Comment: IDS and the DWP can run, but they can’t hide


I’ve just heard the Department for Work and Pensions has refused to send anyone to Radio 4’s You and Yours show on BBC Radio 4 tomorrow (12 noon) to defend and debate with me the changes we exposed in #esaSOS.

Iain-Duncan-SmithDespite leading barristers saying they are illegal and professors of medicine saying they are immoral and unworkable, the DWP haven’t answered a single point we raised. Again.

It’s remarkable. People are suffering – 140,000 people have been proven to have been unfairly stripped of their livelihood. We challenge them, they don’t even deny we’re right, but they sit there in their ivory towers and say, “so sue us”.

Well, DWP, we will and if you think I’ll stop at defeating you on ESA you’re wrong. I’ll make sure every last one of you is held personally accountable for the horrific assault you’re inflicting on vulnerable people in the UK who need you most.

In the next few weeks, I will release stories proving you are liars and cheats. I promise, you will not be able to hide from these. You will have no defence, no one to blame but yourselves. And yes, I’ll do it from my hospital bed, and yes, I’ll do it fed into my central line, and yes, I will win.

And think on this DWP – you’ve left me the whole show to say what I like unopposed.

This article was originally published on Sue’s blog, “Diary of a Benefit Scrounger”; follow Sue on Twitter: @suey2y.

See also:

ESA SOS: Another day, another attack on disabled peopleJanuary 17th, 2013

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  • LB

    I accept the 140K changed on appeals. From memory, that’s 40% of those appealing.

    Now, ignoring appeals, how many tests have there been. How many passed, and how many failed, or gave up and didn’t attend for fear of being rumbled.

    ie. You need to know the population as a whole, to work out the percentage of successful tests. From that we get an idea of what percentage of the 2.6 million (from the latest figure I’ve seen), should be on disability.

    I see lots of benefits to the tests. It’s independent of their GP, and its standardized. Their GP shouldn’t be put in the position of determining money, just medical needs.

    Now, where I’ll agree with you, is over re-assessment. For some people, there shouldn’t be reassessment for long periods. ie. It’s obvious they aren’t going to improve. Here we shouldn’t be repeatedly testing. The problem lies with the people with intermittent conditions. So do you have a test for what you do with people whose condition comes and goes?

    So I’ve now asked you for some numbers. You never accept mine anyway.

    1. How many tests? 738,000 from last year

    2. How many passed?

    3. How many were rejected?

    4. Total number of appeals?, 295,000

    5. Total number of successful appeals? 140,000

    6. Number failing to attend.

    Percentage, succeeding on appeal, 38%

    So 140,000 were never stripped of any livelihood. Unless you think that other forms of welfare aren’t a livelihood

  • Mason Dixon, Autistic

    ” You need to know the population as a whole, to work out the percentage
    of successful tests. From that we get an idea of what percentage of the
    2.6 million (from the latest figure I’ve seen), should be on
    disability.”

    No you don’t. People who were obviously struggling with life-limiting impairments were ineligible under the previous criteria for Incapacity Benefit, an even greater number of are ineligible under ESA. Whether they should or should not be working or be supported to address their own self-care is not determined by criteria but by ethical norms. In Britain these are usually quite high but are discarded immediately when the general public, politicians and journalists encounter the subject of benefits. All you can get from figures is how many should be eligible and as the criteria has changed- ESA and the Work Capability Assessment say nothing about those who claimed Incapacity Benefit after undergoing a Personal Capability Assessment, which itself says nothing about those who claimed Incapacity Benefit after a real medical assessment by a genuine and DWP-appointed doctor. GP’s have never had a say on eligibility- their only role ever was to write sick-notes that permit someone to claim Statutory Sick Pay from their employers.

    The DWP collects no information on those found ‘fit for work’ but who do not appeal. It’s critically vital to assessing the actual accuracy and success of the system, hence they don’t. This is why the disparity between appealing claimants who do certain things and the rest who don’t matters: if this was simply a matter of law, when the tribunal judge is only supposed to rule on whether the law has been followed- then appearing at the tribunal in person or getting help from Citizens Advice shouldn’t matter.

