Sick and disabled to do workfare or lose £71 a week.(74 Posts)
Guardian has revealed even more heartless plans towards sick and disabled people.
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.
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.
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
"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.
Tbh it sums up this fecking Govt a treat.
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.
"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.)
x-post with Ed saying it better.
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?
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.
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).
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
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
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
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
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.
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.
A mean move by a millionaires govt. Cameron is heartless
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.
That telegraph article is disgusting. This is disabled people being demonised right before our eyes
"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.
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.
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.
Darkest, 'tis more ironic than you'd ever imagine...
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".
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.
Welcome to Tory Britain.
we will compete on the world stage, getting ourselves out of this recession by under cutting the competition and attracting large business/manufacturing via the use of an army of slave labour on workfare.
we will keep London clean by pushing out the poor via HB cuts to outlining areas to ensure their presence doesn't soil the eyes of any passing millionaire tycoons.
we will cut down on the welfare state and by association reduce the NHS bill by allowing those unable or unwilling to contribute to society to die quietly in their own homes or local streets thus freeing up resources for other worker units.
We will turn a blind eye to any tax dodging you may commit so long as you have an annual income above 50k a year, we will also offer you big rewards for setting up business here such as the ability to keep all your profits off shore and the ability to run high street outlets rent free, so long as you have an annual turnover of at least 3 million a year.
The futures bright, the future is green.
Dunno, I had some a few years ago who were part of the old guard and gave a shit.
They were as helpful as they could possibly be without jeopardising their jobs, in terms of supporting complaints up the chain. Sadly I was too ill at the time to see the complaints through.
But the ones who think its clever they're taking home taxpayers' money for bullying the most vulnerable people in the country... They're dirt on the bottom of my wheels, as far as I'm concerned.
This wouldn't be a problem if people were assessed correctly.
The government planning to do this is fine, it is right that people should be assessed to see if they can work. The only problem is that people are being assessed wrongly.
This wouldn't be a problem if people were assessed correctly > absolutely, OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos. Repeat: correctly
The behaviour to people in the WRAG is wrong whether they've been correctly assessed or not.
It would be perfectly possible to have appropriate work-readiness courses for those being discharged from ESA onto JSA. And indeed to have opt-in assistance to match willing employers and suitable posts with some quite severely disabled people's abilities.
The whole concept of the WRAG is based on the principle, articulated at the 2001 Woodstock conference supported by UNUM and the DWP, that sickness/disability is a social deviance and form of privilege, and sick people must recognise their moral obligation to give up this privilege as soon as possible. (I'm not making this up.)
Under this principle, anyone sick must already be on the journey back to their correct station in society - their default station being paid work. Hence all the govt rhetoric about the welfare state being there to support you temporarily, and the recently enacted removal of contribution-based ESA after one year. If your spinal cord hasn't regenerated after one year... well, you should just buck your ideas up.
as in by Doctors rather than 'someolerandomperson' ticking boxes on a computer screen. Or: why not accept existing medical reports by erm Doctors instead of dragging sick people to ATOS medicals?
Sorry, link to article on Woodstock conference: "New Labour, the market state, and the end of welfare". (Free sign up to read it, I think.)
Orangekipper wow are you saying my DD's Down Syndrome will in 365 days will disappear also her heart will be repaired. Better let the genetics people know and Great Ormond St are not doing their job as they couldn't repair her heart properly
Seriously though when she was school-age she was labelled as having severe learning difficulties Strange how things change when it suits them
It frightens and saddens me that we are becoming such an uncaring society.
Newspapers that demonise the sick and disabled should be ashamed of themselves and OrangeKipper, when I read your post and use the link I despair.
I hope the moron's responsible for these welfare assessment changes will one day find themselves on the recieving end of disability and sickness. I bet they won't use the word's privilege or deviant or the phrase moral obligation to give up the privilege!
