Posts tagged ‘disablity’

Psychological Wellbeing and Work-Mo Stewart


?????

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog by Mo Stewart

Dear Christian van Stolk

Re: Psychological Wellbeing and Work

Please excuse this unsolicited contact by an independent researcher in Cambridge.

I have read with interest the Psychological Wellbeing and Work report, as conducted by RAND Europe and funded by the Contestable Policy Fund and, FYI, please be advised that I am a former healthcare professional in my previous career.

I shall copy in the Secretary of State for Health, who now leads on mental health, and his Shadow together with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and his Shadow.

Now in my 8th year of independent research into the ongoing welfare reforms in the UK, as guided by neoliberal politics and strongly influenced by American social security policies which have had a detrimental impact on claimants, may I please draw your attention to the book ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state’, which has achieved critical acclaim since its publication in September 2016.

To that end, may I suggest you invite access to the research by contacting my publisher and inviting a review copy of the book.

 This recent book review may be helpful: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/disabled-researchers-book-exposes-corporate-demolition-of-welfare-state/

It is cause for continued concern that major DWP policies, often negatively impacting on the wellbeing of some very ill and vulnerable people, are invariably introduced using research commissioned by the DWP, whilst disregarding the vast catalogue of distinguished research evidence as provided by a variety of academic experts when not commissioned by the DWP and whose funding is not linked to political ideology.  Please see attached examples of academic excellence.

It is noted that your report refers to ‘work’, which exclusively identifies with paid employment and disregards the beneficial nature enjoyed by an army of volunteers in the UK, many of whom are chronically ill or profoundly disabled and for whom a return to paid employment is neither practical nor inducive to their wellbeing. As a volunteer, it is possible to benefit from a working environment with colleagues and a purpose when well enough and enjoying a ‘good day’.  There is no-one to make accusations when too ill to leave the house, with a diagnosed condition that will never improve regardless of DWP intimidation and threats.

In keeping with reported comments by David Freud, all DWP commissioned research seems to presume that anyone in receipt of out-of-work disability benefits should have access to the benefits for the short-term, with no acknowledgement at all that many, many health conditions are permanent, cannot improve  especially with endless intimidation and coercion by the DWP, and that there is no evidence whatsoever other than totally discredited DWP commissioned research of the claimed one million people on out-of-work disability benefit who should or could return to work.

It is also noted that a report identified as ‘Psychological Wellbeing and Work’ disregards the ongoing identified preventable harm created by the DWP, the relentless political manipulation of the public with claims for which there is no foundation, suggesting that 75% of claimants of out-of-work disability benefits are ‘inactive’,  ‘bogus’, ‘idle’, ‘skiving’, ‘workshy’ and ‘scrounging’.  This has created a situation where chronically ill people, who are not capable of paid employment, now live in fear of the DWP following relentless coercion and intimidation, aided by the national press, which led to a 213% increase in disability hate crimes in the UK during the Coalition government’s term in office, and genuine claimants now living in fear of applying for welfare funding to which they are entitled, to this nation’s everlasting shame.

There are now claimants who have starved to death in the UK, quite literally, as the unreserved and savage use of sanctions has been imposed by the DWP in an effort to force compliance of the unprecedented DWP welfare ‘reforms’ on those least able to protest.

The most vulnerable in society are paying a high price for the political ideology of neoliberalism, some with their lives.

Suicides and deaths are the tip of the iceberg of misery and suffering on an unimaginable scale experienced by those who

are physically or mentally unfit to work, as the government implements an increasingly punitive and authoritarian regime

against benefit claimants. Vulnerable people are left destitute by sanctions that suspend or end their benefits if they fail

to comply with orders to attend ‘assessments’, ‘training courses’, or submit the required number of job applications.

Psycho politics, neoliberal governmentality and austerity

Philip Thomas

Self & Society Journal

Volume 44, 2016 – Issue 4

Perhaps, when considering future interventions for mental health, Consultant Psychologists and Psychiatrists who are not politically motivated could be consulted as they actually have clinical experience of working with ‘common mental health’ problems, which should not imply that they are not serious problems, and they are less inclined to have the welfare budget as their top priority as opposed to the wellbeing of often very ill patients.

It seems unlikely that more coercion by Jobcentre Plus and the DWP, when masquerading as psychological support, is likely to benefit sufferers of mental ill health, who are not known to respond well to relentless intimidation with endless threats of sanctions and the possibility of starvation close to their lived experience.

The travesty of this ongoing government imposed human suffering, where chronically ill people in receipt of welfare benefits are presumed to be bogus, was adopted due to the introduction of neoliberal politics, the outsourcing to private companies very lucrative DWP contracts and the failure to audit the contracts.  Chronically ill people have suffered and died due to political ideology that is unrelated to the health or the welfare of the claimants, and was motivated by the desire to reduce welfare costs regardless of human consequences. The fact that the DWP have refused to publish updated mortality totals of those who have died following the totally discredited Work Capability Assessment may alert you to the ongoing problems, as faced by those least able to defend themselves against this ideological assault.

