Thousands have died after being found fit for work, DWP figures show
Archive for the ‘Incapacity Benefit’ Category
Corbyn Urges PM to See I, Daniel Blake.
During Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday this happened (BBC)
Jeremy Corbyn asked Theresa May why she was bringing in cuts to Universal Credit.
Cutting Personal Independent Payments to reduce Disabled Burden on Wealthy.
Budget 2016: George Osborne’s £1bn Disabled Cut To Fund ‘Middle Class Tax Giveaway’ Riles Campaigners
The Chancellor is allegedly preparing to use the £130 slashed from 600,000 disabled people’s PIP – Personal Independence Payment – support to raise the threshold at which people start paying 40p tax.
But fears are already mounting, with one senior Labour frontbencher saying the move would be “obscene”.
Owen Smith, shadow work and pensions secretary, posted on Twitter: “Already wicked to take another £1.2 billion from disabled, but truly obscene if switched for tax cuts at the Budget.”
One can only assume that in line with policies to stop the feckless poor from breeding – cuts in family allowances – this is part of a plan to stop people who are disabled taking up PIPs and no doubt to reduce the numbers of the disabled.
The Observer analyses the figures,
Research conducted by the foundation for the Observer has established that the cuts – including moves to increase the threshold at which the 40p rate of tax becomes payable from £42,385 to £50,000 by 2020 – will cost £2bn over the next two years, with 85% of the windfall going to the richest half of households.
Torsten Bell, director of Resolution Foundation, said: “Keeping on track with those commitments would mean finding £2bn over the next two years and would overwhelmingly benefit richer households.
“The priority should be supporting low- and middle-income families, instead of going down this route of expensive and poorly targeted tax cuts.”
Osborne also plans to increase the personal tax-free allowance, which is due to rise to £10,800 from April and £11,000 in 2017, reaching £12,500 by 2020. But 4.6 million low-paid workers will gain nothing from these cuts, because they do not earn enough to pay tax. Resolution Foundation says low-income families on universal credit will have two-thirds of any tax cut clawed back through reduced benefits.
Iain Duncan Smith, still “Fit for DWP Work”.
The Department for Work and Pensions has admitted defeat in its attempt to hide the number of people who have died while claiming incapacity benefits since November 2011 – and has announced that the number who died between January that year and February 2014 is a shocking 91,740.
This represents an increase to an average of 99 deaths per day or 692 per week, between the start of December 2011 and the end of February 2014 – compared with 32 deaths per day/222 per week between January and November 2011.
The DWP has strenuously asserted that “any causal effect between benefits and mortality cannot be assumed from these statistics”.
Read more on Vox Political.
The Guardian reports:
Campaigners demand welfare overhaul after statistics reveal 2,380 people died between 2011 and 2014 shortly after being declared able to work.
More than 80 people a month are dying shortly after being declared “fit for work” according to new data, prompting campaigners to call for an overhaul of the government’s controversial welfare regime.
Statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions on Thursday show that 2,380 people died between December 2011 and February 2014 shortly after a work capability assessment (WCA) found they were able to work.
The administration of the WCA by officials has been widely criticised as crude and inaccurate by campaigners. There have been hundreds of thousands of appeals of fit-for-work decisions over the last few years, about four in 10 of which have succeeded.
But there was widespread acceptance that the data should be treated with caution. Because the cause of death was not recorded, it is impossible to show whether a death was linked to an incorrect assessment.
Of this number, 2,380 – or 4% – had received a decision that they were fit for work, meaning that they were at risk of losing their ESA benefit.
Of the 50,580, 7,200 claimants had died after being awarded ESA and being placed in the work-related activity group – a category which aims to identify claimants who are unfit to work but may be able to return to work in the future.
Tom Pollard, policy and campaigns manager at mental health charity Mind, said: “We’re not able to comment on these specific statistics as they only tell us the number of people who have died while on employment and support allowance [ESA], not the circumstances or details of these deaths.
“Nevertheless, we do have serious concerns about the benefit system, particularly for those with mental health problems currently being supported by ESA.
“The assessment used to decide who is eligible for ESA does not properly take account of the impact having a mental health problem can have on someone’s ability to work. As a result, many people don’t get the outcome that’s right for them, and have to go through a lengthy and stressful appeals process.
“We desperately need to see an overhaul of the system, with more tailored specialised support for people with mental health problems and less focus on pressuring people into work and stopping their benefits.”
Official Files: Mortality Statistics: Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance.
You can read the report: here.
IDS: Having as a Laugh at Claimants’ Expense.
Iain Duncan Smith is planning a shake-up of the rules on sickness benefit to encourage more people into work.
Announces the BBC.
The work and pensions secretary will argue in a speech that the current system is too “binary” – with claimants deemed either fit or unfit for work.
Instead, claimants should be made to take up any work they can, even if it is just a few hours, he will say.
Labour says cutting benefits for people who are not able to work is punishing the disabled for government failures.
But Mr Duncan Smith insists that the “most vulnerable people in our society” will be protected under his latest reforms.
His speech, in London, will not contain any policy announcements but aims instead to start a “conversation” about the next phase of welfare reform, according to DWP officials.
Mr Duncan Smith will be focusing on the Employment Support Allowance, which is paid to those unable to work on health grounds. Those who receive the payment have their fitness to work tested under the Work Capability Assessment.
