterans to feed me and bring round food parcels to my house in order to eat,” said Mr Smith, who served in the Army for six years from the age of 16 and previously worked in care.
“I can’t afford heating either, so I’m freezing to death, and the cold conditions in my house are making my neck even worse.
“I’m severely disabled and have been diagnosed with cervical myelopathy. I’ve had to have half my neck removed after getting constant pins and needles, and I’m now on 18 tablets a day for the condition.
“I feel absolutely s*** that I’ve got no benefits to live off and I don’t know what to do – there’s just too much wrong with me and my condition is degenerative so it’s only going to get worse – I’m just a big MOT failure and in a really dark place.
“I sit in my chair all day as walking is tough for me so I find it hard to get about – it’s no life to lead and I’m so lonely and angry and often have nobody to talk to – sometimes I just don’t want to be here anymore.
“I’ve got two 11-year-old and 13-year-old daughters who I see every weekend and they keep me going, but I can’t provide for them as I’ve got no money, which is so sickening.
“My back is up against the wall and I feel like I’ve done everything in my power to get the benefits I’m entitled to, but I’m not being listened to or supported.”
The government body responsible for issuing benefits say they are currently supporting Mr Smith through his claims process.
A DWP spokesman said: “We’re committed to ensuring that people with health conditions get the support they’re entitled to.
“We are currently supporting Mr Smith through the PIP new claims process. His previous PIP award finished on the date set by the independent appeal service.”