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DWP Tories confronted in Parliament with photos of man denied disability benefit – Today News


 Tory DWP ministers were confronted today in the House of Commons with graphic photos of a man who was denied disability benefit  MP Frank Field said the man was denied the crucial ‘mobility element’ of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in the last few months despite having “bones coming through the flesh”  The Independent MP unfurled photos of the anonymous man’s gnarled hands and feet in a bid to shock Tory ministers into action  He did not reveal the identity of the 60-year-old former church minister from Birkenhead, Wirral, or share photos of his face  But speaking to the Mirror after the exchange, the former Labour MP said the man now faces losing his mobility car following the assessment  Mr Field said when the man came into his constituency surgery, he struggled to walk into the room where he was meeting his MP  “These are feet the Tories thought were made for walking,” the MP said.  Work and Pensions Committee chief Mr Field – who has left the Labour Party – said the man had an underlying condition for 40 years which then caused rheumatoid arthritis to affect his hands and feet  The MP’s office said he was diagnosed with an aggressive auto-immune disease in 1980 followed by bronchial asthma  Mr Field told us after the exchange: “My constituent has suffered with a long-term degenerative condition There is no cure.  “The joints on his hands and feet are locked into one position He walks with two crutches and requires regular breaks to recover after walking short distances  “He falls regularly and is unable to brace himself during his falls.  “He was recently awarded Personal Independence Payment after a reassessment He was awarded full care but has lost all his mobility component. This means he will lose his mobility car ”    PIP – paid to help with daily costs of being disabled – comes in two parts worth around £150 a week One part is paid for mobility and the other part for ‘daily living’.  Mr Field’s office said the man was granted the ‘daily living’ element of PIP but not the separate ‘mobility’ element when he was transferred from older benefit DLA in the last few months  He is now mounting an internal appeal with the DWP.  In the Commons, Mr Field added: “Might I meet with the minister immediately to give him a file of photographs of constituents who failed to get any mobility component, even when they have feet with the bones coming through the flesh like this one?  “So that we can have an urgent meeting to show the procedure we all wish to see applying doesn’t actually operate currently ”  Mr Field obtained permission from the man to publish these photos.  It comes after as almost three-quarters of people who take their PIP claims to an appeal tribunal win their case  DWP minister Justin Tomlinson said: “I would be very happy to meet [Mr Field], who I know has a huge amount of expertise in this area  “But we do know that those who transfer from [old benefit] DLA to PIP – there are now 144,000 claimants who weren’t on enhanced mobility under DLA who now are under PIP ”  A DWP spokeswoman said the department was urgently investigating Mr Field’s claims  The case was one of a string of distressing benefit cases raised today during Work and Pensions Questions – most of them about Universal Credit  Labour MP Rachel Maskell said: “A young constituent couldn’t afford to go to his Universal Credit appointment, was sanction, then lost his home in York’s resettlement project and ended up on the streets  “When we were told the government would fix the problems with Universal Credit as it was being rolled out, why hasn’t the government stuck to this commitment?”  Meanwhile, Tory ministers were blasted over the level of back payments to around 13,000 severely disabled people who moved to Universal Credit  Emergency rules were approved in July for people who used to receive Severe Disability Premiums  But campaigners say they are not enough, as the maximum £405-a-month rates only go to a small fraction of claimants  Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Margaret Greenwood said: “Will the government explain why those payments still do not fully reflect the financial loss those disabled people have suffered?”  Labour MP Debbie Abrahams added: “The reality is if you’re a new claimant on UC you will be £180 a month worse off as a result of disability premiums not being available to them  “This is in addition to an increasing number of disabled people who are dying after being found fit for work or having been refused PIP ”  Yet Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey demanded Labour drop opposition to the level of payments – because otherwise those hit would be left with nothing  She said: “There is an extra £600m of support going to the most vulnerable.  “If they succeed in [blocking] this, they are hitting the most vulnerable people and I’m sure that’s not something they wish to be remembered for ”

Cesar Sullivan

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