A heart attack survivor claims he was refused Universal Credit payments despite collapsing at work and given little chance of survival, it has been reported.
Jeremy Corfield, 49, was rushed into theatre after collapsing during a shift as a car park enforcement officer in Quinton, and spent three days in hospital recovering from a heart attack that almost cost him his life.
He was diagnosed with angina and told he wouldn’t be well enough to return to work for several weeks.
But despite his near death experience, Mr Corfield was told by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that he was ineligible to claim monthly Universal Credit payments.
Mr Corfield had been claiming the new benefit after becoming unemployed, but his payments were reduced to zero after starting his new job.
He was told that he would be unable to resume his claim despite being ruled ‘unfit for work’ by his GP.
“I had the heart attack while I was at work and I spent three days in hospital”, he said.
“I went into theatre straight away so they could put in the stent. It was scary, the doctors said I was lucky to survive.
“I got a doctor’s note saying I was unfit to work for six weeks and drive for four weeks and made an appointment at the Jobcentre, but they said there was nothing they could do.
“I will have to go without money for December and January. All my bills are mounting up, my car, my rent, my water, everything I need to live a day-to-day life, it’s all on hold.
“It’s got to the point where I will have to go back to work and risk having another heart attack.
“It scares the life out of me.”
Mr Corfield says he tried contacting the DWP to hopefully resolve the issue, but has been unable to get through to the switchboard.
The Birmingham Mail reports that Mr Corfield, who lives in a Birmingham City Council flat with his partner, became liable to pay both rent and council tax, despite being left “with nothing” to live on.
“When I tried to make another appointment they told me to ring up instead but I ended up on the phone for 20 minutes with no-one answering,” he said.
”They keep on fobbing me off with different phone numbers.
“The doctor has told me to rest and I have been told I will have angina for the rest of my life.
“I walk around with a spray but I’m told [that] I’m not entitled to anything.
“The whole situation is causing me stress, I’ve been left with nothing.”
His case was taken up by the local press and since then the DWP has awarded him with an advanced Universal Credit payment to pay housing costs.
A DWP spokesperson said: “Mr Corfield wasn’t eligible for Universal Credit, initially because of wages he received from previous employment.
“We have apologised for not making this clearer at the time and to support him with his claim.”