Archive for the ‘welfare’ Category

Revealed….How Private Insurance Moves to Replace the Welfare State


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Image Courtesy of Legal & General

 

I have in many of my blogs mentioned the fact that Insurance was to replace the welfare state, many still don’t think it will happen well listen up, it is around the corner and thanks to deregulation via brexit it going to happen, and would have happened sooner if EU law had not protected you. There will many who will live to regret the vote for Brexit.

The government has finally introduced it ugly game plan and they wont stop there as the same insurance company is linked to social care which is undergoing a review also.

Looks like insurance for care through legal and General. Names of independent experts invited by government to provide advice and support engagement in advance of the green paper:

Caroline Abrahams – Charity Director of Age UK
Dame Kate Barker – former Chair of the King’s Fund Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England
Sir David Behan – Chief Executive of Care Quality Commission
Dr Eileen Burns – President of the British Geriatrics Society
Professor Paul Burstow – Chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence
Jules Constantinou – President-elect of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries
Sir Andrew Dilnot – former Chair of the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support
Baroness Martha Lane Fox – Founder and Executive Chair of Doteveryone
Mike Parish – Chief Executive of Care UK
David Pearson – former President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Corporate Director for Social Care, Health and Public Protection at Nottinghamshire County Council
Imelda Redmond – National Director of Healthwatch England
Nigel Wilson – Chief Executive of Legal and General

Quotes Linda Burnip DPAC

Many income related benefits are being moved across to Universal Credit the governments flagship policy which is sinking fast as the holes in this policy are more flawed than the WCA where more complex claimant issues are exposing the holes in a policy which in theory was meant to revolutionise social security and catapult it into 21st century. Well now their focus are those on contributory JSA/ESA which they plan to be part of the Social Insurance Scheme and the only reason they have not done so already is quoted below

Had contributory benefits been abolished whilst UK social
security was bound by EU law, this would have exposed Universal
Credit (the significantly larger budget) to exportability. In light of the
British vote to leave the EU, however, there is now the possibility of
reforming contributory benefits without breaching EU law.

Employers and all those with a stake in this horrendous policy will not just be looking at savings made, but also the huge concern is denial when it comes to delivering on payouts as long as the state doesnt have to foot the bill. Insurance schemes around the globe are littered with claims of those who took out Insurance only to be denied it  upon making a claim leaving many no option but to be destitute or borrow money to take companies to court to get what was rightly their’s in first place. We keep hearing that state support isn’t sustainable, NHS isn’t sustainable yet majority of the country fell for the last National Insurance Scheme which isnt paying out either, due to an empty pot, which is incredulous really given some dont live to collect a state pension, and those who do never get payments reflecting the thousands they paid in over 40yrs of their worklife.

The only winners here are the banks who underwrite such policies. However Legal & General have Capita to manage the shareholders assets Capita’s Shareholder Services Team is available to answer any questions that you have in relation to your Legal & General shareholding.

and non other than….

  • Group Health and Safety Committee – Chaired by Ian D Smith – Head of HR, Shared Services.

It sure as hell is a murky business, this government is up to its neck and following it mantra “we are all in it together”

So whats the crack I hear you all say get to the point, well this is how it meant to work:

The larger the number of premium payers, the lower the risk profile across the total claimant

population and the lower the total cost of enrolment. L&G estimate
a cost of around 0.5% of payroll earnings at approximately £11 a
month. Total pay-out would be £900 a month for a maximum period
of one year, with a 50% replacement rate.6
After one year, a claimant would return to the state benefit system.
A total of £10,800 could be claimed via the social insurance product.
Ultimately this ‘rainy day guarantee’ has been designed so that a
claimant would receive more than they otherwise would have on
state welfare, and so that significant costs are delivered to both the
taxpayer and to employers.

Individuals
previously eligible for contributory JSA and ESA would fall into one
of three categories: ‘full Universal Credit entitlement’, ‘partial entitlement,’
and, finally, ‘no entitlement’. The projected annual savings
from individuals who fall under ‘no entitlement’ and have no welfare
claim would amount to £60m from JSA and £290m from ESA per annum. Total savings over the 2015–2020 period would come to
approximately £1.66bn

So when many breathed a sigh of relief they were not included in Universal Credit  , they soon will be under a different process.

Read Documents Here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QBdAdIfZCAv4uC5L_zK8ozaPE0WCHxQj/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1iuQAL0YlsiVS8ypZn3P3jQWEvou3eFAG

 

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Health & Work Programme -Universal Credit


Many of my blogs on Universal Credit thus far have been showing how this is a monster of a programme which incorporates the Health & Work Programme. Due to my nocturnal nature I was digging about when I came across these slides and thought this demonstrates how this is intending to operate. Presenting it was more of a challenge but hopefully I have managed to do if my powerpoint works.

