Tuesday 8 March 2011

Welfare Reform that MUST NOT go Ahead

So, tomorrow is the 2nd reading of the Welfare Reform Bill.

I want to be very clear today about which parts sick and disabled campaigners feel are unacceptable :

1) Removing Disability Living Allowance mobility payments from adults in residential care. 
An adult who needs to live in residential care will have extensive needs and are often amongst the most severely disabled. The mobility component of DLA afforded them their only freedom, allowing them to choose to fund a power wheelchair otherwise unavailable on the NHS, or to pay for taxis or transport to get out now and then. Taking this away would leave the most vulnerable disabled people effectively housebound. There is no support for this change anywhere - charities, independent benefit reports and even the government's own advisers have called for this to be removed from the bill

2) Scrapping DLA entirely and replacing it with Personal Independent Payments (PIPs).
DLA is a very effective benefit with fraud rates of less than 1% (DWP own figures) It is already incredibly hard to claim and the qualification criteria are very narrow. The government have announced that DLA claimants will also soon face assessment and that the overall number of claimants will be reduced by at least 20%. The government's own advisory committee concluded that they could find no justification for this reform and have asked for clarification from the government.
If a benefit is already very efficient, yet a government announce a 20% cull before a single assessment has even taken place, we conclude it can only be a cost cutting measure that will ignore genuine need. 

3) Time limiting Employment Support Allowance (ESA, previously Incapacity Benefit) to 1 Year
Many people who need to claim ESA have "long term variable" or chronic illnesses such as MS, Parkinson's, Bowel Disease, Leukaemia or severe Mental Illness. These conditions often do not go away after a year and sadly, often get worse over time. A high percentage of those with these conditions are being found "fit for work" under ESA but after 1 year, if they have a working partner, they will receive no state assistance whatsoever. All of their benefit will be stopped, a loss of just under £5000 a year. 

4) ATOS assessments are "unfit for purpose" and a better way of assessing need must be implemented. ATOS are the private company charged with assessing over 1.5 million sick and disabled people during this parliament.
-They do not need to use trained medical experts.
-Up to 40% of rejected claims are going to appeal with up to 70% of those decisions being overturned.
-Assessments are humiliating and degrading causing great anxiety to those genuinely in need.
-Just 7% of previous claimants are being found unfit to work.
-Testimony from Consultants and GPs is often ignored entirely.
-People are dying before lengthy appeals can be heard.
-Even the professor who designed these assessments calls them a "complete mess"

There are other problems with the bill - capping housing benefit; re-classifying "mobility" so that those who use their wheelchairs too efficiently can be classed as "fully mobile"; removing an age related payment from ESA; scrapping the Independent Living Fund; cutting community care provision; cutting the Access to Work programme and many more - all of which will hurt sick and disabled people disproportionately, but the four points above MUST be addressed before the Welfare Reform Bill is passed.

They are causing or will cause real hardship.
They will not achieve savings as pressures will only be shifted to the NHS or social care provision.
They will increase homelessness, mental illness and poverty amongst this most vulnerable group of all
They will leave many in genuine need without support
They reduce the independence, standard of life and dignity of those we have a basic duty to protect.

Time is running out. If you think your MP may not yet be aware of these points, then please, send him this by email today. You can find email details for your MP here : http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

Again, please share this by using the Facebook and Twitter buttons on this site - we must tell as many people as we can before tomorrow. 

PLEASE help us to stop this before it's too late. Sickness and disability can happen to any one of us at any time and a democratic society owes a duty of care to those who are most in need.

Thank You.

Please don't leave help just out of reach for those who need it most.


  1. The time-limit on contrib-ESA is going to be disastrous for my family. My partner works for the local authority and receives a paltry wage for her time, and she's had to reduce her hours in order to care for me - and my DLA claim was rejected.

    Her wages will push me over the threshold for means-testing, so after a year, I will get nothing. I will also lose the small addition receiving incapacity puts on her Working Tax Credit.

