“Cancer killed my husband, but Atos took his dignity a long time before his death” ~ Grieving widow vows to fight on against DWP-Atos


Widow Lyn Coupe has vowed to fight in her dead husband’s name to overturn the decision to axe his £50-a-week incapacity benefit

Fight back: Lyn Coupe wants justice for her late husband David
Fight back: Lyn Coupe wants justice for her late husband David
Cancer victim David Coupe did not live long enough to win his appeal against a cruel welfare cash cut. But his widow Lyn has vowed to fight on and overturn the decision to axe his £50-a-week incapacity benefit.


The couple’s plight was thrust into the spotlight this week by Labour MP Dennis Skinner.

He told the House of Commons that Atos, the private firm behind fitness- to-work tests, was “unfit for purpose” and a “heartless monster”.

Yesterday it was revealed that 150,000 people have raised concerns about the tests run by the healthcare company on behalf of the Government.

Even PM David Cameron criticised “the quality of decision making”.

Lyn’s husband was seriously ill for 24 years with a badly injured back, a heart condition and diabetes.

She said Atos decided he was “capable of limited employment” and his benefit was cut, leaving them with just £71 a week. He appealed but was told a ruling would take almost a year. 

In pain: Cancer took David Coupe's sight and hearing. He was given weeks to live JON FULLER-ROWELL
In pain: Cancer took David Coupe’s sight and hearing. He was given weeks to live

David didn’t have a year. He was later diagnosed with cancer and given weeks to live.

In the short time he had he battled to reverse the decision. 

“He kept saying ‘I wish I could win this case before I die’,”

said Lyn, 57.

“David got a very rare form of cancer, it took his sight and his hearing, then finally his life. But months before that Atos took his dignity. His doctors and specialist nurses wrote to the firm but never received a reply.”

David, 57, was called to his Jobcentre late last year. Lyn said: “They just took his blood pressure. They never checked his back or asked about his diabetes and the terrible ulcers he had on his legs.

“The computer told them he’d been on the sick for 24 years. That’s the only thing they really knew.”

The ex farm worker and butcher last worked in 1989 when he damaged his back while using a rotavator.

“His health deteriorated from there,” said Lyn. “He became depressed because he’d been so active.

“He worked long hours on the farm. He would leave at 5am and some days I would not see him again until 11pm. He wasn’t scared of work.

“Over the years he developed heart trouble, diabetes and terrible ulcers.”



The benefit cut left the couple reliant on friends and family.


“I was borrowing money off everybody,” said mum-of-one Lyn. “Last winter we couldn’t put the heating on. We had to sit with blankets round us.”

She added:

“We were told it would take 10 months to hear the appeal. Well it’s 10 months now, David’s dead and we still haven’t heard a word.”

The deadly cancer started in David’s neck and spread rapidly.

Incredibly, two weeks before his death, the Department for Work and Pensions awarded him a Disability Living Allowance of £134.40 a week because of his illness.

“What sort of madness is that,”

asked Lyn, from Calow, near Chesterfield, Derbys.

“He was deemed fit for work yet the DWP admitted he needed constant care because of his cancer.

“One night I heard him sobbing downstairs. He was blind, almost deaf and in terrible pain, yet they still said he was fit enough to work. He told me ‘I can’t go on. I’m done in duck’.

“All David wanted to do was stay alive long enough to see them pay back the money he was entitled to. Sadly he didn’t live long enough.”

Lyn’s husband of 33 years died on October 7 with his family at his hospital bedside. As she prepares for his funeral, Lyn vowed:

“Now, if I’ve got the strength, I’ll fight on.

“I’m bitter about what they did and won’t let it rest. Other people can’t suffer like we did. David died waiting for an appeal. Mr Cameron and the Tories didn’t kill him but their attack on people claiming benefits made sure his final months were a misery.” 

