Christine McCluskey did not have to die in the humiliating way your Conservative government demanded.
The 61-year-old grandmother had suffered long-term health problems most of her adult life including Crohn’s disease – which left her with a colostomy bag – osteoporosis, arthritis, a stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
This housebound lady had a feeding tube and a painful fistula that leaked through her abdominal wall, she was severely malnourished and was being investigated for a worrying cough at the time the Department for Work and Pensions assessed her for Personal Independence Payment.
The decision: her payments of £117.85 per week were removed and her mobility car was taken away from her.
Weeks later she was diagnosed with terminal cancer but her payments were not restored. She died four months after her benefits were stopped, weighing just three stone.
She was unable to receive fast-track access to PIP that is available for people with terminal illnesses who have less than six months to live, because she was unable to show when she was likely to die.
The matter is even worse, though: The Tory government promised to review its six-month rule more than a year ago – and then forgot about it.
In the time since then, it is believed that more than 3,000 people have died in similar ways to Ms McCluskey while the Tories sat on their thumbs.
Earlier this month, motor neurone disease sufferer Lorraine Cox won a court case demanding a judicial review of the rules that demand only people with certain illnesses, who can prove they will die within six months, may claim PIP on the fast-track system.
So the Tories will have to go to court and defend their decision (albeit by omission) to cause these thousands of deaths.
Or will they just quietly announce a rule change between now and the hearing, as they have with the safeguarding rules that failed Errol Graham?
Whatever happens, it seems a rule change will happen. If so, This Writer hopes the families of the deceased – likely to number more than 20,000 over the last six years – demand compensation through the courts.
More than 300 are already doing this over a change in Universal Credit rules, after the system that deprived people of benefit because they were paid on different dates at the end of each month was condemned as “irrational” by the Court of Appeal.
Will the Tories care?
That is a good question, that cuts to the heart of Conservative policy on benefits.
It has been argued that the benefit system is heartless and kills people because the Tories want to save money and don’t care if people die as a result.
But their system of constant review and persecution is actually more expensive than simply paying the benefits – especially when one adds in the cost of appeals by all the claimants who have been denied benefits under false pretences, and now the cost of compensation claims.
Current Tory measures have done nothing to reduce benefit fraud, which remains a miniscule proportion of all claims.
So it seems we should ask the question nobody seems willing to ask:
Did the Tories impose these rules simply because they wanted to kill vulnerable people?
This is what you get when you elect Tories.
You don't 'Get Brexit Done' you don't 'Get Moving', you get sick elderly women being effectively euthanised by the DWP. If that's what you want, fine, keep voting for the animals who did this to Christine McCluskey. https://t.co/ZhKqymf5Hn
— simon maginn (@simonmaginn) July 23, 2020
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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