Tag Archives: terminal

This grandmother DIED weighing just three stone because the Tories LIED about reviewing benefits for the terminally ill

Christine McCluskey: when she died, after your Tory government cut her benefits, she weighed just three stone.

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.

But doesn’t her case, along with those of Stephen Smith and Errol Graham, show that – deprived of benefits – people definitely will die within the six months stipulated?

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?

Source: Grandmother, 61, with terminal cancer died weighing three stone after DWP stopped her benefits

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Did 3,000 people HAVE to die penniless while the Tories fought court case over PIP for the terminally-ill?

Lorraine Cox: she has motor neurone disease, but was denied PIP because she could say she would die within six months. It seems 3,000 others who also couldn’t predict their own deaths have died without receiving PIP in the last year.

It is one year since the Tories pledged to review their rules on which terminally-ill people could claim Personal Independence Payment – and it seems more than 3,000 would-be PIP claimants had to die before they were forced to do it by a court ruling.

They died without receiving PIP, because they could not predict when they were likely to die.

This Site celebrated like many others when Lorraine Cox won her case demanding a judicial review of the rules that said only people with particular terminal illness could claim PIP – and only if they knew they would die within six months.

Now we discover that – if recent trends have continued – then 3,000 people died between the Tories pledging a review that seems not to have happened and the Tory defeat in the Cox case.

I asked what happened to those people while Ms Cox was fighting her case in court.

Well, now we know.

According to The Mirror:

DWP figures show 17,070 people died waiting for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decision in five previous years.

If that pattern repeated, more than 3,000 will have died in similar cases since the review launched last summer.

Charities have demanded change.

The Tories are saying the Covid-19 crisis delayed their review.

Source: DWP: 3,000 people ‘die waiting’ for terminally ill benefit reforms one year on – Mirror Online

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Terminally ill woman forced to fight for benefits as it’s uncertain if she’ll die in six months

Lorraine Cox.

A woman from Derrylin, in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, has challenged the legal definition of a terminal illness after she was refused access to benefits due to uncertainty over her lifespan.

Lorraine Cox has Motor Neurone Disease.

Lorraine was required to still look for work months after she medically retired because of her condition.

The 40-year-old then underwent a medical assessment for both ‘Universal Credit’ and ‘Personal Independence Payment’ (PIP) due to a rule which states that those who qualify for payment are expected to die within a period of six months.

Law Centre NI legal officer, John McCloskey, who is assisting Lorraine in her application explained; “The inclusion of the six month criterion in the legal definition of a terminal illness has been described as cruel.”

It is restricting access to support for people at a very difficult time. “The six month rule was introduced over 30 years ago and was intended to assist people in accessing special terminal illness rules, not restrict them. It is now hurting terminally ill people who have an illness that’s more difficult to accurately predict.

“The Westminster all-party parliamentary group for terminal illness described the six month criterion as ‘unfit for purpose’ and called on the UK government to amend the legal definition of a terminal illness.

“Walter Rader, in his independent review of PIP in Northern Ireland, recommended that the clinical judgement of a medical practitioner should be sufficient to allow special rules to apply. We are now testing whether the application of the six month criterion is in fact lawful.”

Source: Terminally ill woman ‘forced to fight for her benefits’ – The Fermanagh Herald

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Tories have not improved benefit support for people with terminal illnesses BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO

Bring out your dead: this is the most extra help anybody can expect from the DWP review of benefits for the terminally-ill.

Charities including Marie Curie Cancer Care are calling on the Conservative government to pull its collective finger out and speed up a promised review of benefit support for people with terminal illnesses.

They haven’t got a hope.

Current benefit rules state that claimants can get their benefits fast-tracked if a doctor says they have less than six months to live, but campaigners argue this is too restrictive, and want benefits to be accessible as soon as a terminal illness diagnosis is made.

Then-Work and Pensions secretary Amber Rudd promised in July last year to review the policy in consultation with claimants and doctors.

But here’s the thing: the charities are making a fuss because of figures that show 10 people are dying every day in England, Scotland and Wales before receiving Personal Independence Payment.

The benefit may extend their lives, and would certainly afford them a modicum of comfort in their final days.

But look at it from the Tory point of view:

They would see 10 deaths a week – 2,000 reported in six months – as an enormous benefit saving.

It saves the government anything up to £7,740,000.

And after all, these people are going to die anyway – right? Better to speed them on their way, rather than drag out the agony.

That is the Conservative ideology: save the money (and give it to the rich) rather than use it to provide even a modicum of comfort and solace to the sick who are also poor.

