COLUMN: Huge amount of benefits claims stopped unfairly

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Errors in benefit payments and constituents unfairly having their benefits stopped is a huge amount of the work that comes into my office.

I recently dealt with the case of a homeless woman from Kirkby who has severe learning difficulties and mental health problems and who had had her employment and support allowance (ESA) stopped.

This lady has no permanent address and needs support in every area of her life.

She relies on the welfare system for financial support, but finds filling in the forms required and sending medical evidence off very difficult because of her learning difficulties and the lack of a permanent home address to receive mail to.

I contacted the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) and it re-looked at her case. It has now issued arrears payments of nearly £1,500 and given advice on how her claims can be made easier in the future.

A man from Skegby also got in touch regarding his ESA claim after his money was stopped.

This gentleman has cancer and is unable to work, so depends on this income.

After a letter from my office to the DWP, we found out that this had occurred because of delays in the processing of his claim due to a backlog of work.

He underwent a new assessment and thankfully received a back payment of £3,260 and is now getting regular ESA payments, as he is entitled to.

I am happy I could help get his benefits restored.

I know how passionate many of my local constituents are about animal welfare – the hundreds of emails I receive on this subject more than demonstrate it.

That’s why I am welcoming Labour’s plan to launch a consultation on its new Animal Welfare Plan. The plan outlines measures to protect animal rights in areas such as domestic pets, factory farming, wild animals in circuses, and animals used in research and expand affordable vet care for people on low incomes.

We want to end the badger cull and introduce a ban on the live export of animals for slaughter. This plan is a proposal for real progress in eliminating suffering caused.