Labour MP Dennis Skinner
Pointing the finger: Labour MP Dennis Skinner this week PA

Citizens Advice boss Gillian Guy said:

“Atos is failing thousands of sick and disabled people who bear the brunt of wrong assessments.”

Atos denied classing Mr Coup as “capable of limited employment”.

It said the DWP makes the final decisions on whether claimants are fit to work.

It also said it had not had letters from doctors and nurses about Mr Coup’s cancer.

A spokesman added: “This is a terribly sad case. We will look at the details.”

The DWP said they were only told of Mr Coup’s cancer in September – 10 months after his Atos assessment. 


Daily Mirror 

48 thoughts on ““Cancer killed my husband, but Atos took his dignity a long time before his death” ~ Grieving widow vows to fight on against DWP-Atos

  1. laz says:

    David Coupe was murdered by this Governments policy and their cruel and damaging Medicals carried out by ATOS . Indirectly are culpable of Homicide and as this is due to policy is not referred to as Genocide but Domicide .The UN Declaration of human rights clearly defines this as an act against Humanity .Those responsible are criminals under international laws which this country not only helped produce in the past but also signed agreement to . Will they now desist or continue knowing they are committing murder or will they claim the victims unfit for purpose . Their methods have long since left decent human behaviour behind and now they act as a group of psychopaths .
    It is now apparent they must be stopped at any cost before their evil behaviour intensifies or infects the population. Please offer Prayers or thoughts of peace for David and healing for Lyn.

  2. Mary Jackson says:

    This government and ATOS would be charged with murder if I had my way, RIP David, and good luck to his widow in fighting this,

  3. David Moynagh says:

    This is an absolute disgrace and most certainly a case of domicide that like many other Atos outcomes it should be thoroughly investigated by UN human rights. This government should be indicted for crimes against humanity and the sooner the better before the cases such as this along with the cases of those poor souls driven to suicide escalates to evil amounts.

  4. RG says:

    I waited 12 months for an appeal. Without any help at the appeal hearing they decided to believe the lying bitch who assessed me on behalf of ATOS. Since I lost my benefit I have fallen 6 times whilst trying to carry on with life. I am too old to be made to seek work (64 years), ATOS the DWP and a Kangaroo court of appeal say that I am fit for work but I am not safe to get about so who is telling the truth now!!! The biggest hurt to me is that I am now listed as a shirker, even though I worked in public service since I left school.
    Sadly nothing is going to be done about ATOS. There will be more cases like David Coupe and his long suffering wife. The only people who bring these cases to the attention of Parliament and the public are classed as Radicals. The public have been fed so many lies they have turned a blind eye to how the sick and disabled are being treated in a so called civilised country.

  5. nick says:

    extremely painful to read and just hope that David Cameron and IDS get convicted in a court for criminal negligence leading to the death of a very ill person

  6. Christine Burrows says:

    This is sadly the case of many people who have been assessed by ATOS. I had to go for a medical last September which was peppered with lies and so I have started up an appeal and told the truth not lies. The ATOS lady sat in front of me on a computer and ticked the boxes as was on the screen but did not listen to what I had to tell her about my conditions, she simply did not care. I feel for David Coupes widow and as long as she has breath in her body then she should fight it if only for David because he knew in his heart that he was very very ill and wanted justice. I have no faith in ATOS at all.

  7. Sarah says:

    Would also like to point out, that when Esther McVey keeps going on about a million more people in jobs- is that even strictly true? Because with more and more people in part-time/temporary jobs and on zero hour contracts, I would bet that it isn’t a million people in sufficient employment, and that hours have been cut from other workers to provide them as new jobs. It would be interesting to hear the stats on the percentage of jobs which are enough hours for the applicant, and also think when they’re using stats to inform the public it should be done in terms of the number of PEOPLE in jobs which pay enough to enable to support their families without benefits, rather than the number of fulfilled jobs (which doesn’t take into account people who are having to work multiple jobs to get by).