My prediction: this review will take years – and then it will offer no significant changes.

Source: Ministers urged to speed up review of benefits for terminally ill | Politics | The Guardian

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This man is terminally ill – but is backing Mike’s libel fight. Have you done the same?

This contribution to my CrowdJustice campaign to fight false claims of libel by Rachel Riley absolutely staggered me:

“I have a terminal illness and wish to do my bit. I hope that the case is resolved before the inevitable so I see the smirk wiped off Ms Riley’s face.”

What a stunning example to set – and right at the end of this phase of the fundraising campaign.

The bad news is that the current crowdfunding campaign will end on July 30. I’m hoping it will have raised £32,000 by the end.

At the moment, more than 1,150 people have contributed an average of £20 each to raise more than £31,700. I definitely think we can hit that final target.

Here’s how we hit it:

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

Next time, I’ll discuss the next steps.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Terminally-ill benefit claimants are demanding an end to re-assessments – and here’s a very good reason

Commemoration: These flowers were laid in a commemorative protest against the Department for Work and Pensions’s treatment of sick and disabled people, leading to their deaths.

People with terminal illness have explained why ministers must end the “arbitrary and outdated” rules that force many of them through a “demeaning” and “insensitive” benefit assessment process, according to Disability News Service.

But if you want the best reason, look no further than the following story from Welfare Weekly:

“A distraught and angry wife took her husband’s ashes to court in a heartbreaking attempt to finally seek justice for a man who had worked all his life before becoming ill.

“Ann Dale was determined to prove the DWP was wrong to deny her husband Albert vital disability benefits, which may have helped to ease the family’s suffering and financial concerns in the run up to his death.

“Albert, 64, suffered from a number of debiliating illnesses, including obstructive pulmonary disease and type 2 diabetes, but was twice denied benefits by callous DWP officials.

“However, he sadly lost his battle for life before an appeal could be heard. Ann, 59, was determined to find justice for her husband, so when a letter arrived informing her of the court date she was eager to have her day in court.

“Commenting on how the DWP handled Albert’s benefit claim, Ann said: ‘He was so upset. He kept saying “they’re calling me a liar”.’

“’He paid in all his life and he’d never claimed a penny. And when he did claim, he received nothing.’

“She added: ‘They’ve created this atmosphere saying people are scrounging, but that’s not true. They are targeting the most needy, it’s cruel.

“The court of appeal agreed that the DWP were wrong to refuse Albert Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and he was postumously awarded both the daily living (£87.65) and mobility (£61.20) components of PIP. The court also backdated the PIP payments to November 2018, which will be paid to his family.”

According to the DNS report, “Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) rules define a terminal illness as being when a person’s death can be “reasonably expected” within six months. This means that many people who are terminally ill but cannot prove they probably only have six months or less to live cannot claim benefits under DWP’s special rules for terminal illness.”

Isn’t that exactly what happened to Mr Dale?

It continues: “Those that do not qualify are forced through a ‘burdensome and time-consuming’ process, and sometimes are even forced to attend inappropriate work-focused interviews under the new universal credit benefit system, while many see their claims rejected or awarded at the lower rate.

“Now the new report, Six Months to Live?, compiled by the charity Marie Curie and published by the all party parliamentary group for terminal illness, says the DWP rules are ‘unfit for purpose… outdated, arbitrary and not based on clinical reality’.”

That’s an all-party Parliamentary group publishing this report, by the way. Members of Parliament.

They want DWP to alter the rules so a claimant can be said to have a terminal illness if a medical expert says they have a progressive condition that can reasonably be expected to cause their death. This might have saved the Dale family a considerable amount of distress.

They want such claimants to have their benefits reviewed only after 10 years, not the current three, with DWP simply contacting the claimant’s GP to confirm that their situation remains the same.

And they want the DWP to stop its own assessors overturning the evidence of health experts who have stated that a claimant has a terminal illness – for obvious reasons.

Fine ambitions.

There’s only one problem: The DWP.

All the department had to say about the proposals was: “We’re looking at how we can improve our processes and in the meantime we continue to work with charities to help terminally ill people access the support they need.”

This is bureaucracy-speak for: “We’re quite happy that people are suffering and dying in extreme anxiety. We’re not changing anything except by Act of Parliament. You do-gooders can spin on it.”

I’m sure you can think of a few choice responses to that.

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The suffering forced on people with terminal illnesses by the Conservatives is inhuman and has to end

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign].

