Did the Department for Work and Pensions not say “lessons have been learned” about its mistreatment of seriously-ill benefit claimants?
Why, then, did it condemn a cancer sufferer to death – apparently by starvation, as his son said he was “like a concentration camp victim. He was just skin and bone”?
Joseph MacMillan was told he was fit for work, apparently because he was capable of walking up and down stairs at the time of his assessment interview – and could make a cup of tea.
I would like to know why the DWP did not reconsider after Mr MacMillan’s appeal had to be postponed – because he was too ill to attend.
Wouldn’t that ring alarm bells with you, if you were responsible for his case?
And that’s the nub of the matter – these benefits are lumped under the umbrella title “welfare” by the Conservative government. Well, if that’s right, then the Conservative government is responsible for the welfare of everybody on state benefits.
According to the dictionary, that means the government is responsible for the “basic physical and material well-being of people in need”.
Clearly it is reneging on this responsibility. Look at the DWP comment: “Assessments for PIP eligibility are not to do with an individual’s ability to work or not but on what impact their medical condition or disability has on their day-to-day lives.”
That’s a quibble about the way the death has been reported.
What about the fact that the DWP’s assessment clearly did not correctly assess the impact of Mr MacMillan’s medical condition on his day-to-day life?
His benefit claim was shut down and now he is dead – and there is a clear connection between the two.
We need an independent inquiry into these deaths.
A dad suffering from cancer died destitute with just £8 in his bank account because heartless benefits officials ruled he was fit for work.
Son Joe, 32, had no idea just how poor Joseph MacMillan was but was convinced he was not fit for work due to his illness.
He said: “He was like a concentration camp victim. He was just skin and bones.
“My dad was on that benefit because he was clearly unable to work and then in March they took it away and he never received it since. He was obviously not well enough to work because he died.”
Joseph had to have his nose amputated because of the disease. He also suffered from diabetes, pancreatitis, a heart condition and anxiety and depression linked to his cancer.
His death on August 9 came 15 days before his appeal against having his personal independence payment cut.
He had to postpone an earlier appeal in July because he was too ill to attend. But he had been without PIP since March, costing him around £550 a month.
Joe, a chef, said: “He was on a benefit called PIP but the Tory Government are trying to get people off benefits so he had to go to an assessment.
“As far as I am aware it is not even a nurse who does some of these things. It is a physiotherapist.
“My dad was quite confused and wouldn’t admit to being as ill as he was.
“He could get up and down the stairs and make a cup of tea and apparently that fitted the criteria for him not qualifying for PIP.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Mr MacMillan at this difficult time.”
He added: “Assessments for PIP eligibility are not to do with an individual’s ability to work or not but on what impact their medical condition or disability has on their day-to-day lives.”
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