Man who has been registered disabled his whole life deemed fit to work by the Government’s reassessment scheme
A DISABLED man who spent years wearing leg braces and has suffered mobility difficulties ever since has reacted with dismay to being deemed fit to work under the Government’s reassessment scheme.
Despite being registered disabled, Tony Holley scored zero out of 15 points in the Work Capability Assessment process.
The heavily-criticised Department for Work and Pensions re-assessment involves a questionnaire devised by Atos Healthcare to determine whether disabled people are eligible for Employment Support Allowance or are capable of working.
Since suffering polio in childhood, the 58-year-old, from Exmouth, was condemned to years wearing calipers and has undergone numerous operations on his left leg to get it to bend.
As a result Mr Holley has been able to walk but his leg is around two inches shorter than the other and his left knee cap frequently displaces, severely restricting his mobility.
He also has problems with the mobility in his foot and suffers from muscle wasting in his thighs.
A secondary effect of the issues with his lower body has created back and hip problems for Mr Holley, who suffers from chronic back pain. He’s been using crutches for the last two years.
Despite being registered disabled his whole life, Mr Holley chose to work and spent 14 years as a car mechanic at Leeses Garage in Exmouth and latterly spent eight years as a wheelchair repairer for Pluss.
Around two years ago Mr Holley finally gave-up work when pain management became too difficult.
“When I left school I threw my calipers away, otherwise I was going to be sat around like an invalid,” he said.
“I really didn’t want to give up work. I’m not the sort of person to want to sit around watching television all day. I gave up a good wage to have nothing, and now we have to rely on my wife’s wage.
“I’ve worked and paid my taxes all my life, now I need something back.”
When Mr Holley took his case to an appeal tribunal in Exeter in July, he was awarded nine out of 15 points. He is now appealing the verdict and has expressed his upset that none of his medical records were considered at the appeal.
Mr Holley criticised the questions in the questionnaire for not assessing the extent or the complexity of individuals’ disabilities.
“For example, one question asks if you can make a cup of tea – I can make a cup of tea but I can’t carry it anywhere unless you want half a cup,” he said.
“And I can stand, but not for long. The questions did not assess my medical condition, or my capabilities, or the amount of pain I’m in. The Government are cheating people.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “It’s important that we don’t simply write people off – there is strong evidence that working can be beneficial for many people who have a health condition, so it’s important they get the help they need to find work.
“But we also want to ensure those who need it get the right support, which is why a decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken after consideration of all the supporting medical evidence provided by the claimant.”