Woman whose disabled partner was found hanged warns of “devastating’’ impact of disability cuts

Whitehaven News

 

PUSHED OVER THE EDGE BY BENEFITS FEAR 

BY JULIE MORGAN

Last updated at 11:39, Thursday, 28 March 2013

A WOMAN whose disabled partner was found hanged is warning of the “devastating’’ effects of impending changes to disability benefits.

Christine Graham is speaking out after attending the inquest of 49-year-old Peter Hodgson, which returned a verdict of suicide last Friday.

Mr Hodgson was found dead at his Cleator Moor home just a day after he received a text message telling him to attend the Jobcentre. He had previously sent Christine, his partner of 13 years, a text saying:

“I give up.’’

Now, only days before the Disability Living Allowance is replaced by a new scheme, Christine continues to be concerned about those who face upheaval due to the changes.

“Peter was vulnerable,’’

she said.

“The text scared him so much. He had been depressed for years but he could keep that under control. It was the text which pushed him over.

“I want people to realise the effect of these changes on people’s lives. These changes are terrifying to vulnerable people and their concerns need to be listened to.

“It can have a devastating effect on people’s lives. As someone said after Peter died, he won’t be the first person to die because of this, and he won’t be the last.’’

Mr Hodgson had been unable to work after he suffered a brain haemorrhage and a stroke and had his leg fused following a football injury.

He had previously worked as a lifeguard and at Brannan’s Thermometers.

Christine said:

“You only had to look at Peter to realise he couldn’t work.’’

Mr Hodgson also wore a calliper and couldn’t grip with his hand. He had been worried that if he didn’t take some sort of work, his benefits would be stopped.

Last July, Mr Hodgson had been called into Whitehaven Jobcentre to see whether he would be suitable for volunteer work. He subsequently received a text on the afternoon of November 26. The message didn’t state a date but a subsequent letter was sent days after Mr Hodgson’s death with an appointment for December 17.

It was this text, Christine said, which had pushed her partner over the edge.

Four months after his death, Christine is trying to move on with her life.

“I’m managing and I know nothing will bring Peter back. But I still believe if he hadn’t received the text he would still be here now. He had been perfectly fine until then.’’

After The Whitehaven News ran Peter’s story in December, there was an overwhelming response from readers.

From April 8, Disability Living Allowance, or DLA – the benefit which helps many pay for care and mobility costs – is being scrapped and more than two million disabled people will lose the support they rely on. The replacement – Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – is designed to cut £2.24billion annually from the welfare budget by 2015-16. The number eligible for the new award will be smaller and the assessment criteria are narrower.

According to the Government, the changes will see around 500,000 people lose their benefit.

Speaking this week about the new disability reforms, the Paralympian and campaigner Tanni Grey-Thompson, said:

“People are either shown as amazing Paralympians who are competing for their country, who are incredible individuals, or benefit scroungers. What I don’t want to see is disabled people ghettoised and locked away like it was when I was young. The danger is if we just keep knocking disabled people back then we’ll turn the clock back 30 years.”

 

Whitehaven News

Comments
  • jed goodright April 4, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Tanni grey is an appeaser.I saw in interview yesterday – naturally, the media roll her out as the legitimate voice of disabled people – but frankly she was plain useless and after indicating all disabled people want to work even for nothing she just thought what was happening had to be dealt with somehow. Appalling. So it’s still okay for disabled people to die as a routine of government policy.

    I had my blue badge not renewed a few months ago. At present I can barely walk due to inflammation in my hip. I got in my car to go into town to go to the post office. There were no parking spaces on the high street at all. I drove up the high street and back down the high street. Then went home because I can no longer access my town. That’s precisely what they want. Not having access is contrary to the Equalities Act but it makes no difference because this governemnt are not interested in equality of access.

