Blind man sanctioned because he couldn’t read DWP letter – as Tory minister talks out anti-sanctions Bill

Damian Hinds, defending a sanctions regime that removed disability benefit from a man because he was incapable of reading the instructions the DWP sent him [Image: BBC].

Damian Hinds, defending a sanctions regime that removed disability benefit from a man because he was incapable of reading the instructions the DWP sent him [Image: BBC].

Oh, Britain. Look what you elected.

Yesterday we found out the following:

A severely disabled man had his benefits cut because he didn’t respond to a letter even though he is blind.

Alan Moody, 60, was declared unfit to work by his GP 10 years ago after being diagnosed with cerebellar atazia – a rare genetic brain condition.

Despite this, Alan – from Stanley, Co Durham – was summoned to a Department for Work and Pensions’ work capability assessment to qualify to receive Employment and Support Allowance of around £450 a month.

One of the effects of his condition is blindness and because of this he did not read the letter sent to him by the DWP.

As a result of his non-reply the DWP took the decision… to stop paying the allowance.

On the very same day we learned about the sanction system’s spectacular failure, a DWP minister was telling Parliament there was nothing wrong with it.

Work and Pensions Minister Damian Hinds, answering the second reading debate on the Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill, talked it out, meaning there was no time for a vote and the Bill was not allowed to progress:

Evidence does show that sanctions have a positive effect, he says.

The government ensures that claimants are made aware of the availability of hardship payments, and that these are made within three days, he says.

Mr Hinds says the existing legislation refers to “causes” rather than “reasonable causes” so that discretion can be used to assess whether a person has failed to comply with a condition of their benefits.

As he launches into a line by line response to the bill, the Deputy Speaker calls the debate to order.

Debate on the bill ceases at this point, and although Ms Black asks debate to resume in February, it is unlikely there will be any private members’ time left to return to the bill.

The Bill had been tabled by the SNP’s Mhairi Black, and was supported by Labour – whose Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams spoke in support of it.

She said the sanctions system was a “nonsense” and a “punitive regime”.

Others acquitted themselves much more poorly, like Tory David Nuttall, who allegedly shouted out that benefit claimants were “terrified they might get a job”, then proved less-than-courageous himself by refusing to defend the claim after being challenged over it.

Put it together and any fool can see that the Conservative Government is a national embarrassment that defends incompetence and punishes the worthy. Why did you elect it, Britain?

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19 thoughts on “Blind man sanctioned because he couldn’t read DWP letter – as Tory minister talks out anti-sanctions Bill

  1. Barry Davies

    We have had 6 years of camerons “for hardworking people” mantra clearly if you are not what the tories consider to be hardworking the are not for you, and of course those people who believe the nonsense of the bone idle brit that has to have foreigners to do the work so they can live a life of luxury on the dole have multiplied, especialy as the government claims those sanctioned have returned to work.

  2. Tracie Carvin

    Now that the Labour Party has a REAL Labour leader, people have a REAL choice between more neoliberalism or a fairer, more humane Britian, and a strong NHS.

  3. rockingbass

    OH ENGLAND!
    Shame that the Government and Tory MP’s did not accept Ms Blacks very moderate and sensible bill in Toto….and where were the many missing Labour MP’s?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’m sure the Mirror meant that. The word was in a section quoted verbatim from that paper.

  4. Evelyn Hunter

    my health was once a private thing between me and my doctor – not got that any more -got to keep trying to explain to someone with no medical training what’s so ever – why I can’t manage to do the type of hard graffing jobs I’ve done in the passed – to someone that’s never done manual work in their life -fed up with looks like i’m lying when I say i’m hurting 24/7 and cant -get about they way I use to or the way I would like – if i’m not well enough to get out for meetings ect then i’m told we will stop your money ect – well I was expecting my pension next year when I turn sixty -but no that’s been taking from me and now – that’s all well and good for people that are still fit cause their sat at office all their working days – and want to work on – but no its hassle the sick and infirm now — well there are plenty of young ones never had a job – why not start getting – things sorted there first – not everyone on benefits like it – having to justify why your still alive and in this state of afairs –I know their are a lot more people out there worse than me – but i’have brought up 3 brilliant daughters all hardworking – sometime having 2 jobs at the same time – so no we don’t all just scrounge around for the fun of it . in fact its been a very long time since I have had any fun in my exsistence -I’ve stop calling it a life now — so when I make my way with help from my daughter or friend to the job centre again – i’m left ill for 2or 3 days after that I can hardly move – but you don’t see that do you then again you don’t care -but why should you -your ok jack -aren’t you——- well all I can say hope it stay’s that way for you and your’s and if you don’t bother now -sorry but I hope some day you will be like this and know just how it feels – then again your getting enough from tax payer to see you till end of your days —

  5. John Barr

    Remember not to include Scotland in your ‘Britain’ comments, thanks. We didn’t vote for these murdering scum.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      434,097 Scots did. The Conservatives took 14.1 per cent of votes north of the border, and a Parliamentary seat.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Neither is 85.9 per cent.
        And remember, Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom so Scottish Tory votes contributed to the total.
        Stop trying to excuse people north of the border.

  6. Diane Prescott

    How they can call themselves Christians I,’ll never know. Their chickens will come home to roost one day and it will be much worse for them.

  7. Martin Searle

    I can do almost as good, but for PIP. Sent Professional Medical Evidence to DWP PIP. DWP PIP lost my Professional Medical Evidence. Still had assessment, even though Assessing Company sent a Review Filenote form to DWP saying ” Have reviewed the Claimant Questionnaire in the absence of Medical Evidence” and then get told that I do not fit the criteria for PIP. Three months earlier I was awarded the Enhanced Rates of both components for a lot of Medical/Disability conditions including CKD which as no cure. Had 2 kidney transplants, Osteoporosis, Hearing Loss & Heart Disease, all of which have a great impact on my day to day living activities. This is still going on now and Action Fraud Police UK are involved now due to all the errors, mistakes, contradictions and false statements in the Disability Assessors report.

  8. Sith

    Someone getting ran over on her way to work and getting her spine literally crushed is ” a little bit of back pain” to a tory

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