Hatije Musa: won appeal
Published: 18 October, 2013
by PETER GRUNER
A FORMER school meals worker from Canonbury who is being treated for cancer and heart disease was told she was fit for work after a 20-minute assessment by a nurse.
Single mother-of-four Hatije Musa, 48, from Essex Road, lost half of her benefits as a result of the decision by the official working for Atos. As a result she went into serious debt.
Ms Musa, who has two children still living at home, had letters from her GP and top consultants at University College Hospital, all arguing that she was too ill to work.
She was forced to give up work at a local primary school in 2005 because her condition, the result of an acute childhood illness, left her feeling exhausted.
“I gave the nurse assessor all my medical information,” Ms Musa said. “But the woman wasn’t interested.
"She did some basic medical tests and said that because I could walk and socialise I was fit to work.”
Ms Musa lost more than half of her benefits, amounting to £120 a week, and as a result spiralled into debt.
“We had to go without many items of food and reduce the times we used heating,” she said. “I ended up having to borrow £500 from a loan shark. It was absolute hell.”
Ms Musa finally managed to overturn the decision after appealing to a tribunal with the help of an expert from Islington Law Centre.
“My expert was Lorna and she was wonderful,” said Ms Musa.
“The judges listened to the evidence. One judge said finally I could leave the court because I had won.”