DWP tells chronically ill man to apply for job-seeker's allowance

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Tim Farron with constituent John Heaton and John’s carer Kath Dunning. Submitted 11/09/17
Tim Farron with constituent John Heaton and John’s carer Kath Dunning. Submitted 11/09/17
11 September 2017 5:30PM

A PATIENT with a degenerative brain illness who requires at home care has been supported by his MP after being told to apply for job-seekers allowance.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has hit out at the "shameful" department of work and pensions claiming they have broken promises to chronically ill people.

Mr Farron said the government have lied to patients over supposed plans to stop re-testing people with life-long illnesses who need to claim benefits.

The MP highlighted the case of a Kendal man, John Heaton, who has been told to apply for job seekers allowance after allegedly missing a assessment.

This pathetic decision to break their promise on re-testing benefit claimants who have long term illnesses will cause more misery and discomfort

Kath Dunning, who is John’s carer, said: “I received a letter from the DWP saying that John had missed a medical assessment. I rang the relevant authorities to tell them that I hadn’t received a letter about the assessment.

“They told me to put it in writing which I did. They then replied four weeks later after numerous phone calls from myself to say that they were upholding their decision. This meant that I would have to take it to a tribunal and John would have to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

“For me the current system is a joke and doesn't seem to care for the people who are ill.”

In October last year, the then secretary of state at the DWP, Damien Green, said that they would no longer reassess benefits for those who have long-term sickness as it is "pointless" and "only adds to their anxiety and difficulties".

A Freedom of Information request by Mr Farron has exposed this as untrue, the MP claims.

Mr Farron said: "The Government have let down millions of people across the country who have chronic diseases with another shameful u-turn.

“This pathetic decision to break their promise on re-testing benefit claimants who have long term illnesses will cause more misery and discomfort for many people up and down the country who continue to be dragged to medical assessments just because the DWP can’t be bothered to make records of who is chronically ill."

A spokeman from the DWP said: "As part of our work and health green paper we announced plans to end routine reassessments for people with severe, lifelong illnesses and consulted with relevant charities and medical professionals on how this could be implemented.

"We are currently finalising how this will work in practice and will make an announcement shortly."

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