Disabled carer with cancer and degenerative spinal disease, 57, told ‘you’re fit to work’



11:29am Thursday 29th November 2012


By Lesley Tate, Senior Reporter 

A disabled man with cancer and degenerative spinal disease from Sutton-in-Craven has been told he is fit for work – despite being a full-time carer for his 82 year-old mother.

Graeme Tyldesley, who suffers from a degenerative spinal disease, with Sharon Hodgson from Craven Advocacy, who is helping with his appeal

Graeme Tyldesley is a blue card holder with a degenerative spine disease and is currently in remission from cancer of the bladder.

He also cares for his 82-year-old mother, Maisie, who has Alzheimer’s Disease and cannot be left alone.

But following a work capability assessment by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), his employment and support allowance – formerly incapacity benefit – of around £280 per month has been stopped.

Mr Tyldesley, 57, who worked at Airedale General Hospital for 21 years including 14 years as a porter until he was retired in 2002 because of ill health, is appealing against the decision with the help of Craven Advocacy.

He also has letters of support from his GP and the consultant who cares for him with his spinal disease.

But even though the appeal could go in his favour, until a decision is made, the allowance will remain cancelled – possibly for several months.

“When they told me I was fit for work, I was really upset and it has caused me a great deal of stress,” said Mr Tyldesley, who has seen his anti-depressants increased as a result.

“I can see why they are having to do this, but I think they’re targeting the wrong people.”

The work capability assessment included Mr Tyldesley performing some simple physical tests, such as being able to lift a telephone or sit down – but did not take into account the care of his mother or her well-being.

In order to continue receiving the allowance, he needed to score 15 points, but he only scored six.

The decision letter acknowledged he might be shocked, but that entitlement was not based on his health condition or disability, but on what he was capable of doing.

“They’ve told me I’m capable of doing some sort of desk job, but I’ve never done anything like that. I was a porter for 14 years and I loved my job, but I’ve no experience at desk work”

he said.

He has been told he could qualify for Jobseekers Allowance – but that will depend on him being available for work.

His mother, who lives with him, has professional carers who come in four times a day to wash her and prepare her for bed. But the bulk of her care is carried out by her son, who is with her all the time, including at night, when she regularly wakes.

“She cannot ever be left alone and if I was not here with her I would have to employ a full-time carer, or she would have to go into a home, which I really don’t want, it must cost less for me to care for her as well”

said Mr Tyldesley.

“My mother suffers panic attacks and sometimes I will get just two hours sleep at night.”

Mr Tyldesley does receive a pension from the hospital and is in receipt of disability living allowance, but without incapacity benefit, he will have to resort to his limited savings.

Sharon Hodgson, from Craven Advocacy, which helps people with advice and support, said she was shocked by the decision and was convinced that Mr Tyldesley should continue to receive the allowance.

“I was really shocked, I thought on his medical grounds alone he would score 15 points, and that was without taking into account how difficult it is to care for someone with Alzheimer’s”

she said.

She added the service, which is a charity, has seen large numbers of people coming to them having had their incapacity benefit withdrawn.

These assessments don’t take into account the full picture, people are being treated like numbers and its just not right.”

A DWP spokesperson said:

“Employment and Support Allowance assesses someone’s capacity for work and looks at what a person can do because we know conditions affect different people in different ways.

“A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough face-to-face assessment and after consideration of all the supporting medical evidence provided by the claimant.

“We have made considerable improvements to the work capability assessment to make it fairer and more effective. If someone disagrees with the outcome of their claim, they have the right to submit new evidence and appeal.”

The Craven Herald & Pioneer

18 thoughts on “Disabled carer with cancer and degenerative spinal disease, 57, told ‘you’re fit to work’

  1. John Mckenzie says:

    I to care for my eldery mum , 86, i am am a amputee and have serious stump problems and deppression. I had my assesment two weeks ago no result yet but i havebeen called in by dwp fraud squad . I am scared to death. I have full dupport ofmy doctor.

    1. Graham Askew says:

      – keep taking deep breaths, stay calm – many are fighting the battle with & for us now. Solidarity.

    2. Deborah Kean says:

      Dear John,
      I wish you all the best from the other side of the world! I hope an advocacy group will be able to help you!

  2. Colin Wilson says:

    Charges need to be brought against the ATOS “health professional” for medical negligence.

  3. tony lea says:

    Dear sirs/Ladies. In regards to recent events, where DWP management stated catergorically that decision makers are not medically qualified. As ATOS does this not bring concern. Especiallly in regards to how the public etc are blaming ATOS for medical negligence etc, when the issues are at the DWP end of matters. Due to recent matters and the unforgivable attitude of certain MP’s I have investigate
    d the possibilities,when people have suffered medical negligence (DWP decisions maker are not qualified professionals) stated infront of committee by Mr Devereaux and Dr Goynne?

    Therefore I have passed this on to victims of this evil process, who we hope will hit he organisations responsible heavily via their pockets, therefore wasting more public money.

    We reiterate, not against reform, but against the evil way it is being enforced. , without any legal help towards justice.

    5 R 1 Claims 08006990100 no blame no claim.

  4. Joanna Terry says:

    What Mr Tydesley needs to understand is that this is deliberate and that they DO NOT NEED TO DO THIS. Fraud in social security of which most is in Housing Benefit is £3.5 billion whereas £16.00 billion goes unclaimed, yet the same people that are running this illegal facist organisations are pocketing vast sums into tax havens not having paid the tax they owe. This must be stopped now.

  5. jeffery davies says:

    thats about right for atos where jesus works overtime making everyone fit to work you got to hand it to them not many of our gloroius politicians saying much about it untill they do the abuse goes on jeff3

  6. jefflph says:

    this man is ill and over 50,there retireing army bosses at 50 but expect people to work ill till 67 this wrong,when the fuck are we going to be able to get justice.
    mr barthomue on the state of welfare on radio 4 the truble is incapcity has gone up,of corse it it has we have got a poverty problem over here,rememer the 70s 80,s 90s everyone was out of work and were unable to care for them selves that why we have so many ill now.ill health is cause by neglect of this time by the last tory thugs.
    same policies were carried out by mr blair.
    thats why we have a mental health time bomb that has blown up now its only goint to get worse,as capitalism has another burn out.
    dont see the posh being made into demons do we only the ill are worthy of such.
    jeff ..

  7. Rachel Wallace says:

    How disgusting your government (& ours are just as rotten) should be ashamed of themselves…they couldnt run a fricken dog kennel, much less a country!!!

    Scrap the Work Capability Assessment – or fix it for Gods sake

  8. Aletheia says:

    A DWP spokesperson said:…………blah blah blah. as usual they give the rehearsed speech which is one size fits all exactly the same as the WCA. This man deserves much better treatment when he is being a very good person in looking after his mum, as well as having to cope with his own disabilities. It would cost them much more to put mum into full time care than pay his ESA. It is not about saving money, it is purely an exercise to persecute the sick and disabled. Pure evil.

  9. Humanity2012 says:

    One Size does Not Fit All ( Work Capability Assessment ) as People have Different
    Elements behind Depression and Different Kinds of Disability which make them Not Able to a Job

    The Barmy Billions of Pounds being Stolen from Welfare Budget through Irresponsible
    Budgets from the Millionaires Ivory Tower Clique must be Stopped

    Welfare Not Warfare in Afghanistan

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