Disabled Livingston war veteran battling cancer could lose home after DWP axe benefits
Hodgkin’s lymphoma sufferer George Brodie who served six years in the Army as a combat engineer and fought in the first Gulf War has been declared ‘fit for work’ by the DWP.
The 52-year-old, who was left with a number of health problems following his military service has been diagnosed with cancer but has had his disability benefits cut.
And the Livingston-born former Royal Engineer has said that his treatment proves the Military Covenant – a promise from the nation that those who have served are treated fairly – was ‘a lie’
George, who served with the Royal Engineers before leaving the Army in 1992 is set to lose around £500 when his benefits are cut and he is forced to claim jobseekers allowance.
He has been receiving disability benefits since 1993 but has now been declared able to return to work.
His housing benefit will also be affected by his “fit to work” declaration.
Speaking to the Daily Record he said: “For a while after I came out of the Army, I was homeless. I eventually got my house and that really saved my life.
“My home is the only place where I feel really safe and now I could lose everything.
“I have no idea what to do and where to turn. It is a total nightmare. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do.
“I have struggled to get by for 25 years on these benefits and my health has been deteriorating the whole time to the point where I am struggling to look after myself.
“Is this how Scotland and the UK look after their veterans?”
He added: “I had a medical assessment for the benefits agency four weeks ago. It was the first one for years.
“When I turned up, the person said, ‘You look fit and well’. It was as if it had all been decided before I even showed up.
“It is an utter disgrace. How is this any way to treat anybody, let alone somebody who served their country?
“Then I got a letter on Thursday stating I am fit for work, my disability benefits have stopped and I have to find a job or claim jobseeker’s allowance.
“I struggle to feed myself and I seldom leave the house due to chronic fatigue, insomnia and depression.
“I just sit in here and keep myself to myself. Now, I have this massive amount of stress and I may have to try to find work.”
“I have been getting incapacity benefit since 1994 and have been struggling to cope with all the conditions such as epilepsy, chronic fatigue, insomnia and nausea, to name a few – all of which are Gulf War related.
“It is bad enough dealing with that, then you get hit with this news about the benefits and everything else. It throws your world upside down.”
He also stated that he had been homeless in the past did not want to suffer the same experience again.
He said: “I was homeless for a year and I don’t want that to happen again. I feel lost and don’t know where to turn.”
A DWP spokeswoman said: “We deeply value the service of our veterans and provide special provision for them and their families through the Armed Forces Covenant.
“We’re committed to ensuring that disabled people get the right support that they need.
“Decisions for ESA are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.
“Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal.”