A starving 64-year-old man who weighed just six stone was denied benefits and told to “go and look for work” by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Shocking images have emerged of Liverpool man Stephen Smith who was hospitalised over Christmas when his severe health problems left him in such a poor state his weight dropped to just six stone and left him fearing for his life.
Despite his deteriorating condition Smith was forced to get a pass out from hospital to go and fight a decision by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) which repeatedly denied him crucial benefits and insisted he was fit and capable of finding work, the Liverpool Echo has reported.
He won the appeal after a tribunal judge saw the 64-year-old could barely walk.
The Liverpool man has suffered with a number of serious conditions for several years, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, excruciating Osteoarthritis and an enlarged prostate.
He also uses a colostomy bag to go to the toilet.
How could anyone read this and not get angry, I mean deep down gut clenched angry. Weighing six stone and barely able to move – this man was denied vital benefits and told to go and look for work. This is what we’ve allowed this Government bring us to https://t.co/vtw50Snd4l
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) February 3, 2019
Despite all of this, the 64-year-old failed a DWP work capability assessment in 2017 – which meant his ESA payments were stopped and he was told to sign on for a £67 a week Jobseeker’s Allowance, requiring him to visit the job centre once a week and prove he was looking for work.
Throughout this period, Stephen was living alone and didn’t know where to turn as his health deteriorated.
He said: “I could only make it to the kitchen to make food once a day.
“I had no muscles in the back of my leg which meant I couldn’t stand up at all – and had to lean or sit down all the time – but they were telling me I was fit for work.”
In a nod to the film I, Daniel Blake, that was despite him having a doctor’s note that stated: “It is my opinion that Mr Smith could not walk 20 metres without pain or exhaustion.”
— Liverpool Echo (@LivEchonews) February 4, 2019
He was forced to get a pass to allow him to leave the Royal and head to the tribunal to fight his case in December, which is when the photos were taken.
Smith won the case with the judge stating that his mobility and health problems meant he satisfied the requirement for ESA.
The ruling means Stephen will be put back on to ESA but he believes he is owed around £4,000 in backpay.
According to Echo reports while Stephen’s case is alarming, it is not uncommon at present in the city.