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.
“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.
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
1/8 Welfare payments will be slashed
One of the most controversial parts of the Conservative manifesto was to cut benefits for the working age poor by £12 bn over the next three years. But during the campaign they only said where £2 bn of these savings would come from. That leaves £10 bn still to find. Some experts think the only way they can close that gap is by means testing child benefit – with millions of families losing out
2/8 There will be tax cuts for those in work and those who die
The Tories will increase the threshold at which the 40p rate of tax becomes payable to £50,000 by 2020. They haven’t said so but it is also likely that at some point in the next five years they will abolish that 45p rate of tax altogether for the highest earners. They also want to increase the effective inheritance tax threshold for married couples and civil partners to £1m
3/8 There will be an in/out EU referendum in 2017
The next two years are going to be dominated by the prospect of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. First off David Cameron has the daunting task of negotiating a deal with other EU leaders an acceptable deal that he can sell to his party so he can go into the referendum campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote. This may be unachievable and it is possible that the Tories may end up arguing to leave. Opinion polls show Britain is divided on EU membership, one poll this year showed 51% said they would opt to leave compared to 49% who would vote to stay in
4/8 There will be more privatisation of the NHS
Having won the election the Tories now have a mandate to go further and faster reforming the NHS. In order to make cost savings there is likely to be greater private involvement in running services, while some smaller hospitals may lose services they currently provide like A&E and maternity units
5/8 There will be many more free schools – and traditional state schools will become a thing of the past
The Tories plans to create 500 new free schools and make 3,000 state schools become academies. They will also carry on reforming the Department of Education and remove more powers from local authorities over how schools are run
6/8 On shore wind farms will be a thing of the past and fracking will be the future
Government spending on renewable energy is under real threat now the Lib Dems are no longer in power with the Tories. Subsidies are likely to be slashed for off-shore wind farm and other green energy supplies. Meanwhile there will be generous tax break for fracking as ministers try and incentivise the industry to drill for onshore oil and gas
7/8 There maybe more free childcare – but not necessarily
In the campaign the Tories pledged to double the amount of free early education for three- and four-year-olds from 15 hours a week to 30. The extra hours would only be offered to working families where parents are employed for at least eight hours a week. However they have not said where the money will come from to fund the pledge
8/8 Workers' rights could be reduced
The Tories want to slash business regulation, merge regulator and cut costs. The Lib Dems stopped them from reducing the employment rights of workers in power – but these are now under threat
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.”Reuse content