Without condoning any situation where someone with a life limiting illness for example is proclaimed fit to work.......... one of the problems with having tick boxes and rigid systems is that it is inflexible and I can see how it can be hard to set up realistic guidleines for the assessors to to work to. Sometimes they will get it wrong.
eg, How can it be explained that person A who is paraplegic is able to work yet person B claims (s)he cannot ???? How can many people who are blind work and person C says they cannot ???? Many people with mental illness / depression work........ many do not..... who decides when depression is an illness that will pass and when it is such that the person cant work ???
That is the reality of it all ....... we are all individuals and our conditions affect us in different ways......... and our ability to start / remain at work can depend as much on our employers willingness and / or ability to accomdate to our needs. Sometimes we cannot continue on our chosen career and need to adapt....... sometimes its just not possible to do so.
It must be hard, if not impossible, to devise a system whereby accurate assessment can be carried out ..... and one that does not put yet more burden on an already stretched medical service.
Like or not there are some people who do milk the system and who are capable of work ..... these people do need weeding out and its the vast majority who suffer in the process. Just like for example in sport..... in order to weed out the few who cheat and use drugs..... everyone must be tested and unfortunately the rest of us put up with testing !!!!
Before I ge flamed..... as well as personal experience of debilitating illness and having to accomdate to failing sight limiting my work choices I have friends affected by the issues being discussed ! I just dont think its as simple as horrid evil "them" vs poor sick and disabled people forced to work.
because disability affects people differently.
2 people with the same disability can be affected in totally different ways.
it isn't that hard to understand
Also circumstances vary hugely. I have two friends with MS. One is working and the other is not. One was diagnosed many years after starting to work with a large company in a professional role. Accommodations were made to keep her healthy at work, and support her when she wasn't well enough. The other had a less settled life, and held a series of semi-professional type roles. She was diagnosed during a period when she was out of work and has never been able to work since.
On the surface you might think the second person was 'work shy' but in truth she would love to be able to work, but in a competitive marketplace it's just not going to happen. It would be great if there were lots of positions ready and waiting to accept those with disabilities or illnesses who might need time off (planned and unplanned) or limited hours or lots of support. But there aren't. It's all horribly shortsighted and uncaring.
This scapegoating of the ill and disabled can't be allowed to continue, if someone links I will complain about the inaccurate reporting too.
oh i hate the world we live in. i am struggling so so hard not to give up work due to disability, and you know who, amongst others, are making it so terribly terribly hard... yes, the government itself (or at least, the council which are representatives of the government on a local level)... its hard not to feel persecuted when they people that will be the ones to starve me and make me die quietly out of sight somewhere are the same ones pushing me to that situation... where is the positivity? where is the trying to make the most economic success out of the disabled?
but stupid me, its not about that is it, its about getting us off the streets, away from themselves, and out of their society.
its sick they openly do this.
Telegraph uses the term WORKSHY in their Headline to describe disabled people. Appalling.
and here is the legacy of the Paralympics
Oh thanks for the reminder about this thread. I too am planning a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about the Telegraph headline.
Press Complaints Commission
This clearly comes under §1(i) of the Editors' Code, Accuracy: "The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures."
Cameron has hurt the disabled and ill vulnerable in society so badly, his son and Father must be watching elsewhere in disgust.
Absolutely DISCUSTING to call the disabled & ill workshy !!!
Maybe the goverment should comw and see people that have cancer and are in immense pain and come to see my mil who cannot even walk across the room with out her hips being in immense pain from hip displacia.
This government make me sick, sitting in their posh offices, wearing posh suits & sipping the finest spirits yet all they do is TAKE, TAKE, TAKE
I just hope they are not expecting the terminally ill to work aswell ffs-fuming doesn't even cover it!!!!
D I S C U S T I N G!
Cameron you make me sick
When I am on a pc later I will complain.
What is that quote?
First they came for the...
Now there is noone to speak for me.
This isn't the legacy of the Paralympics.
The legacy of the Paralympics is that much is achievable by disabled people, if they have the right support.
I believe there are a lots of disabled people who could work but don't. Sometimes because people are unwilling, but then that's no different to the rest of the population. Much more often, the will is there, the ability is there, but the support simply isn't.
