Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Iain Duncan Smith Targets Seriously Ill.

with 59 comments

Today’s Observer carries this story.

The fate of nearly 550,000 benefit claimants currently deemed unfit for work due to serious illnesses such as cancer is in the balance as it emerged that Iain Duncan Smith is planning a radical change to the welfare system.

The work and pensions secretary is pushing to scrap a part of the benefits system that helps sufferers of recent illnesses get back into employment. These individuals are covered by the term “work-related activity group” (WRAG) and are regarded as being capable of work in the future. They are paid benefits if they carry out training or practice interviews.

However, the Observer understands that Duncan Smith wants to disband the group, currently made up of 546,770 people. Such a move would require an overhaul of the whole benefits system, say experts.

The cabinet minister is said to be concerned that only half of claimants in WRAG are coming off benefit within three years, and that hundreds of millions of pounds are being tied up in administration of the benefit, including the work capability assessments and appeals process.

Tobanem recently commented on Ipswich Unemployed Action that when those who have been sanctioned  JSA go back on full benefits they have a special interview.

Tobanam explained,

After being sanctioned, you are likely to be called in for interview by the Customer Compliance Team based in Jobcentres. This type of interview is automatically triggered when someone is sanctioned. The customer compliance team are concerned with benefit fraud.

You will be questioned about how you have been able to maintain yourself without any money coming in during your sanction period.

If you can show that you have survived off some meagre savings by showing them your Bank Statement, all might be well. But if you cannot do that, then that is another story…you are likely to be further investigated for fraudulently working on the fly or any other alleged nefarious activity.

On the latest of Ian Duncan Smith’s plans Anne Begg MP, the Labour chairwoman of the cross-party work and pensions select committee commented.

Her fear was that the vulnerable people in that group would be forced to join the dole queue and be at the mercy of the sanction system, under which claimants lose benefits if they do not attend enough interviews or make efforts to find a job.

No doubt they will have to explain how they survived being seriously ill.

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

November 24, 2013 at 2:13 pm

59 Responses

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  1. How can you be found to have committed benefit fraud while your money’s been stopped?

    ghost whistler

    November 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    • This has been a long time in the making. No doubt us on the WRAG group will be thrown onto JSA and get told we don’t meet the criteria to claim (not well enough to claim it). Then just before 2015 half a million people will vanish from the unemployment statistics in time for the General election.

      Chris

      November 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      • http://news.uk.msn.com/uk/rise-in-jobcentre-attacks-condemned-2

        What do those fuckwits expect? When they make people destitute, call them not disabled really, bully them and call them liars? Where the union guy is wrong, is that plenty of people go into this ‘job’ deliberately to get at the poor and disabled. Like Harold Shipman they enter the job knowing what they will do and in both cases have a captive audience.

        We supposed to say: yes thankyou massa/baas for taking away my home and food and money?

        something survived...

        November 24, 2013 at 10:09 pm

  2. I just saw your headline and for half a second thought with a rush of excitement that IDS was seriously ill and was about to cark it.
    No such luck.
    They’ll be wheeling in people in comas next and people in PVS (persistent vegetative state), and logically this can only be followed by digging up and interrogating corpses. There is a precedent for this; just google ‘Cadaveric Synod’.

    Please can IDS develop slow terminal bowel cancer and have bloody diarrhoea all the time, and let him be sent on one of his ‘jobs’ as a builder, road mender, etc.To give him a sense of meaning and purpose in his life, as they are so fond of trotting out (assuming those without paid work are all divs with no self esteem and a meaningless and unproductive antisocial life). Any time a doctor offers palliative drugs, let someone from the DWP rush in and take them away because ‘we can’t have you on medication!’. In his spare time after a 7 day a week 8-5 shift as a builder or road mender, send him on meaningless and equally knackering Workfare from 5pm to 4am every day. He will have only 4-8am for: travel to and from work, rest, sleep, washing, housework, cooking, food, business. Occasionally take him out to job interviews and slag him off for being covered in blood and shit!

    something survived...

    November 24, 2013 at 7:41 pm

  3. you get the full atos points if you cant control ur bowels mind told my advise that if im sent to do mwa ill just shit my self and get sent home anyway

    super ted

    November 24, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    • They are changing that and moving it from 15 points to 7 points, somebody on here said the other month. Workfare etc. people and disabled callcentre workers are being told to sit at work in a nappy all day.

      something survived...