    As if being treated like a fraudster wasn't enough.

  2. aGREED i WILL TWEET THIS BLOG and reblog it

  3. You know my views sue the proposals will go ahead that's for sure and it will be disastrous for all concerned and despite our best endeavors it will all be over bar the singing

    I hope I'm wrong but i regret to say being retired from the bank of england i very rarely am and cant see any reason to think i will be wrong on this occasion

    My mp as i have said before is good here in crawley but his feelings are the same as mine

    The country voted for change at the last election and change is what there going to have

  4. Maybe our friend Eion may have a way forward or uncover something that we have overlooked in a legal sense for example ?
    But for me and all that i have looked at over many months i have drawn a blank so as they say in the den I'm out

  5. Thank you guys - let's keep the pressure up.

  6. fourbanks. I know how you feel, but I also try to speak positively for all sick and disabled.

  7. I think it is a ploy to cut the length of life without out right saying so. If only the one basic need is met for some (personal care) the quality o life, the general health and mental health will suffer causing premature death and society will be worse for it. Expeidiated by cuts to benefits. Also in these scary times, when money to live by is hard to come by, how can we expect volunteers to take on momentous responcibilities? Especially as most people are struggling needing to take care of their own!

  8. I hate going to the doctors, being assessed etc, it forces me to look at just how sick I am and how much help I need. I have enough worries getting through the day coping with chronic pain and the rest of the illnesses, diseases I have through no fault of my own. I am often sad and sometimes in complete despair feeling I cannot cope anymore. I don't actually want to but have been at the end, luckily I raised my head with help to tread water a little longer. I understand why reassess but it is horrid and could easily push ppl too far, by examining your disabilities then to loose that help could be disastrous

  9. I too am sure this will go through, the inmates are now in charge of the asylum. Will this Government then do the only thing left for many with disabilities, who will be left with no reason to go on living, and issue 'cyanide' (or any such poison )pills with the last DLA payments?

  10. Hi Sue,
    l have Parkinson's Disease and l wish you all the best. l am very worried about all this.
    By the way, l really like the image accompanying your blog - can you tell me the name of the photographer? The reason l ask is that l have recently been involved in a photographic project and would like to contact him/her.

  11. Disability, illness, disease, is NOT a lifestyle choice and yes it can happen to anyone at anytime.

    There are lots of hidden costs that seem forgotten: electricity to use items every day, such as electric wheelchairs, stairlifts, bottle/can openers, monitors, petrol or taxis because even short journeys need to be done in a vehicle, more lights, more clothes, oh I could go on. Just a fact of life.

  12. Thanks Tim.
    It was organised by Bendy Girl (@BendyGirl on twitter) from the website http://benefitscroungingscum.blogspot.com/

    I'm sure she'll help. I happen to know she's looking for other photographers too....

  13. I agree Tim, I love the pic, thought it apt.

    My sister has profound, complex physical & learning disabilities, she needs 1000% support. Her brain was damaged at birth. She is unable to do anything for herself, nor even tell us she is itchy. My sister and I are very close & do understand each other instinctively. However society would be worse without her, she brings out the best in people,makes ppl shine, her gift is making us btr ppl. Every1 deserves a dignified life, every1 has a gift for society

  14. I think the article is well written and hits the nail on the head, every1 is made to feel a fraud, valueless; and yes change is needed to avoid the low self-esteem embarisment and sadness caused by the process but the changes proposed are worse.

    We are throwing the baby out with the bath water for the sake of a few bad apples spoiling the rest. Benefit fraud of 1% should not be fixed by making the other 99% suffer.

