We have heard, over and over again, sad stories of people being denied benefits that they need, particularly those benefits which are there for people who are sick or disabled.
Almost invariably these stories have had a sad ending, often involving the death of the claimant.
But for once we have a story with a happy ending, and possibly we can learn something form this.
Firstly the family concerned went to to the local newspaper with their story, and so got it publicity.
Secondly, of course, we are but 40 odd days away from a General Election. The two may or may not be connected.
Anyone with a legitimate grievance against the DWP might think that this an appropriate time to air their views through their local press. And just to be sure, to do it before the election while politicians pretend to give a damn.
Here's the story:
A disabled 62-year-old man whose benefits were stopped because the DWP said he was fit to work, has had them re-instated after his story appeared in the Chronicle.
Richard Ashby, of Sandy Lane, Goostrey, has Pagets Disease, a bone disorder in which the normal repair process is disrupted. He also has osteo-arthritis, is diabetic and says he keeps falling asleep because of the medication he is on.
On January 6, following a medical inspection by Atos in December, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) stopped Richard’s £70 a week Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
“He was called in for the medical in December and on January 6 they sent a letter out to say they were stopping his money and he’s fit to work,” Richard’s cousin, Sarah Thorne told the Chronicle at the time.
Richard appealed against the decision explaining he was in constant pain and not fit to work but, despite repeated calls to the DWP, Sarah said they made no progress with getting the benefits re-instated, so she contacted the Chronicle.
The story appeared on January 28.
“Two days after they reinstated his money – after it had appeared in the Chronicle,” said Sarah.
“He’s got his money reinstated and they’ve now put back what he was stopped. I’m sure it’s to do with putting it in the Chronicle.”
Richard, who lodges at his cousin’s house, has also since had an apology and been told he is eligible for another benefit payment.
The former lorry driver who left school at 14 and had worked all his life until he became ill in 2011, said at the time he had been made to feel like a scrounger by the DWP.
“In the end it’s turned out better than we could have hoped for,” he said.
The emphasis and illustrations are ours.