Obviously not all disabled people are capable of work, but some are, and they are being denied the opportunity. The economy and the country is being denied the chance to put valuable skills to good use. It makes no sense whatsoever to leave these barriers to work standing, but that is what is being done at the moment. The government should be paying the cost of the support that disabled people need to be able to work so that private companies are not put off employing those with disability. That way, a disabled person will be paying tax, claiming less in benefits, there would be employment and tax paying in providing the support, and we would have a much happier and more productive population. I don't see why the government has to make something that is actually quite simple so sodding difficult.
It is quite frightening the way the government is steamrolling ahead with these cuts. DM knows a man who has a brain tumour and has short term memory loss due to the tumour, but he has been assessed and apparently he is fit for work....the mind boggles.
pumpkin sweetie - according to the guardian article they do expect the terminally ill to work if they have longer than 6 months to live.
They are a hateful government.
I'm trying to write an article about all this now. The more I read the more coldly disgusted and horrified I become.
Read the Rutherford article linked to by OrangeKipper, it tells you a lot. Also google Unum (a fraudulent and high-grossing US insurance giant) and welfare reform. They helped design a lot of these tests and policies in the New Labour era.
This is all about opening up the UK as a market for critical illness insurance. More money for the Tory boys and the global conglomerates; middle class people will be expected to get cover as a matter of course (did you see the scaremongering 'challenge' by Unum on this very website? People being challenged to live on benefit amounts per week then asked oh so subtly if this had changed their perspective on getting critical illness cover). Those who cannot get cover will be framed as 'irresponsible'; therefore it will be their fault that the die. I think that's the situation already in the US.
The middle and below in this country face a truly frightening future. It's like Neil Kinnock said: 'I warn you not to get sick, I warn you not to grow old; I warn you not to be young'.
it is the legacy
always was going to be,
a lot of disabled people will never be able to work, they *have to be supported,
Camscam, knows this, he more than anyone else in government should.
yet he is happy to take the little money that disabled people get off the and let them live in poverty.
very sick man
cornzy I think they just exempted cancer patients from the rule about terminal illness but not sure about other illnesses. Presumably those are sort of 'less' terminal cos they don't grab Daily Mail headlines like cancer.
Threeoranges, while I agree with your sentiment, I find it really unfair that you are linking this in any way to the Paralympics (which I love and feel compelled to defend).
These cuts were happening before the Paralympics and would have happened whether or not they were held in this country. There are a lot of good things that have happened for disabled people because of the Paralympics and that should be celebrated.
There are a lot of crap things happening to disabled people at the moment, but that is an entirely separate subject to the Paralympics.
The Paralympics provided a great 'beard' for the cuts. OOOh look aren't our disabled people great! Look at them go! It's not what you can't do, it's what you can... etc.
So if you can't 'win' through your disabilities you can go die.
I link it because (and have seen this already on mn) that people see disabled people running races. and stuff like that....
then post asking "what is disabled"
Such a bloody shame, that the truly great achievements of some disabled people have been used to diminish and stigmatise others further.
But that comes from people being uneducated about disability issues, not because of the Paralympics. If anything, the Paralympics are helping to educate people in a positive way.
I think it's better for the general perception to be that some disabled people can achieve great things, rather then for the general perception to be that disabled people may as well be written off altogether.
That is awful cornzy- Goes to show this government know absolutely nothing of the REAL world!
If they actually saw the amount of medication a cancer patient has to take, how sick they get during chemo, how much pain they go through on a daily basis, how many appointments they have, the nutrapenia they can endure when white blood cells are extremely low etc.
I feel very strongly about this and i would like to know how we can stop this??!
So a terminally ill cancer patient who has to endure life pro-longing chemo has to spend the last weeks/months of their life working??? Fucking discusting!
Not only that being given six months doesn't always mean six months so how the hell can they make that the limit grr?
Pumpkin people do see that. 1 in 3 people gets cancer. That is why the government recently changed the law.