The wey weasel are always  ‘Making Work Pay’ or Fullfilling their Potential’ or some other buzzword they embed in the public psyche to hide the abhorrent fuck up and complicated mess this really is in reality for those who are the governments guniea pigs , who have gone from stock to customer and now a ‘benefit unit’!

So fill your boots

 

 

 

 

The Spectre of the Welfare Card Rises Again for Claimants!


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

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

When It Looks Too Good To Be True It Generally Is


 

Todays announcement re changes to ESA  work capability test sounded on surface potentially good news, but they are lying bastards as per usual with conference season under way this week for the Conservative Party. We are being lured into a false sense of security.

ESA claimants in the support group and UC claimants with limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) attending a Work Capability Assessment from 29 September 2017 will no longer need to be reassessed if it finds that they:

  • have a severe, lifelong disability, illness or health condition
  • are unlikely to ever be able to move into work

Claimants will be told if they will not be reassessed following their WCA.

This change does not affect:

  • ESA claimants placed in the work-related activity group

  • UC claimants who are found to have limited capability for work

 

What does this mean in plain english and not weasel words? Well as we are all aware Full Service Universal Credit is starting to be wheeled out at the this month in tranches across the UK with 318 councils eventually going full service by Sept 2018. This means if after Sept 2017 you get support group status after a WCA you will no longer face reassessment and we await that list of conditions Minister Penny Mourdant is quoted as saying will be released shortly.

Do not be fooled by these  charlatans you will still face assessments as IR ESA is being incorporated into Universal Credit which will be classed as a new claim and award it is only then you will not face reassessment!

 

Updated info : 

After November 2018 claimants on old style benefits will be ‘migrated’ on to UC, without them having to make a new claim or have any change.
•The Government intends to give some temporary transitional protection to claimants they migrate if they are worse off on UC.
•Transitional protection would end when there is a significant change of circumstances, or over time

There is no condition based entitlement to Employment Support Allowance.

Rather than a list of specific medical conditions, the criteria will be based on identifying claimants with the most severe health conditions or disabilities where it would be unreasonable to expect the individual to undertake any form or amount of work or work-related activity.

This change will come into effect in autumn 2017 and will apply to those placed in Employment and Support Allowance’s Support Group and the Universal Credit equivalent.

We are currently working with stakeholders to develop the new criteria and, when finalised, the amended guidance will be incorporated into the Work Capability Assessment Handbook published annually on GOV.UK. This change will be reflected in the summer 2018 update.

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7820/CBP-7820.pdf

The Abuse of Power In a Corrupt Society


 

 

This isnt the easiest thing to write, it may anger many (which is not intended),but we need to understand how the abuse of power works on the psyche of people who are the downtrodden victims of a corrupt government.

The Blame always belongs at the top of the chain, but more often in a culture of blame we misdirect our anger to those struggling within the corrupt system to enact policies which are grossly unfair and cruel by its very nature of its design. So we have a government which is rogue and a dictatorship that now cannot be denied, however things can change. We can change it by changing our thinking, by garnering information and using it to make that change happen.

We all remember  lab rat experiments where they place food in one place and poor rat goes back time and time again choosing to get electrocuted in the  hope it can eat, well thats precisely what this government are doing to its citizens right now. Its starves them and controls them with deprivation of basic needs, but what if we choose to turn it on its head and not play the blame game. For the last 8yrs many disabled people and those with chronic ill health, the unemployed and carers and workers have been subjected to such experiments,at the really harsh end of that pointed stick,however many others have too, some knowingly and some who just found themselves in the place of choosing to do what morally is right or keep their heads down out of fear in such a unstable job environment.

These same tactics were used in holocaust, people lived in terrible fear and the horrors that ensued cannot be denied to the victims who lost their lives in such appalling circumstances. Where they were encouraged to report neighbours because failure to do so could result in their own demise, helping those poor souls in need  of a hiding place could at flick of switch result in your death as well as theirs, where people followed orders they knew were wrong but out of fear complied none the less as their own survival depended on it. We are all parts in the machinery, some more important than others from the government’s standpoint.

