Sick grandad finally wins fit-for-work appeal – seven months after his death

A man who was considered fit for work by the Department of Work and Pensions won his appeal for employment support allowance – seven months after he died.

Jeff Hayward, 52, had been diagnosed with a painful bacterial skin infection in 2016, which meant he struggled to walk even 50 metres and was forced to leave his job as a warehouse worker.

Despite this, grandfather Jeff, who had worked his whole life, was awarded no points when he went for his disability assessment and had his benefits stopped.

Jeff, from Clitheroe, Lancashire, went through five stages of appeal – which, according to his daughter Holly, made him "stressed and depressed" before his sad death in July last year.

Jeff’s family were finally told last month that he had been awarded the highest rate of employment support allowance (ESA)- but it was too late.

Daughter Holly told the Guardian : "For someone who was genuinely ill, worked all their life, never asked for a penny [previously], it made him feel worthless.

"He was stressed and depressed, it made him feel worse than he already did.

"He had two letters the GP had written to them and obviously that still wasn’t good enough – until I went [to the upper tribunal], when it was good enough."

Ribble Valley Citizens Advice, who had been helping Jeff through the appeal process, said he had seemed anxious before his tribunal and sadly died two weeks before it was held.

At the upper tribunal, it was heard how Jeff was unable to walk 50 metres and therefore could not have worked and should be awarded ESA.

Katy Marshall, the Ribble Valley Citizens Advice manager, said: "This is far from being an isolated case as sadly we see many very incapacitated people."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "Our thoughts are with Mr Hayward’s family at this sad time.

"Appeal tribunals and decisions are run by the independent Courts and Tribunals Service, but we are sorry for the time this took. Mr Hayward continued to receive personal independence payments during the appeal and we have paid back full ESA arrears to his family."

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