Partially-blind man “physical and emotional wreck” after DWP/AtoS axe his benefits

Published on Friday 21 September 2012 12:08 

A PARTIALLY-SIGHTED man says he is a “physical and emotional wreck” after discovering he is to lose his housing and council tax benefits. 

Ian Hargreaves is set set to lose his benefits after a health assesment by ATOS.

Ian Hargreaves, 59, says he has been wrongly assessed by a new testing system for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which has left scores of disabled people claiming they have been incorrectly declared fit for work.

Mr Hargreaves, of Blackpool Road North, St Annes, has been signed off since 2006 after he developed a condition which left him barely able to see through his right eye and he was previously able to claim £101 a week in allowances.

But now he has received a letter stating he is ineligible to claim benefits after an assessment by Atos Healthcare found him fit for work.

He said: “They promised me they wouldn’t make a decision until I’d had the results of a procedure at the hospital because they’ve got serious concerns with regards to my right eye.

“The eye examination ATOS did was a very basic examination, whereas the hospital examination looks at each eye separately.

“Courtesy of the DWP I’m a physical and emotional wreck.”

Mr Hargreaves had previously worked as a civil servant at National Savings and Investments prior to developing the condition, and completed a number of long haul bike rides for charity, once cycling from the set of Coronation Street to the set of EastEnders with Daley Thompson.

He said: “The ATOS thing is an embarrassment to the health service and my doctors can’t believe the assessment.”

Mr Hargreaves says he now intends to get in touch with the Royal National Institute for the Blind in order to consider his future options.

A spokesman from RNIB said: “Our helpline receives hundreds of calls from people concerned about their benefits and our welfare advisers are on hand to offer professional help and support. We would urge Mr Hargreaves to contact RNIB’s Helpline.”

A DWP spokesman added: “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.

“Assessments determine what, if any, work a person could undertake, as medical conditions do change over time.”

Revoltingly, the comment thread on The Blackpool Gazette is swamped with vile comments made by Neo-Nazi scumbags

Comments
  • hossylass September 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    So he has lost almost all the sight in one eye, yes?

    And how does that stop him working?

    So he is ineligible for ESA. How does that affect his Housing benefit?

    Black Triangle, you keep giving these examples without actually considering if they have any merit.

    Why portray people who have no real claim to the benefit as badly done to?

    Or is there more to this story, such as the sight loss is due to an invasive malignant tumour, that Atos know about but the article didn’t mention.

    If that is the case then it is a scandal.

    • JJ September 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      “Black Triangle, you keep giving these examples without actually considering if they have any merit.

      Why portray people who have no real claim to the benefit as badly done to?”

      The article states that they have concerns about his right eye.

      How do you know that his case has no merit???

      Are you an opthalmologist?

      The definition of ‘disability’ under the Equality Act 2010:

      In the Act, a person has a disability if:

      they have a physical or mental impairment

      the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities

      For the purposes of the Act, these words have the following meanings:

      ‘substantial’ means more than minor or trivial

      ‘long-term’ means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least twelve months (there are special rules covering recurring or fluctuating conditions)

      ‘normal day-to-day activities’ include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping

      People who have had a disability in the past that meets this definition are also protected by the Act.

      Mr Hargreaves is clearly disabled under the Act.

      The point of posting this article is that this man says he is a “physical and nervous wreck” and that is entirely understandable. Think about it.

      Assuming his right eye had not deteriorated – do you think that he stands as much of a chance as the no-doubt thousands of other able-bodied people seeking employment for the one shelf-stacking job in Blackpool?

      It’s a dead cert that for a reason directly resulting from his disability he would be overlooked in favour of some other younger, able-bodied candidate!

      You would never be able to prove discrimination, of course, but the facts and reality experienced by disabled job-seekers bear out the argument that there is massive discrimination nonetheless.

      The second matter in the vile hatred displayed on the comments column by such people as ‘Sturmbannfuhrer Wilhelm Josiah Kreutz’.

      Whatever your views – you should remember that ‘careless talk costs lives’. Giving succour to people who express those opinions by agreeing with them leads you down a very dark path indeed.

      Please consider this!

  • jeffery davies September 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    another one seen by jesus who is found fit for work how lovely they can stop ones benefits and not even be prosecuted for it and get richer by the day by taken away our benefits jeff3

  • Jeff Metz September 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    They cut off help and food in his case housing also and now you have a homeless person.Sick, disabled he won’t survive the Winter.The Governments over the WORLD want to get rid of us because we are The Baby Boomers and the money won’t cover what we deserve .They stole our money.Now they are going to kill you.WAKE UP!! The World has to unite and rid it of The ones in Power.Rockefellers and Morgans to name two.They should be executed publicly for over ONE HUNDRED YEARS of preparation to take over the World. They all should be PUBLICLY EXECUTED…

  • JJ September 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    hossylass September 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Re: https://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/09/23/partially-blind-man-physical-and-emotional-wreck-after-dwpatos-axe-his-benefits/

    ‘So he has lost almost all the sight in one eye, yes?

