Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Joblessness Branded A ‘Mental Illness’: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Sanctions?

with 82 comments

Last year this was reported by Brian Wheeler on the BBC site. June 2015.

Unemployment is being “rebranded” by the government as a psychological disorder, a new study claims.

Those that do not exhibit a “positive” outlook must undergo “reprogramming” or face having their benefits cut, says the Wellcome Trust-backed report.

This can be “humiliating” for job seekers and does not help them find suitable work, the researchers say.

But the Department for Work and Pensions said there was no evidence to back up the “highly misleading” claims.

The paper, published in the Medical Humanities journal, says benefit claimants are being forced to take part in positive thinking courses in an effort to change their personalities.

They are bombarded with motivational text messages – such as “success is the only option”, “we’re getting there” and “smile at life” – and have to take part in “pointless” team-building exercises such as building towers out of paper clips, it adds.

New benefit claimants are interviewed to find out whether they have a “psychological resistance” to work, with those deemed “less mentally fit” given more intensive coaching.

And unpaid work placements are increasingly judged on psychological results, such as improved motivation and confidence, rather than whether they have led to a job.

The report’s co-author, social scientist Lynne Friedli, described such programmes as “Orwellian”.

“Claimants’ ‘attitude to work’ is becoming a basis for deciding who is entitled to social security – it is no longer what you must do to get a job, but how you have to think and feel.

Then there was this:  Mental health workers protest at move to integrate clinic with jobcentre. July 2015.

Critics say plans for London clinic come dangerously close to government proposal to give psychological treatments to the unemployed.

Mental health workers and their clients marched on a jobcentre in south-west London in protest at a scheme they say frames unemployment as a psychological disorder.

The Department for Work and Pensions announced in March that Streatham’s jobcentre would be the first to have therapists giving mental health support to help unemployed people back into work.

The DWP has now said that announcement was a mistake. But by coincidence, next week Lambeth council will open a £1.9m mental health clinic in the same building.

There has been much discussion on this Blog and our fellow Bloggers’ sites on these ideas.

They include the reasons why unemployment is being rebranded as an ‘illness’ or a mental problem and how this “reprogramming” is going to take place.

Putting JobCentre advisers into GP surgeries is part of the same push.

This year they took a step forward in their plans,

Disabled activists are to march on a surgery next month in protest at its involvement in a government scheme that is placing welfare-to-work advisors from a discredited US outsourcing giant in GP practices.

Six surgeries in Islington, north London, are taking part in the year-long pilot scheme run and funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Islington council.

Under the Working Better scheme, job coaches employed by Remploy – which is now mostly owned by the US company Maximus – are placed in GP surgeries for one day a week.

Patients who are unemployed and have long-term health conditions can ask their GP to refer them to “intensive and personalised employment coaching” within the surgery.

The job coaches “work with patients to establish their previous work experience, knowledge and skills, to build confidence, set goals and identify job or educational opportunities”.

But activists from the Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) say the pilot scheme will destroy trust between doctors and their patients, particularly those with mental health conditions.

They are particularly alarmed at the involvement of Maximus, which already runs DWP’s work capability assessment system and has quietly secured a string of other lucrative DWP contracts.

MHRN, DPAC and other activists are planning a protest march on 4 March that will target City Road surgery, one of the six GP practices taking part in the pilot project.

Today the Morning Star is to be congratulated for publishing this important article.

Forcing the unemployed to undergo therapies they don’t want or blaming their attitude for their plight is totally unethical, write RUTH HUNT and LINDA GASK

ON MONDAY February 15 the Mental Health Task Force, in its latest report, recommended various measures to improve mental health services.

They were broadly welcomed, but one passage within the report caused much consternation: “Of people with mental and behavioural disorders supported by the work programme, only 9.5 per cent have been supported into employment … Employment is vital to health and should be recognised as a health outcome. The NHS should play a greater role in supporting people to find or keep a job.”

“Gaining employment” as a major indicator for people with mental health problems is a matter of great concern.

This is not the case for any other form of health problem. Furthermore, recent research published in BMJ Medical Humanities — Critical Medical Humanities suggests that unemployment is now being regarded as a psychological disorder within workfare schemes, with participants encouraged — or coerced — to think positively or to change their attitude.

Employment does have positive health outcomes, but if someone with a mental health diagnosis returns to work too early it can cause further problems. For example, there is always a risk that they will have problems managing in the work environment — which can lead at the very least to loss of confidence which will affect future ability to get back to work, and then to more serious consequences, including relapse. And there is always the risk that they and their employers will doubt they will ever be able to cope at the level of work they did previously, which will be very damaging to their future prospects.

We know that Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith wants to target those with mental illnesses, who are receiving Employment Support Allowance (ESA) with plans to force then to undergo treatment if they declare themselves unfit for work. The implication is that it is the attitude and motivation of these people that is at fault.

However, in cases of severe mental illness, it is extremely difficult to see how someone who is struggling with everyday life could be considered at fault if they did not have the “right attitude” or motivation to work. They may want to return to work, but the priority should be to help them to get to the optimal level of functioning, and then support them back to work. This has been shown to be effective and helpful.

Placing all responsibility on those suffering simply adds to the burden experienced and can contribute to relapse rather than recovery. This is what we have repeatedly seen when people are summoned to assessments and told that they are fit for work, when it is perfectly clear that they are not.

It is also clear that more effort needs to be invested in early help for people with mental health problems to ensure that they stay in work. This is promised in the Mental Health Task Force report. However pushing people into unsuitable jobs has been shown to be as potentially detrimental to mental health as the impact of unemployment.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) both person-to-person and online seems to be the main thrust of the treatment proposed. Presumably if the individual refuses they will be sanctioned. But for therapy to be effective a person has to be a willing participant.

