Heartbroken mother of mum who took own life: ‘The DWP has blood on their hands over my Jodey’

Family fury after mum-of-nine Jodey Whiting is ruled to have taken her own life after inquest hears how she had her benefits stopped

……………..”The 42-year-old’s inquest heard Jodey took her own life after her benefits were stopped because she missed a health review – despite never seeing the appointment letter.

Plagued by ill health, including a brain cyst and a curved spine, she could barely make it through her Stockton home’s front door.

And days after her body was found near a suicide note, her family received another DWP letter confirming the benefit cut – despite Joy already telling staff she had died.

“I blame the DWP for her death,” said grieving Joy. “The DWP has blood on their hands over my Jodey.”

read more here: http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/heartbroken-mother-mum-who-took-13092932#ICID=sharebar_facebook

 

Tragedy of Liverpool mum who died penniless after her benefits stopped

A mum-of-one suffering from severe mental illness died without any money after her disability benefits dried up.

Annette Francis, 30, was found dead at her Garston home two weeks ago, leaving behind 11-year-old son  Kieron. Her distraught family say Annette  was let down by the authorities in the  months leading up to her death.

At the time of the tragedy, Annette had spent six months without receiving a single penny in benefits, her aunt Ann Sorotos claims.

She told the ECHO: “Annette was penniless because she had  no money coming in from the benefits people. I’m disgusted with them and  think Annette was really badly let  down.”

Annette suffered from a mental  illness similar to bipolar disorder  and was unable to hold down a job.

read more here: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/tragedy-liverpool-mum-who-died-7232928#.U5OZ834xH9l.

PIP is a disaster for disabled people. At last the full horror is emerging

From test centres with no disabled access to the mass repossession of cars and wheelchairs, a report exposes the true scale of this catastrophe

When does reform become dangerous? Over three years ago the Conservatives began to roll out personal independence payments (PIP) – in essence, the mandatory, mass re-testing of disabled and chronically ill people – and the answer is getting stark.

A report released today by Muscular Dystrophy UK is the latest piece of evidence to expose an administrative catastrophe: appointments cancelled at the last minute, lost applications, year-long delays. Two in five respondents report being sent to an assessment centre that wasn’t accessible for disabled people. That’s in order to be tested for a disability benefit.

Make it inside the building and the picture is as dire: widespread reports of assessors – employed by private firms hired by the Department for Work and Pensions – who showed no respect for disabled people, while some didn’t even understand the condition they were testing (one man, with muscular dystrophy, pointed out that the word “progressive” means “muscles don’t come back”).

The result of this chaos is anything from rent arrears and credit card debt to mental scars. One woman, with a muscle wasting disease, said that she developed panic attacks after her assessment. She is now under care of a mental health team and doesn’t leave her house.

That the government deliberately built PIP with tightened criteria – and is sitting by as the system descends into disarray – becomes grimmer still when you consider that this is being done to a benefit tied to other essential disability services.

Without PIP a disabled person can’t access anything from carer’s allowance to severe disability premium. If that isn’t enough, anyone who is rejected – or bumped down to the standard rate – is also barred from the Motability scheme for an accessible car or powered wheelchair.

Sarah, a nurse with progressive muscle wasting and weakness, is seven months’ pregnant – and has been forced to hand back her Motability car. The 29-year-old had been receiving the higher rate of disability living allowance (the predecessor to PIP), but after being reassessed she was knocked down to the standard rate – despite her condition deteriorating.

Sarah can’t take her fatigue medicine without affecting her pregnancy, and her disability means she is at risk of falling when she walks, and permanent damage. “That vehicle was a lifeline to me,” she says. “I’ve lost my independence.”

Last week Sarah was due at a tribunal to appeal against the decision, but found it cancelled with just two days’ notice – and no explanation. She’s been in hospital twice this weekend.

Will this be making many headlines? It took the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith and a budget hole of billions to get the mainstream media to shine a light on the disaster of PIP – or many politicians to find a conscience. One cut to the benefit is stopped. A new secretary of state is hired. And the news cycle moves on. The disabled can’t. For many, things are only getting worse.

