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“Since the birth of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), there have been deaths, suicides and accelerated deterioration in sick and disabled people, who have outrageously been found fit for work.”…
“If we are serious about the welfare of disabled and ill people a far more sympathetic assessment procedure should be introduced. That’s the only way to put an end to needless deaths we just keep seeing.”…
“The assessment process needs to change if Govt is serious about taking care of people and preventing more deaths. Every year ESA claimants go through the indignity of being assessed, incorrectly most of time. I’ve seen how the stress of this exacerbates claimants’ conditions.”
“These kinds of deaths keep happening because of the policies of the Conservative Govts since 2010, such as cuts to benefits overall, and criteria which are unfair, undignified and put claimants through unnecessary stress. To me, the evidence suggests the Govt does not care.”
“His living conditions (one room in a three-bedroom house with no running water, infested with rats without an effective roof) I believe contributed to his pneumonia.”
“Had he been awarded ESA, Steve’s quality of life would have improved drastically. His financial situation meant he was unable to move to a more manageable home, and could not afford to properly heat it.”
“It took two years and an internal inquiry to get to the bottom of the issue, and even then he wasn’t paid all the money he was owed. The assessment process needs to be changed immediately if the government is serious about taking care of people and preventing more deaths.”
“The relevant test for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is being able to walk 50m, while Personal Independence Payment has a benchmark of 20m. Steve could not walk 10m without losing his breath, yet he was taken off ESA but not PIP. It made no sense.”
“He had owned an electric appliance repair shop and sold reconditioned washing machines, dryers, cookers and refrigerators in Liverpool, but there came a point where it was apparent that he could no longer work.”
“I am convinced Steve would not have died so soon if he had received the benefits he was entitled to. Steve had worked all his life until he contracted terminal emphysema.”
“Over time, we became friends, and it was me who rang 999 when we realised he was seriously ill. He was admitted to hospital where he was told he was suffering from pneumonia, which he never fully recovered from and subsequently died.”
“... I am a benefits adviser and tribunal representative at the Community Advice Services Association (CASA) Liverpool. In July 2017, I met Steve, who had been found fit for work even though he had many debilitating illnesses, and I helped him with his appeal.”
“The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures reveal that 7,990 people who lodged a claim for PIP in the five years after the new benefit was launched died within six months of registering their claim, while also having that claim rejected.”
“About 1,600 working-age disabled people are dying every year after having their claim for disability benefits rejected, the government has been forced to admit. This does not surprise me, as my friend, Steve Smith, died after being declared fit for work.”
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