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Campaigners speak of life on benefits

Campaigners have been highlighting what they call the harsh reality of living life on benefits. Eight people from West Yorkshire say they've been falsely branded as scroungers.

Now they're hitting back at claims that not working is a 'lifestyle choice', by turning their real life stories into an animation about life on the dole. They hope it will change people's attitudes to those living life on the poverty line as Sarah Clark reports.

Former soldier from Leeds told he can't have carer's benefit

Former Lance Corporal Adam Douglas was severely injured in Iraq in 2003. He and his wife Maria were told they could have a benefit known as Disability Living Allowance - Carer's Component.

But when the Department of Work and Pensions stopped the benefit, the couple, from Leeds, faced seven tribunals before it was reinstated.

The very next day, however, the DWP told Mr Douglas he was no longer disabled enough for the benefit - despite him being in a wheelchair - as Helen Steel reports.

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IDS: 'This is about fairness in the system'

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said that housing benefit changes that have been introduced today are about "fairness".

In response to criticisms of the so-called 'bedroom tax', he said: "The reality is this is about getting our housing benefit back into order".

"This is about fairness. It's about fairness to those who pay vast sums of money in taxation to see that people living in subsidised accommodation who often don't use the bedrooms they've got, while others in overcrowded accommodation.... they can't get the accommodation they need.

"This is a nonsense problem that was created by the last government who didn't build enough housing and didn't manage the housing stock properly".

Read: What is the 'bedroom tax'

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DWP says it 'overturned benefits decision because of new evidence'

The Department for Work and Pensions says it reinstated the benefits of former RAF worker Alex Smith, who has heart failure, because of new evidence which wasn't available at the time of a medical assessment.

"Only a small proportion of decisions are overturned on appeal. If a decision is overturned it does not necessarily mean that the original decision was wrong - claimants sometimes produce new evidence in their appeal which wasn't available at the time."

– Department for Work and Pensions
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