‘Get a job’ disabled cancer victim told

Eddie Kewley from Layton
Eddie Kewley from Layton
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A CANCER victim who lost his leg in a battle with the disease has had his benefits stopped and told he must go back to work.

Eddie Kewley, of Laycock Gate, Layton, was confined to a wheelchair after he was diagnosed with bone cancer and his left leg was amputated four years ago.

But following a medical assessment under tough new Government guidelines, the 40-year-old has been passed fit by doctors and his payments were stopped immediately.

Mr Kewley’s Emergency and Support Allowance (ESA) payments were stopped in March and the former labourer says he will soon have no money left unless his case is re-looked at.

Limb

He told The Gazette: “Every job I’ve had since I left school has been manual labour and I think they are expecting me to work in an office, which I’m not qualified for.”

The father-of-two does have a prosthetic limb, but is unable to wear it after falling and injuring his knee six months ago and is now awaiting an operation.

He added: “To be awarded ESA you need to get more than 15 points in your assessment but I was only awarded nine because I can propel myself in a wheelchair.

“I thought they were having a laugh when they told me. It’s absolutely ridiculous because I’m not capable of working.

“I know the Government is cracking down on benefits, but I’m a genuine case.”

The Government is currently overhauling the welfare system and re-assessing those who have claimed funding for a number of years.

Mr Kewley is now being supported by his sister after his £188 a fortnight payment was stopped.

He lives in a two-bedroom flat and gets £76 in housing and council tax benefit which covers his rent.

He currently has a quarterly £216 energy bill outstanding but cannot pay because there’s no money coming in.

His sister, Alison Cross, said: “I think it’s absolutely disgraceful how they can let a disabled man live without any money.

“There’s a lot of people out there claiming for money they don’t need and when there’s someone who does need it, he is left with nothing.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions added: “We shouldn’t automatically write off a person’s ability to work, solely on the basis of a health condition or disability.

“The assessment for Employment Support Allowance doesn’t focus on a particular diagnosis, but on the actual abilities of an individual, and whether that person – with the right support – could undertake suitable work.

“Everyone has the right to appeal and ESA continues to be paid pending an appeal, so claimants are not left without an income.”