A court has ruled that a disabled woman should be

first_imgA court has ruled that a disabled woman should be awarded £5,000 compensation by the government contractor Atos, after a dishonest report by one of its assessors led to her being awarded the wrong level of benefits.Vanessa Haley, from Huddersfield, told the county court in her written evidence that the assessor had tried to “impede her entitlement” to the enhanced rate of the daily living component of personal independence payment (PIP) by “falsifying” her assessment report.The assessment report also led to her being denied any PIP mobility support.She was awarded the compensation after the court upheld her claim of maladministration against Atos and her allegation that it was responsible for causing her health conditions to worsen.The news of her court victory came as the minister for disabled people gave evidence to the Commons work and pensions committee yesterday (Wednesday), as part of its inquiry into the PIP and employment and support allowance assessment processes (see separate story).Disability News Service has been investigating claims of dishonesty at the heart of the PIP assessment system for more than a year, and has heard from nearly 300 disabled people who have made such allegations.Haley was previously on the lower rate of care and mobility for disability living allowance (DLA), but the impact of her multiple health conditions had worsened since her last DLA award in 2013.The Atos assessor, a paramedic, visited the former teacher and film-maker at her home in January 2016 as part of her reassessment for PIP, which is gradually replacing working-age DLA.But she told the court that he “consistently and repeatedly ignored” her answers and evidence in his report, and misrepresented what he saw during the face-to-face assessment.One example she gave was that he described her as looking “well kempt and casually dressed”, when she had not washed her hair in 10 days and was wearing pyjamas and a dressing gown.He also said he had seen her “move her body around the sofa herself and raise her legs on and off the floor herself”, and claimed that she was able to “lay back and put her head against the sofa”.But she said she was seated when he came into the room and her legs were already up, and she only lifted them with her hands to put them on a cushion.She said: “I tried to move myself but couldn’t as I don’t have the upper body strength.“My mum offered to lift me but she’s 73 and that’s not fair to her, so I sat in a great deal of pain for the rest of the assessment.“I didn’t lay back either as my sofa doesn’t allow that, it’s a straight back.”The assessor said that because of her movements on the sofa and because she said she could drive an automatic car – which he said “suggests adequate power and movement in her limbs and joints” – she was “able to move for more than 200 meters (sic) safely and reliably”.The assessor also claimed that she had been “able to recall all of her medical details and history without prompting or referring to written notes”, when she had actually had to pass a written list of her conditions to her mother to read out for her.The county court awarded Haley £5,000 when Atos failed to offer a defence to her claim for damages.The battle to secure the correct level of PIP support has had a significant impact on her mental health, leaving her unable to leave her home.She now experiences “constant paranoia” about being misdiagnosed by GPs and other healthcare professionals. She has also begun self-harming.Haley, who has significant physical and mental health impairments, was also left so depressed by the assessment process that police had to be called to her home last year after she threatened to take her own life.As a result of the misleading and dishonest assessment, she was originally granted only the standard daily living rate of PIP, at £55 per week, instead of the enhanced rate, at £83, and was not awarded anything for mobility.She was only awarded the enhanced rate of daily living and the standard mobility rate after appealing to a tribunal, which ruled in her favour in March this year, 14 months after the PIP assessment took place.Because of the original decision, she was forced to rely on credit cards and financial help from her family, and was left severely in debt.Haley said she had only taken the court case because she was persuaded to do so by her disabled friend Bret Lowther, who was a law student.He took his own life in October, but his efforts helped secure her court victory.She said: “He and most others saw the toll that it had taken on me and how much further my health deteriorated. “I agreed to it, because he was going to deal with all the legal process and complaints to the various bodies.“I didn’t do it for the money, but Bret said that there had to be a monetary value attached to it.“I wanted and still do want this diabolical treatment of the sick and disabled to be exposed and stopped.” She said it was “exhausting constantly being worn down by the machine that is the Department for Work and Pensions and the PIP system. “It is rarely absent from my thoughts, and as a result my anxiety is through the roof.”She said she was “angry” that she and other disabled people were being “dismissed and lied about”, because “through no fault of our own we have found ourselves in unfortunate and reduced circumstances.“We are constantly being lied about, repressed and vilified. Many disabled people have become even further isolated by this system and have lost much, if not all of their care.”An Atos spokesman said: “We were made aware this week of this judgement and our initial internal investigation indicates that we did not receive the claim form at our registered office which is why no defence was filed to the claim.“Until this investigation is complete we must reserve our position.”last_img read more

Tom Watson will deliver a memorial lecture today t

first_imgTom Watson will deliver a memorial lecture today to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of John Smith, who led the party from 1992 to 1994.In an event hosted by the Fabian Society, Labour’s deputy leader is expected to make a speech that recalls his memories of Smith and celebrates the Labour tradition championed by the former leader.Watson, who strongly supports the idea of holding another EU referendum and recently set up the ‘Future Britain Group’ for Labour parliamentarians dissatisfied with the current policy direction of the party, will particularly highlight Smith’s pro-European internationalism.Smith regarded Euroscepticism, “whether of the right-wing independent trading nation variety or the left-wing ‘socialism in one country’ variety”, as “wrong-headed”, Watson will say. “If John was alive today… I have no doubt that he would have taken a stand very similar to that of his deputy, Margaret Beckett, and backed a People’s Vote as a way out of this destructive mess.”As he did at the second Future Britain Group meeting last week, the deputy leader plans to present Labour as the only party that can defeat the far-right. In a message especially aimed at Remainers, he will urge Labour voters not to stay home in the European elections.The Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, is widely expected to come first in the elections on May 23rd. “Farage and his far-right colleague, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, are trying to speak for Britain and define our country,” Watson will warn. “John Smith would have seen this plastic patriotism for what it was and exposed them for what they are – base nationalists of the nastiest kind; the ultimate cynics, playing on fears and lies.”The deputy leader will add: “There are only two forces that can win this election – that nasty nationalism of the Farage Brexit Party, or the tolerant, compassionate outward-looking patriotism of the Labour Party. I can only plead with Labour supporters – don’t stay at home, don’t put that cross elsewhere, don’t let them win.”Looking back on his personal memories of Smith, Watson will say: “I was a young man when John Smith died. I knew him, as well as a junior staffer at the party headquarters could know the leader. But ask anyone who worked with him, many of whom are here this evening, and we will tell you the relationship was more than one of dutiful subservience.“We loved him. We had faith in him. We believed in him. Those qualities that the British people so warmed to, and grieved when he died, when strangers wept in the streets, and brought flowers to the steps of 150 Walworth Road, were even more apparent up close. His warmth, his intellect, his humour, his determination and above all his values.“I was there on the night of the European Gala Dinner serving up the drinks, and myself and Iain McNicol walked him to the waiting car at the end of the evening. The last line of his speech that night was ringing in our ears – ‘please give us the opportunity to serve our country. That is all we ask.’ And that, as we know, was the last speech he made.”Tags:Tom Watson /Labour /John Smith /last_img read more

Mission Mans Quest to Trap His Backyard Pests

first_img Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0% I called my brother who spent his working life as a game warden for the State of California. He said, “Throw the traps away.” “But Tom they are brand new. Never been snapped” I replied. He said, “Throw them away and get some new traps. Wash your hands to the elbows and put on gloves. Set the traps and perhaps the rats won’t smell you.” It seems that Rattus rattus has lousy eyesight but can smell a fart from two blocks away. I followed the warden’s instructions. No luck.I turned to the Internet and found the perfect solution. An electronic trap. Four D cell batteries that load a capacitor. When the rat steps on the two plates they complete the circuit. Zap 10,000 volts and they win a quick clean trip to nirvana. I ordered a Raticator Max on Internet.  When the Raticator arrived it was handled like plutonium. I followed the instructions carefully. “Don’t stick your hand in the trap to test!” the instructions implored. Of course, the caution made sticking my hand into the zone even more appealing. I resisted. The results, Rats – 1. Raticator – 0.I used my security camera and a “Critter Cam” for details. Both use infrared to illuminate the goings on. The rats besides having horrible eyesight are red green colorblind. They can’t sense that the cameras are lighting them up. That made no difference, a keen sense of smell and cunning allowed them to avoid all the traps.Disheartened, I cleaned up the back yard and deck. I felt that I had failed. But I found that as soon as the cheese fragments, breadcrumbs, and corn chip flakes were gone, so were the rats.No food – no rats because Mission Rats are Smart rats.center_img Summertime in San Francisco is the time for fog, visitors and barbeques. After an evening of grilling I noticed that the motion sensing light on the deck was flickering. The fixture was replaced. The next morning, I reviewed my security cameras to see if the new light’s settings were correct. To my amazement I saw rats. Several rats were working the yard and deck dining on anything that had been dropped.Rattus rattus, the house rat, or as I now refer to them; The Genius Rats of the Mission must be eradicated. They are called “selective generalists” because they will eat about anything. I was reminded of the line in Ratatoullie  where Remy asked his cousin Emile “Just, what are you eating?” Emile’s reply was, “You know, I’m really not sure but after you get past the gag reflex a whole new world is opened.” In fact these guys prefer things like citrus, seeds, fruit, snails, but best of all pet food.Rattus rattus got blamed for the bubonic plague in Europe.  Actually, the fleas from the giant gerbil that worked the same habitat probably communicated the disease. My strategy was to first put out bits of cheddar cheese and no traps. As predicted, the night marauders gobbled up every piece. The next night I put an equal amount out but some pieces were placed in finger crushing snap traps. Mission rats are smart rats. The snap traps were avoided but the rest of the cheese was eaten with glee.I reviewed different methods of eradication. Glue boards appeared to be the absolute worst. The rats get stuck and struggle for freedom until they die. Glue was out. Then I considered poison. Nifty little containers with poison tucked inside make sure only the rats eat the bait. The problem here is that the poisoned rat seeks shelter, die and decomposes. Sometimes pets or raptors eat the weakened rats and are in turn poisoned.  Poison was out. The only quick solution was a snap trap. But, the rats avoided them like the plague. (Yes that was a sick pun.)last_img read more

AS the season entered its final phase it was a gr

first_imgAS the season entered its final phase, it was a great time for Saints Premium Lottery to celebrate another successful year in partnership with the Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice.Dave Wilde (furthest right) and John McCormack representing the hospice, accepted more than £2,300 at the London Broncos match, from Shaun Anders (pictured left).Zoe’s Place became a Lottery Affiliate in order to raise funds for their hospice, to enable them to continue their work.Based in West Derby, they provide respite and palliative terminal care for babies aged 0-5 with life threatening or life limiting conditions. All of their care is provided completely free of charge. This means that they must raise more than £1,300,000 every year to support their work. This is only possible with the kind and generous support of the public.On behalf of Zoe’s Place, we would like to thank the lottery members in West Derby, for your continuing support.If you would like further information on how Saints Premium Lottery could raise funds for your charity or other fundraising cause, please call the Lottery Office on 01744 455056 for more information.last_img read more

STHELENS have announced that Head Coach Nathan Br

first_imgST.HELENS have announced that Head Coach Nathan Brown will return home to Australia for family reasons at the end of this season.The Club will announce the appointment of a new Head Coach at an appropriate time during the close season.St.Helens Chairman Eamonn McManus stated: “Nathan received our blessing to apply for the Wests Tigers head coaching position and although not successful, the same family reasons for a return home still pertained. We therefore willingly agreed to grant him an early release regardless.“Nathan has done a great job in rebuilding the St.Helens squad over the last two seasons and we are very strongly positioned indeed for the future.“The Club’s focus is now entirely on winning the Grand Final at Old Trafford next week.“We are confident and the team is looking forward to this game with absolute determination and focus. As it is Nathan’s last game in charge, there is even more to play for and the motivation levels are even higher.”The Club will not be making any further statement at this time.last_img read more

More than 12 ocean rescues made during holiday weekend

first_img At Wrightsville Beach they had a total of ten rescues over the weekend. For Carolina Beach, they had between six and eight.Both ocean rescue teams said the rescues were not caused by rip currents and that this year was much slower than previous years. Ocean Rescue on Wrightsville Beach (Photo: WWAY) NEW HANOVER COUNTY, (WWAY) — Throughout Memorial Day weekend more than a dozen ocean rescues were made at area beaches.WWAY spoke with Ocean Rescue in Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Community comes together to help rebuild Carolina Beach pier

first_imgBracelets saying “#CBSTRONG” were sold at the fundraiser. to help raise money to rebuild the Carolina Beach pier. (Photo: Kylie Jones/WWAY) CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A community came together Saturday for a cause that is very close to people’s hearts.The pier at Carolina Beach was destroyed during Hurricane Florence. The repairs are just too expensive for the owners to do on their own.- Advertisement – Carolina Beach residents organized a fundraiser at The Last Resort Saturday afternoon to help rebuild the pier.Fundraising efforts included a barbecue buffet, 50/50 raffle and an auction.Donna Johnston and her family own the pier. She says the outpouring of support is amazing.“It makes us feel good. My family. To know that this island is unreal,” said Johnston. “And even Wilmington. The donations and stuff. I know everyone’s hurting right now. But they all gave to help out to help us rebuild the pier.”Johnston’s friends helped organize the fundraiser. They also had help from more than 300 sponsors.last_img read more