See: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/green-party-calls-on-government-to-launch-benefit-deaths-inquiry/

I would alert you to the fact that a great deal of the identified increased mental health problems are due entirely to the DWP policies of recent years, where all chronically ill and disabled people in need of welfare benefits are presumed to be bogus unless proven otherwise, the constant savage rhetoric in the national press, the increases in disability hate crimes and the fact that the British public have been successfully misdirected on route to the UK eventually adopting private healthcare insurance to replace the welfare state.

Your research will no doubt benefit administrators in the DWP and the DoH, but will not benefit anyone suffering from a common mental health problem as enforced ‘therapy’ may well now be added to their many burdens for the enormous crime of being too ill to work. The fact that what was once guaranteed and vital financial support has been removed actually guaranteed an increase in the onset of mental health problems, for those who are physically disabled as well as for those with a mental health diagnosis as their primary health problem.

I trust this information may be helpful.

Best

Mo Stewart

Disabled veteran (WRAF)

Disability studies researcher

Retired healthcare professional

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

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

www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html#documents

Benefit Fraud Does it Stand Up to Scrutiny? Part Two


?????

My blog yesterday covered one part of Universal Credit  but this one is where Lord David Freud was present on 7th April. This also means another long Blog.

Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, and Mike Driver, Finance Director General, Department for Work and Pensions, Mr David Gauke MP, Exchequer Secretary, HM Treasury, and Nick Lodge, Director General, Benefits and Credits, HM Revenue and Customs

Watch the meeting.

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/main/Player.aspx?meetingId=15278

 

There was twice as much error was discovered in the system and when the Chair Dame Anne Begg pointed this out, they seemed unperturbed by this but attempted to explain the process in ways to address this matter.

The Latest figures for fraud and error  given by minister David Freud were as follows;

Fraud and Error Monetary Costs 1.2 billion

Claimant 1.6 billion

Official 8.0 billion

Yet daily we hear of all this fraud but little about error which is being used to demonise claimants as ‘all on the make’.  The committee chair did point out why was the emphasis on fraud when 2/3rds was error. Is the 1.2 billion monetary costs caused by an  anomaly or is that overall? One thing Lord Freud explains is ways in which they plan to address it by introducing  4 main points across UC & PIP, They are as follows to help you understand processes being put in place;

UC Error

  • Simplification of process of UC & PIP
  • IT/Data Sharing using (RTI  (real time information) and Atlas (http://thefedexperts.com/post/22124968271/government-consulting-services)
  • A New Quality Framework (making sure information is consistant and accurate)
  • Case Cleansing (this means they take caseloads and cleanse it of fraud and error ) ie: overpayements for example

 

Secondly they are looking at Claimant Error

  • Claimant Error  (Making sure  Government information is in plain english and communicating what is required)
  • Centralising (Communication Products)
  • Awareness Messages
  • Introduction of Civil Penalties £50 fine

When the committee  asked why so much emphasis was on fraud when the committee felt the department should be focussing on top priority of  error of 8  billion as it was highest  cost, the treasury minister went on to explain  figures of tax credit overall expenditure 2011/12 was 3.0% error overall.

Claimant Error 4.2 %

Official Error 0.1%

At the moment this only affects Carers and JSA groups but will affect others when it comes to the roll out.

The breakdown figures for both groups;

JSA  2.9%

Carers 3.9%

 

Anne Begg challenged the perception of public view on fraud which they admitted across depts is 0.7%  being lumped together  is deceptive, yet public perception is that fraud is rife in system,  yet error which looms large 34 times higher than fraud is in actual fact not being fairly reported. She suggested that maybe they should be separated which they denied should happen, maybe that doesn’t fit government rhetoric  to indoctrinate the general public into backing their reforms if they knew the truth. Minister Glenda Jackson MP also asked why particular the DWP presented the argument to public  using ‘Black Propaganda’ that fraud was running amok while in actual fact error is worse, not only did she dare say this but called Lord Freud , Lord Fraud (Freudian slip) much to the raised eyebrows in the room of the committee but to the amusement of the nickname given him by activists. Social media was alight with this faux pas. She also brought up his conjucture that the complication of forms and the departments system on delivery to claimants was erroneous, causing misery to many and surely it should be changed, he responded by saying many drift into fraud. She argued that he didn’t answer her question , in that it is the responsibility of the department to make sure the greatest misuse of public money which is in error, not fraud and therefore the department is as culpable as the claimant itself in falsely claiming  statistically they were misleading the public into believing that fraud was the greater misuse of public money. on this Glenda has my vote for ‘getting it’, but Lord Freud said he would have to beg to differ on that point. The sheer arrogance of the minister in his dismissal to her fair and valid question. The chair did not force him to answer the question which is what he is there for, which was disappointing to say the least.