  8. Trevor says:

    It’s not only Atos (and their Tory backers) who are heartless monsters, but those I’m-alright-jack sections of the electorate who continue to vote for political parties who endorse this cruel regime.

    My parents raised me up never to wish ill on anyone, but if any of those selfish Tory-voting sods end up in David Coupe’s position, I won’t be shedding any tears.

  9. Humanity2012 says:

    Shame on the Bloody Scum in the House of Commons who
    Voted For all this Pahlava and Shame upon All the Dummies
    Outside Westminster who have been so Bloody Thick as to
    Believe the Poppycock about the Poor being ” Scroungers

    Politicians have a Lot to Answer For

  10. PAULA says:


  11. Rik says:

    am sorry to hear about the passing of your husband may he rip… this is a heartless uncaring government.. when will all this madness end? God bless

  12. David Calvert says:

    This was cruel, very cruel the bureaucrats that treated and humiliated this poor gentleman like this should be executed.

  13. Alan Christopher says:

    The nazis are back in town . They want the perfect race of hard working people . If your to ill for that into the ovens for for you . I just can’t understand how atos can carry on the way they do people are dying . I seem to remember two ladies commiting suicide because of being driven mad by youth crime . Cameron stood up and said we cannot have this in modern Britain . Yet he allows really ill people to be put into the same position the government are driven by idealism . What’s worse is that lots of well people will become ill one day and face the same . But they take two Tory tabloids as gospel . If I was well I would leave this stinking rotate country run on greed .

  14. Karen M says:

    How about people signing the WoW e-petition? It’s great everybody has a comment to make so why not go a step further…

    1. Mary Jackson says:

      I already have signed wow petition, and shared it on Twitter and facebook, but we still need people to sign,

      1. Karen M says:

        I’ve done the same (except twitter). Sharing on Facebook can be a really good way to spread awareness and link the e-petition.

        I’ve noticed when people mention the e-petition on websites such as BT that the count goes up. All methods of raising awareness are working. I wonder how we can push it along in the next month?

  15. Karen M says:

    The WoW petitioner is Francesca Martinez, comedienne. On 8 December 2012, she launched War on Welfare/WoW that pledged to sign 100,000 supporters for a petition calling for an end to government cuts for disability benefits and an independent impact assessment of the government’s welfare changes.
    Francesca is an outspoken opponent of welfare reform by the government, she uses her public profile to raise issues about disability and fight for a fairer system. She said:
    “As a disabled person in the media, I want to help give this issue a voice. It’s morally wrong for the government to target those in need instead of saving money by targeting the real causes of this crisis – and close tax loopholes and regulate the financial sector. To me, it’s a human rights issue”.

  16. Mary Jackson says:

    I respect Francesca for what she is doing, But I fear she is wasting her time in appealing to this government, she/we in fact everyone should Email Ed Milliband and Labour for a guarantee that if/when Labour are elected back that they sack ATOS, and put the say back with doctors, they should also know that votes depend on it,

    1. Karen M says:

      Perhaps sign WoW and email Ed Miliband?

      The petition only needs about 21,000 more signatures,so it would be encouraging if, say, a quarter of the people who sign also emailed Ed Miliband during the next 28 days.

      Once 100,000 people have signed (by 12:12 on the 12/12/13) the petition is taken to the Parliamentary Business Committee where MPs from the Coalition and Labour will see how, when and where the issues can be debated in Parliamentary business.

      As for political pledges/guarantees (and call me a cynic for this) no political party has kept to them, notably so since 2008 and in particular abandoning policies that pledged to protect the most vulnerable.

  17. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

    Too much evidence against IDS & Cameron for them to win in court – Human Rights – Equality Law & many many more charges. IDS you are responsable for the DWP & the the DWP are responsable for ATOS. The onus is on the burden of overwhelming proof !! Any court – European Court Of Human Rights for starters.

