A man who has battled a debilitating illness for more than 20 years says he has gone through “hell” after he was declared fit for work and his benefits were stopped.
Cash-strapped Colin Orton, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 14, was told by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) six months ago that his employment support allowance would be halted, even though he says he is not well enough to return to work.
The former labourer – who takes medication every day and requires injections every eight weeks – has submitted sick notes from his doctor but has been told he is fit and able for a return to work.
He is now in the process of appealing against the decision.
Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.
The 35-year-old, who lives in Lincoln Road, South Shields, with mother Margaret Harwood, 63, said;
“I went for an assessment with the DWP six months ago, and they said I am able to go back to work. My benefits were then stopped.
“I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was 14 but it has become progressively worse over the last two years. I suffer from stomach pains, and am very weak and have no strength.
“I take immune suppressants every day and require a B12 injection every eight weeks. I would love to be fit and healthy and able to go back to work, but that’s not the case.
“My mum is having to spend her money supporting me.”
“Before she was paid, we were scraping through the cupboards just to have something to eat for tea. The stress of the situation has made me feel even worse. I just feel it’s wrong.
“I used to work as a skilled labourer, but it is physical work that I can’t do now. I don’t know where to turn.”
A DWP spokesman said:
“The work capability assessment is designed to look at what work someone can do with the right support – rather than just writing people off on sickness benefits as happened in the past.
“The decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough independent assessment, and after consideration of all the supporting medical evidence from the claimant’s GP or medical specialist.
“Anyone who is found to be fit for work and then experiences a significant change in their health condition may be able to make or continue a claim for employment support allowance.”
> What the DWP spokesperson wont say, won’t even admit, is that even if he was super-fit, there are still not enough jobs to go round. People suffering from ill-health are now being treated like malfunctioning robots, when it’s the whole system that’s broken.
Source – Shields Gazette, 02 Feb 2015