A disabled gentleman collapsed and died at a Jobcentre Plus office in Llanelli (Wales) within months of being declared “fit for work” by cruel officials from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), it has been reported.
The unnamed individual was reportedly attending a meeting to discuss the DWP’s decision. But the 65-year-old man was found unresponsive in a chair while waiting to be seen.
An ambulance was called but he was declared dead at the scene by paramedics.
He had been assessed as able to work earlier in the year, but campaigners argue that his sudden and unexpected death shows that he wasn’t medically capable of working and should not been found “fit for work”.
Ken Loach, who directed the widely acclaimed and Palme d’Dor winning docudrama I, Daniel Blake – a story of one man’s struggle with the welfare system following a heart attack – has backed calls for all face-to-face benefit assessments to be suspended in the wake of the 65-year-old’s death.
Speaking to the Morning Star online, Mr Loach added: “What has happened really was disgraceful. The man was only 65 — he only had a few more months to go and he would have been retired anyway.
“Such is the brutality of it, but it’s clear that the Tories have no intention of changing their harsh system.
“We have to vote them out — we may as well start with Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of this misery, who is as callous as he is sanctimonious.”
A witness to the man’s death said: “I didn’t know him myself, but the man who was sat next to me told me that he had grown up with the guy.
“[He] told me that the poor guy had diabetes and had been declared fit for work by the jobcentre earlier in the year, but he was obviously ill.
“The ambulance came, but he sadly died and they had to take his body out of the jobcentre. It was awful.
“We were all very shook up. It was a horrible situation that should have never happened.”
Jennifer Jones from the protest group Disabled People Against Cuts told the Morning Star: “We are beyond heartbroken over the devastating news of the as yet unnamed man who has lost his life in such awful circumstances.
“The saddest and most angering thing is that this man has not died in unpreventable circumstances — far from it.
“He has died in the jobcentre because he was found ‘fit for work’ when he was not, because somebody lied about his fitness levels and abilities and he wasn’t given the support that his individual needs deserved.
“We demand that the DWP impose an immediate ban on PIP and ESA assessments in light of this tragic incident and to open an investigation into the assessment centre in question.
“There must be no more deaths due to the inaccurate reports and lies from Atos/Capita assessors.
“The only way to end this suffering is to end this process altogether. This shouldn’t have happened and must never happen again.”
A DWP spokesperson said the Department’s thoughts are with the man’s family and staff at the Llanelli Jobcentre.