David O’Mar, 58, Found Fit For Work Two Weeks Before His Death
Summary: A disabled dad died two weeks after being judged fit for work as he lay in hospital with pneumonia
Diabetic David O’Mar was stripped of his disability benefits in April after a work capability assessment for Iain Duncan Smith’s hated Department for Work and Pensions.
His daughter Alexandra believes he is one of the growing number of victims of brutal government policies.
She is calling on officials at the DWP – as well as Prime Minister David Cameron – to make good on their pledge to reveal how many deaths are linked to cuts.
PA Works and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith punches the air as he listens to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne deliver his Budget statement to the House of Commons, London
Responsible: Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith
David, 58, was bed-bound in hospital on the date of a tribunal to decide whether he should carry on getting disability benefits or was well enough to look for a job.
Despite family pleas to reschedule, the court ruled the former radio DJ fit for work.
He died of pneumonia on April 29.
Alexandra told the Sunday People.: “It definitely affected him. I think it’s disgusting they stopped somebody’s benefits who genuinely needed them.”
She is demanding the release of government statistics showing how many people have died within six weeks of being ruled fit for work and losing their benefits.
Mr Duncan Smith once claimed the figures did not even exist.
But in a climbdown this week, Mr Cameron told MPs that the data is “being prepared for publication as we speak”.
A string of deaths are feared to have been caused by cuts. Stephanie Bottrill, 53, of Solihull, West Midlands, killed herself in May 2013 and left a note blaming the bedroom tax.
She was worried about paying an extra £20 a week to stay in her home.
Diabetic David Clapson, 59, died of a lack of insulin after his Jobseeker’s Allowance was axed over a missed appointment.
The ex-soldier had just £3.44 in his bank and could not afford electricity to power the fridge where he kept vital doses.
As the Government prepares a further £12billion a year in welfare cuts, campaigners fear there are many more victims – including David O’Mar.
Before he fell ill the dad-of-three, of Cardiff, had a £400 bill from the council for unpaid rent after his housing benefit was cut.
He attended a job centre in March for a work capability test, which found he had “limited” ability to work and he had his £100-a-week Employment Support Allowance stopped from April 1.
David appealed but caught pneumonia shortly afterwards and was admitted to Llandough hospital, Cardiff.
He only found out the date of his appeal when his daughter went to pick up things from his flat and found a summons.
Shop worker Alexandra, 26, called the court and was told to write requesting a postponement, which she did.
She said: “I explained the situation and he’d had notes from the doctors about his condition.
“But then I received a letter saying it wasn’t a good enough reason.
“My dad said: ‘Fine, wheel me into court on my bed then’. He had a great sense of humour. But it was hard to see him suffer with this on top.”
Later that week he had the letter saying his disability benefit had been cut.
David was well enough to return home for a few days and his mum Margaret Moore, 78, travelled from Somerset, where she lives with her partner, to care for him. Mrs Moore was optimistic he would recover in time for his 59th birthday on July 19.
But she said: “He couldn’t walk. He couldn’t see. He was in a terrible state.
“By the end of the week he was back in hospital then he just deteriorated. How was he supposed to work? Something has got to change for people like David.”
Divorced David was nicknamed Dai Poland because he once ran a radio station in the east European country.
When he returned to Wales in 2003 he worked as a football talent scout for Derby County and Burton Albion.
He also threw himself into charity work, collecting hundreds of football shirts to send to orphanages in Moldova and Ukraine for Christmas in 2012.
Alexandra added: “He had a great life, travelling around and helping kids.
“But I would still like some answers from the courts and the judge. Why did they think he could do anything? He could barely walk. I don’t want that to happen to anybody else.”
A DWP spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with Mr O’Mar’s family. It’s wrong to suggest a causal link between the death of an individual and their benefit claim.
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