There is no therapy that can “motivate” a person to find work unless they are able to consent to participate in it and well enough to actively engage. Online CBT has been shown to be ineffective for depression when offered without the support required to help and engage the participant. Therapy itself is not without side effects.

Furthermore, it’s difficult to see how requiring unemployed people to participate in such online “therapy” is going to have very much effect, completely aside from whether it’s ethical.

Improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) services are already faced with “back to work” targets but have managed to achieve them without therapy being too closely linked to assistance in getting a job. That’s great — but unemployment benefit savings were originally linked to funding IAPT because we were told this was the only way more psychological therapy could be funded. Now getting into work has become the key outcome in itself. We should be seeking to help people to recover from their mental health problems first.

There is always a danger when funding of anything is linked to targets that a person will be a) directed to therapy by benefits staff who have to meet targets — and, even worse, b) pushed towards work by healthcare workers whose funding is also dependent on this.

The rest of the article here.

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Written by Andrew Coates

March 2, 2016 at 4:32 pm

82 Responses

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  1. Andrew you pose a very good question – Why only the Mentally ill?

    You almost get the feeling this is targetted at the one group who would not and are not able to fight back for the very reason they are classed as being Ill…

    Take me for instance – Physical Disability, not visible until you see my neck [lets not mention the curvature of the spine, and reduced liver function].

    Does this mean I am going to be forced to take up, say a Labouring Job WHEN it is extended?

    Now it gets interesting if this is the case as legally who ever utters such tosh is open to civil & criminal prosecution. Let alone if the Medical Council would have jurisdiction as a Quack Doctor passing themselves off as a Medically qualified person.

    Until such time as the ConCons square the little matter of Medical Negilgence this is pie in the sky which will crash and burn – I predict it will be challenged in court and crushed. Hard.

    Gazza

    March 2, 2016 at 4:57 pm

  2. So people who are mentally ill are going to be harassed and dictated too, and that is going to help them? People who are not ill will also be treated as if they are (we don’t think your motivated enough so you must be ill) then harassed and dictated to. When 1,000 or more mentally ill and disabled have actually died from this harsh regime the government are now going to make ill people out to be scumbags too, make everyone out to be ‘ILL’ so they don’t matter anymore, then justify it in the public eye so they can get away with it. Even more death and poverty with the blessings of the media. Don’t people realise that one day you may loose your job? Why is there not outrage at what the DWP is doing? Because more people work than not so your voice does not matter to them.

    Phil

    March 2, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    • Phil.. As a working single mum who’s been through the system and suffered stress related illness as a result of harassment in MY LAST JOB!.. I feel for everyone here and everyone who could be affected.

      katrehman

      March 2, 2016 at 6:22 pm

  3. Treating people who are unemployed as having mental health issues clearly gives people both power and a way of belittling others.

    It’s a trick from one of the oldest games in the book for people – often themselves with feelings of inadequacy – to be permanently ‘one up’ on somebody.

    It is the opposite to treating others with respect and as people in their own right.

    You can expect the worst when somebody with power to sanction another has this new weapon to hand.

    I am sceptical about ‘therapy culture’ at the best of times, and the last thing I’d want is to have it forced on anybody.

    Andrew Coates

    March 2, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    • The worst of it is the fact that many people will consent to it without realizing because they won’t know about consent & of course think that they have to do what they are told, as if the DWP, Maximus etc have got power which many people think.

      I meet many people like that when in the foodbank, but try telling them, it’s difficult. as you will know.

      enigma

      March 2, 2016 at 6:16 pm

      • In my experience having money would solve a lot more problems than any therapy that’s ever been invented.

        Andrew Coates

        March 3, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    • This if you say it enough your believe it bull is exactly that,bull.

      From now on try the next time your in your local DWP to have a great big smile on your face like that boy in the hut in that scene from the film platoon.

      Watch how long it takes your coach to become that soldier who smashes his head in,

      Then say when their grinding teeth, you should really try CBT, im sure it will work wonders for you.

      doug

      March 2, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    • Is that supposed to be funny? Are you feeling OK, Andrew? How are you coping in the unit?

      HCP

      March 3, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    • This is worth a read by anyone who does or doesn’t have any kind of MH issue:-

      Against Therapy by Jeff Masson

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Against-Therapy-Emotional-Tyranny-Psychological-ebook/dp/B008KPZRDW/ref=sr_1_1/275-7604972-3778417?ie=UTF8&qid=1457015289&sr=8-1&keywords=Against+Therapy

      It might just save your life.

      Lucy

      March 3, 2016 at 2:30 pm

  4. Many people will stop going to see their Doctor even when they may need to, once those people find out what is going on. we know what many of them will do.

    enigma

    March 2, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    • Enigma I. Already avoid my. Doctor like the plague. Every time I go I am harassed about screening for women’s cancers to the extent the problem I came about is sidelined. And of course doctors get financial bonuses the more people they force to screen. I can fully believe targets will be introduced to sign the unemployed up to quack therapy. It’s already going on. And has been for years

      katrehman

      March 2, 2016 at 6:26 pm

  5. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

    Try as he might, precisely nothing will change and judging by the inactivity of the job market and his attempts to take on the throne, that being the PM, it would suggest hes running out of ideas to justify why his welfare reforms have as yet failed to walk on water.

    Take me, perfectly well, upbeat in manner, stellar last job record and not signing on, still i cant get a job three months after being let go again for the second time in a row 2 weeks before Christmas.

