Ahh, the DWP outdoes itself again. They have now stooped so pathetically low, they might as well take up limbo dancing. They'd be unbeatable.
Yesterday on social media, a Facebook post started to circulate. Whilst I haven't yet been able to track down the boyfriend who wrote the post, in my now very great experience (too, too great), people tend not to make up ESA stories about things like Ewing's Sarcoma and share it in an official DWP format.
"My girlfirend has Ewing's Sarcoma (a rare bone cancer) and according to the DWP she cannot claim for employment and support allowance [previously incapacity benefit] because she "contributed to her medical condition"...." https://twitter.com/Avitusparta/status/422029617403162624/photo/1
Ewing's Sarcoma is almost exclusively a childhood bone cancer, so no point getting all judgemental that she may have smoked or eaten her way to such dramatic ill-health.
"There has been a lot of research into possible causes of Ewing's sarcoma but the exact cause remains unknown....There are no known risk factors that people are born with (hereditary factors) that cause Ewing's sarcoma." http://bcrt.org.uk/bci_causes_of_ewings_sarcoma.phpHaving discussed this with some of the UKs finest social security experts last night, we could only think of 3 possible explanations :
1) It's a typical DWP cock-up. Nothing sinister, no conspiracy at all, just their usual ability to get 100% of everything wrong.
2) There is more to the story than we know.
3) The "girlfriend" is the first victim I've heard of from this : http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/esasos.html?m=1
Way back in the beginning of last year (2013) the Spartacus report "ESASOS" warned, that the DWP were sneaking through some changes, unscrutinised by parliament. They insisted on calling them "minor" but we thought they were very serious changes indeed. ttp://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/esasos.html?m=1
Effectively, it gave the DWP the right to refuse subsistence support to sick and disabled people in the UK if - in their opinion - the claimant has somehow hindered their own recovery or not accepted treatments
Benefits could be removed for failing to take certain medical treatments, even if a consultant decided for some reason that they were inappropriate.
"Soon, thousands more people could be judged as fit to work, without being consulted, on the basis of an “imaginary” aid they don’t own or may not even be able to use! The infamous "imaginary wheelchair test".It gets worse. Even if returning to work may clearly put you at risk, these changes will mean you can still lose disability support, as long as the assessor believes that trying a new therapy or treatment might reduce that risk. Whether you try it or. Confused? No, it really is as ridiculous as you think, it's not just you.
As chris Fry, a legal experts with Unity Law pointed out at the time
"How individuals are assessed to receive ESA could give rise to large numbers of legal claims being made against them. These changes immediately put the UK government at risk of breaching article 9 of the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights, which preserves an individual’s right to ‘thought, conscience and religion’. The new rules provide for an individual to be refused ESA if they do not take any medication or accept an aid which DWP believe could aid their condition. For example, they can now impose a financial penalty on individuals who refuse treatment on, say, religious grounds. Given the very recent decision involving the Christian, Nadia Eweida and the court upholding her right to wear a cross – the government is on very rocky ground with these changes.”
Chris Fry, Solicitor and Managing Partner at Unity Lawwww.unity-law.co.uk"A leading professor at UCLH said :
"For this Kafka-esk philosophy to be extended further is little short of shocking.Back to this case, the only reason I can think for them coming to this kind of decision intentionally, could only fall under this rule. You can't "cause" Ewing's Sarcoma. you can't exaccerbate it or make it worse. There are no known risk factors.
I can think of countless examples where the patient could be or will be seriously disadvantaged by this being implemented.
It also begs the question as to why someone who might be helped by an aid wouldn't already have it.
It is overtly insulting to the medical (and other) staff who manage people with disabilities as it implies that we would have failed to arrange for that aid and that we were complicit in a denial of that patient's proper rehabilitation. It is far from unusual for patients to try all sorts of aids/interventions and find them lacking in value (or as you say even deleterious). Of course there are many strategies that clinicians use to try and optimise their use but when these fail we abandon the aid/intervention. It appears that patients could now be penalised because they are not using aids that have been proven to be of no value or have actually made them worse.
The whole policy comes across as akin to the worst excesses of the former communist regimes in Eastern Europe."
So one way or the other, it can only be either that the DWP are so incompetent that they don't read the files at all, (as the nice lady at the DWP explained was the case with my Disability Living Allowance application) OR, they're so cruel that they believe children who fall victim to the very worst illnesses deserve nothing to live on as adults. Either is pretty horrific when you think about it.