  15. Welfare reforms will enable your Lib Dem government to cut petrol tax.

  16. Being made to feel undeserving must be so awful , I remember the first time my son with complex needs was assessed for the then attendance allowance I sat and cried because it was the first time I had realised how very dependent he was and was going to be . He sadly died on Christmas Eve and i am heartbroken ; if there is an upside to his death it is that we will be spared what many of you and others are going through . My heart goes out to you - the people making these changes have been in a different place to me and my son and have no earthly idea of the physical, psychological and social cost .

  17. I think the person commenting on petrol every day might like to stick to sites purely for that campaign.

    It is grossly insulting to suggest that sick and disabled people should be made to suffer so that others pay a few pence less on their fuel.

    I rarely remove or moderate comments, but really, this is for a different place. If you read some of these comments, perhaps you will find a little tact from somewhere?

  18. As i say sue had David Cameron's son stayed alive yes things would indeed be subtlety different but he's not so what you have now is Mrs thatcher all over again he made it clear to me what he was about before the vote at the election i knew this was coming 100%

    Now if i saw it coming the public must have also seen it and there lies the problem
    The public could say well i wasn't sure or I'm uneducated and didn't understand what he meant or i wasn't in the country at the time they could come up with dozens of excuses but the bottom line is a sufficient amount voted conservative

    David Cameron did con us before the election i have it on dvd that he would look after us but i knew because of my age and experience that was a lie and it is tough but and i say again he will stick with this why would he wont to change and say OK i got it wrong there is nothing in his life's background or that of nick clegg which would cause them to go down a different route there wealthy and are verbally perfect courtesy of wealth and oxford in the case of the prime minster

    He would con his own mother if he had to i have been in with this class of people all my life i know how they think and this is probably mild for some of them believe me

    The main core on the front bench are together in this joint new policy and to back off now i cant see it

    I do however apologize if i sound negative it's just everyone around me where i live thinks I'm wrong and a loser

    Just for a person to think of voting conservative is a sign of there deep mental selfishness and over my 55 years there attitude has never changed and never will do

  19. And over 60 years ago my granmum fought for the right for me to sit anywhere I want to on a bus, and won it. Everyone around me thinks I'm wrong and a loser too; that doesn't mean I have to buy it!

    I said yesterday if I heard one more "We're doomed nothing we can dooooo" post I was going to hit someone with my cane, so line up! The negativity-in-every-post thing is TIRED

  20. I admire you oya and yes i do need a slap my mental state is much weaker then yours
    We are where we are thou and when the dust has settled we will need to move on my wife knows that being from the Sudan
    She being a victim of war and famine also of torture at a young age knows only to well about hard times

    We may find ourselves at some point in finding another cheaper country to live in after all without any benefits there would be no need to stay in this country any longer

    This of course would only apply to a couple where one of them was fit and able to work abroad and would be able to make ends meet that's why people go abroad in the first place as housing and general livings costs are also cheaper

    It's something tho that we will need to bear in mind is the UK for us anymore and if not try to make a go of it elsewhere

    Where do we go i hear you ask well that is indeed the one hundred dollar question and like my wife who come here it could well be that we will move on at some point that's if a country will have us but if there's a professional in the family it's reasonably easy as a lot of non eu countries still value those with skills

    Otherwise if we stay here we'll just spend the rest of lives in fighting and i dare say getting very bitter

  21. Surely SOMEBODY will sue them and show them this is against our Human Rights? Do we have any humanity in this Govt? I did not choose to get ill - I was happy and fit and healthy - THIS WAS NOT MY LIFE PLAN

    I am petrified. Totally petrified. And this is making me more and more ill!

    I just dont get why disabled law companies arent sueing the govt under human rights.

    I agree they will send us a ticket to switzerland. I am scared. Very scared.

  22. Except that not enough people voted conservative. We'd be in a better position if they were in a minority government having to actually negotiate these things, but the LibDems are lending them power in return for a few tiny compromises and an AV referendum. I'd sooner have waited a parliament or two for voting reform and had a minority government.

