A SINGLE mother suffering from a debilitating rare disease effecting her whole body has been left "disgusted and appalled" after being judged ‘fit to work’.
Natalie Stokes, of Saint Agnes Close in Studley, suffers from Cushing’s disease, a condition where the body produces excess steroid hormones.
She had her disability benefits withdrawn eight weeks ago.
Natalie had her allowance withdrawn after an assessment carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in January deemed her 'compos mentis' and fit to work - despite both her GP and consultant brain surgeon providing a sick note.
The 33-year-old was diagnosed with Cushing’s last year after countless trips over eight years to see her GP.
She started claiming employment and support allowance (ESA) last January.
She said her condition, which has deteriorated over the years, is "changeable" and suffers fatigue, nausea, insomnia, irritability, memory loss, poor concentration and as a result depression.
Physically, Natalie is tackling life-limiting side affects which include, extreme weight gain, excess hair growth, a rounded 'moon face' due to fat deposits, thin skin, boils and severe pains from movement and incontinence.
She said she was "disgusted and appalled" at her benefits being withdrawn.
"Yes I can raise my hand above my head but I am by no means 'fit for work'", she said.
In February, she was instructed to visit Redditch Job Centre for an interview but shortly into the meeting an assistant told her there was no point continuing it as Natalie was too unwell to work.
Following the meeting, on the advice of job centre staff Natalie reapplied for benefits with depression but recently received a letter turning her down.
Natalie, who has a five year old son named Charlie, is currently undergoing treatment and doctors believe she has developed a second pituitary gland tumour at the base of the brain after recently having one removed.
Her father Thomas, has Parkinson’s disease and dementia, and despite Natalie’s condition she tries to help mother, Cathie, care for her dad but admits the pair "help look after each other".
Prior to her condition she worked all her life.
She said: "I was raised with good work ethics and from two weeks after leaving school held down a full time job and even attended evening college to train and become a counsellor."
"I have ambition and can’t wait to be well enough to work but the fact is at the moment I am not capable."
She is now considering talking her case to tribunal.
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman said: "The decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough independent assessment, including all available evidence provided from the claimant’s GP or medical specialist. Anyone who disagrees with the outcome of their assessment can appeal."