Benefits Stopped ? This Case Stands Alone : PREPARE YOURSELF BEFORE READING!

Also posted on the main PIP thread :

**DWP followed policy in denying dying man benefits, review finds.

Stephen Smith, 64, from Liverpool, weighed 38kg and was gravely ill at time of death.**


An investigation into the treatment of a man who was denied benefits despite being seriously ill and weighing 38kg (6st) before his death has found the Department for Work and Pensions “followed policy”.

The internal DWP review ordered by Amber Rudd found that the department missed “crucial safeguarding opportunities” but that “policy guidance was followed” in Stephen Smith’s case.

Smith, 64, from Liverpool, had a range of debilitating illnesses including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis and an enlarged prostate, and used a colostomy bag.

His death was reported in April, months after he was forced to get a pass to leave hospital to fight a decision by the department to deny him of crucial benefits.

Smith, who could barely walk, was deemed fit for work after a work capability assessment in 2017, which meant his employment support allowance (ESA) payments were stopped.

In February the government overturned the decision and agreed to pay back about £4,000 in wrongly denied benefits to Smith. However, he died before he could spend the money and it was used instead to pay for his funeral.

After his death, the Liverpool Echo published two letters from two different doctors that had been ignored by the DWP.

One note, written by Dr Terence Crowley, stated that Smith “could not mobilise a distance of 20 metres repeatedly without needing to stop due to pain and breathlessness”.

Amid widespread condemnation of the department’s treatment of Smith, the MP for Birkenhead, Frank Field, wrote in April to Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, to call for an official inquiry into the case. Rudd refused to grant a full inquiry and instead ordered the internal review.

Writing to Field to reveal its results, Rudd said: “Whilst the policy guidance was followed in Mr Smith’s case, there were crucial safeguarding opportunities which were missed by the department. The review has identified areas where we need to change our policy and we will be implementing these changes to ensure our most vulnerable claimants are protected.

“The department will be working at pace to ensure that these are embedded and that vulnerable claimants are receiving the best possible support from the department. I am adamant that we will learn important lessons from this tragic case and make changes to protect people like Mr Smith in future.”

Among the jargon-heavy changes Rudd outlined were improving awareness of how changes to benefit entitlement could affect other benefits in payment or under appeal and “identifying other trigger points for information sharing between benefit lines to improve, join up and provide more holistic support”.

A DWP spokesman described the missed safeguarding opportunities surrounding Smith’s case as “failings”. He said the changes would ensure that if someone’s condition deteriorated while they were appealing against the result of a work capability assessment, they would be able to access the benefit support they needed, and greater links between the department and authorities such as social services would be established.

In response to the letter, Field said: “What kind of policy guidance is it that fails to recognise that somebody is seriously ill and dying? This letter heavily disguises the fact that we’re talking about a man who lost his life, not a package that got lost within the DWP. It sums up much of what’s wrong with the DWP, which is apparently very short on human sympathy.”

What is the saying about a community can be measured by the way it treats it’s most vulnerable?
This makes me ashamed to be English.

If the rules were followed then the b…y rules need changing!!! IMMEDIATELY.

There’s a missing sentence, “we will never ever let this happen to anyone again” is what the Minister should have said.

Gandhi , BB :