AN ARTHRITIS sufferer who struggles to dress himself and cannot walk unaided is being backed by medics after seeing his benefits slashed.

Former warehouse worker Gary Hulme, of Blurton, says he has been left in financial turmoil after seeing his Disability Living Allowance (DLA) package cut from £​460 per month to £​75.

And the 43-year-old, who lives with wife Jane, faces an as-yet-undisclosed hefty bill from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after a tribunal judge back-dated the order to strip him of the cash.

Experts described Gary as "​clearly cognitively able"​ and said a medical assessment did not reveal "​significant physical problems"​.

But Gary said today: "​I feel disgusted and have no faith in the system at all."​

Gary was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the upper body, at the age of 21 and led a normal life thanks to medication.

But Gary was working when he suffered severe pain in his wrists as he tried to lift a package at Kidsgrove-based Rockwood Pigments in 2007.
His condition worsened and he began to suffer pain in his hips and chest, which led to him being signed off sick.

Following medical tests he was diagnosed with costochondritis, a benign inflammation of the ribs'​ cartilage, and polyarthritis, a type of arthritis which involves five or more joints simultaneously.

The conditions have left Gary needing to take 10 different types of medication every day.

His home in Waterside Drive has also been fitted out with a stairlift and a hoist to help him in and out of the bath.

Gary added: "​I worked all my life and I even tried to get a job where I worked from home when I was first diagnosed, but I was told I was simply unfit to work.

"​Jane has to help me in the bath and dress me.

"​She works all day and then has to come home and do even more.

"​When she is at work I just have to stay upstairs as I cannot use the stairlift alone."​

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