  18. AL says:

    It’s Rememberance Day. The day when we remember those brave people who fought to preserve freedom in this land. When I remember I will think of my Grandad and how he deserved to live in a land fit for hero’s and thought his family did too. How I was bequeathed my rights by those who fought for them. Then I will remember the face of Brian Coupe And I will wonder did any of us fight when a dictater removed his rights? Our rights. Will you remember the dead today? Who are your Hero’s? I choose to remember Brian because I still see his face when I close my eyes and can’t bear how he and his wife suffered at the hands of ATOS and the DWP as dictated by our Government. Will you choose someone today to remember? Two someones maybe? A brave soldier and a wounded civillion. Someone who couldn’t fight for themselves. Will you join me to remember the thousands Fallen in the War against the State and the Sick and disabled and disadvantaged? Will you tell it too?

  19. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

    Time to remember all those 15,000+ disabled people that have lost their lives over the DWP & ATOS scandal over the past 3 & a half years. We don`t forget every day in the past & every day in the furture.

    Poll A Tricks can`t help you. Human Rights can if Human Rights are taken seriously. What a damning report on the British Government Cameron & IDS !!

    For all the fallen disabled, we will not stop until we hold these killers for the crimes their have commited to account & have Justice, Freedom & Equality for all disabled people so this never happens again ever.


  20. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    Yesterday i watched Labours attempt to get a repeal of the much hated BEDROOM TAX.

    It was a long debate that led to a vote in the early evening.
    Labour gave all they could in a well put together, much concerted effort, to rid this country of the most heinous law ever introduced…

    Some members were close to tears as they gave impassioned speeches to the government benches.
    It made me aware of the hatred that now exists between the haves and have nots.

    Such hatred is beyond belief, reaching some kind of fever pitch last seen when Nazis were encouraging German citizens to smash the windows of the jewish shopkeepers and ridicule and beat them in the streets while trashing and stealing their hard earned property.
    History has a way of repeating itself and the actions of the government, by ridiculing the pleas of the poor, left me with a sour taste in my mouth………….

    The suffering of those worse off, the disabled and poor, has become a national sport, a sport driven by one thing only, wealth.
    Kicking a person when they are down is the easiest thing to do. They are vulnerable and are lacking, not only money, food and shelter, but a means to overcome their problems and rise above what they are lacking.
    Civil society has gone out of the window as the trendset of “FUCK YOU JACK, I’M ALRIGHT”, is the new norm………

    Yesterdays vote was not indicative of the voice of the people in our country, it was a political strategy to try to cling onto power at all costs, despite the suffering of the many.

    Our government do not reflect the voice of the people. They never have for a long, long time. They are merely pawns used by the multinationals and Monetary sectors to control the interests of greed. Joe Public does not even get a look in as the corporate giants bribe and lobby to reach their hidden agendas……

    Our ministers, mostly within the DWP, are following an agenda that was made possible by the groundwork of the “Faculty of Occupational Medicine”, an organisation that has links to Private Health Insurance and the disgraced UNUM insurance giant of the USA.

    The tentacles of the aforesaid faculty run deep and wide and control all aspects of welfare reform including the desecration of the NHS and the introduction of the private health insurance onto our shores.

    BILL GUNNYEON, the CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER of the DWP is at the helm, enabling a swift transition of power to those pulling his strings whilst other strategically placed faculty members clear the roads ahead……….

    Changes to sick notes, ESA examinations, PIP and and a whole raft of changes to disability rights have been engineered on the behest of the UNUM giant.

    You, my friends, are the waste product that this elaborate network saw as a price worth paying……………..

    ” you have been sold down the river by a conspiracy so deep, and yet, the truth is slowly emerging every day”…………

  21. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

    What will it take for the ethnic cleansing of the disabled to stop !! For a disabled person on a demo to kill themself in front of the cameras for everyone to see. Because they won`t kill themself in silence. Once that is done many more will follow.

