A DESPERATE dad refused life-saving medical treatment in protest at being refused disability benefits.

Ian Calvert, 57, stopped using his kidney dialysis machine, despite tearful pleas from his wife, Jill, after being told that new Government rules meant he didn’t qualify for support.

Assessors changed their minds on day three of Mr Calvert’s protest and five days after he last used the machine.

The father, from Guisborough, who has worked his whole life and never claimed benefits before, is supposed to use the machine for two-and-a-half hours, five days a week. He has been told by doctors never to go seven days without using it.

Mr Calvert, of Guisborough, who continues to work 12-hour night shifts as a night supervisor at a chemical haulage firm, also has severe arthritis. He can’t bend, walks with difficulty and has problems using steps and getting into cars. Even sitting down is painful for him and he has special pads on his chairs at work.

The Government has changed disability allowance to a new scheme called Personal Independent Payments (PIPs) which involves an assessor personally examining claimants.

Mr Calvert explained his wife had four part-time jobs, but gave a cleaning job up as a cleaner to help him use his dialysis machine and get to work.

It was only then, in May, they considered applying for the benefit. They waited until September to be told ‘no’ and then appealed only to receive another refusal on Monday.

He said: “The letter came that I didn’t need assistance. I thought, "Well, if I don’t need assistance, I don’t need the machine".

"Jill has been in tears a few times and we didn’t tell our son, Ben, who is in the navy in Portsmouth, but I was determined. In my mind I just said: "Keep on going to the end."

“I had swelling in my legs and feet and your body fills with toxins. You feel very, very tired. If you don’t use the machine eventually you drown, your body holds that much water.”

He said that he supported changes to the disability benefits payment system, but argued the changes had to be fair.

He said: “It all needed a good shake-up and I know of shirkers who get pay-outs. The trouble is the shake-up was wrong. When there’s a genuine case it should be taken seriously and the whole process takes far too long in any case. There must be thousands of good, genuine people up and down the land in pain suffering unnecessarily.

“I’m grateful they changed their mind but people shouldn’t have to go to these extremes to persuade the authorities to look again.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), which deals with disability allowances, said about £14bn a year was spent on various disability benefits payments.

She said: “Personal Independence Payment isn’t awarded because of a specific condition, but rather how it affects someone's daily living and mobility needs.

"Anyone who disagrees with a decision can ask the Department to look at the case again, presenting any new evidence they may have. If they still remain dissatisfied with the outcome of their reconsideration they can appeal."

PIPs is paid out under two criteria. One is based on the need for care support and payments can range from £53 a week to £79. The other is based on mobility issues and payments from £21 a week to £55.

Mr Calvert, who contacted The Northern Echo before being told the DWP assessors had changed their minds, has been informed he will receive money for care, and his mobility claim will be reassessed next week.

He was told the DWP civil servants changed their mind based on new information, which may be due to a social worker’s letter sent in at the time of the appeal.

Mr Calvert explained the NHS had paid £6,500 to convert a room in his house to accommodate £15,000-worth of machinery.