 

So you think what am I waffling on about?  That is now being repeated in 2017 under this Government, and those before it, the similarities cannot be ignored any longer, when the UN has twice slammed this government for human right abuses of disabled people and a society which is largely unaware of what is happening as the government control the propaganda releases. The problem with it is the last 8yrs of successive governments have managed to experiment on its citizens in the biggest behavioural science project ever thought of ,using the flawed ideology that its all your own fault that you are unable to find work , or that you live in poverty since the late 1920’s. The divide and rule tactics that ensure we blame everyone else for our misfortune or treatment, rather than the ‘real culprits in power’ who create policies of harm,while forcing others to do their dirty work. Claimants have been scapegoated by the government to such a degree that society has swallowed the rhetoric wholesale, rather than blame their bosses for ‘piss poor wages’ or ‘zero hour contracts’ which caused a huge inequality between worker and claimant, then it was immigrants stealing our jobs or terrorism, yet the real reason that jobs are not being created to give a living wage. To exploit you and keep you begging. The DWP have blamed ATOS et al and vice versa, the NHS has been absorbed into DWP now hence why the likes of big business giants like ATOS,Maximus,CDHA,G4S,Capita et al all grabbed the multi million pound contracts out of pure greed while treating their staff with same disdain that ‘if you dont like it piss off’,when in reality ‘real’ jobs are not available creating fear in workplace through lack of workers rights or fear of becoming one of the downtrodden, they willingly or unwillingly oppress daily. Yet now more suffering will be inflicted via  Universal Credit and the Health & Work Programme only this time it will affect workers too, almost no one will be unscathed.

Governments blame councils and workers demands for breakdown in services we all need daily, so while you turn on the frontline staff, they are cutting budgets faster than you would believe year in year out, all deliberately done to under fund and force privatisation  while literally making a killing themselves from profits as they dip their bloody grubby little hands into every conceivable project they can to turn a profit. Gradually reducing most services to its knees and letting others go to the wall and sold off so they can profit from that too. The welfare state is no different it run like a business hence the use of the word ‘Stock’ they are stocktaking the country for the biggest sale in the world to highest bidder,the USA and China being major players.We are stock and services are stock.

 

Why so they can then sell you Insurance products to bail the banks out again , yes the ones that sold you down the swannee river  before when they crashed the economy in 2008.  It is they who will profit if you can afford to buy their products, and many will deny your claims too and if you can’t afford a policy tough shit you will just snuff it like in victorian britain where if you were poor you were denied,exploited and worthless if unable to produce profit for your elitist masters benefit.

I get why people are  so enraged by the way they are treated having been through process myself many times,  I feel every death just like rest of society that actually gives a fuck, as a compassionate person who wouldnt?  This brings me back to my point of setting us against each other, while they literally get away with murder,but you are blaming other workers for trying to survive,while your masters rule over you  and serfdom is re-created where you doff your cap for the crumbs on offer at the table. We owe this change of thinking to those we have lost along the way.

 

Dont be a Lab Rat! Fightback against your oppression, take the reins from their hands and then we can change things for everyone in society and get people caring for each other again, where we don’t treat others any less favourably than ourselves.Don’t collude in oppressing others who oppress you because it their job  .That’s real change! Thats a Future to look forward to?

 

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mo_Stewart/publications

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BypgDGmCVGDTYWktZ0lpMDFiczQ/view

https://dpac.uk.net/research/

https://benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3013-sobbing-decision-makers-plead-with-claimants-not-to-appeal

https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2016/nov/12/assess-disability-benefits-esa-fit-to-work-dwp

https://blueannoyed.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/universal-credit-report-hidden-dangerous-policy-decisions-that-will-cause-harm/

https://blueannoyed.wordpress.com/2017/07/03/universal-credit-the-conversation-nobody-is-talking-about/

https://blueannoyed.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/cuts-that-will-cut-deep-it-is-time-to-say-enough/

https://kittysjones.wordpress.com

http://www.nsun.org.uk/assets/downloadableFiles/ALDONSKOY-Workfare-coercion-in-the-UK_AL-Donskoy2.pdf

https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/rogue-company-unum-had-a-profiteering-hand-in-the-governments-work-health-and-disability-green-paper/

https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/government-plan-further-cuts-to-disability-support/

 

Universal Support-Universal Credit


 

 

Universal Support is part of Health & Work Programme contained in the government’s Green Paper and Universal Credit. So here is the outline of what that entails . These pernicious and dangerous decisions could potentially cause considerable harm to some very fragile people all done with subtle questions which on surface appear harmless. This will be done via HWC (Health & Work Conversation) and Claimant Commitment.

