- by John Siddle, Liverpool Echo
- Jul 5 2012
A DAD whose son died just six weeks after wrongly being stripped of his incapacity benefits today said he blamed the government for his death.
Mark Scott, 46, was deemed fit to work by job centre doctors despite GP records showing he suffered severe anxiety, panic attacks and alcoholism.
He died in his Southport flat in January from pneumonia.
Yesterday, an independent tribunal ruled the department of work and pensions’ (DWP) decision to stop Mr Scott’s employment support allowance was incorrect.
His dad Cliff, 74, who brought the appeal on behalf of his son, branded the benefits system “a shambles”.
He told the ECHO: “I know Mark would still be alive today if he had kept his benefits, as it was proved he should have.
“I detest people who cheat the system but my son relied on the state because he could not work. He was unemployable.
“The government, the DWP, failed my son. The system is not fit for purpose.”
Mark was deprived of oxygen as a baby which left him prone to panic attacks. The anxiety led him to drink heavily and, in a Catch-22, when he tried to quit alcohol he suffered crippling seizures.
Like thousands of other claimants Mark was called for a work capability assessment last year where he was determined to be fit for work.
The report described his general health as “well” and him being of “average build” – despite weighing eight stone.
But GP records stated that Mark had suffered a dozen withdrawal seizures from alcohol in the past 10 years.
Mr Scott told how his son sank into a “deep depression” after being stripped of ESA and housing benefit in December.
His family tried to help him when they learned of the decision, but Mr Scott said: “I think the stress of not knowing what was going to happen in the future killed him.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “Mr Scott’s family continue to have our sympathy.
“The work capability assessment is in place to determine what, if any, work a person could undertake, as this can change over time.”