One-armed Derbyshire dad has benefit cut and is told he’s fit to work

One-armed Derbyshire dad has benefit cut and is told he’s fit to work

By Derby Telegraph  |  Posted: March 29, 2014

By Ella Rhodes

Jonathan Collinge has had his benefits cut after an assessment by Atos, which said he was fit to work.

Jonathan Collinge has had his benefits cut after an assessment by Atos, which said he was fit to work.

A DERBYSHIRE father who lost his arm in a motorbike accident says it is “ridiculous” that he has been deemed fit to work.

Jonathan Collinge, of Ilkeston, was considered fit to work by disability assessor Atos and had his appeal against this decision refused.

The 28-year-old said he was now preparing to take his battle to the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr Collinge had a motorbike accident seven years ago which destroyed his left arm and made it difficult for him to find work.

RELATED CONTENT

He was given incapacity benefit and disability living allowance but was later assessed by Atos during the introduction of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which replaced incapacity benefit.

He said: “Atos said I was fit to work even though I’m on morphine and have one arm. I appealed saying I wanted to deal with it in person but they made the decision to cut my ESA in February behind my back.”

This week Atos announced plans to quit its assessment contract early. It said on Thursday that it would not see out the remaining 17 months of its work after Government criticism over “significant quality failures”.

Mr Collinge now receives £21 per week disability living allowance. He said: “That’s what they’re expecting me to live on. I have the child benefit for my son, Blake, but that’s his money and I’ll only use it for him.

“I can’t claim Jobseekers Allowance and I can’t apply for so many jobs because of my disability. They’ve left me in a real bind.”

Mr Collinge has been helped through his dealings with the Department for Work and Pensions by Linda McGraw, who runs the Derby Residents’ Advocacy Service, which gives advice to people in Derbyshire who are on benefits.

She said: “I’ve supported Jonathan for some time and he’s jumped through every hoop there is. He’s been treated appallingly by the system.

“It’s as if people are being treated like merchandise. People are complex and you can’t say ‘this person can stay on the shelf’.”

Mrs McGraw said that people’s perception of those who are on benefits had been coloured, in part, by the media. She said: “All the people I deal with don’t come across as people who don’t want to work.

“They are all very humble people who are entitled to and deserving of that benefit. All of them are willing to give something back to their community as well.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said each individual was assessed based on what they could and could not do in deciding whether or not they were fit for work.

She said: “In JobCentres across the country, we have disability employment advisers who provide specialist help to job seekers.

“Also, the access to work scheme is there to help meet additional, assessed costs so that, once disabled job seekers are in work, they can stay in work.”

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s