Disabled man Julius Holgate — who has no legs — has won his appeal against the DWP’s decision that he was fit for work — The Hackney Gazette reports.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stopped Mr. Holgate’s disability benefit — Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on the grounds that his arms were in working order meaning he could use them to “climb” stairs and therefore was mobile. The DWP have claimed that the decision was caused by “clerical error” — one which apparently could only be sorted out after weeks of struggle and poverty for Mr Holgate.
Mr Holgate underwent one of the DWP’s notorious medical assessments in January. The DWP gave him zero points for his disability and stopped his ESA payments — meaning that they thought he was fit for work.
At the time The DWP said that because Mr Holgate’s arms were in working order, he could use them to “climb” stairs and therefore had “mobility”.
Following an appeal, the DWP has reversed the decision and apologised claiming that the decision was caused by a “ clerical error”.
Mr Holgate was thrown into poverty after having his ESA stopped — he had to use pawnbrokers just to survive — he fell into debt as a direct result of the DWP’s “error”.
Speaking about his ordeal Mr Holgate said the DWP should be more careful when assessing people and:
I’m just still sorry other people will have to go through what I have been through
This all caused me a lot of stress and anxiety.
Mr Holgate turned to Hackney Community Law Centre (HCLC) for help with his appeal. Speaking about the result of the appeal his caseworker Marcin Brajta said that the centre had seen many similar cases because of government cuts, meaning fewer DWP assessors are available to conduct medical assessments, and:
The assessors that remain are not given enough time to assess applicants properly,
Julius can now get on with his life without worrying about having to attend the job centre, which was adversely affecting his health.
Local councilor and chair or the HCLC Ian Rathbone said the DWP’s decision to stop Mr Holgate’s benefit was:
callous and cold-hearted
adding the DWP’s apology:
squeezed out after they were caught out
is not enough.
We want to see changes of direction here, of sympathy and care for people in their time of need,
The DWP claim that:
When someone comes in for an assessment they are asked to do a number of actions, and the way the scores were translated caused a clerical error.
The DWP have become increasingly reckless since the Tories came into power 7 years ago. We have seen multiple cases like this — hundreds of suicides related to benefit decisions — thousands dying after the DWP found them fit for work.
Earlier this week we learned about the shocking case of a woman with no hands who had her disability benefit stopped because she couldn’t open letters from the DWP.
Last year we heard about a blind who had his benefit stopped because he couldn’t read letters from the DWP.
The DWP are out of control — and their victims are the most vulnerable people in society — we must all stand together against this barbarity.
None of us knows what will happen next in life, and one day your life could in the hands of the DWP’s cruelty.
More on the DWP’s victims: