Thousands sign petition launched by Bromley woman denied disability benefit

PUBLISHED: 12:30 06 December 2017

Amanda Flannery, 25, is petitioning the government to change personal independence payment's (PIP) recognition of invisible illnesses. Photo: Amanda Flannery

Amanda Flannery, 25, is petitioning the government to change personal independence payment's (PIP) recognition of invisible illnesses. Photo: Amanda Flannery


A woman with incurable and debilitating pain is petitioning the prime minister to reform the disability benefit system for those suffering from ‘invisible’ illnesses.

Amanda Flannery suffers from depression, fibromyalgia and complex regional pain syndrome and has been denied personal independence payment (PIP) three times.

PIP is a benefit which helps to cover the extra costs those who suffer with a long-term illness, disability or mental health condition incur.

In three weeks, more than 3,000 people have signed her petition to “reform PIP”, asserting that people with illnesses such as hers, which are not immediately apparent, are “not being treated fairly”.

The 25-year-old Basildon resident, who grew up in Anerley, said: “I am surprised. I didn’t expect to get that many signatures in such a short space of time.

“You are glad that it is not just you but at the same time sad that so many are affected.”

Amanda spoke of how her illnesses leave her with chronic, excruciating pain throughout the entire right-hand side of her body, fatigue and weak limbs.

She was forced to apply for PIP as the pain and weakness in her limbs meant she had to give up her job as an apprentice administrator at a pension firm.

The pain means she also struggles to cook and clean and a short walk around her local shopping centre requires a full day of rest to recover.

She twice completed a 35-page claim form submitted to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and was assessed by private healthcare professionals ATOS in May 2017 and May 2016. But both times she was denied support.

“The physical assessment lasted no more than a minute,” she said. “Being able to lift my leg and then put it down again is not the equivalent of working a full day.

“Imagine being in pain 24/7, in your arm and leg, and trying to push through work every single day whilst on drowsy medication.”

She added: “They said that because I spoke well and didn’t break down crying during the interview I was ‘mentally stable’, when I suffer with mental health.”

She appealed the second rejection, drawing attention to a note from her neurologist stating that her prescription for depression medication is above the standard dose, but was again denied.

Demoralised by the experience, Amanda regrets that she did not continue taking her appeal to the tribunal level, an opportunity which has now passed.

But now she hopes to alter the system through alternative means – petitioning.

“There needs to be more research on these illnesses,” she said. “And more understanding among people.”

PIP was deemed “fundamentally flawed” in a report released by charity The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain last week.

A Freedom of Information request submitted to DWP revealed that in the four years since PIP started, 31 per cent (4,100) of new claims from people with MS were found to be not eligible.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We introduced PIP to replace the outdated DLA system. PIP is a better benefit which takes a much wider look at the way an individual’s health condition or disability impacts them on a daily basis, and is tailored to suit each individual’s needs.

“At the core of PIP’s design is the principle that non-physical conditions should be given the same recognition as physical ones. Under PIP 29pc of claimants receive the highest rate of support compared to 15pc under DLA.”

You can sign the petition here and contact Amanda Flannery @AmandaLF25


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Bromley Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Bromley Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Bromley Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest news

Yesterday, 15:39

Acclaimed stand up Ed Byrne will soon be arriving at the Churchill Theatre as part of his biggest tour to date.

Tue, 11:32

The Chinese Year of the Dog arrived in Orpington on Sunday as The Walnuts Shopping Centre put on a special event.

Tue, 07:00

More than 100 young people from Police Cadet units across South London, including a teenager from Bromley, came together to receive prestigious Jack Petchey Foundation Achievement Awards, presented at the Kensington Great Hall on Sunday February 18.

Mon, 17:12

The UK’s leading retirement housebuilder, McCarthy and Stone, has announced that construction will soon commence at its forthcoming site on Manor Park Road in Chislehurst.

Mon, 14:46

A footballer from Bromley gambled £16,000 at a Mayfair casino using a stolen card, a court has heard.

Mon, 13:18

A leading law firm has acquired a competitor and vowed to strengthen the legal services provided to the West Wickham community.

Most read


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

Read the Bromley Times e-edition today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder