Thursday, 2 August 2012

Breaking News : Possible New WCA Descriptors



As most of you probably know, the big problem with Work Capability Assessments are the descriptors. 

However bad Atos might be at customer service, they did not write the 17 descriptors that decide whether or not you will be found eligible for Employment and Support Allowance, the replacement for Incapacity Benefit. 

The DWP did.

Atos might have designed a computer programme as a framework for these descriptors, but they didn't write them. 

The DWP did.

Atos might be asked to carry out an assessment, but they don't decide if you are fit for work or not. 

The DWP do. 

What does this mean? Well, it means that the Government wrote criteria that were so tough, so detached from reality, so blatantly designed to ensure that seriously ill or disabled people failed, it didn't matter who did the assessments - Atos or Coco the Clown - the results would be the same. (Some might argue the two examples are the same....)

The descriptors we use today,http://www.tameside.gov.uk/esa/wca mean that those with fluctuating conditions, mental health or learning disabilities find it almost impossible to be accurately assessed. As these are the conditions increasing around the world, a cynic might argue that it was entirely intentional. Please do take a moment to look at the descriptors used currently. 

A week or so ago, we were sent a new set of descriptors anonymously that seemed to be significant improvement. We didn't know who had written them or whether there was any realistic chance that they would ever be used. 

As you can see from the guest post on out blogs, It turns out that these were the descriptors suggested by the mental health charities, learning disabilites charities and charities representing those with fluctuating conditions. 

We felt that it was only fair that you be given the chance to decide for yourselves what you think of the new descriptors. We are told that they may have changed over the last few weeks but that broadly, these are the descriptors that the DWP now say that they will test independently and fairly. 

We also felt, once we had seen them, that Mind and other charities had made the correct decision to work with the DWP rather than walking way and leaving the testing to be done by the DWP alone, without any input from sick or disabled people. 

We can only hope that these descriptors ARE closer to a model that will be used in the future as any improvement can only mean that millions of people currently undergoing an unfair and distressing process are more fairly treated. 

As Mind have pointed out, these new descriptors are far from perfect, but those currently used are unfit for purpose and will never provide a fair and balanced outcome. 

From, Sue and Kaliya 



PART 1

1. Mobilising

a. The claimant cannot reliably, repeatedly and safely, within a reasonable amount of time mobilise:

  • Over at least 100m [or suitable alternative distances to attract lower points]
  • On a variety of terrains, including steps and uneven as well as level ground
  • Through a variety of working spaces, including negotiating doors and other entrances and exits
  • To and from the workplace, and relevant work-related commitments, with some prior planning and adjustments
  • Without significant discomfort, breathlessness or fatigue

b. This is the case:
i. More than 75% of the time

ii. Between 50% and 75% of the time

iii. Between 20% and 50% of the time

2. Standing and sitting
a. Cannot reliably, repeatedly and safely, using any aid that it is reasonable to expect them to use:
i. Move between one seated position and another seated position located next to one another without receiving physical assistance from another person.
ii. Remain at a work station, either:
a. Standing unassisted by another person (even if free to move around) or;
b. Sitting (even in an adjustable chair) for more than 30 minutes without significant discomfort, loss of balance or exhaustion
iii. Remain at a work station; either:
a. Standing unassisted by another person (even if free to move around) or;
b. Sitting (even in an adjustable chair) for more than an hour without significant discomfort, loss of balance or exhaustion.

b. This is the case
i. More than 75% of the time

ii. Between 50% and 75% of the time

iii. Between 20% and 50% of the time

3. Reaching, picking up and moving
a. Due to difficulties with or restricted movement of upper body (arms, shoulders, back, neck) and/or lower body (hips, knees, ankles), cannot repeatedly, reliably and safely, without significant discomfort or exhaustion, from standing or sitting:
i. Reach up, down (i.e. through bending, kneeling or squatting) and sideways a reasonable distance

ii. Pick up and move a range of differently-sized objects up to 0.5kg

iii. Either reach up, down or sideways a reasonable distance; or reach and pick up and move a range of differently-sized objects up to 0.5kg

b.
i. with either hand

ii. with dominant hand

iii. with both hands


c. This is the case;
i. More than 75% of the time

ii. Between 50% and 75% of the time

iii. Between 20% and 50% of the time


4. Manual dexterity/ hand movement
a. Cannot reliably, repeatedly and safely, within a reasonable amount of time and without significant discomfort:
i. Grip and turn a door handle, tap and/or piece of equipment (such as a dial on a radio)

ii. Create a legible message or draw a diagram through the use of a pen or pencil

iii. Use a suitable keyboard or mouse

iv. Turn the pages of a book

v. Pick up and move a £1 coin (so as to put it into a slot in a machine/ box)

vi. Repeatedly press buttons, such as to dial a number on a telephone keypad

vii. Twist a lid or cap so as to open a jar or bottle.

viii. Carry out fine motor/ finger movement, such as to do up a button or tie a knot

b. To the extent that this is, without significant discomfort;
i. Impossible

ii. Very difficult

iii. Difficult

c. This is the case:
i. More than 75% of the time

ii. between 50% and 75% of the time

iii. between 25% and 50% of the time


5. Bladder/ bowel continence
a. Experiences unpredictable or recurrent loss of control leading to voiding of the bladder, extensive evacuation of the bowel or substantial leakage of the contents of a collecting device sufficient to require cleaning and a change of clothing and/or incontinence pads   Or

b. Without immediate access# to a toilet, suitably modified where appropriate, would experience loss of control leading to voiding of the bladder, extensive evacuation of the bowel or substantial leakage of a collecting device sufficient to require cleaning and a change of clothing and/or incontinence pads;

c. Experiences significant discomfort due to the need to evacuate the bladder or bowel or risks losing control if not able quickly to reach a toilet, suitably modified where appropriate

And

c. This is the case:
i. Most of the time (more than 75%)

ii. Some of the time (between 50% and 75%)

iii. Occasionally (between 20% and 50%) PART 2

6. Learning Tasks
a. Is able to learn processes necessary to get a job and undertake tasks within it

b. Can learn tasks relevant to getting a job and to working;
i. with verbal or written instructions

ii. with guided practice

iii. Cannot even learn all necessary tasks

c. No longer requires support to repeat the task after;
i. one day

ii. one week

iii. one month

iv. Three months or more

7. Awareness of Hazards
a. Is fully aware of potential hazards

b. Without help and/or adjustments, risk(s) of injury to self or others, or of damage to property or possessions is likely to be;
i. Moderate

ii. Substantial

iii. Very substantial

c. The risks above are likely to arise;
i. Occasionally

ii. Frequently

iii. More often than not


8. Maintaining Focus
a. Is able to maintain focus without difficulty

b. Due to poor memory or concentration, needs help and/or adjustments in
maintaining focus on;
i. Some tasks

ii. Most tasks

iii. All tasks

c. When working on the tasks concerned for;
i. Most of the day

ii. A few hours

iii. An hour or less

d. Needs help and/or adjustments for this;
i. Occasionally

ii. Frequently

iii. More often than not

9. Executing Tasks
a. Has no difficulty executing even complex tasks

b. Needs additional time to complete;
i. Some tasks

ii. Most tasks

iii. All tasks

c. Such that the task would take;
i. A little longer

ii. Substantially longer

iii. Much longer

d. This is an issue;
i. Occasionally

ii. Frequently

iii. More often than not

10. Managing Self and Schedule
a. Has no difficulties managing him/herself and his/her schedule

b. Because of difficulties in motivation or organisation, or distress, can only manage self and schedule to an acceptable standard with;
i. Some help and/or adjustments

ii. Substantial help and/or adjustments

iii. Cannot manage at all

c. For;
i. Short periods

ii. Much of the day

iii. All day

d. Needs help and/or adjustments for this;
i. Occasionally

ii. Frequently

iii. More often than not

11. Coping with Change
a. Able to cope with minor planned changes to daily routine

b. Can only cope with minor planned changes to daily routine with;
i. Some help and/or adjustments

ii. Substantial help and/or adjustments

iii. Cannot cope at all

or

Can only cope with minor unplanned changes to daily routine with;
i. Some help and/or adjustments

ii. Substantial help and/or adjustments

iii. Cannot cope at all

c. Needs help and/or adjustments for this;
i. Occasionally

ii. Frequently

iii. More often than not

12. Getting About
a. Able to get to familiar places

b. Because of distress or disorientation, can only get to familiar places with;
i. Some help and/or adjustments

ii. Substantial help and/or adjustments

iii. Cannot make journeys at all

or

Because of distress or disorientation, can only get to unfamiliar places with;
i. Some help and/or adjustments

ii. Substantial help and/or adjustments

iii. Cannot make journeys at all

c. Needs help and/or adjustments for this;
i. Occasionally

ii. Frequently

iii. More often than not

13. Social Engagement
a. Is able to interact with people and engage socially

b. Because of difficulties interacting with others, anxiety, distress or other emotions, can only engage socially with;
i. Some help and/or adjustments

ii. Substantial help and/or adjustments

iii. Cannot engage socially at all

c. Difficulties in interaction and engagement occur with people
i. Unknown to the person

ii. Known to the person

iii. Familiar to the person

d. Needs help and/or adjustments for this;
i. Occasionally

ii. Frequently

iii. More often than not

14. Appropriateness of Behaviour
a. Does not display behaviour which work colleagues would consider inappropriate

b. May display physically aggressive, verbally aggressive or socially inappropriate behaviour unless he/she has;
i. Some help and/or adjustments

ii. Substantial help and/or adjustments

iii. Behaviour not amenable to help or support

c. The nature of this behaviour tends to be;
i. Mild

ii. Moderate

iii. Severe

d. Needs help and/or adjustments for this;
i. Occasionally

ii. Frequently

iii. More often than not

15. Communicating with Others
a. Has no difficulties with communication or social understanding

b. In order to communicate and to show social understanding, needs;
i. Some help and/or adjustments

ii. Substantial help and/or adjustments

iii. Communication is not amenable to help or support

c. Needs help and/or adjustments during;
i. Some communication

ii. Most communication

iii. All communication

d. Needs help and/or adjustments for this;
i. Occasionally

ii. Frequently

iii. More often than not

214 comments:

  1. Where's the loss of conciousness descriptor?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that bothered me, too. Hopefully this isn't the final version for the comparison exercise.

      Delete
    2. i where is it as there are lots with this condition im one jeff3

      Delete
    3. Why aren't the police involved? Suicides and
      deaths directly attributable to criminal
      activity - yes criminal! And who are the
      initiators of this criminal activity - the
      government. How comes prosecutions have been
      brought and charges are being made against phone hackers and nothing has happened with WCA
      etc? We should all be banding together and REALLY REALLY PRESSING FOR THIS BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WILL. LET'S START NOW. If we don't, they'll keep attacking the vulnerable mercilessly. They are merciless, and it is no good challenging them with facts or notions of
      decency, compassion or morality. I mean this SO SO SERIOUSLY.

      Delete
  2. that is good news. I recently wrote to the local MP expressing my concern over the assessment and how condition that can change hourly/daily are assessed and was told my concerns would be passed on to the relevant minister

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looking at no 5, about bladder and bowel continence, surely using 'most of the time', 'some of the time' or 'occasionally' to describe either a) b) or c) does not do justice to the problem. To say that completely evacuating bowels, substantially leaking or voiding bladder between 20% and 50% of the time is 'occasionally' is vastly underestimating the trauma of this. I say this as someone who is not disabled or any kind of benefit, but has seen the distress & colossal lack of confidence an elderly relative experienced when she spontaneously evacuated her bowels in public - and this was only once. I can't imagine how much distress is experienced by someone who is in constant fear of doing this, and if 20%-50% chance of doing is described as 'occasional' then this evaluation must recognise that to have such an experience only once, never mind 20-50% of the time is catastrophic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is true, but if you compare it with the old descriptor it is a vast improvement. I would have scored no points before, now I will and maybe the full 15

      Delete
    2. my bladder wil just empty itself whenever it feels like it, how can i tell anyone when or where - it is just doing it - sometimes i might get to the toilet and receive the signal that i need to go - mostly it just happens, and the humiliation and stress just ruins going out because of fear

      Delete
    3. i can say from experience that bowel evacuation is the most distressing experience i have ever gone through - it is something for me that has got progressively worse over the last two years, and i can go to the loo up to 20 times or more on my worst days, it has happened to me in supermarkets and other places - i was finally given medication to help stop it happening but that made me so constipated i was in agony for days, on the worst days i only get a feeling like i want to maybe pass "wind" and then disaster. During the night i struggle to get out of bed in time and had plenty of disasters. I have had to more or less terrorise my GP to take it seriously in fact i totally broke down in front of him a few months ago, all i want is to speak with a professional who can advise and help me try to live with this problem. What do i get, yet another camera shuved up my nether regions in 10 days time. Cant win.

