DWP admits it only restored epileptic man’s benefits because of press coverage

Esther McVey: Image is everything to her DWP.

This tells you everything you need to know about the Conservative government’s attitude to people who need the state’s help.

It could not care less.

All that matters is image. If there is a threat to the government’s image as an organisation that behaves with all due propriety, then the DWP leaps into action to reverse an adverse decision.

Concern for the health and well-being of claimants is of no consequence at all.

The conclusion is clear:

If you fall foul of a DWP decision, take your story to the press and pile on the pressure. The bureaucrats will buckle.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has admitted that it decided to review the sanctions imposed on a man who missed his Universal Credit meeting because of seizures was prompted by the media attention his story received.

Luke O’Donnell, who has epilepsy, was penalised after missing a work-related appointment for Job Seeker’s Allowance because he could not prove his seizures had prevented him from attending.

The story was widely shared and less than two weeks later, the Universal Credit department at the DWP informed him his sanctions would be reversed, saying “not enough consideration was placed on Mr O’Donnell’s health following three days of epileptic episodes”.

Even though his case was resolved and benefits fully reinstated, Mr O’Donnell wrote to Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey in June because he wanted acknowledgement that she was aware of the effects Universal Credit was having on claimants.

It was also confirmed that the move to review Mr O’Donnell’s case was triggered by the press coverage.

Source: DWP says sanctions review for epileptic man prompted by press coverage

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


8 thoughts on “DWP admits it only restored epileptic man’s benefits because of press coverage

  1. jg

    it also amazes me how they got away with it, one of there so called expert assessors assessed me and I did not suffer anxiety because I did not rock back and fourth in a chair, atos were asked by me to produce the medical definition for this diagnosis, they could not, they also did not the circumstance of when this happens and just did not believe me, so due to the excellence of this 5 week wonder of medical science not sure if it was after the tribunal or before I had to sign on, it was on the third floor and when I go there I did state are you sure you want me to go there and asked if it was possible to have a ground floor, they said meeting was on third floor, I only made the first and had a panic attack bought on by anxiety, it took about half hour to recover and I have never seen such a change of face in them, however, it should not have happened, the complaint to atos and there response was laughable and they did admit they made mistakes only after the tribunal ruling, did the person that carried out the assessment learn, did he hell, he assessed someone else I knew and also lied in there medical, so apart from the fact that mcvey and that seem to think the world is round are they going to do anything about this instead of when it suits them, no, what should really happen, every suicide, every self-harm, every medical incident should be charged to the dwp and not the nhs who have to pick up the bill for there stupidity an dif it proven negligence by capita maximus or atos, then they should pay all the bill at nhs private treatment cost rates, there should be a overhaul of the complaints procedure in line with NHS PALS procedure, that way there Teflon assessors won’t be so Teflon when they are hauled up for panel misconduct hearings and face striking of, if that means that the dwp lose assessors, good should do there job properly in the first place, I that means the dwp gets hammered in court for a contributory suicide or self-harm through there actions even better, and if there is any justice in the world some of the instigators of this ill thought out policy should actually face criminal charges and if found guilty, lock them up

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The rocking claim, the stairs trick and the lies are all well-established DWP tactics.
      It is always best to have a witness present – one who is able to take notes very fast.
      And it is always advisable to force them into doing the assessment at your home.

      1. jg

        yep I know I am one of the people that sits in medicals, none of the cases where I been present have gone to tribunal and I have won a few tribunals as well, some should not even need mandatory reconsideration and just shows the motivation of greed by the assessing companies

  2. nmac064

    Unfortunately the British media, owned by a few millionaires, is generally right-wing leaning and sympathetic to the Tories, so this vindictive persecution of the sick and the vulnerable does not get the publicity it should receive.

  3. trev

    I don’t know about UC but where JSA Jobcentre problems are concerned they have usually resolved the issue as soon as I’ve mentioned involving my MP, just saying that seems to motivate the dole clerk…sorry, ‘Work Coach’…into doing their job properly. I also contacted local press about 3 yrs ago when a JCP adviser tried telling me I had to do 35 hours per week jobsearch when I was on JSA not UC. The news reporter contacted the regional Director of Jobcentres for clarification and passed on to me that I certainly do not have to do 35 hrs jobsearch on JSA, and I never saw that adviser again, she got moved on to reception duty.

  4. John.

    The borderline criminal and thoroughly rotten DWP were hoping the sanctions would prompt him to do the decent thing, and just die.

  5. valerie

    Hubbys Tribuanl last week was horrific. They had him in tears shaking & stammering & still gave him nothing! Went on & on about him being my carer & the fact he did not take wheelchair assistance at Airport 2 years ago! The trip was mention by his psych in update to his GP. They ignored Psych report & all other reports..never asked him about his pain. It felt like they were passing judgment on him as being lazy!

    1. jg

      I would wait for there statement of reason, ask for a transcript of the whole tribunal (they normally have a stenographer there) have a look at there wording, your looking for a biased opinion or pre-judgemental, it does make me wonder with these tribunals sometimes as to how allegedly independent they are supposed to be

Comments are closed.