Sight loss charity helps Cheshire man end four-year legal battle over benefit claim
A former care worker from Cheshire says he is “stunned” with the outcome after finally being awarded his rightful entitlement to benefit following the conclusion of a four-year court battle.
The man in his 50s who has sight loss and a number of other physical conditions, had claimed Universal Credit in 2018 due to ill-health, having had to give up his much-loved job as a care worker.
He was initially refused the work capacity component of the benefit by the Department of Work and Pensions on the grounds that assessors considered him still fit enough to seek work.
Now the claimant who is known as Mr G will receive around £15,000 in backdated benefit, as well as £4,250 per year extra going forward, more than doubling his weekly Universal Credit income.
Given the cost of living crisis, this recalculation will have a huge impact on Mr G’s finances and quality of life as well as ending years of anxiety about the outcome of the case.
The case was taken up by Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB’S) Legal Rights Service which argued that the original decision had not fully considered how much his disability affected Mr G’s capacity to undertake work.
Two years ago, the sight loss charity’s legal rights officers challenged the original appeal decision and last month the case finally made it back into a first-tier tribunal.
With a new submission from the charity, the judge and doctor hearing the case found emphatically in Mr G’s favour, awarding him “limited capability for work-related activity” from the original date of his claim.
Mr G, who has diabetic retinopathy, said he was “stunned” by the long-awaited outcome of the case. “I can’t thank the RNIB enough or express the appreciation I feel for this service,” he said. “I feel like I’ve had someone with me all the way and it has made such a difference. The effect this will have on my life is just huge,” he explained.
Dominic Milne, Legal Rights Officer with RNIB, said: “The outcome of this case has been much delayed, partly due to the impact of the coronavirus but also due to other factors, but I am delighted we have been able to successfully demonstrate the error of the original decision and get this claimant the correct level of Universal Credit payment.
“RNIB works with many people who do not claim all the benefits to which they are entitled. Given the spiralling costs everyone is facing, we want to make sure that all blind and partially sighted people are informed of what they are eligible for.”
Every year, RNIB’s legal rights team successfully secures hundreds of thousands of pounds of benefits that blind and partially sighted people are entitled to following reviews of benefit awards decisions. The charity has a 99 percent success rate of cases it pursues.
RNIB can provide information and advice to help people with sight loss deal with the increasing pressure of the cost-of-living crisis. If you want to talk through the options that might be available to you, call the Helpline on 0303 123 9999, visit rnib.org.uk/advice or email [email protected].
Notes to editors
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