A woman lost lost her disability benefits on the basis that she was able to walk four steps during an assessment. Michelle Wyatt, 45, who had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome 23 years ago, was forced to survive on £1 ready meals and without heating after her Personal Independence Payment (PIP) was stopped, reports The Independent.
The York resident said the withdrawal of her disability benefit – which amounted to £75 a week and which she had been receiving since 1998 – had left her feeling suicidal.
The decision to stop her support came after a benefit assessor visited her home in December and concluded that she was no longer eligible for PIP – a disability benefit that replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in 2013 – because she was able to walk “four steps” from her wheelchair to her sofa.
The assessment report stated that Ms Wyatt was “able to rise unaided from the electric chair and transfer unaided to the sofa” and went on to conclude that it was “therefore reasonable to suggest she is able to rise and walk more than 200 metres unaided”.
Ms Wyatt, who on top of her disability had a battle with breast cancer last year, said her life would be “over” and she would lose her independence without her electric wheelchair, which she could not afford without the benefit payments.