Grandfather from Carshalton Zan Marseilles told he is fit to work despite traumatic brain injury
A grandfather who suffered disabling brain injuries after a motorbike accident has been told he must go back to work.
Zan Marseilles, 50, of Vellum Drive, Carshalton, was taking part in a motorcycle event in Nürburgring, Germany in 2007, when he crashed.
The impact split his helmet in half and he suffered traumatic head injuries which left him in a coma for three months. When he came round he was left with permanent problems with his speech, balance, walking and the use of his right arm.
Mr Marseilles used to own two construction and refurbishment businesses as well as four houses.
However, he did not have life insurance and lost it all after his accident and now lives in council accommodation.
Because he was deemed unfit to work he has been receiving Employment Support Allowance to cover his living expenses.
But in July the controversial company Atos Healthcare reassessed him on behalf of the government and decided, on the basis that he could stand for a minute unaided and that his speech was intelligible, that he was fit to work.
Mr Marseilles believes the decision is completely unfair and wrong. He said: "I can only walk for short periods of time. They say I’m well enough to go back to work.
"If I lose [the Employment Support Allowance] I won’t have enough money to live monthly.
"I would love to work - I really would - I miss my old job."
Mr Marseilles' GP has now written a letter as part of his appeal outlining his difficulties.
A spokesperson for Disabled People Against Cuts said: "The ongoing fiasco of Atos assessments is not only costing taxpayers £110 million a year but a further minimum of £60 million for the cost of tribunal hearings in which the majority of the wrong decisions made by Atos are overturned.
"Disabled People Against Cuts call for a return to a system where disabled people's GPs, who know their patients well, are the ones who decide if someone is fit for work, thus saving the taxpayer a massive amount of money."
Tom Brake the MP for Carshalton and Wallington said: “I am always happy to help anyone who has problems with the benefit system or who has been wrongly assessed.
"It is frustrating that people are incorrectly assessed as fit for work, when they plainly aren’t and can be deeply distressing for individuals. It is an issue I have raised on behalf of my constituents and will continue to do so.”
A spokesman for Department for Work and Pensions said: "We are committed to help thousands of people move from benefits and back into work if they are capable while giving unconditional support to those who need it, and we have made considerable improvements to the Work Capability Assessment to make it fairer and more effective.
"Anyone who doesn’t agree with the outcome of their claim can ask the Department for Work and Pensions for a reconsideration or appeal to an independent tribunal."
Mr Marseilles receives support from brain injury charity, Headway South West London. For more information visit https://www.headway.org.uk/home.aspx
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