Chorley man who was badly injured in hit and run told he's fit to go back to work

A factory worker from Chorley whose leg is clamped in a metal frame and says he can barely get his socks on never mind walk, has been told he can work.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 9:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 10:19 am
Stuart Hill was left with major injuries after being involved in a car crash. He's now been knocked off his benefits as the DWP says he can work even though he still can't walk yet

It means Stuart Hill, 32, who lost 5cm of bone from his leg in a hit and run and is recovering from major surgery, has seen his benefits cut.

Stuart, who is living with his girlfriend in Adlington, says “it’s disgusting” that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has cut his benefits by £112.

But the DWP says that although Stuart may not be able to go back to his physical role as a factory worker, there is still other work out there which he could do.

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Stuart Hill's leg injuries

“I can’t even get my socks on properly,” said Stuart. “I’m on Universal Credit and I’ve still got this frame on because I still can’t work but the Department of Work and Pensions has said I

can work.

“They’re saying I’m capable of working. I don’t know who to turn to. I am on antidepressants.

“I’m living off my partner. She works full time and it’s lucky that she does because I’m in her house. It came out of the blue. They called me for an assessment even though nothing has changed. The frame’s got to stay on for at least another six months and they know that very well. It’s shocking.

“I’m only getting in about £300 at the moment. I’ve paid taxes for 10, 11, 12 years. It’s disgraceful.

“When I go to the job centre they hang their heads in shame.”

Stuart was hospitalised for 20 days after he was found one night in July 2018 seriously injured after the hit and run in Telford, where he used to live.

He has to wear a Ilizarov frame to aid his recovery after he had three operations on his leg, 30 stitches in his leg and face and abrasions on his back.

But now Stuart, who is making a good recovery, has seen his Universal Credit docked from £440 to £328 per month after officials took his Employment and Support Allowance off him, claiming he was capable of working.

Stuart’s benefits were cut on April 8. He says his boss at his old factory job in Telford is willing to take him back once he has recovered but the DWP says he is fit to work now.

Following his assessment The DWP sent Stuart a letter dated April 8, 2019. It states: “We are writing to you because we have looked at your claim and decided we can’t pay you Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

“This is because your Work Capability Assessment shows that although you may have a disability, illness or health condition, you’re now capable of doing some work.

“We realise this may not be the same type of work you’ve done before. But we can help you identify types of work you can do, taking into consideration any disability, illness or health condition you may have.”

Stuart has since appealed the decision which the DWP has thrown out.

A DWP spokesman said: “Decisions for ESA are made based on all the information that’s available to us at the time, including evidence from a claimant’s GP or medical specialist.

“A review of Mr Hill’s case has upheld the decision, but if someone disagrees with their assessment then they can appeal further to an independent tribunal.

“Mr Hill continues to be supported by the local jobcentre and is in receipt of Universal Credit benefits each month.”

A letter from Stuart’s consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham sent on April 15, 2019 says: “This is to inform you that Stuart Hill is under our care, undergoing complex reconstruction of his right leg following an open fracture.

“He lost approximately 5cm of bone which we have managed to regrow for him and he is currently healing well in his circular frame.

“I anticipate the frame will be on for approximately another six months.

“It is worth noting that while the frame is on, I anticipate that Stuart will continue to have problems standing or walking for prolonged periods of time.

“He will also have trouble negotiating stairs or uneven ground.”