Friday 12 October 2012

Open Letter to Mark Hoban

The whirlwind of conference season has passed relatively harmlessly for another year and the lid has been firmly locked on those irritating, grass-root humans that invade a politician's alien world once a year.

But just before that particular circus gave those of us that attended emphysema from so much smoke and mirrors, David Cameron reshuffled his cabinet of clowns.

Us sick and disabled people, whose political-football-lives can in some cases be totally controlled by the actions of a few MPs, got a new "team" to play in the semis.

So, our new "Maria Miller" - Minister for Disabled People - is Esther McVey

A tough, Liverpool lass, again, went to a state school (though seemingly a glowing example of one of the first Academies) who believes in SMEs and family business. She was working at the DWP anyway, under Chris Grayling. She has already had several meetings with Kaliya Franklin (@bendygirl) and arranged a meeting with Ian Duncan Smith at Tory conference. As magic-dust would have it, she is also Kaliya's MP. So far, she has listened very carefully to everything we have to say.

But the new "Grayling" - Minister for Work and Pensions - is a Mr Mark Hoban.

A comprehensive boy Tory with a strong history in finance. In my experience, Tories who went to comprehensives are the most sensible ones. Usually one-nation Tories who can ground conservatism in it's real values through experience. If nothing else a finance guy would surely look at the kafka-esque farce that is work provision, outsourcing and welfare policy in this country and believe in seconds that almost all of the money could be better spent? Spent on actually doing what we're supposed to be doing with every last pound of taxpayers money - supporting and enabling people?

So far, I've heard two comments from Mr Hoban in his new role. The first conceded that it is, indeed ridiculous - as we've argued all along - to make cancer patients look for work. After all, it's not a tricky one for actual human people to see that that is a spectacularly ludicrous thing to do, is it? Could it be that Hoban is actually human? A human Tory? I'm struggling with the concept, but time, I suppose, will tell.

The second comment came from this story from BBC News.

Hoban admits that the WCA process is not working. Too many people are being failed by the system. It is inaccurate. This in itself is an enormous step forward. At least Hoban acknowledges there are problems not yet solved by Harrington.

However, I wanted to explain to him about "evidence" and his suggestion that the claimants themselves have a duty to provide all the evidence they can when they first claim. Hoban thinks that if we only submitted all that evidence in the first place, we wouldn't be declined benefits and have to appeal at all.

So, Mr Hoban, as an introduction, I'd like to paint you a picture.

Imagine Bill. Bill has worked for 36 years as a postman, but now his spine is crumbling and there's nothing more doctors say they can do for him. For years the pain had been getting worse and worse, but he'd delivered his letters until he could barely walk. The Post Office had done all they could to keep him on, finding him an admin job he could do from his new wheelchair and reducing his hours, but the pain became too much and Bill reached the point where he simply could no longer work.

Imagine that day, Mark Hoban. In excruciating pain - pain he had no concept even existed in his "old life"  - Bill stays home on his first Monday morning for 36 years, sits at the kitchen table, on his own, suddenly in a wheelchair 54 and unemployable.

His world is falling apart. Suddenly his "job" is doctors appointments and surgeons appointments and scan appointments and x-ray appointments and tablets in the morning, tablets with lunch, tablets with dinner and tablets for bedtime.

And surviving the pain.

Bill finds it extraordinary that just pain alone takes so much effort to survive in this new life.

On the kitchen table is a looooong claim form for Employment Support Allowance (ESA). A claim for sickness benefits. Out of work benefits. Bill feels ashamed of it.

He just wants it done and gone. He answers the questions honestly but with little detail - he doesn't know what a descriptor is or the secret code of letters that magically allow an oh-so-rare- successful claim. He doesn't know the traps that lie in wait for him on that form!! Why would he? He thinks it's enough to say his back is crumbling and he suffers terrible pain daily and now must use a wheelchair. It isn't.

Why would a normal, human person think that wasn't enough?

He sees a sentence about "submitting evidence" and cringes at the suggestion he is somehow under trial for breaking down. He thinks for a minute, searches out an old repeat prescription form that proves he relies on morphine simply to get out of bed, signs the form, seals the envelope and does his best to forget all about one of the hardest days of his life. The day he had to beg for help.

The following week there is another 40 page form, this time for Disability Living Allowance, but Bill doesn't know you have to say different things on this new form to qualify.  He thinks it's enough to say his back is crumbling and he suffers terrible pain daily and now must use a wheelchair. It isn't.

The following week there is a social care assessment that concludes Bill doesn't need any help at night. In deep deep shame, Bill whispers, barely audibly how he will get to the toilet now his daughters have all left home? The assessor says not to worry, they'll provide him with nappies, he won't need to go to the toilet at night any more.

Broken and desperate, at the lowest point in his life, Bill starts to get letter after letter telling him he is fit for work, not eligible for any support at all. No ESA, no DLA, no care package, despite facing gradual paralysis and a dependent future.

