Wheelchair-bound pensioner to lose a fifth of her care

Mary Sutton, 81, from Middleton, has been told she can keep all of her allowance
Mary Sutton, 81, from Middleton, has been told she can keep all of her allowance

A disabled pensioner is ‘horrified’ to learn she is likely to lose a fifth of her financial care package.

Mary Sutton, 81, from Middleton, has been wheelchair-bound for several years after contracting polio when she was 26.

She requires round-the-clock care to help her wash, dress, and cook meals because of her progressive physical disability.

But after a recent assessment she has been told her monthly disability allowance will drop by around £240.

“I was horrified when I found out,” she said.

“I already spend all of my pension on my care as well as my savings.

“I currently spend double what my allowance is out of my own money. I am totally reliant on care because I can’t walk anymore.”

Mrs Sutton is among thousands of disabled and elderly people in West Sussex currently undergoing assessments for their needs.

The assessments are being cared out by West Sussex County Council ahead of the introduction of the government’s Care Act in April next year.

Mrs Sutton, a former headmistress, can no longer straighten her spine because of her poliomyelitis.

She currently has four visits from carers each day, totalling 4.5 hours.

She says at no point before her assessment was she told she may lose some of her package, but was actually given the impression her money may go up.

“I am so angry, I just feel totally hoodwinked,” she said. “The people who look after me at the care agency say I should have at least five hours a day, and before the assessment I was told ‘let’s see what we can do to get you some more’.

“Now I’ve been told what they’re giving me should be adequate because it will pay for three hours of care a day.”

The government’s Care Act has been called ‘the biggest reform in social care in 60 years’ and will see many thousands reassessed.

Mrs Sutton, who plans to appeal, said: “I have such wonderful family and neighbours around to help which allows me to stay in my own home. But I worry for others losing their care who aren’t as lucky as I am.”

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we recently reassessed Mrs Sutton’s needs as part of the Care Act and the outcome is subject to an appeal.”

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.