The public view against claimants  is appalling and perpetuated by the rhetoric being spun by ministers & celebrities who  misuse the fact to suit the agenda, the latter depending which party they follow and donate too. Most claimaint’s would work if they could, but  sadly the painful truth is most of them even with support  cannot, which is down to the fact they are too sick or disabled to do so, the mind is willing in most cases the body isn’t. Claimants & Campaigners and the public are waking up to realise they are being hoodwinked by politicians and the media when the realities on ground are plain to see. While the backlash of those in power caught with their hands in the overflowing cookie jar of capitalism is gaining some momentum. The public are treated as if they are stupid  when the reverse is true. When they can’t get care for an elderly relative at home or hospital, or they are treated like criminals for making a mistake  on a claim form being classed and labelled as a fraudster then the reality of it is,  the word is spreading like a bush fire and it can only come to discord on the streets which I believe will be worse than previously seen around UK a few years ago. Politicians need to realise this will come to the fore, and to be frank I think this is what a driving factor behind it is, they know if they push people enough it will cause untold misery and give the government an excuse to crackdown on Joe Public further stripping away their human rights  and say I told you so, while those  barricading themselves in their homes from the riotous behaviour going on outside. Fraud to me is a deliberate attempt to gain from something, not a mistake which they call low level fraud., which is classed to error.

Lord Freud went on to say that the government has an elaborate measurement of fraud and error and one the best systems  in the world. Nick then went on to say in his dept  tax credit expenditure is higher than they would like it to be but at 7.3%   it had actually come down in real terms. This is individual fraud  statistic rather than organised fraud by large groups of people.

The methodology measures used were

  • Earnings
  • Capital
  • Under declared occupational pension
  • Living together
  • Fraud Abroad

Joint strategy budget for new measures of 425million in 2015

  • Actual Money 286 million
  • Savings to be made 1.93 million

Measures to get people to use the fraud line  of DWP, have got financial incentives to those whose give information which result in a claimant being caught and removed from the system and monies reclaimed are still in place in the strategy report  as the chair queried if they had been dropped ,which she was told they had not. Work is also being done with Crimestoppers to address this and is on going.

Incentives to combat fraud in place is by means of making information of what is required plain and clear to declare. the HMRC targets 5.1/2 % reductions of fraud and error is what they are  looking at. DWP targets are x2 hopes 1.7% reduction in 2014/15 the business case on targets are on delivery with the hope it will plateau at 2.1% MFE of which data will be published in June. The Single Fraud and Error Service is investigations into fraud being brought under one roof and funded accordingly as  a single unit, and at present no benchmarking is done between depts in public sector & private sector.

The next question raised by Glenda Jackson was on the excessive data  sent to LHA  using Atlas and that they had reported that they had to wade through loads of data to find what was needed  in case of Housing Benefit when assessing a claim Glenda asked if it was going to be streamlined , Mike Driver stated he wasn’t aware of this but would tell his team  so they also went on to talk about automated systems and the emphasis on consistency and data matching across  the systems involved ie Atlas. She asked Mr Driver why it was  that overpayments of Housing Benefit (HB) was twice as much as it should be and therefore is resource intensive both monetarily and labour wise using Atlas and could they not incentivise to reduce Fraud and Error the subsidy is reduced to 40% by LHA’s,   if they identifiy fraud or error  and recover the amounts they are given up to 140% subsidy the rest goes to treasury rather than LHA’s. Under Universal Credit the responsibility for HB will go to DWP and LHA’s have raised concerns about  the cross matching of data they share between other authorities and how that will impact on those claiming HB. The Intergrated Risk Intelligence Service (IRIS) which is used  by Government  she asked if that had been removed, redesigned or still in place? Lord Freud stated it  had a data matching service which was in place for live service (although it wasn’t in UC pilots) and they are developing IRIS in where they are splitting it up into 4 ways

  • Information confidence
  • Analytical Hub (RTI)
  • Design
  • Session in Confidence (Security Division Risk Assessment)

Only JSA  are at present been involved in pathfinders for UC. Anne Begg interjected to ask  how DWP was going to intergrate  LHA info on property and local information to UC. Anne Begg highlighted a issue of how if you have 4 flats on left all with same number 26 on a floor compared to 4 flats on right having same number 27 , how would the DWP data match those  to make sure a claim wasn’t fraudulent? Freud waffled his way through facts that the DWP ‘look to get’ not the will have local knowledge and housing data to cross match like LHA’s do at present, under the UC system if and when it rolls out. He said that at the moment those housing officers  will continue to be in HB dept’s for some time while the rollout continues. The question by Graham  Evans MP   asked  with the cross party support  of a Single Investigation Unit (SIU)  and asked how the concerns of LHA’s were worried they would lose some experienced fraud investigators especially in corporate area which Freud stated they wouldn’t lose those in corporate teams, and that funding was made available to them to enhance that team to deal with corporate fraud. Most Investigators in large authorities will be absorbed into the SIU and smaller ones will not lose any staff who may cover a wide range of fraud investigations across all fields. Stats on investigators to transfer are around 800.