    Theirs unprecedented rises in people seeing their GP, A&E, deaths and suicides not to mention out breaks of this and that all over the world so unless IDS or even the Tories as a whole discover the answer to becoming a deity, their going to have to work a lot harder at finding excuses to smoke screen their failing efforts.

    doug

    March 2, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    • The lack of yes. Jobseekers face fewer options in 2016 as new openings fall.

      http://www.onrec.com/news/statistics-and-trends/jobseekers-face-fewer-options-in-2016-as-new-openings-fall

      enigma

      March 3, 2016 at 10:50 am

      • We have around 8000 recruitment agencies in the UK and private employers who hire from their own site or are signposted to through the likes of monster account for around 10 to 15% of the total jobs vacancy count.

        Now their are 3 types of jobsite, theirs the one like monster who businesses and agencies go to and theirs sites like indeed who steal data from the already mentioned type along with stealing it from employers sites and finally theirs sites like adview who act as a portal for a particular site which in adviews case is totaljobs ( a recent trend). Don’t forget agencies have their own websites.

        If that wasn’t confusing enough recruitment agencies duplicate a vacancy on a singular site at least once and often on multiple sites.

        (now for the purpose of making a point imagine their are only 5 of the first type of jobsites i mentioned like monster, one of the second and one of the third)

        So if i was an employer who went to an agency with a single vacancy i can expect my vacancy to appear at least 24 times.

        So taking the remaining 850’000 jobs which is left after deducting private employers, it implies their are actually only 35’417. So including private employers that’s around 185’417 vacancies in total.

        This means their are 4.5 unemployed claimants per job.

        Now factor in more than half of all vacancies are for skilled and qualified labour like teachers, nurses and the likes.

        Now factor in the UK is split between, England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland in respect to where you live.

        This implies a claimant has around 15’000 vacancies to go for so coupled with the fact their are 4.5 claimants per job vacancy means the person only has a reasonable expectation to secure employment of around 23% if you live in a big city, and as low as 8% if rural (villages and small towns with little to no industry).

        If i talk about the ill,disabled,convicted and others with gross barriers to work, this 23% drops to 6%.

        Obviously i have frozen time, controlled the amount of sites but the topic like economics is a living breathing, changing sum not to mention peoples situations are multiple faceted so do see this as a glance for the purpose of discussion.

        doug

        March 4, 2016 at 9:58 am

      • Oh for the record the above post of mine didn’t factor in DWPs one and half hour journey rule as that dependent on where you live lowers the final percentage figures still further.

        doug

        March 4, 2016 at 10:04 am

    • Paid work – really.

      A £10m project to help young people with learning disabilities and autism into employment launches on Thursday.

      The five-year Engage to Change project will work with 800 employers in Wales to help 1,000 people develop their employment skills.

      They will be offered paid work placements lasting between six months and a year.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-35708718

      enigma

      March 3, 2016 at 1:42 pm

  6. OT: Homeless & UC

    doug, you raised the case of a homeless man trying to claim. This is not a definitive answer to the points you/they raised but its stuff to know.

    a] Royal Mail classified a park bench as a address and issued a post code to it – presumably so a homeless person could get their Giro [I remember vaguely the news reports from way back when but cannot pin down the decade let alone the year this happened]. This means that officialdom can and do allow the declaration of a “Secure Address”.

    b] In the past DWP offices have been and are Secure Addresses, this has been used in the past and is classed as “Custom and Practice”. If this is no longer the case DWP must point to the specific legislation that signifies this change – and at the same time must be able to state an alternate arrangement. No Arrangement, it default back to DWP offices.

    c] If DWP dispute their offices are secure 1) This will be news to the Information Commissioner – does DWP not store OUR sensitive information etc at their location? 2) do they not issue cheques / cash from such locations? I am sure the Police/Media/Politicians & other interested parties would be disturbed to learn of this unannounced change of classification – DWP is being funded by the public for that very purpose.

    UC declaration of no address is therefore bogus & just a ploy, as such use the above if needed but seek advice in all instances.

    Gazza

    March 3, 2016 at 12:33 pm

  7. CBT complete bloody trash,they did this over the phone on the work programme and sent paperwork though the post.To be fair the company that A4e sidelined to did their best and the adviser was very nice unlike the former.

    The last place someone wants problems is at their GP,even a cancer diagnosis is not enough to be signed off here,only if it “becomes a problem” most people would argue it already has at that point.

    Any breakdown in relationship could deter people using their practice possibly having a serious illness in case these busy bodies find out and start interfering,GPs’ coerced into giving government directed courses instead of the best and first choice is also a possibility.

    Mental health conditions could deteriorate untreated or made worse also because of this.

    ken

    March 3, 2016 at 11:59 pm

  8. DLA to PIP = NO MORE CAR

    …And don’t forget physical illness, such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – a condition that makes moving around a struggle. A sufferer has now had his car removed (and his independence) because he is no longer deemed ill enough. 30,000 more people are losing their cars north of the border alone after undergoing Work Capability Assessments:

    http://www.thenational.scot/news/chronic-pain-sufferer-accuses-the-dwp-of-stealing-his-independence-by-taking-away-his-motability-car.14594

    Presumably, the victims will now deteriorate into depression and then be “cured” by a Government appointed Psychologist.

    Tobanem

    March 4, 2016 at 10:24 am

  9. Nissan Qashqai – nice motor… 😉 “Bridgeford, 57, joined the Motability lease scheme in 1983” like 33 YEARS AGO since when he was 24!! So he has been claiming disability and a fancy car thrown in for 33 YEARS!! And look at the his no doubt WORKING neighbours rubbish cars. In his circumstances it would be tempting to exaggerate your systems. We are not being told the FULL story. He is being thrown of this taxpayer funded scheme for a GOOD reason!

