Linda Wootton, 49, was on 10 prescription drugs a day, suffering high blood pressure, renal failure and regular blackouts.
Yet Atos – the private firm carrying out the Government’s controversial work capability assessments – ruled she was fit enough to find a job after she was interviewed.
Cost-cutting officials sent Linda a letter telling her that her £108.05 a week employment and support allowance was being stopped as she lay dying in a hospital bed.
Her husband Peter said: “I sat there and listened to my wife drown in her own body fluids. It took half an hour for her to die – and that’s a woman who’s ‘fit for work’.
The last months of her life were a misery because she worried about her benefits, feeling useless, like a scrounger.
Peter said Linda found the process humiliating. The assessments, which have also seen some terminal cancer patients denied benefits, have been blasted as arduous and degrading.
She was judged fit for work and her benefit was stopped on February 13. Peter said Linda typed her appeal on an iPad “crying her eyes out” as she lay in hospital chronically ill with a chest infection.
The Atos criteria for ability to work included “You can understand simple messages from a stranger” and “You can use a computer keyboard or mouse and a pen or a pencil with at least one hand.”
While the Atos assessment failed to pinpoint any of Linda’s health issues, her death certificate listed lung and heart problems, hypertension and chronic renal failure as causes.
Peter cannot grieve properly because he is so angry at how Whitehall bureaucrats ruined his wife’s precious last days. He said: “She paid her tax and national insurance – then she is treated like this. It’s disgusting.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Our sympathy goes out to Mrs Wootton’s family. A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough assessment and after consideration of all supporting medical evidence.”