Readers’ views on mum’s benefits battle

Kathryn Hammond is to have her benefits stopped.
Kathryn Hammond is to have her benefits stopped.
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Readers have expressed their support for a woman whose benefit application was turned down despite having a condition that causes her to collapse regularly.

The Mail reported yesterday of the case of Kathryn Hammond, a 34-year-old mum of one who has been told she is fit for work by benefits bosses.

You’ll have to appeal before you get anywhere, which is a nightmare in itself

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That is despite suffering from a condition called Arnold Chiari Malformation that she says causes excruciating head pain and temporary loss of her sight and hearing.

Kathryn, of Wheatley Hill, was told she did not meet the requirements to receive Employment Support Allowance given to ill and disabled claimants.

A number of readers posted comments on the Mail’s website hartlepoolmail.co.uk and on Facebook.

Website user going by the name of vanillapod said: “As one who has been dragged through the appeal service I can honestly say to this girl, Firstly get a letter from your previous employer to confirm you had to leave your job through your illness, and appeal, then if you still get turned down go to the tribunal with all your evidence.

“Decision makers at DWP are getting huge salaries for turning everyone down.

“We know it’s a game they are playing with the vulnerable public. Conservatives are a disgrace.”

Another reader, diS me, said: “The system is rigged. You’ll have to appeal before you get anywhere, which is a nightmare in itself... Good luck.”

And Twisted Jim said: “After a severe maladministration of one of these benefits, I can sympathise with this person, trawling through the whole appeals process takes time, ultimately resulting in the DWP not sending a presenting officer to the tribunal and their case gets thrown out of court, yes you indeed get all the money back you have lost in entitlement, but where or who do you send the summons to when you sue them for costs?

“The secretary of state doesn’t want to know! The system is an absolute disgrace.”

But website user Smf 1980 asked: “Does this mean she can’t go to the shop by herself, I bet she can she’s not house bound so she can work as long as people are around her, people worse than her work.”

Kathryn’s condition is caused by pressure caused by her skull being smaller than the lower part of her brain.

She previously worked as a customer service advisor for npower in Peterlee but had to give up her job after her condition got worse.

The DWP told the Mail its decision was based on an independent assessment and taking all available information into account.

On Facebook Sharon Collins said: “Typical as did same with hubby – too ill to claim jobseekers and fit enough not to claim ESA even after appealing twice so now on Pip.”

But Louise Angel added: “Tell me who they think are going to employ people who will take more days on the sick than actually at the job???”