Universal Support
This part of Universal Credit is intended to be well-meaning but it also is potentially intimidating for claimants.  Work Coaches need to identify those with need for extra support such as ;

• Mental health issues
• Learning difficulties
• Drug or alcohol addiction
• Homelessness
• English language limitations
• Literacy difficulties
• Prisoners & Detainees
• 16 and 17 year olds
• Non EEA – including refugees
• Physical disabilities
• Working abroad
• Domestic violence victims
• Sensory disabilities
• Severely indebted

• Over 18 care leavers
• Gambling addiction
• MAPPA claimants
• Numeracy difficulties
• Supported by the Troubled Families programme
• Rural isolation

then refer them to the appropriate service which will help them move to be independent from the state and managing their money till the next payment, and move closer to the job market through government holistic support.
78% claimants according to the government survey are familiar with online claims. Those who are not, will be supported to digital services, learning, but for those where that isn’t possible there will still be a service available. This appears to make it part of conditionality process when they have the health and work conversation which is mandatory when the claimant signs their claimant commitment. This is the ‘Nanny State’ in action and must contravene the Human Rights Act as well as possibly the Equality Act. This is using coercion which will dictate income and sanctions on a claimant’s behaviour to nudge them in the direction the government sees fit. This removes choice and is deeply concerning.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/181395/uc-local-service-support-framework.pdf

https://www.scribd.com/document/352764924/Personal-Budgeting-Support-Guidance

 

The 2 yr Job Rule for Disabled on Universal Credit is not True!


 

In the last few days it has been widely reported by various bloggers that those disabled claimants claiming Universal Credit are subjected to finding a job within two years or face a 1 year sanction. This is utter fabrication and feeding many claimants fears which could potentially cause harm. So today I called Welfare Rights ,who called DWP while I remained on the phone, they denied that this information was correct and was downright alarmist and dangerous. That doesnt mean I trust DWP and have submitted a FOI too given 7 years of shenanigans. So you see folks, you can take the fear project and destroy it with Facts!

Those who will be put on Universal Credit (UC) will have to sign the claimant commitment regardless, some will be subjected to full conditionality some will have their conditionality limited depending on the circumstances, and subject to sanctions if they fail to comply with the agreed commitments they agreed with work coach via the Work Plan,My 4 steps,My Values documents.  (Document links provided at bottom of the blog.)

As promised last night, the SKWAWKBOX has been looking further into conflicting reports from DWP insiders concerning the WRAG (work-related activity group) category into which the government, more or less arbitrarily, places some disability benefit claimants and the possibility of sanctions after a fixed period of two years under the Universal Credit (UC) system if claimants have not found work.

Some activists insisted that this was part of the UC system and this was initially confirmed by long-term DWP employees. Others subsequently disputed it. The only thing all were agreed on was that the rules are ill-conceived and extremely confusing.

The SKWAWKBOX contacted a PCS union official who specialises in UC for clarification and received this response:

 

I’ve been looking at the regulations and I can’t find anything that refers specifically to a fixed time limit in which to find employment.

That is right, because no fixed time limit exists in the regulations

 

The ‘disabled’ argument, as I’m sure you are aware, is notorious because ultimately the Department through the provide contractors are essentially able to define who is fit or not for work.

For example, a claimant maybe moved from ESA to UC on the back of a WCA [Work Capability Assessment]. The claimant may disagree with the decision but they are stuck.

If they are adamant they are not fit for work, they could refuse employment in an environment they believe will affect their health.

 

If they have been found to have no Limited Capability for Work, they cannot refuse employment. The fact that claimants think they are unfit for work has been the main issue with the flawed WCA since 2008

 

This is where the sanction process comes in – a 13wk, 26wk and 156wk sanction could apply (although similar regs existed prior to UC and the 2012 Welfare Reform Act if not as harsh or severe).

 

In this case you’re looking at failure to apply, not accepting work or leaving on one’s own accord. Their argument is they aren’t fit, the department will still look at sanctions.

The circumstances described here apply to somebody who has not been found to have Limited Capability for Work.

 

The sanction regime is clearly arbitrary, deeply unfair and dangerous – but there is no rule mandating a fixed time-limit for a claimant to find work.

Again no time limit

 

However, another PCS/DWP source warned that while the rules don’t include such a limit, the way they are applied may not be as clear cut:

I can tell you that we have received complaints from WRAG claimants about having their ESA revoked after two years. And now they are treated as JSA claimants because they are ‘fit for work but not necessarily their precious occupation(s)’.

ESA cannot be revoked. It simply cannot be claimed after a claimant has been found fit for work. Previous occupations are not a consideration. That has always been the case.

