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Christmas cancelled for Gloucester disabled family after dad falls through benefit net

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 18, 2013

This disabled Gloucester man has been without benefits for more than six weeks

Comments (15)

‘CHRISTMAS is cancelled’ for a disabled man who was left penniless after slipping through a benefits net.

The 57-year-old man from Gloucester was deemed fit to work – but was then refused jobseekers allowance because he is disabled.

For six weeks he was left with no income.

“Christmas in our house is cancelled,” said the man, who lives with his wife and disabled daughter in Tredworth.

For the past 12 years he has received incapacity benefit, as he suffers from a degenerative spinal condition.

He cannot sit in an ordinary chair, is in constant pain and has limited mobility.

Government benefit changes meant he was assessed for the new Employment and Support Allowance in October. But on October 29 his £124 a week payments were stopped because he was assessed as ‘fit to work’ and told to claim Jobseekers Allowance.

“But when I went to the Jobcentre, the man there looked at me and said ‘I can see you’re clearly not fit to work’ and wouldn’t allow me to claim,” he said. “What was I supposed to do?”

He’s been forced to rely on friends and family for seven weeks, visit Gloucester’s Food Bank, and he said: “Christmas is cancelled. It’s very stressful. It’s a terrible thing to be left with no money.”

Gloucester Law Centre came to the family’s aid, and have helped his wife to claim increased Carer’s Allowance, because the couple look after their disabled daughter. But other people in the same position may not have that option. The man still has no income of his own.

“I have disappeared from the statistics,” he said.

Barbara Moran at Gloucester Law Centre, said changes in October mean appeals will take longer. “This is an example of what we feared. To go without money for six or seven weeks causes serious hardship,” she said.

They fear that his case is just the first of a large number of people left with no income.

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “It is important that we don’t simply write people off. There is strong evidence that working can be beneficial for many people who have a health condition.

“But we also want to ensure those who need it get the right support, which is why a decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken after consideration of all the supporting medical evidence provided by the claimant.

“Anyone can appeal against a decision, before the appeal is heard we review all decisions, taking into account further information provided.”

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  • Norman18  |  December 23 2013, 4:22PM

    Thank you for being so caring jerryafraid, nice to know there are some good kind people out there...Your post to the link is not showing anything, i think it would be best if the citizen start a giving page fo r all that will fall in to this trap set by the government , people may be more willing to donate then..The only way i think of getting any thing to this man now would be to take it straight to the citizen office....

  • jerryafraid  |  December 23 2013, 11:55AM

    ok so better late than never just set this up, the only problem at the moment is as that at moment i have the way to pass the any money raised on so i'm hoping that the gloucester citizan well read this and help. although it says deadline midnight on the 24th of course realistically it would be best to get it done by the end of today. http://tinyurl.com/npww3wy

  • jerryafraid  |  December 21 2013, 9:30AM

    has anyone set up a just giving for this?

  • petecowell359  |  December 20 2013, 4:33PM

    My friend had a mental breakdown where his doctor signed him off work. He had to see a doctor at the Job Centre, his doctor was asked for information and medical notes were looked at. He wanted to go back to work, despite still having very bad anxiety, so he signed up to a programme that would help him find something suitable for his condition and he wouldn't be sanctioned to make him feel worse. As soon as the coalition came into power, he had to see a nurse with a tick box chart at the Job Centre where nothing covered mental illness, and his doctor wasn't asked anything. He was sent a letter to say even though they know he has mental illness, he's still fit to work, and threatened with sanctions at the Job Centre. Then sent on a work programme who get paid for forcing people to take anything. He said there are people in a worse state than him, such as people who seem dangerous as out of touch with reality and talking to themselves.

  • Cinderz  |  December 20 2013, 9:42AM

    disgusting.. but have to say its not just the disabled who are getting this treatment of no money for weeks.. national campaign URGENTLY needed

  • littleoldlady  |  December 19 2013, 10:34PM

    Simple answer, umptynumpty: the jobcentre bloke is a trained civil servant employed to work in the interests of the people. The ASOS assessor is a half-trained oik on a target to cut costs, recruited by a privatised company only in it for the profit. Nuff said?

  • Kay_Powell  |  December 19 2013, 4:44PM

    You're all heart, lewipaul. I don't like scroungers, but this man is genuinely ill.

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  • lewipaul  |  December 19 2013, 3:54PM

    Thats the trouble with living on benefits, when its taken away its a big shock. I expect this chap still gets his rent paid for him and probably gets some sort of income support, so he is probably not as penniless as he says.

  • Norman18  |  December 19 2013, 3:51PM

    None of these so called assessor's are qualified in any one condition and have no idea when it comes to mental health, they have a weeks training in it, how can this be right that they can judge someone fit for work when they don't know you, yet your doctor and consultant have seen you for years..These people at Atos are give targets by the government to meet, its got nothing to do with who is fit and who is not, Any one can loose there jobs or become ill at the drop of a hat..This government don't care for you or me wake up and smell the coffee ..People and children a starving..

  • fedupuk  |  December 19 2013, 2:23PM

    I lost my ESA appeal on the 2nd of December as i only scored 12 points, I'm in the process of reapplying as i feel far worse than i initially did due to stress, I handed a sick note in this morning and was told i wasn't guaranteed payment by christmas and i have 2 kids at home, have a spare room too, I'm sendiing them to their dads house christmas day as i can't even afford a turkey, so no christmas for me either, The system sucks, I hope they sort that poor mans benefits ASAP as i can tell you that this whole process is barbaric.