Aug 28 2009 by John Siddle, Southport Visiter
A PARTIALLY-sighted woman with one leg was refused disability benefits…in case she “got better”.
Diabetic Beryl Prescott, 57, had her leg amputated in January after suffering a gangrene infection, and applied for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from her hospital bed.
Benefits bosses astonishingly told the former nurse to wait three months to be confirmed as genuinely disabled – only to refuse her again, despite her eyesight worsening.
Beryl said: “I’ve lost my leg but that is nothing compared to the trauma of this. This has been far worse. I could prepare myself for losing my leg, it is what’s happened afterwards that’s knocked me down.
“I am not a fraudster, I am not trying it on. I am a 100% genuine case – I have a prosthetic leg.
“It just sickens me that you do your best and pay your bills all your life and then you get treated with no respect.
“Nobody deserves to be treated like this.”
Beryl, of Kingston Crescent in Crossens, was admitted to hospital on December 28 and had her right leg amputated to stem the infection.
She applied for DLA in February, April and June but was declined on all three occasions.
She added: “Apparently, you have to wait three months after you come out of hospital before you can apply in case you ‘get better’. I’m not a doctor but I am pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen.
“I don’t have a magic grow bag.
“My GP wrote to the DWP saying it was disgusting that I had been refused the allowance.
“It seems you have to be almost comatose to get anything.”
This month, the Department of Work and Pensions coughed up more than £1,700 in back payments to April and entitled her to the highest rates of care.
Beryl added: “I’ve been pushed from pillar to post by the authorities. Nobody has explained to me properly what’s gone on.
“I still want to know why they haven’t backdated the payments to when I came out of hospital. I should be elated but I am still furious.”
The criteria for DLA includes being unable or nearly unable to walk due to a permanent disability, the loss of one or both limbs, or being blind or partially sighted.
The government insists any prospective applicants must undergo a three-month qualifying period for the allowance.
Southport MP John Pugh, who fought Beryl’s case, has voiced concerns that claims are potentially being rejected upon sight – without being read.
He said “Mrs Prescott should have had DLA thrown at her, because not only had she lost a leg, but she was also visually impaired. However she was consistently refused the money.
“You have to question the sanity of a system that denies a benefit to a client who so obviously meets all the main criteria for it.
A DWP spokesman said: “We cannot comment on individual cases relating to claims for DLA.
“Entitlement is based on the effect of disability on the need for help with personal care and/or the extent of walking difficulties, rather than on the existence of a particular illness or condition.”Tags: amputated, Beryl Prescott, disability benefits, disability living allowance, disabled, DLA, gangrene, Partially-sighted, prosthetic