Hemel Hempstead woman who suffers up to five seizures a day left jobless and facing eviction

A woman from Hemel Hempstead has seen her life turned upside down since she started having seizures two years ago culminating in being served with an eviction notice.

Monday, 9th May 2022, 10:33 am

Kelsei Barnes says she is in thousands of pounds worth of debt and facing eviction after being unable to work due to suffering unexplained seizures.

The 25-year-old says that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has made her situation worse after placing a sanction on her benefits claim.

The sanction came after she failed to go to her job centre appointment for fear of having a seizure on her journey and being mugged – for a second time having been attacked once before.

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The 25-year-old has been having unexplained seizures since 2020.

The DWP has said that they have spoken to Ms Barnes and have cancelled the sanction on her claim.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We have spoken to Ms Barnes, who has explained that she has health conditions that impact on her ability to attend appointments in person and is facing financial difficulties.”

They added: “On that basis we have agreed to end the sanction on Ms Barnes’s claim and we are looking into what further housing support might be available.”

The DWP also said that they are looking at Kelsei’s housing situation and what more support there might be for her.

Kelsei says that she is in debt and faces eviction after not being able to work due to her seizures.

Her unexplained seizures started in 2020 while she was working at a canteen.

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In 2021, she started working at Butlins but was having up to 20 seizures a day.

Kelsei was unable to do daily tasks and needed a neighbour to keep watch as she bathed, through fear of drowning in her bath.

She said: “If I'd have the support at the beginning, I wouldn't be in like 10 grand worth of debt.”

Kelsei says that due to stress and being unable to buy food, she has also experienced extreme weight loss.

Kelsei has reached out to Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning regarding her claim with the DWP.

Sir Mike says that he has taken up her concerns with the department and is waiting for a response.

She said: “I've been trying to make [the DWP] understand that I'm not a bad person. I really want to go back to work. Trust me. I hate sitting here all day in my own thoughts - just doing nothing.”