      November 24, 2013 at 10:16 pm

  4. disabled callcentre workers are being told to sit at work in a nappy all day.

    that place must reek, what happens if you over load it then and start dripping on the floor or they gunna make you sit in a wheel barrow all day and roll you out the building at 5pm

    super ted

    November 24, 2013 at 10:30 pm

  5. “The documents show civil servants advised the work and pensions secretary that he would not legally be able to introduce secondary legislation – which does not need a parliamentary vote”

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/30/iain-duncan-smith-sick-disabled-benefits

    jobcentre staff are actively targeting and bullying the disabled already after the work programme.

    the system already puts them at a substantial disadvantage without the hostile degrading and intimidating atmosphere. this tyrant thinks he can get away with anything.

    ken

    November 24, 2013 at 11:00 pm

  6. FOR ATTENTION OF GHOST WHISTLER

    You ask: “How can you be found to have committed benefit fraud while your money’s been stopped”?

    When someone’s benefit is stopped due to a sanction, the claim is still running and the person still has to sign and actively seek work – so that is the reason why the Customer Compliance Team can still check on how you have survived without any benefit.

    If you shut your claim down by signing off, you then can’t appeal against the sanction, and you will also lose your entitlement to Housing Benefit!

    Tobanem

    November 25, 2013 at 9:40 am

    • …not forgetting that if you sign off when you are sanctioned, any “unspent” part of the sanction period is added to your new claim, should you choose to sign on by making a new claim.

      There is no escape, just as IDS et al intended.

      Lucy

      November 25, 2013 at 10:01 am

      • On this matter, but something a little different. You are on the wp. You find yourself a job for 40 hours a week Monday thru to Friday, how come the wpp can ”ask you to attend an interview with wpp. What happens if you can’t get time off or you say NUTS I am nothing to do with you anymore, bear in mind this is a FULL TIME PAYING JOB.

        Mr Brown

        November 27, 2013 at 11:26 am

      • This also applies if you find a proper job in the meantime. I’ve heard that if sanction is in place it carries over when you next sign on fresh claim wise or if it’s retirement they try and sanction what ever time is left of NICs re the pension

        Merrick

        November 29, 2013 at 11:13 am

    • If you shut your claim down by signing off, you then can’t appeal against the sanction, and you will also lose your entitlement to Housing Benefit!

      Although Housing Benefit and Council Tax claims are automatically closed (because JSA is a passported benefit), these benefits are income based so you can in fact still claim them (though you have to go through a lot of form filling to do it). If that happens to you get round to the Council offices immediately and put in a claim based on income.

      Anton

      November 25, 2013 at 10:13 am

      • Anton…

        Thanks for the comment.

        Yes, you’re right, Housing Benefit is automatically stopped when a sanction is imposed, (even without the person “signing off” at the Jobcentre), so it is vitally important for a sanctions victim to immediately re-apply for Housing Benefit as a NIL INCOME claimant.

        With all that extra running around to do, I wonder what life will be like for a legless amputee who is also dyslexic? Only last week, a legless man was sanctioned because he couldn’t explain the steps he took to seek work, while a dyslexic person couldn’t produce a detailed jobsearch diary!

        Tobanem

        November 25, 2013 at 10:36 am

      • Correct ‘Nil Income’ is the ticket if you are sanctioned.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        November 25, 2013 at 12:55 pm

  7. Open Letter From WOW Campaign Calling For Iain Duncan Smith’s Resignation :

    http://wowpetition.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/open-letter-from-wow-campaign-calling.html

    JBS

    November 25, 2013 at 11:10 am

    • Not sure this e-petition is asking for his resignation? If you try to sign it, it goes to a request for a Impact Assessment of Welfare Reform. It only mentions his resignation on the first page.

      Have i got the right petition?

      ED

      November 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      • Yes, you have. This is what the author of the blog article has to say:

        “This proposal would leave many vulnerable people “in limbo” as they are caught between out of work benefits and their illnesses and leave them without the support they so desperately need at that time. It would also mean that people who should be concentrating on their health will have the added stress and anxiety of dealing with a system that is stacked heavily against them.”

        The blogger is concerned about the impact that the complete removal of support from people who are recovering from serious illness would have. The blogger is calling for Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation because he believes that such a “reform” would be dangerously irresponsible. Given that the actual impact would be to leave people in this situation destitute, I find it hard to disagree.