    I am angry. The physical pain and discomfort is bad enough but to have deliberate obstacles put in my way by virtue of not meeting ‘their criteria’ is CRIMINAL

    • LOUISE April 4, 2013 at 12:25 am

      I have also noticed where I live all disabled parking bays except Tesco and Sainsbury (maybe other supermarkets as well) have been repainted and made smaller so much so one can’t open door wide enough to get in and out of car. The obstacles are getting worse.

    • LOUISE April 4, 2013 at 12:27 am

      Sorry to hear about your story the loss of the badge is bad enough but the loss of access to your town is worse

    • TEDDY McNABB April 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      not only is she an appeaser she is a selective disabled hypocrite paid by the vile Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline who have created and killed from the unborn to the very old [ serxoxat!] she has even done a 1min 28 sec video for GSK where she uses the words “integrity” and “ethical” keep clear off her and those around her! ps who does she not take money off, check her declaration of interests.

  • Mick Carter April 4, 2013 at 12:29 am

    There seems to be a deliberate agenda by this government to allow this to happen, I think they want all disabled people to either commit suicide or at the very least be kept hidden away from society. It’s genocide by the back door. All this while MPs all have their noses in the trough of the tax payers money. They are the biggest drain on the countries resources, not the poor or sick. They have used the right wing press to put out propaganda about non-existent fraud in the benefits system, while it is they who are the frauds, and despite being caught out over expenses in the last couple of years, they are still grubbing around for whatever they can get away with. To many people are ready to believe this media propaganda, and so the governments divide and rule policy works in their favour. I’m starting to worry now about having to visit or go into to hospital in case they have found another devious way to kill us off too. “Disabled people are too expensive, and non-productive, so lets not treat them and allow them to die”. Paranoid? Maybe I am, but it’s how the nazis started in the thirties.

  • Samuel Miller April 4, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Please note that the niece of the late Peter Hodgson is herself sick and disabled, and I am concerned about her plight.

    See: http://mydisabilitystudiesblackboard.blogspot.ca/2013/03/pushed-over-edge-by-benefits-fear.html

    http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rjiqih

    Samuel Miller
    (Montreal, Canada)

  • Allen Vincent April 4, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Above is awful.

    PLEASE see my updated HELP photo http://telly.com/AllenVincent489#!BJP0TU

    This is letter I wrote from Doncaster Marshgate Prison where I was unlawfully held:
    http://telly.com/AllenVincent489#!AZEQ8K they LIE about my date of birth on purpose to hide what they’re doing to Mum & I it NOT 24.5.1972

    Doncaster Police put my 76yo Mum Beryl in hospital AGAIN on 28.2.2013 for 2 nights & 3 days over their malicious persecution & neanderthal unlawful ways!

    Back at Doncaster Magistrate tmw at 10am. They HIDE majority of my disabilities & what’s happening to Mum and I !!

    I am autism spectrum, born deaf, dyspraxia, clinical depression, ADHD, speech defects stutter & stammer, high stress & anxiety, asthma, PTSD, only learnt in 2010 that my face does not correctly display emotions/what I’m thinking so that means I am repeatedly tortured and “look” fine. Mum and I are NOT fine!

    Sacked from Doncaster Nissan in 2010 when diagnosed with aspergers & dyspraxia, apparently first vulnerable disabled person to sue bad Solicitors Regulation Authority case 1SE0600 via corrupted Sheffield County Court using recorded vertbatim system that prints out telephone calls for deaf people so I could prove unlawful acts under Equality Act 2010 & extreme violations of Solicitors Codes of Practice. Now have bad Doncaster Community Adult Learning Manager stating he’s done everything to help Mum and I this is NOT true, he’s done everything to STOP Mum and I getting help to save his own skin, akin to FRANCIS report and Winterbourne Vulnerable Adult Abuse scandal !!

    AllenVincent489 twitter

  • Sasson April 4, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I had to spend an hour and a half on the phone last night to a chronically disabled person who has had a similar appointment, and who was absolutely desperate.

