A disabled woman who lost her disability benefits

first_imgA disabled woman who lost her disability benefits because of a controversial reassessment process took her own life just two days after being told her appeal had failed.The body of Susan Margaret Roberts (pictured) was discovered by a care worker at her warden-assisted flat near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, surrounded by letters telling her that she would not be entitled to the government’s new personal independence payment (PIP).The long-term claimant of disability living allowance (DLA) had also placed a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) note by her side.There have been many cases involving deaths connected with claims for out-of-work disability benefits and the work capability assessment (WCA) system, but this appears to be the first time a death has been closely linked to someone losing their support in the move from DLA to PIP.An inquest into the 68-year-old’s death did not record a verdict of suicide, and no-one from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or its assessment contractor Atos gave evidence at the hearing last September.But her daughter, Hayley Storrow-Servranckx, is convinced that she would still be alive today if it was not for the flawed PIP assessment system.She told Disability News Service (DNS): “If it wasn’t for PIP, my mum would still be here.”DNS has collected more than 100 cases of PIP claimants who have raised serious concerns about their assessments, following a two-month investigation that suggested an institutional problem that spreads across DWP and the two private sector contractors – Atos and Capita – that assess PIP eligibility on its behalf.Susan Margaret Roberts died on 19 May last year, just two days after receiving a letter from a benefits tribunal telling her she had lost her appeal against the PIP decision.She had had to return her Motability vehicle several weeks earlier, as a result of the DWP decision to refuse her PIP claim.Storrow-Servranckx is determined to secure answers from DWP and Atos, the company that carried out her mother’s face-to-face PIP assessment.She said: “I want their apologies, and I want to know that they are going to try their hardest to change things, so it doesn’t happen to other people.“There needs to be a change. They are killing people. It can’t happen to other people.“It has just left so much destruction. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”She added: “I don’t want them to get away with it. I want them to know that my mum existed.“I feel like they killed her. That’s how I feel.”Her mother had a number of long-term health conditions, including significant mental distress and “very severe” fibromyalgia – which meant she often slept all day and night, except for a few hours every evening – had had four major heart attacks, and had a serious bowel disorder that meant she needed daily colonic irrigation.She had previously received an indefinite award of DLA, at the higher rate of mobility and the lower rate of care.But after her PIP assessment last year, she was awarded just six points for the descriptors that are used to decide eligibility, which meant she was told she was ineligible for PIP, even though her impairments meant that she had to be visited by care workers every day.Storrow-Servranckx, who is herself disabled and receives PIP, said: “When they found her, she was surrounded by her PIP letters and her DNR letter.“Her PIP letters were never out. She always kept them filed away.”John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle Campaign, said the case was “utterly heart-rending”.He said: “The catalyst for the establishment of Black Triangle Campaign was the suicide of our friend Paul Reekie of Leith, Edinburgh, following a WCA carried out by Atos.“These circumstances are remarkably similar to what happened to Paul, only this time the suicide occurred following a PIP assessment carried out by the same firm. “Like the WCA, the PIP assessment is underpinned by the so-called ‘biopsychosocial model’ of disability created by the corrupt and predatory US medical insurance industry.“It was designed with the express purpose of denying disability claims so as to maximise profits: it is as far away from evidenced-based medicine as it is possible to get. It is also lethal. “If we truly lived in a civilised society operating under the principles of justice and the rule of law there would  be an immediate police investigation into all the circumstances surrounding Susan’s death – leading to the prosecution of all concerned, including crown servants and ministers working out of the DWP.” He added: “We cannot even begin to imagine the suffering that this tragedy has inflicted upon Hayley.“There can be few things in this life more painful than losing a mum before their time, owing to the despicable actions of this government and it’s henchmen and women who operate this disability assessment regime. “What have we as a country become? We demand justice for Susan and for all victims of this barbaric and hateful system.”Storrow-Servranckx believes there are important questions over the way her mother’s PIP claim was dealt with.Among them are an apparent refusal to accept further evidence that she wanted to submit about her claim.On an envelope containing a letter her mother said she was not allowed to submit to DWP was written a scribbled note in her hand-writing, which said: “This is my evidence that the DWP would not send to them in response to their first letter of refusal of my claim.“It contains information that is crucial to my claim. Reconsideration ie the mandatory notice was made without this.“I would be very grateful if you could consider the contents yourselves.”Her family have not yet seen the assessment report that was completed by an Atos assessor and led to her being given only six “descriptor” points and therefore ineligible for PIP.A DWP spokeswoman said: “Suicide is a tragic and complex issue. Our thoughts are with Mrs Roberts’ family but there is no evidence to suggest any link between her death and her benefit claim.“She said neither DWP nor Atos believed they had made any mistakes in this case, and pointed out that the independent tribunal had “upheld the original decision”.Asked if DWP believed that the report written by the Atos assessor was fit for purpose, accurate and an honest representation of the impact of the claimant’s impairment, she said: “Decisions for PIP are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.“The independent tribunal upheld the original decision.”She said the department did not accept that Roberts was refused permission to submit further medical evidence.She said: “Claimants are always welcome to supply further medical evidence, but it is not guaranteed that it will change a PIP decision.“Mrs Roberts was informed of this during [a] phone call on 24 February.“We want to use the widest range of evidence when we assess PIP claims, so we encourage claimants to provide us with any relevant evidence or information they already have that explains how their condition affects them.”A spokeswoman for Motability said: “We were unaware of Miss Roberts’ death before your email and would like to offer our condolences to her family.“Although Motability works closely with the DWP on issues related to the Motability scheme, Motability has never had any role in determining who should receive DLA or PIP; that is solely the responsibility of the DWP.“As such, we are unable to comment on the assessment process.”last_img read more

