Someone did a good job of hushing up this abomination. If John Pring hadn’t reported the inquest on Disability News Service, we might never have learned how the Department for Work and Pensio…
Is this another Government Benefit disaster waiting to happen, for while the theory sounds sound the practical aspects never appear to go right for the benefit claimants.
Is this just accidental or is it Government policy?
The meeting was a start, but the answers need to be coming, with a significance change of practice to eliminate mistakes, now that would be something.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has come under fire after it refused to adopt of series of recommendations that are designed to protect vulnable benefit claimants from financial hardship caused by sanctions.
An investigation by the Work and Pensions Select Committee (WPSC) found that reducing or completely stopping a person’s benefit payments for failure to comply with arbitrary requirments is “pointlessly cruel” and often “counter-productive”.
However, the Government rejected the Commitee’s recommendation that claimants already found to have limited capability for work should be exempt from sanctions.
Source: Callous Tories refuse to ease ‘pointlessly cruel’ benefit sanctions regime : Welfare Weekly
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.
A woman whose husband murdered her two children now fears eviction thanks to the DWP stripping her benefits.
Her case is indicative of the DWP’s apparent refusal to appreciate the difficulties of living with mental health conditions.
‘Fit for work’
As the Sunday Post reported:
A medical assessor has ruled June Martin is fit for work despite being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression after losing her children, Michelle, 25, and son Ryan, seven.
Martin’s ex-husband murdered their two children in 2008 and is currently serving life in prison. Since findingher children dead, she has struggled to rebuild her life. She suffers from multiple mental health conditions and has felt suicidal at times.
Martin was receiving the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) disability benefit until she failed a Work Capability Assessment. The decision was upheld by a tribunal on 20 June. Independent Assessment Services, formerly known as Atos Healthcare, conducted Martin’s assessment. After the tribunal, a spokesperson stated:
Whilst the tribunal accepts Ms Martin has mental health problems and balance problems, the nature and extent of the resulting limitations are insufficient to score the required number of points.
As a result Ms Martin does not qualify for either component of personal independent payment.
But Martin claimed that the assessment was not fit for purpose. She told the Sunday Post:
Neither the assessor or the tribunal last week seemed to want to know about the trauma I suffer daily reliving finding my children posed as if they were asleep in their beds, or pulling back the covers to find them stabbed to death
An occupational therapist who carried out a “misleading” benefit assessment has been suspended for a year after regulators found she reported carrying out a physical examination of a disabled man that did not take place.
Paru Vekaria has shown no remorse over the incident, in which she stated in a written report for government contractor Maximus that she had carried out a detailed physical examination of the claimant.
But both the claimant – referred to as Service User A – and his daughter, who attended the work capability assessment (WCA) with him, said no such examination had taken place.
As a result of her “misleading” report, Service User A was found fit for work by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and so ineligible for employment and support allowance (ESA).
DWP later rubber-stamped the decision through the mandatory reconsideration process, and it was only at an appeal tribunal eight months later that the decision was overturned and Service User A was found eligible for ESA.
A run of bad luck leaves one man struggling to make sense of the UK benefits system. Very soon he is left with no income and at risk of losing the roof over his head. Can he find his way through a bafflingly complex maze of rules? Put yourself in his shoes.
Your name is Tony Rice. You’re the sort of bloke who gets along with everyone. Always making people laugh. Ever since you left school you’ve been in and out of all sorts of jobs. Manual labour, mostly – builder, dustman, crane driver, painter and decorator. Hawker Siddeley, the aerospace company – you like it there, until the factory shuts.
You split up with your girlfriend so you ask your mum to put you up until you can sort out a flat. Save a few quid. You’re very close to your mum and dad. They’re your best friends, really. Your dad has lung cancer and needs a bit of looking after. You take him for a drive most days because he doesn’t like staying in all the time. He’s like you, not a man to sit about. At one time he worked three jobs, all at once. Still does half an hour each morning in the garden.
So you’re back in the council house in Chingford, north-east London, that you’ve
Source: You’re losing everything – but you don’t understand why : BBC News
Disabled campaigners have criticised new Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) rules that explain which benefit claimants will no longer have to be repeatedly put through the much-criticised “fitness for work” test. DWP announced last month, on the eve of the Conservative party conference in Manchester, that some claimants in the support group of employment and support allowance (ESA) – and the equivalent universal credit group – would no longer need to attend “routine reassessments”. Only those with “the most severe and lifelong health conditions or disabilities” will be exempt from reassessments, and they will be told of their exemption when they receive the results of their next work capability assessment (WCA), the test which assesses ESA eligibility. Although DWP declined to release the eligibility criteria for exemptions, the guidelines have now been published by Disability Rights UK, one of the disability organisations that took part in discussions with the government as it