A cancer sufferer who was given months to live has had her benefits stopped – because she has survived longer than expected.
Single mum Kathy Hall was told she had just six months to a year to live in 2016 when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Yet in August this year, the 44-year-old was assessed at home and deemed fit to work despite suffering with extreme headaches and lethargy.
Kathy’s illness makes her very forgetful and causes her speech to slur.
The former charity shop manager is now in despair as she has lost £140 per week from her Personal Independence Payment (PIP) when it was stopped just after the assessment.
She now struggles to get by on Universal Credit, providing for her and her 17-year-old son, Luke Godden, who is in full-time education, at their home in Buxton, Derbys.
The car enthusiast said: “I have always tried to fight this cancer. I didn’t just want to give in and die.
“I want to fight to live for me and my son. Doctors tell me to remain positive and get out and exercise.
“Everyday I take my dog, Stewie, out for a walk to get out in the fresh air, and my son and I were doing our best to spend time together on good days, going to car shows that we love, to make memories together.
“But I am penalised for this. I have lived too long for their liking. I am now a prisoner in my own home.
“Because of this, I now feel that I’m getting worse. I’m suffering with my pain and my mood.”
Kathy was diagnosed with a grade four tumour after complaining of headaches and falling in and out of consciousness while on holiday in Wales two and a half years ago.
She was taken for an MRI scan which found her brain was being crushed by fluid between her skull and her brain.
An emergency helicopter flew her to Salford where the fluid was drained off and surgery removed 95% of the tumour on her brain.
Kathy said: “I was given between six months and a year to live.
“I had daily radiotherapy at The Christie in Manchester for six weeks as well as rounds of chemotherapy.
“I’m a very strong person and I refused to let it beat me.
“I would love to be able to work. Once I had my diagnosis I continued to work for two days a week – although working part-time lost me my managerial position.
“But even that proved difficult, it was too hard to maintain those two days.
“My consultant accepts I can’t work. I am dying of cancer.
“At the moment my cancer is stable, but anything could happen at any time. It is still there.
“I worry that all this stress is making me lose my fight.”
The DWP says people with a terminal diagnosis, such as Kathy, are given a higher rate of PIP allowance for a certain period of time.
She was assessed in the summer by the DWP, which say her consultant reports state her prognosis has changed and the PIP needed to reflect this.
A DWP spokesperson said: “We’re committed to ensuring disabled people and those with health conditions get the support they’re entitled to.
“Decisions about PIP entitlement are made based on information provided, including from a GP or medical specialist.
“Where a claimant disagrees after a review they can submit a further appeal to a free independent tribunal.
“Ms Hall continues to receive support through Universal Credit.”