Cash blow for disabled woman

A CEREBRAL palsy sufferer who needs constant care was left without any money to live on after turning 60.Brenda Telford, of Highfield Road, Ipswich, relies on a team of four carers to enable her to live in her own home.

A CEREBRAL palsy sufferer who needs constant care was left without any money to live on after turning 60.

Brenda Telford, of Highfield Road, Ipswich, relies on a team of four carers to enable her to live in her own home.

But Mrs Telford was left distressed when she realised her income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit had all been stopped because she turned 60 on April 13.

She was especially upset because she had asked her social worker to find out what steps she would have to take before she turned 60.

Mrs Telford said: "I asked my social worker a few months ago to find out what I would have to do before I turned 60.

"She sent me a letter saying that I would have to give her authorisation to check on my money. I did. She did the letter and all I had to do was sign.

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"As far as I was concerned, I wasn't told that my income support, my housing benefit or my council tax benefit would stop.

"But when my boyfriend – who sometimes visits – went to get my money out last week, there was none there.

"I had only got what was left in the account and that was only about £12.

"I haven't been able to shop or pay any bills whatsoever. I am supposed to pay my television licence every week, my electricity and gas once a month and my rent for my television and my video recorder every month."

Since early last week, Mrs Telford has been struggling to find out why she was left without money to live on.

She said: "I phoned social services last Tuesday and last Wednesday , but I didn't get through. I phoned the duty social worker either Wednesday or Thursday and they said they would get in touch with my social worker.

"I was then contacted and informed I would no longer get income support and I would have to go on pension credit.

Mrs Telford also received a letter on Saturday from Ipswich Borough Council.

The letter said: "Your income support payments have ceased. This is because on 13 April 2004 you turned 60. Income support can only be paid to people aged under 60.

"Now that you are 60, you need to claim pension credit. Until your pension credit claim is worked out, the pension department can provide you with interim payments."

But although Mrs Telford was told she would be sent an interim payment by giro last Friday , it has not yet arrived.

Mrs Telford feels outraged at the way she has been treated.

She said: "What do they expect me to live on – fresh air? I feel very, very angry and I don't know what is going to happen now. I just do not know what I am going to do. I have really been let down.

"All I want is to live my life. I don't want to go into a home again – I want my independence."

Chris Lane from Suffolk social services said he couldn't comment on the case because it is a matter for the Benefits Agency.

The Benefits Agency said it would look into the situation.

BRENDA Telford has been living in her Ipswich home for nine years.

The 60-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer lives on her own and has a team of four carers who provide her with care seven days a week.

Before she lived in her Highfield Road, she lived in care homes from the age of 16.

Mrs Telford's husband William, who suffered from muscular dystrophy, died more than 10 years ago.

But thanks to the dedication of her carers, Mrs Telford is now able to live independently in her own home.

Every day, one of her carers will arrive at 8am and do some housework before helping Mrs Telford get up between 9.15am and 9.30am.

It is usually around 11.30am by the time Mrs Telford is helped to have a shower or a wash.

By around 12pm, it is usually time for brunch – toast, coffee and a cigarette.

Mrs Telford said: "Once I have my breakfast – or brunch – it is usually a lazy afternoon.

"If I need my carer to go to the shops, she will go for me and I go shopping once a week in a taxi.

"I watch television and I have got a laptop. Until a couple of months ago, I did a lot of computing courses."

Mrs Telford's carer will also take care of her pets – her dog Tasha and her birds.

By around 5pm it is time for dinner and Mrs Telford's carer will have to ensure her food is cut up into manageable portions.

The carer will ensure Mrs Telford is ready for bed before she leaves.

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