DWP Minister Amber Rudd Responds To 'Deeply Upsetting' Case Of Six-Stone Stephen Smith

Sunday 10 February, 2019 Written by  From a Liverpool Echo Article, From Liam Thorpe
DWP Minister Amber Rudd Responds To 'Deeply Upsetting' Case Of Six-Stone Stephen Smith

The Department of Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has responded to what she called the 'deeply upsetting' case of a six-stone Liverpool man who was denied vital benefits and told to go and find work.

This weekend, images of emaciated Stephen Smith, created headlines across the country and beyond and forced the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to apologise and pay the 64-year-old benefits that he had been owed for several years.

Mr Smith - who has a number of serious health issues and struggles to walk or stand up - was forced to get a pass from hospital to allow him to fight a DWP ruling that had previously blocked him from receiving crucial Employment Support Allowance payments.

Now, for the first time, Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for the department which oversees benefit payments has spoken about Mr Smith's case and whether it could lead to changes going forward.

Speaking to ITV she said: "I have seen the case and it is very upsetting. I have asked the department to look into it to see what didn't happen correctly and I will need to find out more about it."

Stephen Smith 02

Mr Smith whose condition resembles someone incacerated in Dachau

She was told that Mr Smith, from Kensington, had said how an apology from government meant little if others were still suffering the same treatment as him.

She responded, stating: "I think that is a very generous approach of him to take.

Stephen Smith 03

Image Courtesy of the Liverpool Echo;

"Following the independent tribunal’s ruling, he is now receiving full ESA support. While Mr Smith continued to receive benefits and support during his appeal, we can confirm he will shortly receive all back-payments for ESA due.

Mr Smith - who spent nearly two years without the vital benefits after failing a work capability assessment, was helped in his battle against the government by two men, Tony Carroll and Terry Craven who provide advice and support at the CASA centre in Liverpool for people who are struggling in the city.

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