Philip Jewitt, 22, has chronic headaches which cause him to vomit and he has problems with his vision, vertigo and weakness
A man with brain tumours has scored a tribunal victory over the DWP after benefits bosses told him he was fit to work.
Philip Jewitt has chronic headaches which cause him to vomit and he has problems with his vision, vertigo and weakness.
The 22-year-old, from Porth in South Wales, is unable to leave the house on his own and a neurosurgeon has described him as being unfit for work due to “physical and psychological disabilities”.
But his Employment Support Allowance application was rejected last year following an assessment by the Department for Work and Pensions, which ruled that he could work despite his condition, WalesOnline reports.
Mr Jewitt, with help from his mum Rita Curtis, appealed the decision and a tribunal ruled in his favour.
His ESA has been reinstated and backdated.
But the ordeal has aggravated his existing anxiety and panic attacks.
Ms Curtis, 48, said: “It’s really demoralising, we were only trying to claim what he was entitled to but they make you feel like you’re lying and the amount of forms you have to fill out is ridiculous.
“The one set of forms was half an inch thick and Philip had to to fill them out but it would give him headaches so he had to do a little bit each day over the course of a week or so.
“I felt they had an answer they were looking for and the questions were repetitive, asking the same questions in different ways, like they were trying to catch him out.
“Of course, I work as well as being home and cooking for Philip and myself and having to fill in this paperwork on my day off, that was time-consuming to sit down and read through them and work out what they wanted.
“The stress of having to go through this and the paperwork and Philip got tired a lot and felt down.”
Mr Jewitt has had brain tumours since he was born and in the last few years has undergone five major operations to have three of them removed and to have vents put in his head.
His tumour is benign and it keeps growing.
After he travelled to the ESA assessment by public transport he spent the next two days in bed recovering because the journey took so much out of him.
His mum said: “You can’t determine if someone is fit for work in 30-40 minutes if they’re sitting in a chair and answering questions.
“Philip was so tired he went straight to bed and was in bed for two days afterwards.
“They’re saying he’s fit for work – what sort of place would let him work for two to three hours and let him sleep for two days? They don’t know how much he was affected.”
Mr Jewitt’s case will not be reviewed again until September 2020, the tribunal ruled.
He said he feels less stressed now that his payments have been reinstated and backdated.
He added: It’s been a lot easier and a lot less stressful by not having to go to the main town where there’s lots of traffic and having to do that every few months to get a sick note from my doctor to get temporary ESA so I can pay my mum rent.
“I was pretty sure they would reverse the decision because of the way I am and the way I have been.
“I still consider myself worse off back then. It was a relief to have that financial stability but I can’t go out and make money for myself.”
Ms Curtis said she hopes her son will fully recover from his condition.
She added: “My aim for Philip is for him to be how he used to be before this operation. He’s a qualified gym instructor and a personal trainer so he’s got a career waiting for him when he recovers fully but he just need that help.”
A DWP spokesman said: “Decisions are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.
“Claimants can appeal any decision to the Appeals Service which operates as an independent body and sets its own timings for hearings.”
With many thanks to the: Daily Mirror and Philip Dewey for the original story