    V D Colman

    March 4, 2016 at 10:53 am

    • Interesting comment … 😉

      There are so many people getting DLA etc and more money than I get, yet their problem is drink. Don’t we all know .. 😉

      V D Colman

      March 4, 2016 at 11:01 am

      • V D Colman if you got your lazy backside and invested some time you would know the following.

        Up till 1977 the disabled were given the famous Invacar (Ministry Blue) so at the time of 1983, their was no alternative the then Tory government under one Margret Thatcher would consider despite a firm called Aixam-Mega having a model in around 1983 other than to convert everyday cars. Also remember she took away the famed welfare buses.

        So the very fact we have these costly converted cars is because of successive governments (Labour and Tory) not seeking a redress. Interestingly and more importantly since 1979, the majority of governance of the UK thus far has been under the Tories very own watch,

        Margret Thatcher 1979 – 1990
        John Major 1990 – 1997
        Tony Blair 1997 – 2007
        Gordon Brown 2007 – 2010
        David Cameron 2010 – 2020

        Now their are currently 577’000 people in the UK receive benefits as a result of having problems with mobility meaning 30’000 only represents 5% of these people so hardly a dilemma of biblical proportions that you may well fear, especially when you consider theirs 40 times as many wheelchairs out their (1.2 million).

        http://www.efds.co.uk/resources/facts_and_statistics

        Now how on earth drink as you put it fits into this particular case of a nervous system disorder is anyone’s guess so im afraid unless you can offer substantial proof your fear or assumption is based on pure myth.

        Stop so living in Tory fantasy land V D Colman and blaming others for you failing to make a success of yourself as 32.5% which is what you do contribute in the form of taxes and insurance if working and as current government advise, invest your remaining wisely which is an interesting premise when you consider you like everyone else is a victim of free market capitalism.

        So in parting let me leave you with some advice from one M Thatcher,

        “There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate”.

        doug

        March 4, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      • @ doug If you could get off your lazy backside you would see that the reference to claimants claiming DLA through drink was made by A DLA claimant. That is a DLA claimant criticising a fellow DLA claimant. And you can bet your bottom dollar that there are a lot of fellow DLA/Motability claimants who agree with this decision!

        “Farrell Keith
        I went through the same thing and it is useless appealing it.
        I suffer from severe pain and use a walker.
        When all this pain started I had been admitted into hospital with a suspected slipped disc. It took several more trips to doctors and surgeons to find out it is a complex spondylotheisis. My spine has slipped. Even if they operated. There is little chance of improvement. I live day to day on Tramadol. 200mg MR, every 12 hours. I have other medication, but they do not agree with me. The side effects are horrendous.
        I tan or take a bus as it does not suit my needs. I cannot use the train as I cannot get down to the platform. Bridgeton station is 800 yards away, far to far.
        I’m made to feel like a cheat.
        I brought a car, it costs me more than my whole PIP. For the last 6 months, I’ve been trying to survive. Now even my marriage has ended. My spouse works and if my spouse comes home to take care of me, and works, my spouse is expected to pay everything on a minimum wage. I’m just going to enjoy what little I can, then end it. I recon I can manage to avoid loosing everything just a little longer, but as there is now no reason to fight against my health condition. Why bother. I have not paid my gas and power since this started. So would not be surprised to find it cut off. What the hell. There are so many people getting DLA etc and more money than I get, yet their problem is drink. I’m in pain all the time. I’m not even allowed to have a relationship. Now expected to be jailed in my own home.
        I’m so sick and tired of being made out to be a scronger. I’ve never been.
        I buried my late spouse eight years ago, 4 years ago I thought I had a new start. But becoming disabled robbed me of that. I was told by my spouse that I have no goals, I’m happy on benefits. My spouse wants to buy a house, have a home of our own. But there is no hope of that if we are a one income family. It’s my fault for being in pain, sometimes so bad that I cannot move without forcing myself. Yes when the
        Meds work, and I’m able I walk to the car. Maybe slowly but my aid is in the car. I do what I can and sometimes, most of the time do too much. That I get home and just need to rest. Have some Meds and nap, hope the pain goes away. I’m so sick of trying to lead a normal life, when I cannot.”

        And what about this?

        “Donald J Morse · Edinburgh, United Kingdom
        Lying in answer to questions by welfare officials should, under normal circumstances, be condemned outright. People who are being assessed under the current ‘welfare’ state, however, need to understand that they are facing an enemy seeking to rob them of their rights, and should be economical with the truth. This is the culture that is being engendered by Iain Duncan Smith. It is not the sort of welfare regime that the vast majority of people in Scotland wish to live under. Things must change – in favour of the people.”

        Claimants ARE lying. People have always exaggerated their symptoms for whatever reasons. True though that they are out to stop their benefits. It’s not different from insurance fraud, whiplash, faking injuries. You can just assume that every DLA/Motability claim is bona fide. They all need investigated.

        Sharp Eyed

        March 4, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      • It doesn’t necessarily follow that because the DWP/Maximus are setting out to refuse a claim, in the same way an insurance company is seeking to avoid a payout, that the claim is indeed legitimate. It is money – a lot of money – that is involved. In insurance parlance this guy’s claim has been ‘repudiated’ – he has claimed and been shamed!

