Former trawlerman battling lung disease hits out at benefit bosses after being declared fit for work

From Eastern Daily Press: A Suffolk man has hit out at benefit bosses after being declared fit to work, despite battling COPD and severe back pain for nearly four decades.

David Macalpine, 62, moved to Lowestoft, Suffolk, from Coventry aged 17 to begin a fishing career as a trawlerman, but has not worked for more than 35 years after suffering a deformed disc in his back.

Yet the Department for Work and Pensions have declared him able to return to work.

Mr Macalpine said: “I am suffering with COPD and it is a long-term illness. The council recognise COPD as a disability but the DWP look at it differently which is just stupid.

“I have also been diagnosed with a muscular disorder because I have a deformed disc in my back since I was fishing and I have been told not to lift anything. I do push myself and just get on with it but I get severe back pain and shortness of breath and I am not fit to go back to work.

“I have got a sicknote from my doctor which lasts until the end of November. They are going against the doctors professional advice.”

[Read full article on Eastern Daily Press website…]

PM refuses to scrap work capability assessments despite link to suicides

From Welfare Weekly: Theresa May has refused to scrap her government’s controversial Work Capability Assessments, despite reports almost one in two women taking part in the assessments say they have attempted suicide before or after the process.

Ian Blackford, Commons leader of the SNP, congratulated the Prime Minister on her appointment of a Minister for Suicide Prevention, but said if the Prime Minister was serious about the issue, she would eradicate polices that lead people to believe suicide is their only option.

A series of secret internal inquiries into the deaths of people claiming social security revealed that UK government ministers were repeatedly warned of shortcomings of their social security policies.

Nearly one in every two women (47%) claiming incapacity benefits and undergoing the WCA have attempted suicide.

[Read full article on Welfare Weekly…]

Attempted suicides by disability benefit claimants more than double after introduction of fit-to-work assessment

From The Independent: According to new analysis of NHS data from surveys taken in 2007 and 2014, nearly half of people surveyed on out-of-work disability benefits said in 2014 that they had attempted to take their own lives.

[Read article on Independent website…]

Mentally distressed man declared ‘fit for work’ by DWP found dead on beach days later

From Evolve Politics: A man declared ‘fit for work’ by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), despite suffering with extreme anxiety, stress and panic attacks for nine years, has been found dead on a beach after his sickness benefits were removed.

Following the removal of his benefits, 54-year-old David Metcalf was visited by police and a mental health practitioner after concerns for his wellbeing were raised. Just four days later he was found dead on a Durham beach. Read more

DWP’s fit-to-work tests ‘cause permanent damage to mental health’, study finds

From The Independent: The Government’s fit-to-work tests for access to disability benefits are causing permanent damage to some claimants’ mental health, from which they are not recovering, a new study by academics at Heriot-Watt and Napier Universities has warned.

[Read article on Independent website…]

More than 2,300 died after fit for work assessment – DWP figures

From BBC News: Some 2,380 people have died after being found fit for work and losing benefits, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures show.

Between December 2011 and February 2014 the equivalent of about 90 people a month died after their Employment and Support Allowance claim was ended.

Campaigners have called for the “tragic” figures to be investigated.

[Read full article on BBC News…]