 

When Mr Evans asked about UC rollout the next batch is June 2014  and then they take a break until October 2014  which they then expect will take 18mths and by 2016  the rollout should have completely ironed out any glitches in the system by March 2016.

 

Sheila Gilmore MP then went on to ask who is verifying tenancy agreements and leases in regards to UC & HB And Freud said they are talking to LHA’s which is on going, and that so when a claimant applies for UC that info is sent to UC and then verified by the LHA ,as where what is level of checking that’s needed . The HB system has been stripped down to cover all the needs according to Lord Freud, he also said the concerns she raised were not in the social rented sector so one can assume it is in private rented sector where the level of fraud and verification is needed the most.

Identity Assurance for UC  is being implemented under UC and that this will ensure who is on the end of phone or in office is who they state they are. Freud stated that a Cabinet Office led program being developed around the IT system in regards to face to face and telephone systems to create a process across all government departments and beta sites are in place. when Gilmore brought up biometric such as voice recognition will not be persued at this stage. The information as it comes in will be monitored by a security service type application where risk and threat  of fraud will be monitored 24/7  that will be adapted into UC. Red Flags trigger visits within the system, whereas green flags will be simple straight through process through a automatic system. Conditionality groups (Jsa,Wrag) can be seen or monitored by attending JCP for instance and they can be called in more often if need be. the analytics hub will stop this abuse  and before it gets into the system. 400 million savings are expected  from this approach across the departments, earning checks will be done across all benefits as this rolls out. RTI is already showing benefits  in flagging up potential problems. she asked how those not on monthly payments how would the adjust for that and the ministers said that could be achieved. self employed will have to self report along with a few others monthly. he said he didn’t want debt and fraud building up. they have also ramped up civil penalties to 50,000 per year.

No doubt this will become clearer as time rolls on as to whether or not this actually works or indeed gets off the ground given the train crash it appears to be with database matching and RTI systems that thye put in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia- A Letter to Liam Byrne


positive for disabled people

Dear Mr Byrne,

Having recently seen press releases relating to Labours vision on welfare, many disabled people are disturbed that the Australian model is even being considered, given that it is failing in Australia.

http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2013/09/labour-conference-party-hears-of-plans-to-copy-aussie-single-assessment/

http://www.socialistworld.net/mob/doc/5309

http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/497848/20130809/welfare-poverty-australia-unemployment-social-security-coalition.htm#.UlHGq41wbyM

Will the Minister guarantee that the Labour Party will not introduce the welfare card system in the UK. The arguments against this are discriminatory and will only induce further stigmatisation of claimants leading to a failure to the ‘right to live’ (Article 8 & Article 14 HRA) as others in the UK currently enjoy who are employed. It also will lead to further rises in Crime particularly Hate Crime towards those on benefits. While the government could argue it is the exception of ‘the economic welfare of the country’ this scheme would cost the taxpayer huge amounts of taxpayers’ money to implement and is NOT value for money.

Many claimants who have paid into the welfare state over their years of work life who have found themselves out of work or sick and disabled and the thought of the  dreaded ‘Welfare card ‘ in Australia forcing them to buy goods from government sanctioned suppliers when in many cases goods can be bought cheaper elsewhere. This will prevent claimants from i.e.; enjoying a family meal, buying birthday cards & presents, having a social life like meeting a friend for coffee or going to the pub for an odd drink with friends, buying petrol to get to see friends/ family members not living locally and medical appointments at hospitals and access to public transport which is limited access.

This is a national disgrace and outrage that the state should dictate a person’s life for some in society, while majority of the  UK enjoy all the freedoms afforded to them, creating a two tier system.

