Leeds man with two severe conditions is forced to find job despite doctor’s letter

Donna Johnson with her partner Jonathan Cummin, 28, from Gipton.
Donna Johnson with her partner Jonathan Cummin, 28, from Gipton.

A Leeds man who suffers from two chronic and severe medical conditions is being forced to look for a job despite having a doctor’s letter which confirms he is not fit to work.

Gipton dad Jonathan Cummin, 28, has Crohn’s disease and ankylosing spondylitis, which together cause debilitating flare-ups around his body.

Mr Cummin currently relies on crutches to get around.

Mr Cummin currently relies on crutches to get around.

Mr Cummin, of South Farm Road, says he cannot walk for long without feeling serious pain – relying on regular morphine doses – and had to leave his last agency job sorting post in December 2016 after being admitted to hospital.

He has been entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), a state benefit which entitles ill or disabled people financial income if they are unable to work. But a Work Place Assessment in May deemed him fit for employment. He signed on for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), which means he must prove he is actively looking for a position, because otherwise he will be without money.

Mr Cummin said: “I have to do this even though I have a consultant letter stating I’m not fit for work.

“I’m in pain. I can barely sleep and barely do anything. I’ve been told I’m going to have to start a course next week.”

He added: “I can’t stand for that long. I can’t walk for that long. I’ve got crutches just to help me.”

Despite this, it is retail jobs Mr Cummin is being asked to look for because he has previous experience in the sector.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeman said a letter from Mr Cummin’s doctor had only recently been seen by its staff after his assessment.

He added: “Decisions for ESA are made following consideration of all the information provided by the claimant, including supporting evidence from their GP or medical specialist.

“Anyone who disagrees with a decision can appeal.”

Mr Cummin has since appealed the decision and said he is awaiting a tribunal.

Victoria Gate in Leeds.

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