A MAN has threatened to take his dead brother’s ashes to a disability benefit hearing after it was ruled he “was not sick enough” to receive payments.

Dave Smith, 53, said his late brother James Oliver had been invited to attend a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) appeal – five months after his death.

Mr Oliver died aged 49 at the Conquest Hospital, St Leonards, after being told he was ineligible for the benefit.

His brother Mr Smith, who lives in Hastings, said: “Apparently he wasn’t sick enough.

“In the end, he threw up blood walking down the street and collapsed.

“Days later, he was dead.

“It’s heart-breaking. My mind is just blown at this point.

“A lot of people can see the Government is treating the sick and dying as if they’re not worth anything.

“They treat them like dirt.

“This picture [above] was taken less than 12 hours before he passed away.

“One of the last things he said to us was ‘I don’t believe it. I’m going to die and I’m still not sick enough for PIP’.”

The Department for Work and Pensions says that Personal Independence Payments are designed to help support those with long term ill-health or disabilities.


But in a widely shared Facebook post, Mr Smith said: “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 organisation as shambolic, insensitive, incompetent and unhelpful as the DWP.

“The sooner all this PIP and Universal Credit fiasco is kicked into touch the better.

“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.

“To say I am p***ed off and angry is an understatement.

“How insulting for his kids too, one of who found the letter addressed to their dead father.

Amber Rudd [Work and pensions Secretary]: how many more certified terminally ill people have to die under your watch in charge of the DWP whilst being continually declined payment for benefit?

“You have even been on morning TV preaching how you are going to sort this shambles of a department out.

“It’s not happening – in fact it’s getting worse.

“Well brother I’m still fighting for you and I will bloody win this for you if it’s the last thing I do.”

A spokeswoman for The Department for Work and Pensions 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.”

Mr Oliver has asked for donations for the Conquest Hospital, Hastings.