Lorna Taylor has an aggressive form of MS (Image: York Press / SWNS.com)
A woman with an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis who says she cannot walk without crutches or cook for herself has been denied disability benefits.
Lorna Taylor claims she relies on a wheelchair for more than short distances and cannot prepare a meal without dropping items and burning herself.
The 25-year-old has been cared for full-time in her ground-floor flat by her partner Eddie Hughes since waking up one morning last June to find her legs had gone numb.
Within a month the numbness had spread to other parts of her body and the former care assistant was diagnosed with an aggressive form of MS.
Lorna was diagnosed with MS after she woke up last year to find her legs had gone numb (Image: York Press / SWNS.com)
She says her condition left her unable to work and she and partner Eddie are now surviving on what is left of her final statutory sick pay cheque.
And after she found she was no longer able to bathe, dress or read without help, Lorna, from York, applied for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
She hoped the payment – worth just £140 a week at best – would relieve the anxiety she and Eddie faced over paying the bills.
But Lorna was devastated to be informed by letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that her request had been refused.
Department for Work and Pensions refused Lorna’s request (Image: PA)
The decision letter from a DWP official read: “You said you have difficulty moving around. I decided you can stand and then move more than 200 metres.
“I decided that you can prepare and cook a simple meal unaided, eat and drink unaided, wash and bathe unaided, manage your toilet needs, dress and undress unaided.”
Lorna said she has been left shattered by the latest blow.
She said: “I was crying but I was also angry.
“They say I can prepare a meal but when I tried to prepare a meal things got dropped and smashed and I burnt myself.
“This would make a lot of difference to me because I wouldn’t have to worry constantly about how I’m going to pay the bills.
“It’s (the DWP assessment) rubbish.
“I can’t even go outdoors on my own without my mum or my partner in case I fall.
“They say it was decided because I can walk into a room and find a seat – did they want me to crawl in and find a seat?”
The 25-year-old plans to appeal the DWP decision (Image: York Press / SWNS.com)
Laura’s condition – an aggressive form of rapidly evolving, relapsing and remitting MS – is characterised by more regular relapses of symptoms.
Symptoms include numbness and weakness in her legs and limbs, muscle spasms, double vision, severe headaches, burning skin sensations and depression.
But while Lorna plans on appealing the decision she is anxious about how she will manage financially in the meantime.
A DWP spokeswoman said PIP applicants were assessed for their abilities during the majority of days in a year – rather than just on a single day.
She said: “Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal and may submit additional evidence.”
Laura Wetherly, of the MS Society, said PIP was a tougher system than the previous disability benefit, DLA, with much stricter rules.
She said: “We often hear from people with MS who tell us the assessment has failed to reflect the barriers they face.
“That’s why the MS Society is campaigning for a welfare system that makes sense.”