SFs shop local ethic disrupted by clickhere convenience

first_imgMission Local will be looking at this transformation in an occasional series, “Shop Local Disrupted.” We began with a video profile of the owners of Artillery AG. We’ll talk to the bicycle shop owner who discusses the difficulty of accommodating the shopper who orders parts online as well as the grocery store owners who have scrambled to appease customers who want instant delivery. We’ll look at how shops on Valencia and elsewhere are adapting. You will hear owners and customers talk about what is being lost and what is gained and policy makers will discuss how these changes will impact plans for the urban retail of the future.Shop LocalNo one seems to know exactly when the whole shop local craze began, but its genesis coincided around the time in the early 1970s when E.F. Schumacher published Small is Beautiful, an economic treatise that offered an appealing, if unheeded, rationale for the local economy. “From the point of view of Buddhist economics,” he argued, “production from local resources for local needs is the most rational way of economic life…”That may be, but as he was writing, capitalism was spinning out the Walmarts, Targets, Home Depots and other big box stores that would come of age in the 1980s to decimate the small purveyors that served mainstream America. These and other franchise models spurred new formula retail laws in San Francisco that successfully protected some of the city’s commercial corridors from becoming homogenous duplicates of other American cities.Now, franchises, big box stores and the made local producer are all being disrupted by e-commerce.The transformation Terplan and others talk about is particularly acute in San Francisco. Not only have e-commerce sales grown steadily – representing 8.3 percent of all U.S. retail sales in the last quarter of 2016, from just over five percent five years ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau – but this encroachment is happening here at the same time as commercial real estate rates have skyrocketed.Steven LeMay at Retro Fit is facing the possibility of having to relocate after 21 years on Valencia Street not because he lacks customers who come for the experience of finding cast-off gems in his vintage store, but because the new landlord wants more rent. Others, like Laura James, closed Ruby, a gallery boutique, because of the competition from e-commerce.“The days of a small-time entrepreneur with a passion opening on the corridor are mostly over,” said Sean Quigley, president of the Valencia Street Merchant Association and owner of the 25-year-old curiosities store Paxton Gate at 766 Valencia St. that may have been one of the first stores on Valencia to offer shoppers a different experience by the very nature of its merchandise.“Occasionally, I hear about landlords who care more about what type of business is in their building than they do about trying to maximize their rents,” he said. “Every now and then a small timer finds a spot that no one knew about. But it’s becoming less frequent. And with real estate management companies taking over where you used to have one-on-one relationship with your landlord, that’ll only get worse.”Higher rents mean that locally-owned shops in the Mission and Hayes Valley now have pricier merchandise. But the change in buying habits puts any conventional upscale brick and mortar store in peril.A New Kind of Commercial Corridor          The businesses that survive will either accommodate to the changes or close. This is happening at such places as Artillery AG, which recently renovated, winnowing the number of artists it represents, adding a florist and a photo booth.Economists see the commercial corridors of the future as places that offer experiences that can’t be purchased online. This could mean more restaurants, entertainment venues or a place like the Mission’s Urban Putt that combines miniature golf and food. Already, some traditional retail stores are adding new features like the in-store coffee and tea bar that Benny Gold on Valencia recently opened.In this new environment, it is no surprise that the Mission has gained a half-dozen new barber shops in the last year, that a new fitness or exercise boutique seems to open every month and that the Mission has 10 ice cream producers  in 1.5 square miles, the latest one, Smitten replacing a small retail store.So far, the city’s response to the changing retail environment has mostly been focused around the Calle 24 Cultural district and Mission Street. There, its efforts have resulted in restrictions on combining storefronts on 24th Street and in marketing efforts to attract Latino shoppers around the Bay Area to the Mission for a cultural experience.Diana Bernal Ponce De Leon from the city’s office of Economic and Workforce Development acknowledged the changing environment and said the marketing effort recognizes that residents would rather use their “valuable time around an experience.”To that end, she said, the city is framing the Calle 24 cultural district as well as the more than 400 businesses on Mission Street between Duboce and Cesar Chavez as a cultural experience.Still, it is difficult to ignore the reality of what kinds of businesses are moving onto those streets. Among the newest tenants on 24th Street is a brewery and on Mission Street a new dispensary. The new Mexican restaurants are upscale. All, however, are businesses that have a shot at surviving the click-here buyer’s quest for a new experience.We asked Steven LeMay, the owner of Retro Fit, a vintage store on Valencia Street, what happened to the Shop Local Ethic. 0% Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% The hip, independent store owners of Valencia Street like to think they have nothing in common with franchised America; just as the owners of Artillery AG, an art and design store on Mission Street see their customers as different than those after mass-produced art. But, that is no longer true. Homogenized America and the Mission have more in common than ever before.For just as surely as the rise in e-commerce is triggering Walmart, Sears and other big box stores to close hundreds of stores across the country, it is also closing one or two-person shops throughout the Mission and San Francisco.“We are experiencing a major transformation in retail and how people purchase,” said Egon Terplan, a regional planning director with SPUR. “It’s directly having an impact on brick and mortar stores and in some ways we are in the very beginning of that transformation.”To be sure, San Francisco retail has had the double whammy of e-commerce and high rents, but rents will plateau while e-commerce will only continue to grow. No longer is San Francisco’s independent retail movement protected by the shop local ethic. Instead, like the rest of the country, it must accommodate to the click here consumer or die. Related StoriesVIDEO: SF Art Store Struggles Against E-CommerceThe Local Grocery StoreValencia CyclerySan Francisco Mission’s Depression era facelift.  last_img read more