While many issues around lifestyle and health are also quoted as the need to make sure the money is well spent that claimants receive. Taxpayers money will be better spent and lest not forget that most sick and disabled are taxpayers too, (they pay taxes on goods and services and have done so through taxation whilst working including NI which is theoretically a scheme sold to us to help when times are tough in life’s journey). I feel the introduction of this will reflect badly around the world that the UK which prides itself on fairness and justice, to oppress it citizens like this based on a false ideology of ‘Scroungers & Skivers’.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/centrelink-begin-welfare-ban-on-booze-tobacco/story-e6freuy9-1226415044967

http://australia.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/Australian-Welfare-Payments-go-Plastic-1265.php

http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/human-rights/human-rights/the-human-rights-act/what-the-rights-mean/article-14-no-discrimination.php

http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/human-rights/human-rights/the-human-rights-act/what-the-rights-mean/article-8-right-to-a-private-and-family-life.php

http://liambyrne.co.uk/making-rights-a-reality-for-disabled-people/

http://inside.org.au/how-fair-is-australia%E2%80%99s-welfare-state/

I understand completely that any government wants to make sure every penny is well spent and that the system helps those who need it the most. The localism of services which in principle would be great idea on paper but in practice would be a disaster, as many of those services are under pressure themselves at present, this however ‘well meaning’ will lead to another systemic failure of the sick and disabled who have already under this coalition suffered greatly.  Please reconsider working more closely with grassroots disabled groups and individuals to come up with a alternative, we know disability better than anyone, we live through it daily and time is running out!

IS FACEBOOK SILENCING THE SOCIAL NETWORKER ?


I havent blogged for a while, but this has slightly irritated me somewhat.

It seems in the UK and USA  Facebook is censoring it’s Users  by blocking them with their spamming tools,when they are just very active users of their accounts using the pay to go algorithm whatever that maybe?  I have since the Christmas break fell foul of this nonsense, which when you use the network as it is intended to be used  ,make friends and share information with each other across the globe.

So why have Facebook done this I ask myself…  I’m aware many countries censor their people but have the UK Users fell foul of this malpractice of making a social network unsociable! Then I found this.

I first came back and logged onto my account as usual to catch up with stuff I had missed over the festive season. it was sluggish but soon got stuff posted and shared amongst the groups I help administrate and  the odd picture I thought that amused my sense humour.  I had hardly posted maybe 20 items when I get a message flash up that clicking the share button to share a news article was seen as misuse of it purpose……I’m am sitting looking rather puzzled at this message then thought as im an activist against the barbaric cuts of the Welfare State in Uk maybe  I had annoyed the Authorities, then I sent feedback/complaint to Facebook asking why this was happening.

Silence is all I have had and numerous warnings, so I decide to set up another temp profile  till this glitch is sorted I thought, within mins of my friends being added I was warned on that too for adding too many friends. I’m like  is this a joke you just cant make up can you ?

A social network that doesn’t want users to network and share information!

“We need your help piercing through Facebook’s pay-to-share algorithm! Help us reach as many users as possible by posting about the FB Declaration of Independence on your walls, your pages’ walls and any other walls you can! To avoid having your messages inappropriately flagged as spam, make sure you change one or two characters in your messages each time you post.”

http://www.change.org/petitions/the-facebook-declaration-of-independence

https://www.facebook.com/EndCensorship

 

Only thing is no cancel button in UK

warning box

In the digital age we live in where people are glued to their smart phones and other means of communication with Twitter, Stumble, and more than I care to list, how can’t we use the tools without interference from neo libertarian rulers controlling every aspect of our lives.  The Sinister side of this are just a few examples here ; Store cards track what we buy , bank cards track our income,taxes,purchases,governments lose data like water down the drain,we are told what and when and how high to jump through hoops just to live our daily lives yet we accept this generally as the ‘norm’, when it comes to free speech though I draw the line.

Why do these people think they have a right to have free reign to bully its people without some consequence,why can a countries people not criticise it government,or challenge  their practices or say to a company providing a service they are wrong,unfair etc. The people of any country should be able to say ‘hold on a minute ‘ !

We do have a choice whether to use this media source of course,but when something has what you need all in one place why should we be forced to use another service that doesnt meet our needs.

Atos-Saint or Sinner?


This company was paid a handsome sum of money to carry out the Work Capability Assessments (WCA) by Labour in 2008. A pilot scheme was set up (after an impact assessment ) and carried out and a review showed serious flaws which Labour were in the process of addressing when they lost office. The Condem Vilification of the Sick and Disabled went into full swing like a drunk in charge of a vehicle under the supervision of Ian Duncan Smith (IDS) . A car crash was about to ensue. The WCA was changed by IDS to the cruel ,biased test we know now.The Atos contract was changed and regulations are being changed consistently to ensure his introduced targets are carried out as exposed by Dr Steven Bick,and Joyce Drummond the so-called   ‘Atos Whistleblower’. So the disability community have always thought Atos is their enemy ,when the reality is that enemy is DWP and the Government. They blame Labour for introducing this, which they did,but no way was it as cruel as it is now it was in fact fairer. Were the deaths so high under Labour ..no they were not!