        Claimed and Shamed

        March 4, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      • Well when people misinterpret stats is it any wonder people form such opinions

        https://fullfact.org/news/disability-living-allowance-are-alcoholics-and-drug-addicts-better-blind/

        Over to you sharp eyed.

        doug

        March 4, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      • Name and shamed,

        Healthcare providers who treat nervous system disorders may have to spend a lot of time working with the patient before making a probable diagnosis of the specific condition. Many times, this involves performing numerous tests to eliminate other conditions, so that the probable diagnosis can be made.

        http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/nervous_system_disorders/overview_of_nervous_system_disorders_85,P00799/

        Most neurons in the central nervous system cannot repair or renew themselves, unlike other cells in the body. So, if some die through illness or damage, the nervous system can permanently lose some of its abilities. The symptoms of disorders of the nervous system depend on which part is attacked – Alzheimer’s disease destroys cells in the memory area of the brain, for example. There are currently no cures for these disorders, but promising research includes new drug treatments, vaccines and nerve cell transplants.

        http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/WhoAmI/FindOutMore/Yourbrain/Howcanillnessaffectthebrain/Howcanthenervoussystembedamaged/

        He might have claimed but according to others both medical and scientific, its more so that DWP/maximus are the shamed.

        doug

        March 4, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      • @ Doug Your medical knowledge is way out of date. Top story on the BBC News this evening was about Polish surgeons being able to cure paralysis!

        Medic

        March 4, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      • You are aware it still as many an article states isn’t validated medically right ?

        You are aware it takes a it more than seeing is believing when it comes to science, that extensive clinical conditioned experiments have to be carried out right. that if successful wont be on shelves any time soon right ?

        i when i first read it in a medical journal was impressed and i have all the support for them to succeed as who wouldn’t right but heres the thing. Media spin science like its coming tomorrow and the reality is i assure you very different, especially when you consider after these tests they then need to get it passed peer review.

        I had great passion for stem cell science for cancer but as a person who’s relative who under went it for a cure for cancer (remember stem cell will cure cancer media stories) watched it monumentally fail and that’s a topic that’s already been passed and is now practiced. The one size fits all you probably thinking of is still the stuff of science fiction im afraid but with that said i still hold out hope.

        I wont deny, these things are comforting but we must all be realistic and practical about such topics.

        doug

        March 5, 2016 at 9:00 am

    • And why not get a smaller car such as a Micra, Aygo… they are a lot easier to manoeuvre, especially for someone in so much pain… 😉

      V D Colman

      March 4, 2016 at 11:14 am

      • Theirs is no why not V D Colman, they already do.

        http://www.motability.co.uk/

        The mobility scheme is an allowance

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motability

        This means if this person has the funds to add to it like a loan, their own children now grown up chipping in or even friends, its perfectly acceptable in the eyes of government. Also remember and you aren’t seeing government moaning, most car makers supply such vehicles, even the likes of BMW.

        Like i said earlier you made an assertion that clearly on the balance of evidence is way off out of the ball park as so to speak.

        Now this isn’t a jibe as i have already made clear causality but had you made more of an effort you wouldn’t have made the posts you did which tells me when you spoke of “they get more money than i did” that you are equally as likely to have made less effort in your career or possibly even job search (this is very subjective) if currently unemployed.

        doug

        March 4, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      • @ doug – can you not read? “they get more money than i did” is referring to a comment in posted on the National Scot article!! It is re-printed in full with the relevant part bolded !! It’s obvious where you should have gone, doug!

        Speckled Saver

        March 4, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      • Speckled saver, when i pull up the page of this article i don’t get a comments section. even at the top of the article where it says 15 comments, when i put my mouse on it like i do other sites, i get no response whats so ever.

        doug

        March 4, 2016 at 3:13 pm

  10. The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. – debt.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35721477

    enigma

    March 4, 2016 at 12:36 pm

  11. Very interesting info on efds Doug, not many people know the stats of the disabled, I was one of them.

    enigma

    March 4, 2016 at 1:31 pm

  12. There was an interview with a Saudi prince in charge of building a new resort or whatever on the BBC’s ‘Hardtalk’ recently. He commented that that they couldn’t get Saudi’s to to the shitty….. er, ‘entry-level jobs… “cleaners, labourers…. ” so they had to import foreign nationals to these jobs. Nobody wants to do low-paid, shitty jobs. And it’s very telling that those who wax lyrical about the benefits of low-paid shitty jobs do so from behind a desk in an air-conditioned office on a fat salary.

    Anyone who doesn’t want to work shitty jobs for low pay which will actually leave them worse off is actually sound of mind when you think about it, rather than “mentally ill” as the DWP and their third-party collaborators try and make out.

    Gattaca

    March 4, 2016 at 2:20 pm

  13. DWP ‘ruined me’ with ‘victimisation’, says disabled benefit claimant

    DNS – 4th March 2016

    A disabled man has accused the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of victimising him and ruining his life after it tried – and failed – to prosecute him for benefit fraud, despite letters from medical professionals confirming his serious medical conditions.

    The case of Gary Moyse has shone a spotlight on DWP’s use of fraud investigators, and of secret filmed footage in cases where a claimant has a serious but fluctuating condition.

    Read More:
    http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-ruined-me-with-victimisation-says-disabled-benefit-claimant/

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    March 4, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    • “But he claims that investigators working for an insurance company” – it’s an INSURANCE claim. This what they do. You should watch Claimed and Shamed on BBC. You can a claim and it WILL be INVESTIGATED!!

      Claimed and Shamed

      March 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    • “But he claims that investigators working for an insurance company” – it’s an INSURANCE claim. This what they insurance companies do. You should watch Claimed and Shamed on BBC. You make a claim and it WILL be INVESTIGATED!!

      Claimed and Shamed

      March 4, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    • “six-figure damages” i.e. at least £100,000. Try claiming for a ‘stolen’ mobile ‘phone and they will go through your claim with a fine-tooth comb. A ix figure claim and they think an insurance company pays out just like that – how stupid are people!?

      Claimed and Shamed

      March 4, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      • I don’t know where your going with this claimed and shamed but as im sure any judge, solicitor or anyone with knowledge of law will remind you, DWP or even anyone else for that fact that we have such a thing as presumption of innocence (the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies).