      Delete
    4. I`m in the same boat as you doc wouldnt listen had stool samples tested all came back "fine" still doing it had arguement with doc about it turned round and said i`ve never mentioned it before. Wasnt happy so I told him so told him about the tests he`s given me some pills and i was so bunged up it was like passing a breeze block and very painful

      Delete
    5. I can fully relate to bowel incontinence. Once at kings cross second in aldi so humiliating and embarrassing. Also had discomfort of loperamide. Bladder problems too managed with intermittent self catheterisation - fantastic and my magic bladder tablet stops me getting up at night so I can get a full nights sleep. Bowels I am soon going to anally irrigate or I prefer to call in colonic irrigation which lots of celebs do and I am going to get it for free- yippee. Seriously it will great to know I can manage my bowels without the fear and humiliation of pooing in public again

      Delete
  4. is loss of consciousness the same as falling asleep unpredictably during the day? I didn't notice that either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a current descriptor that covers loss of consciousness, including some sorts of falling asleep (narcolepsy included, apnoea not) as well as extreme episodic concentration problems. This proposal improves the handling of concentration, but makes it worse for narcolepsy and epilepsy.

      Delete
  5. It's a vast improvement in so many areas - and the explicitness of 'reliably, repeatedly and safely' is vital.

    I would point out a couple of areas for improvement. Regarding Getting out and About, for example, it's not the familiarity of the the destination that matters, but the route. When a route is disrupted it obviously makes the journey much more problematic, irrespective of whether you know where you're trying to get to.

    These descriptors also don't pay full attention to the needs of people with sensory barriers to communication. These must be addressed more explicitly considering that this may be the only opportunity to make changes. I know that there used to be a group working with Harrington on this specific area, but have lost contact.

    A further question, given the imminent departure of Harrington, is who will oversee the testing. If it comes back to Bill Gunnyeon and James Bolton then I remain very worried...

    Having said all that, well done to those who worked so hard on this. Until recently I too had worked for a major disability organisation on WCA descriptors since ESA was first mooted, and have the brick dust embedded in my forehead to prove it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clever comment and I think you're very right to worry about Bill Gunnyeon - hence the big splash to make sure testing is fair and properly done.

      Delete
    2. Sorry, but why are charities doing the Gov'ts work for them?, for me and many others this is the key problem, they have been co-opted, they should have opposed the reforms, instead of being lukewarm and becoming basically disabled people's policemen.

      I know i am angry but charities should with the end of representative politics in this area, (the initial WRA saw over 600 submissions, all ignored)be there defending to the hilt...

      Delete
  6. I hope they take fatigue and pain in with this - but if this is true - then it is much better than the WCA at this present time. We need a humane WCA, plus if people cannot hold down a job, putting them in and uot of work and making them MORE ill is just a waste of time for the company, and everybody really. Humanity s what is msising atthis moment with this Govt and the WCA etc

    ReplyDelete
  7. Which government wrote this tough criteria the previous labour lot or the present lot ?????

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well done you and Kaliya and all others for getting this moved along so far!!
    Will comment more coherently after I've fully relished this new sensation of being HEARD, ACKNOWLEDGED, and UNDERSTOOD!!! Off for a guilt-free cuppa in my PJs to savour the moment..

    ReplyDelete
  9. A big improvement, but on the basis of these descriptors, most cancer sufferers would still be passed fit for work.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The whole assessment process needs to be scrapped. The above descriptors does nothing for the DWP's TARGETS and to many will still fall through the net to meet those TARGETS. If mental health has come about from abuse how does one get the chance to acheive stability and move on from that abuse. An assessment process of this nature is as bad as if the abuse has just occurred. Also when someone is going through a period of good days he/she may feel ready to work and express in such a way at an assessment in order to gain in that area which can be contrary towards the actuall health issue in hand. The very name Atos has done that much damage not only to those that have lost their lives but to all those families and friends of those that have past away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I always say, do you want to fight or do you want to win?

      Sounds like you'd rather fight to me and you can fight forever, but if you think there will ever be a moment of pure success in any battle, you're wrong.

      Delete
  11. These descriptors are INFINITELY better, although there are probably a few gaps still. But I fear they won't be accepted, because big business has poured a great deal of money into the development of the BPS model of disability in order to justify swingeing cuts. That takes no account of anything external to the individual (such as uneven surfaces)which some of these descriptors imply or directly describe. And this govt is not known for changing course. I hope I'm wrong!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps big business realise things have gone way too far and are as keen as us to see change? ??

      Delete
  12. I'm always puzzled by the descriptor 'significant discomfort' . If you have a chronic pain condition then are you in significant discomfort or are you in pain? could do with a bit of help on this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Discomfort is meant to encompass pain, but also other sensations - fatigue, nausea, vertigo, for example.

      Delete
  13. this is definitely an improvement Sue - but still no mention of those with respiratory/cardiac conditions; I also agree with Mark Baker about sensory impairments - which can be a significant barrier to travel, mobility and engagement - and should also include space for brain injury symptoms and gradients of neurological pain/paralysis; also as allbigideas highlights - the loss of consciousness descriptor absolutely must be retained.

    ReplyDelete
  14. How would these descriptors help those on oral chemotherapy?
    Also I think we need specific descriptor for pain and fatigue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You won't get one. But the use of "reliably, repeatedly and safely and without serious discomfort" covers it.

      Delete
    2. Supposedly covers it. They're supposed to apply them now, but they seldom do. Last WCA report I saw absolutely treated it as a representative snapshot, and it's only a few months old.

      Delete
    3. Reliably, repeatedly and safely, runs out after point 4. For those with fluctuating conditions like ME the phrase needs to introduce all the other descriptors as well.

      Delete
    4. Needs an entry for vision aspects too. I have problems maintaining or establishing visual focus despite being able to read with glasses a vision chart given enough time. This is most disturbing when in a moving crowd or vehicle for example.

      Delete
  15. Certainly an improvement on current descriptors but still v open to different interpretations of what is actually meant by 'repeatedly, reliably' etc. Having just gone through appeals process, which is all about the letter of the law, and interpretation I have my doubts about how much this would actually improve the situation for most people. And if it did help new claimants, what about all those unfairly judged on old descriptors?

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  16. If you honestly think it's the descriptors that are the main problem then I'm sorry.

    Yes it's the DWP who wrote those descriptors but it is left to Atos staff to interpret those descriptors.

    Sure there is some change but I'm affraid I still continue to distrust the DWP and Atos and many of the charities that continue to work with them, don't forget the vast majority of the charities depend on the government for their very existence through monetary input.

    Didn't anyone watch the two documentaries on Mon Night? If you've got a finger that works then your fit to work basically, no I'll continue to treat the DWP/Atos as a bunch of toxins that need to be removed from our system...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And if you honestly think Atos can change anything without the DWP say so then I'M sorry.

      You are targeting the monkey, not the organ grinder.

      Delete
    2. Atos have certainly been assessing contrary to law, IMO, but the DWP have been told, and done nothing. They clearly have no problem with it.

      Delete
    3. As a former employee of the department, I have to agree with Paul Smith - I would not trust the DWP either, no matter what fluff & puff they feed you - you'll find very few staff on the front line, if any that trust this or them either. This is nothing but a political move, as Cameron is losing favour so fast, he's bricking it about losing the next election. As others have said,the DWP may write the descriptors, but ATOS do the assessments, and often make up the answers as they go along & the DWP go along with what ATOS have said & check very few decisions. Whilst I agree that these new descriptors are slightly better, I still feel that the most serious illnesses that were previously regarded as making someone unfit for work using common sense & the depts own highly skilled medical resources for the last 60 years, but have somehow been dissolved by the non medically educated government in the last 2 years, should be saved from this ridiculous process. New descriptors or not, I regret that the injustice of dragging people in over & over again, despite previously winning appeal after appeal will continue, some a few short months previously.I wish I could be all happy clappy about it, but I know the department & the lies the public are told. Whilst I am glad that some change has been made, if targets are involved (which they are in a big way, especially where a tory government are concerned, trust me), nothing much will change.

      Delete
  17. Congratulations on your hard work. Well done. This is astonishing progress - as it would appear the time is right to offer up a more "functional assessment system". The existing descriptors are doing more harm than good - and as you have pointed out ATOS did not write the descriptors.

    In light of current events DWP would appear rather foolish to reject improvements to the system, unless Grant Shapps takes over from Chris Grayling...then there could be problems.

    Shapps worked with Wandsworth Council to pioneer eviction of mother, whose 17yr son was charged with looting in last summers riots. It was a test case which was then rolled out to other Tory boroughs. Shapps has recently been accused of buying large numbers of twitter followers to add to his account.

    Shapps will be even more slippery to work with than Grayling, if he gets the post of Employment minister.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sorry! Sue and Kaliya but this whole system is set up to balance books nothing more. A change of descriptors changes nothing DWP have set targets open your eyes to what they are doing with termally ill persons. Don't fall to being apart of this process people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What nonsense. You think I of all people have my eyes shut? Sorry, but that made me laugh

      Anyone who says a change of descriptors changes nothing just doesn't understand the process at all.

      Delete
    2. It's the implementation of the descriptor's Sue, having new descriptors is fine but how are you going to force Atos to implement them correctly? The same old roundabout I'm affraid.

      Until the WCA process is scrapped in it's present form no disabled or severely ill person is safe.

      As I've said before and will continue to say, this is a Eugenics programme for modern times plain and simple.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous it pains me to say, you have your head screwed on the right way with your view of this. And you too Paul Smith. And if you say I don't understand the process at all, as a former employee of the department, I'll laugh even harder. If the GP's are calling for the scrapping of the WCA, DWP staff don't agree with it, nor do the disability groups or CAB, I think it doesn't take Einstein to work out that it needs to be scrapped &n this sticking the dummy in the baby's mouth to stop it crying for a little while, is not the answer - a slightly better bunch of words on paper maybe, but will changed very little in reality - I truly wish it would, but I know it won't.

      Delete
    4. My appology's Sue didn't mean my comment to come across to say! that your eye's were closed far from it. It was ment as a general statement to keep our veiws upon the whole process in general in case we fall into entrapment within elements of that process. And you are correct my mental health issues don't allow myself to understand that process, thats why I will never attend those assessments and have boycotted them since day one and will continue to do so.

      Delete
    5. boycotting them will at the end of the day only make you lose out on benefits. Its the system we have and it appears to be here to stay.. we cant say what changing the descriptors will do until it happens. It could do nothing, but it could also initiate a ripple tidal wave of change in the system. no change is without risk... but it appears we have nothing to lose in trying

      Delete
  19. While these are better they do not address chronic fatifue and pain or the tendency to fall asleep/unconscious without warning. There are other areas where substantial numbers are likely to fall through the cracks because there is no room for "Other" detrimental conditions that regularly or routinely make life difficult and/or dangerous. Worst, I think, is that it looks as though there will not be just ATOS to implement these but a group of companies and it goes without saying that there will be at least some degree of competition to meet government wishes and outcomes so as to get contracts renewed. To misquote Orwell, one atos bad, many atoses far, far worse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have confused ESA with PIP.

      These descriptors ARE also much better for chronic fatigue, most would score very many more points under these descriptors.

      Delete
    2. The point about these missing loss-of-consciousness is right, though, and a bit problem for people with, say, epilepsy or narcolepsy.

      Delete
  20. An improvement, but where is there any reference to people who are sick with chronic disorders? The criteria is still based wholely on movement. Where are questions about pain, sickness, chronic fatigue, and I would need to see far more reliance on proper medical evidence from people's GPs and consultants being properly listened to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Reliably, repeatedly and safely and without serious discomfort" SPECIFICALLY address chronic disorders.

      Delete
    2. "Reliably, repeatedly and safely and without serious discomfort" are specifically there for chronic conditions.

      Delete
    3. But only up to point 4; and vision aspects are not considered - and no doubt others I haven't thought of yet. Like you say, 1-4 should help chronic/fluctuating conditions though.

      Delete
    4. Reliably, repeatedly etc are already meant to be part of everything in the WCA, despite only being mentioned in one or two activities. It's currently being ignored in those activities as well.

      How do we get them to actually apply them properly?