    And how does that stop him working?

    So he is ineligible for ESA. How does that affect his Housing benefit?

    Black Triangle, you keep giving these examples without actually considering if they have any merit.

    Why portray people who have no real claim to the benefit as badly done to?

    Or is there more to this story, such as the sight loss is due to an invasive malignant tumour, that Atos know about but the article didn’t mention.

    If that is the case then it is a scandal.’

    REPLY:

    September 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    You wrote:

    “Black Triangle, you keep giving these examples without actually considering if they have any merit.

    Why portray people who have no real claim to the benefit as badly done to?”

    Hossylass,

    The article states that they have concerns about his right eye.

    How do you know that his case has no merit???

    Are you an opthalmologist?

    The definition of ‘disability’ under the Equality Act 2010:

    In the Act, a person has a disability if:

    they have a physical or mental impairment

    the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities

    For the purposes of the Act, these words have the following meanings:

    ‘substantial’ means more than minor or trivial

    ‘long-term’ means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least twelve months (there are special rules covering recurring or fluctuating conditions)

    ‘normal day-to-day activities’ include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping

    People who have had a disability in the past that meets this definition are also protected by the Act.

    Mr Hargreaves is clearly disabled under the Act.

    The point of posting this article is that this man says he is a “physical and nervous wreck” and that is entirely understandable. Think about it.

    Assuming his right eye had not deteriorated – do you think that he stands as much of a chance as the no-doubt thousands of other able-bodied people seeking employment for the one shelf-stacking job in Blackpool?

    It’s a dead cert that for a reason directly resulting from his disability he would be overlooked in favour of some other younger, able-bodied candidate!

    You would never be able to prove discrimination, of course, but the facts and reality experienced by disabled job-seekers bear out the argument that there is massive discrimination nonetheless.

    The second matter in the vile hatred displayed on the comments column by such people as ‘Sturmbannfuhrer Wilhelm Josiah Kreutz’.

    Whatever your views – you should remember that ‘careless talk costs lives’. Giving succour to people who express those opinions by agreeing with them leads you down a very dark path indeed.

    Please consider this!

    _______________________________________________

    To: The Editor, Blackpool Gazette

    We wish to report the following comments as incitement to disability hate crime.

    By failing to properly moderate posts on The Blackpool Gazette’s website which we submit amount to hate speech the paper has failed in their duty to Mr. Ian Hargreaves, the subject of the Gazette’s article, who is a disabled person according to the lawful definition.

    By permitting this virulent abuse to be displayed on their website the Gazette may very well have placed Mr. Hargreaves and other disabled people in danger.

    Article 10 – Freedom of expression

    1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

    2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

    Constabularies in every part of the U.K. have reported that disability hate crime is now at record levels and is increasing all the time.

    This is intolerable.

    We hope you will investigate and address our complaint as a matter of urgency.

    We also hope that you will apologise to Mr. Hargreaves for any hurt and distress caused.

    We look forward to receiving your reply.

    John McArdle

    for

    Black Triangle
    Anti-Defamation Campaign
    In Defence of Disability Rights

    https://blacktrianglecampaign.org/

    http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/health/local-health/partially-blind-man-loses-benefits-1-4947215

    just need to look at what the paralympians achieve to put this story into perspective.

    trainspotter… If you know so many people on disability benefits who have nothing wrong with the then shop them to the benefit fraud investigation service 0800 854 440. If you dont then you are no better than the scrounging scum like the fool in this article.

    This guy is a PARASITE end of story, I have a family member who had to get an eye removed due to cancer (under the age of 35) and he is a dentist who has worked hard all of his life to get where he is today without ever even thinking about getting help from the state, also is it me or do I sense an air of sympathy from the gazette in the article?? This cretin represents everything that is wrong with this country. BONE IDLE, LAZY WASTE OF OXYGEN.

    Who will give this guy a job wearing that T shirt? If he wears it at his ESA appeal I reckon the Tribunal will rule in his favour. Look at him, he’s unemployable.

    Loads of people like him in Blackpool – professional welfare and DLS cheats…

    WHAT…? They are stopping your benefits..? You poor bloke..! I feel for you, I really do. I do have a solution for you. GET A JOB AND STOP YOUR MOANING, Please feel free to finish the rest of this sentence off…. “Have a Coke and Shut the ….”

    This man is a joke. He needs to get a job and stop bleating on about what HE thinks he is entitled to. He is obviously capable of working for a living, like most of the scroungers within todays hand out society. All the ” Do gooders” will no doubt rally around and come to his aid. Time to get tough with them all. Get a job, and a shave , that’s my advice! No doubt a Labour voter who has ridden the gravy train for years!