    She’s only just won a year long DLA case, then this week found she’s been automatically assigned from IB to ESA WRAG, and her first ‘work focused interview’ is at the jobcentre in 2 weeks. She was hysterical.

    She had no car; her last DLA assessment swapped her categories around so now she only receives low mobility, despite not being able to walk to the shop around 50 metres away. She was so tired and stressed out, she just didn’t have the wherewithal to fight it on.

    She can’t catch the bus, and the bus station is too far away from the jobcentre for her to walk. She’s barely managing financially as it is, and although she may be able to arrange a ‘community taxi’, she has no one to accompany her. She can’t go alone, because after fighting so many battles with the DWP, she is a broken woman. She has no confidence whatsoever, and acute social anxiety; she was nothing like that when I first got to know her 8 years ago.

    She hasn’t close family or friends; we were acquaintances and she always seemed a happy go lucky person. Like many people, they hide their feelings due to pride, but in desperation over the last year she has turned to me, and I’ve been able to advise her from what I’ve gathered over the internet.

    If she hadn’t been able to do that, I honestly doubt she would have been here by now, and I still worry that in the physical and mental state she’s in, she could just flip and commit suicide. She has plenty enough of the morphine she takes every day to enable her to do it.

    How many are out there who have no one? Yet, even when a person has someone, like in this case, the stress of it all becomes too much.

    • Brig April 5, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      I have been in a similar situation. I’m getting more angry now, and using that to fight with daily. There are days though, where I think I should just give up, I’m not contributing to society one bit any more, and that pains me. Anyway, we’ll see where the changes take me. I do have a motability car at the moment, but I suspect I’ll lose that when I get assessed for PiP. I also have a support worker who comes to see me every fortnight, but I now have to go for an assessment to see whether I should contribute towards the cost of that. I’ve had a £250 council tax bill, but a reduction when I got ESA instead of Incapacity plus Income Support. Less cash, less lifelines to the outside world, and less hope of ever getting back to being part of society. Oh, and I used to be a management consultant. Disability and illness can happen to anyone, and no matter how well off you are, months and months with no support drains your resources pretty damn quickly. Scrapheap of life now.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS April 4, 2013 at 10:42 am

    The root cause of this tragedy was perpetrated by none other than BILL GUNNYEON , the CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER of the DWP…….

    Each and every death of a disabled or poor person bears the hallmarks of this “twisted individuals” term of office.

    He has put his signature to everything fetid and rotten………..

    Hopefully, history will have him as a marked man, a key player in his NAZI organisation.

    THE ANGEL OF DEATH AND DESPAIR………

  • jed goodright April 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    thanks Louise

    from all the evidence, and there’s plenty, we are not talking about ‘anecdotes’ we are talking people’s LIVED EXPERIENCE in this country, particularly but not solely over the last three years. 42 changes in ‘welfare’ regulation in 3 years whilst the bankers and the elites get away with robbery and murder. From apparently small problems with access to major issues of self-harm and suicide and not one NOT ONE of the policial parties are interested.

    I what other ways can disabled people and the poor and the unemployed and the homeless fight back – coz I don’t see anywhere to go or anyone who’s on our side???

  • Boadacia! April 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Like all sorts of examples of hypocrisy those who do the most damage to those they claim to hate, are frequently themselves that very thing they accuse others of.

    Those of us that managed to survive this, must try our hardest to make them pay!

    “I was only following orderz!” – has been tried before.

  • David A Palmer April 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    This is the reality, the terrible truth is that listening to this it all sounds so correct and very believeable. What has happened to people on BlackTriangle is even more evidence this is correct! I had realised a long time ago that the move to a paperless money society was and is the inevitable follow on the the collaps of the current paper money system. Please follow the link below to Knowledge of Today or the Youtube link here:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PZx2tUCB9t8#!

  • David A Palmer April 5, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    We can stop them!

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