        JBS

        November 25, 2013 at 12:50 pm

  8. Very interesting read.

    Interview with a Job Centre Advisor: sanction targets & corruption revealed.

    http://slutocracy.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/interview-with-a-job-centre-advisor-sanction-targets-corruption-revealed/

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 25, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    • “We give customers a JSA1(ils) form and are encouraged to get them to sign it to (re-open their claim if sanctioned), what we dont tell the customer is that signing this form puts another 2 weeks on the sanction.”

      WTF!!

      Jobcentre Staff are SCUM!!

      November 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm

      • “the process has changed, if you have forgotten your looking for work book you now have to fill in this ASE stencil” – that’s how they get jobseekers, just say they haven’t produced their ‘looking for work’ booklet and fill in that ‘ASE stencil’ instead – that’s how they do it 🙂 Really nice people!! 🙂 What’s with this ‘C-word’ nonsense, Mr Coates, you must live a charmed life if that is all you have to worry about! Human beings are starving, humans beings are freezing, human beings are being thrown into destitution, human beings are DYING!!… but oh look, someone said a ‘naughty word’, pathetic just pathetic. Once JV and IB adopt this silly stance we will know that is is all over…

        Jobcentre staff are REALLY NICE PEOPLE!!

        November 25, 2013 at 11:12 pm

      • Can you say fuck on here?

        Jobcentre staff are REALLY NICE PEOPLE!!

        November 25, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      • Can you say bum on here? lol

        Jobcentre staff are REALLY NICE PEOPLE!!

        November 25, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      • Mr Coates, I feared for a moment that you had become part of the ‘establishment’ Arise Sir Andrew lol 🙂

        Jobcentre staff are REALLY NICE PEOPLE!!

        November 25, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      • I watched 9 good people get sanctioned today by colleagues. please please follow your jobseekers agreement to the last word to avoid!!

        @JobcentreMole

        November 25, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    • “We also do our referrals online now, and these are not vetted by anyone, so basically you could walk into a jobcentre and be pulled for not actively seeking, we would take the details of what you have been doing over the past fortnight and totally change your answers, thus guaranteeing a sanction.”

      True, this is what they do, just bin your evidence and type any old shit onto the system. It’s bang out of order. It doesn’t matter what you say, do or have – you are going to be sanctioned – GUARANTEED!!

      Jobcentre Staff are SCUM!!

      November 25, 2013 at 10:16 pm

  9. The blogger is concerned about the impact that the complete removal of support from people who are recovering from serious illness would have. The blogger is calling for Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation because he believes that such a “reform” would be dangerously irresponsible. Given that the actual impact would be to leave people in this situation destitute, I find it hard to disagree.

    I understand that JBS, thanks.

    when you press on sign the petition it shows this.

    “Sign The Petition
    We call for a Cumulative Impact Assessment of Welfare Reform, and a New Deal for sick & disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions

    Responsible department: Department for Work and Pensions

    We call for:

    A Cumulative Impact Assessment of all cuts and changes affecting sick and disabled people, their families and carers, and a free vote on repeal of the Welfare Reform Act.

    An immediate end to the Work Capability Assessment, as voted for by the British Medical Association.

    Consultation between the Depts of Health & Education to improve support into work for sick and disabled people, and an end to forced work under threat of sanctions for people on disability benefits.

    An Independent, Committee-Based Inquiry into Welfare Reform, covering but not limited to: (1) Care home admission rises, daycare centres, access to education for people with learning difficulties, universal mental health treatments, Remploy closures; (2) DWP media links, the ATOS contract, IT implementation of Universal Credit; (3) Human rights abuses against disabled people, excess claimant deaths & the disregard of medical evidence in decision making by ATOS, DWP & the Tribunal Service.”

    This is what will be sent and it does not specifically ask for his resignation.

    Ether way i have signed, Thanks for the link.

    ED

    November 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm

  10. And the seriously ill will not be made well if they are forced to take work like this here:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/amazon-workers-have-increased-risk-of-mental-and-physical-illness-expert-claims-8962304.html

    The battery hen conditions at Amazon sound similar to what life will be like on the new 6-month-long Community Work Placement – or the 30/35/40 hours per week jobsearch of the forthcoming Help to Work Scheme!

    It’s going to be physically and mentally hard enough for healthy people!

    Tobanem

    November 25, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    • …and don’t forget to watch Panorama tonight on BBC1 about working conditions at Amazon – “The Truth Behind The Clicks”.