I was lucky to meet with Shadow Minister last week who told a delegation of campaigners (inc myself)  what I personally had suspected for some time, Atos are the governments scapegoats for failure, rather than the Government/DWP taking responsibility for an assessment process which was already flawed, being made worse by someone at the helm who threw caution to the wind, ignored the need for an impact assessment and by any means necessary was going to remove the vital support that people needed and who change regulations like they change their underwear. Atos Dr’s ,Nurses etc are not able to use the skills they trained years for,but are now Disability Analysts. The welfare of the Sick and Disabled do not come into it, if you can work one day a week then this is what they will say,this process  IS NOT A MEDICAL that many believe it is in fact a programme to work regardless of levels ability to do so,where it is possible. I know many will be outraged by these comments but that is the stark truth,I’m not going to dress it up or give you a sticky plaster for it. It is now costing more in appeals than to implement the test itself, a 9 month wait on DLA alone for appeals.

Atos are no angels they are banned in 15 countries for mismanagement so they are not off the hook entirely and are culpable in the suffering of our community but it seems what they took on,  in many places around the globe  were factors that lead to their failures also. The Sick and Disabled know it is fair to have assessments to make sure the genuine get the help they deserve, and work where they can,but this brutal regime will only get worse with the coming changes and more cuts next year with the introduction of Universal Credit,Bedroom Tax, PIP.

Now is the time to start laying the blame where it truly lies firmly and squarely on the doorstep of our present government,and realise the fact that unless we get behind Labour the only credible alternative we will be socially cleansed out of existence. I can hear you all screaming  ‘what Labour are you kidding me’, actually no I am not,while they made an attempt to make sure disability was taken into account and their original idea was flawed they are not to blame for the last two years destruction,we have suffered under this bunch., or for the harsh changes to the WCA or the constant changes to Atos contract and the hidden targets to get 7 out of 8 off benefits.

On reflection I can honestly say hand on heart that Atos are not the real enemy like any business they are fulfilling a contract what is being asked of them and struggling to do so because the staffing levels are not up to scratch to deal with the volumes the Government/DWP are pressuring then to achieve which is why the whole thing is a catastrophe.

I like many others blamed Labour for introducing it, which is unfair of me,it amazing when you get that lightbulb moment and you open your eyes  and realise that Atos also are scapegoats and the Real Culprits are laughing all the way to the bank as they asset strip our welfare system to keep the banks and themselves afloat at our expense. I asked why the deafening silence from Labour, the reality is they do not have majority on committees, the Tories and Lib  Dem’s do, hence the lack of perceived progress from Labour, who are fighting our corner in the background with Human Rights Abuses being lodged in EHRC.

I ask everyone to rise up against this let us get this lot out of office ,LETS KICK SOME BUTT!

Is Anyone Listening? Is this How The German People Were Fooled by Nazi Ideology!


This blog is with kind permision of Fiona Goffe

There is a campaign of hate and bullying against the most vulnerable in our society – the sick and disabled.  The changes in the system of benefits is causing people not just unneccessary suffering but people are dying because of it.

I hope that you will read this and share it.

It seems to me that unless people are directly affected they don’t want to know.  But this is something that could be stopped if there was enough of a public outcry.

My father spent time in concentration camps during WW11 and was marched through the streets of Germany.  The question he, and I, always asked was how could the ordinary German people have allowed this to happen?  Now I understand.  They were too busy ‘coping with their own lives’, trying to make themselves feel better by partying, drinking, focussing on the good things, in denial, felt powerless etc etc.  And yet they stand accused of guilt by association.  We all know they could have done more to stop what was happening.

The same applies to us, today.  And yet I find that even on FB it is only those people who have been directly affected that take an interest.  People can’t even be bothered to read stuff, let alone go to the trouble of pressing a button and sharing the stories that demonstrate the depth of this crisis, the despair that people around them are experiencing or even the horror at the number of deaths.

People seem happy to share pretty, funny pictures, to share that they care about disasters and crimes in other places, to show their concern about animals, the environment etc etc.  And so am I, don’t get me wrong.  But they don’t want to know about what is going on under their noses, in their name.

We all know that stress makes you sick.  If you are sick it makes you sicker.  If you are very weak it can kill you.  Trying to get the benefits you are entitled to to ensure you can live while you deal with illness is incredibly stressful.

The number of people who have died is horrifying and this is a crisis that could affect you, your family and anyone that you love.

Below is acouple of stories and an article that was written with some early statistics in.

I feel so frustrated that we do not seem to be getting across to the general public how serious this is.

The Motto of this government is that work makes people healthier.

Above the gates of Auschwitz is said “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work makes you free).  Pretty similar eh?

Remember:

First They Came – Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

TODAY:

“Paul Mickleburgh, one of the world’s longest surviving kidney dialysis patients is hooked up to a dialysis machine for five hours, three days a week. He’s also had cancer and pneumonia and suffers from spontaneous internal bleeding, brittle bones a twisted bowel and agonising joint pains as a result of his renal treatment. He’s had four failed kidney donations.

