A cancer sufferer, who had her benefits cut by government officials who said she was fit to work, has died.

Cecilia Burns, 51, from Strabane, County Tyrone, had started a campaign in February to have the decision overturned.

Ms Burns had her benefits cut after she was assessed by government contractor Atos Healthcare.

She had her benefits reinstated just a few weeks ago but died on Monday.

During her campaign the County Tyrone woman said she was "​disguste​d"​ after the government cut her sickness benefit and told her she was fit to work.

Cecilia Burns had her Employment Support Allowance reduced by £​30 a week even though she was still undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Ms Burns had described the medical test as a "​joke"​.

The government is seeking to reassess all 2.6 million people on incapacity benefit - and its successor employment support allowance (ESA) - by 2014 in an effort to encourage more people back to work and to cut the welfare bill.

Stormont Assembly MLA, Michaela Boyle, had helped Ms Burns in her campaign.

"​I have known Cecilia since she went for her medical assessment. She received nil points and appealed that assessment."​

Ms Boyle is critical of the assessment process.

More from the BBC.


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