Registered disabled – but polio sufferer is 'fit to work'
A disabled man who spent years wearing leg braces and has suffered mobility difficulties ever since has reacted with dismay to being deemed fit to work under the Government's reassessment scheme.
Despite being registered disabled, Tony Holley, pictured right, scored zero out of 15 points in the Work Capability Assessment process.
The heavily criticised Department for Work and Pensions re-assessment involves a questionnaire devised by Atos Healthcare to determine whether disabled people are eligible for Employment Support Allowance or are capable of working.
Since suffering polio in childhood, the 58-year-old, from Exmouth, was condemned to years wearing calipers and has undergone numerous operations on his left leg to get it to bend.
Buy one get one free on main course and specials excludes fillet steaks and beef Wellington
Must book to qualify 01209 860332 and present voucher on arrival
Mon- Thur 6-9pm
Contact: 01209 700617
Valid until: Saturday, December 21 2013
As a result, Mr Holley has been able to walk, but one leg is around two inches shorter than the other and his left knee cap frequently displaces, severely restricting his mobility. He also has problems with the mobility in his foot and suffers from muscle-wasting in his thighs.
A secondary effect of the issues with his lower body has created back and hip problems for Mr Holley, who suffers from chronic back pain. He has been using crutches for the last two years.
Despite being registered disabled his whole life, Mr Holley chose to work and spent 14 years as a car mechanic at Leeses Garage in Exmouth and latterly spent eight years as a wheelchair repairer for Pluss. Around two years ago he finally gave up work when pain management became too difficult.
"When I left school I threw my calipers away, otherwise I was going to be sat around like an invalid," he said.
"I really didn't want to give up work. I'm not the sort of person to want to sit around watching television all day.
"I gave up a good wage to have nothing, and now we have to rely on my wife's wage.
"I've worked and paid my taxes all my life, now I need something back."
When Mr Holley took his case to an appeal tribunal in Exeter in July, he was awarded nine out of 15 points. He is now appealing the verdict and has expressed his upset that none of his medical records were considered at the appeal.
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken after consideration of all the supporting medical evidence provided by the claimant."