Disabled mum’s symptoms made worse by benefit cuts
A disabled mum says she feels she is being targeted after changes to benefits were brought in by the government.
Yolanda Barker, 45, from Singleton, has lived with multiple sclerosis for the past 20 years and has received disability benefits for the past 10 years.
But since the government changed the Disability Living Allowance to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), she has lost out on the higher rate of support.
She said: “Life isn’t going to get any easier for me, yet I feel like I’m being targeted. The system has made me feel like I’m dishonest and that I’m continually being judged. There’s just no let up from it.
“The financial impact on me and my family has been huge. The whole process took around a year and it caused me a great deal of stress. My symptoms worsened, as did my depression.
“There were so many things the assessor got wrong or didn’t mention in my report. I tried my best to explain how my symptoms affect me differently every day but I don’t think he understood this. If your problems don’t fit in their boxes, they’re not taken into account.”
Multiple sclerosis affects around 100,000 people in Britain, and is caused by the body’s immune system attacking mye- lin, a substance which protects nerve endings. It causes severe pain and currently there is no cure for the condition.
According to research by the MS Society sufferers have lost out on £6 million each year as a result of government’s changes.
They found that more than 2,000 people who had previously qualified for the high level of support provided by DLA had lost benefits under PIP.
A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said that 74% of MS sufferers who have made the switch from DLA to PIP still receive the top rate of support.
The spokesman said: “We recognise symptoms of multiple sclerosis can fluctuate over time, and regular reassessments mean we can ensure people with degenerative conditions get the help they need as their condition changes.
“Assessments consider illnesses which affect sufferers during the majority of days in a year, rather than just on someone’s ‘best days’ or assessing ability on a single day.”
Multiple sclerosis sufferer Yolanda Barker