A protest against benefit sanctions outside the Department for Work and Pensions on March 9 [Image: Vickie Flores/Vickie Flores/Rex/Shutterstock].

Matthew Oakley is quite correct, of course – the benefit system for the disabled isn’t about helping them; it’s about persecution.

Worse than that is what can be read between the lines of the Guardian‘s report.

Job outcomes have remained static for 15 years while spending on ESA has soared. Doesn’t that tell us that more people are claiming the benefit, even after all Iain Duncan Smith’s efforts to stop them?

And doesn’t that mean that all his “well-intentioned” (take that with a pinch of salt) changes have made their conditions worse? Isn’t that why they are “hated and feared” by the vulnerable?

Isn’t it more accurate to say that the system, while indeed not being about “support” but being about “making people jump through the same hoops again and again”, now has a more sinister purpose?

Isn’t it about forcing people into routines that are exhausting – both physically and mentally – in the hope that they will give up?

Isn’t it about the DWP hoping people will either stop claiming the benefit or commit suicide – outcomes the government can claim are nothing to do with it and for which it will refuse to accept responsibility?

Isn’t it time we all realised that this is the only way the government will ever get claimant numbers down under the current system – by a large number of deaths that are intended to go unrecorded?

Controversial fit-for-work tests should be abandoned and benefit sanctions scrapped for people with chronic illness or a disability, an influential government adviser has said.

The current system disability benefits is “broken” and must be comprehensively overhauled if the government is to meet its target of getting a million sick and disabled people into work, said Matthew Oakley, who is a member of the Department for Work and Pensions’ independent social security advisory committee.

After years of major changes, including the introduction of tighter benefit rules and more stringent assessments, the government should be brave enough to give up on a system that has failed disabled people, he said.

In a report for the Social Market Foundation thinktank, Oakley writes that many disabled people have been driven furtherfrom the job market by “well-intentioned” changes that have not only proved to be ineffectual but are hated and feared by vulnerable claimants.

Job outcomes for disabled people have remained static over the past 15 years, while spending has soared on the disability unemployment benefit, known as employment and support allowance (ESA), said Oakley.

He told the Guardian: “All it [the system] has done is upset people and cause huge amounts of controversy. Costs are growing. It has not got disabled people into work. What is clear is that the current system is broken.

“Many people on disability benefit really do want to work but they feel broken by the system. It is not about providing support, it is about getting them to jump through the same hoops again and again, and they feel defeated.”

Source: ‘Broken’ disability benefits need total overhaul, says government adviser | Society | The Guardian

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