Archives for posts with tag: ESA

Govt Newspeak

When my husband had his first ATOS WCA, he was too ill to have the assessment and she still signed him off as “fit” for work.


EXCLUSIVE: MPs launched a probe tonight into the leaked Atos policy which they fear is an “incentive to ride roughshod over claimants”

Theresa May faces demands to reform the PIP benefit assessment system

But the outsourcing giant wrote to its…

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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.

Govt Newspeak

My son lives in Cornwall and, aged 45, has been disabled since he was six months old after a vaccination precipitated Salaam epilepsy. In hospital, he contracted meningitis and started a life of physical and, more recently courtesy of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), mental hardship.

Today his eyesight is poor and the right side of his body has atrophied and shortened. He often falls and has to use a stick.

After a recent scan on his right ankle which was causing him discomfort, he was given anti-inflammatories and painkillers. His doctor is currently helping him with a request to be given an electric wheelchair.

He has never been able to hold a full-time job, but occasionally picks up small bits of income working as a DJ and running an online radio station from his home. I have to include all this biographical/medical information so that you can…

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The government has given a mixed response to a report by a committee of MPs that concluded that the disability benefit assessment system was being undermined by a “pervasive culture of mistrust”.

Ministers have agreed in their response to make the recording of personal independence payment (PIP) assessments “a standard part of the process”, because of the “lack of trust in the assessment process”.

They said they were “currently exploring potential options to test the recording of assessments, including video recording”.

The pledge was made in the government’s response to the work and pensions select committee’s report on disability assessments, which was published in February.

But they did not offer a similar promise with the work capability assessment – which tests eligibility for out-of-work disability benefits – where claimants can already ask to have their assessment recorded, although such requests are only “accommodated where possible”.

Ministers have rejected another recommendation, that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should provide written copies of their assessment report to all claimants of PIP and employment and support allowance (ESA).

The committee had called for a copy of the reports to be sent to every claimant alongside the decision on their claim.

 

Source: DWP agrees to record PIP assessments but response to MPs’ report still ‘falls far short’ | DisabledGo News and Blog


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


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is refusing to pay back as much as £150 million owed to disabled people as a result of botched efforts to move them onto the new employment and support allowance (ESA).

The National Audit Office (NAO) published a report this week into its investigation into historic underpayments made by DWP following the reassessment of people on older-style benefits such as incapacity benefit (IB) onto the new out-of-work disability benefit ESA.

The report concludes that DWP underpaid about 70,000 people between February 2011 – when the reassessment process began – and the end of 2014, because of its failure to realise that many of these claimants were entitled to income-related ESA and associated disability premiums in addition to the contributory form of ESA.

But because the social security upper tribunal only ruled on 21 October 2014 that DWP had been wrongly following social security legislation, ministers say they can legally only pay arrears to those whose claims were still live on that date and who were subsequently underpaid.

This means that it will not pay back an estimated £100 million to £150 million in arrears that date from before 21 October 2014, which DWP says it cannot legally pay.

DWP is still likely to have to pay about £340 million in back-payments for claims that were live on 21 October 2014, with average payments likely to be about £5,000, although a small number could receive as much as £20,000.

It has promised to pay all these arrears by April 2019 and will have to review about 300,000 cases to identify those affected.

 

Source: Anger over DWP refusal to repay claimants £150 million from botched reassessments | DisabledGo News and Blog


The real life stories of disabled people’s experiences of the UK welfare system are being brought to life in a play. But far from being a fringe performance, the cast is taking it to the heart of political decision making – parliament.

Igniting disability

Ignite Me Workshop Theatre was formed in August 2017. And now, it’s bringing its latest work, a play called Lives Like These to parliament on 1 May. The Canary caught up with the group’s artistic director, Bryony Jayne Meteyard, to discuss igniting parliament with some hard-hitting theatre.

