Source: Warrington Guardian
Date: Saturday, 1 April 2017
Written by: Adam Everett
A CYSTIC FIBROSIS sufferer whose lungs function at as low as 31 per cent capacity has been told that benefits he receives in order to help pay with healthcare costs will be stopped.
Peter Trengove from Woolston nearly died at three days old because of the condition, which makes it difficult for sufferers to breathe and digest food.
Cystic Fibrosis also claimed the life of Peter’s older brother when he was aged six.
The 37-year-old had received Disability Living Allowance in order to help to pay care costs, but this system is currently being replaced by Personal Independence Payments as the Department for Work and Pensions believes it is ‘outdated’.
Peter, of Cynthia Avenue, received noticed on New Year’s Eve that he would have to attend an assessment interview as part of his PIP application, with forms on how Cystic Fibrosis affects his day-to-day life taking three hours to fill out.
On Saturday, Peter, whose lungs function at between 31 and 45 per cent capacity, was told that his DLA will end next month and that he will not be awarded PIP. He said: “According to the unqualified professionals at the DWP, Cystic Fibrosis isn’t a disability and has no effect on the sufferer at all.
“I was informed by the assessor that the decision would not be based on the assessment but on the written evidence given by my consultant – this was something I was relieved about because the assessor saw me on a good day.
“The decision cannot be based on one hour spent with a Cystic Fibrosis patient, which is why the decision-makers should be focussing more on the evidence given by the consultant.
“The assessor claimed I can walk 200m – however, no physical evidence was given then I can do this and the assumption was made based on me walking from the waiting room to the assessor’s office, which is less than 5m.”
Evidence that Peter believes his assessor disregarded includes medical notes on a chest infection in October that took three months to treat and a further month to recover from.
Peter had used his DLA for health costs including prescriptions, travel to specialists clinics a 40-mile round trip away and the cost of a Personal Trainer who helps to keep his lungs working as well as possible.
He is now appealing the decision but feels his health has been affected by the PIP assessment process and the subsequent cut in payments.
Peter added: “Since the assessment, I’ve had bad days, which mainly includes not leaving my house unless I really have to in fear of exposure to illness, plus I’ve had no motivation.
“I even have to force myself to get ready to go to the gym because I know I’ll basically become ill again if I don’t go.”
“Whether I will be motivated tomorrow with the weight of my PIP application outcome lying heavy on my shoulders is a question yet to be answered.
“The only hope I have at present is that by appealing the decision, this will result in the answer I had hoped for on this occasion.”
A spokesman for the DWP said: “Decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.
“Anyone that disagrees with a decision can ask us to look at it again and if they’re still unhappy with it they can appeal to an independent tribunal.”