Published in The Western Gazette – West Dorset, Thursday, July 26, 2012
A SELF-EMPLOYED lorry driver from Crewkerne whose leg was obliterated by heavy machinery claims his disability benefit has been cut off before he is able to go back to work.
Ashley Rousell, 36, of Lang Road watched as the bone in his left leg was forced out through his skin when he was hit from behind by a 360 excavator vehicle.
“I had to have a seven-and-a-half hour operation where they put a surgical nail down through my leg and pin it in with screws.
“I am still on crutches and in constant pain which I have to take tablets for.”
Mr Rousell has sought the advice of his MP David Laws on the matter. He also said his GP believes he should appeal the DWP assessment.
Mr Rousell said if the appeal is unsuccessful he will try to find work in another field, but he does not know how much use he can be.
He said: “I pay taxes and when I need some help I come up against a brick wall. I’m not a lazy person and I hate being off work, but now I need help I’m getting treated badly.
“All I want to do is be given enough time to recover and start driving again. I paid £2,500 to get all the licences I needed and it is my livelihood. I am unable to drive a lorry until my leg is better because the clutch is too heavy.
“I’m not trained for any other sort of work. I’m not sure if any employer would be too thrilled about taking on someone who has to leave for physiotherapy appointments or who can’t stay sat down for more than an hour.
“I’ve got three kids and a wife to support and need the help right now.”
A spokesman from the Department for Work and Pensions said Mr Rousell would not have to change jobs permanently and could find a work programme which would allow him to keep medical appointments.
The spokesman said: “We are reforming the welfare system to ensure no one is left trapped on benefits. If someone can no longer do the job they used to do, the Work Capability Assessment looks at what other kinds of work they may be able to do.
“People who are too sick or disabled will receive our unconditional support and those who are able to work will get the help they need to find a new job. Anyone who disagrees with their assessment can appeal and present further evidence.”