A SCOT whose chronic illnesses “rule every part of my life” has said his fight to receive the benefits he is entitled to has been an uphill battle with the DWP.

Donald Fergusson said with sky high food, energy and fuel prices eating into his budget, he’s stopped using his cooker and only uses his mobility car for essential journey.

The 56-year-old, from Kyle of Lochalsh, spends most of his time in his one-bedroom flat, after chronic pain in his leg and kidney issues limited his mobility.

Fergusson broke his leg in the early 2000s, and ever since it’s caused him tremendous amounts of pain. During that time, he completed a degree at in Gaelic and Celtic civilisations.

Having been brought up on farms, Fergusson continued farm work into his adult life, which was disrupted by his injuries.

In 2008, he experienced kidney failure. He managed to get a transplant but remains in bad health.

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Fergusson told The National: “I do just get on with it, but at the same time it rules every minute of your life. I mean literally, it rules everything in your life.

“I’m still chronically exhausted. I can lose a complete day in bed. I fall a lot and I end up in hospital quite a bit with broken bones. I walk with two sticks now to try stop me falling.

“I suppose that sounds a bit horrible, and I suppose it is, but you have to get on with it.

“Even going to a shop is a major effort. I have a Motability car, but the UK Government even tried to take that off of me not that long ago – as if I’m going to grow some kidneys and my leg is going to sort itself after 22 years.

“I had to go through the whole process again. I couldn’t believe it.

“You don’t really think of anything else. That’s all that’s on your mind all the time.”

While Fergusson has a Motability car, he said spiralling petrol prices makes it financially unviable for him to use it as much as he needs to.

And like many in the UK, he’s feeling the pinch from surging energy costs too.

He said: “There’s three main things which I am sure are the same for everyone.

“Electricity prices are astronomical and I only live in a one bedroom flat.

“I was brought up living in farm houses and no matter how much I was paid, I can’t imagine heating up one of those these days. I am only in a one-bedroom flat, which is the easiest place to heat I have ever been in, and I am still using more [than] the amount I was using a day.

“And then there’s petrol. Luckily, I don’t usually go anywhere anymore. And with food, some things are doubling in the space of a week around here.

“I don’t really have anything left to sacrifice. I don’t go out to eat and I am already careful with what food I buy.

“I don’t drive now unless I purely have to.

“And with electricity costs I don’t even put the cooker on now. I just use the microwave.”

Fergusson said despite his long-term, chronic illnesses, it’s been a hard-fought battle with the DWP to get his benefits, having to appeal to get them back.

The UK Government’s own statistics show that 65% of DLA appeals are successful. Fergusson is among the majority who had their benefits reinstated.

He said as the Scottish Government takes over key benefits from the UK, he hopes things will change for people like him, and that the process won’t be as long, gruelling, or as repetitive as the system the UK Government has been accused of running.

“If I could work, I’d work. I didn’t spend all those years as a student to sit on my backside for the rest of my life,” he said.

The DWP were contacted for comment.

If you have been affected by the cost of living crisis, contact Craig.Meighan@newsquest.co.uk or head to https://www.thenational.scot/my/ccn/assignment/rsWpHpmi/