Mother of ‘fit for work’ victim calls for ministers to face criminal charges

The mother of a disabled man who starved to death after he was found “fit for work” and lost his out-of-work disability benefits has called for ministers to face criminal charges.

Jill Gant says work and pensions ministers should be tried for misconduct in public office for failing to take action that could have saved the life of her son, Mark Wood.

read more here: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/mother-of-fit-for-work-victim-calls-for-ministers-to-face-criminal-charges/

‘Degrading and cruel’ – claimants view of the benefit system

In a series of special reports, Granada Reports looks at the current benefits system.

James Harrison died after Job Centre staff wrote to his GP telling them not to issue him any more sick notes.

He was a Community Centre manager in Liverpool for 35 years but his health deteriorated when he was made redundant. He was declared ‘fit for work’ after a Work Capability Assessment, something his doctor disagreed with, even though he had a serious lung condition and depression.

He died of heart failure still waiting for a second medical assessment to prove he was ill. His daughter Abbie said he was forced to use a food bank and was made to feel ‘degraded and ashamed’

The film director Ken Loach has made a film to show the harsh reality of applying for benefits in his film “I Daniel Blake’.

In April, the government plan to cut the new Employment Support Allowance (ESA) for ill or disabled claimants who are judged to be able to work in the future.The allowance will be reduced by a third to £73.10 per week, the same as Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and is designed to give an incentive to disabled people to find work.

Ken Loach says the most vulnerable are being targeted by the new ‘benefit reform’. His film “I Daniel Blake’ follows two benefits claimants plunged into poverty, its distributor is Entertainment One UK.

This week on Granada Reports we will be taking to claimants who’ve had their benefits cut, the charities trying to support them and those forced to go to court to prove they are ill

read more: http://www.itv.com/news/granada/update/2017-02-06/degrading-and-cruel-the-harsh-reality-of-the-benefit-system/

Coroner orders inquest into ‘fit for work’ man who collapsed after leaving jobcentre

About 100 activists and their allies have taken part in a protest and vigil to mark the death of a disabled man who died minutes after leaving a jobcentre… six months after a government contractor found him “fit for work”.

Lawrence Bond is said to have collapsed on the pavement shortly after leaving Kentish Town jobcentre, following a back-to-work appointment.

read more here: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/coroner-orders-inquest-into-fit-for-work-man-who-collapsed-after-leaving-jobcentre/?

I, Daniel Blake director Ken Loach appears at vigil for ‘fit to rule’ man who died on way home from job centre

AWARD-winning film director Ken Loach appeared at a vigil yesterday (Wednesday) for a man ruled “fit for work” who died from a heart attack on his way home from a Jobcentre. And he likened the case to the desperate central character in his campaigning film I, Daniel Blake.

Lawrence Bond, 56, who had multiple health problems, died in the street after leaving the Jobcentre in Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town, two weeks ago.

Around 50 people were outside the centre, alongside Mr Loach and shadow chancellor John McDonnell, yesterday afternoon to mark his passing.

Mr Bond was ruled “fit to work” in July and his incapacity benefit – now known as Employment Support Allowance – was cut. He was awaiting the outcome of an appeal at the time of his death.

Asked if he recognised comparisons that had been made to the eponymous character Daniel Blake, who dies while attending a review of his fit-to-work ruling, Mr Loach told the New Journal: “Absolutely. He was a man of similar age, he was a man who has worked almost all his life. It’s absolutely comparable and it’s a monstrous injustice and the government should be driven from office. If they don’t know what they’re doing, they’re not competent. If they do know, they’re not fit.”

The newly-appointed shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, Debbie Abrahams MP, was also at the vigil organised by Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group and WinVisible disabled women’s group. The crowd called for an end to cuts to the welfare budget and chanted “we are all Lawrence Bond”.

read more here: http://www.camdennewjournal.com/ken-loach-i-daniel-blake-kentish-town

Man spends last day alive at a Jobcentre being told he’s ‘fit to work’. He dies on the way home

A man collapsed and died in the street on the way home from the Jobcentre on 12 December. He had been declared ‘fit for work’.

Lawrence Bond suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after leaving the Kentish town Jobcentre, reports The Camden New Journal. The 56-year-old had longstanding health problems such as difficulty with mobility and breathing.

Last year, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) cut Bond’s Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This happened after US private firm Maximus carried out his Work Capability Assessment (WCA) in July. The DWP turned down a subsequent appeal. His sister, Iris Green, said that Bond was waiting for the outcome of a second appeal when he died.

Bond’s situation

Bond had suffered prolonged health problems, associated with being heavily overweight. But in turn, his obesity may have been linked to his mental health problems.

Green said she thought he “suffered from anxiety all his life”. She said things got worse after he lost his last long-term job two years ago, and “his weight and unfitness made him unemployable”.

She continued:

[he] held down regular jobs and was never out of work from the age of 16 when he trained as a car mechanic, then did computer studies and went to companies fixing computers, photocopiers, cash tills – so he had his van which he felt safe in – but, of course, his diet was shocking so he put on weight.

Bond was distressed about a lack of treatment for his mental health issues, his sister said:

His anxiety was getting worse as he could not pay bills and was afraid to leave home to go to the shops. Two referrals his GP had made for mental health services had been lost and he said he felt annoyed about that.

He functioned very well when he had a job, and money, and a van and functioned as a productive tax-paying member of society, but he was frustrated that, although he was an intelligent person, he could not seem to get his needs met.

She expressed concern about the controversial Work Capability Assessment, and called for change:

I realise that the reception staff have no clinical knowledge or responsibility for doing it, but the rules need to be changed so that they have the right and discretion when they see a human being turning up in physical distress to flag the situation up and ask for urgent re-assessment.

Read more here: http://www.thecanary.co/2017/01/19/man-spends-last-day-alive-jobcentre-told-hes-fit-work-dies-way-home/

Dad DIES 10 months after Job Centre bosses told his doctor not to write any more sick notes

The DWP wrote to James Harrison’s doctor behind his back and declared him fit for work 10 months before he died

A seriously ill dad died just 10 months after Department for Work and Pensions bosses advised his GP not to write any more sick notes for him.

James Harrison had been declared “fit for work” and should not get medical certificates, the letter said.

read more here:http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/dwp-told-dying-dads-gp-9529945?ICID=FB_mirror_main

The increasing death toll due to the loss of benefits

The increasing death toll due to the loss of benefits

This is an updated list of the people who we know to have died as a result of their benefits being taken away. This is only the people whose families have come forward or who have had benefit losses noted by a coroner as responsible for their death.

If you are feeling suicidal yourself, I advise you not to read this list. Contact the Samaritans on their free phone number 116 123

Source: The increasing death toll due to the loss of benefits