Skip to main content

Accessibility Settings

Linda Wootton dies nine days after DWP upholds its decision to declare her “fit for work.”

What: Linda had undergone two heart-and-lung transplants and was left with a weakened immune system caused by the immunosuppressant therapy she was taking to prevent her body rejecting the organs. Neither the assessor, the first decision-maker nor the second official who reviewed her case deemed her to be at substantial risk of harm. Linda had had regular blackouts as well as being on 10 different prescription medications. She was dying on a hospital bed as the decision came through. Her husband told the Sunday Mirror: “I sat there and listened to my wife drown in her own body fluids. It took half an hour for her to die – and that’s a woman who’s ‘fit for work’. The last months of her life were a misery because she worried about her benefits, feeling useless, like a scrounger.”

Why significant: Linda died of the conditions that the WCA had found not to hinder her fitness for work. Linda’s death is one of the early, high-profile deaths that showed how people were dying after DWP had found them fit for work.


'Atos Benefits Row: Transplant Patient Linda Wootton Dies After Being Judged 'Fit For Work'', Huffington Post, 2013
'Atos assessments: Widower claims system 'unfair'', BBC, 2013