Sick and disabled to do workfare or lose £71 a week.

(74 Posts)
Darkesteyeswithflecksofgold Mon 03-Sep-12 23:06:13

Guardian has revealed even more heartless plans towards sick and disabled people.

www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/sep/03/disabled-benefits-claimants-fines-work

Darkesteyeswithflecksofgold Mon 03-Sep-12 23:10:28
OrangeKipper Mon 03-Sep-12 23:25:57

I see the Torygraph describes people in the ESA WRAG as "judged fit to return to work".

Completely false. Anyone on ESA has by definition been judged not fit to work. Otherwise (duh) they aren't given the ESA.

OrangeKipper Mon 03-Sep-12 23:44:22

For anyone who's missed my previous rants on the subject, people previously on Incapacity Benefit have been divided into three groups.

Group 1: Judged capable of doing some work activity, even if not enough to earn their living. These people are judged Fit to Work by ESA criteria and told to apply for Jobseekers Allowance, which is often then refused as they are not Fit to Work by JSA criteria (including being capable of working 40 hrs/wk). Many in this group are facing destitution.

Group 2: Judged not Fit to Work, but not far below the threshold. These people are placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and told that the must do activities to prepare for returning to work. Some will have conditions which are expected to improve and returning to work is a realistic possibility. Others will have conditions which are either stable or deteriorating, and are never expected to improve, such as terminal cancer and motor neurone disease. These people are expected to attend regular back-to-work interviews and work-preparation courses.

Group 3: Called the Support Group, for people with severe enough disabilities that they are a very long way below the Fit to Work threshold. This is where Ivan Cameron (just as a well-known illustration) would have been placed had he lived and is iiuc being set at about 11% of ESA recipients - vastly less than the designer of ESA intended.

dreamingofsun Tue 04-Sep-12 10:16:00

if people are going to be capable of work in the not too distant future then surely its sensible to start preparing for that and ensuring you have the best CV possible. In much the same way as non ESA applicants are being encouraged. Obviously this won't be relevant for some and it would also be a waste of resources. And people's issues will need to be taken into account.

one of the things i've never understood with ESA is why its not funnelled more at those in greatest need. I thought the justification of it was to cover the higher costs of being disabled - yet my MIL who received it for years had no higher costs than an able bodied person as she suffered from an aching neck

OrangeKipper Tue 04-Sep-12 10:30:00

"i've never understood with ESA is why its not funnelled more at those in greatest need. I thought the justification of it was to cover the higher costs of being disabled"

No, that's DLA.

And your MIL would have got neither DLA nor ESA/incapacity Benefit if she just had "an aching neck".

She might have got ESA/IB if her neck injury would be made worse by working (eg because of the movements or posture required). To get DLA she would have to be so impaired (or at risk of further injury) that she needed help for basic personal needs or for mobility.

ColouringIn Tue 04-Sep-12 10:38:58

Tbh it sums up this fecking Govt a treat.

EdMcDunnough Tue 04-Sep-12 10:46:03

The people running WRA stuff are overwhelmed in this area.

They are totally aware that for many of their clients this stuff is pointless as they won't be going back to work for many years if ever. It's a waste of everyone's time.

I know someone in the WRAG and her appointments have stopped - it's gone down to a phone call, or a vaguely promised phone call, from the company, every month or so which does not materialise.

I think the problem is she isn't going to help them meet their targets as she clearly isn't well enough to work yet. So they concentrate on those who will be able to work again soonest.

It's a load of bollocks and if people aren't ready to work for money, then they certainly shouldn't be forced to work for nothing.

OrangeKipper Tue 04-Sep-12 11:07:16

"capable of work in the not too distant future"

Absolutely. But this does not form part of the assessment. You are assigned to a group according to points scored on your current capacity. So if you score more than 15 points but less than the Support Group threshold you go in the WRAG even if they expect you never to be able to work.

It is, as you say, a complete waste of resources.

Here's another waste of resources.

I'm provisionally in the WRAG in order that I get ESA while awaiting testing. But instead of getting on and testing me, they are trying to make me jump through the WRAG hoops. From their point of view, they don't know whether I'm properly placed in the Support Group or thrown off ESA altogether. But rather than spend 20 mins testing me, they are spending that same amount of time on "work-focussed interviews" and threats to send me on basic literacy courses.

It all makes work (at taxpayer expense) for the industry of dodgy "literacy and CV-writing courses" which has sprung up to be parasitic on both the taxpayer and the disabled, while offering value to neither.

(Oh and by the way, voluntary preparation for work services have been available for disabled people for years under Pathways to Work. Apparently they had quite a good success rate, because participants were self-selecting. Whereas basic literacy, CV-writing lessons from a 20-yr-old, and "moral support" were never going to be the slightest use to me.)

OrangeKipper Tue 04-Sep-12 11:08:14

x-post with Ed saying it better.