    There are claimants hanging on by the skin of their teeth, meaning there are many more who are forced to give in but they are in no way capable of working.

  • LB

    The problem is that you’re clever enough to avoid answering the questions posed, because you know full well what the answers are.

    The government has been paying lots of people for years who should never have received any form of incapacity.

    Yep, the goal posts have been moved. It’s no longer an option. Those goal posts should never have been put up in the first place. So when it comes to working out the true success or failure rate of ATOS, (or any other test), you persist with the statistically biased percentage rate for appeals, and imply that must mean the over all rate is that bad.

    You can’t explain the increase in claimants, whilst health is getting better. You’ve hinted at the 40% with mental problems. OK, why should they get extra money? I fully accept those with care needs need extra help, but why, say someone with schizophrenia?

    GIven other disabilities have dropped, why then the massive increase in mental illness? Do we really have nearly 2 million mentally ill people unable to work?

    It’s disguised unemployment. Even the figures for people getting jobs (15%) after being rejected is far better than lots of long term unemployed.

    As for the moral issue. I’ve a moral issue with paying people who don’t qualify, particularly when that comes at the expense of putting people into poverty in retirement.

    However, I get the pattern. It’s only your concerns that matter, taking 430,000 pounds off someone earning 26K a year, who cares. They probably aren’t clever enough to realize they have been mugged, and what the heck, by the time they notice, politicians will be long gone. So come on, where’s the morals in that?

  • Mason Dixon, Autistic

    “The problem is that you’re clever enough to avoid answering the
    questions posed, because you know full well what the answers are.”

    No, it’s because they are almost entirely off-topic.

    ” So when it comes to working out the true success or failure rate of
    ATOS, (or any other test), you persist with the statistically biased
    percentage rate for appeals, and imply that must mean the over all rate
    is that bad.”

    My point does not at all require reference to the flat percentage rate for appeals except to contrast it with the success rate for those who take certain specific actions which should not otherwise alter the outcome if the design and administration of the system were lawful, competent and ethical.

    “You can’t explain the increase in claimants, whilst health is getting better.”

    I have explained repeatedly and your responses have completely ignored what I have said, substituting something else which you argue against instead.

    “You’ve hinted at the 40% with mental problems. OK, why should they get
    extra money? I fully accept those with care needs need extra help, but
    why, say someone with schizophrenia?”

    I have made no citation of a figure for those with mental impairments. No one gets a benefit for any specific condition- they get it because the life-limiting affect on them makes them unsuitable for a workplace. People who would be in psychiatric hospitals if not for Care in the Community are not suitable for the workplace. Some Schizophrenics can work, some can’t.

    “GIven other disabilities have dropped, why then the massive increase in
    mental illness? Do we really have nearly 2 million mentally ill people
    unable to work?”

    No, they didn’t exactly drop. Those caused by industrial accidents did due to decline in heavy industry and improved health and safety in those remaining. Congenital birth defects, genetic disorders and acquired chronic illnesses have risen with population growth and because healthcare improvements mean they live when they otherwise have died. The brain-dead argument that better healthcare must mean less disability requires a gigantic assumption: that any of the major diagnostic groups represented among claimants have had a cure or wonder treatment developed recently that means they live significantly better, not just longer. Has there been a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, AIDs or Epilepsy?

    Most claimants used to be primarily physically impaired and this hasn’t really shrunk, it’s just that the swell in the early 90s were of course those primarily impaired mentally and they are the least understood among the disabled, the most vilified and least likely to be suited to any workplace.

    “It’s disguised unemployment. Even the figures for people getting jobs
    (15%) after being rejected is far better than lots of long term
    unemployed.”

    As the DWP do not actually track what happens to those who are found ‘fit for work’ but who do not appeal, the figure is suspect. Or maybe it’s just your phrasing of it. Most new ESA claimants have worked until recently, then gone on SSP and then gone over the time-limit allowed for that so have had to make an ESA claim whilst still recovering. These are then the people who stop claiming before the assessment and some of them have the assessment and are declared ‘fit for work’ whether they are ready are not, but they then walk straight back into the jobs they already have. I can’t know for sure because I have no idea where that figure you’re citing comes from.