Now think about appealing Mr Hoban. Imagine that you are Bill. Would you even have the strength to appeal? Might you just believe that they are right, these terribly official, medical sounding "experts"? Might you be so exhausted and beaten down that you simply give up?  Might you feel you just can't face the shame of begging? Begging Mr Hoban?? After a lifetime of work and paying tax and "striving", we make a million Bills BEG for support? How many do you imagine don't appeal at all? 

At appeal, Bill has an advocate, recommended by the local CAB to steer him through the whole process of his appeal. (Incidentally, millions will now be denied even this justice as legal aid has been scrapped for benefit claims and Advocacy services face huge cuts.) They explain to Bill that "evidence" means letters from your consultant or GP or other people who know you well. That he can't just say "his back is crumbling" but that he he has osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. They explain that he must answer each question in full sentences and in great detail, even if it means constantly repeating himself.

They explain that he must lay himself totally bare on that form and admit in the tiniest detail just how disabled he has become. To strangers. He must admit to the incontinence, nappies, suicidal thoughts, all of it, right there on that form, exposed. You have to write things you may never have told another living person.

On the day of his tribunal, a judge took one look at Bill, one look at the medications that came tumbling endlessly from the carrier bags Bill came in clutching, as instructed and awarded him ESA at the highest rate.

The DLA tribunal is exactly the same and finally after 18 of the worst months of his life, Bill can hope that the nightmare is over. He can rest, finally grieve for the life he lost, focus on what his new life might be.

But just 5 weeks later, a brown envelope containing an ESA claim form falls through the door and the whole process starts all over again. Bill will never be free of it now. This is his life. Assessment, rejection, fear, long waits for an appeal, winning an appeal and then assessment all over again.

So, Mr Hoban if you've read this far, and you are even a tiny bit human, tell me hand on heart that you're not horrified by Bill's story? And the millions of "Bills" just like him. How is this in any way an efficient use of taxpayer's money? You may as well have written a chemistry degree and told everyone to sit the final papers. The current system is almost exactly that random with around 94% of new claims found fit for work of some kind? 

As an outsider, I can see why you might walk in, look at an overview and conclude "Ahhh, they're not sending in enough evidence when they claim" but the truth is rather different. They don't imagine they need to prove anything at all until the full inquisitorial nature of the system becomes clear to them. They are giving their word.

Why would any, honest, human person think anything else? 


  1. I was so distressed, my GP had to do my ESA50 for me. In her own time.

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  3. Brilliant Sue! Hope this gets into the newspapers

    1. Yes, please! It sums up everything that people need to know so brilliantly.

  4. Great post, as ever, Sue.

    The fact that so many 'fail' to provide enough evidence rather undermines the propaganda that claimants are 'scroungers' playing the system; just honest, hard-working, law-abiding folk whose circumstances have changed and who are not used to dealing with the labyrinthine processes of the benefits system, often for the first time.

    I had worked for over 20 years, and even run a department which used income/benefits data to assess people and even I found the process of claiming DLA for my daughter an intimidating, confusing experience. I was really grateful for the advice I got from CAB.

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  5. It needs to be born in mind the misconception persists in the medical profession that if testimony were required the authorities would ask for it. I understand requests by claimants for testimony are routinely being denied on this basis. This needs to be addressed and really, it can't be addressed by claimants!

    1. This is my experience. It's a serious problem. Also, I can no longer see a consultant as there is nothing more they can offer and so many patients waiting to be seen, so such evidence I have from this source is now several years out of date.

  6. Sue - very good post. I have never had to do an ESA form, but we did go through the claiming, then the appealing of the DLA form. I used to have to help Dani as she found the endless repetition, and the endless questions that seemed to need the same answers mentally difficult, and even with me helping the last time it took 3 weeks to finish. We had a good GP who also made sure she wrote about how awful Dani's many conditions were and how DLA would help her.

    It seemed to me then and now that why cannot benefits for the sick and severely disabled not be awarded on diagnosis, so that these awful hurdles are not sent to make peoples lives even more miserable. When ill people need comfort and certainty that they can eat and have roof over head and be warm.

    And in the meantime please change the name of the tax that is called National Insurance - it is not Insurance - it is just another tax with a name that gives us who work the idea that there is some sort of claim we are able to make when we are sick, disabled and old.

  7. It seems to be the luck of the draw with how clued up your doctor is. My GP advised me when treating me that I should bring my ESA50 to him so that he could fill in the supporting evidence section. However I'm sure this isn't S.O.P, I'm just lucky enough to have a fantastic doctor and he shouldn't be having to pick up the slack where DWP procedure has failed.

  8. Just a minute... I provided evidence in the form of a senior consultant's report which clearly stated my condition was permanent, I'd never recover and I would never be fit for work again. I also made it clear against all the descriptors how I was affected. I had taken very good advice and understood how points are awarded. It's just that my condition, ME, doesn't fit neatly into the points scoring system, and my condition fluctuates, so I can appear reasonably well.