  23. But would it have changed if Labour had stayed in?

    I am so scared :-(
    The word ATOS scares me - My whole LIFE depends on this - And I am scared of losing my life because of them

  24. This is labours plan to start with i have on dvd Gordon brown taking questions before the election on itv's good morning program where someone was calling in on why there incapacity benefit was not granted with the caller in an advance stage of cancer with only a month or so to live

    Gordon brown replied that he would look into it but as we saw later in that news clip with him calling a woman bigoted it proved that Gordon overall was not a genuine person at all and people went on to vote in a confused way conservative

    You must always have a fully trained health worker accompany you to a medical that is a right and you should use it as failure to do so will leave you fit for work

    I cant stress that enough

  25. "But would it have changed if Labour had stayed in?"


    With Thatcher we had Thatcher
    With Blair we had Thatcher
    With Brown we had incompetent Thatcher
    With Cameron we have Thatcher

    As a disabled person I am encouraged by welfare workers to be as independent as I can be and make the often painful effort to improve my quality of life. As soon as I do I am penalised for my efforts. Catch 22 exists.

  26. Benefits have to be reduced to ensure that work always pays. Future generations will thank the Lib Dems for abolishing Housing Benefit.

  27. Aha! My LibDem Anonymous.

    As you are obviously taking the Michael out of LibDems, I'm tempted to let it go....

  28. Far to many people are abusing dla i know of several people who are abusing the system to its limits. They know exactly how to use the system to fool the doctors that there disability is severe then you see them running for the bus carrying there shopping when the day before they could hardly walk on crutches as they were off to a visit at the doctors, hopefully reform will weed out these low lives and the people in need will get help they need.

  29. I agree.
    We need reform that aims to catch cheats, not victimise those in genuine need.
    Taking support away from those who really need it won't catch a single cheat.

  30. I had no idea the full scale of these cuts. The information about the DLA is particularly dismaying. I pray that this will not be passed- the outlook is getting increasingly bleak across the board.

  31. If it were not for all politician's penchant for picking on the helpless, I would find it difficult to believe that we are not living in Nazi Germany.

  32. Anonymous your not far wrong had we got a proper labour party all would have been well but i regret to say whatever happens the future for the UK is bleak and to the young like my daughters i say to them get good grades at university and then go and live a proper life if that's possible elsewhere

    I say if that's possible because over the coming years the conservatives world wide will be making life very difficult for those in need with the future up in the air for a whole raft of groups of people not just the sick but anyone out of step with a conservative viewpoint

    Very much like the leaders in the middle east For the people of the UK it will be very much the survival of the fittest those with good families faring better then those on there own

  33. These cuts are very frightening as a disabled mum (who also manages to work) with a disabled child we very much rely on DLA as my husband cares full time for our son. To those of you who say I know someone who is cheating benefits, I say grass them up if they are not entitled......perhaps then we can save that money for those of us that do

  34. Usually what happens is that people phone in on ungrounded suspicions, often on the back of personal grudges. A witch hunt mentality develops - in reality someone does a couple of hours Permitted Work but to you they're SCROUNGING! on tEH STATE.

    It's divide and rule. Classic. Well done tories. I see Labour have lost their lead - must be because people support this stuff. Certainly the way the disabled, the sick and the poor are treated bears this out. Well it's been a good few years since this benefits scrounging scumbag was homeless, I guess I'll be homeless again before long.

    Don't say we didn't warn you - we will cost you decent tax paying folk TEN TIMES AS MUCH in that state.

  35. That picture reminds me of a joke:

    A man with no arms and legs is lying on a beach. Its a warm beautiful day and three of the most gorgeous women in the world walk over to him. The first asks "Have you ever been hugged?" "No" he says. She gives him a hug and he is happy. The second says "Have you ever been kissed?" "No" he responds, and she goes in to kiss him. Now the man is beginning to get rather excited at what the third woman is about to say. "Have you ever been fucked?" she asks. "No" the man responds. "Well you are now the tide is coming in."


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