Following a Freedom of Information request from local disability activist group, ‘Rolling Thunder’, the reasons behind sanctions to disabled people’s benefits have been made public. Several cases stand out:
* Man, 56, Couldn’t get his wheelchair into the Job Centre as a result of the three large steps at the entrance – sanctioned 4 weeks benefits for missing his appointment.
* Woman, 40, Visual impairment. Lined up in a queue thinking it was for her employment advisor. It turned out to be the queue for Greggs The Bakers. Sanctioned 4 weeks.
*Man, 59, Had a heart attack during his fitness-for-work assessment. Sanctioned for not completing the assessment.
* Woman, 32, Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder). The wrong personality attended the assessment. Sanctioned 4 weeks.
*Man, 44, Single leg amputee. Followed a rival football team that was not the Thickets. Sanctioned 4 weeks.
*Woman, 48, hearing impairment. Did not hear her name when called for assessment. Sanctioned 8 weeks for missing the assessment.
We presented these reason to Councillor Chappers, who had this to say:
“Our Job Centre advisors and our medical assessors have a very difficult job to do. It is the responsibility of disabled people to present themselves for assessment or interview at the appointed time. I have heard ‘but I can’t get my wheelchair up the steps’, or ‘I’ve had a heart attack’, but I say that if you believed you had a case to make, you wouldn’t let anything stand in your way. Even if you can’t stand.”
I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this.