Sick to Death
Published 23 Jul 2012 17:30 5 Comments
A DISABLED West Fife man has said he would rather die than wade through any more Government red tape to keep the benefits he is entitled to.
Francis Campbell (55) suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which causes severe breathing difficulties, restricts his movement and leaves him unable to go up a staircase without the aid of an oxygen tank.
He completed the process to retain his employment support allowance (ESA) last year and was left so disgusted when he received another stack of paperwork to reapply this week that he has vowed to stop taking his medication until he receives assurances that the UK Government will stop bothering him.
Francis, from Inverkeithing, said, "They should accept that people with a long-term illness have got a long-term illness and shouldn't be made to prove it again and again.
"You're only getting a couple of months between each form, they make you feel as if you're jumping through hoops with all the different stages to go through to continue getting the benefits."
Francis' COPD is classed as 'severe' and by not taking his medication he is putting his life at risk.
His family as well as his doctor have strongly advised against his protest but he is adamant that he needs to make a stand.
Francis was diagnosed with COPD in 1988, but continued working as a railway track maintenance engineer until 2005. His day-to-day life now consists mainly of sitting around the house he shares with his elderly mother and going out to the shops a couple of times a week.
He takes a number of different types of medication twice daily and spends most days hooked up to an oxygen tank for up to 16 hours.
He said, "I worked for as long as I could and I don't feel like I'm being helped with this at all because I would prefer to still be able to work.
"When I was first on this benefit it was five years between each medical and I would accept it being reduced to three because I know they need to weed people who abuse the system but to do this annually for someone with a long-term illness is extreme.
"It's putting me under a lot of unnecessary stress."
The UK Government is seeking to reassess all 2.6 million people in Britain on ESA - the successor to incapacity benefit - by 2014 in an effort to cut the welfare bill and encourage more people back into work.
Claimants are being forced to fill in a work capability assessment to determine if they are entitled to the highest rate of ESA - for those deemed unable to work at all due to sickness or disability - or are considered 'fit for work', in which case they are put on jobseeker's allowance instead.
Francis' local MSP Helen Eadie recently hosted an event at Holyrood which highlighted the unfairness of the changes to benefits that are being forced upon people.
She said, "Mr Campbell is being put in an intolerable position and the authorities should think again.
"It is worth pointing that of those turned down for ESA, as many as 60 per cent win their appeals which shows that the system is just not working."
COPD is the fifth biggest killer in the world, with an estimated 250 people dying from the disease every hour.
A DWP spokesperson said, "The Work Capability Assessment is an important part of the Government's reforms to incapacity benefits. The old system simply wrote too many people off without looking at what they were able to do.
"Re-assessments determine what, if any, work a person could undertake, as medical conditions do change over time.
"Following the re-assessment our decision maker will decide if the claimant needs to be re-assessed and in what timescale. As said if it's found the condition hasn't changed following that re-assessment then s/he would be allowed to stay on Employment Support Allowance."
This article appeared in Dunfermline Press 23 Jul 12
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Jul 24, 10:40
I also have 'severe' COPD through smoking all my life !! and I probably take the same puffers two types and medication as you. but I was not going to let it stop me doing anything repeat anything..so I started to walk 10-100 yards a day and then gradually up to 3 - 4 miles when possible a day, you feel better for it and after a few days its like a drug you want to walk more!
you can do it if you have the willpower to do it
I also had colon cancer for which I had an operation to remove it,
I was one week in hospital and took one week off to rest at home and then I went back to work,
then the consultants discovered it had spread to my liver and I am now going through a coarse of chemotherapy at present and take one day off my work for treatment and I still go to my work the next day,
If you sit back and just think what is wrong with yourself and feeling sorry and don't try to help yourself you will deteriorate,
Get up off your backside take a deep breath and think about it and do something about it instead of relying on the state.
I could easily apply for handouts and get them. I will have to drop before I seek anything from the state
We all have one life so make the best and most of it... you are not going to last long if you don't help yourself, instead of relying on doctors and the state,
My consultants and doctors couldn't believe it when I said I was back at work they also said that I had responded better to chemotherapy and a lot lot better to treatment due to my attitude and determination.
So go on Francis think about it if you can go to the shops 2 or 3 times a week walk that extra 10-20 yards further each day ? stop feeling sorry for yourself ,,,because not many people will feel for you.
Recommend? Yes 46 No 11
Jul 24, 12:34
If he stops taking his medication then he won't need to worry about the forms.
Feel sorry for him, but at the end of the day, the facility exists for him to have someone fill in the forms for him and all he has to do is sign them.
Somehow, filling in forms seems to be slightly less of an inconvenience than not filling them in and losing your house and all your financial support. or stopping your medication and becoming more ill, resulting in a slight case of death.
Last I heard, deadness is quite inconvenient indeed.
Recommend? Yes 33 No 7
Jul 26, 20:33
Is it really too much to ask that if you depend on state handouts (in other words money from other folk's taxes) you should fill in whatever forms are legally necessary? I'm sick to the back teeth of the constant whinging from people who don't know how lucky they are to live in a country that supports them when they need it - many don't.
Well done Jollymolly! A damn sight better than biting the hand that feeds you!
Recommend? Yes 14 No 3
Jul 27, 03:47
Jul 30, 11:00
What is wrong with you people? There's enough people on the dole with no work, enough immigrants in the country, doing work that locals should be doing, paying taxes to thier own countries and not ours, yet now you agree with putting the long term sick on the dole as well?
The whole point of our society is to protect the innocent, stand up for the weak. But the comments on this forum, make me think I am living in Russia or the Middle East..
This man is clearly too ill to work, what does disgust me, is that noone is willing to help him fill in the paperwork, he is being expected to do it himself. At least if someone else was doing this and making sure it was all done correctly, that would be employing someone.
Recommend? Yes 2 No 2