      Delete
  21. Useful inputs from commenters above but I do think these descriptors are a world away from the previous terrible ones. Definitions will need to be much clearer, and the nature of the assessment itself still needs to be changed so that people can take part in assessments without worsening their conditions.

    I do think the descriptors address chronic pain, or at least the impacts it can have on daily functioning. (Loss of concentration, inability to sit, inability to manage journeys or other tasks that require coordination.) 'Managing Self' and 'Executing Tasks' will have to be explained as including washing, cooking and feeding oneself to be useful.

    Suffering in itself, no - I believe we have to accept that nobody cares how much we suffer. Applicants will need to really think through and understand that the descriptors are still focused on functionality not experience, meaning we are going to have to find ways to understand how our own functionality is compromised in relation to 'normal' people. This will still be very difficult indeed and we will need help with this during the assessment process, because most of us have forgotten what 'normal' is like, or indeed never knew.

    With all that taken into account, in relation to the old descriptors, these new ones would take me (when I'm going through a bad patch) from never qualifying for any support ever to qualifying for some kind of moderate support. And that's all I wanted - to feel that if things got worse, there would be some support out there for me, and I wouldn't have to starve on the streets. So yes - cautious whoopees!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Why rewrite the descriptors when the whole obscenity of this process is that people have already been assessed by their doctors, usually multiple with specialists? These interviews need to be scrapped altogether, and DWP should stop avoiding the evidence already obtained under treatment. I have a lot of respect for the work you do, but this is just fiddling while the Titanic goes under...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I said above, do you want to fight or do you want to win?

      Assessments are here to stay, absolutely no doubt about it whatsoever.

      Delete
    2. I have to agree with Anonymous again. For genuine illness, fully documented by not just GP's but highly skilled, highly trained specialists, backed up by every scan, test, X-Ray, and reports from people who know how these conditions impact on peoples daily lives, as opposed to Mr millionaire benefit scrounger & his expenses stealing chums are the fairest way to deal with this issue, which worked perfectly well before - just another example of a new governments 'territorial pissings' to leave their mark on the country & in this case, to purposely screw people out of their rightful entitlement, under the guise of 'getting scroungers off benefits'. They make the mess, genuine people pay the price. To lay down and accept this is wrong - to keep fighting and highlighting that it's totally unfair and wrong is the right thing to do in my eyes. The more pressure applied - especially by TV media, the more likely the non sick/disabled public will eventually start waking up and seeing that the sick and disabled are being treated like those at the hands of Hitler in 1939-45 & 1 day it could very well be them. Give them an inch and they will take a mile - slowly but surely & in sneeky ways, as we have seen with their purposeful PR campaign to whip up hatred for disabled people - very clever & very effective up until the stories started hitting the press and TV media.

      Delete
    3. Before ESA and the WCA came in, people were still assessed on a points based assessment - the PCA. The big difference was that existing medical evidence was treated with a bit more respect, and far fewer people had face-to-face assessments. The general principles of the descriptors were the same.

      The big thing that makes a difference with the WCA is the use of spurious inference - watched TV, so can concentrate. Came by car, so can sit down. That is supported in the DWP-approved handbook, it's not ATOS deciding to do it. That being remove, or at least changed to be more logical, would help enormously.

      The second biggest thing, to me, is the handling of variable conditions - would these new descriptors actually stop the assessors treating the face-to-face as a representative snapshot, when they are already not supposed to, but do.

      Delete
    4. That is the trouble Sam, the system is purposely stacked against people, purely to get people off benefits and make it look like the government is doing a good job. So they can change the wording of the documents as much as they like, but the result will end up the same.
      Each government fiddle about with it, but this is the worst. They also like changing the names of things, which costs an incredible amount of money, not to mention employing private bodies with no knowledge of how the system works to 'create' a new system. For example, the DWP has been the DHSS, DHS, The Benefits Agency & now the DWP in the space of 25 years - no doubt Cameron will change that too if he stays in for long enough (territorial pissing's as I crudely call it - they all have a lust to make their mark). And AA is now DLA soon to be changed to PIP. Costs millions just to change the names on the paperwork, let alone coming up with the crazy new legislations for it.
      Like I have said - would love to believe that this new scam will make a big difference, but having worked there for several years, I know it's political bluff to save face & save him from losing the next election - seen it all before several times - I expect little will change as far as fraudulent assessments & people being denied their rightful benefit is concerned.
      There was nothing wrong with Incapacity Benefit at all. The thing is, the scroungers will still be getting away with it - they know how to play the system - all they will do is feign depression, there is no test to prove that they are not depressed.

      Delete
    5. Have to disagree with Jane on IB being flawless, though it clearly was better than ESA. The IB50 form was a real nightmare taking weeks to fill in, and was so off-putting that I gave up after the second one and lost thousands, and nearly my home as a result. On my second medical I was asked afresh, all the questions that were on the IB50. Aghast, I asked the doctor why she was not referring to the documents I had spent weeks compiling. She said she didn't have to. I asked where the form had gone; she said it had been filed. I asked if anyone would ever read it; she said they might, but clearly implied that this would be very unusual. Since then, as you all know, things have only got worse with each successive government.

      Sue: all power to your extraordinary efforts, but I've been forced to fight for more than half my life, and know that it's very hard and rare to hit a bull's-eye, but if you don't aim for it, you never will. (The 'Power' electoral reform campaign, petered out into nothing for much the same reasons: the public was almost revolutionary at one stage, but by not being bold enough to appeal to the masses, the chance just evaporated and left us with this unelected dictatorship just like all the others.)

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    6. Was it the IB50 form that ended (or at least, was near the end) with a big open question "are there any things that make your condition(s) worse?" (or some such?)

      I filled that in explaining how spending time thinking about my problems made things worse... I was awarded IB (at zero rate, as I hadn't the NI contribs, but that passported IS) without face-to-face after that.

      Came off it not long later when I went back to uni, having started effective treatment for narcolepsy.

      Delete
    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    8. Steve - I think one of the things that have made the disability movement SO powerful lately is an understanding that many groups or individuals must cover many different aspects of this titanic battle.

      Some choose academia and research, some choose writing, some organise direct action, some call for WCA to be scrapped, some work solely on DLA or the ILF or ESA. Some target Tories, some target peers, others target Lib Dem readers or Labour supporters. Some use satire, others try politics.

      We all do what we're good at, we all come at the DWP from different angles, between us all, we have everything from workfare to Universal Credit covered.

      We've all had very significant successes. DPAC have taken the protest to Atos and I believe it's paid off for at least 6 months now. They are addressing many of the things DPAC have highlighted.

      Black Triangle have the GPs and the BMA - a dazzling win that removes yet another layer of support from Gov

      Academic or just plain geeks like me produced the Spartacus Report, Kath Quarmby wrote Scapegoat and werspartacus produced Reversing from Recovery and the Worcester campaign.

      Journalists like Sonia Poulton write articles that she manages to get in the Mail, some disabled people got involved in producing the Panorama and Dispatches programmes.

      Some keep a record of those hurt by the whole process, and worse still, lost their lives by it. Others fight disability hate language.

      We have them absolutely blindsided.

      And if ALL that fails, we have people almost everywhere, within every department, in every private company in every political party who are as shocked and miserable about it as we are, working from the inside.

      Finally if all of THAT fails, then an improved WCA is better than the current one.

      But it IS - always - the very last resort of campaigners. And it's my last resort too. If nothing else, I want a test that's fairer as we fight to scrap it.

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    9. Well put Sue: perhaps, from all these different angles, we may get somewhere. (And I have to agree that Sonia P is quite remarkable, getting her views across in the Mail of all places!)

      x

      Delete
  23. It's a start. I still have a cynical mind though following Grayling's announcement this week that he'll be moving the goalposts again soon to make it even more difficult for people to "Pass".

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    1. His interview on Panorama was very chilling.

      I keep remembering one of his lines, "Many people believe they are unable to work."

      But of course he knows better, much better than the BMA, better than the Specialists and the patients GP's, and better than the individual writhing in agony, or handicapped with disability, feeling stressed to the nines and going into panic states every morning waiting on their decision, or hoping they don't get a dreaded review. Oh he knows all right.

      Delete
  24. I've just completed an ESA50 to transfer to ESA from IB. I have ME. The descriptors are completely irrelevant to my condition and I am expecting, despite a consultants report stating I am not nor will ever be fit for work, the WCA to fail to test my fluctuating condition in any meaningful sense, and like others I know, I'll get no points.

    This looks better - it would be easier to explain my condition effectively. I hope the "repeatedly, reliably and safely" bit already applies to assessments - I'm counting on it - but it needs to be made explicit.

    I agree the proposals are not perfect, but maybe we can only go step by step. I think the two TV documentaries will help change opinion. Did anyone else notice Grayling's response to the question on targets for ESA? - There are no FINANCIAL targets is what he said - a very slippery response - the targets are clearly implicit in the DWP budgets and ATOS management controls. But I feel a little less desperate that some change is being discussed.

    Mike

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    1. I have M.S. and I guess in many ways it is like M.E. Mine fluctuates moment to moment - I cannot plan things as I do not know IF i will be ok - How could i work if i dont know if i CAN get there or DO the job on any given day? I would so love to feel better once more, I had so many plans for my future. But I cannot do what i once did. Accepting being disabled is hard enough - Without being attacked as a faker.

      I am sure that Scameron saisd about 'moment in time' about being able to work for short times, but now they seem to wanna work a sick person to death, even tho they KNOW we are sick.

      I live in fear but this is a true glimmer of hope

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    2. Reliably, repeatedly and safely are in the current assessment, but not directly mentioned in most of the descriptors, and rarely applied by the Atos HCP.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous - People with MS, HIV & cancer are supposed to be automatically protected by law which also states that there is no requirement for them to prove that they are disabled or how their conditions affect them on a daily basis - they are automatically classed as being disabled. Well we can see how well that works in reality, as these people are put through the process exactly the same as everyone else & DO have to prove they are disabled & how their disabilities affect their daily lives. So it's all a farce - words on paper & nothing more. And Sam, you are right, they are rarely applied by ATOS, but at the DWP's guidance & all because of targets, which are there, but people are lied to and told do not exist - I was overjoyed when Dispatches proved that so perfectly, as I knew it, but 1 voice doesn't count for much. People with the conditions above should not be put through the process at all,(along with others with serious deteriorating conditions) they should be put in the Support Group no questions asked, (unless of course they have employment which they are safely able to do & are happy to do.)

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    4. Those groups are only automatically classed as disabled in terms of the Equality Act - *not* in terms of benefits.

      Delete
    5. Ahh but they used to be Sam, that is my point - until government changed the rules. Having worked there, no one with these illnesses were ever denied benefit, it was an automatic right, now they are treated like dishonest scroungers just like everyone else.

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    6. Sam - my impression, throughout is that some of the most successful bits are simply bits that already existed, they've just dragged them to the fore, to make sure they always get used.

      Delete
  25. A change in descriptors would be fantastic, compared to the current ones, but they are of no use whatsoever if the pass rate into the support group remains at 12%. It's a bit like rearranging the dust.

    But I am a grumpy old guy, who wants mountains to be moved, and not today, but yesterday.

    It's a step in the right direction.

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    1. This is a very helpful way of putting it. Campaigning is still needed to change the assessment process and to get government to shift away from these targets (allowing it to save face by pretending targets never existed in the first place).

      However, if the descriptors don't also get fixed then we are back to square one. So yay to new descriptors, and let's use the attention generated by the TV programmes to challenge government on targets and accountability measures such as 'audits' of ATOS staff.

      Delete
  26. The whole point of the WCA exercise is to get people who have previously been found too sick or disabled to work, by various Doctors, Consultants and specialists, off benefits. Although the changes in descriptors are an improvement I don't see them affecting ATOS's "targets".

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  27. Atos may not have written the descriptors, but they are the ones who lie on your report and give you 0 points even if you do meet the descriptors.

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  28. Here's an idea: let's keep DLA. After all, it has only been around for 0 years and was introduced by the tories. I seem to remember there used to be a very simple and effective question which went a little bit like this: "Does your illness/disability put you at a disadvantage of getting a job?" That little sentence put so much in perspective, but I guess it had to go.

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    1. I agree with keeping DLA as throwing money away on PIP is not anythign about the people who get DLA or how ill they are - But as this is about the WCA - I feel there will always be a WCA - BUt for the WCA to actually be fair, and preferably not run by targets of % to bin, that is the only way to make it fair - To make sure the claimants are seen as HUMANS and not just numbers to be struck off a list

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    2. this is about ESA not PIP :)

      Delete
  29. In general they are a big improvement. My issues with them are similar to those raised by others:-

    * Nothing here would seem to cover my attacks of low blood pressure and related risk of fainting.

