Amputee with ’80p to her name’ told she ‘wasn’t disabled enough’ for benefits

Rachel McCairns, from Stockon-on-Tees, said she faces eviction after her previous benefits were stopped because she failed to “score enough points.”

Amputee Rachel McCairns was told she no longer qualified for benefit payments (Image: Evening Gazette)

An amputee who had her disability benefits stopped says she risks being evicted from her flat with just 80p to her name.

Diabetic Rachel McCairns, from Roseworth in Stockton-on-Tees, has managed to learn how to walk on a prosthetic leg and find herself a job since the amputation five years ago.

But despite the 31-year-old sometimes still having to crawl to the bathroom because of her condition, she was slapped with the news she was no longer entitled to disability benefit payments in December 2017.

Ms McCarins, who has since received an advanced Universal Credit payment, said losing her previous disability benefit left her with just 80p to her name.

She says she now faces the prospect of eviction due to rent arrears, reports Gazette Live.

Ms McCairns is sometimes bed-bound and needs to crawl her way to toilet
The Roseworth resident is currently off sick from work

“I have felt like giving up”, she said.

“I have suffered with depression anyway and it has just targeted it massively.”

Ms McCairns was working as a manager at Home Bargains, claiming disability benefits and was getting around with the help of a motability vehicle after recovering from her amputation.

The 31-year-old is afraid she’ll be evicted because of rent arrears

But in December 2017 her disability payments were stopped after the DWP said she “didn’t score enough points”.

Mix-ups, legal wrangles and appeals have followed but Ms McCairns now faces the prospect of losing her other leg to the same condition, while a spell off work sick as a result has left her almost penniless.

She said: “I’m on the sick from work, the last payment I got was £60.

“I fell behind on my rent. I have got a month to move out and no disability money. Absolutely nothing.”

She says she’s since been forced to borrow money from friends and family and has been left worrying, “how am I going to buy a loaf of bread”.

Ms McCairns could soon lose her other leg too
Ms McCairns said she’s got a month to move out and ‘absolutely nothing’ from the DWP

The Stockton woman said some days she’s left bed-bound and has to crawl to the toilet on her hands and knees.

She added: “Every time I spoke to somebody (at the DWP) it’s a different story that I’m getting.

“I used to work for Citizens Advice, now I’m on the other side I can understand why people panic.”

Ms McCairns was diagnosed with type one diabetes when she was nine years old.

The condition meant she was dependent on insulin injections and pumps for most of her childhood.

Years later she was in Blackpool when she felt a sharp pain in her foot – that was in fact the bones in Rachel’s ankle exploding – due to years of high sugars attacking the nerve ends.

She has learnt to walk again after being given a prosthetic leg 

After a trip to A&E, she was told her ankle was badly sprained and was fitted with a non-weight bearing cast before going home.

Rachel went for a three-month check-up at her diabetic clinic, and it was there she was diagnosed with charcot – a rare foot condition which causes a sudden softening of the bone.

She continued wearing the cast to keep her foot in place,and was told it could take up to six months to heal.

Around 18 months later she was told the devastating news that her leg needed to be amputated.

She told Teesside Live that she faces the prospect of losing her other leg due to the same complications.

A DWP spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring disabled people receive the benefits they are entitled and have been helping Ms McCairns.

“She recently claimed Universal Credit and has received an advance ahead of her first payment.

“PIP helps with the extra costs of a disability and decisions are made following consideration of all the information provided. If someone disagrees with a decision, they can appeal.”