A man suffering from potentially life-threatening Leukemia has been ordered to find a job, it was reported last week.
Michael Ward, 59, has been told that he isn’t sick enough to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), despite living with the debilitating effects of Leukemia for 18 months.
He has been told by doctors that he is too sick to work but Jobcentre staff disagree, the Halifax Courier reported on Friday.
Mr Ward has now been informed that he cannot claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, because his condition means he is unable to do enough to look for work.
Stuck between two different social security benefits, neither of which he is eligible to claim, Mr Ward said: “I’m getting fed up of the Jobcentre rejecting me all the time because of what I’ve got”.
“I can’t cope with getting a job and they say I’m fit for work – which I’m not”, he said.
“I keep trying to explain to them, but it keeps going over their heads – they’re trying to push me into warehouse work, but that’s something I can’t do.”
The whole ordeal is having a devastating impact on his mental health and Mr Ward says he feels let down by a welfare system that should be supporting him.
“I feel really shocked and down – it’s getting to the ridiculous now”, he said.
“It’s taking a lot out of me mentally – there are a lot of things that I used to do that I can’t do anymore.”
Mr Ward fears the added pressure of being forced into work when he is still too ill will cause his Leukemia to “flare up”.
“When it does that’s not something an employer’s going to like”, he said.
His case has now been taken up by Halifax MP Holly Lynch, who has vowed to highlight the shocking mistreatment in Parliament.
Ms Lynch said: “The Jobcentre are telling me that Mr Ward is falling between two different benefits, but is eligible for neither.
“The Government needs to take a more compassionate approach – the DWP are making a real mess of this.”
She added: “Job Centre staff are following the procedures in place, but these procedures need to change, especially with difficult and complex cases.
Official DWP figures show that around 90 people a month have died after being found ‘fit for work’ following a Work Capability Assessment.
Ms Lynch said: “These figures have shown that thousands of people have died shortly after being declared fit for work – the Government has got this completely wrong.”