To top it all off, Paul has had 14 heart attacks in the last five years and believes his last attack was caused in part by the stress of trying to deal with the DWP. Sadly, patients with chronic kidney disease are actually more likely to die from associated heart disease than from kidney failure itself.

In spite of this, Paul has been placed in the work-related activity group,(external link) meaning that he is someone who is expected to return to the workplace in the reasonably near future. Paul’s request for this dreadful decision to be looked at again came back with the same result – he should be moving towards a return to work.

We hope that Paul is now appealing . . . and that his heart will stand the stress.”  (From the Work and Pensions website)

THIS WEEK:

RIP Karen Sherlock  (From diary of a benefit Scounger/Spartacus)

I just found out that Karen Sherlock, @pusscat01 has passed away.

Here is here twitter profile : “Chronic Spoonie, lots wrong. ESA stopped by this inhumane government. Preparing for dialysis. Each day is tough.”

Karen embodied our fight in almost every way. She was desperately ill. Her kidneys were failing, putting a huge strain on her body. Ultimately it seems she died of a cardiac arrest. An operation had recently been cancelled at the last minute, though I have no idea why or if it is relevant to her death.

She had been found capable of some work by the DWP. Placed in the Work Related Activity Group, her Employment and Support Allowance was time limited to one year after the welfare reform bill went through. Not only that, but it was limited retrospectively, meaning that she only had a few months left to appeal for long term support (Support Group) before she lost everything.

I won’t go into more detail here. It’s not for me to list her complaints and trials, but there is one thing everyone in this country should know.

She was terrified. Beside herself with fear. She lived her last months desperately scared that her family would not survive the onslaught it faced. She was “the most vulnerable” whatever that is. The system failed her and she spent her last precious moments in this world fighting. For herself, for her family and for others. She was one of us. She was Spartacus. And now she’s dead and she died in fear because the system failed her, because cruel men refused listen and powerful men refused to act. She spent her last months fighting for the “security” of £96 a week and the reassurance that it couldn’t be taken away. She won her battle. Just two weeks ago she was finally put into the Support Group of ESA. After months of unbearable stress, resilient commitment and endurance beyond comprehension, she won her battle.But she lost her war and we must all make sure that whatever comes, we win that war in her name and in the names of the many thousands more fighting for life and dignity. RIP Karen. We WON’T forget you.

From Scottish Law Blogspot:

BRITAIN — HUNDREDS OF SCOTS DEAD as FOI reveals thousands DIE in UK as a RESULT OF TORY-LIBDEM BENEFITS ‘TESTS’ by ATOS Healthcare.

OVER ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE HAVE DIED as a direct result of ‘reforms’ to benefits payouts ordered by the Conservative Liberal-Democrat Coalition Government in Westminster, with likely to be HUNDREDS OF SCOTS also among the dead, according to information published by the media after Freedom of Information responses revealed over 32 people are dying a week after having passed through work capability assessments carried out by by private firm ATOS, on a £100million a year contract to the ConDem coalition Westminster Government. ATOS made a £42million profit in 2010 and paid boss Keith Wilman £800,000, a 22% pay rise on the previous year.

With the revelations of the numbers of dead, Scots may now be entitled to ask – “Would a Scottish Government of an Independent Scotland hire a French based firm for £100million a year to do the same to Scots citizens and cause as many deaths ?” (errm No ! – Ed)

The Daily Mirror newspaper reports :

32 DIE A WEEK AFTER FAILING TEST FOR NEW INCAPACITY BENEFIT

More than a thousand ­sickness benefit claimants died last year after being told to get a job, we can reveal. We’ve highlighted worries about the controversial medical tests for people claiming Employment Support Allowance which are being used to slash the country’s welfare bill. The Government has boasted that more than half of new ­claimants are found “fit to work” – failing to mention that over 300,000 have appealed the decision and almost 40% have won. Instead, employment minister Chris Grayling says this ­”emphasises what a complete waste of human lives the current system has been”.

We’ve used the Freedom of Information Act to discover that, between January and August last year, 1,100 claimants died after they were put in the “work-related activity group”. This group – which accounted for 21% of all claimants at the last count – get a lower rate of benefit for one year and are expected to go out and find work. This compares to 5,300 deaths of people who were put in the “support group” – which accounts for 22% of claimants – for the most unwell, who get the full, no-strings benefit of up to £99.85 a week.

We don’t know how many people died after being found “fit to work”, the third group, as that information was “not available”. But we have also found that 1,600 people died before their assessment had been completed. This should take 13 weeks, while the claimant gets a reduced payment of up to £67.50 a week, but delays have led to claims the system is in “meltdown”.

