Man with leukaemia and arthritis ‘not ill enough for sickness benefits and must do more to find a job’

Reposted from the Mirror

Words fail me, they really do. This poor man is 59, suffering with blood cancer and severe arthritis and the DWP say he’s fit for work (His GP & NHS Consultant, who are presumably medically qualified say he is not)

I bet employers are falling over themselves to give him a job!

SWNSMichael Ward
Stunned: Cancer sufferer Michael Ward has been told by the Job Centre he is not doing enough to find a job

A man who is suffering from leukaemia and has severe arthritis in both knees has been told he is not ill enough to receive sickness benefits.

Michael Ward has been battling the blood cancer for 18 months as well as debilitating arthritis but while his doctors have said he is too ill to work, Job Centre officials are claiming otherwise.

Mr Ward, 59, was previously on JSA before officials declared him fit for work after an assessment for moving around gave him nine points, when 15 points would have made him eligible for ESA. He is now reliant on his Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

“It is getting ridiculous,” said Mr Ward, a former warehouse worker.

“They just show no sympathy or common sense for what is going on with people. You have to get a sick note from the doctor that explains you are not well enough for work and it completely seems to go over their head.

“We are going round in circles and it is becoming an absolute joke going on for almost two years.”

Mr Ward was also shocked by the fact that the Job Centre staff have persistently tried to make him apply for warehouse work, despite the fact he is no longer being to do any physical work.

He said: “It is because my career was working in a warehouse so the only job they can think to give me is working there but due to my health, there is no way I am able to.

“I keep trying to explain to them, but it seems to go nowhere. The whole situation is getting me down. I am already struggling suffering from leukaemia as I had already seen what happens as my father went through the same thing.

“When I was told in January last year, I already had a feeling, but I was dreading the appointment at the Macmillan Centre as I was aware of what I would have to go through next.”

SWNSMichael Ward
Fuming: Cancer sufferer Michael Ward has a note from his doctor

Mr Ward has taken his case to Halifax MP Holly Lynch, who has promised to look into the matter and to raise the issue in Parliament.

He is currently appealing against the decision and waiting a date for this to be heard.

Mr ward added: “I know I am not the only person in Halifax having similar problems. I really think these Job Centre officials should be more sympathetic to people’s situation. It is adding unnecessary stress on people.”

The DWP was unavailable to comment. (Bolding mine – I bet they were bloody unavailable , just like this man should be … for work)

Michael Ward, who was diagnosed with chronic leukaemia 18 months ago, has been told he must do more to find a job after being sanctioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), despite being signed off work by his doctor.

He added: “I haven’t been able to work in a warehouse with my knee as it is impossible to walk sometimes, so I can’t be lugging heavy things about.”

“I was originally signed off sick in January 2013, but about eight months ago the Job Centre turned around to me and said I was fit for work, even though my doctor had recently given me another sick note, but the Job Centre just rejected this completely.

“I felt really down after they told me that I was fit for work.

“My condition is getting worse and with them putting this pressure on me it is making it worse.

“My doctor has told me the Job Centre shouldn’t be putting me in this position.”

Because chronic leukaemia develops slowly over a longer period of time than acute forms of the disease, Michael isn’t currently undergoing chemotherapy, but is likely to require the treatment as the illness progresses.

PAWorks and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith
Controversial: Works and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has forced through a range of changes to benefits

He said: “I will need chemotherapy in the future for my leaukaemia and I reckon when that happens the Job Centre will still say I need to look for work.

“They have been really unsympathetic to my case and have sanctioned me for not looking for work.

Michael said he has gained a Level 2 certificate in preparing for adult social work, but is unable to take the Level 3 course because government have cut funding, meaning that he will have to pay to take the next stage out of his own pocket.

He said: “I can’t afford to take the next stage of the course because I have got no money because the Job Centre has sanctioned me.

“The Job Centre expects me to do all the work to find a job, they aren’t helping me at all. Some days I can hardly walk and it is likely that I will end up in a wheelchair.

“When it snows I can’t get out of the house because if I go out and my knee jars I’m completely jiggered.”

Michael, who is single and doesn’t have children, said his arthritis originally started in his left knee but had since spread and was now affecting his right knee.

“I used to go hiking in the past, but that’s not possible anymore because I can hardly walk anywhere.

“I have worked since I was 15 and it was working in a warehouse freezer for six and a half years is what brought on the arthritis in the first place.”

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