Archive for October, 2017

The Spectre of the Welfare Card Rises Again for Claimants! Updated


Image result for universal credit logo

 

Way back In 2013 I raised a letter signed by many leading campaigners and claimants against the proposal of the introduction of a prepaid benefit card proposed by IDS under a Coalition Government . Well just when they  think  you’re not looking  it came to my attention its back on the agenda .

Well  it been used for a long time to administer help to asylum seekers, social care to enable carers to help the person they are caring for and is used now to help in welfare assistance cases. Well I have found research from 2016 where DWP are still talking about it and another link to show it could be planned for Universal Credit which I assume will come into Personal Budgeting Support or as many have seen in my previous blogs Universal Support  with a list of target groups.

So are we going to stand for this hell no.  This will dictate choice and restrict what claimants can spend their money on. Previously we have had letters  with signatures sent via a change petition yet they still pursue this ideological state control of those who are least able to fightback.

After a tip off I found out that, the government behind the scenes and Financial Sector are pushing this idea out yet again. They seriously have not grasped the nettle that removing a claimant’s choice of how they manage their finances is potentially illegal and contravenes their human rights. Way back In 2013 I raised a letter signed by many leading campaigners and claimants against the proposal of the introduction of a prepaid benefit card proposed by IDS under a Coalition Government.

Some Claimants due to their disabilities cannot manage their money and appoint a responsible person to manage them for the disabled person. Some care services have been paid this way for a while, which enables the carer to support the disabled person and allowed the cared for to limit what can be spent in the shops when they are unable to go themselves, without risking giving out passwords to a disabled persons bank accounts. They are also rolled out for asylum seekers.

Well I have found research from 2016 where DWP are still talking about it and another link to show it could be planned for Universal Credit, which I assume, will come into Personal Budgeting Support.

The UK makes an estimated £3 billion of transfers each year, with political rather than practical issues being the cause of the slow uptake to date – the UK government also stands to make sizeable savings by adopting the new method at a time of tight public spending.

Currently 200 public sector programmes across local authorities, National Health Service organisations, housing associations, social enterprises and charities are using prepaid cards to distribute payments such as central welfare disbursements.

“Fact

“Prepaid products are issued for many different purposes so there may be some exceptions such as when products have been designed to address certain consumer or business needs.  This means that some prepaid products may have specific inbuilt controls limiting where they can be used.”

Kevin McAdam, Director of Prepaid at allpay comments: “We’re seeing much greater acceptance from the Department of Work and Pensions for the benefits prepaid cards bring to schemes such as the distribution of Universal Credit. At the same time, local authorities and housing associations are increasingly switching to prepaid to help fulfil their social care obligations.

“As a result of this growing appetite we’ve recently established a number of similar schemes to that in Edinburgh across the UK and have more lined up to begin soon. It’s conceivable that over the next decade virtually all of the UK’s £3 billion of cash payments could have been replaced by prepaid.”

However, the push for prepaid is not solely to bring costs down and increase security. The wider goal of increasing social inclusion and preventing people from being excluded from the modern digital economy is also leading to calls for the switch from cash.

People who receive government benefits in cash, who may not have access to a full current account or credit card, can often find the cost of living increased. Research shows those who are financially excluded pay a ‘Poverty Premium’ as they are unable to shop online or benefit from Direct Debit discounts. This cannot be allowed where a section of society is treated differently to everyone else, just because they are unfortunate to be needing state support. This is highlighting the ‘Nanny State’ mentality of a government out of control.

 

 

 

Well I have organised another petition which I need 150,00 signatures or more to get this debated in HOC. We shouldn’t be complacent and underestimate the problems of state control this will cause. So please support this! I will add  this later when it gets approved. I will also share on Social Media

Updated here is the petition Link https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202796

 

http://www.24housing.co.uk/opinion/prepaid-solutions-to-universal-credit/   

 

http://prepaidforum.org/prepaid-schemes-step-shadows-start-delivering-dividends-uk-government/

http://prepaidforum.org/prepaid-myths-facts/#toggle-id-10

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evaluation-of-the-prepaid-card-live-test

https://blueannoyed.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/australia-a-letter-to-liam-byrne/

http://www.welfareconditionality.ac.uk/2016/01/cashless-welfare-card-experiments-regulating-vice-and-virtue/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/benefits-smart-cards-plan-revealed-by-iain-duncan-smith-to-stop-claimants-spending-welfare-money-on-9763854.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29414565

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jan/29/welfare-cash-cards-state-control

 

UPDATED:  This has cropped up time and time again this must not happen as those dependant on state support are being socially engineered to accept whatever the government feels free to do to them without redress.

http://www.ukauthority.com/news/6410/labour-raises-alarm-over-blockchain-at-dwp

https://theconversation.com/why-a-blockchain-startup-called-govcoin-wants-to-disrupt-the-uks-welfare-state-88176?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=twitterbutto

https://hansard.parliament.uk/

https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/uk-trials-blockchain-based-social-welfare-payments/

https://bravenewcoin.com/

https://www.theregister.co.uk/

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/07/12/moves_by_dwp_to_stick_personal_data_on_blockchain_slammed/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36785872

https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/tag/govcoin/

https://cointelegraph.com/news/a-trap-to-spy-on-benefits-spending-uk-government-tests-blockchain-for-welfare-payments

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DWP Actually Do Mean No Reassessments for LCWRA (Support Group)


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Well I said  seeing is believing well they have surprised me ……..Not ……….no right to appeal

 

From the 29 September 2017, when considering the re-referral period, the HCP will consider
whether the condition or its functional effects meet the new Severe Conditions criteria. Where the
criteria is met, the HCP will advise no further assessments are needed (unless there is a change
in circumstances).

