You've all been very patient, but it's a bit like trying to learn Russian at night school. At some point you wonder exactly when you stopped having fun.
So, today, I bring you, the great ESA quiz. ESA is Employment Support Allowance. It used to be Incapacity benefit and before that it was "on the sick".
Yep, we're the "scroungers". The one's that became too ill or disabled to work. The one's that pretend to limp before setting off for a nice game of golf. We all know one don't we? May be two or three. Lazy feckers who don't want to work so invent imaginary bad backs and find it incredibly hard to breath when a DWP agent walks into the room. We've seen them on Saints and Sinners, we've read about them in the Daily Mail. Our brother's girlfriend's boss always lives next door to one..... Don't they? See how accurate YOUR "facts" are.
Q1 How many people claim ESA in the UK?
A) 2.6 Million B) 4.7 million C) Everyone except me and my hard working family.
Answer : 2.6 Million. This figure has not risen since 1997
Q2 How much is ESA per month?
A) £388.45 B) £732.80 C) £3,650.12 including a company car and a free house.
Answer : £388.45 per month. If your partner works, you get no other benefits at all.
Q3 Is ESA means tested?
A) Yes B) No C) Don't be silly. Millionaires can claim it.
Answer : Yes. If you have more than £16,000 in savings, you do not qualify for ESA
If your partner works, you too will not qualify for ESA for more than a year.
Q4) ESA is means tested. How much can a couple earn before they lose all ESA?
A) £26,000 pa B) £16,000 pa C) £7,500 pa
Answer : If household income is above £7,500 pa, you will lose all ESA after a year.
Q5) What is the rate of ESA fraud according to the governments own figures?
A) 0.5% B) 15% C) 93%
Answer : 0.5%, around 13,000 people.
Q6) How many people do you think are really fit for work but claim ESA instead?
A) 9% B) 43% C) 93%
Answer : If fraud is 0.5%, one would imagine the % losing their benefits would be around 0.5%, but in fact, the government are forcing 93% of previous claimants into work. 40% of cases go to appeal with up to 70% of the original decisions overturned.
Q7) Is ESA easy to get?
A) Quite, your doctor just signs you off.
B) Yes! Anyone can get it, they just tell the DWP their back hurts.
C) No, you must fill in a 40 page form and attend a harsh face to face medical.
Answer : C) Almost no-one (just 7%) qualifies for ESA on a long term basis.
Q8) What costs more :
A) Scroungers on the Sick B) Tax avoidance C) Bankers
Answer : C) Bankers cost us £1.4 Trillion, Tax Avoidance costs around 40 Billion per year, ESA is 12 Billion
Q9) Can you work and claim ESA?
A) No B) Sometimes C) No, but they all do!!
Answer : A) No. ESA is an out of work benefit. though some very limited "permitted work" can be arranged with the agreement of the DWP
Q10 Do you believe we should pay ESA to those who are genuinely sick?
A) Yes, of course B) Maybe C) No! Survival of the fittest, the weak should live in workhouses
Answer : A) I have never met anyone who says they don't believe we should pay benefits to those who are genuinely sick. Odd then that we're standing by unconcerned as up to 2.4 million people out of 2.6 million have ESA taken away.
So then, how did you do? 10 out of 10? Thought not. There are answers to this quiz that shocked me and this is what I do!!
**What can you do to help today? This is a light-hearted bit of fun. Please send it to the most rabid right wing, Daily Mail reading, stereotype-abuser you can think of. We will never break these myths down unless we challenge them. (Obviously remove this comment first of they might not be very happy ;) )
As ever, click on the Twitter and Facebook buttons to share, or link to other sites, thanks.