Healthcare assessors have apologised after a Llanelli woman was turned down for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim despite having left her job due to a disability.
Former teacher Charlotte Jukes, of Tumble, is bed-ridden, and had applied for a PIP claim after suffering from severe anxiety and depression.
Capita represented the Department of Work and Pensions in assessing the claim.
She was turned down for the payment following an assessment, and immediately disputed the report’s findings. She then appealed claims that she showed ‘no evidence’ of any mental health issues.
Following media reports over her plight, Mrs Jukes was contacted by the DWP and informed that they believed there were some “discrepancies” in her original report.
Speaking following the verdict, Mrs Jukes said: “After learning that there had indeed been discrepancies in my report, I had to go through assessment again with somebody different.
“The second assessment lasted around two and a half hours, while the first was only about twenty minutes. The latest one was very thorough, and made me carry out physical tests.
“I’ll now be able to afford the electric wheelchair I need, meaning I will be able to go out more.
“The payments have been backdated back to January, when I first made the claim, so they have confirmed that I will receive them in a lump sum.
“We’ll also have a better quality of life financially, although I was shocked to find out that it will only allow me to have £3 a week in housing benefit because my husband works.
“The benefit advisor said we’d be better off if he stopped working and claimed jobseekers’ allowance, which is ridiculous – why would he want to sit at home all day doing nothing?
“I also find it strange that I can go from being deemed as having nothing wrong with me, to being assessed as eligible for the higher rate of both the daily living and mobility components of PIP. It seems very unfair that I have had to fight the process to get what I should have had in the first place.
“At least I won’t have to go to court, which of course would be a challenge not just mentally but physically too, and I’ve avoided the ordeal of going to a tribunal.”
A Capita spokeswoman said: “Our assessors are healthcare professionals who are committed to delivering high quality and accurate reports in line with Department for Work and Pensions guidance.
“If a claimant has queries about a report they can contact us by phone, text phone, email or post so that we can look into their concern.
“We apologise that on this rare occasion our high standards weren’t met.
“This was swiftly resolved and the claimant has since had a second assessment.”