Sunday 22 July 2018

Woman given 18 months to live endured four-month wait for disability allowance

'I would just like some compassion… some of the people in social services are lacking in empathy'

Jacinta Flemming at her home in Dunkerrin, Co Offaly. Photograph: James Flynn/APX
Jacinta Flemming at her home in Dunkerrin, Co Offaly. Photograph: James Flynn/APX
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

A terminally ill mother was forced to endure an agonising four month wait for her disability allowance to go through.

Jacinta Fleming (52) was diagnosed with terminal lung and bone cancer last year and was given 12 to 18 months to live.

She continued to work in a secondary school in Roscrea, Co Tipperary after her diagnosis but due to her declining health had been forced to reduce her work hours and supplement her reduced income with Jobseeker’s Allowance.

In early summer she started passing out at work she decided it would be best to switch to a disability allowance.

She applied in July - her jobseekers allowances ceased in September - and she was forced to wait months for the disability allowance to come though.

She is unable to backdate the payment.

Jacinta Flemming at her home in Dunkerrin, Co Offaly. Photograph: James Flynn/APX
Jacinta Flemming at her home in Dunkerrin, Co Offaly. Photograph: James Flynn/APX

Her husband works in retail 28 hours a week but she says between hospital bills and school costs this is not enough to make ends meet.

As a result Jacinta has been forced to continue working.

While she says her employers couldn’t be more supportive, she says the waiting and continuous form filling has added to the emotional strain she is under.

"I feel they just want me to go away, stop bothering them, lay down and die," she told Independent.ie.

"This is not a cold, this is not going away, we’ve paid our taxes and we need more money to survive. There is so much bureaucracy - but in these cases you need to deal with the individual. I would just like some compassion… some of the people in social services are lacking in empathy."

Jacinta was recently forced to reschedule a hospital visit in Dublin because she could not afford to travel up.

She said worrying about allowances coming through in time is an unnecessary stress for someone living with a terminal illness.

"It is draining I should be concentrating on spending time with my family and thinking about my health not this."

A spokesperson for the Department of social protection said they do not comment on individual cases.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News