Disabled woman turned away from own tribunal - because she was in a wheelchair

Disabled woman turned away from own tribunal- because she was in a wheelchair

Disabled woman turned away from own tribunal- because she was in a wheelchair

First published in Local News
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A DISABLED woman was unable to attend her own benefit hearing because she was in a wheelchair.

Sylvia Middleton, 65, of Wickford Avenue, Pitsea, was outraged when security staff at Acorn House in Great Oaks, Basildon, turned her away due to health and safety concerns.

She had been due to attend a disability hearing in a bid to get her £50 a week benefit payment reinstated.

Ms Middleton said: “When we got there they told us they were very sorry but they didn’t realise I was in a wheelchair and would I be happy if they rescheduled my hearing to take place in Southend. I don’t understand why it was such a surprise when I was there for a meeting about my disability benefits.

“Now I’ve got to wait another two months and there is no guarantee that it will all get sorted then.”

Ms Middleton’s disability living allowance, which she received for more than ten years, was stopped in December 2011 despite her having arthritis in her knees, back, neck and fingers.

It was decided a review was needed to assess her entitlement which is why she was sent to Acorn House.

Ms Middleton added: “I just want my benefits back. I’m lucky that I have two lovely sons who run me around everywhere and I would like to be able to pay them petrol money at least.

“I haven’t left the house on my own for more than seven years and I spent my days just sitting in my chair. I can’t even do any housework but If I had my benefits I could pay for something to come in and help me clean up.”

HM Courts and Tribunals Services admitted a mistake had been made and a number of wheelchair users had been turned away over a three-month period.

A spokesman said: "Due to a misinterpretation of health and safety legislation a limited number of users with mobility issues have wrongly been refused entry to the Basildon Social Security and Child Support Tribunal venue.

"We have taken immediate action to make sure this does not happen again and we apologise to those affected. Full access to the Tribunal is now being facilitated for users with mobility issues."

Ms Middleton will have her case heard at a tribunal on March 20.
 

Comments (13)

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4:28pm Tue 12 Feb 13

emcee says...

And who is being disciplined for this c*ck up? Someone is responsible...ah, no... hang on... its a Government department, so nobody will take responsibility.
And who is being disciplined for this c*ck up? Someone is responsible...ah, no... hang on... its a Government department, so nobody will take responsibility. emcee
  • Score: 14

5:09pm Tue 12 Feb 13

GentleGiant says...

Actually no. There is a section to advise the office if you need assistance or are in a wheelchair etc.

The rooms are often upstairs, and they can accommodate if they know beforehand.

Sorry, but this is the lady's fault.

Also she does not spend all day in that chair - it is not designed for that job.

It is a chair for short-term use only.

Maybe there is a reason why her benefits were stopped?
Actually no. There is a section to advise the office if you need assistance or are in a wheelchair etc. The rooms are often upstairs, and they can accommodate if they know beforehand. Sorry, but this is the lady's fault. Also she does not spend all day in that chair - it is not designed for that job. It is a chair for short-term use only. Maybe there is a reason why her benefits were stopped? GentleGiant
  • Score: -7

6:14pm Tue 12 Feb 13

equalitycampaigner says...

This is an utter disgrace and really GentleGiant let's hope you never have to live life like Ms Middleton, it's people like you withy kind of heartless attitude that now has made Britain the country that demonises the disabled.

I hope that HM Courts have now rectified the lets say mistake I believe they have. But really staff training should be on the agenda regarding equality Act issues and accessibility.

And I hope they come to a conclusion to give back someone their much entitled to benefits.
This is an utter disgrace and really GentleGiant let's hope you never have to live life like Ms Middleton, it's people like you withy kind of heartless attitude that now has made Britain the country that demonises the disabled. I hope that HM Courts have now rectified the lets say mistake I believe they have. But really staff training should be on the agenda regarding equality Act issues and accessibility. And I hope they come to a conclusion to give back someone their much entitled to benefits. equalitycampaigner
  • Score: 4

6:17pm Tue 12 Feb 13

jolllyboy says...

Obviously the wrong building for this type of assessment.This has happened before so there is no excuse for this to happen.
Obviously the wrong building for this type of assessment.This has happened before so there is no excuse for this to happen. jolllyboy
  • Score: 7

6:25pm Tue 12 Feb 13

halojump says...

Gentlegiant well said.
I recieve DLA for my disabled son and it has been reviewed which involved investigations from the doctor and some extra questions being asked.
If it getsto tribunal stage then its unlikely to be reinstated unless Ms Middleton has failed to disclose something. If is getting £50 a week she will be eiter getting higher rate DLA or lower rate DLA with lower rate Motorbility. They have criteria for each and its fairly straight forward.
This cull is being done to reduce the billions paid for illnesses which are livable with and are exagerated.
Gentlegiant well said. I recieve DLA for my disabled son and it has been reviewed which involved investigations from the doctor and some extra questions being asked. If it getsto tribunal stage then its unlikely to be reinstated unless Ms Middleton has failed to disclose something. If is getting £50 a week she will be eiter getting higher rate DLA or lower rate DLA with lower rate Motorbility. They have criteria for each and its fairly straight forward. This cull is being done to reduce the billions paid for illnesses which are livable with and are exagerated. halojump
  • Score: -2

6:27pm Tue 12 Feb 13

whataday says...