    * Nothing here covers the difficulties I can face in focusing on work or household tasks due to pain.

    * Nothing here deals with fragility and increased risk. I have osteoporosis. This means that even if I were at risk of falling only occasionally, the consequences could be fatal; I am therefore forced to be much more cautious than a more resilient person might be.

    Overall, as I said, I think they're not bad - just trying to be constructively critical here.

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    1. Jennie, I think these things would totally be covered. 1-2, 7-11 in particular. Have another look. Perhaps we should all be reading the descriptors with 'do you do x' in our heads rather than 'can you do x'.

      'Can' here does not mean 'able to do it if you absolutely had to, but would have big problems another time'. 'Can' means 'easily able to anytime, without consequences'. (Correct me if I'm wrong Suey?)

      Delete
  30. descriptors are normally written up for a legal framework the welfare reform bill based on these types of descriptors would indicate that the person writing them was a legal person without any knowledge whatsoever about the reality of implementing them

    The descriptors according to my hospital consultant of 30 years and who i would agree with are completely meaningless as none of the descriptors are a reality of any person who is long term sick you just don't asses peoples health in this way

    Illness is illness and you are not fit for work and that's the bottom line and for those who may like to take a different line and try to do some work invariably come unstuck and die

    The welfare reform bill has always been about saving money and to destroy the lives of all sick and disabled people who cant fight back and at the time of this post that is still the system and when that system changes i will tell you but until then you will need to fight for any of your benefits and if you live on your own then god help you

    The bottom line is whatever descriptors are in place people will continue to die and that's a fact and only a fool will be thinking otherwise the policy will remain the same and that's to save money and no matter how many times we talk or write about it the policy will still remain the same

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    1. On 2 August disabled people, including those affected by welfare cuts and workers at the threatened Remploy factories in Ashington and Newcastle held a protest outside the North Tyneside Department for Work and Pensions office during a visit by the Secretary of State Iain Duncan-Smith.

      We sent a loud and clear message that disabled people will stand up for themselves. They are not ready to simply accept being forced into poverty and crisis by the unjust reforms of the Department for Work and Pensions.

      Peter Bennetts, from South Shields, who is himself registered blind said; "The closure of the Remploy factories and flawed Work Capability Assessment highlighted this week are just two ways the government's decisions are having a huge impact on the lives of disabled people. The further £10 billion of cuts that are planned in the next Comprehensive Spending Review will only make our lives even more difficult. We protested today on behalf of all disabled people in the North East."

      The Secretary of State did not stop to speak to the disabled people there who had gathered to lobby him during his visit

      You see that's the grim reality in that IDS cant even be bothered to say hello to a blind man and if you cant do that as a minister then the sick and disabled have no chance for the future and the descriptors are as i have said above meaningless

      Delete
  31. Wheres the fatigue element endemic in MS etc ?

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    1. Yes! Fatigue is a huuuuge part of my M.S

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    2. When MS sufferers have fuzzy headed days, I can see these new descriptors being really confusing to answer too, especially when ATOS only get such a short time to grill people & the fuzzy head aspect makes even the most easy of questions seem really difficult to answer & a deeper explanation of what the questions mean exactly could be required. But like I say, I don't think people with MS should be put through this farce anyway - unless they have the mildest form which has only the vaguest of symptoms from time to time. I don't know if you would agree with that?

      Delete
  32. Well done, Sue and Kaliya. I have nothing but admiration for you and all other Spartacus activists and all that you have achieved.

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  33. i'm concerned about the lack of a descriptor for losing consciousness/altered awareness too as this is going to cause big problems for people with epilepsy which does not respond to medication.

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  34. I think in their desire to clarify the authors of these descriptors are actually making some things WORSE.This highlights the problem of such questions to assess a complex issue especially when non medical practioners are using them. There cannot be a satisfactory set of questions that will assess all disabilities. Even a questions such as "Can you climb stairs?" has to be interpreted as climb can be regarded as being able to ascend and descend with alternating use of one leg then another and ascending one step at each leg movement. If I define climb this way then all non ambulants cannot climb stairs even if aided by persons, handrails or stairlift.

    The devil is in interpreting each word correctly or identically in every case and which is the correct definition. Descriptors should thus be more complexly worded and thus less understanable.

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  35. How can anyone consider these (proposed) new descriptors to be an improvement? The SS(DWP) will simply spin and twist them so that,in their view, they will be little different from the current ones... that's if they are ever implemented! Furthermore, how can they (DWP) completely disregard the diagnoses of doctors and specialists and expect to retain any credibility?

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  36. Well done, all involved.I'm home safely from my WCA this morning, I read your blog post whilst in the waiting room, then looked up and saw a poor woman throwing up, obviously distressed and extremely unwell.I won't say anything more than that.My assessor herself was extremely gentle, professional, and seemed to have insight into both my very complex cardiac condition, and lung disease. She was, in all very pleasant. Now I wait, and hope to God that some of these new descriptors were used, massive wishful thinking of course, So now I wait, and try and keep it together.

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  37. There are alot of improvements and the mental health descriptors seem better, and I noticed something which said "Behaviour not amenable to help or support" which would be of immense help to people like me with bipolar disorder who constantly cries on down phrases at the drop of a hat, takes what people say according to them iout of context, constantly frets, worries, paces and is nervous about upsetting others, comes out with inappropriate things when hypomanic etc, but I do hope that they still incorporate something like regs 29(b) and 35 which state that the client is seen as having limited capacity to work because to do so would cause extreme harm to them or someone else.
    I have only just filled in my forms (which have caused me - and others - unnecessary distress) and enclosed an old psychiatric report from 18 months ago which catogorically states that I was not to be returned to work as returning to work in the past had in fact made me even more unwell and unstable, and alluded to reg 29 in it.
    I also hope that the wording in the ESA113 is changed - at the moment that too does not allow for variable conditions and simply asks for yes or no answers concerning certain functions - many GPs will tick that a person can do something but will not put down that it is variable because there is no box for that and they have their hands full trying to see patients and filling in loads of forms like these outside of surgery hours.
    Mini rant over.
    Thanks to both of you for all the hard work you have done in highlighting the plight of so many of us, I for one am grateful for all the wonderful hard work you both do, I only wish I was able to do more myself - thanks again

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  38. It's a start but I think a lot more work is needed for fluctuating conditions, and multiple conditions that exacerbate each other.

    I especially agree with the lack of a loss of consciousness/altered awareness descriptor.

    One other thing concerns me is the lack of desctiptor for those with severely compromised immune systems.

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  39. Sorry, I do appreciate the work that has been done but these descriptors are still going to fail those with severe mental health problems. The old forms used to have a question asking if the person needed to be accompanied and why ... nothing like that appears on the new descriptors. I care for someone who has never gone out unaccompanied - so are we BOTH going to have to be given the same job?!

    And this is not good ... http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/02/atos-disability-benefit-tests

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  40. reliably, repeatedly and safely, within a reasonable amount of time and without significant discomfort:.....That phrase covers an awfull lot....it can even be used to cover side effects from Oral Chemo......
    Thank you to ALL who have worked so hard to get these changes....

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  41. great news, some improvements but definitely needs more work.

    The "getting out bit" only says needs help or adjustments due to DISTRESS or DISORIENTATION. This will oviously help some people who had problems with the exisitng test such as agoraphobia.

    But it removes the qualifying criteria I thought i had. I need someone to come with me to be able to go out for all sorts of PHYSICAL reasons. Basically I can get suddeny ill with a variety of problems that need assistance from somoene else, including ending up on the street not able to get up. These conditions may make me "distressed or disoriented" when they happen, but is not the "reason" I can't go out alone. I think there needs to be a descriptor that covers whther you need help to be able to get out and about for whatever reason, mental or physical issues.

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    1. I'll second that. When I go out, I never know if I'm going to be able to get back. I've even found myself crawling on hands and knees beside a dual carriageway being ignored by all the passing cars... This has got gradually worse over the years and on my own, I'm essentially housebound, though, on a good day an assessor would say I could walk the 100m.

      Delete
  42. I think you have done excellent work here. i have some concerns- is it better to be pragmatic and improve the flawed system, or should we focus on the system being scrapped and a better system being introduced?

    I feel very uncomfortable about keeping the system because of the agencies stance who are running it, and fear they are throwing a bone to calm our desperation. Having had nothing but bad experiences with ATOS and DWP recently i don't trust them with the descriptor system.

    A dilemma!

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  43. With respect to the continence descriptors - I have a problem stoma which will leak substantailly a couple of times a week, necessitating changes of clothes etc and because of this I have been place in the support group. What percentage time descriptor would be applied to this problem? How can the problem be described in terms of percentage of time? Percentage of how much time? ie 50% of what time?

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  44. This is a good step in the right direction, they were never going to put their hands up and say ok we got it wrong, if we start to change it slowly then in a few years it may be working much better. Of course this does not stop the distress for all of us now, just waiting for my result letter any day. But it is better than them denying any problems.

    Hopefully when they look at cutting dla they will see the knock on effects to the economy and over time all the increased cost to nhs/doctors and other social care when all those on ESA get nothing after a year/or at all.

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  45. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/02/atos-disability-benefit-tests
    Oh, Teriffic another 400 million to ATOS for causing a bit more misery, like we don't have enough anyway, imagine having 2 tests, one for ESA and one for PIP both done by ATOS.....
    Tls

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  46. The descriptors are certainly an improvement on the previous ones, but I have very reall concerns that some of them will simply not translate into reality, off the top of my head 2 and 4 seems very ambiguous and I wonder how they will translate into points. After watching Dispatches and seeing how the training is done for people administering the WCA I would be very hesitant to hail these changes as being what is needed, there are gaping holes through which many people will fall, and while it is not as brutal as the earlier one, it will, I think prove to be no less problematic for many people. If this is accepted as being a good step in the right direction by the general public, then any attempts to bring about further changes will be met with disbelief.

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    1. Yes, understanding how the new descriptors are expected to translate into points will be very important to see whether the naysayers or the optimists are right - how can we start to get this understanding?

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  47. In the larger scheme of things I think this is a minor improvement, but it's one that I am glad to see. Thanks to everyone involved and everyone who's helped to get the news out.

    Is it just me, or is it starting to look increasingly like the old test for Incapacity Benefit? You know, the one it was apparently worth spending millions on scrapping. I'm not complaining as such, just raising an eyebrow.

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  48. These are definately better than before. Sure, there is a little room for improvement, but overall I would be far happier with this than the current ones.

    I have ME/CFS and the one thing that stands out to me is that there is nothing that would cover the sensory overload I get in certain environments which is quite a barrier to my being able to work.

    Also, those of us with my condition often rely on the clause about risk to health if we have to do work/work-related activity, so it would be good to have something about that. I know this is mostly covered by the repeatedly, reliably and safely thing though, and I like the effort re the percentages to cover fluctuating conditions.

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  49. Would it be worth just going back to the old points descriptors under the PCA test as someone mentioned above? I don't recall that causing so many problems or appeals for most people,. Certainly I never heard of anyone dying or committing suicide over it. There were lots of areas there where people could pick up a couple of points here and there on different disecriptors to get an overall score of 15 - which then meant unfit for work.
    It seemed to cover most conditions and give an overall picture of total disability as far as I am aware and less someone knows different? It is well known that there is a multiplier effect having more than one condition/symptom to deal with is more disabling than each condition on its own. I think the old test kind of gave the opportunity to recognise this, and it seemed to work better for mental illness and fluctuating conditions.

    These descriptors are still huge brush stokes,for obvious single issue problems when every disability/disabling illness is usually made up of multiple strands causing an overall incapcity, when put together.

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  50. I think it is worth remembering that this whole thing is based on a false premise to start with.

    It all stems from Lord Freud saying he "thought" two thirds of IB claimants could work. This was based on no evidence or inquiry and has no basis in fact. Just his opinion after his own admission that he knew nothing about the welfare system or sickness and disability. The fact is Grayling has admitted being surprised at just how many, really sick people there actually are and the work contractors are complaining because they are not getting the rewards they were promised because people really are too sick for them to find jobs for.

    We all really need to contact any charities to do with our own conditions and get them to demand descriptors that work for their client group.

    Pain and fatigue MUST be in the descriptors or they will be ignored, just as it is now.

