Man Living With Leukemia For Eighteen Months Told To Get A Job

Jobcentre Plus.

A man suffering from potentially life-threatening Leukemia has been ordered to find a job, it was reported last week.

Michael Ward, 59, has been told that he isn’t sick enough to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), despite living with the debilitating effects of Leukemia for 18 months.

He has been told by doctors that he is too sick to work but Jobcentre staff disagree, the Halifax Courier reported on Friday.

Mr Ward has now been informed that he cannot claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, because his condition means he is unable to do enough to look for work.

Stuck between two different social security benefits, neither of which he is eligible to claim, Mr Ward said: “I’m getting fed up of the Jobcentre rejecting me all the time because of what I’ve got”.

“I can’t cope with getting a job and they say I’m fit for work – which I’m not”, he said.

“I keep trying to explain to them, but it keeps going over their heads – they’re trying to push me into warehouse work, but that’s something I can’t do.”

The whole ordeal is having a devastating impact on his mental health and Mr Ward says he feels let down by a welfare system that should be supporting him.

“I feel really shocked and down – it’s getting to the ridiculous now”, he said.

“It’s taking a lot out of me mentally – there are a lot of things that I used to do that I can’t do anymore.”

Mr Ward fears the added pressure of being forced into work when he is still too ill will cause his Leukemia to “flare up”.

“When it does that’s not something an employer’s going to like”, he said.

His case has now been taken up by Halifax MP Holly Lynch, who has vowed to highlight the shocking mistreatment in Parliament.

Ms Lynch said: “The Jobcentre are telling me that Mr Ward is falling between two different benefits, but is eligible for neither.

“The Government needs to take a more compassionate approach – the DWP are making a real mess of this.”

She added: “Job Centre staff are following the procedures in place, but these procedures need to change, especially with difficult and complex cases.

Official DWP figures show that around 90 people a month have died after being found ‘fit for work’ following a Work Capability Assessment.

Ms Lynch said: “These figures have shown that thousands of people have died shortly after being declared fit for work – the Government has got this completely wrong.”



  1. Hopefully the UN inquiry will shed some light and report back that the DWP are screwing things up for the Disabled.

  2. According to IDS this doesn’t happen as people who are sick but not sick enough to claim ESA can claim JSA but with conditions attached which take account of their sickness or disability. One doubts this man’s able to do manual work of any kind but arguably could do clerical work, assuming he felt well enough of course. Does he? I can’t tell. So, anyway, why isn’t he claiming JSA on that basis? Is there more to this story than we’re being told?

    • That’s entirely dependent on the JSA advisor being willing to grant it. And they don’t have to. Without a visual cue about how ill people are, they’re not going to…

      • It appears he has a right to be believed; CLAIMANT’S RIGHT BE BELIEVED
        Claimants appear to be frequently doubted and they are being asked routinely to provide corroborative evidence to support their claims.
        Claimants need to remind Jobcentre staff and DWP Decision Maker’s of this long standing case law:
        7. The Tribunal may reach this conclusion even though the on]y evidence is that of the claimant himself. There is no rule of English law that corroboration of the claimant’s own evidence is necessary. In some cases a Tribunal may rightly think that they cannot act on the claimant’s uncorroborated evidence either because it is self-contradictory or inherently improbable or because the claimant’s – demeanour does not inspire confidence in his truthfulness. (It is seldom safe to reject evidence solely for this last reason and in the present case there is no criticism of the claimant’s demeanour; indeed it appears that the Tribunal did not hear evidence from the claimant himself, for they only record a statement by a representative of his association).

        • (Sadly) The entire *point* of the system is that doctors are no longer trusted to sign people off as sick.

          (Actually, in this case I’d say the letter from the cancer specialist, but I do agree…)

  3. That caselaw is, though, only binding on courts – not the DWP’s internal processes.

    • Are you suggesting the DWP’s internal processes can happily operate outside the scope of law? I’m guessing not, but your point isn’t clear.

      • No, they operate on their own legal guidelines – they’re not courts, and don’t follow the court’s precedents.

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