    1. nick says:

      that is what will need to hapen the same as Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi (Arabic: محمد البوعزيزي‎; 29 March 1984 – 4 January 2011) was a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on 17 December 2010, in protest from constantly being persecuted by the state

      His act became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution[2] and the wider Arab Spring, inciting demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia in protest of social and political issues in the country. The public’s anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi’s death, leading then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to step down on 14 January 2011, after 23 years in power.

  22. anon says:

    From Sheila Gilmore MP:

    Up to now we thought that the [WCA] assessment was getting about one in ten fit for work decisions wrong – far too many in most people’s eyes – but now we know the Government have been fiddling the figures, the reality could be much much worse.

    … Ministers led us to believe they were publishing figures that showed the number of people awarded benefit immediately after assessment and before ANY appeals. It now turns out that informal appeals to officials – as opposed to formal ones to judges – were being taken into account.

    This has clearly masked the true extent of the failings in the ESA assessment process.

    This revelation follows the omission of the number of successful appeals from October’s round of figures.

    Taken together, these events suggests that rather than trying to fix the test to reduce the number of incorrect decisions, Ministers’ priority is to fix the figures to downplay the extent of the problem.

    More here:

  23. Geoff Reynolds says:

    The differences between the promise of a cleansing shower and the use of Zyklon “B” Gas and the exercise of completion of an ESA 50 and an unbiased ATOS examination are non existent………….

    Both were skilfully engineered to take away lives at an alarming rate………………

  24. Julie Hutchinson says:

    Therefore what ESTHER MCVEY stated to parliament was just another set of lies.

    Mcvey stated that anybody already in receipt of DLA,would not be called upon to undergo a PIP examination till October 2015.

    It seems that everything they say is a total pack of lies and the DWP are hellbent on forcing existing DLA benefit holders into an examination before the specified time.

    No doubt the actions will expand the government coffers while forcing destitution onto the most weakest and vulnerable, which will in turn, raise the already spiraling amount of deaths caused by ill thought out welfare reforms.

    I just typed in,”ill thought out”, but i dont recognise this as being the case, i now recognise this as a pre planned exercise, an assault on the disabled to reduce their numbers, and to hell with the consequences.

    If you like, “Ethnic cleansing of the weakest by decree”.

    The strangest thing surrounding PIP examinations was that Mcvey announced in parliament how many disabled would lose out under PIP, even before the tests had begun, further highlighting the fact this was never an exercise to help those who needed it, just a cost cutting extravaganza by no other than the shamed, ATOS make believe HCP’s.

    1. AL says:

      If I understand correctly then Ester McVey wants to hear from those affected by the WCA, ATOS, DWP etc. Send her your stories. Tell her if you think it is not fit for purpose and why? We all need to write; us, our families our friends who see us hurting and those who have lost their loved ones due to this inhumane system. She says she want’s to know, it’s time to tell. What is it like to support someone who is sick or disabled and see them humiliated and hurt by a system that doesn’t care? How many parents are sharing their meagre pensions so their grown up children can eat? What is it like to see depression take over, do loved ones self harm take too many tablets or just retreat? Please if you can tell your stories and send them ASAP

      1. nick says:

        Ester McVey is all talk she will never change the system we have now you can be assured will still be in place in 5 years time no matter how unjust or on how many sick and disabled die

        IDS also will never change only mike penning would be classed as a person who could change under the right circumstances

      2. Geoff Reynolds says:

        The one, and only reason for Mcvey to pretend to show any interest in the plight of the disabled, is the recent visit to the uk by a delegate, who in turn reports to the United Nations on Human Rights abuses…………………..

        Extensive breaches of the many laws that seek to redress the balance of disadvantaged persons are being flouted by our Government and it’s bully boy arm, the DWP.

        The act of asking for opinions of persons who have been wronged is just an act of pretence, likened to a thug hitting someone and then asking the victim what they thought of the act……………….