Absolutely disgusting. What bungling bureaucrat dreamt up the idea of assessing people with disability issues in a place which doesn't facilitate people with disabilities.
Meanwhile these idiots have stopped this woman's benefits, discriminated against and humiliated her and she still has to wait while they mess around.
I suggest she contacts Equal Opportunities Commission and takes Social Security to task. Discrimination because of disability is illegal.
Absolutely no excuse for this. In fact all those who this article reports says have been turned away from this venue should get together and if, necessary take this to the European Court. Shove that up Camoron's rs
Absolutely disgusting. What bungling bureaucrat dreamt up the idea of assessing people with disability issues in a place which doesn't facilitate people with disabilities. Meanwhile these idiots have stopped this woman's benefits, discriminated against and humiliated her and she still has to wait while they mess around. I suggest she contacts Equal Opportunities Commission and takes Social Security to task. Discrimination because of disability is illegal. Absolutely no excuse for this. In fact all those who this article reports says have been turned away from this venue should get together and if, necessary take this to the European Court. Shove that up Camoron's rs whataday
  • Score: 4

7:34pm Tue 12 Feb 13

firedog says...

Again we dont know all the facts,and are having to form an opinion on an unreliable newspapers, report.
Again we dont know all the facts,and are having to form an opinion on an unreliable newspapers, report. firedog
  • Score: 7

9:14pm Tue 12 Feb 13

stopmoaning1 says...

firedog wrote:
Again we dont know all the facts,and are having to form an opinion on an unreliable newspapers, report.
Agreed we don’t know her specific circumstances and nobody should comment on that. The story is about her not being able to access the building in a wheelchair. That part is a complete disgrace. I thought the DDA made it law. I’ll bet is she wasn’t able to get into Tesco’s the local authority would be very quick to prosecute them.
[quote][p][bold]firedog[/bold] wrote: Again we dont know all the facts,and are having to form an opinion on an unreliable newspapers, report.[/p][/quote]Agreed we don’t know her specific circumstances and nobody should comment on that. The story is about her not being able to access the building in a wheelchair. That part is a complete disgrace. I thought the DDA made it law. I’ll bet is she wasn’t able to get into Tesco’s the local authority would be very quick to prosecute them. stopmoaning1
  • Score: 1

10:27am Wed 13 Feb 13

_champagne2 says...

If this has got to a tribunal level this Council would have all the details in her notes. Trouble is most Council's have got rid of all experienced staff who deal with these things - health and safety is no excuse. Staff shortages are the problem the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. I worked for a Council before it all went to pot and neck high in debt. Hope the manager of this department gets a bashing but no doubt will blame his inexperienced staff that's what usually happens.
If this has got to a tribunal level this Council would have all the details in her notes. Trouble is most Council's have got rid of all experienced staff who deal with these things - health and safety is no excuse. Staff shortages are the problem the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. I worked for a Council before it all went to pot and neck high in debt. Hope the manager of this department gets a bashing but no doubt will blame his inexperienced staff that's what usually happens. _champagne2
  • Score: -3

10:19pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Cockle says...

Sounds like it could become the modern Catch-22.

If you don't attend the tribunal your appeal fails because you didn't turn up, if you make it up the stairs then you are too fit to get the allowance so the appeal fails......
Sounds like it could become the modern Catch-22. If you don't attend the tribunal your appeal fails because you didn't turn up, if you make it up the stairs then you are too fit to get the allowance so the appeal fails...... Cockle
  • Score: 2

9:00am Fri 15 Feb 13

GentleGiant says...

Sadly many people are too lazy to work and just want benefits. One way to increase these is to say you are disabled.

I am not saying that this is the case here, however she really ought to get a more suitable wheelchair for her disability if she has to sit in it all day long as the report suggests.
Sadly many people are too lazy to work and just want benefits. One way to increase these is to say you are disabled. I am not saying that this is the case here, however she really ought to get a more suitable wheelchair for her disability if she has to sit in it all day long as the report suggests. GentleGiant
  • Score: -1

4:07pm Fri 15 Feb 13

psorias says...

GentleGiant wrote:
Actually no. There is a section to advise the office if you need assistance or are in a wheelchair etc.

The rooms are often upstairs, and they can accommodate if they know beforehand.

Sorry, but this is the lady's fault.

Also she does not spend all day in that chair - it is not designed for that job.

It is a chair for short-term use only.

Maybe there is a reason why her benefits were stopped?
She says she spends her days at home sitting in her chair. She does not say she sits in the wheelchair that is used when travelling out in a car. For gods sake do you have only one chair !!!
[quote][p][bold]GentleGiant[/bold] wrote: Actually no. There is a section to advise the office if you need assistance or are in a wheelchair etc. The rooms are often upstairs, and they can accommodate if they know beforehand. Sorry, but this is the lady's fault. Also she does not spend all day in that chair - it is not designed for that job. It is a chair for short-term use only. Maybe there is a reason why her benefits were stopped?[/p][/quote]She says she spends her days at home sitting in her chair. She does not say she sits in the wheelchair that is used when travelling out in a car. For gods sake do you have only one chair !!! psorias
  • Score: 3

9:19pm Fri 15 Feb 13

Alice in Her Own Land :P says...

My tribunal was farcical. I have had four hip replacements and was asked by the medical woman to "give us a hop, skip and jump through your daily life" ... My GP was appalled when I told him as he knows how I deal with life - and rest assured it's not easy! I had the first 2 when I was 26 and the second pair at 35 and I am now 45.
My tribunal was farcical. I have had four hip replacements and was asked by the medical woman to "give us a hop, skip and jump through your daily life" ... My GP was appalled when I told him as he knows how I deal with life - and rest assured it's not easy! I had the first 2 when I was 26 and the second pair at 35 and I am now 45. Alice in Her Own Land :P
  • Score: -1

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