 

Sanctions have been applied because the claimant has not fulfilled their requirement to find work. The purpose of the WRAG was to enable people to return to work despite being disabled, but this component has now been removed as WRAG claimants are now treated as jobseekers.

 

WRAG claimants under UC are described as having Limited Capability for Work.. They are not required to search for, be available for and start work, and cannot be sanctioned for not doing so, but they are required to accept work preparation requirements within their commitment and attend WFIs

.

 

Other WRAG claimants have been booted off ESA or the sickness element of UC after a period of two years because they failed their WCA – deliberate decision to bully them back to work.

 

Some claimants will fail their WCA after 2 years. Others after 6 months, 12 months  etc.

2 years is actually a prognosis period, meaning a number of people are reassessed at this stage. Unless there is any evidence of a pattern, this period of 2 years is meaningless

 

Thanks too to Anita Bellows who has worked with me on this 🙂

 

So you see folks, you can take the fear project and destroy it with Facts! 

https://www.scribd.com/document/353594773/4c-ESAHWC1

https://www.scribd.com/document/353595852/CC-O18-E15

https://www.scribd.com/document/352833734/CC-Work-Preparation-Activities-v1-0

https://www.scribd.com/document/353603319/1359203507-UJcompanyleafletJCP

https://www.scribd.com/document/354185048/CC-Requirement-to-Accept-a-Claimant-Commitment-v2-0

https://www.scribd.com/document/354185364/cc-commitment-not-accepted-v1-0

https://www.scribd.com/document/354185650/My-4-Steps-Template

https://www.scribd.com/document/354187257/1816-my-values-1-pdf

https://www.scribd.com/document/349517725/UC-Claimant-Committment

https://www.scribd.com/document/349520361/FTS-FTP-in-WFI-and-Failure-to-Undertake-Work-Related-Activity

https://www.scribd.com/document/349517543/Handout-08-01-Commitment-Pack-v7-7

https://www.scribd.com/document/354182466/Dealing-With-Sanctions-Facsheet-4

https://www.scribd.com/document/353627563/HWC-Exemptions

 

Read Frank Zola Blog below;

https://mrfrankzola.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/disability-rights-uk-disrightsuk-questions-why-dwp-esa-health-work-conversation-mandatory-foi/

Update…….. “The Article originally produced by SKWAWKBOX. Claiming to that Disabled Persons could only claim UC for 24 months, is a mishmash of quotes from Gen William Taggart, who was actually talking about an Early ‘Draft’ of the Welfare Reform Acts. At no time did Gen. T directly associate this with Disabled Persons, in fact it was just a heads up for activists/advocates etc, to remember not to get complacent about the Statutory Instrument placed within the Welfare Reform Acts. “

 

Further confirmation from DWP to my FOI

My FOI response

“Claimants on JSA or UC, who are expected to look for and be available for work, must do all
they reasonably can to find and take up a job. However, the DWP sets no specific time limit for
how long a claimant is given to find a job.
Sanctions are only used in a minority of cases when people fail to attend work-search reviews;
fail to meet the work-related requirements they have agreed in their Claimant Commitment;
fail to apply for work or take up an offer of work; or leave a job, without good reason.
The DWP does not have any statutory powers to sanction or reduce benefit payments solely on the basis
that a claimant has been trying but has been unable to find work within 2 years.”

 

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/js_a_two_year_clause#incoming-1019979

Universal Credit Report -Hidden dangerous policy decisions that will cause harm


This report from Disability Campaigner Gail Ward is a must read for all benefit claimants and those claiming  ‘in work’ benefits claimed by millions in the UK. It has plenty of references and downloads contained within the document and it will alarm many, it should, as this government is targeting the poorest in society at the expense of saving the rich. Some of those already transferred will know the horrors already highlighted recently by Citizens Advice (CAB),but the majority do not. This blog doesn’t have the capacity to embed the entire report to enable reading online ,but you can download it from the link below in the hope that this will help many prepare for the next onslaught by this barbaric government whose sole purpose is to hound claimants, and save money for the state putting profit before people. If you thought WCA (ESA) was bad this will make it look relatively tame.

 

https://www.scribd.com/document/353794654/Universal-Credit-Report

Letter from Disability Researcher to Penny Mordaunt


Guest Post By Mo Stewart

 

Mo Stewart

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

________________________________________________________________________________

Phone: xxxxx xxxxxx                                      Email:                                                                              Date: 1st July 2017

http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/library/author/stewart.mo

 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mo_Stewart/publications

 www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html#documents

 

 

Penny Mordaunt MP

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work

Department for Work and Pensions

Caxton House

London

SW1H 9DA

 

 

Dear Minister

 

Re: Stewart M 2017: State Crime By Proxy: corporate influence on state sanctioned social harm2

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314045256_STATE_CRIME_BY_PROXY_corporate_influence_on_state_sanctioned_social_harm_An_independent_report

Thank you for your letter of 31st May 2017 and please be advised that this response is an open letter, and will be published online.

 

It remains cause for concern that you continue to disregard all independent detailed evidence identified for you, and place your trust in discredited1 government commissioned research and in the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (the Centre), as funded by Maximus. The company has a very disturbing reputation2 Minister, which has been disregarded by the government when offering this American company a lucrative contract to seemingly cause as much preventable harm as possible, on their behalf, when conducting the enforced and totally discredited assessment of disabled people.3

 

By definition, ‘the Centre’ has a clear conflict of interest as, when funded by Maximus, the company whose contract to conduct the fatally flawed, totally discredited and dangerous Work Capability Assessment (WCA)1,3,4, at an exceptional and increased cost of £579 million to the tax payer5, demonstrates there is a high possibility that ‘the Centre’ will be conducting more policy based research for the benefit of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).  This would simply be history repeating itself.  How many people will the DWP need to remove from welfare funding when using a dangerous and totally discredited assessment model1,3 4 to justify the exorbitant costs of yet another corporate giant taking money from the State which could be much better used?

 

May I remind you Minister that another ‘Centre’, namely the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research, at Cardiff University, was funded with £1.6 million for the first five years by more American government ‘advisers’, then known as UnumProvidentTM Insurance, who were identified in 2008 by the American Association of Justice as the second most discredited insurance company in America4. Why does the government continue to welcome the input of discredited American corporate giants with the welfare of this nation’s most vulnerable people, whose only crime is that they are attempting to claim the begrudged Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?  Clearly, ‘Cash Not Care’ does appear to be the answer.3

 

A former DWP Chief Medical Officer, Mansel Aylward, co-authored the 2005 DWP commissioned research ‘The Scientific and Conceptual Basis for Incapacity Benefit’ when funded by the American corporate insurance government ‘advisers’, who fully expect to benefit from the ongoing planned demolition of the UK welfare state, having guided future UK welfare reforms since 1994. ‘State Crime By Proxy: corporate influence on state sanctioned social harm’4 refers. As the British public realise that the State now only reluctantly supports some of those in geatest need, it is anticipated that more and more people will invest in private healthcare insurance, that also fails to pay out when a claim is made, when using the same discredited biopsychosocial model of assessment as used for the WCA.3,4 Therefore, your demonstrated reliance on ‘the Centre’, funded by Maximus, does not raise confidence that any research produced will be evidence based and not policy based.1

 

If you are looking for a Centre of Excellence by genuine researchers not funded by corporate America, then I refer you to the Centre for Welfare Reform, whose Director is Dr Simon Duffy. The Centre for Welfare Reform don’t dream up policies used to increase their profit margins, as they don’t have one, and their research is by critically acclaimed researchers not commissioned by the DWP or funded by corporate America. I suggest you contact Dr Duffy as a matter of urgency.  Together with the Director of Ekklesia, Simon has already written to the Department6, and I urge that you should make yourself very familiar with the content of that open letter given that you are named in it.

 

Your claim in your last letter that officials are ‘working with our health assessment provider, the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments, medical professionals and other stakeholders, including disability charities, to develop a set of criteria that will help identify those with the most severe health conditions or disabilities, for whom reassessments can be stopped unless there is a change in circumstances’ is cause for very, VERY serious concern. This comment demonstrates that the DWP have failed to accept the multitude of detailed evidence demonstrating the often fatal consequences of the WCA3,4, which fails to consider diagnosis and prognosis and guarantees preventable harm.

 

The DIAGNOSIS will identify who should be excluded from endless assessments Minister, and the decision to disregard diagnosis for the WCA was a political decision influenced by a discredited corporate American insurance giant, UNUM Insurance, who were government ‘advisers’ on ‘welfare claims management’ from 1994, and were identified as the second worst insurance company in America in 20084.  What work do you actually expect people with Motor Neurone Disease to do Minister?  What work do you expect someone with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease to complete before they drop dead?7

 

In his capacity as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Damian Green announced last year that those with the most severe health conditions would not need to be continually reassessed for a health condition that can’t ever improve.8 Therefore, comments in your letter advising that identifying such claimants has yet to be achieved is cause for serious alarm, and once again it seems that the DWP have misled the House of Commons and the general public.

