DWP: We think you might be fit for work even if Atos didn’t – Kate Belgrave

This fits in nicely with David Cameron’s “let’s smack a few more people on benefits around and not talk about corporate tax-dodging theme”, writes Kate Belgrave. She continues:

Here is a letter received very recently from a DWP “work coach” by Sean* (name changed), a Northamptonshire man who I’ve known and written about for several years. He has Asperger’s and severe depression.


Sean finds day-to-day life very difficult to handle (he struggles to leave his house a lot of the time). He actually finds day-to-day life so challenging that even Atos agreed that he shouldn’t have to work. After a face-to-face assessment for his WCA about two years ago (I attended that assessment with him), Atos placed him in the support group for Employment and Support Allowance. As many of you will know, people in the ESA support group are neither required to work, nor to look for work. That’s the whole point of the support group. It’s an acknowledgement (a grudging one, I suspect) by the system as we have it that some people simply aren’t in a position take a job. From Benefits and Work: “the ESA support group is for claimants who the DWP consider to have such severe health problems that there is no current prospect of their being able to undertake work or work-related activities.” Once you’re in the support group, that should be the end of that, at least until your next assessment.

But here is this letter all the same. Disturbing reports of other people in the ESA support group getting letters like this, or calls to attend work-focused interviews, now abound. Sean received this letter out of nowhere and it scared the hell out of him. I imagine that scaring the hell out of him was at least in part the point of the exercise. The DWP doesn’t like people with mental health conditions to feel too secure.

Read more – there’s a lot more – on Kate Belgrave’s blog.

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7 thoughts on “DWP: We think you might be fit for work even if Atos didn’t – Kate Belgrave

  1. joanna may

    If I got that letter I would buy a shredder especially for it!! But then we all know how evil the DWP are, every member of staff who works for them should now know they have blood on their hands! No exceptions!!

    The ATOS assessor who assessed me said she hated her job, it’s the only thing she could do after being made redundant from the NHS. During my assessment, I crumbled to the floor in tears and so she stopped the examination, and said she was going to say, that she stopped it herself.

    I know, I am one of the lucky ones!!!

    All I have had since 2012, is a renewal form and a letter to say nothing has changed from their side.

  2. aturtle05

    I love the way they didn’t even bother to fix the “Insert Local Telephone Number” bit.

    It worries me that these letters are sent out without basic proof reading.

  3. HomerJS

    I think the DWP hate the idea of someone being able to avoid their ‘cull’. I was watching Esther McVey the other day avoiding answering questions about the reviews into deaths of claimants. I actually think she was being honest when she said they had looked at the lessons to be learned from these reviews. Problem is that she meant that they looked at what had ‘worked’ in these cases to see if they could apply that to other people! The Tories look at these suicides as success stories and want to be able to repeat their success.

  4. amnesiaclinic

    Really, really sad that those with Aspergers and depression, panic and anxiety have to go through this. A really strong advocate or family member to tell them where to go is needed!
    Vote them out and press candidates strongly on this.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Why make this the central issue when you’ve spent that last few months telling us all that the country has jobs springing up everywhere? Does he think we’re all as stupid as he is?
      (Silly question. Don’t answer that one…)

Comments are closed.