      Tobanem

      November 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      • The job centre are trying to pedal Amazon jobs for their site at Rugeley as we speak.

        There have been numerous reports in the newspapers and on tv where people have described the place as a living hell. Threatened with dismissal for not hitting targets, talking to colleagues and being timed for toilet visits. I’d be surprised if Amazon don’t have a part to play in the provision of Workfare placements in the new year.

        Chris

        November 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      • Thats a sweatshop.

        ken

        November 26, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    • Tobanem, There have been several posts here that have stated that the Government wanted to put JSA\ATOS advisors into Dr Surgeries. If you were on benefits at the time of seeing dr, you’d automatically ger a refferal to them too. Have you heard anymore about this.

      Mr Brown

      November 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm

  11. ?? Why is there no proper address on jobcentre sanction letters?? – just the address of a Post Office sorting office – what the fuck is that all about??

    Legolas

    November 25, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    • I mean there is a time limit on how long you have to challenge the decision, so it you reply to the ‘get in touch with us’ contact address’ your letter is only going to end up stuck in a PO sorting office somewhere – or is that the whole idea????

      Legolas

      November 25, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      • It goes to a DWP/PO Mail sort centre ALL Dwp mail does even that addressed properly to the Jobcentre Address. AND that taken in by hand unless open. It’s sorted into ”areas” and then delivered to the Jobcentre. If it’s by courier or by the Royal Mail I don’t know. I was in a small Jobcentre in the Eastern Counties. I went to use their IAD and there on the desk in an open office were all these transparent bags with DWP Royalmail Sort on them.

        Postman Pats Friends

        November 26, 2013 at 8:36 am

  12. Of course, if the council reject your claim to Housing Benefit on the grounds of “nil income” (are you living on fresh air, sir?), it is quite possible you could be jailed under the Vagrancy Act 1824!

    https://www.nottinghamshirealert.co.uk/da/39459/Man_jailed_for_offence_under_1824_Vagrancy_Act.html

    Lumpenprole

    November 26, 2013 at 11:12 am

    • For Lumpemprole

      If a person already has a legitimate claim for Housing Benefit up and running, it is highly unlikely that it will suddenly be rejected on the grounds of Nil Income!

      Nevertheless, for those already homeless, the Vagrancy Act is significant, but also note, the Vagrancy Act does not apply in Scotland.

      Someone said to me recently that he reckoned he will be in the jail shortly, and he believed [some] people would be better off in the jail than being jobless, homeless and penniless – or on Workfare!!

      It is certainly much more expensive to keep people in jail than keeping them on benefits – including Housing Benefit!

      Tobanem

      November 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      • @ Tobanem

        I suppose it depends how the council defines “legitimate claim”. Don’t forget the councils have their own fraud departments, so it’s not impossible you could find yourself targeted by them if they think your claim of “nil income” is implausible. For example, look how zealous Wakefield Council is in their crusade against “benefit cheats”:

        http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/Housing/Benefits/fraud/council.htm

        Lumpenprole

        November 26, 2013 at 8:49 pm

  13. For Mr Brown

    Benefits advice in GP surgeries

    The Health & Benefits Links Project is funded by the primary care trusts and enables residents to access benefits advice and support at their local surgery.

    It all sound like another nail in the coffin for Jobcentres!

    Have a look at this site for some information:

    http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgsl/151-200/189_welfare_rights_advice.aspx

    Tobanem

    November 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    • If claimants are stupid enough to answer these questions is it any wonder that IDS is having a whale of a time bringing in even more schemes to have claimants.

      gaia

      November 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    • For Tobanem. Thank you for that. It does look like the ”nail in the coffin”. You have answered my question. What with people now having [in this area] JCP staff coming to the wpp office and signing claimants on wpp there, methinks the pcs will be on ourside sooner rather than later.

      Mr Brown

      November 27, 2013 at 9:13 am

  14. Bernadette Meaden’s Ekklesia blog: 45% of ESA claimants with progressive debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s placed in the Work-Related Activity Group:

    http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/19509

    JBS

    November 27, 2013 at 8:41 am

  15. FAO Lumpenprole

    You are emphasising benefit fraud rather than existing legitimate Housing Benefit claims suddenly interrupted by sanctions.

    Let’s face it, if an existing Housing Benefit claim is legitimate in the first place, you’ve got nothing to fear, have you?

