Man finally wins ‘fitness to work’ appeal against benefits bosses – seven months after his death

Jeff Hayward had worked for 25 years in a warehouse before he fell ill

Jeff Hayward had worked for 25 years in a warehouse before he fell ill

Jeff Hayward had worked for 25 years in a warehouse before he fell ill

An unwell grandfather who was deemed fit to work by benefits assessors has won his case – seven months after he died.

Jeff Hayward’s family was told last month he should have been entitled to the highest rate of employment support allowance (ESA) even though he was refused it.

Mr Hayward, 52, worked for 25 years until losing his position in a warehouse in November 2016, The Guardian reports.

The father-of-two and grandfather developed a painful bacterial skin infection, on his legs and his GP said he was not fit to work.

Yet when he went for assessment the grandfather from Clitheroe, Lancashire, was awarded no points and had his benefits removed.

Seven months ago, in July 2018, he died from a heart attack. Last month, he won his appeal.

His daughter Holly has told how he went through appeal after appeal in the stressful saga.

Holly Hayward 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.’

Mr Hayward was subjected to five stages of applications and appeals

Ribble Valley Citizens Advice which helped Mr Hayward for 18 months said he was anxious before his disability benefit appeal tribunal. He died two weeks before it was held.

The upper tribunal found Hayward could not walk more than 50 metres and could not have worked as the earlier decision was dismissed.

 Mr Hayward (with granddaughter Ivy) died in June 2018, from a heart attack

 Mr Hayward (with granddaughter Ivy) died in June 2018, from a heart attack

 Mr Hayward (with granddaughter Ivy) died in June 2018, from a heart attack

His daughter said: ‘If you had a problem, everyone went to my dad. He’d help everyone out, everyone loved my dad, he was amazing. It was hard [fighting his case] but I just wanted to get it for my dad because of all the stress they had put him through.’

Statistics published in 2015 showed that almost 90 people a month were dying after being declared fit for work.

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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