Disabled child abuse victim 'devastated' as DWP stops his Personal Independent Payments
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 August 2019
A child abuse victim has accused the government of taking his lifeline after officers stopped his disability payments.
Andrew William-Coleman has had his Personal Independent Payment, which covers his mobility issues, stopped by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The 51-year-old takes medication for a number of progressive illnesses including advanced COPD, spine disorder Scheuermann's disease and arthritis, and is also in early remission after surviving cancer.
He suffers from post traumatic stress disorder resulting from historic child abuse after he was put in Brent's care as a seven-year-old.
"I'm devastated," said Andrew. "They've taken my lifeline away from me.
"I've issued a formal complaint. The DWP officer didn't look at any of my medical evidence. She is obliged by law to write to my doctor but my doctor at no time received a report from them."
The DWP said Andrew receives the highest Employment Support Allowance (ESA), but did not dispute it had cut his PIP.
Andrew was forced to dredge up his past in 2017 for an inquiry into the abuse he suffered in the Badgeworth Court group care homes he was placed in from the age of seven.
Successfully having held on to reports dating back to the late 1970s and 1980s, the allegations delivered to the police and the IICSA were found to be true which helped other victims whose evidence had been destroyed.
More recently in 2018, as reported in this paper, he and his husband Gustavo were viciously attacked in the Wembley hostel they were living in. He was stabbed in the ear and suffered a brain bleed.
The following September they were allegedly threatened at the same hostel by a man with a stun gun.
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"I have severe anxiety and PTSD due to all I've suffered," he said. "Now this.
"I've been getting panic attacks. Instead of helping us [victims] through what we've endured what they've done is taken a lifeline away from me which I was entitled to.
"My conditions won't go away - they are medical conditions that are progressive. What does the future hold?"
He is appealing to health secretary Matt Hancock and to Victoria Atkins, MP responsible for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, as well as work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd.
"I beg them to assist and offer their support with the situation I'm presented with," he said.
Peter Tatchell, founder of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, said: "It is outrageous for the DWP to treat this vulnerable man in such a cruel and heartless way. Andrew's PIP payments should be resorted immediately.
"The DWP officer allegedly did not contact Andrew's doctor or look at his hospital reports or his medications. This is so wrong. I hope Andrew's MP can persuade the DWP to fix this terrible blunder.
"The benefits system is rotten and needs reform. It is supposed to protect the sick, not cause them suffering."
But a DWP spokesperson insisted: "We are committed to ensuring that disabled people get the support they are entitled to.
"Decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the individual.
"Anyone who is unhappy with a decision can ask for it to be reconsidered.
"We continue to support Mr William-Coleman. He receives the highest rate of Employment Support Allowance and is not expected to work."