    My other comments about the “automatic” intervention of the Customer Compliance (Fraud) Team at the Jobcentre remain controversial, though. Under these conditions, the claimant is deemed guilty until proved innocent!

    Tobanem

    November 27, 2013 at 9:55 am

  16. look folks [jobcentre staff are very nice people] wayne’s back

    Mr Brown

    November 27, 2013 at 9:59 am

    • Sorry can’t be wayne the spellings too good. hello helping hand

      spellcheck

      November 27, 2013 at 11:54 am

      • spellcheck

        Don’t have a go at someone attempting to make serious comments on a serious subject.

        Tobanem

        November 27, 2013 at 12:20 pm

  17. Another one for “Lumpemprole”

    Do you have knowledge of any local Councils launching an “automatic” investigation for suspected fraud as soon as someone applies for Housing Benefit as a Nil Income claimant?

    Tobanem

    November 27, 2013 at 10:26 am

    • Yes it’s happened in the ”Suffolk Area”. One local authority has asked for Bank Statements for the last 3 months and details of any direct debits for household bills etc.

      Mr Brown

      November 27, 2013 at 10:40 am

      • Mr Brown…

        Yes, local authorities will ROUTINELY ask for bank statements as proof of income. That does not “automatically” mean an investigation for fraud. A existing and legitimate claim for Housing Benefit should be kept going ok as a Nil Income case.

        Plus, the Customer Compliance Team at Jobcentres, apart form being primarily concerned with fraud in the first place, will tell you (not ask you) to come in for a compulsory interview, where, as I’ve said, a claimant is deemed guilty until proved innocent.

        Tobanem

        November 27, 2013 at 11:03 am

      • Thank you, you have clarified the point for me. Can you provide another point please ?. What happens when the documented evidence is in your favour by way of proof but the CCT at Jobcentres still don’t believe it OR WANT TOO believe it ?.

        Mr Brown

        November 27, 2013 at 11:12 am

      • Mr Brown

        As I said before, the benefit authorities never give up. Many a person will be under suspicion and may even be put under surveillance, but Jobcentre personnel or anyone else will ultimately need to PROVE a case against you.

        Tobanem

        November 27, 2013 at 11:38 am

  18. In anticipation of mass sanctioning in April – cwp time. I would urge anyone who has any savings, no matter how miniscule, to withdraw them right now. Because if you leave it until the last minute, it will show on your statements. The hardship deciders are a canny lot, for sure. I am anticipating a sanction, myself.

    I have already downloaded the following:

    https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/183765/response/452109/attach/4/5261%20JSA10.pdf

    And I’ve also found out where my local foodbank is as well, and made the relevant enquiries about going about getting food parcels. I would urge anyone reading this not to be complacent. Don’t think it won’t happen to you.

    jj joop

    November 27, 2013 at 11:29 am

    • Can you still be put on the CWP If you are stil on the WP. I joined the WP in June this year.

      Merrick

      November 29, 2013 at 11:52 am

  19. For Mr Brown and Lumpenprole

    One of my earlier posts on another page of this site on 21st November reads:

    “AFTER THE SANCTIONS

    Merciless sanctions imposed on benefit claimants will continue irrespective of who gets into power at the next election, but there is another element of this war which does not get aired too much – even on the pages of Ipswich Unemployed Action!

    After being sanctioned, you are likely to be called in for interview by the Customer Compliance Team based in Jobcentres. This type of interview is automatically triggered when someone is sanctioned. The customer compliance team are concerned with benefit fraud.

    You will be questioned about how you have been able to maintain yourself without any money coming in during your sanction period.

    If you can show that you have survived off some meagre savings by showing them your Bank Statement, all might be well. But if you cannot do that, then that is another story…you are likely to be further investigated for fraudulently working on the fly or any other alleged nefarious activity.

    They never give up, do they?”

    Tobanem

    November 27, 2013 at 11:59 am

  20. Including Breathing!

    You Couldnt Make It Up

    November 27, 2013 at 12:21 pm

  21. @ Tobanem

    Thanks for your replies. I suppose the scenario I had in mind was a JSA claimant signing off for a while because fed up with advisor hassle, but trying to claim Housing Benefit because of nil income. Even if you were living off an overdraft, for example, I think the housing people could have a problem with that.

    Lumpenprole

    November 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm

  22. Ed

    December 4, 2013 at 1:20 pm


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