A CANCER survivor has had her benefits cut off after struggling to keep up with the ‘mountain of paperwork’ she was required to complete following the Government’s welfare changes.
Penny Irving, from Blackburn, said her problems started when she could not attend a workplace assessment in Preston, due to her ongoing health problems.
The mum-of-three, of Worcester Road, said: “I rang them up and told them I couldn’t go all the way to Preston because of my mobility problems and regular injections in my leg.
“The lady said that was fine and my money still went in, but then I got another letter saying my benefits were going to stop because I hadn’t had the assessment.
“I phoned up again and they said my payments would be stopping. Now they’ve said there’s nothing they can do and I’ll have to fill in the appeal form and say why I still need the benefits.
“My family are now having to help me out financially while I go through the appeal process.”
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said those who cannot attend an assessment due to mobility problems can request a home visit, though Penny claimed she was not made aware of this.
The 49-year-old, who was forced to give up her job as a care assistant, said she was ‘riddled’ with cancer in 2008, and told by doctors at the Christie Hospital in Manchester it was a ‘miracle’ she survived following chemo and radiotherapy treatment.
But she has ongoing problems with her legs and respiratory system, and a lump has recently appeared in her throat which means she is due back at The Christie next month, for fear the cancer may have returned.
She said: “Before the changes my money would go in every fortnight, but now there’s a mountain of paperwork I can’t cope with - I’ve got enough to worry about with this lump.”
The DWP said the categories of cancer treatments under which claimants may be treated as having limited capability to work was expanded after an independent review in 2011, and now include those awaiting, receiving or recovering from chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment.
A spokesman said: “If someone isn't able to attend an assessment because of mobility issues, they can request a home visit. Unfortunately if they don't request a home visit, and then subsequently fail to attend a scheduled assessment, their benefits can be stopped.”