Fife woman with ME told she is fit to work and denied PIP

A north east Fife woman with ME whose employer said she would not be able to carry out her role long-term, was told she was fit to work and denied benefits.

MP Wendy Chamberlain has secured a ministerial meeting to raise the case of one of her constituents following an exchange with Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Ms Chamberlain raised the case of Hannah Foster, who was diagnosed with ME in 2019. It was recognised by her employer earlier this year that she would not be able to return to work or carry out her role long term.

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Despite her former employer having evidence to the contrary, which it used to reach their conclusion, the Department of Work and Pensioners has declared her fit to work and unable to claim Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Hannah raised her case with her MP, Ms Chamberlain, who raised the case at Prime Minister’s Questions, securing a ministerial meeting to put the case to the government.

Ms Chamberlain said: “When an employee and their employer can come to arrive at the same conclusion that they are no longer fit to work, it is staggering that the department of work and pensions can come to a different conclusion without looking at all the evidence.

“I’m pleased that the Prime Minister recognises the suffering of those with ME and pleased that he has personally assured me that I will have a chance to raise this issue with the minister.”

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Ms Foster added: “The PIP process is predicated on being able to stand up for yourself and as a disabled person I have huge limitations in my ability to do this.

“The deterioration of my own mental health during this process cannot be underestimated. My previously active life has been absolutely destroyed by an illness over which I have no control. I lost a job I loved due to incapacity, and had to move back in with my parents because I could no longer look after myself.

“As a result, to have it implied that I am lying is utterly crushing and actively traumatic. The stress also worsens my symptoms substantially and, for the first time in my life, I have become suicidal.

“I am incredibly grateful to Wendy Chamberlain for having raised this issue, and I implore the minister to make the necessary changes to a system that is causing harm to one of the most vulnerable groups.”

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