Woman with dementia praised by David Cameron 'has benefits cut by Tories because she can care for herself'

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One of the most shocking cases to come through my office recently. Joy Watson, amazing Salford Dementia campaigner, praised by David Cameron for her work has had her disability benefits cut. Absolutely shameful!

“It is disgusting to hear what Joy and her husband are having to go through. Not only having to adjust their lives with the continuing degenerative condition that dementia brings, but to have the safety net of Personal Independence Payments and Carers Allowance pulled from under them.”

 “I have written to the DWP and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to request they look again at the decision made. Unfortunately, having seen so many cases come through my constituency office this is not a rare case. “

 

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/woman-dementia-praised-david-cameron-10983661

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A woman with dementia once praised by former Prime Minister David Cameron has had her benefits stopped over claims that she can care for herself.

Joy Watson was forced to give up her job as a carer after she was diagnosed four years ago and is unable to manage her own medicine or cook because she forgets to turn off the gas.

The 58-year-old and her retired husband Tony are now struggling to pay their bills after the Department for Work and Pensions decided she was able to look after herself.

Joy, who is receiving £400 less each month, was left stunned when her benefits were stopped, telling the Manchester Evening News that dementia is a progressive disease and her condition will only get worse.

Tony can’t understand how anyone could think she could look after herself, saying that she forgets her words, can't even hold a cup of tea properly and mixes up vital medication if she manages it on her own.

He and Joy have worked hard to show people it is possible to enjoy life with dementia and help others.

They worry now that their efforts to keep Joy well and living the best possible life have led directly to the benefits being cut. They have been told it is likely to be next year before a tribunal will hear their appeal - leaving them in a desperate situation.

Speaking haltingly as she struggles to remember the right words, Joy said: “I had to give up the job I loved and I don’t see any sense in this decision. I feel really as if I’m being penalised for trying to live well, I don’t think [the system] is geared up for understanding people with dementia and their needs.

“They don’t see me when I’m fretting, when I can’t do the thing I want to do.

Joy used her own difficult experiences whilst out shopping to create a booklet for staff in shops and banks and gave one to each business in Eccles, signing up hundreds to a dementia friendly scheme.

Although she tries to live as independently as possible Tony says Joy is unable to look after herself. When she has tried to cook she has forgotten to turn the gas on, or not put water in the pan with vegetables and most worryingly she also forgets to turn the gas off.

A couple of years ago she went away with a carer for a few days and took her evening pills in the morning leaving her like a zombie all day.

Tony said: “The assessment lasted about an hour and Joy did not move from the sofa once.

“She struggled to remember her words, her hands shook and although we explained she can’t make meals because she forgets to turn off the gas and she can’t manage her medicine - she mixes up her evening and morning tablets - their report said she is able to look after herself.

 “I have tried to help Joy to be as independent as possible, to live as well as possible, she has always wanted to help others and I believe that going out and talking to people about dementia has kept her brain working - it is her passion and we are so proud of what she has achieved.

“Joy is an amazing woman and she has worked so hard to keep herself well - she looks great, people can’t always tell she has dementia and I can’t help feeling if she had sat on the settee and stagnated, we would be getting all these benefits now.”

Last year Joy was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Salford, and was recognised with the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award.

At the time the former Prime Minister had said: “Since being diagnosed with Dementia, Joy has worked tirelessly to help people understand how we can all support people in our communities with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

"She is an incredible ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, reaching a huge number of people and businesses with information and advice that will help them join the dementia Friends movement. I am delighted to recognise Joy’s service by making her the UK’s 457th Point of Light.”

Rebecca Long Bailey, MP for Salford and Eccles, and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, said: “It is disgusting to hear what Joy and her husband are having to go through. Not only having to adjust their lives with the continuing degenerative condition that dementia brings, but to have the safety net of Personal Independence Payments and Carers Allowance pulled from under them.”

 “I have written to the DWP and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to request they look again at the decision made. Unfortunately, having seen so many cases come through my constituency office this is not a rare case. “

She called on the government to “urgently review” their policy of assessing those with dementia and stopping benefits for months leaving many with little or no money to live on.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.

“Anyone that disagrees with a decision can appeal.”

People may get the daily living part of PIP if they need help more than half of the time with things such as preparing or eating food, washing, bathing and using the toilet, dressing and undressing, reading and communicating.

Meanwhile Joy is trying to remain positive, throwing her energy into a plan to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research by riding the longest zipwire in Europe.