Terminally ill people – who had just been told they were dying – were forced to go to battle with the Department for Work and Pensions for paltry financial support,” says Drew Hendry, SNP chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Terminal Illness, and he’s right.

“The Universal Credit system also meant they had to prove their life would end within six months to access special assistance.

“There isn’t a drop of compassion on offer at the DWP – leaving thousands of terminally ill people to navigate through an inflexible and thoughtless system, at the very time they should be cherishing every moment with their loved ones.”

Read: Time to end the scandal of terminally ill people suffering due to Universal Credit | HeraldScotland


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Terminally-ill woman called for reassessment by DWP – as she hasn’t died quickly enough?

Krissy Johnson.

The letter Krissy Johnson received from the DWP stated, “One of our health professionals has looked at the information you sent to the DWP.

“After doing this we have decided that we need to see you for a face-to-face consultation to discuss you health condition or disability further.”

Ms Johnson said it was the third time she had been called to attend a review, where she would have to prove her condition was terminal.

There can be only one conclusion: The DWP wants to know why she isn’t dead yet.

What a disgusting, degrading way to treat a person in the last stages of her life, who deserves to pass away with dignity, rather than being plagued with endless nagging from government lackeys who are desperate for a benefit saving.

That’s all they want – an opportunity to cut off this woman’s benefits.

They might even be persuading themselves they’d be doing her a favour if they did, as forcing her into starvation and homelessness will no doubt help her on her way.

Think about the barbarity of the Conservative government’s attitude.

Then consider what you can do to ensure the Tories are removed from office and never again allowed to blight the lives of your loved ones.

John McDonnell once described Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey as a “stain of inhumanity”. That goes for the whole Conservative government.

A woman diagnosed with terminal cancer has been called to a ‘consultation’ to assess her capability to work.

Krissy Johnson from Clitheroe was diagnosed with incurable metastatic Breast Cancer in September 2015.

Nearly three years later, the 48-year-old has been called to a meeting by the Department for Work and Pensions to determine if she is capable of returning to work.

Source: Anger as woman with terminal cancer is called to benefit re-assessment


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Nurse given a year to live will use it to stop Tories ‘killing’ the NHS

David Bailey was diagnosed with aggressive oesophageal cancer in October [Image: John Gladwin/Sunday Mirror].

I don’t know David Bailey – but it seems he is well-known to others.

So let’s see what they have to say about this:

This is the kind of man who believes the Conservative Party is determined to destroy the NHS and – even though he may not have long to live – will defend it to his dying breath.

Any questions?

For 35 years, David Bailey has dedicated his life to helping save others – working as a nurse on surgical wards and in an overstretched A&E.

Now he faces his own fight for survival, diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Yet despite undergoing gruelling chemotherapy, David is determined to ‘do his bit’ to stop the Tories “killing” his beloved NHS.

He will take to the streets on Saturday [February 3] with thousands of others in a day of protest against the Government’s destruction of the health service.

He blasted a funding crisis which has cut beds, driven out nurses who have had no pay rise for eight years, and strangled recruitment.

He said many NHS services were becoming unsustainable though lack of qualified nursing staff, with 40,000 vacancies available.

David pointed to a 23 per cent drop in trainee nurses since the Tories’ £9,000-a-year tuition fee.

Source: Nurse given a year left to live says he will use time he has left to stop Tories ‘killing’ our beloved NHS – Mirror Online


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Yes, Iain Duncan Smith – Vox Political HAS accused you of ‘outrageous action’. PROVE US WRONG

Iain Duncan Smith can’t prove us wrong. He deliberately refuses to collect the statistics that would confirm his claims – or ours.

Instead, he has claimed that This Blog (and presumably others) has accused him of “outrageous action”, without providing a scrap of evidence against the allegation.

This Writer is delighted that the Gentleman Ranker has tried to defend himself. I am currently working on a book covering this subject and his words may provide an excellent introduction.

The man we like to call RTU (Return To Unit – a Forces description of someone who trained to be an officer but was a washout) was responding to a request for information from Frank Field, chairman of the Commons work and pensions committee.

Mr Field had asked what data the DWP collects on the deaths of benefit claimants, in an attempt to find out whether there is any link between the work capability assessment (WCA) – carried out on claimants of Employment and Support Allowance and the Personal Independent Payment – and suicide, self-harm and mental ill-health.

The issue had been raised in research by Oxford University and Liverpool University entitled First Do No Harm.