    “As for the moral issue. I’ve a moral issue with paying people who don’t
    qualify, particularly when that comes at the expense of putting people
    into poverty in retirement.”

    If you go by ‘who qualifies’ rather than ‘who needs’, then you are skirting around the moral issue, not addressing it with a valid stand on principle.

  • Mason Dixon, Autistic

    …And I would ask you to stop conflating all mental disability with ‘mental illness’.

    Autism, Schizophrenia, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome, Prader-Willi, the after-affects of a stroke- none of these are mental illnesses.

  • LB

    Of course you don’t want to discuss the fact that all this money has come at the expense of putting people into poverty in their retirement.

    430,000 pounds lost, taken by people like you, from someone earning 26K a year, leaving them in poverty.

    You completely ignore that effect as a moral issue.

    It’s a moral issue. It’s made them poor. Do they not have a need for a decent retirement? Ah no, your needs are such that you will screw them over for your own needs.

    What’s despicable about your position is that I doubt you would stand up in a room full of the victims of your policy and say, up yours, we’ve had your money. You’re in poverty, get on with it

    However you’re quite prepared to defend those who don’t need the money, getting it.

    1.5 million increase in the disabled. Is the NHS really that bad? We know it kills 20-80,000 a year from their own estimates.

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS

    GEOFFREY REYNOLDS left an annotation (31 January 2013)

    Gone are the days when you needed to use an easily recognizable mode of ending someones life…..

    No need for firearms,knives or poison….

    It could start with the receipt of a seemingly innocent brown
    envelope containing a deadly recipe concocted to take away the very
    reason for living…..

    A death sentence generated and sent to the most weakest and
    vulnerable in our society by the most heinous and cowardly in our
    society…..

    The assailants hide behind bureaucracy and ill thought out guidelines and hastily drafted, corrupted laws.

    Meanwhile the impact becomes more and more apparent as the clock ticks and the victims multiply…

    Statistics will be used to try and mask the injustice but consciences will carry the burden. It is never erase

    Link to this

  • marylou

    my son who has a profound mental illness was put in the ‘capable of work catagory’ last march,without even being SEEN, we appealed in april,his doctor asking for a quick resolution as the whole thing was exacebating his mental illness.they reduced his benefits,SIX months later in september the appeal was upheld,he got the money they took off back in november,the whole thing has started again january this year,TELL YOU NOW THOUGH,NOBOBY IS GVING UP.lord help anybody who has not got someone at the back of them,thats all i say,the whole thing is mental torture.

  • marylou

    read my post above,you’ve obviously no personal experience of the barbaric process.

  • http://twitter.com/ATurtle05 Tony Turtle

    Proves the Department is scared of Sue then!

  • http://twitter.com/govsocgradessex wonderperson

    Here here! https://katesjc6189.wordpress.com/ See ‘ The Bonfire of the Liberties: New Labour, Human Rights and The Rule of Law’ Keith Ewing http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bonfire-Liberties-Labour-Human-Rights/dp/019958477X/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0

  • http://twitter.com/govsocgradessex wonderperson

    This Govt as was the New Labour one before it keeps on doing things under the radar to avoid protest and democratic accountability.

  • Carl Fenn

    Yes they are oushing people into povert, I have witnessed severe maladministration of the law in the DWP office, wrongfull advice to deprive
    people of benefits, benefits illegally stoped, and claimants made to reclaim and
    then put on another benefit, when the truth comes out we are going to see
    a lot of illegal activities have been used to cut buget.

  • LB

    I’ve no doubt its tough. That’s the whole point of it.

    Unless you have an objective test, that’s consistently applied across the board, then people will be denied benefits when they need them, and the converse, people will get benefits they shouldn’t.

    For the evidence, such as the numbers not turning up its clear the test was long overdue.

    Similarly, the number of appeals that succeed is also what you would expect. It’s because the population appealing is representative of the population as a whole.

    Where I do see issues is with people who have intermittent conditions. However, here I’ve challenged people like you to come up with a test that means they get help when they need it, and no help when they don’t. So far no-one has proposed an objective test.

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