Woman allergic to shoes ruled fit to work

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chocolate shoes

Tracy Kenny, a 45-year-old mother from Eccles, has been unable to work for the past 20 years because she's allergic to shoes. However, after collecting over £100,000 in benefits over that time, the government has ruled that she's fit to work.

So why have they rejected her disability claim, and is this the most unusual about-face on disability benefits?

Allergy

Kenny had her disability benefits withdrawn last year after a medical test, and her appeal was rejected at tribunal.

Kenny told the Daily Mail that she was allergic to dust, rubber, glue, nickel and metal - which means that if she wears shoes she gets painful eczema. In the past, she has had special clogs on the NHS - made from untreated wood and canvas - but she had a reaction to them. Instead she goes barefoot and only leaves home on a mobility scooter.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the condition developed 20 years ago, when she was working in a factory. She developed contact dermatitis in her hands and feet and was unable to work. That's when she started claiming benefits.

Now she takes 20 tablets a day, plus various creams. She cannot wash her own hair or cook. During a reaction, her husband needs to take time off work to care for her. Margaret Cox, of the National Eczema Society, told the Manchester Evening News that an allergy to shoes was 'not at all uncommon'. She added: "People just don't understand just how awfully painful a severe eczema can be."

It would seem bizarre that this assessment should decree that a woman who cannot wear shoes is still able to work. However, as we reported at the end of last month, it's not the first time that the assessment process has produced an odd result.

Unusual decisions

At that point Richard Alcock, a 62-year-old former civil servant from Bury, who was registered blind at 18 months old and walks with a stick, was ruled fit to work. He said that the tests found he could lift one arm above his head, stay in the same place for an hour, control his bladder, and stay conscious. And as a result they concluded he was well enough to work.

And he's not the first. There was also Elenore Tatton, a 39-year-old mother from Dedridge in Livingstone. She had suffered a brain tumour at the age of 15, and the complications meant she was never able to work. She was ruled fit to work in July and died three weeks later.

Then there was heart and lung transplant patient Linda Wootton from Rayleigh, who was ruled as fit for work in January. When she received the letter informing her, she was in hospital. She died nine days after her benefits were stopped.

Last November, Brian McArdle was declared fit for work - despite being paralysed down one side of his body, blind in one eye and unable to speak. He died of a massive heart attack the day after his benefits were stopped.