The Convalescent Charge – bastard brother of the Bedroom Tax – is here

Insistent: Iain Duncan Smith is adamant that he wants more benefit claimants forced into poverty and towards death.

MPs have voted to reinstate a plan to cut Employment and Support Allowance by £30 per week for no good reason.

The similarities between this plan – the Convalescent Charge – and the Bedroom Tax are shocking.

Like the Bedroom Tax, the Convalescent Charge affects only a certain number of people. In the former case, it’s people in social housing who the Conservative Government says have a ‘spare’ bedroom. In the latter case, it is those claiming ESA in the Work-Related Activity Group. People in the Support Group of ESA will retain the full amount.

Therefore we can say that members of the WRAG are being charged £30 a week because they have been told – by assessors employed by the Conservative Government – that they will get well within a calendar year of their claim becoming active. In any case, they will lose the benefit when that year is over.

These are people who have spent all of their adult lives in work, paying their taxes, until illness struck them down. They had a right to expect the system to support them through their difficulties – not for it to be pulled out from under them.

We are all-too-aware that mistakes are made. Mortality in the Work-Related Activity Group is three times the national average. That’s in a group of people who are not expected to die at all, but are supposed to make a full recovery.

Like the Bedroom Tax, the Convalescent Charge will undoubtedly increase the number of deaths.

MPs have renewed plans to cut Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) by £30 a week – ignoring a desperate protest from a Tory backbencher who declared: “This is my warning shot to government”.

Heidi Allen’s speech made an 11th-hour plea for her own party to find “the compassion to look after the little man”.

But her plea fell on deaf ears as a motion to challenge the House of Lords, which struck down the cuts last month, was passed by 306 votes to 279.

MPs also voted 310-277 against a Lords decision to reverse the scrapping of child poverty targets – which are being replaced by “shameful” measures that don’t count parents’ income.

Source: Charities slam Tories for forcing through disability benefit cuts despite House of Lords defeat – Mirror Online

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35 thoughts on “The Convalescent Charge – bastard brother of the Bedroom Tax – is here

  1. Joan Edington

    Heidi Allen may have made a plea but the hypocrite didn’t have the guts to actually vote against the motion.

    1. Ian Strange

      When I referred to her as a hypocrite, she tweeted that what she actually voted for was amendment 1 rather than amendments 8 and 9 which were esa. I’m still puzzled, but I did apologise to her!

  2. Dez

    Thanks for the voting numbers at least it makes it clearer that these votes are reasonably close calls and that the Cons are pretty much towing the party line with their peasant bashing agenda. Many of these Cons must be getting representation at their clinics from the effected groups as to what their election lies are doing to the real population yet they still vote for attacking the vulnerable. Unless of course no one is kicking their doors down in protest as the general public, and those that are about to be clobbered, have not got a clue as to what covert creatures are now ruling this country and their real end game……this constant drip drip drip of cuts allows these nasty little negative changes to creep in with least resistance and backlash. Is that the sound of jack boots marching in the uk streets?

    1. hilary772013

      Yes! Jack boots wearing swastikas with IDS written in the centre, makes my blood boil. I do not understand how the Tories are getting away with all this persecution.

      1. David Mack

        Simple, idiots voted them in. They should have seen what was on the agenda during the coalition.

    2. loobitzh

      My MP holds Special Surgeries where he has a so called specialist working with him in order to hand out Social Prescriptions to those constituents who are struggling because of Mental Health Problems.

      I have no doubt this person will be one of the New CBT Therapists trained to do the governments bidding.

      After all, as far as the Tories are concerned, Mental Health Illnesses are down to the persons life style choices, nothing to do with Poverty, Sanctions or living on the edge. They have rewritten the meaning of Poverty, calling it Life Chances, and the measures they are to use is Worklessness, etc.

      So by coercing the sick the disabled and the poor off social security and into an insecure, soul destroying job, they can then claim they have cured them of their mental illness and tick the appropriate box, pay their buddies and claim they have eradicated poverty, when in effect all they have done is removed the concept from any Policy.

      Poverty will no longer exist as a measure, therefore they will become unaccountable in any statistical term.

      1. wildswimmerpete

        I wonder whether the Tories conflate those drawing the State pension with those claiming working age benefits in order to misrepresent so-called “worklessness”. Mind you, Smith’s henchthug Patel intends those on the State pension to work in order to receive it. I went to the Jokecentre Minus to enquire about part-time work (I’m retired) however jobs are only available via agencies (yes, yet more privatisation) who won’t consider anyone drawing their pension. You don’t even get the courtesy of a reply to correspondence. I’m an electronics engineer with a saleable skill so what chance for anybody unqualified? At the Jokecentre I was shown the door – basically the place exists for sanctioning the the unemployed, the disabled and long-term sick.

    1. John

      Which is why it’s EXTREMELY important that these blogs and social media tools continue to spread the information as far and wide as possible, so that the Tories encounter as much resistance as possible.

  3. mili68

    Mike, so what happens at the end of the year when the person hasn’t miraculously risen from.their sick bed cured by Tory healing hands? Are they no longer regarded as ill and put on JSA?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Their ESA is cut off.
      This happened to Mrs Mike, even though she had appealed against being in the WRAG many months before. Fortunately we were able to get her into the Support Group because of that appeal and the fact that the DWP had ignored it.
      No, they’re not automatically put in JSA – they have to apply for it. Think about it – applying for JSA means the claimant is saying they’re fit for work, so if a former ESA WRAG group member does so, they’re agreeing that the DWP decision to throw them off ESA is right.

      1. mili68

        I needed clarification of that point as I wanted it spelt out that just be a use the money stops after 1 year and the Tories think you are miraculously better that you then we’re made to apply for JSA therefore declaring yourself fit as the Tories do; this is utter nonsense and madness as we both know. So is the alternative IncomeSupport? Does IS even exists as a benefit anymore?!

  4. Susan Cook

    ESA WRAG Contributory – paid if the NI has been paid over a given period prior to the claim being made – is payable for one year. If not eligible for ESA WRAG Contibutory it is Income Related based upon the claimants income and savings/assets or that of their husband or partner.

    ESA WRAG Contributory is only payable for one year after that ESA WRAG Income Related can be claimed.

    There is no time limit to how long ESA WRAG can be claimed subject to passing periodic Work Capability Assessments.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      In practice, you get thrown off after a year.
      I’ve been through the process with Mrs Mike, remember.
      Sure, you can probably claim IR-ESA, but of course that demands that you go through the whole assessment process all over again.

      1. Susan Cook

        I have been through the process also and got ESA Contributory for one year and then received ESA Income related after my income was assessed and did not have to have to go through the whole process again – ie I did not have to go through a new WCA at taht time.

        Please check out what I am saying as you article is somewhat misleading

        “In any case, they will lose the benefit when that year is over”.

        This is only true if claiming Contibutory ESA WRAG and not eligible for Income Related ESA WRAG.

        I appreciate all the effort and work you put into your articles and only wish to ensure that you are accurate in what you are saying.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        That is not my experience. I don’t want to discount the possibility that the DWP has improved its game, but its record is against it.

      1. loobitzh

        Well I don’t want to spoil anyones day, but all the above may become irrelevant if the Nasty Party choose to follow the advice of this Consultation Paper;

        http://www.reform.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ESA-2-report.pdf

        I have read it and its grim reading.

        Their suggestions is to Scrap ESA altogether and amalgamate it into Universal Credit.

        Their reasoning being that Disabled people are stigmatised by being labeled as Disabled.

        So by removing ESA altogether and making anyone sick to go through UC will help keep their disability hidden from those likely to discriminate etc.

        They also believe that paying people more money in the Support Group has proven to be a disincentive, so they propose that Under Universal Credit, Conditionality and Sanctions will be a necessary Support to encourage those in the Support Group to improve their chances of having a decent life…

        Its shocking reading… Ive read it.

        I just hope it gets thrown out, but I fear the opposite going by other Think Tank Papers.

        My experience is that these Think Tanks are a propaganda exercise, designed to make it appear the ideas have been carefully thought through, when the reality appears so often to be that they are merely designed to back up a policy idea already on the table.

      2. wildswimmerpete

        @loobitzh
        Think-tanks are comprised of useless academics who couldn’t hold down a proper job. Basically their “studies” always support the aims of their sponsors otherwise the gravy train will rapidly run into the buffers. Something has to pay for the afternoon Earl Grey and cameroons.

  5. Michael pike

    What I cannot understand is how they can get away with doing what they are doing .i think it is totally wrong in my eyes .they get pay rises every one else gets cuts.

  6. Ian

    Susan is basically correct in what she says, but as you found out Mike the application of it is somewhat spotty around the country … has anyone else noticed the change they slipped through on Support group ESA recently ?

    1. ladycrookback

      I think it is worth adding as well that people who were on DLA for life or on higher rate disability benefits such as High rate SDA can also when reassessed find themselves in the WRAG. I think it has been the fear of a lot of disabled people who have lifetime conditions that we would find ourselves suddenly recategorised as ‘not disabled’. The division between people who have worked and now cannot access the safety net and those who are severely disabled as well but have never been offered job opportunities; people like me who went from no benefits to SDA and DLA aged 15 thanks to social services and my parents deciding what was ‘best for’ me are in as much danger of the WRAG or of being told to get jobseekers and perhaps are even more disadvantaged since we have never seemed to anyone outside the Jobcentre to be remotely capable of work.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I don’t think people who were on DLA for life can be put onto ESA-WRAG, which is a completely different benefit, after being reassessed for PIP, which is DLA’s successor benefit. They may be put onto a reduced rate of PIP or thrown off the benefit altogether, though.
        It’s possible to have ESA suggested to you, and then be put into the WRAG after assessment for that benefit, of course. Many people receive both ESA and DLA/PIP.

  7. Susan Cook

    Sorry Mike I seem to have picked up your comment about losing the ESA WRAG after one year wrongly You are referring to someone who is given one year before being reassessed and not someone who has been given a longer term prognosis.

  8. anon

    This has crossed the line way beyond anything that could be “justified” as fraud prevention or “necessary” austerity, and now is deep into frank persecution, exactly as the Nazis did.

    Our future outside Europe seems to be shaping up into becoming exactly the grubby little 4th Reich enclave that the EU was set up to prevent.

    1. Billy Carlin (@BillyCarlin2)

      Totally wrong Anon. The EU was not set up to prevent the UK or any other country becoming a dictatorship – The EU is just one part of the Elites New World Order – One World Government DICTATORSHIP. Once they have got all of the countries into the EU they are all going to become REGIONS of the United States of Europe. The SNP up here in Scotland are NOT for independence and are carrying out their part of this agenda by fighting for Scotland to REMAIN part of the EU in the forthcoming referendum – some independence that eh? – plus they have joined all of the Scottish police forces into one force ready for that as well. England is going to be taken into the EU as 9 REGIONS and they are already starting to join all of your police forces into those very same 9 Regional forces. Plenty of sites online exposing all of this including http://www.ukcolumn.org/

      Also you are totally wrong about Hitler and Germany because you have believed the decades of LIES and PROPAGANDA from our corrupt controlled governments and political parties about them. Hitler did the right thing and what our governments should have been doing back then and now – he printed his own – the peoples – money debt and interest FREE and spent it into the economy creating jobs and apprenticeships etc and that is why Germany was booming in the 1930’s while the rest of the world was in the DELIBERATELY created – like all of this FAKE debt/austerity and FAKE terrorism – Depression. He also arrested the Bankers and politicians etc and jailed them for their involvement in this massive scam against the people and took over their banks just like what the Icelandic people are doing today. Everything you have been told is LIES – Watch the documentary on Youtube called Hellstorm about the REAL Holocaust in WW2 and this one is a good start to the REAL truth about Hitler and WW2:

      https://archive.org/details/AdolfHitlerTheGreatestStoryNeverToldFull6HoursDocumentary

      What is happening just now is exactly what was going on back then.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        You read it here first, folks!
        Does anybody want to try to respond to this… this… To this?

      2. Dez

        World Order will require its own permanent subject area as it is a moving reptilian beast. Six hour documentary will take some viewing but looks interesting enough subject to take another angle on board.

      3. Malcolm MacINTYRE-READ

        I would be very interested, Billy, to know the year you were born; if your family lived in London, Liverpool, Southampton, or any of the other cities hit during the blitzkrieg across Britain; if any your relatives were in the armed forces during WW11 and, if so, how many were killed… or were all of these possibilities, all of which affected my family, relatives and friends… all a cunning plot by the “corrupted government” controlled via Hollywood productions?

        And if you believe that what we have been “told” is all lies, how can you confirm that what is claimed in “The Greatest Story Never Told” is actually the “truth”?

  9. Billy nolan

    I have arthritis in both knees and my hips are started to play up had xrays told i have Osteoarthritis in both hips, I am on job seekers, claim no other benefits i cant walk far or go up and down stairs .my legs can go from underneath me or lock. i have no walking stick. and am told to look for ten jobs a week if not i will have my benefits stop i2i run by group 4 where i go to for help are a joke they are suppose to help you into employment they dont not if you have a illness .my point is i feel sorry for those who are on ESA in the Work-Related Activity Group you will not get any help they might put you in a second hand shop like they do with special needs people which is wrong they all should get paid.if they work 8 hours a day. i get 75 pound a week out of that i pay council tax 10 pound towards my rent 5 pound tv licences 20 a week gas and electric 17.every two weeks to the water. 10 pound on soaps shampoo toilet rolls am left with 20 pounds with that i get 7 days food in well 15 pounds keep 5 pound aside to go to job center and i2i sometimes i have to walk that takes me a hour a bus 10 mins so to people who thinks those of us who are claiming job seekers and living a great live we are not i cant get a job because of my condition before you ask am on my sisters pc.

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