DWP refuse to reinstate benefits of struggling disabled woman
DWP officials are refusing to reinstate a young disabled woman’s benefits despite the fact she has been forced to foodbanks and to seek crisis payments to survive.
Katie Davidson, 21, who has autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit disorder and suffers from depression, had her benefits slashed and her partner’s care allowance stopped after a DWP assessment.
According to the DWP the reason her benefits were cut was that she told the assessor she was able to carry out eight out of the 10 criteria and only had problems preparing food and engaging with people face-to-face.
Both Davidson and her partner and full-time carer Martin say this is not true and dispute they said this to the assessor.
The couple have been left with just £87 a week which is forcing them to seek emergency food aid and crisis payments.
Previously Katie was in receipt of £82.20 Personal Independence Payment (PIP), an enhanced care rate as well as the standard mobility payment of £21.80 a week.
Her partner Martin Laird, 23, was in receipt of £62.10 a week in Carer’s Allowance.
All decisisons from the DWP go through a mandatory appeal process to which Davidson’s family submitted evidence from specialists, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist and a psychologist along with a letter from an advocate.
We told the DWP we were not happy with what Atos had written
But they have now been informed by the DWP that the decision remains unchanged.
The family are now planning on appealing this new decision.
Katie’s mum Morag, from Livingston, West Lothian, said: “We were not happy with the Atos assessment and medical and we put a complaint in about them.
“A lot of the information was incomplete, inaccurate and some of it was inappropriate – for example, the assessor said something like, ‘Katie didn’t seem to have any problems taking nutrition because she was overweight’.
“We told the DWP we were not happy with what Atos had written and that it wasn’t an accurate reflection of the interview or of Katie’s problem.
“We have been waiting for a response from the mandatory consideration since October.
“I phoned to chase them up and they said a decision had been made but they couldn’t tell me what that was. Then Martin called just before Christmas and they said there had been no change but we don’t know why yet.
“I have made an appointment with the advice shop in Edinburgh with a view to doing an appeal but appeals can take about six months.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “PIP helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability."