A female victim of an acid attack had to endure the distress of attending a tribunal to get her ESA restored despite having 50% burns to her face and body.
In yet another example of the heartlessness of the work capability assessment process, the anonymous victim was awarded 0 points on reassessment for ESA.
Yet the claimant had undergone repeated episodes of reconstructive surgery, suffered severe physical and mental health issues as a result of the attack and can neither sit nor stand for any length of time without pain.
She rarely leaves her home except for visits to her GP, the hospital and the local shops.
A Maximus health professional found that the claimant had no problems with any of the activities in the work capability assessment and awarded her zero points, in spite of the fact that she had previously been in receipt of ESA.
Yet a tribunal took less than 20 minutes to conclude that the claimant scored 24 points and was entitled to ESA.
The claimant was represented by a pro bono solicitor from Hammersmith and Fulham Law Centre because legal aid is no longer available in the overwhelming majority of benefits cases.
Her representative told the Guardian:
“This case should not have been before a tribunal. Already our client is suffering from life-changing burns that have a significant impact on her physical and mental health. The anxiety of appealing the decision and attending a tribunal has been extremely upsetting.”