After becoming paralysed overnight, Michael Plumb was diagnosed with a rare disorder – Guillain-Barré syndrome – causing rapid-onset muscle weakness
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has apologised to a disabled man whose benefits were withheld because he had worked abroad – for the Government.
Michael Plumb, 56, became paralysed overnight shortly before being diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) last year.
GBS is a rare condition, affecting between one and two people per 100,000.
Mr Plumb’s time abroad related to a five-year stint he served for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) at the Military Court Centre in Sennelager, Germany.
He claims that during that time, he was still paying UK taxes and National Insurance.
Left “dumbfounded” by the decision, the Anglesey resident requested his application be reconsidered.
Five months after first applying for benefits, he has now received an apology from the DWP , which has agreed to grant him PIP, back-dated since October 2018.
Mr Plumb, who lives in the town of Star with his wife and daughter, said he was “very relieved”, telling North Wales Livethat the DWP initially declined his application without performing a face-to-face assessment.
He added: “Although my condition is improving slowly, I still can’t stand or walk and my arms and hands are still very weak.
“Getting out and about is difficult. When I want to go places I have to have taxis that are able to carry my chair, and they’re often more expensive.
“One firm wanted to charge me £30 each way for a three mile journey that would normally only cost around £7.
“I was confused when they first rejected my application… I’m very happy that it’s worked out.
“It’s been concerning not knowing what was going to happen.”
The DWP has come under fire in recent years after a series of reforms to the benefits system has pushed thousands into debt and rent arrears.
Last year Sir Ian Diamond, the chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee, said plans to move three million people onto the consolidated Universal Creditscheme posed an “unreasonable level of risk” onto claimants.
A DWP spokesman said: “We are sorry Mr Plumb’s case was not handled correctly originally and have apologised to him.
“He is now in receipt of PIP and all back payments have been made.”