        Nevertheless, the exercise will no doubt collect bogus information that will state many disabled are more than happy at the changes although we all know this to be a complete sham……..

  25. Geoff Reynolds says:


    1) When you are taken to task about these abuses in human rights will the sick &
    disabled get reparation for their maltreatment by your disability denial factory ATOS?

    The Department does not hold the requested information.

    2) When someone dies after being found “fit” for work will you compensate the
    spouse/partner & children of the bereaved?

    We hold no information of DWP being required to pay compensation to a spouse, partner or
    child of an individual who ‘dies after being found fit for work’.

    3) will you compensate the disabled for losses accrued whilst appealing?

    Information about payment of ESA whilst appealing is already in the public domain and is
    therefore exempt under section 21 of the FoI Act, however we can confirm that the ESA
    assessment rate remains in payment whilst a claimant is awaiting an appeal and if a Tribunal
    finds in the claimants favour we would pay the balance of benefit due back to the thirteenth
    week of the claim. Further information can be found here:


    4) how many people have appealed since they get nothing to live off (I refer to clause
    99)when they are found “fit” for work?

    The Department does not hold information on people who have ‘nothing to live off’ and
    therefore does not hold the requested information.

    5) When are you going to have proper WCAs? With proper medical evidence? Off
    proper medical personal?

    The Department does not hold the requested information. I can confirm that ‘proper WCAs’
    with ‘proper medical evidence’ conducted by ‘proper Health Care Professionals’ have been
    taking place since October 2008.

    6) How many appeals are you expecting when your disability denial factory (ATOS and
    their ilk) perform the “medicals” for PIP?

    As we do not have a ‘disability denial factory’ we hold no information to answer this request.

    7) how much does each appeal cost?

    The Department does not record the costs of individual appeals however figures from HM
    Courts and Tribunals Service state the average cost of a Social Security and Child Support
    Tribunal appeal is £248 (1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013). The DWP will also incur a cost but
    we do not hold this information.

    8) How many Freedom of information requests did you have BEFORE the welfare reform
    started? And After? Please give data for every year.
    (i) please give me the number of all FOIs about the WCA for every year since the WCA
    (ii) please can you give me the number of FOIs you received about sanctions on JSA
    since they started?
    (iii) please give me the number of FOIs received about income support BEFORE the
    welfare reform and after?

    As Welfare Reform has been a continuous process and even in respect of Acts of Parliaments
    named as such (for example the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999), ‘welfare reform’
    predates the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and it’s introduction in 2004, we can therefore
    confirm that no FoI request were made before welfare reform started.
    The number of requests made after Welfare Reform started are therefore every FoI request
    made. This information is already available to individuals seeking it on the Ministry of Justice
    website here:

    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
    Yours sincerely,

    DWP Central FoI Team


  26. Charles47 says:

    Sad story. But ATOS and the DWP broke data protection law by discussing an individual case without permission.

  27. Charles47 says:

    ATOS and the DWP should be taken to account for every single death at their hands.

    As for “We don’t make the decisions”: ATOS “medics” award points. No points awarded means the DWP will not award benefit. They therefore make the decision (in theory only).

  28. AL says:

    Check out ‘benefits and work guides you can trust’ They tell us ATOS had £2billion pounds of tax paxers money yet failed to pay a single penny in tax themselves. Impressive don’t you think? It’s all above board apparently.

  29. RG says:

    I haven’t received a penny benefit since I lost my appeal in July.
    Mysteriously my DLA mobility higher rate payment has stopped at the same time. I have contacted DWP who are looking into it. No one gives a stuff about how I am surviving. I get a small private
    pension and my wife receives OAP not enough to live on but just too much to claim anything else. We are living on life savings until I reach 65 next year. when I will be free of this madness. I never dreamed I would be in this position at this stage of my life, in a so called civilised country.

Leave a Reply