Disabled woman turned away from own tribunal - because she was in a wheelchair (From Basildon Recorder)
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Disabled woman turned away from own tribunal - because she was in a wheelchair
A DISABLED woman was unable to attend her own benefit hearing because she was in a wheelchair.
She had been due to attend a disability hearing in a bid to get her £50 a week benefit payment reinstated.
Ms Middleton said: “When we got there they told us they were very sorry but they didn’t realise I was in a wheelchair and would I be happy if they rescheduled my hearing to take place in Southend. I don’t understand why it was such a surprise when I was there for a meeting about my disability benefits.
“Now I’ve got to wait another two months and there is no guarantee that it will all get sorted then.”
Ms Middleton’s disability living allowance, which she received for more than ten years, was stopped in December 2011 despite her having arthritis in her knees, back, neck and fingers.
It was decided a review was needed to assess her entitlement which is why she was sent to Acorn House.
Ms Middleton added: “I just want my benefits back. I’m lucky that I have two lovely sons who run me around everywhere and I would like to be able to pay them petrol money at least.
“I haven’t left the house on my own for more than seven years and I spent my days just sitting in my chair. I can’t even do any housework but If I had my benefits I could pay for something to come in and help me clean up.”
HM Courts and Tribunals Services admitted a mistake had been made and a number of wheelchair users had been turned away over a three-month period.
A spokesman said: "Due to a misinterpretation of health and safety legislation a limited number of users with mobility issues have wrongly been refused entry to the Basildon Social Security and Child Support Tribunal venue.
"We have taken immediate action to make sure this does not happen again and we apologise to those affected. Full access to the Tribunal is now being facilitated for users with mobility issues."
Ms Middleton will have her case heard at a tribunal on March 20.