Between 400 and 500 adapted cars, powered wheelchairs, and scooters are being taken away from disabled people every week. Independence gone – with a maximum of seven weeks to hand your lifeline back. As an insight into the logic, let alone empathy, in this system, that’s notably less time than it takes to go to appeal or even to get the results of mandatory reconsideration – meaning the DWP’s ruling can be overturned, but the disabled person’s car or wheelchair will already have been taken. (At the last count, 60% of appeals against PIP were successful).

read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/07/pip-disaster-disabled-access-report-benefits?

Labour launches disability manifesto pledging to reverse social security cuts

Labour has launched its disability manifesto, pledging to scrap benefit assessments and reversing a number of cuts through the introduction of a new ‘Social Security Bill’.

The manifesto, titled ‘Nothing About You, Without You: A Manifesto With And For Disabled people‘, offers a bold and radical programme that is a far cry away from the cruel and punitive approach of the Conservatives.

Read more here: http://www.welfareweekly.com/labour-launches-disability-manifesto-pledging-to-reverse-social-security-cuts/

Man declared fit for work despite needing double hip replacement slams benefit system

William McCallum had been signed off by his doctor but the DWP declared him fit for work

A man who has spent months in chronic pain has slammed the benefits system that declared him fit for work despite needing a double hip replacement.

William McCallum, who lives in the Crewkerne area, was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both hips and was signed off by his doctor as he was unable to work because of the pain. Mr McCallum was receiving Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) after he was signed off and had been receiving money from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

As time went on he was called in for a back to work assessment. He was subsequently declared fit for work because he was able to lift his hands above his head despite awaiting a double hip replacement.

read more here: http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/man-declared-fit-work-despite-82799

‘I was a citizen, now I’m nothing’: disabled readers on life under austerity

Lying on the floor for hours awaiting help, unable to afford both incontinence pants and food … This is the reality of disability cuts for Stephen, Alex and Elli

When Theresa May was challenged by a disabled voter over cuts to her disability benefits and social care last month, it shone a light on the way Conservative policies post-2010 have disproportionately targeted disabled people. Recent years have seen the introduction of many cuts and changes – from the rollout of “fit to work” tests to the abolition of disability living allowance – as well as a lack of action on existing inequalities, such as inaccessible housing. It all amounts to an unprecedented assault on disabled people’s rights and living standards in Britain.

In a series of interviews over several months, the Guardian has followed three disabled readers – Stephen, Alex, and Elli – as they experience the reality of life since austerity.

read their stories here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/30/disabled-readers-austerity-disability-cuts

 

Cardiac patient declared ‘fit to work’ by benefits assessors suffers third heart attack THREE HOURS into new job

Michael Bispham, 44, was told he was well enough to work again, despite 11 letters from consultants and other medics saying he wasn’t

A cardiac patient who was declared fit for work by benefits assessors suffered a third heart attack just three hours into a new job. Michael Bispham, 44, was told he was well enough to work again, despite 11 letters from consultants and other medics saying he wasn’t.

He was refused ESA (employment support allowance) after scoring zero points.

Michael had already suffered two heart attacks, and he collapsed with a third on the day he started work as a delivery driver in Barrow, Cumbria. His plight has echoes of the Ken Loach film ‘I Daniel Blake’, in which a heart patient battles the benefits system.

Michael, of Dalton, Cumbria, was fitted with a cardiac shock device before he started work on February 13.

To add insult to injury, news that his employment and support allowance assessment was being reversed on appeal arrived as he lay in a ward at Furness General Hospital, awaiting transfer to the region’s cardiac centre at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Now, his wife Emily has spoken of the double trauma of helping Michael in his recovery while fighting the “horrendous and unfair” benefits system she claims is designed to make honest people feel “worthless”.

Emily, 38, said: “My husband scored zero points when he was assessed for employment support allowance. He’d already had two heart attacks. That should have been it. We knew he was too poorly, we submitted 11 letters about his condition from consultants and the hospital, but they declared him fit to work”

“It nearly killed him. I’m so angry about it. Just when we needed help and support, we had to navigate the system with pages of forms. They stopped any money because he was no longer able to job seek and we were told to start from the beginning and apply again for the ESA he’d been turned down for in the first place.”

“We had nothing for three weeks at what was the worst time of our lives. It was so difficult.”

read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/cardiac-patient-declared-fit-work-10522261#ICID