Emily has organ failure – yet her mother had to battle for benefits

What happened to Emily Field is unlikely to find its way on to the news. But the story of how one young woman with organ failure was denied help when she most needed it – and the subsequent battle between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the outsourcing firm Atos, and a mother – tells us exactly how rotten Britain’s social security system has become.

Field, who is 28 years old and lives on the outskirts of Reading, has had type 1 diabetes since she started primary school. Over the past three years Field’s health has deteriorated rapidly – she’s struggled with chronic fatigue, pain and failing eyesight – and in the spring of 2015 she was diagnosed with diabetic kidney disease. By Christmas, doctors told her she was at “end stage”. “In essence, my daughter’s dying,” Field’s mum, Louise Hughes, tells me. “She won’t live for much longer without dialysis and a pancreas and kidney transplant.”

In a so-called civilised country, this is where the welfare state is meant to kick in: the safety net that can’t stop us from getting ill but can make sure we have money to pay the rent and buy food if we do. Instead, Hughes tells me, her daughter has been left without either of the Conservative government’s key “reformed” sickness benefits.

Last year, the jobcentre told Field she wasn’t eligible for employment and support allowance because her fiance works more than 16 hours a week. Two weeks ago – while she was waiting for a double organ transplant – Field’s rejection for personal independence payments (PIP) was confirmed. Looking through the rundown of the assessment sent to Atos’s customer service department, it is filled with references to Field’s appearance (“well kept”) and scatterings of medical detail in broken sentences (“she goes to the renal clinic … She has blood tests, it hurts her and stresses her out … she goes to eye clinic”).

Staggeringly, this was the third time Field had been turned down for PIP in two years – this goes up to four if we include the time the DWP lost the paperwork and she had to reapply. In 2014 – by the second time Field was judged as not needing the benefit – her health had deteriorated to the degree that Hughes had to become her daughter’s appointee because she didn’t have the strength to apply herself.

“You get an hour to prove to the DWP you’re sick enough to squeeze a few pounds from them,” Hughes says. “All of this with a so-called Atos health professional who’s never met you.”

She pauses. “After Emily had a [PIP] rejection [last time], she said she’d kill herself. She said, ‘I can’t do it any more, Mum’.”

Read more: Emily has organ failure – yet her mother had to battle for benefits | Frances Ryan | Opinion | The Guardian

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8 thoughts on “Emily has organ failure – yet her mother had to battle for benefits

  1. MarkG

    Himmler’s nastier twin brother, Ian Duncan Smith ( changed name and made up CV to sound British and to get underpants and wet wipes at the tax payers expense ). When will this vile evil parasitical loathsome piece of faeces be brought to justice. We all know what evil criminal things this so called government are doing. Yet this scumbag continues to say there is no evidence .There is to much been done to vulnerable people now to wash under the carpet from the Conazitive press. Here is the headline I would love to see.

    1. John

      I think the mainstream press + the BBC should also be held to account for their severe lack of ability to do their job properly !


    mike why cant we get all this stuff into the main media and the dpac vidieo to let everybody see for themselves what these evil scum are doing to people ids and cameron must be stopped before anybody else commits suicide when you watch the dpac vidieo it would make you sick wheres our human rights

  3. e saul

    couldnt agree more he is a scumbag he just seems to go and on persecuting the ill and sick he thinks he can do whatever he likes, one day he will face his actions sooner or later i hope the sooner this man is prisoned for acts against humanity the better ,He lacks any kind of decency ,like the germans in last war they blamed anyone but themselves when facing the truth alas this vile man smith is the same does not know what the word truth means after he has been caught lying for the umpteenth time we just have to keep up the good work done by mike and the other groups to show smith for what hi is a lying scumbag the trouble is the amount of deaths is so serious its acrime he must never get away with never

  4. John

    Mike, you may of blogged about it at the time, but why was it seemingly easy enough to have MPs arrested for the famous expenses scandal, yet IDS hasn’t been touched yet? Is it because they weren’t in the cabinet or something? Did it have something to do with the evidence perhaps? I mean are we saying that e.g. if the PM took a baseball bat to his mum and killed her, he couldn’t be touched?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Any MP may be arrested for a criminal offence. I think in the case of Iain Duncan Smith the problem lies in amassing enough credible evidence – bearing in mind that it is his department that collects data and he dictates what information is picked up.
      No, I didn’t blog about the expenses scandal, because Vox Political didn’t exist at the time.

  5. Mr.Angry

    The offspring of Satan, this poor poor young lady my heart goes out to her and her family. Yes where are the BBC when they are needed, gagged by these god damn nazis.

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