Q: How can I dispute a decision not to be placed within the severe conditions criteria?

The severe conditions criteria sits alongside the current re-referral periods of 3,1,2,18,24 or 36 months, and comes within the Secretary of State’s discretion as to how often the DWP should review a claim or ask for further information, to which there is no right of appeal.

We can of course look again at any claim where asked by a claimant who feels it has not been processed correctly. However this would not be by the formal Mandatory Reconsideration process and would not carry the right of appeal.

Well as I said in my last blog ‘it seemed too good to be true’ however it’s not all doom and gloom as hopefully you will still meet that criteria  under UC, Unless they pull the reducing someone’s award to WRAG. Nothing would surprise me to see a new directive being misunderstood by HCP or some other skullduggery behind the scenes and  massive spike in reviews downgrading awards. Keep your eyes peeled don’t trust them an inch.

 

https://www.scribd.com/document/360863418/WCASevereConditionsFAQs-0

https://www.scribd.com/document/360863511/DWP-WCA-Guidance-on-Severe-Conditions

https://www.scribd.com/document/360863614/Severe-Conditions-Guidance

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work-capability-assessment-handbook-for-healthcare-professionals

 

Academics Review Book -Cash Not Care By Mo Stewart


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BOOK REVIEWS Cash not care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state, by Mo Stewart, London, New Generation Publishing, 2016, 188 pp., £15.99, ISBN 978-1-78507-783-8 (pbk). Reviewed by Maria Berghs, De Montfort University

Cash Not Care: The Planned Demolition of the UK Welfare State is an impassioned appeal against the encroachment of neoliberal privatization and the dismantlement of the United Kingdom’s welfare system. It is remarkable as it was written and self-funded by Mo Stewart, a disabled veteran and former healthcare professional. She began writing it after her own experiences over a two-year period with government authorities who questioned her rights to an increase of her war pension. She describes this experience as a ‘battle for survival’ (Stewart, 2016). The fact that a disabled war veteran uses that kind of language and was forced to begin to write back against her own government is shocking. The book draws on research that Stewart began in 2009, investigating the political history and economic justification of the introduction of the Work Capacity Assessment (WCA) by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The book is set out over 10 chapters but each chapter can be read on its own. The style is not academic but explicitly takes the personal as political writ large. The book is thus pitched towards making Stewart’s research accessible to a lay audience and chronically sick and disabled people in particular. Each chapter also contains boxes highlighting sections from academic articles, news items and opinion pieces that are relevant to the text presented, as well as satirical cartoons by Dave Lupton. There are also extensive appendices where the reader can find an overview of how Stewart’s work was supported and who made it accessible online. Stewart argues that since Thatcher,the UK has been witnessing a move of health and social care services towards neoliberal models where by duties and rights of care have been slowly eroded,and she documents this.The chapters take us through the consequences of adopting an American social security system in which corporate insurance giants influence public policy.The effects on disability services, disabled people, veterans and long-term sick have been devastating. Under the guise of ‘welfare reform’, Stewart reveals policies implemented by the then coalition government in 2010 that began to scapegoat, vilify and ultimately cause chronically ill and disabled people’s deaths. Chapters 7 and 8 are particularly poignant in illustrating the human costs of policy changes and how bureaucracy manned by incompetent people starts to erode basic human rights and ability to live in dignity. This is a bureaucracy that continues to profit from illness and disability by making people objects of charity, victims, dependent, or now scroungers. In a post-truth world, the book also acts asa historical document of how politicians manipulated research evidence, cited statistics that suited them and ensured they were politically backed by non-qualified ‘experts’ that toed the neoliberal party line. For example, the espousal of the use of the biopsychosocial model that essentially argues that it is the psychological inclination of some people not to work that prevents them from employment, rather their impairments, chronic conditions, long-term illnesses or disability, is discredited. The model lay at the basis of evaluation of WCA and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) but essentially just blames people for not finding work and was later discredited by three academics as not being evidence-based policy (see Shakespeare, Watson, & Alghaib, 2017). It is noteworthy that it is Stewart who compiles this evidence linked to the WCA and that many academics who formerly supported versions of the biopsychosocial model are now doing a swift U-turn.

Stewart thus illustrates the rise of disability activism against austerity and neoliberalism, by disabled people themselves, using social media and online platforms. She notes that she has a huge debt to all those people who bravely started writing online, organizing themselves into organizations like Disabled People against Cuts (DPAC), and exposing what was happening during the WCA and then how successive policies eroded their legal rights. The book also charts the costs of undertaking this kind of activism and the different ethical decisions that Stewart was faced with and sacrifices that were made to ensure its publication. As such, this book will be of interest to a mix of people from students to academics, as well as practice and policy makers in a range of subjects from politics to history, social policy, health, human rights, economics and disability. I hope that it also begins a conversation about why it is that disabled people have to become independent researchers to produce research of real social relevance. This is troubling and means that we have to ask ourselves questions about the politics and point of academic research,theprioritiesoffunders,thecapacityofvoluntaryorganizationsandcharitiestospeak for those they represent and if all research is now increasingly linked to neoliberal policies. Mo Stewart’s work is a testament that this does not have to be the case and we can speak ‘truth to power’, as Peter Beresford’s foreword states. It is hard to read this book, but we all have to. It is going to become a classic in disability studies.

References
Shakespeare, T., Watson, N., & Alghaib, O. A. (2017). Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability. Critical Social Policy, 37(1), 22–41. Stewart, M. (2016). A sense of betrayal. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2016/05/ 23/a-sense-of-betrayal-mo-stewart/

Maria Berghs De Montfort University maria.berghs@dmu.ac.uk http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6512-7921
© 2017 Maria Berghs https://doi.org/10.1080/03060497.2017.1356112

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