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Dave Smith with his (now late) brother Jamie Oliver. After denying him PIP twice, the DWP wanted him to attend an appeal hearing – five months after he died.

The brother of a disabled man who was denied essential benefits while he was dying has launched a petition to end the outsourcing of assessments to private companies by the UK government.

This Site covered the case of Jamie Oliver a few months ago. He died on April 9 after a long battle with chronic liver disease – and after being refused Personal Independence Payment by the DWP on the grounds that he wasn’t sick enough – twice.

Five months after his death, in one of the hugely distressing and insulting cock-ups that have made the DWP infamous, one of Mr Oliver’s children discovered a letter saying an appeal hearing had been arranged for late September.

The move infuriated Mr Oliver’s brother Dave Smith, of Hastings, – whose MP happens to be Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd.

In an incendiary Facebook post, he wrote: “I honestly cannot think of an organization as shambolic, insensitive, incompetent and unhelpful as the DWP and the sooner all this PIP/Universal Credit fiasco is kicked into touch the better.”

According to Disability News Service:

He has launched a petition that he hopes will secure enough signatures – 100,000 – to ensure the issues are debated in parliament.

His petition calls for an end to the use of private contractors for DWP disability benefit assessments, both for PIP and for employment and support allowance (and its universal credit equivalent).

He says in the petition that the disability benefit assessment system is linked to many suicides and “accelerated deaths”, like his brother’s.

And he says he believes that there have been “multiple lies” in the written assessment reports completed by nurses, paramedics and occupational therapists working for Atos and Capita (the other PIP assessment contractor).

If you feel strongly about this, visit the petition site and sign.

You can find much more information on Mr Oliver’s case here: Months of PIP distress ‘hastened my brother’s death’ – Disability News Service

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