        You see the burden of proof is on whom prosecutes to provide compelling and legally admissible evidence to a judge, a judge that by law must only continue to reside only if the criteria is such.
        It appears in this case that the axle of evidence, the prosecutions lynch pin was indeed these investigators who prosecution had time enough to produce on the said date as this trial hardly precedes the day after they decide to prosecute and as is always the case is a trial date set many months down the road.

        You see when you get prosecuted the first visit to court is held at magistrates court to decide the severity of the case and the defendants plea. Based upon these two factors not withstanding whether the judge considers prosecutions evidence to be compelling to proceed a court date for the trial to begin will be set.

        DWP are im afraid grossly distorting the fact when they said they only lost on grounds the judge didn’t want an adjournment because judges being themselves under law, don’t have the right to personal preferences so in full accordance with the law must throw out the case.

        doug

        March 4, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      • As for insurance companies who actually make possible the proliferation of scamming by way of selling peoples personal details to the businesses that assist people to make such claims this is how they work.

        The first thing they do if you put a claim in for injury is offer you £1500 and 6 free back rubs at a chiropractor. If you boo hoo this their double it.

        If you boo hoo this again they will weigh it up and should they feel they can win even if the injury is in fact true, they will file for civil proceedings. Now technically they should inform you of a date but this never happens or should i say they post a letter full well knowing it wont arrive early enough for you to attend. Another trick they do is batch file where they group loads of cases together. Well naturally not being their, not being sharp as a tack and with legal knowledge, if you don’t question the authenticity of the video assuming the judge actually watched it if say the defendant didn’t appear the judge may decide to instantly rule without actually checking the quality of the video in civil cases that are not the same as criminal ones.

        Also remember even if you are present and question the video, you must yourself find the costs required to check its authenticity so again it could be true what the person says but dew to finances is unable to prove their point in a expert manner a judge is willing to except.

        doug

        March 4, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      • Claimed and Shamed

        The figures for where DWP failed [despite earlier warnings to appear] in Tribunals is eyewatering in its number – this is of course your and our money being wasted. DWP knows turning up in these cases [they get months notice] where they claim they have solid prosecutable evidence [which strangely fails to materialise] as the basis for bringing the claim to court.

        Unfortunetly when they do have to produce it on set date nothing appears.

        The conclusion from the lack of evidence is stark.

        Gazza

        March 4, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    • The tribunal concluded that his “stated level of disability was lacking in credibility” and that he “suffers from no mental health disability”, despite the evidence of doctors and psychiatrists.

      Meanwhile

      Joblessness Branded A ‘Mental Illness’: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Sanctions?

      So we’re all off to a tribunal one day then.

      enigma

      March 4, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      • I personally wouldn’t worry about enigma as,

        A: CBT isnt going to convince an employer who from a country that has a massive inwork discrimination problem to hire you so money down the drain and,

        B: DWP would have to take millions to court or seek a major legal ruling which either way costs a ton of money that taxpayers wont be pleased about especially considering how frequent DWP seem to be losing these days like their battle to hold on to their myth factory.

        Im not saying they wont attack the mentally ill but to brand all claimants will never wash, especially when you’ve only put a claim in on being unemployed and not ill. Add to this they need legal consent for you to submit to any health practice so basically they would have to have a shrink certify everyone as mentally incompetent, spin the 2 things i just said and your see its never going to happen no matter what they brand the unemployed but not ill as.

        doug

        March 4, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      • doug

        I fully agree. That’s why I said if this ever comes to court it will get crushed.

        Further, a scenario to ponder: Claimant is assessed by own doctor over a period of time and [insert specialist field] who has also assessed person over a period of time, against DWP appointed Quack [clearly driven by need to fill in boxes] who says the others are wrong.

        Good luck with that is all I say. Money wasting fools.

        Gazza

        March 4, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      • Being branded “mentally ill” is probably even worse than being branded a “criminal” when it comes to seeking employment i..e unemployable. Employers don’t take on the “mentally ill” any more than they employ “criminals”. You would also likely loose any employment you did have if you slipped up and said you had been to see the [DWP] shrink. Middle-class knob-heads with their ‘psychology’ degrees would just love to be paid a fat salary for being sat in jobcentres messing with jobseekers heads and asking them intrusive, personal questions,all the while threatening sanctions for ‘non-co-operation. “Advisors” can treat the unemployed as mentally ill with their underhand belittling tactics all they like but this just isn’t going to happen. It can’t!

        Dee Pressive

        March 5, 2016 at 9:57 am

    • Watch out for this “Job Seekers Allowance Annual Verification”,received another letter saying they “hadn’t heard from me” and have 14 days to reply despite sending form back and endless Jobcentre questioning about changes in circumstances.

      There mention on the web that claims are being closed down as these letters are not supposedly being received.

      http://www.haringeyadvice.org.uk/uploads/DWP_local_partnership_newsletter_March_2015.pdf

      https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/annual_verification_check_for_be

      Bottom Copy.

      http://samedifference1.com/2015/04/20/important-jsa-annual-verification-from-27th-april/

      ken

      March 4, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      • It might be DWPs slight of hand at getting single people off JSA and onto UC.

        doug

        March 5, 2016 at 9:03 am

      • Ken

        Simple answer. Keep a copy and post on same day you sign. Instruct that it gets scanned and sent and at the same time gets attached to your records.

        I suspect there will be no more of this – “It’s not arrived/gone missing/you never sent it” rubbish.

        I wonder why DWP don’t advise this

        Gazza

        March 5, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      • Thanks for the comments will let know outcome.

        ken

        March 6, 2016 at 5:26 pm

  14. OT: Protection in Work

    hat-tip to refuted

    As no-one has brought it up thought I’d point out that good old DWP has once again put itself through the wringer.

