A Fife mother who lost two children murdered by her husband fears losing her home after her disability benefits were stopped.
A medical assessor has ruled June Martin is not eligible for crucial disability benefits despite being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and depression after losing her children, Michelle, 25, and Ryan, seven.
Their father Rab Thomson, June’s then-husband, was jailed for life in 2008 after repeatedly stabbing the children and leaving the bodies in beds to be found by their mother in their Buckhaven home.
June has struggled to rebuild her life but benefits assessors have ruled she is not eligible for crucial disability benefits.
June, 58, who now lives in Ayrshire, told The Sunday Post: “I’ve been treated like some kind of scrounger and put on trial, although I’ve done nothing wrong.
“My former husband, who murdered our children, doesn’t have to worry about keeping a roof over his head or where his next meal is coming from but now I do.
“I’ve been made to feel a burden on society. Maybe it would be better if I wasn’t here.”
Calls have been made for a review of her case after a Department for Work and Pensions tribunal last week upheld the assessment of the Independent Assessment Service – formerly Atos Healthcare – that June is not eligible for crucial disability benefits, calling her “limitations” insufficient to meet the benefit threshold.
June, who has two surviving sons, Shaun, 37 and Ross, 30, had previously received £55.10 a week.
She said the benefits assessor only “wanted to know if I could spell ‘world’ backwards and hold my arms above my head”.
“Neither the assessor or the tribunal last week seemed to want to know about the trauma I suffer daily reliving finding my children posed as if they were asleep in their beds, or pulling back the covers to find them stabbed to death,” she said.
“I’ve battled so very hard to try and go on, but I’ve had to accept I’ll never get over finding my babies murdered, their blood on the walls and over their toys and teddy bears.
“My disabilities are invisible. They cannot be tested by spelling a word backwards or holding my arms above my head.
“Questions were thrown at me, one after the other. I couldn’t think straight to answer them properly.
“I don’t know from one day to the other how I will feel, sometimes from one hour to the other.
“I can get up and go to the supermarket for a loaf of bread one day, but if I hear a child crying it takes me back to the murder scene.
“A smell, a song, someone laughing like my Michelle used to laugh, brings it all back and I have to run away from it.”
The benefits assessment report describes her mental state examination as “unremarkable”.
She said: “I’m now terrified I will lose my rented flat because I can’t keep up the £35 a week I have to find to make up the difference to housing benefit.
“I must have moved over a dozen times. Just when I finally found a little peace and somewhere I can feel safe, I fear it’s all going to be taken from me.
“I’ve tried far too many times to take my own life because I just feel there is nothing for me to live for and this has left me feeling like that again.”
DWP slammed for ‘cruel’ treatment
MP Patricia Gibson described the case as shocking and said: “This is yet another example of the DWP letting down vulnerable people when they most need support.
“Those living with mental health challenges are poorly understood by DWP assessor and this has to change.”
Campaigner Ann Marie Cocozza, who has spent years supporting families affected by murder, said: “I’m bursting with anger and frustration over how June has been treated, it’s particularly cruel.
“Personally, I think the DWP is guilty of gross discrimination against those with mental health issues.”
Stephen Brown, head of North Ayrshire Council’s health and social care partnership, said: “The benefits system often fails to recognise the impact of trauma and its long-term debilitating nature.
“Our psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers have known this for years and much of their time is spent supporting people.”
A DWP spokesman said: “This is a sensitive and distressing set of circumstances. We will continue to ensure Ms Martin is receiving all the benefits she is entitled to and gets the support she needs.”