Colchester: One-legged man in fight for disability car

A ONE-LEGGED man, who had his specially adapted car taken away because he did not qualify for the benefit, has had his case brought to the attention of the Prime Minister.

Robert Oxley, 33, of Lime Avenue, Colchester, lost his leg in a motorcycle accident nearly three years ago and has only been able to regain some of his independence through the use of a prosthetic leg and a Motability car.

On Monday the Department for Work and Pensions took away Mr Oxley’s car because they said he no longer qualified for the Disability Living Allowance, which is assessed on a person’s mobility and care needs.

“Since they’ve taken the car away I’ve been stuck at home and I’m worried that I will lose my job,” said Mr Oxley. “I was told that because I could stand up on my prosthetic leg I didn’t fit the criteria, but I can hardly walk. It’s been very depressing.”

Mr Oxley, who has two young children with his partner Ana Green and two teenage stepchildren, lost his right leg and seriously damaged his left leg in an accident on St Andrew’s Avenue, Colchester.

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“The nerve endings and muscles in my left leg are still going through the healing process and it gets very tired because it has to bare more weight,” said Mr Oxley. “And I’m still having difficulty with my prosthetic leg which is painful.

“The friction causes sores on my leg – it’s like getting a painful blister on your heel and then having to wear the same shoes all day.”

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Mr Oxley works for industrial air unit manufacturer, Flakt Woods in Colchester, which has kept his position open for him and made provisions so he can work sitting down.

However, Mr Oxley is now worried that without his car he will have to give up working because he cannot rely on people always being available to give him lifts.

“I’m proud of the company I work for, they’ve done a lot for me and I want to go to work,” said Mr Oxley. “I don’t want to have to live off benefits for the rest of my life.

“I know that some people will scheme the system and try to get things left and right. I just need a bit of help so I can be more independent.”

Colchester MP Bob Russell has taken up the case and raised the matter during Prime Minister’s Questions.

He said David Cameron had agreed the case needed to be looked into because it was the Government’s intention that people with disabilities should be assisted back to work.

“Mr Oxley has overcome the tragedy of a serious road crash and has got back to work,” said Mr Russell. “His world has now come crashing down around him for a second time.”

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said Mr Oxley had been contacted about support that is available to him.

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