Ashby man's bad sight stops him finding work - now he can't get benefits
A man who has extremely poor sight has been told he will no longer be eligible to receive benefits.
Ken Hercock, 57, of Ville Road, Ashby, is registered partially-sighted with North Lincolnshire Council and the Blind Society.
He had been claiming Employment and Support Allowance of £100-a-week, but he had his benefits stopped at the end of April due to new austerity measures by the Government.
He was told that because his partner Joanne works more than 24 hours a week he is no longer eligible for the benefits.
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Since then, Mr Hercock has been trying to get back into work.
"It's quite hard," said Mr Hercock.
"I don't do anything really. Because my partner works, I stop at home and cannot go anywhere.
"I have a white stick to use if I go out myself, but I don't like it. I worry about things and people don't seem to move."
Mr Hercock has some vision, but has got no spacial awareness in terms of depth and distance, so his day-to-day independence is limited.
He worked at Levers furniture for 20 years before joining Scunthorpe's steelworks and moving on to a job in security.
But in January 2009 Mr Hercock lost his job, which required him to use observational skills, after he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, which can cause problems with vision in dim light and peripheral vision.
"I've contacted various people about my problem but nobody seems interested. I want to see if anyone out there is willing to give me a job, even though I use a white stick," he said.
All those claiming employment and support allowance – which has replaced incapacity benefit – are currently being re-assessed under plans aimed at getting more people into work and reducing the welfare bill.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Works and Pensions, said Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was being changed.
"ESA for people in the work-related activity group was never intended as a long term benefit but an interim measure for those who are expected to move into work.
"A time-limit of one year strikes the best balance between allowing people to adjust to their health condition and paying contribution-based benefits for an appropriate length of time."
To help Ken find work, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org