    Rate:
    2trying
    9:00 PM on 21/09/2012

    Well I certainly agree with a lot of comments here .

    An obvious scrounger .
    Perfectly able to read and write .

    Nothing wrong with his limbs .

    I do get annoyed with people who claim everything in sight because they have “a bad back” – “depression as my dog died ten years ago” – etc etc .

    Having said that , I also get annoyed with people who demand a larger council house as they have just had their tenth child , ” the father – I dunno” .

    Mr Hargreaves is certainly unemployable in his present state .
    Dare I use the word “scruffy” ?

    Why am I paying taxes to pay for this person to booze ?

    Sturmbanfuhrer Wilhelm Josiah Kreutz
    11:37 PM on 21/09/2012

    Ian Hargreaves has really shot himself in the foot, given all of this fair criticism, hes really set himself up here, he obviously didnt see it coming.These people who go to the paper need to really think,hes made a complete fool of himself in public,all of the comments on here lambasting him are spot on imho.Well done fellow posters.

    I know another one who gets DLA. Claims he can’t walk so gets a mobility car. Only thing is 20’ish years after his accident when he got his leg pinned he can actually walk, it’s just that he has probably never realised that he has fully recovered and is actually walking now. Walks fine from his house to his mothers to the local’ish shop and back. After reading about the above man i’ve decided to report jhim because at the end of the day he’s robbing from me and every other decent person who can work and does work. Yes there are plently of people who should be receiving disability benefits, but there is a minority of scumbags in there who shouldn’t, who don’t care about anyone else. There laughing at us while we go out to work each day or spend all our days looking for work to live.

    Sturmbanfuhrer Wilhelm Josiah Kreutz
    9:07 AM on 22/09/2012

    The old system gave the opportunity for 10000s of ne’er do wells, spongers and bone idle slobs to milk it.The disability industry was out of control,little wonder people are feeling angry.I know of one slob who gets £300 pounds a week whilst his slightly autistic son goes to a school round the corner taken there and back by a taxi paid for by lancs councilHe even got a free laptop that he sold on ebay!.He could do a full days work but as a “carer” he sponges;his son goes to a school like any other kid yet he gets paid to sit on his bum smoking and drinking tea all day,its all wrong.This decsion was the right one Mr Hargreaves and you know it.The public have had enough of your sort.

    _____________________________________________________

    Dear Mr McArdle

    Thank you for your email.
    I have investigated your complaint and have this morning removed the article and all its associated comments from our website.
    I agree some of these comments should not have been left on this article and I will investigate how this has happened.
    The Gazette will contact Mr Hargreaves to inform him that the article has been removed and the reasons for this.
    Once again, thank you for contacting me to highlight your concerns at the comments left on this article.

    Jon Rhodes
    Editor

    Avroe House, Avroe Crescent, Blackpool Business Park,
    Blackpool, Lancs. FY4 2DP

    Tel: 01253 361715
    Email: jon.rhodes@blackpoolgazette.co.uk
    Web: http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk

    ____________________________________________________

    While not having seen the article which was the driver for this complaint, I am, nevertheless deeply concerned that once again the way the Gazette ‘moderate’ their ‘on line’ news pages in unhelpful in the extreme.
    Having been the recipient of personal abuse (after an an article which mentioned my name) which was disability hostility against me and other disabled people I made my comments and the offending posts were ‘deleted’. But it is always far to long after the event and when damage is done.
    I would suggest the Gazette take a more specific action to moderate posts on their pages prior to publication,which is what a majority of such sites do. Freedom of speech is not an allowance for libel.

    Stephen Brookes MBE
    Disability and Equality Consultant
    ______________________________________________________

    To: Rob Ludgate Channel Four News

    Dear Rob,

    I saw your post on the Disability Hate Crime Network facebook page:

    Rob Ludgate
    Hello all, Rob Ludgate from Channel Four News here again. Firstly, thank you so much to all those who got back to me in response to my first posting. If you’re interested you can view the result here, an interview with a target of disability hate crime: http://www.channel4.com/news/paralympic-games-shifts-attitudes-towards-disabilities
    I am actually doing a follow up on the issue of police recording/ investigation of disability hate crime, so if you have had any positive or negative experiences of how the police have responded to reports of this, I am very keen to hear from you. Did they deal with the incident as a hate crime? Do you have any concerns about this issue?
    I am contactable here, on rob.ludgate@itn.co.uk or on 0777 910 7468.
    Thank you very much indeed.
    Best wishes,
    Rob Ludgate

    You will find a complaint that we made to editor of The Blackpool Gazette below.

    Sadly, it would seem that the attitudes that lead to disability hate crime are widespread.

