ANOTHER DISABLED MAN TAKES OWN LIFE AFTER GOVERNMENT CUTS ALLOWANCE
A disabled man took his own life after describing how a paramedic ignored the ‘sheer amount of pain’ he was in during a face-to-face assessment, leading the British regime’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to remove his benefits and plunge him into poverty.
Christian Wilcox is the latest disabled person whose death has been linked to the Department’s deeply-flawed disability benefit assessment regime. Reduced to tears on occasion, Christian had written over the course of several months about how the lengthy process of reassessing his eligibility for personal independence payment (PIP) was causing him significant distress.
The circumstances in which he died will add to calls for an independent inquiry into deaths linked to the Department’s actions, and supports a general sentiment that the government apparatchiks are fit for purpose.
This week, Labour MP Debbie Abrahams, who has led calls in parliament for an independent inquiry into benefit-related deaths, secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on the subject.
Meanwhile, a freedom of information response from Works and Pensions to a campaigner showed how the department has been clandestinely destroying secret internal reports into deaths linked to its actions.
The Disability News Service (DNS) revealed how civil servants attached to the department coerced a coroner not to write an embarrassing public report into the department’s failings in the Errol Graham case by misleading her about a departmental review into safeguarding.
It is believed that Christian Wilcox’s body was not discovered until about six weeks after he took his own life in his flat in Croydon, south London. He is believed to have died in late November, a few days before he was due to attend an appeal tribunal into DWP’s decision to remove his PIP.
One neighbour told DNS that the way Wilcox had been treated by the much-criticised department was disgusting.
Wilcox had written on his Facebook page on 6 November that the government department had removed his PIP after a paramedic who assessed him, on behalf of the discredited government contractor Atos, ignored the pain he was in during a physical examination.
He wrote: ‘Right, so the medical ignored the sheer amount of pain I was in. She was supposed to be a Paramedic. You’d think she would have noticed that.’
He added, ‘The big fear being that I’m on the list of those to be culled, because of my work over the past nine-odd years. It appears that he worked supporting other people in mental distress.
The previous month, he had written: ‘I say this, as there will always be those who think that I am faking. You don’t choose to live a life where people usually treat you like shit. That is what it is like to be disabled. I miss life. I have a great home, but sadly no money. That’s how it goes down for me.’
Neighbour Terry Wood told DNS this week: ‘Christian felt like he had a life on the little money he had, but once it got taken off him, he had no life. Financially, he simply couldn’t get by.’
He said Wilcox was always ‘very, very quiet’ but had told another neighbour that his benefits had been stopped and that he could barely get by and was under a lot of stress.
He added: ‘For them to stop his benefits, we all said it was disgusting. I knew he would have days he was struggling. He had physical problems; he would always have a cane. This is all over some zealous bureaucrat trying to save a couple of pennies.
‘It seems so sad. When you see someone take a body away and put it in a vehicle, it is like that person never existed.’
The Department of Works and Pension refused to answer questions about the death of Christian Wilcox.
The UK government has inflicted great misery on disabled people and other marginalised groups, with ministers in a state of denial about the impact of their policies, a UN human rights expert has concluded.
Professor Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said disabled people had faced endless problems as a result of the government’s social security reforms.
And he said it was clear that there needed to be a better assessment of the impact of the government’s social security cuts and reforms, including any links to the deaths of people found unfairly fit for work.
He said work capability assessments that had found disabled people unfairly fit for work had caused a huge cause of frustration and disbelief and that he had no doubt that disabled people had been hit particularly hard by the changes in the benefit system.
Alston said figures from the Social Metrics Commission showed that 14 million people, a fifth of the population, were living in poverty and nearly half of them were from families in which someone was disabled. Like this story? Share it with others
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