A Grantham woman who was attacked by serial killer Beverley Allitt has won a long battle to get her benefits reinstated.
Kayley Asher suffered permanent injuries when she was targeted by Allitt, a nurse, in Grantham Hospital in 1991. She was awarded damages of £11,500 and later granted £120 a week in disability benefits.
The Department for Work and Pensions cut off those benefits about 18 months ago and demanded she repay the money because they say she had more than £16,000 in savings as a result of the compensation and interest paid on it.
But following an appeal, the DWP has now said Kayley’s benefits will be reinstated.
Kayley’s father, Alan Asher, told the Journal: “It’s fantastic news. The DWP have responded to their mandatory reconsideration notice and have overturned their decision, so Kayley has at last had her benefit reinstated.
“We are very grateful for the Grantham Journal’s support and also for all the hard work the benefit advisor from Grantham CAB has given us both with advice and representing us in all legal matters.”
Kayley will get £8,500 in backdated benefits and her weekly payments have been restored.
Mr Asher and his wife Sharon fostered Kayley and her sister in 1992 and later adopted them in 1998. Kayley was awarded the compensation after Allitt was convicted of causing her grievous bodily harm with intent. It is believed Allitt injected Kayley with air into her armpit, causing a heart attack. Doctors said Kayley may never walk or talk but she did make a recovery.
Mr Asher said the money was even more important to Kayley following an operation to replace her hip in 2012 during which she technically died when her heart stopped, causing brain damage.
A letter from a DWP official to the family said: “On March 3, 2016 a decision was made that Kayley Asher is not entitled to contribution based Employment and Support Allowance in Youth from August 19, 2010 as she does not satisfy the qualifying criteria. I am able to change this decision.
“After seeking expert advice I am satisfied from the information provided that Kayley Asher was in full-time secondary education whilst attending Grantham College up to July 14 2010.
“My revised decision is that Kayley Asher is entitled to contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance in Youth from 19 August 2010.”
A DWP spokesman added: “Decisions are based on the information provided. After we received further details about Ms Asher’s circumstances, she was found eligible for Employment and Support Allowance.”