    We see from the comments that the paralympics are now used as stick to beat disabled people with.

    One of the posters said he was going to report Mr Hargreaves while another said that he was ‘a waste of oxygen’.

    Disgustingly, these low-lifes formed themselves into an online pack of gang and it is terrifying to think where such a mentality might lead in a real-life confrontation with a disabled person. One is reminded of the terrible cases highlighted in the ITV ‘Tonight’ programme (and this) screened recently.

    Before the article was removed a disabled lady described how she had been spat at in the street.

    Taken together, the comments made by the perpetrators of this hate speech seem to exhibit a mindset reminiscent of the far-right, racist thugs who populate the BNP and EDL.

    We note that the ringleader calls himself ‘Sturmbanfuhrer (“assault (or storm) unit leader”) Wilhelm Josiah Kreutz’.

    We do not find this in the least amusing and also believe that this is not the first time that this individual has whipped up hate and hostility to disabled people bordering on incitement to violence.

    We would like to see the local constabulary investigate our complaint and visit this individual to warn him in no uncertain terms that such behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

    We also submitted a full complaint/report online: HERE

    It is also incumbent upon The Blackpool Gazette to see to it that this never happens again. One can only imagine the alarm, hurt and distress experienced by Mr. Hargreaves, an already vulnerable individual, upon reading the vile comments made by this gang of online hooligans.

    They are a clear and present danger to disabled people and must be confronted and stopped.

    If we are to get to grips with disability hate crime as a society it is vital that the police crack down hard on people like ‘Sturmbanfuhrer Wilhelm Josiah Kreutz’ before any more innocent blood is shed; leaving disabled people to cower in fear, prisoners in their own homes.

    The struggle to stamp out disability hate crime must be a proactive one where, frankly, fascist views of disability are challenged in school at the workplace and in the streets and pubs.

    We stand ready to support our constabularies all the way in this work.

    We await Lancashire Constabulary’s reply to our complaint and will keep you informed of the outcome.

    Yours sincerely

    Best wishes,

    John McArdle

    for

    Black Triangle
    Anti-Defamation Campaign
    In Defence of Disability Rights

    https://blacktrianglecampaign.org/
    http://facebook.com/blacktriangle11

    _____________________________________________________

    Obviously, the withdrawal of the offending item is welcome, and am pleased that there has been admission of error and that the prompt action has now been taken. But I reiterate my comment that I am deeply concerned at the way the Gazette fail to ‘moderate’ their ‘on line’ news pages.

    As I mentioned I was the recipient of personal abuse (after an an article which mentioned my name) which was actual disability hostility against me and other disabled people but it was only after I made my comments and complaint that the offending posts were ‘deleted’, and as this is maybe a few days after the event the damage is done.

    As this has happened recently in a number of articles, to a number of people, I suggest the Gazette starts to moderate posts on their pages prior to publication,which is what a majority of such sites do. As we stated freedom of speech is not an allowance for on line abuse and libel.

    Stephen Brookes MBE
    Disability and Equality Consultant
    Coordinator – Disability Hate Crime Network

    • Cailean May 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      Dear Stephen Brookes MBE

      I myself am an individual whom is registerd blind and hearing impaired. My life is very difficult as would anyones in such a situation. I have recently suffered yet again more Disability hate and discrimination while once again applying for a JOB, yes thats right I said job. This happened in Dundee where I applied for work. The owner of the business Doug took one look at me and said to an employee and the MD, since i am blind I could not do the job as he see’s it as impossible for me, he went on to say I would be an embarrasment and he could not allow customers to see this as it would not be understood or acceptable. later I find out from the police Doug’s comments are not a crime, Where does that leave me? I have been seaching for work for years with no job as yet. I enroled in every Govt sponsored program for Computer literacy to retrain, I passed them all only to find out the qualification/s is/are useless and well below industry standards. Since the Para olympics. I have been abused called names and degraded. I have a wife and children, recently i recieved the new DLA “are you being paid enough” forms seeking more info to see weather i am entitled to more funds. Well we all know IDS is not out to help us. this form is about cuts. i do not want more benefits, I WANT A GOOD JOB! I may well loose my mobility payment/motability car. my disability is worse not better and incurable yet without the car I will no longer be able to look for work. my wife has to accompany me to and from, i am unable to travel alone. I would love to work i would love to be off benefits. Yet there are not enough jobs for the able bodied. I am 57 married with kids, two incurable disabilities and a very long string of job denials. I still keep trying yet soon I fear I will no longer have the means to look, continue to suffer public abuse and the degrading effects of IDS demonisation of the handicapped. Whats left for people like me? 4 friends have already comitted suiside thinking their families will be better off without them as they felt thmselves a burden. How many more of us must do this before it ends.

      Best Regaurds
      Cailean

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