Grandad declared capable of work by DWP/Atos died one month later

Tragedy: Brother Anthony Hill with a picture of Stephen - Photo by Ross Parry

Stephen Hill, 53, had suffered heart problems for two years and needed a bypass but was told he was fit to come off incapacity benefit


A dad of two who was told he was fit to come off incapacity benefit and get a job died of a heart attack a month later.


Married grandad Stephen Hill, 53, had suffered heart problems for two years and needed a bypass.

He had already won an appeal against a Work Capability Assessment by French testing firm Atos but was passed fit for work again on November 17.

Stephen, of Duckmanton, Derbys, died on December 26 before his new appeal could be heard.

His brother Anthony, 52, said: “The worry put so much pressure on him.”

Atos is paid £100million a year by the Department for Work and Pensions to get people off benefits.

But 150,000 it ruled fit won appeals last year.

Labour MP Tom Greatrex said yesterday: “It is time the Government got a grip, improved the process and applied fines to Atos healthcare.”

A DWP spokesman said: “The test is designed to assess a person’s ability to work, which can change over time.”

3 thoughts on “Grandad declared capable of work by DWP/Atos died one month later

  1. susan jones says:

    If the DWP acknowledges that fitness for work “may change over time”, then how come the ATOS assessment does not have a mechanism to accommodate this?? Clearly, the system is grossly fallible simply as a measure of fitness to work , as dead people are certainly not fit for work, and the Tribunal success of so many ( myself included) highlights the fallibility. Furthermore, if a Doctor declared someone fit for work, and they then died, that would constitute gross negligence. In my own case, ATOS awarded me no points at all. The report made was full of serious inaccuracies and omissions. I lost my benefit but appealed. The Tribunal ruled that to make me work would endanger myself and/or others. I have a serious chronic connective tissue/autoimmune disease which comprises of; severe inflammatory arthritis in every joint, CTD related raynauds ,( a serious circulation disorder) thrombocytopenia, ( a bleeding disorder) migraines and severe headache and severe facial pain/numbness. ( glossophayringial neuralgia) brainfog/memory problems, low blood complements, which mean I am very succeptible to infections, particularly pneumonia and kidney infection severely dry eyes and throat ( sjogrens syndrome), permanently blurry vision, retinal damage , hearing loss due to effusions caused by systemic inflammation. There are many less serious symptoms, like frequent cops of mouth ulcers, nose ulcers, severe sore throat, hairloss, skin rashes and severe blistering. I also have asthma. profound fatigue is also a major symptom . My medication is an injection of a chemotherapy called methotrexate. This also leaves me more prone to infection, and I am advised to “avoid people with infections, such as colds and flu, stomach bugs” and so on. The medication is not guarrenteed to manage my symptoms, and most with autoimmune illnesses have to try several drug treatments, each with black box side effects, to find something that helps. There is no cure.

    I worked most of my adult life and I miss working, and certainly miss the income.I became too ill to work in late 2009. But it is the lack of dignity that I find most hard to swallow. ATOS implied in their report that I was some kind of fraudster, that I exaggerated my pain on examination. I am just so happy that Tribunals read real doctors reports. I currently have 3 specialists, neurology, rheumatology and opthalmology, they each contibuted to my appeal. But some doctors don’t have time to support in this way.

    The punishment of sick and disabled people MUST stop. ATOS is an atrocity and must go. It’s the perfect example of profit over human need. We cannot call ourselves a civilised society when people are left to die with no basic income , when people are killing themselves rather than face lives of endless poverty, appeals and ATOS assessments. How dare this Government invalidate the experiences of people who are sick ( can’t even get a sick note now, they are are called “fit” notes – illness has been banned!) . The next move will be work houses….

    1. Louise Parham says:

      I have read your comments, I also had to undergo the wretched ATOS assessment. I am in the middle of an appeal. But mine is mental health problems which are much harder to prove, but its real for me. I too wish I was working again like before. But even if I was well enough to work, there are not enough paid jobs to go round anyway, so what are they trying to do to us !! Sadly, the workhouse situation is upon us already. There are companies such as Tescos, MacDonald and some so-called well know charities such as Heart Foundation (would you believe it!) that are hand in glove with this govt scheme called “Welfare to Work”. The DWP are starting to send unemployed people to work for nothing at these companies or organisations. If they don’t work for nothing and comply with these companies, they will have their benefits cancelled for up to six weeks. They will next start of those on ESA people like you and me. Yes, this is the return of the victorian work house. I think we need to think of a way of toppling this Govt from Hell. This is the only way forward, if enough people will do it.

  2. John Hargrave says:

    If any man’s/women’s Doctors rule they are unfit for work, then it is not for Atos to decide otherwise. No doubt their assessors get paid by results, so it is only right the assessor is fined every time the claimant’s case is upheld by a Tribunal. The Tribunal’s findings must be strictly adhered to and a rule should be brought in to say people have no further assessments for five years. Also the Tribunal’s should hear the cases of Atos failed people within one month. It is an absolute scandal that genuine people are now just belittled, humiliated and vilified so Atos can steal even more money from the rich man’s government by treating human beings as cash cows.

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