'Let’s go out on a limb and point out the elephant in this particular room: The Conservative government knows perfectly well that people are dying from the stress of having to appeal against wrong benefit decisions. Ministers simply don’t care.
They know that the stress of fighting “fit for work” decisions is too much for people who are in poor health. Jeff Hayward is far from the first person to have a heart attack a few days before an ESA tribunal.
The 52-year-old father-of-two and grandfather had cellulitis (a painful bacterial skin infection) on his legs and was deemed unfit to work by his GP. He lost a job in which he had been employed for 25 years in November 2016.
But a Tory-employed “healthcare professional” – who may have known nothing at all about the condition – overruled the GP’s diagnosis, awarded him no points in his Employment and Support Allowance assessment and ruled that he was fit for work.
Mr Hayward was forced to go through five stages of applications and appeals, with help from Ribble Valley Citizens Advice.
The strain proved too much and he suffered a heart attack in June last year, which resulted in his death just two weeks before he was due to attend a disability benefit appeal tribunal.
Anyone who has seen I, Daniel Blake will be familiar with that situation (although in the film the death happened on the day of the tribunal).
Perhaps the Conservative MPs who run the system thought that Mr Hayward’s case would be quietly closed after his death, meaning they would have secured a man’s death – sorry, “positive benefit outcome” without any drawbacks to themselves.'
Read more: Another dead man has won a fit-for-work appeal against the Tory government. Think what it means
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