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    1. **Pain and fatigue MUST be in the descriptors or they will be ignored, just as it is now** It DOES need to be in there as fatigue and pain are MAJOR disabilities to live with

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  51. Capita plc chief executive, Paul Pindar, said: 'In developing its solution
    Capita has worked with a number of representative groups to ensure that
    claimants receive a fair and independent assessment of their ability to live
    independently. Capita has established an extensive capability in health
    assessment through strategic acquisitions, including Premier Medical, now
    integrated into our health and wellbeing business and, more recently, Medicals
    Direct. Together with our existing operations this has created a scalable,
    diverse and client focused health and wellbeing business that utilises a
    multi-disciplinary team of general and mental health community nurses,
    occupational therapists and GPs, supported by subject matter experts where
    appropriate.'

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    Replies
    1. Have to say, I'd have slightly more faith in Capita than ATOS, as at least Capita have been responsible for admin of DWP pensions - including ill health retirement pensions for the best part of 20 years and don't seem to have messed up. But as the shockingly bad ATOS have won the new contracts - nothing will change. I just wonder who in government or family of have shares in ATOS.

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  52. Both the words "repeatedly" and "reliably" would make a huge difference to me if they were included. I can walk 100m on a good day; which happens rarely, but not with any reliability. I couldn't, for example, go for a journey on my own knowing I could get home without assistance or the need for extra transport and support. I may be able to walk 100m one day, but that doesn't mean I could walk 101m, and the next day I may only be able to walk 20m without needing help.

    Chronic conditions have been woefully ignored by assessments so far, and although I'm cynical that anything would truly change, any hope is a bonus.

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  53. Well it's a start I suppose and the 'repeatedly and reliably' bit is essential for many, many people but I still dont think that these proposed amendments go anywhere near addressing the needs of people with fluctuating conditions or addressing issues like pain and fatigue. The whole system is corrupt and spurious and not fit for purpose. These possible amendments are very nice but just tinkering with something that's a mess in the first place. Certainly if I went for a WAC with these descriptors in place I would probably get no more points than I did recently i.e 0 points.

    If this process isnt killing people, it is destroying them in other ways from the stress and anxiety and, with appeals, tribunals, the need to do all sorts of extra meetings (with e.g. CAB or DIAL) or working to complete forms. Its all too much for most people who are genuinely unwell and /or disabled (i.e most people who apply for ESA or DLA) and just makes them more ill and deteriorate. Same for families of people with disability. I come under both categories and I can tell you that it's wearing me down no end.

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  54. We also need to know how often we will be retested for PIP - If we have a life long condition with no reprieve over time (ie a condition that only gets worse over time) then why retest someone all the time when it's bloody obvious theris no sudden cure

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  55. Having read through the new descriptors I'm impressed that I only have two points to quibble on, no doubt other people will pick up areas of concern on their own specific areas, but this is actually seems to have been written with an understanding of disability, rather than as an explicit intent to deny disability.

    Those points:
    1 Mobilising: That focus on 'a reasonable time' worries me, for many bendies walking quickly is less distressing than walking slowly, I'm concerned that we shouldn't be penalised for an accommodation to our disability.

    8 Maintaining Focus: I'd prefer an explicit reference to the cognitive deficit that results from chronic pain - this was essentially the issue that forced me out of work and I'd hate to think that it could destroy my career and that I might then get no credit for it when being assessed for benefit.

    From a wider perspective I still think the focus on individual areas is a problem for people with fatigue and pain-based disabilities, where the total effect is more than the sum of the parts.

    And having faced ATOS, I think there needs to be a preamble or definition of terms that explicitly states that when the descriptors mention, say, discomfort, it explicitly includes, but is not limited to pain, breathing distress, vertigo and so on. There are ATOS personnel actively looking to limit the points they give people and the descriptors need to be written in the knowledge they will be executed by people who are not intent on a fair assessment. Having had an ATOS doctor tell me that even if I can't weightbear on one leg it still counts as walking, we really can't afford to leave any point, no matter how basic, open to interpretation.

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    1. I think (but don't quote me) reasonable amount of time means it takes twice as long as a non-yet-disabled person

      Delete
  56. Sue, Thank you for this information which we have shared to our user base http://benefits.tcell.org.uk/forums/possible-new-wca-descriptors-diary-benefit-scounger

    Any idea when these would be likely to be implemented? Did your "mole" give any indication of the time frame?

    I am pleased at your start to your article. Whereas ATOS are responsible for how the WCA is performed through the questions and observations they do/don't make or record I am pleased to see someone else make the point that all of this is under the direction of the DWP and Government.

    Best,

    John

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    1. My understanding is that, later this year, there will be an exercise comparing the 'alternative assessment' with the current WCA, and we won't know the results of that until next year. Who knows what the Government will do then?

      Delete
    2. John of tcell - In Government terms though, They wanted descriptors agreed very quickly - by end of this month!!

      Once that's done, DWP civil servants then carry out the testing and we can only hope they do it scrupulously, neutrally and independently.

      I believe The descriptors will be used to assess, then a separate medical panel will give their opinion and a "good" result for us would be if the outcomes were broadly similar.

      Delete
    3. Of course they want them agreed by the end of this month. They know they are facing a commons debate on the WCA on Spetember 4th.

      Grayling just wants to be able to chuck them a bone to silence them by saying we have changed the descriptors. He's panicking not trying to make things actually better,.

      Delete
  57. Having just completed the old ESA50, hoping to "transfer" from IB to ESA, I found the process absolutely awful for someone with a fluctuating condition (ME, currently not fluctuating from very bad). I think I would definitely have found these new descriptors an improvement, and the actual inclusion of "reliably, repeatedly" etc. is helpful. I do share other people's cynicism about the whole set-up; there is no doubt the ConDems are hell-bent on their massive cuts at our expense, however,I am very grateful for the efforts of everyone who has worked to bring about these changes, and really hope they will improve things.

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  58. Just reminded myself I meant to address synergies between individual descriptors (though I think I actually mean the opposite of synergies). Using myself as an example I have walking issues and use crutches. I also have shoulder issues, which means issues picking stuff up. But the fact I have both means that in each of those descriptors I face greater issues than anyone who has only one.

    The synergy effect particularly affects bendies and spoonies who tend to be affected across every area of their body and function.

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  59. The whole process is corrupt, nothing will change whilst politicians from all sides agree with the idea of forcing severely ill and disabled people off benefit's, we no longer live in a society that cares anymore.

    We have a political elite who want to keep the biggest share of the pie for themselves, the once great Labour Party can no longer be trusted to support or protect the vulnerable in our society, they have continually dissmissed the calls to end the WCA processwith immediate effect because they say there isn't a better way to do it, that my friends should send a clear signal,those in society who cannot protect themselves will be abandoned and left to fend for themselves, to rot and to die.

    I'm sure there are plenty of good willed campaigners who like to believe in the goodness of humanity, like to trust what certain politicians say, I will not be one of those campaigners, I've learnt from past experience a politician only has to open his or her mouth and they lie.

    If our government were so concerned about the way in which Atos carry out the WCA and care about getting better PR, how come Atos have been awarded a £400 million pound contract to carry out medical/assessment services??


    http://atosvictimsgroup.co.uk/2012/08/02/atos-wins-400m-deals-to-carry-out-disability-benefit-tests-and-people-thought-i-was-mad-to-use-the-word-eugenics/


    Also are these supposed NEW DESCRIPTORS actually coming into being?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. agree with whot you say paul smith its our politicians who dont care a dam about us only their fingers in the till and their duck ponds jeff3

      Delete
  60. I like the substantial adjustments cop-out on the behaviour criteria. If you gave me enough adjustments, there's not much I couldn't do, but employers don't have to make substantial adjustments, they have to make reasonable adjustments. They don't want someone who repeatedly goes into meltdown in the office but who wouldn't if they had a nice person with them all the time. They don't want someone who breaks down and cries in front of customers but wouldn't if they had somewhere they could go and hide as much as they wanted.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I would be considered as fit for work under most of these criteria - my problem is that I'm very susceptible to infection and have to maintain a clean environment at the moment - I don't see how this is covered by the criteria.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I am coming to terms with losing Mum(I don't like things as they are but cannot change it)but those documentaries and the unknowns about the future have worried me so much I cannot rest and have lost my appetite and it's not like me...

    I have the worry about coming into Mum's savings(not a lot)but my benefits stop except for DLA but that would not cover the rent so Mum's savings will soon reduce paying full rent, losing CT excemption and HA, paying utility bills, IS...

    Then we know that DLA is changing to PIP. And that bedroom tax is being introduced. ESA has a time limit on it. No wonder I worry.

    This has diverted my mind from losing Mum even though it tkes time to get used to such a major upset in your life.

    And I now have to send a form back to DWP to see if I should still be receiving IS, I cannot see the CAB until next tuesday and the form has to be returned by Monday. I hope I have filled it in ok and the last page asks if I or anyone I am claiming for is sick so I have written some brief lines about my illness/condition(after all that's why I get DLA)I was never awarded IB or told ever to reapply and getting DLA was a fight.

    Then, I was an unofficial carer for Mum and just when we started to get help from carers and benefits never claimed it was too late and she passed away.

    As said by someone else they either do not care or are not bothered about the stress all their forms and antics cause the genuine people of which most who are claiming are...

    I haven't had a holiday for over 12 years and have not been to a theatre for over 20 years and I want to try as I think it woukd do me good but they are not things you do regularly and I may have to rest after doing so or if unwell cancel the trip or show...but I have been put off doing either in case it goes against me and my claim.

    They say try and exercise and I am really slow, in pain and easily fatigued but I manage around my condition, I hope that I always can, I hate the idea of going through what Mum did when she needed to use "The System"

    The thought of going into a home(having seen what Mum had to put up with for the last 4 weeks)even though they said it was a good one would finish me off.

    Other people over take me but I try but that would probably go against me and yet equally if I said I stay indoors and do very little that will go against me, you cannot win...

    I hope these new descriptors will help me when I am called in as we all will, the worry is when rather than if.

    I know oetime soon I needan operation and I will not be able to put it off much longer.

    My PC is my connection to the outside world and that probably would go against me too even though I don't spend hours on it and go way and come back to it. My eyes are not too good either so it's mainly used to play the radio through or my music collection...

    ReplyDelete
  63. The descriptors were sent by who? The article is about as much use as a chocolate firegaurd without any evidence behind it.

    Who sent them, what legal frame work is in place, are they documented any where official?
    For all we know, anyone could have sent you a pile of junk.

    As for a change of descriptors, any change for the better is welcome, but ultimately fairly useless whilst the whole process is corrupt from the top down.

    Unless you can come out with some facts behind this 'story' I find it a complete waste of everyones time to read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we can trust Sue and Kaliya to actually get some substance behind things before they publish.

      Delete
    2. i agree, this is hogwash until back up by knowing who suggested or negotiated these new descriptors.

      Delete
  64. The article states that the charities were invited to the DWP about 6 weeks ago.
    About 6 weeks ago there was the Parliamentary debate on disability which the number of suicides was brought up.

    There was also the BMA vote to demand to scrap the WCA immediately, following on from the GPs vote, first in Scotland then in England and Wales.

    Why the sudden need for a tight timeline? Was the government sufficiently spooked by doctors demands to scrap it that their compromise is to change it a bit? Or are they afraid of the news of suicides getting out?

    If we knew this, perhaps there is a chance to scrap it entirely and come up with something better or just go back to the old testing system. It makes sense that those on the High rate of Care DLA should be exempt. What is the point of testing someone for work if they need assistance or could be said to reasonably require it both day and night?

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    1. Indeed, what is the point of retesting someone with a chronic long term condition that will never get better? Grayling argues this is so that it doesn't exclude anyone who wants to work, so they're not "abandoned" on benefits. This is bullshit. It simply serves to wear you down to the point where you give up and rely on family if you can to spare you the endless stress. Which cynically is precisely what they want you to do to save them money. This process is all about cuts and nothing to do with reform as an improvement. If you felt able to or wanted to do some work you wouldn't need an assessment to tell you this. I consider it to be a form of harassment and emotional abuse to continually reassess someone who cannot work currently and won't improve.

      The high court has granted a judicial review of the work capability assessment. People with mental illness have argued that evidence should be sought and provided at the outset of the assessment, though it should be considered for everyone at the start, regardless of disability or illness and not read later once the claimant has been forced to appeal. Perhaps they know something we don't? Another pre-emptive strike of some description, the cause of which is yet to be revealed?