Cancer is a daily mail headline obsession.
now, a cancer diagnosis will mean going in the Support Group (where you still get a totally shit amount of money, you just starve a bit less)
However another terminal diagnosis will still lead to you having to work until you have 6 months to live. And I wonder who will determine how long people have to live. ATOS, through a computerised test? As doctors clearly can't be trusted any more :S
I find all this so frightening. I've just lost my job because I have chronic migraine and spend 5-7 days per week in a dark room in agony. It been 5 yrs now so its not as if I haven't tried to keep going.
But apparently migraine is not considered a valid reason for 'being ill'. So I'm applying knowing I've got a hell of a fight on my hands and it just makes me feel awful. I think they would actually prefer people to top themselves with the pressure so they don't have to pay out.
Thank god DH can afford to feed me or I'd be on the streets (I have no family at all who would help me)
I agree kiwigirl i don't think this goverment wants to pay out for anything and they would much rather we all drop dead
Freddos' come on, do you really believe that, if you just take mn for an example.
the attitude has not changed.
the anti sn threads still appear.
yes some disabled people can achieve "great" things(although I don't like the way it is decided what is deemed great) but what do you suggest we do with rest?
But I wouldn't ever just take MN as an example. By the very nature of MN being a forum that draws opinionated debate, there will always be people that have strong, and often wrong views.
I can't say I see much in the way of anti SN threads, certainly nowhere near as much as a few posters seem to state there is.
The fact that some disabled people can achieve great things (I say great because that's my opinion of significant achievement when there have been extra barriers and struggles to face) is not directly connected to what happens to those who can't do the same. Disabled people do not form one homogenous group. The achievement of one is not there to take away from another. So yes, I really do believe what I wrote in my last post.
of course mn can be used as an example of views.
threeorange i totally agree.
Its not just on this site either. You only have to go to sites like MSE to see nothing has changed. In fact its getting worse.
The media and societys attitude towards the Paralympics re. disabled people is "well if a Paralympian cun run,swim like Ellie Simmonds etc then why cant you (disabled person i see in the street do that)
How many articles have we seen in the press or attitudes in society have we seen asking why all able bodied people cant run like Usain Bolt. Ummm NONE!
Absolutely Dark, they wouldn't expect an able bodied person to suddenly turn into an olympian over night so why are they expecting this of the disabled
@pumpkin incredible isn't it how logic flies out of the window once hate and prejudice are legitimised....
It's not much but it's a start...
Hmm Job seekers allowance is £71 a week. It is completely inadequate to live on, for any person.
Of course the disabled don't want to live on JSA and are fighting to keep the higher rate of ESA.
This is a cynical divide-and-rule ploy to pit jobseekers and the disabled against each other.
This is so very, very sad and I'm so glad we got off the ship before it sinks. It was such a relief to move to a country where the state looks at me and my condition (autism) and asks what help and support do I need and then tries to provide it. It's not perfect (social services couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery) but the motivating principle is very much 'how can we ensure this vulnerable person has the best outcome in their life'. Faults and all, it feels like they care. That's the difference to me. In Britain it's like they just don't care about people anymore
An acquaintance has just reported back from a tribunal where apparently the questions have changed, with the apparent aim of making sure that appeals don't succeed (the 40% figure was presumably too high for someone). she was humiliated by a barrister she didn't know was going to be there; she had been told it would be an informal hearing.
I have been googling and can't find anything about these changes. Does anyone, please? Is there anything that she can do to complain about her treatment at the tribunal or request a new appeal with fair criteria?
Sorry, the only thing I can suggest is joining www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/ who have lots of expert advice, but it's a subscription site. There may also be disability advocate organisations local to her but, guess what, they're closing for lack of funding.
Says a lot that the DWP are spending their money on expensive professional arguers rather than on attempting to accurately assess disabled people's level of capacity... Remind me, what actually is the purpose of the disability benefits system? To support the sick, or to create nice little jobs for bureaucrats and lawyers?
Thanks, OrangeKipper - I will look into that.
I know, it's awful. An objective assessment, if fair, is acceptable. An unfair assessment with skewed criteria is not.
I've just seen "Badger Vs Disability: A grudge match"
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