ColouringIn Tue 04-Sep-12 11:19:48

Oh and while the assessments are actually carried out by nurses and doctors the actual decision about which group you end up in is made by someone with no medical training whatsoever. Reassuring innit?

nickelcognito Tue 04-Sep-12 11:26:55

yes, it is ridiculous.

these assessments should be done by medical professionals with proper training on how to assess and award.

situations like OrangeKipper has described shouldn't be allowed to happen!
Tests should be done almost immediately an application has been made.

OrangeKipper Tue 04-Sep-12 11:28:49

And by physiotherapists, ColouringIn. You go in with your liver condition to be assessed by... a physio.

It's all a far cry from when I first became ill and had proper assessments by actual doctors (working for the DWP, not my GP).

ArthurPewty Tue 04-Sep-12 11:39:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

2old2beamum Tue 04-Sep-12 11:51:04

Just felt I needed to add our experience some of you will know this so apologies for boring you
DD age 28 Down Syndrome complex heart defect requiring a pacemaker poorly controlled asthma (her intellectual ability does not help as she is useless with inhalers and has landed her in rescus a couple of times)

Attended an ATOS assessment, she spoke at the most 12 words. Letter arrived stating she was in the WRAG group despite letter from cardiologist stating that work would affect her morbidity, letter from support worker and GP

Rang the DWP and asked to see the ATOS medical.
States 4 times she is not fit to work and other comments that she does not have the capacity work

I have appealed, and was told it was a "valid" appeal confused
Has now got a letter saying she must attend an interview to help her find work
I would love to know how many other people are being treated like this

ArthurPewty Tue 04-Sep-12 11:55:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dikkertjedap Tue 04-Sep-12 11:56:23

What a disgrace.

I suppose that ATOS healthcare is some private sector company? I hope they are careful with people's records. Also, they state that the person being assessed can take notes but they do not consent for these notes to be published - do they have something to hide?

And it is not exactly that there are lots of jobs waiting to be filled ...

Signs of a not very compassionate society.

OrangeKipper Tue 04-Sep-12 12:06:55

Yip, ATOS is a actually a French software company that invented a "healthcare" arm to get these contracts.

It's trying to expand into other areas and currently holds 3bn of govt contracts.

floatingquoter Tue 04-Sep-12 15:53:10

A mean move by a millionaires govt. Cameron is heartless

Darkesteyeswithflecksofgold Tue 04-Sep-12 15:59:15

2old that is absolutely disgusting treatment. Its appalling. And what makes it even worse is that there are people cheering this on.
Orange i can tell fron your posts that you are one of the last people to need literacy courses FFS.
it makes me feel absolute despair.

MMMarmite Tue 04-Sep-12 16:15:46

That telegraph article is disgusting. This is disabled people being demonised right before our eyes sad

"The fines will apply to disability claimants on Employment Support Allowance who have been judged fit to return to work after a health assessment run by a private medical supplier." UNTRUE - It applies to the work related activity group, who according to the government: "If someone is in the Work Related Activity Group, it has been decided that work may not be appropriate for them now, but with support they can prepare for work in the future."

Plus calling those affected "workshy sickness benefit claimants" in the title. Some may be workshy, but many will be too sick to attend the activity, given how unsuitable the blunt points-based test is for many illnesses including fluctuating conditions and mental health conditions, and given how many people are placed in the wrong group and end up being moved back when they appeal.

I wanted to write to the editor to complain, but couldn't find contact details. Probably wouldn't make much difference anyway.

OrangeKipper Tue 04-Sep-12 17:15:21

MMMarmite I'm feeling a PCC complaint coming on (PCC). I think "accuracy" is still one of the valid grounds for complaint.

But will have to wait a few days, I'm not really well enough atm. Always helps to put in multiple complaints, if you feel up to it.

Darkesteyeswithflecksofgold Tue 04-Sep-12 17:31:27

Im linking this again because the Guardian have added a video. It features a carer who was sanctioned by the Job Centre after missing two appointments because of medical emergencies with his wife.

www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/sep/03/disabled-benefits-claimants-fines-work

OrangeKipper Tue 04-Sep-12 17:34:37

Darkest, 'tis more ironic than you'd ever imagine... wink

Think I've seen that one off for now, and left the bloke feeling about that >-< high. Which I felt bad about - until I remembered what he's doing to vulnerable people for a living.

Particularly fun was the bit where he said he was also sending unFit to Work people on workfare, and that this was "voluntary - for now".

Darkesteyeswithflecksofgold Tue 04-Sep-12 17:35:16

It also features striking Job Centre workers who were striking because of working conditions and they also claim that part of the reason for the strike was because of the way claimants were being treated.
Sorry but i dont swallow the latter part. This appalling treatment of ill and disabled people has been going on for a long time and if they felt that badly about it they would have gone on strike a lot earlier than they did.

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