Cross-party MPs have raised a series of concerns with work and pensions secretary Esther McVey about the government’s treatment of disabled people on out-of-work benefits.
Members of the Commons work and pensions select committee were questioning McVey more than a year after her government introduced cuts of nearly £30 a week to payments to new claimants of employment and support allowance (ESA) placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG).
Ministers were ridiculed when they first announced the cuts and argued they would “incentivise” those in the WRAG to find work.
Claimants placed in the WRAG have all been found able to carry out some work-related activity but have been found not fit for work.
The minister for disabled people, Penny Mordaunt [now the international development secretary], later promised to find a way to cut the living costs of people in the WRAG and “mitigate the £30”.
But by the time the cuts were introduced, in April 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) appeared to suggest that Mordaunt’s only success on living costs had been to ensure that new WRAG claimants would be told by their jobcentre work coaches how to secure the cheapest BT telephone tariff.
Yesterday (Wednesday), SNP’s Chris Stephens asked McVey what work had been done to look at the additional costs faced by WRAG claimants.
But she did not appear to have an answer and claimed instead that the cuts had been aimed at sick and disabled people who could “definitely do some work” and had allowed her department to invest more funds into supporting them into jobs.
Source: MPs raise concerns with McVey over ‘stress and poverty’ caused by WRAG cuts | DisabledGo News and Blog
Introduced in 2008, the work capability assessment (WCA) is used by the UK government to limit access to the long-term sickness and disability benefit, known as the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The scope of the assessment was increased in 2010.
Extensive evidence suggesting that the WCA is a dangerous and fatally flawed assessment model for disabled and chronically sick people continues to be disregarded by successive governments. This article identifies the influence of American corporate funders with UK welfare reform policies since 1992.
I argue that these influences have shaped the WCA in ways which cause preventable harm in the lives of chronically sick and disabled people, who are dependent upon the ESA for their financial survival. Further, I argue that the ESA assessment process was adopted to encourage the general public to purchase income protection insurance which intentionally undermines the UK welfare state.
Successive calls for welfare reform in the UK are not as progressive as they might appear to the outside world. From the point of view of chronically sick and disabled people themselves, the problems started thirty-five years ago under the Thatcher government when privatisation, a consumer model of care and individualism were introduced, arguably to the detriment of disabled people.
Source: Preventable harm and the Work Capability Assessment
If this was reversed and it was the claimant losing forms the DWP would come down hard on the claimant and they would be sanctioned for not abiding by the rules and therefore left to suffer without any money.
In this case it is the DWP not complying with the rules but they are not sanctioned or left without any money, it is the claimant who is still left without any money.
So in both extreme cases it is a win, win, win for the DWP and a lose, lose ,lose for the claimant. It that equality, is it fair, is it showing respect, is it taking responsibility for their actions, or they being held accountable.
No the system is favouring the DWP and never the claimants.
It this was private industry the claimant would have been due substantial compensation and those at the DWP disciplined accordingly. Whereas the claimant on received £70 compensation, and the DWP disciplined well who knows, but I can guess, can you?
A true reflection of how it is as I can see no other conclusion. Being underhand is not sufficient this should be classed as a crime.
A man who has an inoperable brain tumour has hit out at the Government after his benefits were stopped – leaving himself and his partner with £5 a week to feed themselves. Karl Riley says he’s living on the bread line since his Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and housing benefit were taken away three months ago when he moved in with his partner – whose income is just a few hundred pounds a month. The 32-year-old from Bolton has a growth embedded in his brain stem which has caused him to suffer permanent limited mobility, double vision, memory loss, confusion, extreme anxiety, depression, nausea, insomnia, tinnitus and facial paralysis.
Source: ‘This Government leaves people to starve’: Man with inoperable brain tumour has benefits stopped – iNews
So people have had to undergo all the problems of coming off pre-ESA benefits to go onto ESA, where many could have had their old benefit stopped while in the ESA process only a few years ago.
They, come next year, will be expected to undergo a similar process for Universal Credit, these are not well people and can least afford, from a health perspective let alone re financial , to be put in this position again.