Photo essay The Artists and Vendors of Sunday Streets

first_imgValencia Street was awakened by the joy of crowds during Sunday Streets this weekend. The car-free event came back to the Mission from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., bringing music, dance, food and creative minds from around the Bay along with it. Among the many booths stretched across the bustling expanse from Duboce Avenue to 26th Street were vendors selling varied items including paintings, balloons, hats and books. Providing entertainment were musical groups, DJs, dancers and street performers, enticing those who were curious. We talked to some of those artists and vendors. Frida Kahlo shirts for sale. Photo by Ashvini Malshe. Dave and Darien, of the musical duo “Frenchie,” perform. Photo by Ashvini Malshe.The booth belonging to the “hat lady” of Sunday Streets. Photo by Ashvini Malshe.Homemade hibiscus ink by artist Kaytea Petro of City Art Cooperative Gallery. Photo by Ashvini Malshe.Books written by the students of 826 Valencia. Photo by Ashvini Malshe.Felipe y las Estrellas del Mar perform bachata. Photo by Ashvini Malshe.Korene, aka “Fortune Kookie,” a professional entertainer and balloon artist. Photo by Ashvini Malshe.Frank Cruz of the Puerto Rican restaurant Mission Boricua. Photo by Ashvini Malshe.A sign that reads “close the camps.” Photo by Ashvini Malshe. Email Addresscenter_img Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletterlast_img read more