    So, no prizes for guessing - I'm now magically fit for work! I've appealed and I've been asked for further evidence. What exactly can I give them that is better evidence than the consultant's report??!

  9. Mike - If I had a crack team of investigators, I don't imagine it would take me long to find out that claims are routinely rejected by condition without anyone ever reading the form or any of the evidence you send in with it.

    That absolutely happened with mine. My rejection bore absolutely no relationship to anything I'd put in the form. - when they rang to apologise they even said "We just thought you had "normal" crohn's and obviously though that can be distressing at times, it is not necessarily life limiting."

    We do know that outside evidence was only considered in 2% of cases before Harrington reported on it and now that figure has only risen to 8% despite assuring us Harrington's changes are being rolled out and making everything OK.

    I am convinced they routinely deny most claims, forcing you to go to tribunal - a way of weeding out the weak and making sure only the most totally disabled by their conditions are forced to go on.

    I fail to believe that there is not some paper trail or proof somewhere that proves it.

  10. If Mr Hoban were in fact reading this blog and these comments, I'd say that evidence shows if you slow down the rate of assessments by half, to 4 a day and fully implement all of the Harrington recommendations, incorrect decisions plummet.

    The whole system of ESA is teetering on the brink of collapse anyway, simply unable to keep up with caseloads, months behind with some files, months more spent waiting for appeals.

    It needs to be slowed right down, the decision maker needs the time and expertise to process the decision by Atos and the medical evidence and not just rubber-stamp each one.

    You can send in all the evidence you like, but if no-one bothers to READ it until a week or two before a tribunal, it won't make the difference ministers claim.

  11. I would also say to him that the minute his government time limited cESA, retrospectively (which I'm not convinced was actually legal)
    they made the WRAG irrelevant for most. If support only lasts for one year and evidence shows that those with significant barriers to the workplace through long term illness or disability will need at least 2-5 years to get better or adjust or retrain or get back to work, you missed the whole point of ESA - if there was indeed a point as we are assured.

    The WRAG was supposed to be somewhere anyone could go to for help, not somewhere a clock starts ticking the minute you come through the door.

    Being put in the WRAG is now, for many, a terrible one-year life sentence where they simply don't know what their families will do when that year is up. They won't find work, they won't get better, but they will lose their entire income if they have a partner that works

  12. Obviously it is only the end of confetnces for the English run parties (100 years since Labour held a National conference in Scotland) and just as obviously it would be insane for Kaliya or yourself to go to the conferences of Plaid or the SNP after near killing yourself already.

    But will any allies be making any kind of submission/effort to those parties?

  13. Atos ignore one's testimony anyway, including X-rays of a crumbling spine.

  14. With all these genuine facts exposing the uselessness of a system which is draining taxpayers' money many times more than 'disability fraudsters' have cost the UK, why isn't anyone in the Government flagging up this waste of resources???
    There are double standards - wastage caused by Government-led decision-making without considering an impact assessment, and wastage through "inappropriately-awarded" claimants.

  15. Sue, thanks for your reply. I'm absolutely sure you are right - rejection is the default position - even my GP warned me about that. I'm not trying to say I'm anything exceptional - just that even when you know the ropes and have the evidence, you still have to go through this nonsensical process. In my case, I did ask the ATOS assessor whether she had read the consultant's report. She said she had, but still failed to make an appropriate assessment. The Decision Maker just agreed with the Assessor, so probably did not read anything I submitted.

    A lot of time and public money was, and will be, wasted because neither did a proper job. Multiply this by hundreds of thousands. In any other context, this would be a scandal and heads would roll. It's hard not to be completely cynical and say ATOS and the DWP are doing exactly the job the Government wants. It's also worth asking why we have a publicly funded health service if the DWP turns a willful blind eye to its expertise. Has any work been done on the additional cost to the NHS from having to support people failed by the DWP? It must be a lot of tax payer's money.

    If Mr. Hoban says he wants to make the system fair, then only the right actions will show he is sincere.

  16. A very accurate picture of going through an ESA claim Sue. I am quite sure that supporting medical evidence is not taken into consideration at all. There was no reference to mine during the assessment process and the following appeal by any of the parties involved. It also cost me £20.00 to get a GP's letter, which is a great deal of money to me.
    I was quite amazed when Mr Hoban referred to claimants not providing evidence at the outset of their claim. It just makes you realize what a feeble grip ministers have on the facts. Why don't they just talk to a few victims of this system and that might give them a bit more of a clue.

    1. Personally, I felt that latter comment was spin designed to deflect public attention.

  17. When I first applied for ESA a couple of years ago, I wrote to my ME/CFS consultant as soon as I got my ESA50 and asked if he would write me a letter - I was very lucky as he did, and not only that he repeated the exercise 3 mths later when I got another ESA50 through the post.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the quality of his letters helped to secure me ESA WRAG at the time. Since he retired I have had to do a further form, and been told by the clinic that doing letters for the ESA50 was not standard practice, and they only do them for appeals now.

