Blundering bosses at the DWP have been branded “monstrous” after telling a Dundee man who can’t speak and can barely walk he is fit for work — just six weeks after he won an appeal against them.
Mark Lilburn, 32, had a brain tumour at the age of two, then had two major strokes a couple of years later and another stroke aged 20 — leaving him with severe physical and mental disabilities.
Mark, who lives in supported accommodation in Menzieshill, is unable to communicate verbally and can only walk for up to three minutes, had been locked in a battle with the Department for Work and Pensions, as the Tele previously reported and the video (above) explains, which had declared him fit for work-related activity. He appealed against the decision and lost.
However, he then launched a final appeal which was considered at a hearing at the end of November.
A tribunal ruled in his favour and said he would never be reassessed unless there was a change in law.
Just six weeks after that decision, Mark was told that he “has been placed in the work-related activity group”.
However, DWP bosses have admitted it was an administration error and apologised.
The letter sent to Mark stated: “We have decided that you have the potential for work-related activity and must take part in work-focused interviews with a personal adviser.”
It added that Mark’s adviser will help him take steps towards work — and his benefits could be affected if he does not comply.
Solicitor Ryan Russell, of Muir, Myles and Laverty, who represents Mark, branded the letter “monstrous” and “merciless” and said it was “detrimental” to Mark’s health.
He said: “It is difficult to put into words the sense of outrage we are all feeling on behalf of Mark. This has gone way too far now and is seriously affecting my client.
“It is beyond disgraceful and these robots sending out these letters should be held personally accountable.
“What a sad state of affairs that within six weeks of winning an appeal, Mark is back to square one. The system is not just broken, the system is breaking people.”
A spokesman for the DWP said it was an administrative error and added: “We apologise for this error and will be issuing a new letter with the correct information straight away.”
Mark’s parents died 20 years ago and he has been looked after by care workers ever since.