29 May 2015
What: Luke Alexander Loy dies just three months after being found fit for work and then having his benefits sanctioned. He had been claiming incapacity benefit for more than 20 years, but was found fit for work following a WCA, despite his doctor explaining that he was not currently well enough to work. He was apparently sanctioned by DWP for failing to attend meetings at Jobcentre Plus and not actively looking for work, and fell further and further into debt. He became withdrawn and scared. After his father discovered what had happened, he helped his son to appeal and eventually – just before he died – DWP reinstated his benefits. But his family believe that by then the damage to his health and wellbeing had been done. A subsequent inquest would record an open verdict. His sister, Natalie Jeffers, later joined activists from Disabled People Against Cuts in a protest outside the Conservative party conference in Manchester to try to “raise awareness of the human costs of these policies” and hold work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith “accountable” for his actions. She told fellow protesters: “He died as a result of Tory cuts. Shame on the Tory party for what they are doing to innocent people who need the support of the state.”
Why significant: Another death linked closely to both the WCA and benefit sanction systems.