Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘sickness benefit

Iain Duncan Smith Announces Plans for more Misery for Claimants as Mental Health Targeted.

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.

‘Mental Health’. 

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.

  • Closing Remploy factories
  • Scrapping the Independent Living Fund
  • Cut payments for the disabled Access To Work scheme
  • Cut Employment and Support Allowance
  • Risk homelessness with a sharp increase disability benefit sanctions
  • Sending sick people to work because of broken fitness to work tests
  • The bedroom tax

Fat People Told to Slim or Lose Benefits.

Nicolas Soames: Tory MP, “According to one of Soames’ ex-lovers, however, having sex with Soames is like having a very large wardrobe with a small key fall on you.”

Sickness benefit review to consider obesity and drug problems.

Those of us on benefits are already the most observed, controlled, stamped, sanctioned and ordered-around people in the country.

We have to complete 35 hours a week ‘Job Search’ because “looking for work is a full-time job”.

Failure to comply with every dot and comma of our ‘agreements’ results in loss of benefit, trips to Food Banks, and the risk of becoming homeless.

Tobanem points out that even if you find a job you are at risk of being caught up in the punishment system if you don’t get enough hours.

From Speyejoe

work35 be sanctionedNow we have this,

Obese people without jobs will be forced to diet or lose their benefits under plans to be set out by David Cameron today. Alcoholics and drug addicts will also face being stripped of their benefits, worth about £100 a week, if they refuse to accept a recommended treatment plan. The move is the first salvo in the Conservatives’ week focusing on welfare and is designed to capitalise on widespread public unhappiness at the scale of benefit claims.

The Times from Conservative Home.

Which reminds me of this (Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government).

The BBC continues,

David Cameron has commissioned a health adviser to review whether people with obesity, alcohol or drug problems should have benefits cut if they refuse treatment to make them fit for work.

About 100,000 people with such long-term, yet treatable, conditions are claiming sickness benefits.

Prof Dame Carol Black will consider whether the welfare system fails to encourage them to get treatment.

The PM said it was unfair for workers to fund those who refuse such help.

“Some have drug or alcohol problems, but refuse treatment,” Mr Cameron said.

“In other cases people have problems with their weight that could be addressed, but instead a life on benefits rather than work becomes the choice.

From the BBC.

Iain Duncan Smith adds,

“In particular, I have asked her to consider whether people should face the threat of a reduction in benefits if they refuse to engage with a recommended treatment plan.

The Conservatives: the Party of Snoopers, Busy Bodies, and Grinders of the Faces of the Poor.

Benefits Britain: Cheap and Nasty, Just like Channel Four Likes ’em.

Benefits Britain

Channel Four’s Shame: Benefits Britain.

So Benefits Britain screened last night.

Three volunteers confronted the benefits system of 1949.  This operated (according to the Independent) on the rule that it would provide “help to those who were prepared to help themselves”. Their 2013 allowance was replaced by what they would have got (accounting for inflation) in 1949 money. The programme makers claim, ” the welfare system it resurrects is anything but a soft touch for any of the claimants, which include single parents, the disabled, the elderly and the sick.”

Everybody immediately confronted the insurance basis of the post-war Welfare system.

You only got something out on the basis of having paid in – through the National Insurance system.

It was made clear that any additional help, through National Assistance, was considered such a stigma that people were very reluctant to even try to use it.

Melvyn, a widower and a  pensioner, saw his income of  £100 a week drop to £5.49 a day; Karen, who had worked for 22 years presently on sickness benefit, also saw her money fall drastically, and Craig, confined to a wheelchair who had spina bifida from birth, had not NI contributions. He only got some income when he agreed to go on a training course.

Melvyn barely had enough  food to live on, and found it impossible to pay his utility bills. he ended up pawning his grandfather’s watch to pay for them.

He often broke into tears recalling his beloved wife.

It was harrowing for him, and harrowing for us to watch, though no doubt good television in the producers eyes.

Karen was obliged to defend her eligibility for any benefits – her illnesses were  largely invisible. She quickly became very stroppy about this and rightly so.

But then she was just a  mixed-race working class women, fresh for Channel Four viewing.

Craig was very happy – as he deserved to be – at being offered a job after his course.

His dignity did not make us forget the earlier degrading scenes.

The “Welfare Enforcement Officers” (apparently a Channel Four title they just invented),  Colin Goldsack and Ann Townsend clearly enjoyed themselves snooping around and policing people’s lives. They had form – both had worked for civil service departments  now part of the DWP.

The producers seemed to think that intense surveillance of claimants’ lives was something of the past.

They had obviously not signed on recently.

Townsened thought that we should perhaps “consider” asking the same kind of tough 1948 questions to claimants today.

It might also be suggested that she has spent the last few years on holiday on the planet Mars.

The Indy’s telly critic,  ARIFA AKBAR says,

The premise of this show seemed irresponsible and ill-thought-out. It was a bit like devising a show that put today’s mentally ill – those with bipolar, schizophrenics, anorexics and bulimics – into 19th-century’s Bedlam to see how they would fair in a pre-Freudian, pre-RD Laing era.

I was reminded of some post-War virtues Channel Four has forgotten,

The term ‘Reithianism’ describes certain principles of broadcasting associated with Lord Reith. These include an equal consideration of all viewpoints, probity, universality and a commitment to public service. It can be distinguished from the free-market approach to broadcasting, where programming aims to attract the largest audiences or advertising revenues, ahead of – and, in practice, often contrary to – any artistic merit, impartiality, educative or entertainment values, that a programme may have. Wikipedia.

Benefits Britain was cheap.

The participants were unpaid, to preserve their benefits, and the rest of the production must have cost a shoestring.

It was unable to consider the viewpoint that the system was just being created yet was an advance on what had existed before.

Other aspects of welfare, like its universality (regardless of contribution) were introduced because the insurance system did not work.

This was equally left unconsidered.

The gruelling scenes watching the poor chap Melvyn lacked all probity.

It was not universal, since nobody could imagine a sloppier comparison with the general experience of welfare today..

It breathed a dislike of public service – the  present day welfare system.

It was simply aimed “to attract the largest audiences or advertising revenues.”

Written by Andrew Coates

August 13, 2013 at 9:16 am