Spalding dad-of-four invalided out of RAF says he is victim of benefits cuts

Ex-serviceman and ME sufferer John McGeorge-Oanta is making a cry for help. ANL-161128-113550001

Ex-serviceman and ME sufferer John McGeorge-Oanta is making a cry for help. ANL-161128-113550001

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A father of four invalided out of the RAF with ME says he will be forced to run up debts on his credit card because his Personal Independence Payment has stopped.

John McGeorge-Oanta (51) says people with ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) are the latest victims of Government plans to rationalise benefits.

He has lost a total of £668 in three different benefits, disability living allowance, carers allowance and housing benefit at the stroke of an administrator’s pen.

“Our situation is dire,” said John. “It’s a situation where we will not be able to manage. It’s difficult enough for people on a decent wage to cope with losing more than £600 a month. When you are just surviving on the benefits you are entitled to it’s a terrible situation.”

John is in constant pain and discomfort from the condition for which there is no known cure.

He sleeps in a chair at the family’s privately rented home in Spalding, because lying flat in bed is too painful, and he lives with the ever present danger of being injured in a fall.

John stopped all of his medication, because pills were seriously damaging his liver, but says that counted against him in the Personal Independence Payment assessment because it appeared – without medication – that he must be without pain.

A lack of hospital admissions also counted against him.

John explained: “With this condition we are left to fend for ourselves and, therefore, prevention is the best we can achieve.

“This means that the family watch me carefully and, when I am unsteady, they keep me in a reclining chair – this is what keeps me out of hospital and requiring substantial treatment.

“Presently I am receiving substantial investigations for bilateral abdominal pain and considerable weight loss.”

John’s wife, Salostica, explained that he cannot cook or pick up a boiling kettle because he risks being burned or scalded.

John served more than 19 years as a medic in the RAF, and was invalided out with a diagnosis of ME in 2006.

The only help he was offered by the RAF for his ME was “a group therapy session in about 2008” and that was “because there is no treatment for ME”.

John says the local authority won’t offer the family a council house, because they’re currently paying their bills, and their only hope is a DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) Tribunal, when he will be represented by The Royal British Legion in an appeal against the Personal Independence Payment assessment decision.

John says he had two assessments for his Personal Independence Payment, the first ended after an hour when he fainted and he was unable to complete the physical examination for the second.

He said the result was that an administrator, with no medical qualifications, decided he did not qualify for the Personal Independence Payment – which meant the disability living care component was lost and then, in turn, he lost other benefits.

John said: “The cost of this Government sanctioned hardship is approximately £668 every four weeks and makes it impossible for us to live off my Military and War Pensions and ESA (employment support allowance) in private rented accommodation because the local council refuse to house us as we pay our bills.”

He sleeps in a chair at the family’s privately rented home in Spalding, because lying flat in bed is too painful, and he lives with the ever present danger of being injured in a fall.

John stopped all of his medication, because pills were seriously damaging his liver, but says that counted against him in the Personal Independence Payment assessment because it appeared – without medication – that he must be without pain.

A lack of hospital admissions also counted against him.

John explained: “With this condition we are left to fend for ourselves and, therefore, prevention is the best we can achieve.

“This means that the family watch me carefully and, when I am unsteady, they keep me in a reclining chair – this is what keeps me out of hospital and requiring substantial treatment.

“Presently I am receiving substantial investigations for bilateral abdominal pain and considerable weight loss.”

John’s wife, Salostica, explained that he cannot cook or pick up a boiling kettle because he risks being burned or scalded.

John served more than 19 years as a medic in the RAF, and was invalided out with a diagnosis of ME in 2006.

The only help he was offered by the RAF for his ME was “a group therapy session in about 2008” and that was “because there is no treatment for ME”.

John says the local authority won’t offer the family a council house, because they’re currently paying their bills, and their only hope is a DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) Tribunal, when he will be represented by The Royal British Legion in an appeal against the Personal Independence Payment assessment decision.

John says he had two assessments for his Personal Independence Payment, the first ended after an hour when he fainted and he was unable to complete the physical examination for the second.

He said the result was that an administrator, with no medical qualifications, decided he did not qualify for the Personal Independence Payment – which meant the disability living care component was lost and then, in turn, he lost other benefits.

John said: “The cost of this Government sanctioned hardship is approximately £668 every four weeks and makes it impossible for us to live off my Military and War Pensions and ESA (employment support allowance) in private rented accommodation because the local council refuse to house us as we pay our bills.”