Blind man's benefits cut because he could not read work capability assessment letter from DWP

'How could they be so heartless?' asks carer and elder brother of severely disabled Alan Moody

Peter Walker
Tuesday 06 December 2016 09:16 GMT
Alan Moody was penalised after failing to respond to the letter
Alan Moody was penalised after failing to respond to the letter (Getty)

A blind man had his benefits cut because he did not respond to a letter surrounding his fitness to work.

Alan Moody was declared unfit to work by his GP 10 years ago after being diagnosed with the rare genetic brain condition cerebellar ataxia.

Despite this, the Department for Work and Pensions summoned the 60-year-old to a work capability assessment and cut his allowance when he failed to respond.

“I cannot believe they’ve done this,” said his elder brother Terry Moody, speaking to the Newcastle Chronicle.

“How could they be so heartless? He has been disabled for 10 years, he cannot work, he needs this money.

“I have tried appealing to them but they say they are standing by it"

The 65-year-old, who is also Alan’s carer, said he does not know how to go online to appeal the decision, adding: “I pay all my brother’s bills, look after him and am now sorting this out. I feel exhausted.”

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Alan, from Stanley, Co Durham, had his allowance cut on 2 November after failing to respond to the letter, which explained he needed assessing to qualify for employment and support allowance (ESA) of around £450 a month.

Only the month previous, Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green said that chronically sick claimants will no longer be required to prove they are still ill every six months.

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ESA for new claimants deemed fit to work was cut by £30 a week earlier this year.

A DWP spokesman suggested Mr Moody was summoned for an assessment to ensure he was not “written off”.

They said: “It’s important people contact us immediately if they can’t attend their assessment.

“Work Capability Assessments help ensure that people get the right level of support that they need, rather than just writing them off on sickness benefits as happened in the past.

“The decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough independent assessment, and after consideration of all the supporting evidence from the claimant’s GP or medical specialist.”

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