A father who lost his arm in a horrific motorcycle accident and underwent five major operations in as many months has been stripped of his benefits after being declared “fit for work” by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Robert Hunt, 24, told The Huffington Post UK he was deemed able to work after his latest assessment in January by the DWP - despite previously being considered unable to do so.
Hunt, who has also had two heart attacks since the 2014 accident which forced doctors to amputate his limb, said he has been plunged into financial insecurity by the decision to remove Employment and Support Allowance.
The father-of-one said: “I don’t understand. I still suffer from the same problems I had on the other assessments.
“I was only in the assessment room for 20 minutes, they barely spoke to me. I have serious nerve damage and I can’t control my left leg.
“They have all my medical history, but they just didn’t believe me.”
They have all my medical history, but they just didn’t believe me.Robert Hunt
He continued: “I have had two heart attacks, lost my left arm, had a lot of operations on my legs. I have anxiety and social difficulties, I have high blood pressure.
“I’ve been told by doctors I will never fully recover from this.
“I’ve been having panic attacks and anxiety attacks since the decision. I used to have them but not as much as I do now.
“I spend every day with my daughter, I’ve got a child to look after. The pressure is now I’m having to look after myself and my daughter.
“I’ve tried going back to work and just put myself back in hospital.”
Hunt, from Easthamptead, Berkshire, said he has been “banking on family to help me and support me”.
HuffPost UK told on Wednesday how the DWP apologised to a double amputee who was told that, despite not having legs, he could “climb” stairs using his arms and was therefore “fit for work”.
One campaigner has said as many as 60 percent of appeals against such judgements are successful.
But for Hunt, the prospect of a potentially costly legal battle is one fraught with difficulty.
He said: “I’m appealing and waiting for the tribunal letter at the moment. I have applied for an emergency tribunal so that’s two weeks away.”
“Anyone with a disability and a mental health condition are treated like crap,” he added. “I feel like I’ve been thrown under the bus.
“I think politicians should take a step in our shoes and see how we have to live.”
A spokesperson for the DWP said: “The decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough independent assessment, including all available evidence provided from the claimant’s GP or medical specialist.
“Anyone who disagrees with the outcome of their assessment can appeal.”