    I also know from helping people with benefits issues on an ME/CFS forum that there are many people who are told by their GP that they cannot have a letter, and that the DWP will contact the GP if they need to.

    My understanding is that the DWP then pays for this information from the GP - done on an ESA 113 form. It would be interesting to know if the number of these ESA 113 forms sent out by the DWP has dropped, as I feel sure that with the pressure that they are under that they no longer have the time to do them. Under the old IB system I think it was much more commonplace for them to be sent out, on an equivalent form.

  18. When I first applied for ESA in late 2009 (Had returned to part time work after spinal surgery the previous year, but other problems with my physical health were coming to light) I was primed for the assessment, but with less than 24 hours notice, my appointment was cancelled. The reason was that they hadn't received my medical records from my doctor.

    I left the first assessment feeling totally demoralised and felt for certain that I wouldn't be awarded main phase ESA. I remember wondering why the only case material the doctor had was my a folder with a poor photocopy of my ESA50 in it.

    Imagine my surprise, having read as much as possible about ESA and the WRAC, that my claim had been sucessful.

    About 7 months later I was reassessed, but did not have to attend a medical again. However, my situation had deteriorated, my symptoms were more severe, and further MRI imaging had been undertaken which showed further damage due to the failure of surgery.

    Another 8 months down the line - another assessment with a medical. At this time I had been referred to a spinal specialist - it was thought that I would need dangerous surgery on my neck. I passed the assessment and my award continued.I think that the fact that I was waiting to see if I needed urgent surgery saved me from being found fit for work.

    At this point in time I had gained an insight into how often we are reassessed. Also, I recall that I couldn't include the copy of the consultant's letter with the ESA50 because on the forms it stated not to.

    I attended my appointment with the spinal specialist - my spine is in very poor condition and the chronic symptoms limit my activities severely. It can become acute at any time, which renders me unable to function for long periods. At this appointment I was referred to a neurologist who diagnosed a progressive neurological disease also. After appeal, I was awarded higher rate DLA mobility.

    10 months later, at Christmas 2011, another ESA50 dropped through the letter box. I prepared to be 'stripped naked again' and took my time to fill in the form with the utmost care and as much detail as I felt necessary. I was still coming to terms with my diagnosis,that it cannot get better and there is no treatment - it amounts to nerve cell death, and found myself weeping as I completed the form. As the length of rope that is your lifeline gets longer and longer and you adjust and cope, I feel that you just want to be left alone to get on with it, not have to put it all on paper and try and make the answers fit the prescriptive questions. The whole process of summing up your situation in writing is so destructive and forces you to focus on your darkest days.

    However, this time I was invited to include any Dr's letters. I included the one that the neurologist sent me.

    A couple of weeks later I had a telephone call from someone at the ESA office on behalf of the DWP, who told me that I won't be reassessed until January 2014. I laughed and said 'that's great, In fact I won't be reassessed at all then because in November 2013 I reach my state pension age.

    Shortly afterwards I received the standard award letter, but no mention of the decision of not to reassess. Still in the WRAG group although the decision has been made that I will be unfit for work until January 2014.

    Sorry to ramble on here, but my experience of the process might help someone else.

    What I find ludicrous is the money spent on reassessing people who have incurable conditions when all that would suffice would be a once only report from a hospital consultant. They don't hold back or give you false hope on diagnosis.

    Consultants and surgeons are highly paid for their experience and knowledge of the diseases they specialise in. They do much qualiative and quantitive research on these, in order to understand the effects of disease. Yet the DWP and ATOS think they know better. This undermines the most senior medical experts in the land.

  19. the only people who get to make a successful claim so I'm told are those that pay to use the forum of Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd

    And in the event of those that are told they are fit to work and then die in hardship their families are given a lump sum payment

    Personally i would not entertain either as why should i pay to use some service of a third party just to get my benefit first off and secondly why would my family need to expect some sort of pay off for my death in criminal negligent circumstances

    my family would go to the high court irrespective of the costs

    the main reason i feel that Mr Hoban is saying and he admits that the WCA process is not working. Too many people are being failed by the system. It is inaccurate. This in itself is an enormous step forward. At least Hoban acknowledges there are problems not yet solved by Harrington.

    is because that someone from a legal back ground has pointed out to him that he and IDS are responsible for any criminal negligence (saying someone is fit for work and there not) and then going on to die is very likely going to be brought to justice in the courts at some point and the penny is dropping for mr hoban and is feeling a little uncomfortable at this time

    we are seeing this now with the hillsborough tragedy many years on in which the police said it was the public to blame and covered it up when in reality it was criminal negligence and hopefully at a later date those found guilty at trial will be sent to prison