Wilmington firefighters honored for rescue during Hurricane Florence

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The firefighters of Wilmington Fire Station two are being recognized for one of the calls they answered during Hurricane Florence.The Lower Cape Fear Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution honored the men and women with certificates and medals for their heroic actions on Sept. 14, 2018.- Advertisement – It was an eye opening moment in the middle of Hurricane Florence, that touched everyone who saw it. “It’s a difficult situation for all of us,” Wilmington Fire Chief Buddy Martinette said.Wilmington Fire Chief Buddy Martinette was visibly emotional as the firefighters from fire station two prayed while trying to rescue a family of three crushed by a tree that fell on their home on Mercer Avenue.Related Article: Wilmington Police investigating after teen shot along Dock Street“In this particular circumstance they were not just praying for the family, but also for their brothers and sisters that are involved in all this,” Martinette said.Martinette said firefighters answer calls like this every day, but this one involved a few more challenges.“These people were out there during hurricane force winds,” Martinette said. “They were dealing with a massive tree that was on a house that was unstable. The wind was still blowing and moving it. They were trying to save somebody’s life during all this. It was a remarkable event to say the least.”The Lower Cape Fear Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution thought they deserved certificates of recognition.“The actions surrounding the recovery efforts on Mercer Avenue brought distinguished credit to the city of Wilmington and the Wilmington Fire Department, and were recognized throughout the nation,” Chapter President, John E. Stewart said.Martinette said they do not expect any kind of reward.“They’re humble enough that they appreciate it very much, but they certainly don’t expect it,” Martinette said. “They want to do a good job every day. They want to go and then they want to go back to the fire station and they want to do another good job.”Lesha Patrice Johnson, 41, and her eight month old child were killed on the morning of September 14 after that tree crashed through the roof of their home. Her husband was taken to the hospital with injuries.last_img read more

CFMB to stay open this weekend despite previously planned closure

first_imgCape Fear Memorial Bridge WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Good news for drivers! Bridge work has been completed ahead of schedule which means the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge will not be closing this weekend as previously planned.According to the City of Wilmington’s Traffic Twitter page, there are no additional closures planned for any upcoming weekends.- Advertisement – The bridge has closed multiple weekends since the beginning on the year due to the NC Department of Transportation working on extending the life of the bridge.The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is currently scheduled to be OPEN this weekend. There are no additional weekend closures currently planned.— WilmingtonNC Traffic (@WilmNCtraffic) March 21, 2019Get the latest traffic updates here.last_img read more

Uncollected voting documents can be picked up from tomorrow until Thursday –

first_img SharePrint Letters Scrabble Vote WordLetters Scrabble Vote Word The Electoral Commission says it will be distributing uncollected voting documents from its electoral offices tomorrow until Thursday 23rd May.These documents will be distributed through the Naxxar office and the Identity Card Office in Victoria, Gozo.The EC explains that in certain extreme circumstances, infirm voters should be accompanied to the electoral office by the driver and a second person who can present the voter’s ID or Residence Card to one of the Commissioners. They should be able to indicate the voter in the parked car.This applies to both the Naxxar and Victoria Gozo offices.The EC also explains that if the elderly or sick person is unable to be brought to the office, the Commission says that it will make the effort to deliver the document to their home. The EC provides the following phone number in order for a relative to call or contact the Electoral Office to provide the needed details.The office can be called on 21416848 or 21416857.Just one visiting hour in hospitals on ThursdayElections: Special medical form required for sick people in need to skip queuesElectoral Commission issues voting advice to non-Maltese residentsThe Electoral  Commission reminds all those persons collecting their voting document/s that their voting document/s may only be collected on a personal basis and on the presentation of the voter’s identity or residence card.Without the voting document/s, no one will be allowed to vote on polling day.WhatsApp <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more