Mr Grayling admitted last month that 35,000 people are waiting longer than 13 weeks. Commenting on the deaths of ­claimants, a Department for Work and Pensions official said: “It is possible that the claimant had already closed their claim and then ­subsequently died, meaning that these figures may be ­overestimating the true picture.” Of course, they’re bound to include some people who died of ­something completely unrelated to their benefit claim.

But there are plenty of tragic cases – such as that of David Groves (left) who died from a heart attack the night before taking his work ­capability assessment. The 56-year-old, from Staveley, Derbyshire, worked for 40 years as a miner and telecoms engineer but stopped on doctors’ orders after an earlier heart attack and a string of strokes. His widow Sandra said: “When Dave was called in for a medical, he felt like he was back to square one. “He was in a terrible state by the day he died. It was the stress that killed him, I’m sure.”

Stephen Hill, 53, of Duckmanton, Derbyshire, died of a heart attack in December, one month after being told he was “fit to work”, even though he was waiting for major heart surgery. Citizens Advice told us it has found “a number of cases” of people dying soon after being found fit for work. “There seems to be a clear link between the cause of death and the condition they were suffering from that led to the claim,” said Katie Lane, head of welfare policy.

“We have always supported the idea that people who could work and want to work should be helped to do that. But we are seeing a lot of seriously ill and disabled people being found fit for work. “We have serious concerns about whether the test used to decide if people are fit for work is the right test.” The work capability assessments are carried out by private firm Atos, on a £100million a year contract. The firm made a £42million profit in 2010 and paid boss Keith Wilman £800,000, a 22% pay rise on the previous year.

The response to our FOI request:

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request of 16 February 2012. You asked:

Can you please provide me with the number of ESA claimants who have died in 2011?

Can you please break down that number into the following categories:• Those who are in the assessent phase• Those who have been found fit to work• Those who have been placed in the work related activity group• Those who have been placed in the support group• Those who have an appeal pending

The table below provides data on the numbers of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants where the Department holds information on a date of death being recorded in 2011 and whose latest Work Capability Assessment (WCA) date (or activity towards assessment) was before the end of August 2011, the latest data available.

In total, between January 2011 and August 2011, some 8,000 claims ended and a date of death was recorded within six weeks of the claim end. This represents about 1% of the total ESA caseload in May 2011 (the latest caseload data available). The table below shows the position of these claims when they were closed.

Those in the Support Group receive unconditional support due to the nature of their illness, which can include degenerative conditions, terminal illness and severe disability. Note it is possible that the claimant had already closed their claim and then subsequently died, meaning that these figures may overestimate the true picture. Care should therefore be taken when interpreting these figures.

WCA Outcome at most recent assessment and number of claimants with a recorded date of death :

Assessment not complete 1,600Work Related Activity Group 1,100Support Group 5,300Total 8,000

All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.

Data on the number of ESA claimants that have died following a fit for work decision is not available, as the Department does not hold information on a death if the person has already left benefit. The Department does not hold information on the number of claimants who died whilst an appeal was in progress.

We then asked for: The total Employment and Support Allowance caseload figures most comparable with the ones in the FOI request, eg Jan-Aug 2011, showing how many ESA claimants are put in support group, WRAG group, fit to work or claim ended. Clarification on whether these figures are only new ESA claims or whether they include the transfer from Incapacity Benefit? Clarification on the six-week cut off figure – why was that selected?

We were told:

“As at August 2011 there were around 730,000 people receiving ESA. In the three quarters Jan-Sep 2011, 380,000 people left ESA.

It is not possible to provide the further detail you request. These figures only cover new ESA claims – claims from IB recipients are not included. The six-week figure is used routinely within the department when looking at where people go after leaving benefits.”

http://scottishlaw.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/hundreds-of-scots-dead-as-foi-reveals.html

further additions to this blog  are;

With this publication we now have figures for the whole of the financial year 2010/11.

They show: 0.8% of benefit spending is overpaid due to fraud, amounting to £1.2 billion, and that this proportion is the same as in 2009/10.

If we look at the estimates for different benefits, they are:

Retirement Pension 0.0%;

Incapacity Benefit 0.3%;

Disability Living Allowance 0.5%;

Council Tax Benefit 1.3%;

Housing Benefit 1.4%;

Pension Credit 1.6%;

Income Support 2.8%;

Jobseeker’s Allowance 3.4%;

Carer’s Allowance 3.9%.

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd2/fem/fem_preliminary_1112_revised.pdf

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/08/03/its-not-the-benefit-fraudsters-who-are-targeted-in-the-media-its-the-disabled/

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/13/daily-mail-rightminds-article-graduates-nazi-auschwitz-slogan_n_1772110.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2012/aug/05/disability-benefits?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038

While I agree the similarities are very  scary it has to be said, it thankfully has not gone that far as yet but many fear it will!