Amnesia sufferer Nikki Pegram loses benefit

Nikki Pegram and son Freddie Image copyright Chris Johnston
Image caption Nikki Pegram takes her son Freddie to school, but cannot remember where his classroom is or his teacher's name

A woman who was left thinking every day is 15 October 2014 after she hit her head in a fall has had her disability benefit payments cut.

Nikki Pegram, 28, from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, has had memory loss since a fall a year ago.

She used to work as a pub manager and claimed a personal independence payment because of pre-existing health issues.

The Department for Work and Pensions said Ms Pegram's circumstances had changed and she was entitled to appeal.

Ms Pegram fell and banged her head as she was leaving Kettering General following an appointment for a knee problem last October.

'Relies on diary'

She developed anterograde amnesia, which means she cannot create new memories and believes each day is the day of her hospital appointment.

She takes notes and reads the diary each morning to help her get through the day.

Her partner Chris Johnston said: "She lives her life on a day-to-day basis - she doesn't know what she did yesterday, last week, last month.

"She has to rely on the diary she's got and she has to rely on me."

Before the accident, she claimed personal independence payment (PIP) for her physical health problems, which included chronic pain, osteoporosis and polymyalgia.

Park keeper Mr Johnston hoped they would be entitled to more help.

Ms Pegram was reassessed and has since been stripped of more than £200 a fortnight.

She is entitled to claim about £70 a week, dependant on a GP note, in employment support allowance, Mr Johnston said.

'Training every day'

"She can't work - she won't know where's she working, what she's doing, you'd have to train her every day."

Image copyright Chris Johnston
Image caption Nikki Pegram had not been given a definitive prognosis for her amnesia, her partner said
Image copyright Chris Johnston
Image caption Chris Johnston had his 40th birthday and said his partner was upset she could not remember the celebrations

Mr Johnston said they would appeal, but he did not expect the case to be settled for many months.

The DWP said: "Personal independence payment is awarded on the basis of how someone's condition affects them rather than simply on the condition itself.

"Decisions are made after consideration of all the evidence, including an assessment and any information provided by the claimant and their GP."

Correction 10 September 2015: This report has been amended to clarify Ms Pegram's status regarding her fitness to work and her receipt of disability benefits.

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