Damian Green, who has taken over as Work and Pensions Secretary after Theresa May became Prime Minister, has said “pointless” re-assessment of “chronically sick” ESA claimants will be scrapped – but he has yet to define what he means.
Ms Rahali, the subject of the Manchester Evening News article quoted below, has thoracic outlet syndrome affecting her blood vessels and nerves, leaving her with an entirely numb right arm; a painful growth on her spine; type two diabetes; depression; asthma; muscle wastage in her leg; and incontinence.
Mr Green hasn’t mentioned any of these. The examples of conditions not to be re-assessed, that we’ve been given, include people with autism and illnesses such as severe Huntington’s or a congenital heart condition.
Ms Rahali has depression. She is currently being told she is fit for work but thinks this will change following Mr Green’s announcement.
What if she’s wrong?
Won’t it hit her much harder, after having her hopes lifted, if they are cruelly dashed because Mr Green’s advisors won’t listen to her doctor?
I fear this is just another spin on the ‘chequebook euthanasia’ tactic This Blog first mentioned nearly two years ago.
A woman with a long list of debilitating conditions who was told her disability benefits had been stopped because she was deemed capable of working – despite barely being able to walk up a set of stairs – has welcomed news that people with chronic illnesses will no longer be reassessed.
Campaigners say Sally Rahali is just one of an ‘unprecedented number’ of disabled people to have been hit by ‘draconian’ government welfare rules in recent months.
The 42-year-old scored ‘zero’ on a work capability assessment, meaning her Employment and Support Allowance payments (ESA) of £299 a fortnight have been stopped.
But Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green has announced that ‘pointless’ re-testing of ESA recipients with severe, long-term conditions will soon be scrapped.
It has been hailed as a ‘victory for common sense’, but campaigners insist it’s merely the first step in making welfare rules fairer.
Sally, from Eccles, Salford, said: “It’s good news, but it doesn’t help me right now. I’m still going to have to fight to get the money back.”
Sally has now been told she’ll have to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance instead of ESA and start applying for jobs, despite the fact she has a series of serious conditions.
She suffers from thoracic outlet syndrome affecting her blood vessels and nerves, leaving her with an entirely numb right arm; a painful growth on her spine; type two diabetes; depression; asthma; muscle wastage in her leg; and incontinence.
Sally hopes her case will soon be reviewed following the Tory’s policy change.
She said: “I was absolutely amazed when they said I’d scored ‘zero’. I can barely walk up a set of stairs, never mind work.
“My doctor, whose advice was ignored, couldn’t believe it.
“My assessment answers were twisted. I’ve no choice but to appeal. The decision was ridiculous.”
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