    DWP sacked a person [has long term medical problem] for failing to adhere to long term sick policy by going over allowed days off sick due to recurring medical issues.

    DWP lost. And as a result it has set a precedent. Oh dear.

    See here:
    http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/pcs_comment/pcs_comment.cfm/pcs-secures-groundbreaking-disability-discrimination-judgment

    PCS secures groundbreaking disability discrimination judgment

    Gazza

    March 4, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    • Correction

      Part of her case was upheld – i.e. the need to make reasonable adjustments that’s where the major change is now coming from, and by definition invalidates the imposition of a allocated number of days off sick.

      Apologies.

      Gazza

      March 4, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    • I read that the other day from PCSs website or maybe it was some site like that Gazza.

      I think considering hes now attacking his own employer ontop of everything else that he may well suffer from ODD, well either that or rabies as hes always foaming at the mouth.

      You would think by now he would have got over his entire parties coup that saw him fall as party leader and stand shoulder to shoulder with special needs Ed Milliband in the annuals of political history.

      doug

      March 4, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      • doug

        The worrying thing is he still dreams of being party leader – why else is he so desperately trying anything/everything a la “Trump” style [note the similarities – rich/ConCon, in denial that they are wrong “I believe…”, etc etc] to justify his actions/inaction.

        Gazza

        March 4, 2016 at 6:19 pm

      • From what i have heard in the past, is hes not well liked in the party as a whole, that hes merely a tool to others their.

        Put in the fact (do double check this incase im wrong) no previous party leader who has been unfavorable with the public and so steps down has ever gone onto be prime minister.

        doug

        March 5, 2016 at 9:07 am

  15. Protest today at City Road (see above).

    Ipswich people will recognise the malcontent pictured:

    Andrew Coates

    March 4, 2016 at 5:33 pm

  16. I must say MrCoates, your website is very popular with tory fanboys and snake oil salesmen.

    You and Ipswich unemployed must be doing something right, keep it up as most of us are right behind you in solidarity.

    doug

    March 4, 2016 at 6:38 pm

  17. OT : DWP Staff the chickens come home to roost

    I forgot to mention a person I know remarked how he had a bad experience while signing on – extreme pressure employed by a grinning idiot DWP George Smith Fanboy. Had him for something like 6/8 months then he disseapeared,…

    Only to appear as a claimant and looking most most unhappy. Saw him a time or too after that but never seen him since. I wonder how he’s found being on the other side of the desk…

    Gazza

    March 4, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    • Nothing like poetic justice.

      doug

      March 5, 2016 at 9:09 am

  18. Food Bank Conference – Politicians to be grilled

    “The aim is to work out a strategy to put an end to food poverty and people having to rely on handouts from food banks”.

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/food-fought-politicians-face-public-7498747#buBrwPiI9b4mDWaF.97

    Tobanem

    March 5, 2016 at 10:33 am

    • Can you see vouchers appearing.

      enigma

      March 5, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    • Interesting Tobanem,

      i cant wait to see what comes from it.

      I do have concerns regarding the element that say food vouchers given out be it council,DWP would infact remove from peoples eyes the current problems UK people and families face.

      doug

      March 5, 2016 at 12:46 pm

  19. Very Important:

    Last referral date for CWP’s and MWA’s is the 31st of March 2016, so if a JCP work roach tries to refer you to either after the 31st of March – then call a floor manager over as this will be illegal.

    Read more here:

    Mandatory Work Activity and Community Work Placements to go! But what’s coming next?

    http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=4535

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    March 5, 2016 at 11:00 am

    • And if you get an unexpected “Back to Work” interview before 31 March it would be better to claim ‘sickness’ 😀

      Dopper

      March 5, 2016 at 11:11 am

      • The work & health programme.

        enigma

        March 5, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      • A “helping you back to work interview” is likely to be a CWP referral. It wouldn’t be surprising if the jobcentre start springing this exploitative and demeaning scheme on unsuspecting jobseekers before the 31 March deadline… 😉

        Fuck Workfare

        March 6, 2016 at 8:57 am

    • Its a real treat hearing from you again Obi Wan as i recall the times when you were quite prolific in here these parts.

      I really hope DWP stop playing with these broken simulator programs and start investing in the idea of more purposeful qualifications and recruiting employers offering over 25s at least nat min but more importantly an environment that’s conducive to ones studies.

      DWP need to tap into trade shortages like teachers, nurses, engineers,construction workers and the likes instead of retail, warehouse and other like minded trades that don’t have a real future and especially don’t provide a self employed route trade wise if PAYE work isn’t available.

      doug

      March 5, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      • Enigma you are correct:

        The Work and Heath Programme – But it does not commence until sometime in 2017.

        Here’s the kicker (in our favour for once)

        There is nothing to replace CWP’s or MWA’s for the over 25’s including the over 50’s until sometime in 2017 at the earliest.

        The reason is that the DWP/IDS has been ordered to save another 12 Billion in his department in this term of parliament – the only way he can do this is not to renew the Private Provider contracts.

        Yippee!

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        March 5, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      • Hi Doug – Don’t comment much now but still have a foot in the door, anything that’s really important and about to come up on the calendar – I will try and post a bit ahead of time to remind people of what is about to happen.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        March 5, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    • F.A.O. Andy Coates – my post above might be worth a subject post of it’s own as some people on JSA and ESA might not yet be aware of the last referral date for CWP and MWA.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      March 5, 2016 at 3:42 pm

  20. “They’re driving vulnerable people to their deaths,” “I don’t know why no one’s doing anything.”

    It does seem that way doesn’t it.

    enigma

    March 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    • I dont know if its IDSs military past (making tea and being bullied) but these deaths to him i suspect aren’t anything more than as the military say, “an acceptable loss”.

      doug

      March 5, 2016 at 12:57 pm

      • All he did at Sandhurst was peel spud’s!

