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Woman blinded by weedkiller eventually receives disability benefit

Wendy Dykes
Wendy Dykes Image credit: walesonline.co.uk

A woman who lost her sight after she was covered in weedkiller at the supermarket she worked for has eventually been awarded a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) after having to wait over two years.

Wendy Dykes has endured numerous tribunal hearings in order to receive the benefit after the accident occurred in 2010.

After months of campaigning the 59-year-old from Port Talbot, Wales, has eventually been paid £16,000 in PIP back payments.

Wendy told WalesOnline: “I was made, at times, to feel like I was lying and it's wrong.

“I don't want anyone else to go through what I went through.”

She was rushed to a local hospital immediately after the accident which left her with damage to her lungs forcing her to carry an ‘airways alert’ wherever she went ever since.

The operation almost cost Wendy her life after she stopped breathing on two occasions during the procedure.

A second operation the following year saw Dykes unable to speak for the next twelve months, when she regained ability to talk Wendy lost her sight.

In 2014 she unsuccessfully applied for PIP, it was not until 2019 when Dykes made her second claim for the allowance with the support of Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock.

Despite her disabilities Wendy tried to return to work, but the stress was too much and Wendy was forced to stand down in 2017 suffering from mental health.

She said: "It has been a waking nightmare. My medical reports all said that my condition would get worse over the years. I first applied for PIP in 2014 but the judge point blank refused and said it was my employer's responsibility.

"I did try and go back to work but it left me on an 'airways alert'. I've got breathing problems and I'm now registered blind. It's made me diabetic, and I have neuropathy in both feet.

"I tried to go back but I couldn't do it, I stopped working in 2017. I've been told there is nothing more that can be done for me and I can't have any more surgery on my airways that are closing down".

MP Steven Kinnock said: “I am delighted we were able to secure this vital victory for Mrs Dykes but it is appalling that anyone in her situation should have to endure such emotional stress and financial hardship over such a long period of time to receive what is rightfully theirs.

“The UK Government must ensure everyone who is entitled to Personal Independence Payment receives what is due to them."

A DWP spokesman said: “We’re committed to making sure that people receive the support they are entitled to. Decisions are made using all the information that’s available to us at the time, including from a person’s GP or medical specialist.

"If someone disagrees with that decision, then they have the right to ask for a review.

“After reviewing Ms Dykes’ case, we have now backdated her PIP award in line with her condition.”

Wendy Dykes is now reliant on a full-time live-in carer.