    And that is what i personally see will happen at the DWP and ATOS WHERE THE DEATHS WILL KEEP STACKING UP and someone will blow the whistle on it and bring it to a shuddering halt and that will be the downfall for many civil servants along with all of those that conspired in the deaths of the sick and disabled through negligence of the welfare reform bill

    The death toll of those affected by the welfare reform bill is far higher then the hillsborough tragedy and I'm sure mr hoban is aware of this fact and the doomsday effect in the future coming his way

  20. one further thing of great note is that the BBC have had a major wake up call today so in future they will be speaking out when their told of a tragic death by the DWP in cases of negligence and not as in the past thinking we cant discuss that as that's a hot topic as they have told me in the past

    The bbc you will find will be in the headlines over the jimmy salville findings for a long time to come and we shall all see for ourselves just how secretive this building has been over the past years

  21. I'm not even convinced the HCP who saw me had read my ESA50, never mind the supporting evidence I wasn't aware I could submit (ATOS and DWP seemed to have been a bit careful in hiding that). I'm convinced the only reason I passed is that my condition visibly worsened in the examination room to the point the HCP became visibly worried (for himself, not for me!).

  22. Not sure if anyone else said this as too tired to read all the comments (sorry!) but Belvedere School is NOT a state school, posh private school for girls. If it's an academy now it's changed. But way back when it was a posh girls school, and it's still independent if you look at their website.

  23. WOW

    If there is anyone at the DWP was in any doubt, or had stopped being in a “tizzy” then this blog will cause them some serious doubt.

    Yet again Sue has put her finger on the nub of the matter.

    Mr Cameron you came to power on the mantra “we will protect the sick, the elderly, the disabled, the most vulnerable people in our society”

    Now is the time to admit WCA is NOT working, Not fit for purpose, be a man, a leader and scrap it, resolve it or at the very least after loosing what are increasingly defended tribunals accept defeat gracefully instead of starting the process all over again.

    Stop the propaganda war, the miss information as we, the disabled community will with our last breath expose and denounce these lies and untruths, which will make your position untenable.

    Show us the Caring Companion ate Conservatism you claim is the life blood of your party, as all we see are heartless ministers blinded by ideology and contempt for us the disabled.

    @blindmike 47

  24. Not holding out much hope for Hoban. I cant even get a straight answer out of him at the minute.
    All I want to have is a piece of paper from him stating either yes or no to my question of if ATOS are incapable or refuse to provide recording for my WCA (and I know I can cancel once without penalty, I mean beyond that) will they sanction me for refusing an assessment without recording?
    IE Theyve promised that I have a right to recording but ATOS arent living up to it. Will they punish me for insisting they meet it?

    So far the only response Ive gotted from him was a generic pre printed letter about how few people wanted the recordings and how theyre trying to improve the process. No actual answer. Just bluff.
    Im going to keep pushing for an actual answer though and either way it will be published so others can take and copy it. If they say no then others will know ATOS cant force them to go unrecorded and sanction them for insisting. If they say yes then we can challenge their crap about meeting our right to recording while punishing us for using it.

  25. Dreadful! Benefits seem not to go to the people who most deserve them, but to immigrants with large families who've never paid a penny into the system. Then there are those who think nothing of having as many children as possible because they know they can 'earn' more than if they go out to work... it's totally disgusting!
    My son, who has a prolapsed disc, and has been in severe pain for 20 years, was denied any help after an assessment which stated that if he could walk 50 yards & lift a bag of potatoes, he was fit to work.

    1. We've heard these tabloid talking points before and I'm sorry, but you're not helping. You can not have your cake and eat it; you can not scale back statutory entitlements for some but keep them for others. If someone is eligible, then they are eligible.

      That was until IDS removed statutory protection from all the benefits being merged into Universal Credit anyway and he's able to get away with it because people swallow those tabloid talking points with barely any truth to them so easily.

  26. An excellent letter, it says it all, apart from maybe that the seasoned liars who shouldn't be getting anything probably do the same. They make the web of lies a way of life and probably pass through first time.The ONLY people this system denies are the honest genuinely deserving.And it fails them over and over again!
    The LIARS unfortunately will still lie. The only way you will catch them out is by doing it the way its always been done and getting video evidence!