 

As a retired healthcare professional, I insist that it should not take a team of ‘officials’ to comprehend that by disregarding diagnosis and prognosis for any dangerous and discredited1 so called ‘functional assessment’, as used for the WCA, that people will die. And they have Minister, in their thousands.9 Countless more live in hiding in their homes because of the carefully managed suspicion now impacting on society10, created by totally false claims by Ministers and enforced by shameful banner headlines in the tabloid press11, which were guaranteed to influence public opinion to the detriment of the disabled community. Please don’t bother to waste my time by claiming that government have no influence over the national press…

 

Your final paragraph demonstrates that you totally disregard all the detailed evidence that the WCA is a dangerous and totally discredited assessment model1,3,4 when using the biopsychosocial (BPS) model of assessment for the WCA, as recommended in discredited1 DWP commissioned research12.  The co-author of the discredited DWP commissioned research12  confirmed as long ago as 2012 that the BPS assessment model used for the WCA is not satisfactory and should not be used13, and he was a former DWP Chief Medical Adviser and subsequent ‘government adviser’.

 

Furthermore, the other totally discredited commissioned 2007 report used for welfare reforms was by your former colleague David Freud. ‘Reducing dependency, increasing opportunity: options for the future to work’ was discredited within three months of being published4. Yet, most of the welfare reforms, including the fact that the assessments should be offered to the private sector, were based on DWP discredited research and the author of that 2007 report was ennobled, and gained a position as a Junior Minister in two governments, despite never having been elected and confirming that he knew ‘nothing about welfare’.  This he demonstrated during his entire time at the DWP.

 

Minister, the evidence is overwhelming that the WCA was not just introduced as a cost cutting measure, but to eventually demolish the welfare state.  The continued use of the WCA is identified as State Crime By Proxy, when using contracted foreign corporate giants to conduct a dangerous assessment that was always guaranteed to kill some of those for whom State help should be guaranteed.  Your claims that there ‘have been many improvements made to the Work Capability Assessment process since 2008’ are totally unfounded, given that it is a dangerous and totally discredited assessment model and should be removed at once, before many more people die when, quite literally, ‘killed by the State.’3,4

 

Be advised please that the severe austerity measures introduced by the Cameron coalition government in 2010 were totally unnecessary14, and were exposed as being introduced for political ideology not financial necessity. Coroners, academic experts in their field, the Work and Pensions Select Committee, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Nurses, the British Psychological Society, the President of the Appeal Tribunals for Social Security, the Centre for Welfare Reform, Ekklesia and Disabled Peoples’ Organisations have all demanded that the WCA should be stopped; all to no avail because the government aren’t listening. The suffering is relentless, the death toll related to this fatally flawed government enforced assessment is vast, and there’s more to come, Minister, if the WCA is not stopped.

 

It was really quite shameful when the former Secretary of State dismissed a report by the United Nations that exposed the negative impact of the ongoing and unnecessary14 austerity policies, which  ‘systematically violated’ the rights of disabled people.15 Indeed, those who now live in fear of the DWP would challenge Damian Green’s claims at the time that the focus was ‘on helping disabled people find and stay in work, whilst taking care of those who can’t.’15  There is not, nor has there ever been, any evidence of the government ‘helping’ sick and disabled people to ‘find and stay in work’, Minister, but there is a great of detailed evidence that many chronically ill and disabled people who depend on the State for financial support now live in fear 3,4,9 of this identified DWP tyranny, masquerading as welfare reforms, and the subsequent unnecesary suspicion created in society.10

 

So far, the Coalition and Conservative governments have demonstrated their utter contempt for those in greatest need, by relying on less that ‘objective’ research to justify their debilitating welfare policies, the often fatal ESA assessment process16 and the unnecessary austerity14 policies, and they have managed to escape all redress.  This is changing.

 

The evidence is mounting and is being published in journals and on academic websites if not by the press and, at some time, someone will be held accountable for this needless mounting despair and increasing death totals linked to the WCA, the relentless psychological intimidation and the constant threat of having essential benefit removed without warning. This identified ongoing preventable harm was created to support a former female Prime Minister’s stated goal, which was the removal of the welfare state to be replaced by private healthcare insurance.  Time will tell how many more people will have been, effectively, ‘killed by the State3,4 before this has become a reality for the unsuspecting and ill informed British people.

 

As for the Green Paper that you mentioned in your letter, it is effectively promotion of private healthcare insurance17, which is something my research identified a long time ago.3,4

 

As you can see, there is a consensus that the WCA creates unnecessary preventable harm, and I trust that the DWP will correct identified past mistakes, based on the most up-to-date evidence.