If it is deemed necessary to proceed to UC, which is debatable, the DWP will have all the relevant information and with the age of computerisation why can not the UC process commenced until it is ready to be paid and at that stage stop the ESA payment and commence the UC payment immediately, a seamless transaction.
Ministers have again come under fire over an “unfit” policy on disability benefits – as an MP revealed how identical twins, suffering with the same condition, had been given differing judgements by assessors. The twins, who both had the same genetic condition, went for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments at different times and one was […]
Yet another case of what is wrong with the welfare system. The system should be about the person claiming benefits and they should be at the centre of the process. Not as currently where finance is at the centre.
The Care Act 2014 was supposed to ensure the cared for was at the centre and the system would be there for them, but is the Act worth the paper it is written on.
The Governments whole process is ‘not fit for purpose’ as it is based on making savings without a thought for the consequences for those who are in need of care. Whatever savings they believed they would achieve have been more than spent on appeals after appeals and then the resultant events in court.
The Government are proceeding with a short-term view, when they should be proceeding on the long-term outcomes, which are more relevant.
Until the Government see sense then they will be abusing and punishing the disabled, elderly and those in severely poor health, who are reliant on the welfare benefits they are initially being denied to survive.
For many it is too late for the abusing and punishments have been so severe that they could not take anymore and they felt their only relief would be for them to take their own lives.
In effect they have been murdered by the actions of this Government and those responsible should be made to suffer the consequences, whatever they will be.
October 2018 is the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), as used by successive UK governments to restrict access to the out-of-work long-term sickness and disability benefit known as the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
The most radical reform in British welfare policy since the 1942 Beveridge Report was promoted as offering opportunity and releasing the potential of chronically sick and disabled people. It has been described ever since by politicians and civil servants as “supporting” those in receipt of long-term benefits for chronic illness and disability to return to work, regardless of any clinical diagnosis or prognosis which is completely disregarded by the WCA, rendering the assessment both meaningless and dangerous.
In reality, the adoption of the WCA in October 2008 introduced the greatest government enforced human suffering
in the history of social security funding, as chronically ill people who are too ill to work are being, quite literally, killed by the State
with an average of 90 people per month dying
after being refused access to ESA and found “fit for work”.
It is surely cause for serious concern to learn that the government’s own mental health technical working group, as used by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2006 and 2007 to help to design the WCA, were then disregarded when advising the DWP that the WCA should be abandoned as it would create preventable harm, especially for those with a mental health problem.
As exposed by the Disability News Service: “Ministers and civil servants were “ruthless” and “reckless” in forcing through their new “fitness for work” test and refusing to abandon it, even after they were told of the harm it was causing…”
Perhaps of greater concern is that the 2005 DWP commissioned research “The Scientific and Conceptual Basis for Incapacity Benefits” by the former DWP Chief Medical Officer Mansel Aylward and former orthopaedic surgeon Gordon Waddell, as used by the DWP to justify the adoption of the WCA, has been totally discredited and has failed all academic scrutiny.
Source: Sick and disabled Brits killed by the state – crime without punishment : Welfare Weekly
MPs have announced they will launch a major new inquiry into “deeply troubling” problems with the benefit sanctions system.
The Commons Work and Pensions Committee will probe the system that has stopped people’s benefits more than 7 million times since 2000.
Sanctions can be imposed for breaching benefit conditions like attending a work placement, or for being minutes late for a Jobcentre appointment.
There have been reports of poor practice in the system, such as people in hospital being sanctioned for missing a benefits appointment.
While most sanctions go to jobseekers, thousands also go to sick and disabled people on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
In June 2017 just over 1,400 people on ESA were sanctioned, the highest monthly figure for more than two years.
Sanctions are also on the rise under Universal Credit because the new six-in-one benefit is being rolled out to more people.
In March 2017 15,000 UC claimants were sanctioned – 1,300 of them for more than 14 weeks at a time.
Source: MPs have launched a major new inquiry into ‘deeply troubling’ benefit sanctions | DisabledGo News and Blog