This Blog reported on that document’s findings here – and you would be well-advised to refresh your memory of that article before you see the Secretary-in-a-State’s comments.

You should also read Vox Political‘s follow-up article in which a response from the Department for Work and Pensions – attempting to deny the research findings – is comprehensively disproved.

Iain Duncan Smith started writing his letter without a leg to stand on. Here it is – read it for yourself and see if you have any sympathy for his attitude.

Note that he admits the DWP has a “duty of care” to benefit claimants. It has taken years to get him to admit this and it will be very important if – for example – corporate manslaughter charges arise in the future.

Where he says the report’s authors admitted there was no evidence of a “causal link” between the WCA and suicide, he is of course being disingenuous. Iain Duncan Smith would not be satisfied with any evidence other than coroners’ findings that all 590 suicides mentioned by the report were attributed by the perpetrators to the work capability assessment. That was never going to happen.

But the report did examine other causes and eliminated them. While it states there is no direct evidence of a causal link between the WCA and suicide, the deaths certainly aren’t linked to any other cause.

Note also, Duncan Smith’s claim that the lack of a causal link was not reported in the media is not true.

The comment that there is no evidence the people with mental health problems underwent a WCA is covered in This Blog’s follow-up article, but for clarity I’ll repeat it here:

“Jonathan Portes of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) told This Writer that… the DWP’s response ‘reflects a basic misunderstanding of how you do this sort of analysis! Looking at WCA cases would be precisely wrong. You need to be able to control for selection – to do that here, [you] need to look at [the] whole population.

“’Let’s try [an] example. Does Coke make you fat? You can’t just look at people who drink coke & ask if they’re fatter, but if in areas where Coke [is]cheap, [and] people [are] on average fatter, *controlling for everything else*, that does tell you something.’

“So, in order to ensure that the correct cause is ascribed to any particular effect, those who carried out the study had to examine the health of the population as a whole, and eliminate elements that could relate to everybody, rather than just those who took the work capability assessment. They needed to rule out “unobserved confounding” – unseen elements contributing to the results.”

And that is precisely what they did.

Duncan Smith’s assertion that being sent back to work can “promote and protect health, and also reverse the harmful effects of long-term unemployment or prolonged sickness absence” is only accurate if the person doing the work is healthy enough for it – and, by definition, may not be applied to those whose mental ill-health has driven them to suicide.

Inaccurate WCA findings that claimants are “fit for work” or may be “fit for work” within a year of their assessment also mean that many ESA claimants will be sent back into the job market before they are healthy enough. In these cases, there can only be one result: Being sent back to work will make their health worse.

Of course it will; there is a reason they stopped working and claimed ESA in the first place. If that reason still applies, then sending them back to work can only have one result.

Anyone wanting to suggest that a large number of ESA claimants are committing fraud in order to avoid work should remind themselves of the facts: While a TUC survey has shown people think 27 per cent of the ‘welfare’ budget is claimed fraudulently, the government’s own figure is just 0.7 per cent. For ESA claimants it reduces even further, to 0.4 per cent. That’s one person out of 250, rather than roughly one in four – a big difference, especially when one considers the effect on their health of sending an ill person back to work prematurely, as Iain Duncan Smith appears to be advocating.

And then there is this:

160211IDSnote-outrageousaction

The handwriting is appalling so This Writer will try to translate: “NB: There are some out there in the media and social media who have used raw figures to accuse the govt of outrageous [sic] action. I would hope that the committee would not seek to follow suit. I note that having introduced the ESA and the WCA, the Labour Party now seeks to attack it as though they had nothing to do with it. Surely the committee should seek to recognise the good intent of those engaged in this difficult area.”

Those engaged in this area have no good intent whatsoever – let’s get that clear from the start. Their intentions are well-covered in previous articles on This Blog, which I will forward to Frank Field and his committee.

As for “some out there in the media and social media who… accuse the government of outrageous action” – I think he means me.

How nice to have official recognition and how clever of him to describe his own behaviour accurately.

Outrageous action? That’s exactly right.

Iain Duncan Smith’s department practises ‘chequebook euthanasia’ – WCA assessors use psychological ‘nudge’ techniques to push the mentally-ill towards suicide in order to reduce the “burden” on society caused by these “useless eaters”.

Even Frank Field – chairman of the work and pensions committee who contacted Iain Duncan Smith over the Oxford University and Liverpool University allegations – has raised concerns about this behaviour:

zTerminal

It is outrageous.

Even more outrageous is the fact that Iain Duncan Smith is trying to deny it.

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