A terminally ill man who was allegedly twice refused disability benefits was offered to appeal his case five months after he died.
Dad-of-six Jamie Oliver, 49, died on April 9, after a long battle with chronic liver disease.
His brother Dave Smith said Jamie, a former labourer from St-Leonards-On-Sea, in East Sussex, was twice turned down for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
But five months after his brother’s death, Dave has been left furious that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has now arranged an appeal meeting in late September over his brother’s claim.
A letter offering the meeting was discovered after one of Jamie’s grief-stricken children opened it at their father’s address.
Now Dave plans to take his brother’s ashes to the DWP meeting as a ‘matter of principle’, calling the department ‘shambolic, insensitive, incompetent and unhelpful’.
Speaking of his brother’s final moments, Dave recalled how Jamie was heartbroken to hear that he didn’t have long left to live – and was still waiting for benefits.
In a Facebook post, shared with their final picture together, Dave said: ‘This picture was taken less than 12 hours before he passed away.
‘One of the last things he said to us being: “I don’t believe it. I’m going to die and I’m still not sick enough for PIP”.’
‘The consultant said to him: “I can’t lie to you it’s not going to be long now”,’ added his brother.
‘You can understand how anybody would react. He was beside himself.’
Jamie suffered with chronic liver disease for years but his health deteriorated in 2016.
According to his brother, he could barely walk a ‘few yards’, was almost housebound and underwent hundreds of blood transfusions.
But Dave said an assessor still scored him ‘zero points’ on each criteria on both occasions he applied for PIP.
‘He was really really struggling to make ends meet, he couldn’t go out,’ Dave told Metro.co.uk
‘He only went out to the local supermarket 500 yards up the road. He went out at five and wouldn’t get back until seven or eight.
‘500 yards and that’s how long it took him, he was absolutely exhausted – like he had run ten marathons.
‘Eventually it killed him because he collapsed one day on the way back from Lidl and was found in a pool of blood. It is pitiful to be honest.’
Dave said his brother first applied for PIP in February last year but his last few months were dominated by thinking ‘PIP doesn’t want to help’.
He added: ‘I don’t want anybody to go through what my brother did, and it’s far to common in this day and age. It’s disgraceful.’
Dave criticised his MP and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd in the Facebook post.
He said: ‘Well if they want to see him at the appeal hearing I shall take along my share of his ashes and we shall see just how responsive he is to their questions.
‘Amber Rudd, our dear MP, who also happens to be in charge of the DWP, was supposedly already dealing with the fact his claim had been declined twice (wasn’t sick enough apparently).
‘Well her involvement has been so wonderfully useful they are still writing to a dead person at his original address even though they have all my details.’
‘I honestly cannot think of an organization as shambolic, insensitive, incompetent and unhelpful as the DWP and the sooner all this PIP/Universal Credit fiasco is kicked into touch the better.
‘To say I am p***** off and angry is an understatement. How insulting for his kids too, one of whom found the letter addressed to their dead father.’
His brother intends to pursue the claim in the hope of getting the backdated payments so his family can pay for the funeral costs.
A Government spokesperson said: ‘Our thoughts are with Mr Oliver’s family at this difficult time.
‘We are very sorry for the distress caused and are looking into this to prevent it happening again.’
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