My name is Charlotte Smith. I studied animal care at college, work in my local Co-op store and volunteer for an animal charity. I’m also profoundly deaf and I’ve spent the past three years fighting the government for benefits I need to live on. I had received Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for as long as I could remember.
My mum and I relied on it for day-to-day expenses and the costs that come with being deaf. I also have coeliac disease, and a strict gluten-free diet is expensive. When I was about to turn 18, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) told me my DLA was ending and I had to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
It was really upsetting at the time. I’d been on DLA for years and my hearing was never going to change. It felt like I was being told I wasn’t deaf anymore…
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