He joined teammate Mark Percival in bagging a brac

first_imgHe joined teammate Mark Percival in bagging a brace as Justin Holbrook’s men put in a professional performance at the Halton Stadium.It gave Saints the Karalius Cup as well as keeping them out front at the top of the Betfred Super League.Saints got off to a great start when Ryan Morgan opened the scoring in the seventh minute – after Widnes couldn’t handle Ben Barba.The full back forced a drop out with a piece of improvisation on the last and then went right on the resultant set to find Morgan for his first of the season.Mark Percival then extended the lead with the easiest try he will ever score.A simple kick on the last into the corner bounced kindly in front of Danny Craven, but instead of the fullback taking it the chasing Percival picked his pocket.Danny Richardson making it 10-0 with the conversion.Scrambling defence stopped a certain Charly Runciman try on 16 minutes and two minutes later they halted another Widnes attack under their own sticks.Saints failed to heed the warnings though and after back-to-back sets Wellington Albert hit a fine line to get the hosts back into it.Thankfully, the momentum shift was short-lived as on 28 minutes, Richardson put a grubber into the in-goal and Percival touched down for his second.Richardson nailing a peach of a conversion from the touchline to give Saints a 16-6 half time lead.Saints’ task of securing the win was made much harder one minute into the second half as Luke Douglas saw yellow for a tackle on Danny Craven.But after Widnes had one chalked off on the following set, Saints went right down the other end and scored.Fages linked up with Ben Barba and the full back skipped through three defenders to put down over the line.Still a man short, Makinson then scored one of his specials.Roby’s short pass sent Zeb Taia through the middle only for him to be hauled down about 20 metres out.From there it went right, through hands, with Barba and Peyroux linking up to put the winger acrobatically over in the corner.His second was just a special with the finish matching the sheer class of the  build up.On the last, Saints chanced their arm, Kyle Amor offloaded and the ball found its way to the winger off the back some wonderful linking play.It was a fine way to bring up his 100th try for the club.Saints could have had more points as the clock wound down but instead they produced an excellent goal-line stand to keep the Vikings out – as it has pretty much been all season.Match Summary:Vikings: Tries: Albert Goals: Gilmore (1 from 1)Saints: Tries: Morgan, Percival (2), Barba, Makinson (2) Goals: Richardson (2 from 6)Penalties Awarded: Vikings: 8 Saints: 9HT: 6-16 FT: 6-28REF: C KendallATT: 6706Teams:Vikings: 15. Danny Craven; 2. Stefan Marsh, 4. Charly Runciman, 24. Edward Chamberlain, 22. Ryan Ince; 33. Aaron Heremaia, 7. Thomas Gilmore; 10. Alex Gerrard, 21. Jordan Johnstone, 26. Edward Chapelhow, 16. Thomas Olbison, 17. Samuel Wilde, 28. Bradley Walker. Subs: 19. Greg Burke, 20. MacGraff Leuluai, 23. Danny Walker, 36. Wellington Albert.Saints: 23. Ben Barba; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace; 6. Theo Fages, 18. Danny Richardson; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Dom Peyroux, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin. Subs: 7. Matty Smith, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles.last_img read more

Rare Disease Day Woman describes life with painful Dercums disease

first_imgSHALLOTTE, NC (WWAY) — Imagine every minute, every second, you feel pain throughout your body. One woman in the Cape Fear says a rare disease has made that her reality.Meet Tamara Toman. She lives with Dercum’s disease.- Advertisement – “Some of them start to burn or it’s like being stabbed multiple times,” Toman said.Doctors diagnosed her with the disease several years ago. On different parts of her body are these bumps called Lipomas, which are the source of the pain she feels.“When you touch the Lipomas, they’re very painful,” she said. “It’s sharp. It’s a constant pain that I always have but when I bump my lumps or things like that I get extreme pain. Excruciating pain.”Related Article: Historic face transplant gives suicide survivor a ‘second chance’That pain comes from doing basic things like housework or even going to the mailbox just a few feet away from her home.In order to deal with the pain she uses different medications, but with the opioid epidemic and doctor offices cracking down on prescribing narcotics, it’s making things difficult for her to take the edge off the pain.“I get both sides of that,” Toman said. “I get that it is an epidemic. I get that something needs to be done. But not at the expense of people who live with chronic pain and need that medication to have any quality of life.”She says eventually she will lose full mobility because of Dercum’s disease. A disease where there’s only treatment and no cure.Toman says there are not many treatments to deal with the disease. She started a support group on Facebook for other people dealing with it and communicates with people across the world living with the rare disease every day.If you are living with Dercum’s disease and would like help, click here.last_img read more

