A BLIND woman fears she may be forced to live in a tent after the Department of Health threatened to stop her disability payments.
The Stratford resident who currently receives disability living allowance (DLA) was instructed to make a new claim for personal independence payments (PIP) – the benefit gradually replacing DLA.
She was told she had less than a month to provide evidence of her disabilities from a number of medical practitioners.
The woman, who is severely disabled, said her initial claim to receive DLA, took over six months, almost resulting in eviction from her Orbit home.
She said: “I couldn’t pay my rent and received eviction notices. I couldn’t pay my bills and was bombarded by letters from various collection agencies trying to collect these bills which apparently I was supposed to pay out of thin air.
“Then I got county court judgments for the same bills, with court costs on top.
“And to put the tin hat on things I had court appointed collectors turn up to remove goods from my home to cover as many costs as possible.
“I was devastated.”
The Orbit tenant was spared eviction after a payment plan allowed her to clear her debts in installments.
But she now fears she could once again be facing eviction – leaving her with nowhere for her and her guide dog to go.
She added: “Wherever I go my utility bills will follow me and without any source of income I will be facing collection agencies, fines, court costs and collectors to remove any goods I may have, once again, through no fault of mine whatsoever.
“At present I am considering a tent as I couldn’t afford to rent a caravan.”
In an open letter to Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi she described the actions as unjust and likened the treatment of the disabled and poor to the Victorian age.
The resident who described herself as a ‘staunch believer in the Conservative Party’ added the party had backtracked on its promises to the disabled and dishonoured its manifesto.
She ended her letter: “Your party has in fact broken a written contract made to the people (the poor and the disabled) of Great Britain.
“I would like to meet with you and Theresa May too, to ask what you have to say for yourselves, to explain to people in my situation what the hell your game is.”
Mr Zahawi told The Observer the resident should request an appointment to discuss the matter with him as soon as possible.