A FORMER lorry driver who had heart bypass surgery and suffers from emphysema should not have been ordered back to work, an independent tribunal ruled.
Roy Antill, of Fairchildes Avenue, was deemed fit for work in a controversial assessment by government contractor Atos and told his benefits would be stripped.
But the 62-year-old appealed and the tribunal in Sutton agreed that the original decision posed a "substantial risk to his physical and mental health".
Mr Antill, now battling another reduction to his monthly employment and support allowance (ESA), said: "It has been a lot of stress and a lot of time.
"I knew how to appeal but what about somebody else who does not know anything about the process? They would be hanging themselves by now."
Married Mr Antill was among more than one million people ordered for reassessment when incapacity benefit was replaced with employment and support allowance as part of a government drive to reduce claimants.
He had worked for more than 20 years as a lorry driver, from which he has a small private pension, before quitting because of health problems.
"I had to give it up as there is no law of the land that will allow you to drive with a heart bypass," he said.
After answering questions and attending a medical in August last year, he was told he had not scored enough points in the assessment to continue getting the financial help.
"I was kind of shocked," he said. " I mean I have got a line down my chest where they opened up my chest and took a chunk out of my heart. My breathing is not what it should be; I struggle sometimes just to go up my staircase."
After he represented himself at the social entitlement chamber in Sutton in March, the panel agreed he "suffers from a number of medical conditions which limit his ability to function".
Its decision added: "Taken in combination, the tribunal concluded that there would be a substantial risk to his physical and/or mental health if he were not to be found to have a limited capacity for work."
Mr Antill is now fuming after receiving a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) saying he owed £405.90 – which he disputes – and would be clawing it back by docking his benefit.
The reduction of about £47 a month means he currently gets just £96 a month in ESA, alongside his private pension of £258.
He is trying to fight the overpayment claims, but says he has been frustrated by a lack of communication from the DWP.
The DWP had not responded to a request for comment as the Advertiser went to press.