The group came about, Meteyard said, because she saw the need for a “people’s theatre” in south west London. The aim of Ignite Me is, in her words, to “hold up a mirror to society and show the truth”. Disabled people in the UK are often portrayed in the press as ‘benefit scroungers’, or ‘living off people’s taxes’, so a theatre company dedicated to busting these myths is refreshing. Meteyard told The Canary:

Disabled people and full-time carers need to have a voice in the current political climate. Austerity is having a major detrimental effect on their lives and bullying, discrimination and marginalisation are still massive issues. Theatre is one way to make an impact.

Damning figures. Damning criticism.

Meteyard is correct when she says that disabled people’s lives have been detrimentally affected in recent years. They have been subjected to seven years of what TV show The Last Leg described as a “genocide” by the Conservative Party. Because since 2010, the Tories have cut:

  • The Independent Living Fund (ILF), which previously supported people with care packages. Since the government cut it, in some areas 88% of people have seen their care packages reduced by up to 50%.

 

Source: Disabled people’s stories are about to give parliament a much needed wake up call | The Canary


The government must do more to offer incentives to businesses to take on disabled people as employees, and to tackle the barriers that prevent them finding jobs, according to cross-party MPs.

MPs from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and the Conservative party all pushed the government to improve its policies.

Disability Rights UK, which helped secure the debate, said afterwards that it was the first time MPs had debated disabled people and economic growth in the main Commons chamber.

Disabled MP Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, told fellow MPs that the government had done far too little to remove the barriers faced by disabled people in the employment market.

She said: “It is a matter of serious concern that we have a government who barely speak about removing barriers, while actually creating new ones through their austerity cuts and their punitive social security system.”

She said the disability employment gap – the difference between the employment rates of disabled and non-disabled people – currently stood at more than 31 percentage points, and was even higher for some impairment groups.

De Cordova was among MPs who criticised the government’s Disability Confident scheme, which is supposed to encourage employers to take on disabled employees.

She said it had been “a dismal failure” and “has yet to produce any concrete evidence of results”.

She asked the minister for disabled people, Sarah Newton, how many disabled people had found jobs as a direct result of the scheme, but Newton later failed to provide an answer.

De Cordova told fellow MPs how one deaf man had been offered a job by an employer signed up to the Disability Confident scheme.

But when the employer realised that the man’s Access to Work support would be capped – because of government policy – and they would have to meet the rest of his disability-related workplace costs, the job offer was withdrawn.

 

Source: Government ‘must do more on disability employment’, MPs hear | DisabledGo News and Blog


Govt Newspeak

Dealing with the disability benefit system can be highly stressful. 

In a major undertaking, the government announced in late January that it will review all 1.6m claims for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) – one of the benefits that supports people with a disability.

There are serious issues with the benefits applications process, and many disabled people who claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or PIP find the process very stressful. In just over two years, the British government has spent more than £100m managing reviews and appeals against their disability benefits decisions.

My new research found that people who receive disability benefits find changes to the system powerfully dehumanising. Changes since 2010 have included cuts to the financial support that people receive and the introduction of new types of benefits – the ESA and PIP – which have tighter eligibility criteria than the previous benefits. With the move to…

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Disabled campaigners have welcomed a report by MPs on disability benefit assessments, which they say highlights “serious multiple failures”, but many believe it should have done more to highlight the serious “preventable harm” caused by the system.

The report by the Commons work and pensions committee concludes that there is a “pervasive culture of mistrust” around the personal independence payment (PIP) and employment and support allowance (ESA) assessment processes.

It calls for “urgent change” in the system, including the introduction of routine recording of face-to-face assessments, and says that the government’s contractors, Atos, Capita and Maximus, “have consistently failed to meet basic performance standards”.

It also says the government should send every claimant a copy of the assessment report prepared by the healthcare professional who assessed them, which it says would “introduce essential transparency into decision-making”.

And it calls for improved accessibility of the system “at every stage” and pays tribute to the thousands of claimants who shared evidence with the committee, a response which it says was “unprecedented” for a select committee inquiry.

 

Source: Benefit assessment report welcomed, but concern over ‘preventable harm’ failings | DisabledGo News and Blog

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