  27. you will find that everyone going to an ATOS center will now be recorded as you will find that this will protect them from any claimants saying they have been abused

    negligence so my lawyer tells me is in where a person gives false information etc or in the giving of a medication that is wrong and leads to a persons death

    criminal negligence is where you know beforehand that by your deliberate action that you will or likely cause the death of another person

    For an example in the case of a benefit claimants assessment by ATOS and the DWP there told their fit for work and there not and they have a heart or mental condition which then leads that claimant to have an anxiety attack or to an increase in their stress levels and dies either through the excessive stress placed on the heart or in the case of the mental claimant committing suicide

    That is now classed as criminal negligence and should always be reported by the friends or family of the deceased to both the local coroner and the police for them to deal with

    under no circumstances should the family of the deceased be seen to be taking any payments or gagging orders from the DWP to keeps things a secret

    Any letters that you receive from the DWP indicating a payment or a gagging order should always be kept by your family lawyer and a copy forwarded on to the police

    as failure to take this action could very well indeed lead the family of the deceased be libel to Perverting the course of justice (Fabricating or disposing of evidence)

    remember a death is a death and the police should at all times look into any claim of a suspicious death especially if the DWP or ATOS are involved and if you fail in your duty as a family of one of care then you to could be brought to trial at a later date

  28. Sorry sue you are missing the point let me give u an alternative scenario

    young boy 16 decides wants an education goes to college gets a-levels goes to uni racks up £30k debt mediocre job at end cant afford own mortgage so ends up living with parents for years on end.

    alternative scenario boy at 16 decides cant be bothered goes on dole gets a flat has kids with his gf gets a bigger flat with spending money cycle goes on.

    u see the INJUSTICE? that is what reforms are about. £80 BILLION is spent on welfare for working age population. Why exactly?

    If benefits were stopped the deficit would go pronto. All u people whining above still dont get it. Simply stop benefits u would see as soon as it happened u would magically get the ability to work again u would have no option.

    the reforms are about rewarding those who want to work hard and get on with life whereas currently they reward those who want to do nothing have endless kids and use back pain etc as an excuse for a life of riley.

    simply stop benefit if they didnt exist no need for ATOS and all this crap and all the drivel written above.

    benefits are now a way of life not a safety net. time for gravy train to end once and for all!

    1. benefits are not at this time given in the way you describe you need to get your facts right first and not just write on something you have read elsewhere

      their are injustices within the system but at this time are being address and rightly so

      people who are long term ill and disabled need to not feel ashamed about their benefits and society as a whole needs to respect these people at all times

      those that are fit should work and given the right help and chance in life would as it's not normal for a human being to be isolated in life and anyone who is fit and not working is a sign of depression that's all

      with the right sort of help given by the right sort of people you would find that scenario of not wonting to work would ease off

    2. what you need to fully understand and that very few do is that in this country you can go to work and not earn enough so the government has to top you up with a benefit of some kind fact!!

      this is very unique in the world of things for the very reason it is wrong for an employer to run a business on the back of the tax payer

      it is very wrong for the business owner and the board of directors to be able to live a life of comfort because they are paying low wages as they know that the government will have to top them up

      Can this bad practice ever be stopped ? no it cant for the very reason the uk is over populated along with far to many people who have no qualifications of a world standing so they are ripe for being exploited at all times

      All my friends are from overseas all extremely well educated and can do their job worldwide and have in the past done so

      They all earn excellent wages and have always done so they can not under any circumstances be abused by their employers

      Most non EU countries of the world exploit their people by paying very low wages in some contries like egypt where the cost of living is low most people can get by

      But in other countries like India who like the uk are over populated only the fittest can survive as their is not enough work to go round despite the peoples best endeavorers to work many die destitute the same in where my wife is from in Ethiopia

      Countries like the uk with a mainly large unskilled population do better then most but could do a whole load better if multi million /billion businesses paid a proper wage world wide and not leave as in the uk to having their wages toped up in benefits or in the case of most countries their people dying of starvation and homelessness

      The major root cause of the worlds problems stem from the fact that big businesses continuity exploit their workers by paying low wages and until that stops and that alone the uk cant ever go forward fact!!

      There is no other argument there is no other scenario to the worlds unemployed / homelessness

      all the time you have the likes of apple/ the energy /oil companies / virgin/Macdonalds etc paying some of there staff low wages in which they have to be topped up by the British government in the case of uk employees you as a country will always fail full stop end of story

  29. An ATOS assessor should always include in their report that although the claimant they have seen has failed to get the maximum points of 15 they are however in their opinion not fit for work and state the reason

    this protects the genuine ATOS assessor of any come back at a later date

  30. sorry @nick but i disagree there are £80 billion reasons why welfare needs to be stopped pure and simple.

    stop it cut the money previously spent on welfare by reducing the tax rate and you will give those work more in their pocket. i.e u reward those that work not those that laze of which the UK has millions.

    again 80 billion spent on working age people. has to be stopped period.

    it is that easy to leave school get a council house and start producing offspring. far harder to get a university education and a mortgage so why do most school leavers do the former?

    as for u sue if u want a full on battle between those that work and the workshy, those that give and those that take then bring it on!

    this is the time for workers to rise show we have had enough of feckless people robbing us of most of our hard earned income. as was recently put we get up go to work in darkness while our benefit hungry neighbours still have the curtains closed asleep.

    never has support for welfare cuts been greater. we are close to smashing welfare once and for all and sending it to the scrap heap where it belongs.

    again work should pay not producing kids and having dubious ailments e.g thought of working makes me depressed hence i dont?! say to this person ok fine no benefit for u do what u like.

    time for the gravy train to end working people have had ENOUGH. finally we have a govt. willing to listen and reward hard work not laziness.