He believes those assessments should be more personalised, so if someone is able to work for a few hours they are helped to do so.
“It is right that we look at how the system supports people who are sick,” he will say.
Mr Duncan Smith argues that instead of an “either or” assessment, what is needed is “a system focused on what a claimant can do and the support they’ll need, and not just on what they can’t.”
He will add: “Nearly 11 million adults in the UK have a common mental health condition and people are much more likely to fall out of work if they do.
“We also know that being out of work for four weeks or more can actually effect people’s mental health, even if the original reason for ill health was a physical one.”
These, the Independent observes, are 7 ways Iain Duncan Smith has “helped” the disabled so far.
The Void reports on the action,
Around 100 people marched on Streatham Jobcentre today in a fantastic start to the fight against forced psychological treatments for unemployed, sick and disabled claimants.
Protesters gathered in Streatham Memorial Gardens with many carrying banners showing the growing anger at the collaboration of mental health workers and charities with the DWP’s workfare and benefit sanctions regime. At just after 2pm the protest took to the streets, taking over the busy road before fnally arriving outside the Jobcentre which now also contains much of Lambeth’s mental health services.
The ever present G4S security guards blocked campaigners from entering the Jobcentre, with one member of staff informing the amused crowd that there were no jobs available today. What bungling Jobcentre workers didn’t realise is that several people were already inside the building where they proceeded to disrupt the opening party of the so-called Living Well Network Hub and hung a banner out of the window to large cheers from the crowd.
The Guardian says,
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.
Mental health workers and service users, furious at what they see as an attempt to embed psychological treatment in a back-to-work agenda, were to go ahead with their demonstration anyway.
They said they regarded Lambeth’s decision to locate the borough’s main community mental health centre in the same building as the jobcentre as being in the spirit of the plan to give psychological treatment to the unemployed.
Anger has been growing since the March budget announced a scheme to bring counsellors into jobcentres to offer “integrated employment and mental health support to claimants with common mental health conditions”.
Under the plan, therapists from the NHS’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme would support jobcentre staff to assess and treat claimants, who may be referred to online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) courses.
According to a recent DWP reply to a Freedom of Information request, the therapists would provide “Nice [National Institute for Health and Care Excellence]-approved and evidence-based psychological therapies to treat people with depression and anxiety disorders”.
The letter from the DWP went on: “Given that confidential space to deliver therapy is available in Jobcentre Plus premises, IAPT services will be conducting assessments and face-to-face therapy sessions in jobcentres, in the same way that they are provided in other community settings.
“Supported online CBT will be conducted through computers, via instant messaging and video communication tools, and via telephone.”
Advocates point to the correlation between poverty and mental health problems and say helping people back to work could aid their recoveries. Offering therapy to people on benefits could help them deal with the worst psychological effects of joblessness, they say.
More via link (above).
Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) Campaigners from Suffolk/Ipswich at Today’s Parliament Protest.
The BBC reports.
Protesters have attempted to enter the House of Commons chamber during Prime Minister’s Questions.
The group, campaigning against the end of the Independent Living Fund, were prevented from getting in by police.
BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said about 20 protesters, many of whom were in wheelchairs, had made their way towards – and attempted to “storm” into – the Commons chamber.
The doors were quickly closed on the chanting protesters, he said.
Prime Minister’s Questions carried on inside the chamber, and Commons officials told broadcasters not to film the protest, which continued outside in Westminster’s central lobby.
The video above suggests that they have not been successful in that demand!
The Huffington Post adds,
Protesters angry at cuts to welfare for people with disabilities have clashed with police as they attempted to gatecrash the main Commons chamber during Prime Minister’s Questions.
Around 40 demonstrators, including 10 in wheelchairs, from a group called Disabled People Against Cuts were held in Parliament’s Central Lobby after being thwarted from confronting David Cameron.
They were protesting against axing the Independent Living Fund, a payment that one protestor said prevents her being under effective “house arrest”.
The Prime Minister was seemingly unaware of the fracas – which was recorded on social media – as he answered questions from MPs.
Protester Janie Mac told The Huffington Post UK that one demonstrator was “dragged out by both her arms”, and that another was “kicked and punched”.
She said: “One protester tried to go through with their carer and they (the police) grabbed them like you wouldn’t believe.
Sally Booth, who has MS, said the payment was the “difference for most is us between getting out of bed in the morning, washing, getting dressed and given some food, and being parked in front of the television all day.
“It’s not much of a life. Before I got the ILF money I was hardly going out at all. It’s house arrest.”
More reports from Disabled People Against Cuts.
St Felix House Silent Street Ipswich.2nd March.
Disabled People Against Cuts and Suffolk People’s Assembly. Protesters gathered outside DWP Job and Assessment Centres today to protest against Maximus, the new Work Capability Enforcer. On the first Day of their Contract there were actions and protests across the country.
A national day of action has been called on March 2nd 2015 against Maximus, the company set to take over from Atos running the despised Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) for sickness and disability benefits.
These crude and callous assessments have been used to strip benefits from hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people after a quick computer based test ruled them ‘fit for work’. A growing number of suicides have been directly linked to this stressful regime, whilst charities, medical staff and claimants themselves have warned of the desperate consequences for those left with no money at all by the system.
Here are some shots, pics and videos: