Fury over ten minute inquest into death of ‘real life Daniel Blake’

St Pancras Coroner’s Court does not hear evidence about Lawrence Bond’s work capability assessments

THE sister of a man whose death triggered protests over the government’s “fitness for work” reforms believes a coroner’s inquest has failed to answer key questions.

Lawrence Bond had seen his benefits stopped under controversial work capability assessments, which critics say are forcing people to take on jobs while they are still unwell. The 56-year-old collapsed and died in Kentish Town in January, shortly after a visit to the Jobcentre, but this back story was not considered by coroner Dr Richard Brittain.

Instead an inquest at St Pancras Coroner’s Court on Friday was completed in little more than 10 minutes with “paper-only” evidence and nobody on the witness stand. The case had led comparisons with Ken Loach’s award-winning film I, Daniel Blake, and the movie director was among protesters who joined a vigil outside the Jobcentre in Kentish Town in the days following Mr Bond’s death. Frances Coombes, Mr Bond’s sister, who did not attend the hearing, said yesterday (Wednesday): “What we would still like to know is, how can someone who had so many different things wrong with them, be classed as fit for work? What does that say about the system? Is it fit for purpose?”

She added: “I and my sister started to get seriously worried last year that Lawrence did not seem to be getting any help or understanding from the professionals he came in contact with.” Campaigners at the inquest said representatives from the Department for Work and Pensions and Maximus – the company that assessed Mr Bond – should have been called to give evidence.

read more here: http://camdennewjournal.com/article/fury-over-ten-minute-inquest-into-death-of-real-life-daniel-blake

 

Benefits cut to hit 200,000 people with mental health conditions

Cut contradicts Theresa May’s commitment to end the “burning injustice” of the treatment of people with mental health conditions, say Labour

More than 200,000 people suffering with mental health conditions are set to see their incomes reduced due to draconian social security cuts, it has emerged today.

A Freedom of Information response published today by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) reveals that over 200,000 people with mental health conditions will have their Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) payments reduced, due to cruel cuts which came into force in April this year.

read more here: http://www.welfareweekly.com/benefits-cut-to-hit-200000-people-with-mental-health-conditions/

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

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

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/