WATCH: Disabled woman tells of ‘unbearable’ Christmas after benefits stop forced her to ‘beg for food’
PUBLISHED: 15:26 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:03 11 January 2019
Copyright: Archant 2019
A disabled woman who had her benefits stopped after she tried to claim more money said she has been forced to beg for food.
Pauline Bloomfield, 54, of North Walsham, received £90.74 a week since 2016, as back pain and arthritis left her unable to work.
Mrs Bloomfield, who was previously a carer for her late husband, said: “I was getting headaches and eye problems [as] he kept hitting me in the head.
“I had back pain from pushing him in his wheelchair.”
But her personal independence payments (PIP) were stopped after Mrs Bloomfield tried to claim a greater allowance last year.
She has not received any money since November 28.
Mrs Bloomfield, who lives with her partner, said: “I put the claim in on July 11 for my eyes. I was getting headaches from 2011 but I didn’t know I could claim [more].
“I got a letter back saying I had to go for an assessment on October 10, at St Francis Hall in Norwich.
“It’s difficult with my mobility.”
Mrs Bloomfield said she did not initially understand the assessor would look at her overall health.
She said: “I got a letter to say my mobility was alright, so my PIP has been stopped.
“I was told ‘we don’t just go by one claim, we go by all the claims’.
“[But] my mobility hadn’t got better - it had got worse. I can barely walk anywhere.
“I put in an appeal against it and it just came back again ‘no’.
“I’m down and upset. It’s unbearable. I’ve been having to keep begging to get food. We had to ask neighbours downstairs and they kindly helped us out with it.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said: “A mandatory reconsideration has been carried out in this case, and the original decision was upheld.
“The claimant is now entitled to register an appeal with the courts and tribunals service.
“We’re committed to ensuring that disabled people get the full support that they need and PIP helps with the extra costs someone may have as a result of a disability.
“When someone’s circumstances change we look at their claim again to make sure they are getting the right support.
“Decisions are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.
“Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal.”