    1. You're a right shit aren't you?

      I spend my days tanked to the eyeballs on morphine, with literally 10-12 joint dislocations per hour, all day every day. I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome; I can't move without dislocating, even controlling the little joystick on my electric wheelchair (purchased out of relocation compensation rather than wait 18 months for a chair that might not fit me or be comfortable enough for daily use) makes my fingers go out of joint. I can't lift an empty box or press a button without injury and more pain. I have multiple organ problems and was in hospital all of August for abdominal surgery.

      I worked before I got this ill. What makes you think you have the right to accuse me of being lazy because I no longer can? I hope you find out what it really feels like to live this way, someday.

      Oh, and guess what? The reason my curtains are closed when you're going to work is because I end up lying awake in agony half the night when I can take no more morphine and my daily dose of 340mg won't take enough of my pain away. I'd far rather be in your position than mine. How simple life must be for you, if you can see others' lives in such cut-down, obvious terms. Oh wait...

      Take your bigotry elsewhere, stop bullying people who have more than enough to cope with in our limited lives, and hope you never get hit by a car or develop MS or something, and end up in this position.

    2. hmm so u cant move yr wheelchair joystick without dislocating yr fingers yet u can type perfectly on here?!! how does that one work?!! me feels some inconsistencies here ?for benefit.

      where is my relocation compensation? normally i have to pay to move but u get paid for the privilege?! why??

      stop welfare movement is growing. public support for welfare cuts is rising at an exponential rate. nothing can stop the tidal wave of support for this.

      as said there is now a pitch battle between those that work and those that wont those that contribute to those that just take. bring it on.

      as said noone has a right for free money in this world. u work hard and get what u earn. nothing should be given gratis but sadly millions in this country expect something for nothing and the gravy train will end.

      the political ethos now is work hard and u will be rewarded dont work u get nothing how it should be.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Well now Joseph Goebbels aka c93f60a6-12f9-11e2-a1c3-000bcdcb471e
      You're struggling to make any coherent arguments although you seem to excel at abuse and harrassment. Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 applies

  31. Reading posts like the one immediately above always bring a smile to my face.
    Water off a duck's back, written by someone who obviously gains attention by attacking the vulnerable.
    Those who attack an bully the vulnerable do so to make themselves feel more powerful, when in fact they fear their own vulnerability.
    Would you have the state pension abolished? After all, it is paid for out of the welfare budget.
    Maybe you will think differently when you receive yours - 17% of the national average wage. The lowest in europe.
    Apart from the fact that for the present time I am reliant on ESA, I have paid enough annual contributions to gain full pension rights,although widowed in my thirties, thus becoming a single parent. I didn't ask for any of this, but when I was working didn't complain about supporting those less able through taxes.
    When it became law that women could work until age 65, I was delighted. My employers couldn't sack me.
    Your last comment about the political ethos - I dispute - it seems to me that it is in fact, work hard for a meagre wage, the government will top up your income so that multi national companies can improve their profits and avoid tax.

  32. i know this guy kath his name is Alf there is a clip of him here so that you can understand his mentality

  33. me too! Thank you for that, I had forgotten about Alf and his long suffering family.

  34. folks this is £80 billion paid to working age ppl no pensions. that excluded.

    pls read what is written.

    stop welfare. support is rising.

  35. may i ask what this stop welfare movement is - I haven't heard of it.

  36. c93f60a6-12f9-11e2-a1c3-000bcdcb471e
    your not understanding how economics works it works overall about paying your own way in life with a system of benefits to be used as a back up for when things go wrong in your life a type of insurance

    The economic cycle can only work correctly if everyone plays there part and that includes employers paying a living wage to their staff so that the staff in work are never reliant on the benefit system

    this does not happen in the uk so therefor you can not get the rest of the benefit structure correct

    the tax payer is supporting bad businesses who are wealthy but pay low wages so that their staff need supporting from the tax payer which is very wrong as by paying a low wage you are exploiting for large gain not only the staff member but also the uk tax payer

    if you fixed the above first then a vast amount of money could be better spent and young people growing up would then seek work knowing full well that they wouldn't be exploited

    it is the exploitation of the people by employers paying low wages that keep the country in a constant state of people claiming benefits when fit

    the welfare reforms can only be put right once the exploitation has been resolved and not until

    the days of exploitation are rife across the world leading to millions of deaths per year worldwide both from the exploited and also to those that do the exploiting this has to stop

    you cant expect people to work being exploited or abused on a minimum wage in the work place that is not viable to live on while at the same time keeping the owner and directors of the business in a life a luxury

    the profits from the business need to be shared equally between all of the staff and not the few

    get the above right and the rest will fall nicely into place

    1. Hunger pay-nes: Starbucks docks workers' wages for taking lunch breaks

      US giant claims no pay rule is what staff WANTED as company defends itself over tax controversy
      Add this to the list of corporates i listed above and you can see that the real scroungers in life were never under any circumstances the sick and disabled but big businesses themselves employing mainly foreigners only at low wages

