This week, it was revealed caseworkers on Teeside have helped people win benefits on appeal totalling half a million pounds. Their stories mirror what The British Polio Fellowship has found in helping members appeal decisions. It makes one wonder if cases we know of are the tip of the iceberg; hiding thousands of vulnerable people who aren’t lucky enough to have an MP or a charity like ours on their side.
Many struggle to understand benefit applications and when they hit problems, have nowhere to turn. That so many decisions are overturned on appeal shows something is badly wrong and this must be resolved before the rollout of Universal Credit. In one case, the tribunal judge rang the cancer patient concerned to say they didn’t have to attend a hearing, as they had won, going on to apologise, saying, “It should never have come to this.” Indeed not. The 120,000 people in the UK living with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) can seek our help with applications but not all 13 million living with disability are so lucky. Even for those that are, it can take months to win cases and right wrongs. We are not calling for a ‘free for all’; but a ‘fair for all’ would be a great place to start. Our help is a phone call away on 0800 043 1935 or visit www.britishpolio.org.uk
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship