Ben­e­fits sys­tem let Teresa down badly

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Letters And Opinion -

Ben­e­fits claimants are un­der­stand­ably rig­or­ously scrutinised be­cause there are those who would, and do, fraud­u­lently ex­ploit it. We’re sure the bu­reau­cracy can some­times seem oner­ous to the gen­uine ma­jor­ity who must feel it’s like a moun­tain to climb to get the sup­port they are en­ti­tled to.

But it’s a com­plex sys­tem and it’s only to be ex­pected that from time to time things will go wrong.

How­ever, in the case of Teresa Geale, the sys­tem not only let her down badly, but rubbed salt in the wound.

The dis­abled 63-year-old, who suf­fers from many con­di­tions which now pre­vent her from work­ing, was put through 10 months of hell by the Department of Work and Pen­sions af­ter it with­drew her em­ploy­ment sup­port al­lowance.

It claimed she had failed to at­tend an as­sess­ment. In fact, staff had can­celled her ap­point­ment as she trav­elled to the cen­tre on a bus be­cause they were run­ning be­hind.

De­spite Mrs Geale’s protes­ta­tions that she had not missed the ap­point­ment of­fi­cials would have none of it – even though she could pro­duce the bus ticket and had screen­shots from her phone of the voice­mail can­celling the ses­sion.

It fi­nally took the in­ter­ven­tion and sup­port of Kent Law Clinic at the Univer­sity of Kent, which fought her case, to see jus­tice pre­vail.

And the tri­bunal judge was clear who he thought was at fault. Af­ter hear­ing the ev­i­dence, he took just five min­utes to find in her favour and or­der she re­ceive the back pay­ments.

But it beg­gars be­lief that in the face of such ev­i­dence, the DWP were so ob­struc­tive and put Mrs Geale through such a sorry saga.

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