Sunday June 17,2012 By James Murray
A WOMAN who spent two years fighting to stop her disability benefits from being taken away has died just weeks after finally winning her battle against bureaucrats.
Karen Sherlock, 44, was declared fit to work in 2010 even though her eyesight was failing and she needed a kidney transplant.
Her husband Nigel said it was a disgrace she was refused benefits and said her battle finally took its toll on her health.
Although she struggled to get out of bed, it was deemed she could work by officials at Atos Healthcare, which assesses benefits claimants on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions.
Last year she lost an appeal against the decision but continued her campaign. In April her £96-a-week benefits were stopped, plunging her into despair as her health deteriorated.
Although the decision was effectively overturned a few weeks ago when she was granted Employment and Support Allowance, she died on June 8.
Nigel, speaking from their home in Portsmouth, said: “Battling for her rights took a real toll. She was in very poor health for a long time and was certainly not well enough to work, although she wanted to get a job. It was just too much for her.
Battling for her rights took a real toll. She was in very poor health for a long time and was certainly not well enough to work, although she wanted to get a job. It was just too much for her
“It was an absolute disgrace for someone to suggest she was capable of working and it caused her terrible anxiety in the final years of her life. It should have been plain to anybody that my wonderful wife was not capable of work. Just getting through the day at home was becoming a struggle.
“She should not have been put through the indignity of having to justify her benefits, which she wouldn’t have claimed if it was not justified.”
Sue Marsh, a friend who campaigns for the rights of the disabled, said: “She lived her last months desperately scared that her family would not survive the onslaught it faced. The system failed her and she spent her last precious moments in this world fighting for herself, for her family and others.
She spent her last months fighting for the ‘security’ of £96 a week and the reassurance that it couldn’t be taken away. She won her battle.”
A spokesman for the DWP said: “We cannot comment on the individual case but our condolences go out to the family.”
The Daily Express have got a nerve! I wonder who and what could have created an environment where this barbarism could have taken place with absolute impunity?
LOOK AND SEE