Benefits bosses hounded my disabled lover to death – because he went on charity bike ride

They stopped Nathan Hartwell’s allowance, accused him of lying about his condition and demanded £11,000 after learning he had cycled to raise £2,000 for Help for Heroes

The family of a man stripped of disability allowance because he did a charity bike ride say ­benefits bosses hounded him to death.

Nathan Hartwell, 36, died of heart failure after an 18-month battle with the ­Department for Works and Pensions. They stopped his allowance, accused him of lying about his condition and demanded £11,000 after learning he had cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End and back to raise £2,000 for Help for Heroes. The DWP pursued Nathan even after prosecutors dropped a benefits fraud charge against him.

Reports by two surgeons said although walking caused him pain, he could ride a bike. The former IT salesman had contracted a flesh-eating bug aged 15 and needed vein transplants. He was forced to give up work at 27. His disability was so bad he was told by doctors before one operation that he might lose a leg.

Girlfriend Karen Colam said: “The DWP carried out a sustained campaign against Nathan and the pressure killed him. He had never had heart problems. Giving up work devastated him but he was in terrible pain every day. He could barely walk 10 yards. He thought he was making a difference to war heroes when he did that ride.”

Nathan was found dead hours before a Citizens Advice appointment about his case in January. Karen said: “My world fell apart.” His dad Rob, 60, added: “We’ve no doubt he gave up as he couldn’t face the stress.” Nathan was on morphine as he spent three months in 2010 on his 2,000-mile ride. Karen of Perranporth, Cornwall, said: “Nathan’s pain was immense so I’ve no idea how he managed to finish it but he was determined.”

When the DWP found out two years later they stopped his £105 a week and demanded benefits dating back to his ride. Girlfriend Karen Colam said: “The DWP carried out a sustained campaign against Nathan and the pressure killed him. He had never had heart problems. Giving up work devastated him but he was in terrible pain every day. He could barely walk 10 yards. He thought he was making a difference to war heroes when he did that ride.”

Nathan was found dead hours before a Citizens Advice appointment about his case in January. Karen said: “My world fell apart.” His dad Rob, 60, added: “We’ve no doubt he gave up as he couldn’t face the stress.”

Nathan was on morphine as he spent three months in 2010 on his 2,000-mile ride. Karen of Perranporth, Cornwall, said: “Nathan’s pain was immense so I’ve no idea how he managed to finish it but he was determined.”

When the DWP found out two years later they stopped his £105 a week and demanded benefits dating back to his ride.

Well over one million people await correct benefit payments

 

Chaotic Department for Work & Pensions fails to process people’s claims, leaving tens of thousands of claimants destitute & impoverished for months on end…..

This is an unreported national scandal….

It is only the mainstream media’s failure to bring this state of chaos to the public’s attention which prevents it from being plastered all over the front page of every single national newspaper.

If this was people stuck in NHS waiting lists, awaiting their passports, unable to travel by train, stranded abroad, struggling to get money out of cash points, marooned in the channel tunnel, affected by adverse weather conditions or by striking public service workers the national newspapers would ensure it was in print for all to see.

Yet here in the UK we have a crisis of unprecedented proportions as thousands upon thousands wait month upon month to get the benefits to which they are entitled to and hardly a word appears in any of the big hitting papers. The British public are being deceived into believing that government’s welfare reforms are achieving the desired results with no unnecessary human suffering.

The mainstream media has a duty to report the mayhem which exists within the chaotic Department for Work & Pensions and must expose this mass maladministration of thousand of benefit claims.  What makes this all the more deplorable is the victims are by and large thousands of sick and disabled people who desperately need the right amount of cash to live on.

On the 23rd June 2014, the then disability minister Mike Penning admitted in Parliament that the number of claimants awaiting an assessment for Employment & Support Allowance had stood stood at a staggering 766,000.

On the 5th June 2014 the DWP quietly produced statistics relating to the government’s new Personal Independence Payment statistics which showed that from April 2013 to March 2014 out of 349,000 new claims made, just 83,900 had reached the stage where a formal decision had been made on the applicant’s claim – a backlog of 265,100 claims where the claimant hasn’t received one single penny of the benefit for which they have applied.

Between the two benefits, Employment & Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments, an eye watering 1,031,100 claimants have yet to receive the legal decision which determines their claim.  It leaves claimants in absolute turmoil and completely unable to access the help they need.

Problems aren’t limited to ESA & PIP assessment chaos

This one million claimants does not include those who have had a decision, but are in embroiled in thousands of disputes with the DWP & Local Authorities over long drawn out battles which need independent determination by one of Her Majesties’ Courts & Service’s Tribunals.

Since April 2010 no less than 1,698,321 benefit appeals have been lodged with Tribunals, of which 939,100
relate to the Employment & Support Allowance. Nearly 1.7 million benefit appeals is just part of this much bigger chaos.

