A terminally ill cancer patient has been stripped of her benefits by the Government and told to go back to WORK – because she is “not disabled enough”.
Jane Windle, 52, is left in constant agony and can barely walk after being diagnosed with slow-growing carcinoid tumours in 2001.
The mum-of-three was initially given six months to live but has defied medics to live for a further 15 years.
But the crippling tumours in her lungs and pelvis have left her in excruciating pain whenever she stands up and she is constantly short of breath.
Despite this, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has told her she is no longer entitled to her £140-a-week Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
The former petrol station worker was also devastated to be told her husband, William, 41, will no longer receive his £60-a-week carer’s allowance.
Jane, from Northampton, said she felt like she was being punished for battling back against cancer.
She said: “We don’t know what we are going to do. We could be left penniless.
“I am breathless and have contact pain in my back.
“The doctors initially gave me six months to live, but every few years I live they move it on a few years.
“It’s impossible to predict how long I’ve got left, but it has always been terminal. I have never been in remission and I never will be.
“But for some reason they are saying I can go back to work. They are saying I am not disabled enough.
“But I have terminal cancer and can barely walk. My husband is my full-time carer so he can’t work either.
“They have said they will pay us for four more weeks, and then we have lost everything.
“The best I can hope for is Employment Support Allowance. I’ll have to go to a doctor to get a sick note every two weeks, to get us £72-a-week.
“How can we pay for food, for gas, for electricity with just that?”
Jane has to have an injection every two weeks to try and keep her tumour at bay, and every three months has an operation to put a stent between by kidney and bladder.
Until last month she was supported by her £140-a-week from the Disability Living Allowance.
But with that benefit being gradually phased out, Jane was assessed for its replacement, Personal Independence Payments (PIP) in February.
Outraged William, who used to work at the same petrol station as Jane before her diagnosis forced him to become a full-time carer, said: “It is disgusting.
“She has basically been told by the people who assessed her for one hour that she is well enough to do without PIP, when she has been ill for 15 years.
“They have made a terminally ill woman wish she never battled cancer.”
Carcinoid tumours are a rare cancer of the neuroendocrine system, the body that produces hormones, and grow very slowly.
Jane was assessed by the firm Capita on February 22 where she was asked whether she could walk 50 metres unaided, whether she could bathe, cook and clean without help.
But William claims the report sent back to them was incorrect.
He added: “They have said she is capable of things she is just not capable of.
“They say she can walk 200 metres.
“Can you imagine what a lump in your lungs and pelvis feels like?
“Jane struggles to stand up let alone walk the length of our street in one go.”
The couple say they will have to rely on handouts from family and friends while they attempt the lengthy process of applying for Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
Jane, who also suffers from arthritis and emphysema says she cannot work in her condition, and they are now launching an appeal against the decision.
William added: “The fact that an hour long conversation can judge the rest of someone’s entire life is leaving terminally ill people penniless.
“According to George Osborne in this week’s budget the disabled have never had it so good, and I would like to know how on earth he is working that out.
“PIP is fit for purpose – it is fit for the purpose of cutting welfare, and they are cutting it to people who need it most.”
A DWP spokeswoman said: “Decisions on eligibility for Personal Independence Payment are made after consideration of all the evidence, including an assessment and information provided by the claimant and their GP.
“All claimants have the opportunity to appeal and if their situation changes, they can ask to be reassessed.
“PIP is about covering the costs of the impact of a condition – there are some people who suffer from cancer but who are still able to work.
“We have never been aware that Mrs Windle’s cancer is terminal. That would make her eligible through a fast-track claim, which she declined.
“She has appealed the decision and we are currently waiting for medical documentation of her condition.”