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        March 5, 2016 at 3:15 pm

  21. A HOMELESS man arrested by undercover cops for begging for just ten pence has had his case thrown out of court after a judge said it was not “in the interests of justice”.

    http://streetskitchen.co.uk/brighton-homeless-man-arrested-by-undercover-cops-begging-for-10p-has-case-thrown-out-of-court-by-angry-judge/

    enigma

    March 5, 2016 at 2:43 pm

  22. ACTIVISTS picketed a medical centre yesterday that’s being used to pilot Tory plans to put “job coaches” in GP surgeries, fearing the sick will be “bullied” into taking unsuitable work.

    Around 50 people assembled outside north London’s City Road Medical Centre to oppose its decision to let private health assessment firm Maximus prescribe work for patients on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

    Campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) said people with long-term conditions are being targeted for “work cure” treatment and that they could lose their employment support allowance in the future if they don’t comply.

    Seven GP surgeries in Islington have joined forces with Jobcentre Plus to provide people with physical and mental needs with “intensive employment coaching” — which is voluntary, but campaigners fear that it would soon be mandatory.

    “The line between healthcare and the DWP is being blurred. Doctors should remember their ethics and do no harm,” DPAC’s Paula Peters told the crowd.

    The pressure could cause patients to “crack,” she warned.

    Junior doctor Mona Kamal attended in solidarity to say that the DWP “wants doctors to be complicit” in the scheme but that the British Medical Association would “not take this lying down.”

    But Islington Council leader Richard Watts said campaigners’ fears were “misplaced,” insisting that the scheme would not result in any benefit sanctions.

    Mental Health Resistant Network has also raised the alarm.

    A spokesperson said: “Our concern is that this scheme will not be voluntary.

    “Over time it will become mandatory and lead to sanctions and loss of benefits, as the doctor becomes part of the DWP-funded scheme to force claimants into low-paid or unsuitable jobs that will undermine the patient’s condition.”

    A DWP spokesman told the Stat that the “small local project” was a pilot scheme to see if offering jobseeking services works to “potentially make it easier for people to look for work if they are able.”

    He said: “Exploring new ways to deliver services is an important part of our efforts to provide the best possible support to claimants.”

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-b384-GP-centres-coaches-spark-protests

    Andrew Coates

    March 5, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    • The best possible support for claimants, and that’s the best they can come up with to support the unemployed.

      enigma

      March 5, 2016 at 7:08 pm

  23. DWP/IDS:

    The following is total speculation – but I would bet money it’s not for from the truth.

    Work obsessed! – What about the other section of your Dept. ‘Pensions’ – shall we all give IDS a good kicking on that?

    He wouldn’t know where to start. Hence his total refusal at the last Prime Ministers request to move him to a different Dept. of the Government.

    I would speculate he has only one recourse – to remain or resign his current position of Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, because I again would speculate he has manipulated the staff of his Dept. that all of them are so scared they could be sacked at the drop of a hat by IDS.

    But as we all know ministers of all and any Dept. don’t last forever – IDS you are old – we are young! – We have time to see you replaced.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    March 5, 2016 at 4:17 pm

  24. Help to Save scheme for low-paid workers ‘attack on the welfare state’

    David Cameron has pledged more help to encourage low-paid workers to build a rainy day fund. But it could be the start of something far more sinister.

    But with details of the scheme still under wraps, savings insiders believe such a scheme may look more like insurance than a typical savings account.

    The Prime Minister David Cameron said this week: “We intend to bring forward a ‘Help to Save’ scheme to encourage those on low incomes to build up a rainy day fund.”

    The scheme will be outlined in full at the March 16 Budget, he added.

    A rainy day fund is shorthand for enough savings to cover you for three months if you lose your job, or something else goes wrong.

    But some think the Government could have a different idea in mind – and it could have implications for the future of the welfare state.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/help-save-scheme-low-paid-7177681

    enigma

    March 5, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    • So how does someone working 37 hours on nat min save then after all their wages are swallowed up by taxes, national insurance contributions, travel expenses,utility bills, content/building/car insurance, rent, food and if a family, funding your child to adulthood ?

      doug

      March 7, 2016 at 7:45 am

      • Hm.. good question that 😀 and you get a free pen* just for enquiring 😀

        *RRP £9.99**

        **made-up 😀

        Michael Parkinson

        March 10, 2016 at 5:05 pm

  25. You can only be compelled to attend to see a psychologist/psychiatrist under COURT ORDER!!

    MK Ultra

    March 8, 2016 at 2:47 pm

  26. Try getting sanctioned for 4 weeks due to sign on time clashing with the hospital appointment. Jobcentre advisor was given a copy of the hospital letter months in advance and photocopied it. I went into the job centre to query what had happened and was faced with blank stares from the G4S guards and an advisor standing at the doorway. It took a lot of perseverence to get to see the manager face to face and in all fairness he did appologise and sort the problem for me and reinstated my JSA payments.

    I was on Support Group ESA for a long term, well permanent illness (epilepsy) until i was forced onto JSA last October. It’s sort of controlled to the point where the seizures have lessened in frequency but still enough for the neuro consultant to advise against working near water, at heights and with machinery yet these are the types of vacancies im being forced to apply for. Have been found fit for work so disqualified from ESA, yet if i provide a doctors note they will say im not well enough for JSA

    I wonder how many people actually get made redundant, taken ill or lose their jobs through no fault of their own and develop mental health problems as a result of the treatment of DWP and general struggles with life on benefits? I imagine there are quite a few.

    CSKK

    March 10, 2016 at 3:15 pm


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