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New report highlights terrible toll that suffering a stroke takes on health and finances of victims and families in Bradford
7:00am Friday 21st September 2012 in News
Suffering a stroke is having a drastic impact on the finances of working-age survivors and their families in Yorkshire, according to a report published today by the Stroke Association.
Short-changed by Stroke is based on a survey of more than 2,200 people affected by stroke and stroke survivors’ experiences of applying for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and undergoing the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
In Yorkshire, there are 91,500 people living with the effects of a stroke. Findings from Yorkshire stroke survivors aged 25 to 59 who completed the survey, include: Almost two thirds (58 per cent) reported an increase in household bills and expenses; over two thirds (77 per cent) of people whose income went down reported the main reason for this was because they were now unable to work; half cut back on food and 64 per cent tried not to turn the heating on and the majority (78 per cent) were worried about their financial future.
Those affected the most are working-age stroke survivors who, unable to return to work, are coping with a fall in income, increased household bills and a benefits system that fails to fully understand the impact of stroke. Julia MacLeod, head of operations for the Stroke Association in Yorkshire, said: “Stroke is often thought of as an older person’s issue, yet about a quarter of strokes occur in people of working age.
“Our report shows the heavy financial impact of stroke on families who may face a dual loss of income at a time when financial commitments are likely to be at their most stretched. Not only are they struggling to make ends meet on a day-to-day basis, but they are unable to plan for their future financial security.”
“Stroke survivors face additional problems when seeking Employment Support Allowance telling us that too often the wide ranging impact of stroke is not understood. Having a stroke is bad enough, but too many stroke survivors have to fight for financial support when they should be focusing on recovery.”
Stroke Association is calling on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to make sure: l The benefits system is fair and respects the dignity of stroke survivors and their families.
l All assessors and DWP staff are trained to understand the impact of stroke and recognise the range of the disabilities it causes.
l The guidance that assessors use in the WCA is clear and accurate on the hidden effects of stroke.
l DWP learns from the mistakes that have been made with ESA and the WCA and do not repeat them when the Personal Independence Payment replaces Disability Living Allowance.
For more information visit: stroke.org.uk/short-changed.