Doctors gave Robert Barlow, 47, only 18 months to live but his benefits were cut anyway.{jcomments on}

Robert Barlow was stripped of his benefits even though doctors at the time were urging him to have a heart transplant to prolong his dwindling life.

The university graduate gave up his role as a government scientist nine years ago when diagnosed with severe cardiomyopathy, a failure of the heart muscle.

By the end the classically trained pianist could not walk, struggled to read due to poor eyesight and often fell over, smashing his teeth on one occasion.

Doctors eventually gave Mr Barlow a year and a half to live and recommended a heart transplant as he spent his final months in and out of hospital.

But Atos dismissed his fatal ailments, axed his crucial state payments and ordered him back to work.

His aunt, Joan Westland, 85, said: "I don't know how they expected him to work. Nobody would have loved to work more than him but he simply couldn't."

Beethoven-lover Mr Barlow was given an Atos fitness-to-work test in January 2012 and his Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) was stopped three months later.

"Robert was dying and he accepted that. I feel he should have been left to enjoy what little time he had left."

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said Mr Barlow initially challenged the decision to stop his benefits but the appeal was withdrawn because, according to Mrs Westland, he felt too ill to fight the case.

She said: "Robert had very little money on benefits and nothing at all when his money was stopped.”

Read the full story in the Mirror


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