 

 

Yours, most sincerely.

 

 

Mo Stewart

Disabled veteran (WRAF)

Disability studies researcher

Retired healthcare professional

Author of ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state’. New Generation Publishing 2016

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mo_Stewart/publications

 

 

Copied to:

 

Professor Tom Shakespeare, UEA

Mr Simon Barrow ~ Director of Ekklesia

Professor Peter Beresford, University of Essex

Dr Simon Duffy ~ Director, Centre for Welfare Reform

Ms Marie Rimmer MP ~ Shadow Minister for Disabled People

Professor Woody Caan ~ Editor, Journal of Public Mental health

Professor Nicola Gale ~ President, British Psychological Society

Catherine Hale ~ Lead Researcher, Chronic Illness Inclusion Project

Professor Kate Bullen ~ President Elect, British Psychological Society

Nimrod Ben-Cnaan ~ Head of Policy and Profile, Law Centre Network

Lord Shinkwin ~ Commissioner, Equality and Human Rights Commission

Baroness Campbell of Surbiton ~ Chair, Independent Living Strategy Group

Professor Daryl B O’Connor ~ Chair, Research Board, British Psychological Society

 

References:

 

  1. Shakespeare T, Watson N, Abu-Alghaib O 2016: Blaming the victim all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability.

Critical Social Policy Journal 37, 1, 22 – 41

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0261018316649120

 

  1. PRING J 2014: Incompetence, discrimination and ‘fraud’: the US company that could take over from Atos. Disability News Service 17th October 2014.

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/incompetence-discrimination-and-fraud-the-us-company-that-could-take-over-from-atos/

 

  1. Stewart M 2016: Cash Not Care: The Planned Demolition Of The UK Welfare State.

New Generation Publishing, London.

http://www.newgeneration-publishing.com/bookstore/politics/bookdetails/1749

  1. Stewart M 2017: State Crime By Proxy: corporate influence on state sanctioned social harm

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314045256_STATE_CRIME_BY_PROXY_corporate_influence_on_state_sanctioned_social_harm_An_independent_report

 

  1. Syal R 2016: Maximus miss fitness-to-work test targets despite spiralling costs

The Guardian, 8th January 2016

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/08/maximus-miss-fitness-to-work-test-targets-despite-spiralling-costs

 

  1. DUFFY S 2017: Open letter to Damian Green on welfare reform

http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/uploads/attachment/543/open-letter-damian-green.pdf

 

  1. GANI A 2016: DWP told woman she was not ill enough for benefit on the day she died. The Guardian, 7th January 2016

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/07/dwp-told-dawn-amos-not-ill-enough-for-benefit-day-she-died

 

  1. House of Commons Debates 2016 re Employment and Support Allowance http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2016-10-10/HCWS174/

 

  1. Butler P 2015: Thousands have died after being found fit for work, DWP figures show.

The Guardian, 27th August 2015.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/27/thousands-died-after-fit-for-work-assessment-dwp-figures

 

  1. Hale C 2013: The Big Society Fails The Hardest Hit.

http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/library/by-az/the-big-society-fails-the-hardest-hit.html

 

  1. Hall M 2011: 75% on sick are sciving. The Express, 26th June 2011

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/225311/75-on-sick-are-skiving

 

  1. Waddell G and Aylward M. 2005: The Scientific and Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits. TSO, London.

https://www.tsoshop.co.uk/bookstore.asp?FO=1279028&DI=607598

 

  1. PRING J 2012: Former DWP medical boss Sir Mansel Aylward makes WCA pledge to protestors.

Disability News Service 14th September 2012.

http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/09/14/former-dwp-medical-boss-sir-mansel-aylward-makes-wca-pledge-to-protesters-disability-news-service/

 

  1. Krugman P 2015: The case for cuts was a lie. Why does Britain still believe it?

The austerity delusion by Paul Krugman.

The Guardian, 29th April 2015

https://www.theguardian.com/business/ng-interactive/2015/apr/29/the-austerity-delusion

 

  1. BUTLER P 2016: Damian Green dismisses ‘offensive’ UN report on UK disability rights.

The Guardian, 8th November 2016

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/08/damian-green-dismisses-offensive-un-report-on-uk-disability-rights

 

  1. GENTLEMAN A 2014: Vulnerable man starved to death after benefits were cut.

The Guardian, 28th February 2014.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/28/man-starved-to-death-after-benefits-cut

 

  1. MEADEN B 2016: Does Green Paper reveal government’s lack of commitment to the welfare state?

Ekklesia, 11th November 2016.

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/23562

 

 

 

 

 

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