      As i have said many times not understanding how economics works and David Cameron does but chooses to ignore the real reason as to why year on year the uk stays in the red

      The country is to small and the population to large along with to many people uneducated and however you slice or dice this argument i will always win as the facts are in my favor and always throughout history have been

      As for putting it right and i have asked a very good economic advicer i know very well from the city and as you can guess through common sense you cant put our economics right and I'm afraid that's the bottom line

      All a politician can do is talk about getting it right but that's never going to happen and remember i told you first

  37. Some rather magical thinking from the new troll. Oddly near identical to the comments written by a known troll over on the Independant site.

    £80 billion paid to working age people (obviously not including pensions as they arent working age...) but how much of that is paid to people who are already in work? Our troll deliberately ignores that the vast amount of support is paid to people who do work but are paid such a pittance that it wouldnt cover the bills and so get top ups from benefits. The £80 billion which includes universal benefits paid to all if in work or not. Shall we discuss the £260 million per year paid out to the top 10% of earners in Child Benefit alone?
    The attempt to foist this off as an amount paid purely to those who are out of work (and 'workshy' apparently) is transparent and easily corrected.
    S/He also apparently believes that if you remove the funding that the need will vanish. For example cutting benefits that pay for my incontinence pads will somehow make my bowel and bladder fully functional again. Its a shallow form of thinking that ignores the actual reality of disability - taking away our support wont suddenly cure us as much as the government and you seem to think. In fact it is likely to simply kill us or force us is massive numbers to overload services such as the NHS in an attempt to meet the needs you think are transitory.
    Taking away benefits would cause millions to lose their jobs as their top ups that kept them afloat would be missing. Would that make employers suddenly pick up the difference? Heck no, they can just ask the government for the same worker on workfare instead.

    S/He also makes the same fatal mistake that is the basis for the flawed ATOS WCA and much of the perception of disability. So that lady managed to type a short comment. Does that give a representative view of her entire ability to type? Does it mean she can type right now? Tomorrow? Next week? How much pain was she in when she did it? What medications and adaptions did she have to use?
    Being able to do something once does not mean a disabled person can then do it reliably, repeatedly, or to the same standard. Im typing here but it doesnt mean that in a hours time I wont be out cold after a seizure or mid psychosis. Its the same limited intelligence that decides if a disabled person is seen walking outside of their home that they must be capable of work and therefore exagurating or faking somehow.
    Basicaly it stems from a massive lack of understanding about that way that disability affects us and a heaping dose of prejudice.

    The reason there is rising objection to benefits is because of the government and people like you who harass and abuse the genuine and the vunerable because you see the world through a lens of ignorance and propaganda.
    You lack facts. You lack knowledge. Your argument is made up of little more than regurgitated soundbites without any basis in reality.

  38. Thank you for writing about back pain. I would recommend you to also check back pain, NJ which could help you get rid of the pain.

  39. Benefits and Work can reveal that Atos will use just 19 doctors to carry out personal independence payment (PIP) medical assessments in most of England and all of Scotland from April next year, according to bid documents lodged in the House of Commons library. The doctors will be outnumbered fifty to one by, mostly private sector, physiotherapists.

    We can also disclose that campaigning charity Disability Rights UK is to be one of the subcontractors helping Capita to carry out the PIP assessments that will spell the end of working age DLA and a severe loss of income for around half a million disabled claimants.

    It is believed that Atos will have to assess well over a million claimants for PIP – some on paper only - of whom at least a quarter are likely to have mental health conditions or learning difficulties. Yet the majority of the health professionals involved will be private sector physiotherapists with limited knowledge or experience of dealing with these conditions.

    Figures in the bid documents reveal that Atos will use 433 physiotherapists, 173 nurses, 35 occupational therapists and 9 doctors in London and Southern England. Just 19% of the service will be provided by NHS staff, whilst private sector company Premex will provide 30% and The Injury Care Clinics will provide 15%.

    In Scotland and Northern England, Atos plan to use 500 physiotherapists, 200 nurses, 40 occupational therapists and 10 doctors. The NHS will provide 36% of the service.

    Atos say that this mix of health professionals was based on a number of considerations, including the “cost differentials between the types of HPs [health professionals]” and “the desire for this work” amongst different types of health professionals. There is no mention of how many, if any, of the nurses will be specialist mental health nurses.

  40. Many of the health professionals will be supplementing their part time NHS contracts with this work. When I was an FE teacher, any teacher regardless of contract even if only part time casual had to gain permission to work for any other organisation to prevent conflict of interest. The NHS should do the same in the interest of patient health and well being.

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