The Big Issue is shining a light on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) disability benefits system. Ian Meldrum switched from the disability living allowance (DLA) to personal independence payment (PIP). But after an amputation above the knee, he was refused the higher rate for mobility because he is over state pension age.
I had an accident on a building site in 1976. I was working as a painter and decorator and part of the house next door collapsed as I was walking past. I broke my legs, both arms and neck and it left me disabled for life.
My leg turned septic. It took me 10 months to even look at it. I had a choice to keep the leg in plaster for six years and walk with an orthopaedic shoe or have it amputated below the knee – and I decided that was the option for me.
I did not know financial support existed for more than 20 years. I was working as a taxi driver, having had to give up my work, and I was driving a woman who was also an amputee. She told me that there was support I should be getting from the DWP. I was getting nothing. So I applied and was awarded the the disability benefit DLA.
- ‘I’m an amputee and the DWP reduced my disability benefits. I worried I would be homeless’
- ‘The DWP took away my disability benefits. I’ve had so many tribunal dates I’ve lost count’
Just over five years ago I was suffering severe pain on my stump and it had gone septic again. I had to have a second amputation above the knee.
Having faced an industrial accident, I was getting the industrial injuries disablement benefit – and that jumped from £80 a month to around £600 a month after I had the second amputation.