By Chris Jones September 13, 2012
A Paralympian who only has one leg has been told he will not receive benefits – because he is not disabled enough.
Wayne Fisher, who played for the GB wheelchair basketball team, has applied for disability living allowance after losing his job.
The dad-of-one hoped the benefit would let him apply for an automatic Motability car to help find work and support his family – including five-month-old daughter Miley-Kay.
But the Department for Work and Pensions has told Wayne – a member of the GB Paralympic team at the 1996 Games in Atlanta – he ‘isn’t eligible’ for the allowance, even though he has received it before in 2005.
Only the ‘most severely’ disabled qualify for the benefit, which is worth between £20.55 and £131.50 a week and will be axed in April.
Wayne, of Peel Lane, Heywood, says his family is forced to live on just £109-a-week maternity pay office worker wife Emma receives.
He said: “I know the government is cracking down on benefit cheats and they’re right to do that. But I’m not putting this on, I can’t just grow another leg.”
Emma, 32, said: “We have to live on £109. I bet people in the government spend that on lunch.”
Wayne had his lower leg removed as a child due to a condition which meant it didn’t grow normally.
He lost his customer service job in March and has since taken temporary roles which have meant standing up. He developed painful abscesses which need surgery – meaning he can’t wear his prosthetic limb and is unable to drive a manual car.
Wayne said: “I’ve worked most of my life and I want to carry on working. I’ve paid into the system all my life and when I want something back from it I feel like they are putting up a brick wall. The Paralympics have changed attitudes, but the government has not changed its attitude about helping those who need it.”
A DWP spokesman said: “DLA is designed to give severely disabled people who are unable to walk or virtually unable to walk the extra cash support they need to live more independent lives.”
He said DLA will be replaced by Personal Independence Payment to develop a ‘fairer’ system with ‘more objective assessment’. But Paralympic legend Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has slammed the changes, saying DLA was vital to allow disabled people to live independently.