Hurricane Florence could produce extreme flooding to North Carolina

first_imgMany local residents remember the devastating flooding impacts from Hurricane Matthew. (Photo: WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Hurricane Florence has been quickly strengthening Monday and is on route to severely impact the Carolinas at the end of the week.This catastrophic storm is keeping meteorologists, like the StormTrack 3 Weather Team, across the mid-Atlantic busy tracking where and when Florence will be making landfall.- Advertisement – The category 4 storm is expected to bring life threatening impacts especially flooding.Wilmington’s National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Steven Pfaff has been hard at work updating the local community on what to expect with this storm.“Currently, the bulk of the rain is forecast to occur across eastern North Carolina and some places over 10 inches but if the track slows down or is just to the left then those high rain totals could cover a large portion of southeastern North Carolina versus staying to our north,” said Pfaff.Related Article: Operation BBQ Relief serves up thousands of hot mealsThe current track extends the possibility of landfall from South Carolina to northern Virginia but the impacts will extend even farther.Pfaff said Florence’s current track puts southeastern North Carolina in the pocket to get tons of rain and he is closely eyeing how this will effect our river basins.“From the northeast Cape Fear, Black Creek, Lumber, Waccamaw,” says Pfaff. “All of those rivers in our area could potentially see significant flooding. If the track brings higher rainfall amounts that axis of rain farther south and into our area.”July was wet and August was rather dry which experts say balanced our rain totals for the season but Florence could bring a big shift, depending on its track.There have only been 26 category 4 hurricanes to ever make landfall in the us since 1850.last_img read more

CFPUAs extended waiver and what that means for electronic payments

first_img(Photo: CFPUA) WILMINGTON, NC (Press Release) — As a reminder, CFPUA has extended our waiver of all disconnections and late fees. The grace period, which began on September 11, will now run until further notice.If you previously signed up for automated draft services or automatic payments, these drafts will continue to occur on the date indicated on your bill. If you need to cancel the electronic payments, please call Customer Service at (910) 332-6550. It takes a couple of days for the cancellation request to be established between CFPUA and your bank.- Advertisement – We hope our customers are safe and wish to thank them for their consideration and patience as our staff continues to work through the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.last_img read more

Teachers and students rally for school choice

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A rally was held Wednesday at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington in honor of National School Choice Week.Students and teachers from schools like Wilmington Preparatory Academy, Oasis NC, and Glow Academy got to enjoy student performances, listen to speakers, and even win prizes.- Advertisement – The event was put on by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, a non-profit that advocates for parents to choose what school their child goes to.President Mike Long says parents always know what’s best.“We’re for education reform,” Long said. “So where schools have not done well or are failing, we want to step in and help them get better. Or, if they can’t get better, we want to provide opportunities for parents to decide where they can go to a school that best meets the educational or special needs of their children.”Related Article: Michael Franti to play 2 Wilmington concerts this summerAttendees also heard from DJ Svoboda who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age three and has since gone on to become a motivational speaker and creator of PBS show “My Imagiville.”last_img read more

Watch Todays drugs are worse than ever Anġlu Fenech

first_imgAnġlu Fenech said that modern illegal drugs are worse than ever.Whilst talking to Newsbook.com.mt, Fenech who has been working with Caritas for the past 23 years said that during the years he had seen a number of changes, be it in the work procedures, the professionality of those rendering service as well as the different types of available drugs.He added that current there is a large amount of synthetic drugs that was not available before and that young people order such drugs from the internet.“Started working with Caritas on the 1st of June 1996”Before joining Caritas, Anġlu Fenech was a well-known unionist and he had spent many years working at the General Workers’ Union (GWU). Less than 48 hours after retiring from the GWU he went to San Blas which is administered by Caritas and told them that he is ready to help out. When asked why he was so eager to join in the battle against drugs, Fenech said that two years prior he gave a speech at San Blas and got attached to the place and the people that the founder, Dun Victor Grech told him that he could start helping once he retires from his union job.Caritas Malta which is currently led by Anthony Gatt is a Church entity that offers free services particularly in the rehabilitation following drug abuse, poverty stricken persons, families with social issues, social justice and personal development.Watch: Camini..amo donates €19,000 to Caritas MaltaHis greatest satisfaction whilst at CaritasAnġlu Fenech also explained that he is mostly satisfied when he gets approached by a former rehabilitation inmate whose life has changed to the better, with work, a family and a home. He continued saying that something that gives him a lot of satisfaction is when he sees young people graduating and then continuing in the right path and Dun Victor Grech’s radiant face on the occasion of a graduation.Sixteen graduate from Caritas’ rehabilitation programmeWhatsApp <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintlast_img read more