Mum Claimed £100,000 In Benefits Because She's Allergic To Shoes

14/08/2014 16:55 | Updated 22 May 2015

Mum claimed £100,000 in benefits because she's allergic to shoes

A mother-of-four claimed she couldn't work for 24 years because she's allergic to shoes.

Tracy Kenny, 45, has claimed around £100,000 in benefits since she gave up work as a baker after developing a skin condition that made it impossible for her to wear shoes.

She said severe dermatitis caused by all her footwear left her unable to hold down a job.

But now inspectors at the Department for Work and Pensions have ruled she is fit for work and told her it will stop her £440 per month employment support benefits.

Tracy, who lost her appeal against the decision, said it was impossible for her to work as she suffers from an allergy to rubber, glue, nickel and metal that brings her out in blisters.

She says she is so allergic to shoes she has to wander around barefoot, even during winter, and can only leave her house in Eccles, Salford, on a mobility scooter.

She told her local paper: "I don't know how these people expect me to go to work or go to job interviews with no shoes on – because that is what I would have to do.

"I can only wear shoes for ten or 15 minutes, before my feet blister and split. It stops me from doing everything.

"I'm allergic to any chemicals in shoes. The doctors even organised for a pair of clogs to be made in Switzerland for me.

"It took two years. They even cut down a tree especially and made me a shoe with no dyes in. Yet they still irritate me.

"Socks draw the glue in and slippers don't help. It's so unfair and stressful – I'm genuinely ill."

Her life on benefits ended after she took a medical test and faced a tribunal from the DWP on October 2.

Now she has been declared fit to work, though she will still be allowed to claim £200 a month in disability living allowance.

Tracy says her contact dermatitis causes a type of eczema leaving her skin red, itchy and scaly.

She shares her home with her husband and their children Jessica, 21, Aimee-lea, 19, and Lauren, 18. Son Josh, 22, was arriving back from Army duty in Afghanistan yesterday (Thursday October 24).

A spokesman for the DWP said decisions to remove benefits are only taken after careful assessment and consideration of medical evidence.

Margaret Cox, of the National Eczema Society, said: "People don't understand just how awfully painful a severe eczema can be.

"If your skin is cracked, bleeding and sticking to clothing, can you imagine walking? Even a mild incidence of eczema, as many people have experienced, can be quite painful."


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