Living on £17 a week

PUBLISHED: 13:54 13 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:30 15 June 2010

A HONITON couple are being forced to live on £17 a week due to a benefit loophole, they claim. Tina and Nigel Say, from the Heathfield area of town, have seen their disability and carer's allowances drop from £90 a week to £17 because Tina's disability st

A HONITON couple are being forced to live on £17 a week due to a benefit loophole, they claim.Tina and Nigel Say, from the Heathfield area of town, have seen their disability and carer's allowances drop from £90 a week to £17 because Tina's disability status has been lowered by the Government from medium to low.Tina, 46, is currently undergoing tests on hip and back conditions and has needed a wheelchair to get around for the last two years.Nigel, 45, was forced to give up his job in order to care for her."As of January 29, I had my disability allowance reduced because I can still use my arms," said Tina."Well, I can't walk on my arms!"But I can't do anything on my own, Nigel has to help me with absolutely everything. We've had to make £17 last a whole week."We've got £1 and one penny in the meter and he's eating left over spaghetti bolognese."How are we supposed to live on this money?"I've got medical reports everywhere saying I need care and we've appealed against the decision, but they say it will take six weeks to sort out the claim."Because Nigel is not available to work, he cannot qualify for jobseeker's allowance and, because Tina's disability has been reduced to 'low', he can no longer claim carer's allowance.He said: "Tina is in pain 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. She can't work!"The Government have not properly assessed her case and they don't have anything in place to look after disabled people in their own home."I worked for 29 years before I became Tina's carer."Where has all that income tax and National Health Insurance gone?"The disability people even suggested we borrow off friends and family!"Hopefully they'll take notice of the appeal, but it shouldn't have got to that point."If I had money I'd leave this country, it's an embarrassment."We're obviously not the only ones in this situation, there must be thousands out there."We've got no food in the cupboards."The Department for Work and Pensions was investigating the couple's claims as your Herald went to press.

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