Cancer patient denied PIP benefits while receiving chemotherapy treatment

Credit: ITV News

A woman from Deeside had her initial application for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit turned down despite receiving treatment for cancer.

Paige Garratt, 22, who lives in Connah's Quay, was assessed for the benefit four days after her penultimate chemotherapy treatment.

She said she was left in financial difficulty after her application was rejected, but later successfully appealed.

PIP (Personal Independent Payment) is provided by the UK Government and is designed to help cover the extra costs of a long-term illness.

Paige told ITV News she had to stop working during the treatment process and not being initially granted the benefit caused her unnecessary stress.

It was horrible. You’re dealing with the news and going through it and you can't even think about any day-to-day life.

Paige Garratt

Paige was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkins Lymphoma in November 2017 and was not assessed until January the following year.

She says she was dizzy, disorientated, and struggled to get out of bed when she was visited by a PIP assessor.

Paige says the questions were "too black and white" and did not allow for the fact that her health fluctuated in between bouts of chemotherapy.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) says the UK Government is spending more than ever on disabled and long-term illness benefits and is always seeking to improve the quality of PIP assessments.

We are committed to supporting people with disabilities and health conditions. We support 1.88 million people through PIP and 1.97 million people through Disability Living Allowance (DLA). We have never spent more on benefits for disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, totalling over £50bn a year - up £7bn since 2010. But we constantly seek to improve the quality of PIP assessments. We have commissioned two independent reviews of PIP, and most recently announced that we will pilot video recording of assessments, improving confidence in the assessment process.

A DWP spokesperson

Paige's initial application was turned down by the DWP, but after a successful appeal, she eventually received the minimum disabled allowance.

A lot of people do rely on [PIP money], so when they don’t get them it can be quite catastrophic. Especially when you’ve had to stop work and you're stuck with no money because then you're going to struggle financially.

Paige Garratt
Paige is now back at work with a food production company near Flint. Credit: ITV News

It is now eight months since Paige completed her treatment and her cancer is in remission.