Benefit despair for disabled man

A DISABLED Suffolk man unable to work after sustaining serious injuries in a motorcycle accident nearly 30 years ago has today spoken of his fury after his benefits were suddenly stopped.

A DISABLED Suffolk man unable to work after sustaining serious injuries in a motorcycle accident nearly 30 years ago has today spoken of his fury after his benefits were suddenly stopped.

Trevor Addison was just 19 when he was thrown off his bike, shattering his knee, shoulders and pelvis as well as damaging the vertebrae in his back.

Although he was able to work during his 20s and 30s, doctors warned Mr Addison, of Abbey Close, Rendlesham, that he would encounter problems as he got older.

In 2001, the 48-year-old was made redundant from his position as a car valet. But when he went to the job centre to look for new employment, he was told that because he had taken so much time off from his previous position due to his physical problems, he was effectively unemployable.

It was at this point he was awarded incapacity benefit and disability living allowance, amounting to around £500 a month.

However, unexpectedly in August Mr Addison was told he had to have a medical. A doctor examined him, without taking his clothes off, and days later he received a letter informing him that his incapacity benefit had been stopped.

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The letter said that he needed to have scored 15 points in the assessment, but he had scored zero.

Mr Addison's disability living allowance was then stopped as a result of the assessment, meaning he now has no income and can not try to claim job seeker's allowance because he is unable to work.

He said: “I can't understand how one doctor can say one thing and another doctor says I'm alright. When I told my GP about what had happened, she was horrified.

“I was only at the assessment for about 30 minutes and the doctor didn't even take my clothes off. How could he have taken a proper look at my legs?

“Since this has happened, I've lost weight, I've felt sick and I've not slept. I have lost interest in everything.

“I know there are scroungers out there, but I'm not one. I would love to be able to work but I can't.”

Mr Addison has appealed against the decision to stop his benefits, but has heard nothing in the four months since and now faces a bleak New Year.

He said: “I think the chances of me getting the money back are quite remote, but I have to keep trying.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said she could not comment on individual cases, but added: “Incapacity benefit is for people unable to work because of illness or disability which is assessed through a Personal Capability Assessment.

“This assesses the way in which a customer's illness or disability affects them in carrying out a range of work related activities. “The customer has the right to appeal against a decision on a claim to benefit.”

n. Have you found yourself in this situation? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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