      Delete
  65. I should've added earlier a holiday/trip to the theatre if I can afford to with the changes coming life will be very frugal...If I can knowing how difficult it will be I hope to do such things now as my life could change in six months time or tomorrow...

    You can laugh but I have even started a build up of food and household goods with a long life on them as if my income dries up I hope to still eat well for as long as possible. And just replace what I use. Our incomes will reduce but prices will continue to rise especially after the bad weather but it takes time for the prices to filter through to the shops...even an odd item will soon build up into quite a store...

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  66. Have the lost or altered consciousness ones disappeared all together? if so someone with uncontrolled epilepsy is going to find it hard to get any points!

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  67. Any improvements are welcome. Frankly the current ESA50 could not be made any worse. Seems that charities have been placed in a very difficult position. They don't believe the changes go far enough and we would agree with them. Assuming that these improvements will be tested out of course, but on the other hand nothing would change if the DWP were left to their own devices. We must continually fight for improvements and not accept anything less than a fair and objective assessment for all.

    I think that questions 12 and 13 would improve the chances of someone with an anxiety disorder or phobia scoring more points, as would 11, assuming that 'anticipatory anxiety' would be considered as not being able to cope with a change in routine. Are panic attacks considered socially unacceptable in question 14? For me the major problem is that I don't understand what things like 'socially inappropriate behaviour' or 'a potential hazard' means in reality. This is why people find filling in this assessment form so confusing I think. When someone opens the brown envelope of doom and attempts to tell them why their condition prevents them from working how do they interpret what the questions are really asking them? This does attempt to make it a little clearer and if they are going to try it out we'll all be waiting with baited breath to see if it improves the outcomes.

    Of course, in an ideal world people with mental health conditions would be assessed by psychiatrists or psychologists who would be allowed to apply their objective professional opinions based on practical common sense and a working knowledge of what is reasonable to ask of someone who has a mental illness or condition. Likewise with illness and disease etc. Individuals will never fit into a points scoring system and expect to be treated like an individual unless greater discretion is given to the person making the decision. The decision maker should be a medical professional and not a rubber stamping administrator working for the DWP.

    After watching the Dispatches programme it would actually appear that ATOS staff would put more people into the support group and not find so many people fit for work, that is, if they were allowed to do so. This surprised me!

    Change means we are not being ignored and that has to be applauded. I hope Professor Harrington's replacement has the conscience and rigour to stand up for sick and disabled people and strives to make this dreadful cruel mess of an assessment fit for purpose. Well done to Mind and everyone who have done everything possible to make it better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grayling will appoint the replacement. Of course he won't have a conscience. The case cleansing must continue.

      Delete
  68. These are a great improvement eseciaaly for me but the problem is i have almost reached the end of my 365 days. I have to work for 2 years to be able to claim again. How am i supposed to do this with the disabling and progressive degenerative disease that i have? I am screwed.
    Massive change but comes too late for some of us unless they agree to review all us cesa under the new criteria.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Can any descriptors or combination of descriptors take into account the complexity of one or several disabilities? I do not think so. The descriptors are not wrong as such, they are just descriptors. What is dangerous is the reason they have been introduced and promoted over any other way of assessing disabilities.
    As for absolving Atos of any responsabilities, it is a different matter, and not an emotional one. It is patronising to even suggest it can be. What is at stake here is the privatisation of essential and life-saving services, to companies who are primarly accountable to their shareholders. If it was not the case, how to explain that Atos got a £400m contract from DWP ?
    Anita Bellows

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  70. In what way does this assist those with mental health issues????

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  71. if you've been like me you'll get tested every six moths and the bottom line is I'm ill but now i have to go for cancer treatment in order to satisfy the powers to be that I'm ill and i haven't even got cancer
    so in the next two weeks i have to go through a full cat scan to rule cancer out

    the bottom line is that I'll still be ill but my doctor says these are the rules in that you must keep taking the medicine and keep having x rays to make sure your illness remains the same and doesn't get any worse as failure to do as your told you lose your benefits

    God give me strength it's the continual testing it gets very weary over the years but i press on god knows how maybe he has a big plan up his sleeve on grayling and co or maybe after 30 years I'll get fit well whatever gods plans are i just hope he gets a move on with them

    ReplyDelete
  72. There's too much here for me to read I'm afraid, some of the headings seem to relate to problems I have. I was put in the work activity group last year and have been waiting ages to hear from people who could help me out. I had a quick 10 min interview this week, incredibly stressful for me, though the lady did seem to appreciate that. She talked in terms of a slow and easy way forward, like she could help, at a pace that might suit. Can't fault that lady at all. It's all took so long though, that I got the letter through to fill in the form again a few days before I even saw her. I'm about half way along a twelve month waiting list for help from the NHS. Form is such an awful facing, I've a few weeks to do it, then I'll be in for the medical. Hard to get my hopes up that this lady might be able to help, I'm more worried they'll just pull the plug. Wish I could read all that's written above and digest it, might be of some use to me. Keep up the good work people.

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  73. Well done to everyone involved. I agree with Sue, the fact that DWP are in discussions about changing descriptors (and the underlying scoring mechanisms) mean there is a chink in the armour. There is no way Gov't will abolish WCA and not replace it with something. WCA is the devil we know, and someone is considering watering it down. That's a start. But only a start. Just like the teachers, we have to persuade this know-it-all Government that, actually, a person's physician knows their capability better than anyone, and raise the profile and role of medical evidence in the process. Education for GPs on the WCA by an independent third party (CAB?) would also not go amiss. My two pen'oth.

    As to effectiveness of descriptors, the Repeatedly Reliably bit needs to be incorporated into many more of the questions. Also, while these new descriptors might describe many conditions more effectively, they almost ignore the side effects of medications.

    I also think that, when it comes to cancer patients, some measure of how severe the cancer is, and/or how likely it is to be a threat to life, should be taken into account. It's probably too simplistic just to say cancer staging should be the measure, but it should be relevant. It might be acceptable to ask someone with a stage 2 cancer who is on radiotherapy or oral chemo with few side effects and likely to be cured or remitted to work; the emotional burden and often more radical treatment regimes for later stage cancers need to be given more leeway in the WCA.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Urgent!

    Did any of you see the article on page 17 of the SUN on Thursday August 2, top right hand corner? It throws light on what IDS said about the Judges at Appeals making the "Wrong" decisions.

    Article reads. Clamp on the cheats. Bogus benefit claimants are to be stopped from abusing lengthy appeals so they can carry on drawing money while avoiding getting a job. Instead of a costly tribunal, anyone unhappy at losing handouts will have to argue with Whitehall direct.Ministers hope the crackdown will stop people running rings round the system to put off getting job. Claimants loose almost seven out of ten appeals at tribunals. But a quarter of cases take more than 33 weeks to complete - with millions in benefits pais out along the way.

    There is no attribution to the article.

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  75. Atos are as much up to their necks in this vile program as the DWP, Coalition Government and the previous Labour Government. A billion pound is more valuable to them than the quality of human life or life at all, how anyone can possibly lessen their guilt, must believe in the "Neuremburg excuse"....... " we are just following orders" I do realise the Atos sponsored GamesofShames Paralympics are coming up, i will make NO apologies for those who are giving Atos the greatest Propaganda and Credibility Coup in their history, self-indulgence, personal profit and ego rubbing being more important to them than the victims opf Atos as for the disabled "celebs" they have NEVER condemned Atos, they are in bed with the enemy and benefitting from it..just ask the dogs in the street.

    ReplyDelete
  76. breaking news

    the government have given the DLA/PiP job to Capita and Atos

    ReplyDelete
  77. I have now had a chance to compare these descriptors with the existing ones. Frankly they are not much different, just slightly reworded. the addition of " reliably, repeatedly and safely" to mobilising is an improvement as is the distance IF this is the minimum distance to be specified.

    For me, some of these descriptors are actually worse than the old ones. Previusly coping with change, social engagement only has to cause "distress" It didn't specify what kind or why. (I am likely to pass out with too much stimulus)
    The new descriptors ask about the amount of "help" needed to cope. Well, for some things there is nothing that can "help" "Getting about" used to be just if you needed to be accompanied by another person 9 points, with no reason specified. With these you have to show "distress or disorientation".

    I am disappointed. I thought these would help improve things but really they don't at all. It the same things worded slightly differently and some things left out. Also without any idea of points, it is meaningless.Plus we still have no mention of pain and exhaustion in any of the descriptors. It is still not a real test of ability to actually work at all.

    For me, the obvious point is can you actually get up, showered and dressed and leave the house on a daily or even 3 days a week basis. That seems to me to be a pretty fundamental prerequisite to getting a job. For me, no amount of "help" from another person, even if it were available, which it is not, will change that. The answer is no but where is the descriptor to cover that?

    A test for ability to work has to cover the basic ingredients necessary to do that in the real world. Neither of these descriptor sets do that. Where is the question do you need carers to help with basic livingtasks? Surely the high rate or middle rate of care is proof enough, as it always used to be. This is just a ridiulous way of funnelling more money into testers pockets for no real purpose.

    If these descriptors were drawn up by the charities, it shows to me they have no understanding of the real days to day problems of their members or they are incapapble of putting that into a sensible format. Why don't they ask their members for suggestions for suitable questions? Only the person with the condition knows what their real abilities are. People have passed the previous tests to be on IB for a reason. These descriptors no more cover that than the existing ones.

    To support this is to fall into Grayling's trap of appearing to offer a better sytem, while in fact it is still just as bad.

    For my tuppence worth, I think we should support the BMA demand to scrap the thing entirely, immediately, before any more people suffer such awful stress and anxiety and more lives are lost. The doctors have voted to try and help us, why turn our back on what we waited so long for?

    MPs are also trying to help us with Early Day Motion 295. It states This House..."welcomes the actions taken by disabled people, carers, bereaved relatives and organisations to end this brutality and uphold entitlement to benefits; and applauds the British Medical Association call for the work capability assessment to end immediately and to be replaced with a system that does not cause harm to some of the most vulnerable people in society."

    I think se should support the MPs and doctors who are trying to help us not try to appease Grayling's fantasy world.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I agree with you

      Although shouldn't the MPs and doctors be SUPPORTING US???

      There is nothing about mental health. Where is the question about being manic/ psychotic/ catatonic - when you are psychotic can you push a button or move a cardboard box FFS!!!! it's all about the physical aspects of doing things - but does that equate to being able to work? NO it doesn't.

      It's not good enough to just keep trying to change the questions - we need to change the system.

      There is absolutely no consideration of the consequences to disabled people of this whole process. We know people are dying and what about the rest? Homeless, care- less, penniless, confused, depressed, suicidal ......

      This is just playing into the DWPs hands - it is appeasement

      Delete
  78. Unfortunately the MP's supporting that motion won't be the Government and so it will fail as the poliices of the coalition are carried through on numbers alone.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Here is a copy of the descriptors for the old "Personal Capability Assessment"

    They cover basically the same things but give much more flexibility to pick up a few points on a lot of different descriptors.

    It identifies the severely disabled immediately. It covers mental health problems much more comprehensively. And it allows for the complexity of illness and disability to be compounded into the sum of the parts, by being able to score some points from across a spectrum of problems.

    It also allowed for assessors to have medical evidence before the test. It gave them the ability to use their own judgment when they actually saw the person. It exempted those who were obviously not capable of work from their histroy and records or being on high rate DLA.

    What is wrong with this? Nothing, as far as I can see. I don't remember people dying or killing themselves over this.

    Atos can easily change its computer programme to score this, though really it only needs a pen and the ability to add up.

    Frankly, I think we already have the replacement for the WCA test.

    http://www.tameside.gov.uk/benefits/capabilityassessment

    If the government is serious about getting disabled people into work, then do this from a place of safety. There is nothing to stop people signed as unfit to volunteer for decent work training such as computer courses, and for them to provide any required help to get a job, such as adaptations or find employers willing to participate. But they are not doing that are they?

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    Replies
    1. Pissed Off Anonymous person3 August 2012 at 14:20

      the government is serious about saving money - it is not interested in disabled people or the consequences to them of their action - so for them 'work' and the ideology behind it are a means to an end

      Delete
    2. I appreciate what you are saying. My point was really just that if we are going to have to fight over changing descriptors the above ones are still useless and not worth fighting for.

      Why not make the fight about having the old PCA descriptors restored? They cover most things yet were still described by the OECD as the toughest test for sickness benefit in the world. They at least provide a better starting point. I know the ideology is to kick as many people off as possible. My ideology is to save lives.

