Woman whose amnesia makes her think every day is 15 October 2014 declared 'fit to work' by DWP

Nikki Pegram suffered a head trauma last year

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A woman whose medical condition leaves her thinking every day is 15 October 2014 has been declared “fit to work” by the Department for Work and Pensions.

BBC News reports that Nikki Pegram, from Northamptonshire, has suffered from extreme memory loss since an accident a year ago.

Ms Pegram, 28, hit her head in a fall and now has anterograde amnesia, which makes it impossible for her brain to create new memories.

This condition, in its extreme form, leads to an almost complete inability to recall the recent past.

Ms Pegram, who believes every day is the day of her fall, survives by taking notes and reading a diary every morning.

But since the fall she has been declared fit to work after being reassessed for Personal Independence Payment, which she previously claimed for physical disabilities that led to her fall.

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Nikki Pegram suffers from anterograde amnesia (ITV)

“She was declared fit for work because she can walk 200m and she can talk without prompting,” Ms Pegram’s partner Chris Johnston told BBC News.

Fitness to work tests, or “Work Capability Assessments”, for disability benefits have come under scrutiny in recent months after a spate of negative stories about them.

Figures released by the Government in August showed that thousands of people had died within weeks of being found fit to work, though no causality could be implied from the figures.

The Work Capability Assessment appeals system has also been fraught with controversy with a very high rate of overturns and delays lasting months and blamed for hardship.

 

In 2012 a government advisor appointed to review the Government’s Work Capability Assessment said the tests were causing suffering by sending sick people back to work inappropriately.

The tests are said to have improved since then, but as recently as this summer they are still coming in for criticism.

In June the British Psychological Society said there was “now significant body of evidence that the WCA is failing to assess people’s fitness for work accurately and appropriately”. It called for a full overhaul of the way the tests are carried out.

The WCA appeals system has also been fraught with controversy with a very high rate of overturns and delays lasting months and blamed for hardship.

The DWP says Ms Pedram is entitled to appeal the decision. bA DWP spokesperson said: “Personal independence payment is awarded on the basis of how someone's condition affects them rather than simply on the condition itself.

“Decisions are made after consideration of all the evidence, including an assessment and any information provided by the claimant and their GP.”

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