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Disability benefit is axed for ten-year cancer battle victim
A MAN who has been fighting cancer for 10 years is dismayed after officials said they would take away his disability benefit.
Former caterer Paul Marlow, who used to serve food to the Royal Family, has been told he is no longer entitled to the £218-a-month Disability Living Allowance.
His income from benefits has now dropped from £990 to £772 a month and he says the cut will have an impact on his day-to-day life.
The 55-year-old from Barton has had bladder cancer since 2003 and is due to have his 38th operation later this month.
But, after a medical assessment, he was told he does not qualify for the money for his mobility and care needs.
He also suffers from arthritis, the lung disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.
He said: “It is stressing me out. I don’t know what this Government is playing at. It is penalising the disabled.”
Mr Marlow, of Meadow Brook in Stowford Road, has gone into remission three times but was told the cancer had returned again in February.
He uses a mobility scooter and a walking stick to get around.
His only other income comes from fortnightly £386 income support payments and he said he was unable to go back to work as he was so ill and needed to take time off regularly.
Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre in Oxford is now helping Mr Marlow appeal before the cash is taken away from him in November.
In an appeal letter he plans to send to the Government, he says: “I was very surprised by this decision since my health conditions and their impact on my life have changed very little since my last application and, if anything, have deteriorated rather than improved.
“I still have significant mobility needs and have difficulty with personal care during the day and night.”
Van Coulter, Labour Oxford City Council member for Barton and Sandhills, said the decision was “disgraceful”.
He said: “He is genuinely suffering. It is completely disgraceful that a person as vulnerable as Paul is being treated this way. It is indecent and deplorable.
“Whatever Paul uses the money for is up to him. He has huge mobility problems. From time to time he is flat out and cannot move.”
Mr Marlow worked as a caterer for 28 years in London before he moved to Oxford.
He worked at venues including Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Clarence House.
He served the royal family including the Queen, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and the Queen Mother.
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, secretary of state for work and pensions between 2002 and 2004, said he would be happy to try to help Mr Marlow.
He said: “I have had a number of quite harsh assessments on eligibility for disability benefits drawn to my attention and always do my best to help my constituents.
“A lot of those cases are overturned on appeal, which shows the weaknesses of the procedure.”
Department for Work and Pensions spokesman Cindy Ferguson said: “Disability Living Allowance is paid to help people who are unable to walk or virtually unable to walk or do things like wash and dress themselves or carry out everyday activities.
"A decision on entitlement is based on what a person tells us on the claim form and any supporting evidence we receive.”
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