      Have a read and see if you think we already have a better set of descriptors to fight for?

      http://www.tameside.gov.uk/benefits/capabilityassessment

      Delete
  80. The communication descriptor is still not good enough. It is way more complex than these descriptors suggest.

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  81. One major thing I have never heard mentioned is the time limit before anyone can be reassessed again after an initial assessment?

    I haven't seen any campaigns about that, surely that's one of the major problems of the whole assessment process also?

    The amount of people I hear from who are constantly being assessed, being recalled after winning on appeal, their should be a minimum time, no one should be reassessed more than every 12 months, many people should only be assessed once in a lifetime?

    The whole thing is a damp squib as far as I'm concerned, I also had to laugh at Anne Begg's post in the Independent Newspaper today, talking about the increase in abuse towards disabled people, politicians have made the biggest contribution to those figures not just the media, maybe it's time people like Anne Begg Mp stood down from the "Work & Pensions Committee", she's allowed Atos to get away with murder everytime they've been inront of her, the WP Committee is bloody useless and has done nothing to help the disabled community.

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  82. whilst we are on about the joys of descriptors, I found this:

    " Estelle Haviland • 4 hours ago

    Not so long ago, my aunty, who is profoundly deaf, totally blind (without any light perception), cannot speak and has a mild learning disability (childhood measles) was investigated for benefit fraud. Assessors left her in the middle of a busy car park to "see if she could make it back into the testing centre".
    My mother saw this from the waiting room, and ran out rescue her.
    She was so frightened, she was shaking.

    I would say this borders on "torture""

    found here:

    http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/08/03/its-not-the-benefit-fraudsters-who-are-targeted-in-the-media-its-the-disabled/

    In what way would descriptors help in this example?????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know your aunty probably didn't want any more of an ordeal, but God Bless her, she should have reported this to the Police.

      Delete
    2. I must have missed this comment when I read the blog, for gods sake how can this be tolerated in a decent society? Why aren't 'abled bodied' etc on the left, the churches, the unions, civil society, etc, screaming out about this...:mad: :mad: :(

      This is not acceptable

      Could someone send this to Guardian contacts, new statesman, owen jones other progressive media..

      Delete
  83. i see parts that may cross over with mental health, but seeing i have bad mood swings and can't cope with noise ect don't really know how any of these would affect my scores, think we should be testing the prime minster, and what i find really hard is there is still no fleixablity in the system, It would be great to sell a bit of art work, it helps me cope with my head, but i am terrified there tell me i have to go and a normal job, which i wouldn't cope in. It would be good if i could sell something with out worrying that about loosing everything, because at the moment is all or nothing,
    i am not saying that i wouldn't declare or give money if i sold something, but for it to be percentage, rather than yo -yoing around and still be kept in the same trap, if it was more flexiable, then may be costs would come down, i have known in the past people giving up a part time job, because it screws with the benefits, and causes so much stress, but these people are unable to work full time, or only doing a few hours a weeks, its madness

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  84. If IDS was genuine he should be making a statement to this blog and acknowledge those he is trying to help and he himself advising on what they should be doing so to relive this burden of stress that he has placed upon the sick and disabled

    My mp uses our local forum to address issues that crop up and has done so from day one of becoming a mp and with forums running across the whole of the country it may be wise that all mp's consider doing likewise so that they are up to date at all times on the needs of their constituents

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it's funny how they have misappropriated the word 'help'. What they are doing in nothing short of culling the population. This can only be helpful to those who want this to happen - you know, politicians and their banker friends.

      Delete
  85. Looking at the mental descriptors, they don't seem to cater for random problems, and what's the difference between 'frequently' and 'more often than not'? I would have expected 'frequently' to be more often than 'more often than not' but it seems to be higher up the list, suggesting that it will accrue fewer points.

    The concentration one seems problematic to me. You could have different levels of concentration different parts of the time. Will the combined effect be taken into account? Over what timescale will it be considered?

    I have bipolar disorder. My mood swings and psychotic symptoms are pretty random. I can be fine some days and in a mess others. I could see myself not accruing enough points yet being totally unemployable by any employer who wants to be able to predict whether I can concentrate on any given day for any particular period of time.

    I am sure that there are many other conditions where this is an issue.

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    1. Don't worry Sunny Clouds, this government and Cameron, IDS and Grayling particularly, have a cure for us all.

      The oint is we don't have to take their medicine - we, after all, employ them to take care of the nation - they are not our bosses!!!!

      Delete
    2. They dont like us and that's obvious to everyone by now

      We are to blame for the mess that the uk is in so they say and must be punished so they keep saying
      To me they are just like dr h shipman who was a nice man but deadly if he did not like you as the program highlighted
      I'm going to help you he said and be your friend and then killed them

      so we need to be mindful that as throughout history people within the government will be saying one thing but behind our backs it could well be a different tale their telling and many off us silently within our own homes wont make it and none of us here will be any the wiser as many of here post Anonymous so there is no way we would know if you've not made it and are now on the other side

      best to start using a name so we can all keep a eye on each other

      Delete
  86. Is nobody hearing my cry? I'll repeat it. WHY AREN'T THE POLICE INVOLVED? Suicides and deaths
    directly attributable to criminal activity - YES, PREMEDITATED CRIMINAL activity, not even
    criminal negligence. At least details of one shocking death was shown to enough people on BBC Panorama. And who are the initiators of this
    criminal activity? - the government. DWP and Atos just do their bidding. How come prosecutions have been brought and charges have been made against phone hackers while those responsible for the unrelenting and death- inducing WCA/Welfare Reform get away scot free.
    If we were seals or whales would we have been saved by now? WE SHOULD BAND TOGETHER AND SUPPORT THOSE FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST A LOVED ONE
    THROUGH MURDER/MANSLAUGHTER; BECAUSE NO-ONE ELSE WILL. I am not unhinged,just really, really
    seriously worried. If we don't, government will
    keep attacking the vulnerable mercilessly any way in which they can get away with it. DLA testing next April on top of all this will finish people trying to claim both benefits. I would love new descriptors to restore benefits,
    but seriously, they're a whitewash. And we can't wait three years for a possible change of
    government - it's too dangerous and serious.
    It is no good challenging this govt with facts or notions of decency, compassion or morality.
    We have never seen their like before.
    Please read this. Let's start some kind of campaign to bring prosecutions. Let's not allow
    our lives to be given so little value. Let's get it out in the public domain. Imagine the
    consequences if one brave solicitor had not
    pursued Harold Shipman?

    ReplyDelete
  87. Don't believe anything you hear because with this evil Tory Led Coalition it is more likely to be something completely different to what they want you to think or believe !

    ALL disability charities, organisation, groups and others that speak out for the sick and disabled should still come together as one and speak with one voice otherwise this situation will be protracted and drag on for years without the sick and disabled getting TRUE fairness and justice with the possibility that they will be lied to again.

    This Tory Led Coalition cannot be trusted and this situation needs to be addressed in a Court of Law because the sick and disabled have been lied to, discriminated against, abused and this Government should answer to this and brought to account.

    What is to stop them from going back on their word yet again.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Sorry, I know these descriptor reforms have the best of intentions but in my opinion the biopsychosocial theory behind the WCA is so malign and immoral that I think attempts to ameliorate its worst effects are misguided and serve only to give it legitimacy. Biopsychosocial theory should be opposed in principle as well as practise. Once it becomes accepted and established, all hope is lost.

    ReplyDelete
  89. we have tried everything it's like talking to brick wall what's to become of us all were all doomed i feel
    only god can help us now

    ReplyDelete
  90. Well the points arent listed so although they sound better are they better? Also is mobilising back to how someone can mobilise with whatever existing aids they have (or no aids if they have none) or still pretending they have a wheelchair, because although the metnal descriptors had a lot of fuss, I feel the most cruel changes were on the mobility.

    ReplyDelete
  91. when this corruptio is still happening:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/9449600/Phone-hacking-Met-chiefs-given-300000-payoffs-after-resigning.html

    there's little point arguing about descriptors - the WCA/ Wefare changes/Oppression of disabled people is a slightly bigger issue me thinks

    ReplyDelete
  92. A CAMPAIGN TO BRING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS.
    Come on, let's talk about it. No wonder govt
    has been able to do what it has. Let's bring
    criminal prosecutions. There is enough evidence
    even to date to prove cause-effect. Why have the individual families who have lost a loved one as a direct result of WCA/Welfare Reform not brought prosecutions? We must campaign. Bring this to major public attention. DEATHS
    HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY FALSIFICATION OF
    LEGITIMATE STATISTICS/EVIDENCE. Will somebody listen----PLEASE!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They will have be paid out damages and on condition their lips remain sealed so there is no evidence for a court of law hence no one that's has died and their family's not speaking out to date

      Delete
  93. Even Paul farmer, Chief Executive of MIND has blogged:

    "those currently on Incapacity Benefit should not be forced to take this test and the reassessment process should be stopped until this mess is sorted out."

    So why are they still complying with government instructions to come up with alternate descriptors, without this stop on testing as a prerequired condition to being inolved?

    Thing is, its one thing to blog this on their own website. But why aren't the charities and the doctors and MPs shouting this from the rooftops to the media and government over and over again? Until it IS stopped.

    http://www.mind.org.uk/blog/7191_uncomfortable_truths

    ReplyDelete
  94. AGREE

    STOP THE TESTING NOW

    NO MORE WCA

    ReplyDelete
  95. I appreciate the work that's gone into this, but - and it's a big but - the problems don't just come from the tests.
    The Atos staff will often lie whatever the descriptors are; the DWP will not comply with their guidelines; decisions are made on a random basis all the time. If the government do this, we can expect no further concessions. Ever since Lilley brought Unum in (under Major) and Labour brought in Atos, illness no longer exists,there are only degrees of capability for work; disability has been redefined as "acquired behaviour". When senior members of government refer to us as "stock" we are wasting our breath,and any hope that we can reason with them is long gone. After the proof of Atos's behaviour in the 2 documentaries on Monday, the Grayling (it is not human) did a piece in the Guardian denying everything.
    Many people "migrating" from IB to ESA have reported that they are not even having a WCA they are being put in WRAG on the basis of the ESA50 alone. I know you're keen to negotiate, Sue, but I really think it's time to face the fact that the current government are not going to stop unless there is a massive campaign to rethink the entire system. All the work of all those people who have been polite and positive and flexible - what happens? Denial, lies, and more Atos - even in the face of deaths, suicides, and hard evidence. I think I'm past being reasonable - we are dealing with fascists, End of.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No WCA here but put into WRAG on the basis of the ESA50 - AND the stated medical condition was completely wrong! Won appeal thankfully.

      Delete
  96. I so agree. They are fascists. And they are able to get away with this because the majority of the Opposition has abandoned us.EDM 295 has been signed by less than 70 Labour MPs. What the hell! If they cared at all, every Labour MP
    would have at least put their name to that. They
    know what's going on. How much more blood do they want? The bastards! Hell, they could have defeated the whole so called Welfare Reform Bill if they had wanted.

    ReplyDelete
  97. we are dealing with fascists, End of.

    We have to face these facts as i have always maintained their will be a minority in the goverment /DWP/ATOS / who will enjoy watching people die and that's fact and that has always been the case of many governments in the middle east and Africa over the past 70 years

    most of us here know of the atrocities that have been carried out over the past years it has been on the news day in day out for years no one can say what atrocities and like in history it's now our turn for history to repeat itself

    I'm already for the abuse and subsequent death and so is my family and NHS care worker along with my doctor of 30 years and lawyer so i am one of the lucky ones i wont die alone but i think that mentally i would never recover anyhow as to many people have suffered already and for me the time has come to move on to the other side

    I have always put others before myself and my family so i will be feeling the pain and hurt more then most and that regretfully has and will be my downfall

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand,fourbanks. I am in a similar situation I feel. My one consolation is that these malevolent and brutal abominations of the human race will one day burn in hell for their treatment of innocent,defenceless human beings: their power,privilege and wealth will not buy them succour on their day of judgement before our Creator God. The extermination of the sick and disabled has begun...

      Delete
  98. Yes, unless there is a mass, sustained campaign,
    we will be trampled to death. No hyperbole.
    These fascists are cutting without mercy
    everything vulnerable people need. 10 billion
    pound more cuts to come - guess where they'll fall. Sorry Sue, flabbergasted by your drive and
    commitment, but one tiny concession (I'm suspicious) while they smash us harder with
    every other cut. THEY ARE NOT HUMAN. We must
    clue up and fight on mass. The streets are there. These monsters think this will never happen. Oh the arrogance. Repeat. They are not to be reasoned with. The intention is to wear us all down begging for concessions and struggling to survive. The line had been crossed. Either a mass, sustained campaign or we die. We are facing fascists.

    ReplyDelete
  99. what use will descriptors be in the light of the removal of the Independent Living Fund, the Social Care Grants and loans, the changing of Housing Benefit and Council Tax and the wonderful introduction of the Universal Credit that IDS has so religiously engineered, even though they haven't got a computer to make it work, next year??????

    ReplyDelete
  100. Let's kill Cameron - thoroughly vile lowlife.
    There must be thousands of us who would love to do it. Statement made in utter seriousness. No other way. Pass it on

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should delete that. Honestly, that kind of talk isn't worth it, you could end up in court for just venting. Take it off, please, don't give any of them an excuse to hurt you more or your family.

      Delete
  101. Comment was made to draw attention to the desperation of thousands, in no way to hurt
    someone who is a brave campaigner. Please see
    who the perpertrators are. We are the innocent victims. A brave campaigner needs protecting too. I am drawing attention to a dangerous
    individual(there are others) and a dangerous
    time in our history. It cannot be overstated.
    Please don't let us be cowed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand, but if the Courts are prepared to hand out 4 year sentences to kids for making stupid comments on FB, and arrest another kid for making a stupid comment to Tom Daley, why give Tories a chance to say they are getting Death threats? I also think Louise Mensch is taking a few people to court.

      I hear your desperation, and I feel it. I am in the same boat, and I am very scared.

      Delete
  102. It may be an idea if this website owner started to put comments under moderation before posting them because these issues are very sensitive with many people with disabilities including mental health problems. Also there is the danger that some people with health problems may say inappropriate things and threats without fully realising what they are saying, or how what they say is received. Also people with health issues are known to say things that they do not mean or understand.

    I sincerely hope that people reading this understand what I am saying as it would be disappointing for others that do not agree with this website for whatever reasons to try and close it down or label it trouble with the intention of fulfilling their aims of painting the sick and disabled as worthless trouble makers and other dishonest labels. Thank You.

    ReplyDelete
  103. The worthless troublemakers are the current government. It is unfair and inaccurate to make
    such comments. They only serve to do the government's work. People with health issues do not say what they do not mean - that is a label!! I would be more inclined to say key
    figures in the government have the health issues. Dangerous governments can come to power.
    We live in a democracy, and should be able to
    protect ourselves when threatened with 'might
    is right'.

    ReplyDelete
  104. amonrosier ,you say louise mensch is taking a few people to court? i wonder if it may be the drug dealers she used to score from ?fact. and if thees people are to be taken to court by this creature, i hope they intend to call her many times on adjournment as possible, as she leaves a deserted sinking ship that is the condom party, for america. where i feel she will fit in well with the red necks .steve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Louise Mensch, self certified tory glam girl, is toddling off to New York with her family - true brit style!!!

      Delete
    2. With comments like that it would be advisable for this website owner to moderate comments because people are going to give this website a bad name. With such a sensitive issue (disability) people are going to say inappropriate things without much thought which may bring trouble to this fantastic, helpful website that is there to try and bring about justice. It is clear that some people need moderating to protect the future of this website.

      Delete
    3. I was trying to advise the poster not to make Death threats against David Cameron, and to be honest I have no idea why the conversation strayed into a debate about Louise Mensch. But tempers are high.

      Delete
  105. You have gone of subject somewhat. The subject was regarding : Possible New WCA Descriptors.

    No point prevaricating and waffling because that will cause people to get bored and not take anything seriously.

    As much as I'm against many Tory policies I dont see what Louise Mensch has to do with this, especially due to the fact that she has gone off to live with her husband and three children in the United States. She is now history !

    Focus on the subject.

    ReplyDelete
  106. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19146805
    Louise Mensch to quit as an MP, triggering Corby by-election on 15th November. A good chance to field an 'anti welfare reform/down with ATOS pro disabled' candidate ??
    Tls

    ReplyDelete
  107. Agree with above commenit. Be good to get the ball rolling on an anti-welfare reform candidate asap. We DON'T want the Tories to win that seat.

    ReplyDelete
  108. also agree with above comment, calling for anti welfare reform candidate asap. this needs to happen the new descriptures are all smoke and mirrors greystink and invalid disability smasher (ids) are rotten to the core if anyone thinks that they are going to come out in fairness or just ideals for the most challenged they are deluded. that flies in the face of their ideology, they mean to smash the disabled.steve

    ReplyDelete
  109. Much as I dislike the DM's stance on many things, we have another stick being waved at not just the sick and vulnerable but just about everyone see the following...

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2184235/Labour-blasts-coalition-plans-cut-council-tax-benefit-warn-Poll-Tax-style-suffering.html

    Then with a benefits cap, DLA being scrapped and being replaced with a benefit worth 20% less, not knowing if we'll lose that and be put on JSA, or an ESA scheme, Bedroom Tax etc...lots of unknowns are coming all buried whilst the public enjoys the Olympics...

    ReplyDelete
  110. Its good to know that the Conservatives are listening to disabled people and making changes to the draconian wca that labour chose ( and still supports ) to inflict on sick and disabled people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure if you are sincerely suggesting that the Conservatives are "listening"...and making changes or whether it's a case of the triumph of hope over experience.Either way I think your address must be located in the Disney town of "Celebration" and you are really snow white just waiting for the handsome Prince Chris grayling to kiss you awake and meet his father the King of Neverland HRH Iain Duncan Smith.Have you really been asleep the past 100 yrs? George Osborne /the Coalition plan a further £10 billion of cuts trimmed from welfare.The regulations that govern ESA and the planned introduction of PIP and Universal Credit are tying the most experienced welfare rights advisors in knots...Sir Humphrey himself would find it an olympic challenge navigating his way through the civil service jargonese that constitutes ESA regs.Labour most certainly did introduce the WCA and its "impossible" descriptors..ironic since one of its prime implementers during her tenure at Work & Pensions was Yvette Cooper who if I'm not mistaken drew support from the welfare system herself during a long period of illness.The very term welfare is designed to be used pejoratively and to engender "SHAME' and a feeling of" HUMILIATION" in those who are its recipients.The tories and lib-dems all encouraged and supported more draconian legislation during labours tenure in office. It's on the statute book it's not going away and the lovely cuddly Conservatives and their preened and primped little Lib-Dem poodles( among whom their is a particularly odious little red-haired one who assists his old Etonian master as Chief Secretary to the Treasury) fully intend to forge full steam ahead. Are you aware that there's an ideological battle going on that is about SHRINKING the STATE? The Maxim is PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.Those lovely "LISTENING" Conservatives reside in the imagination of people who should stand up and take the weight off their brains as they MOBILISE their way off to work singing Hi! Ho! along with Dopey, Sleepy et al ********

      Delete
    2. Dear Sam,
      I do wish that I lived in a magic kingdom, then I might have use of my legs, bladder, bowels and my kidneys would be working fine,I would no longer have constant pain in my arms due to pushing my wheelchair for the past twenty years how wonderful that would be, unfortunately I don’t live in a magic kingdom and my disability is very real and will only get worse as time goes by.
      Now, had labour won the election the same thing would be happening which goes to show that they are all as bad as each other we just wouldn’t have people like you claiming to support disabled people when really you are just using them to score political points.

      Delete
    3. I apologise that I have clearly given offence though I would also remind you that I speak as someone with multiple health problems and disabilities myself - not as someone opportunistically trying to score political points as you imply.
      There are MP's on the left of all the three main parties who are on our side;the problem is they are viewed by the bulk of their colleagues as anachronistic rabid lefties with no place in modern parties that all vie for the centre ground.Well - there are Labour, The Conservatives and the Lib-Dems all standing on one another's shoulders trying to occupy this tower block built on the so-called centre ground. The government of whichever hue are not about to roll back the welfare changes and that means our battles are many and our victories few.The options for opposition rest largely with the disability charities themselves, who - collectively aligned - if they disengaged with govt and attempted to genuinely influence the press, broadcast media and in turn the public with the evidence of the harshness and rottenness of the welfare reforms we might make some progress.The Disability organisations painted themselves into a corner during the progress of reform over the past decade. Having a seat at the table in consultative discussions might have felt good for their representatives but the embargoing of dissemination of information and discussion arising from those meetings left those affected by proposals ignorant of matters until it was rather too late to influence the positions of those who act as a conduit for the views of the vast ranges and shades of people with disabilities and chronic ill-health.The Right Payment Programme for DLA is a case in point and caused untold alarm and fear in people who suddenly found themselves under scrutiny and undergoing reassessment and loss of benefit.
      The government has a litany of maxims it churns out using spurious research (Sheffield Hallam University has a track record of providing supportive research in the pursuit of govt policy objectives) one we all know well is that work is good for your health. The targets for removing people from Incapacity benefit arising from their flawed research.
      The disability charities have had to play the game of insisting most disabled people want to work.To say anything contrary would be to affirm the scrounger stereotype.Unfortunately there was no qualification and counterpoint to say that despite maybe wanting to believe one could work the reality for many would be a deterioration in the management of ill-health should they attempt a resumption of employment . I think this is the spoony effect that so much of Sue and Kaliya's blogging describes.We aren't all able to take up where we left off. The groundwork was prepared to alienate a normally sympathetic public toward health and disability during the tenure of Peter Lilly under John Major's administration and continued unrelentingly during the Blair/Brown administrations and through SEVEN successive New Labour ministers holding the Work & Pensions brief. It took a long time and the vitriol of the Mail/Telegraph/Sun etc.etc and a steady flow of misinformation and statistics detailing the benefit scrounger narrative but it is now FIRMLY FIXED in the public mind. My point is that politics is what drives the reforms- politics is what governs our lives and I find myself in despair when I read words naively stating that the Tories are listening.The whole political spectrum is intent on reducing the state spending on health and welfare it's only the case that some political parties have a more ideologically driven belief in self reliance or charitable intervention in a system that will mirror that of the USA where welfare is a shameful and dirty word as it has fast become here.
      Are you now comfortable with telling anyone other than those you may most trust that you receive welfare benefits-even if you paid tax and insurance for as many years as you may have worked?

      Delete
    4. Yes, my old college helped provide some of the ammunition for the welfare reforms:, it was Professor Steve Fothergill of SHU who provided the research on the levels of I/B in the old de-industrialised areas which was used in the seminal Panorama Doc 'Britain on the sick' and which arguably started the whole moral panic about disability benefits, though I'm not sure if the Prof was naive or culpable. Certainly Kate Stanley formerly of the IPPR was indeed culpable, guilty, etc, she was agitating in political/academic circles, etc as early as 2004 for I/B to be abolished and replaced with a much more 'robust' medical, benefit, etc..

      and of course there is the master: Sir Mansel Aylward CB MD FRCP FFOM FFPM , former DWP Chief Medical Officer and (Sponsored by UNUM) Director of the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research at Cardiff University

      lets put names to the guilty, read Calum's list, blood on their hands...

      Delete
  111. 'INTRODUCTION
    1 This memo clarifies guidance on the use of aids and appliances when assessing LCW following a UT decision, CE/1217/111.


    1 [2011]UKUT 449 (AAC); ESA Regs, reg 19(4)
    BACKGROUND


    2 The facts of the UT decision were as follows. The claimant suffered from problems with his knee. He had not been advised to use a walking stick, and did not do so. Following application of the WCA, the DM determined that the claimant did not score any points, and ESA was terminated. On appeal, the FtT awarded 9 points for descriptor 3(b) (bending or kneeling). They considered that the claimant’s difficulties with walking, standing and sitting could be helped by the use of a walking stick. As the score was still less than 15 points, the DM’s decision was upheld.'

    htttp://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/m-24-12.pdf

    Not sure if anyone has knowledge of this DWP clarification on the use of aids such as walking sticks, basically it seems that there has been a new, (well two months ago) judgement by a tribunal and now clarification by the DWP that the use of a walking stick or other 'aid', etc, could be described as ameliorating a persons condition/enabling the claimant to carry out an action, and that they should consider that use of a walking stick, etc,(whether one is used or not) could enable the claimant to mobilise effectively,

    I think it is effectively saying that if you can walk/stand with the use of a walking stick you could and may fail the walking/standing/mobilising part of the ESA. and this applies to some other descriptors.

    I hope i have got the gist of this decision, can others have a look, it is clearly very significant..

    ReplyDelete