In March 2014, 78,347 benefit appeal cases remained outstanding.  In 2012/13 the number of benefit appeals received by formal tribunals was 507,131 against 465,497 cases which had been dealt with.  By 2013/14, whilst the number of appeals had fallen to 401,197 against 545,843 disposals, the fact remains that thousands are still trapped in a chronic backlog of appeal cases which saw 77,931 adjournments and a further 44,021 postponements, collectively accounting for some 22% of all benefit cases.  It’s mayhem on a scale which has spiralled out of control.  The DWP’s answer is to implement restrictive measures to access Tribunals with the introduction of its new ‘mandatory internal review’ procedure; a procedure which has come under fire for causing even further delays with thousands in limbo awaiting decisions.

read the rest of this article here: http://ilegal.org.uk/thread/7140/dwps-esa-reassessment-programme-chaos?page=13&scrollTo=21959

 

the number of sick and disabled people who have had their sickness benefit sanctioned is on the rise.

Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that the number of sick and disabled people who have had their sickness benefit sanctioned is on the rise.

According to available figures, which were released in response to a freedom of information request (pdf), sickness benefit claimants with mental health problems are far more likely to have their benefit slashed than those with a physical disability

Read this article on the Welfare News Service here: http://welfarenewsservice.com/sickness-benefit-sanctions-rise-dwp-figures-show-graph/

Stitching-up claimants is all part of the job, says Jobcentre insider

Last week Iain Duncan Smith met a whistle-blower who has worked for his Department for Work and Pensions for more than 20 years.

Giving the Secretary of State a dossier of evidence, the former Jobcentre Plus adviser told him of a “brutal and bullying” culture of “setting claimants up to fail”.

“The pressure to sanction customers was constant,” he said. “It led to people being stitched-up on a daily basis.”

The man wishes to be anonymous but gave his details to IDS, DWP minister Esther McVey and Neil Couling, Head of Jobcentre Plus, who also attended the meeting.

“We were constantly told ‘agitate the customer’ and that ‘any engagement with the customer is an opportunity to ­sanction’,” he told them.

Labour MP Debbie Abrahams, the member of the DWP Select Committee who set up the meeting, has renewed her call for an inquiry into inappropriate sanctioning.

“I am deeply concerned that sanctions are being used to create the illusion the Government is bringing down unemployment,” she said.

End disability benefits ‘fiasco’, ministers told

Thousands of vulnerable people have suffered pain, distress and penury because of blunders made by the Government during the launch of a key disability reform, a devastating report warns today. MPs denounced the introduction of the personal independence payment (PIP) as a “fiasco” which had resulted in a huge backlog of claims and lengthy delays over decisions.

They pinned the blame for the chaos on Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), accusing it of making basic mistakes ahead of last year’s launch. Eligibility to qualify for the payments, which have replaced disability living allowance (DLA), is assessed by medics employed by private companies. The benefit is intended to help the disabled to live independently and, in some cases, go to work. The Commons Public Accounts Committee said the DWP had failed to pilot the scheme adequately, with disastrous results when it was rolled out nationwide.

They reported “shocking personal stories”, including one person hospitalised with the stress caused by the wait for a decision and another who could not afford a special diet for gastric and diabetes problems until the cash arrived.

Margaret Hodge, the committee’s chair, said: “The implementation of PIPs has been nothing short of a fiasco. The DWP has let down some of the most vulnerable in our society.”

read the rest of this article from the Independent here:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/end-disability-benefits-fiasco-ministers-told-9550115.html

Tribunal system in limbo whilst Atos holds medical files back due to contract dispute with DWP?

A person who says they work at the Tribunals service gives a very plausible explanation for why there are such serious delays in disability benefit decisions.

If this is true, it represents a new low in the corporate stance of ATOS. Is this multinational information technology firm holding the health of sick and disabled people as a bargaining chip in a contract dispute?

Thanks to the facebook page Atos Miracles for spotting this comment to an article posted on the website ‘MoneySavingExpert.com’.

“I actually work in the tribunals office, for DLA, ESA, etc etc, I will be quite honest and tell you that we have had no work at all for the past 6 months, this is why no one are having appeals, or reassessments done. At the end of last year our office recruited and trained, 32 extra staff to deal with appeals, these people have now been dismissed, because of the lack of work, many of the experienced staff in our department have been advised to apply for voluntary redundancy, or apply for a posting in a different department.

The reason why we have no work is because ATOS will not release all the medical files that they have, until their contract has been resolved. ATOS were not up to doing the job, they did not realise how difficult it will be. We have some people on our system that have been waiting for 3/4 years for answers, and we can not do anything about it.

Our bosses told us this morning, that this is going to be like this for at least another 6 months. And in the meantime, the trained staff are leaving for other postings, and when the work does start coming in. There will be no staff capable of doing the job everyone will have to start from scratch. It is so damned annoying, all I do all day is play solitaire on the computer, or read magazines, I want to work, but there is no work to do.

This is the reason why the decisions are being overturned, we know that we do not have the paperwork to fight an appeal, so until things change people are being allowed to keep there benefits.”

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4991220