Sufferers with progressive and mental illnesses have benefits cut by the DWP

The figures cover a period beginning under David Cameron and ending with Theresa May [Image: PA].

The Department for Work and Pensions’ current system of assessing the sick and disabled for benefits is on a par with medieval tests for witchcraft*.

Back in the day, people accused of being witches were submerged in the nearest river using a ducking stool, on the expectation that their evil powers would allow them to survive. When they died, the conclusion was that they weren’t witches after all. This was, of course, no comfort to the dead suspect or their bereaved family.

Now, people with illnesses that are expected to end their lives in the near future are being deprived of Personal Independence Payments because “they were expected to live beyond six months”.

What if they don’t?

The DWP will conclude that they were terminally ill after all – but you can bet there will be no comfort for the dead claimant or even their bereaved family as the DWP will not even offer a back-payment of benefit.

This is despite the possibility that deprivation of benefit may contribute to the deaths of claimants.

It is a sick, sick system.

This Writer would advise anybody who has lost benefits to start going through the appeal process. If the DWP’s treatment of you affects your mental health in such a way that you consider self-harm, or even suicide – write a letter to them, spelling it out, and give a copy to a near family member or friend. And keep a diary of ways your health is affected because of the DWP’s decision.

The government gets away with this treatment of innocent people because it has been able to deny responsibility for what happens to them. If you make this denial implausible, these people will have to think again – possibly while facing criminal charges.

Thousands of people with progressive diseases and mental illness have lost their disability benefits in a cruel Tory cut.

Charities sounded the alarm tonight over a “devastating” shake-up which has axed or reduced 230,000 people’s Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Around 110,000 DLA claimants who were reassessed for the new benefit – 21% of the total – have been rejected since PIP launched in 2013.

Another 121,000 – 23% of those reassessed – were given PIP but at a lower rate than their previous benefit.

Those who lost out include many with progressive diseases – around 450 Parkinson’s sufferers, 3,069 people with multiple sclerosis and 4,450 suffering unspecified ‘malignant diseases’.

Others with progressive conditions who saw benefits axed or reduced were around 294 cystic fibrosis sufferers, 36 people with motor neurone disease and 1,617 people classed as “terminally ill”.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said those in the last group were found to no longer be “terminally ill” because they were expected to live beyond six months.

Mental health charity Mind warned 74,580 former DLA claimants with four key psychiatric disorders lost some or all of their benefits – 55% of all those who were reassessed.

PIP was denied or cut back for around 2,525 blind people, 570 people with AIDS, 128 haemophiliacs and 19 double amputees.

Also hit were around 20,050 people with back pain, 34,545 with arthritis, 8,084 with chronic pain syndromes and 10,725 with learning difficulties.

All figures are approximate because the DWP rounded the total number of claims for each condition to the nearest hundred.

The figures, covering April 2013 to October 2016 and compiled by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), were slipped out without fanfare on the government’s website.

Source: Thousands with progressive and mental illnesses lose their disability benefits in cruel Tory cut

*Don’t congratulate me on the comparison; I’m simply quoting somebody else.

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24 thoughts on “Sufferers with progressive and mental illnesses have benefits cut by the DWP

  1. PJB

    There is a new Christmas song made for all those on benefits. I watched it online at Sky News. Sorry but I couldn’t find a way to send on twitter ect.

  2. Andrew Bulman

    if you have a metal health problem, when the assessment forms drop through the door give them a ring and ask for help filling them out, mention the Equality Act 2010 act and how it means they are meant to make a reasonable adjustment to their procedures to help people with a disability cope with the assessment process, they will tell you they can’t help you as there were no funds set aside to do so.

    when they do inform them that failure to help you fill in the forms would be in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and you will be seeking legal advice as you are being asked to do something that breaches your rights.

    this is what i did a little over 3 years ago, i never filled out the form in the end as they couldn’t force me to do it without being in breach of the act and opening themselves up to being sued. as i didn’t fill the form out they could not assess me as they held no information to base the assessment on.

    soon afterwards i got a letter telling me they had placed me in the support group and i’ve not heard from them since.

  3. Lorraine jones

    My husband was on Incapacity benefit for mental health issues they took it off him said he did not need it has not signed on for 3 years as he could not physically walk into a job centre so I provide for him I work full time but suffer with arthritis

  4. Rebecca Adams

    It’s a disgraceful and barbaric way to treat a sick individual. Nobody asks or wants to become sick and the majority of us don’t want to claim PIP because we’d rather be working. The disadvantaged have always been treated badly from the workhouses, institutionalisation of the mentally Ill to now. The only difference is we now live in a modern world and don’t really see what actually goes on. The government should be ashamed of themselves for treating people in this manner. I paid tax to this country for 28 years and had a glowing career in the NHS that I loved and then I got sick. It was not my choice and it is not my choice to claim benefits, but I have no other option. I think the whole system is degrading, punishing and depraved. Perhaps they want people to take their own lives because that means one less person to worry about. I’m shocked at #Theresa May’s attitude towards the sick. When she took over I honestly believed that she may have a more compassionate attitude and understanding of the challenges that disable people face daily but sadly not. She has literally stepped into Cameron’s shoes and that means we don’t stand a chance.

    1. Justin

      totally agree, I have seen some of the medical reports since she took over and that other thing that took over from Crabbe and it is clear nothing has changed, still run by the three gestapo companies that have no idea, are using semi trained staff, sorry they done 5 weeks training at the dwp cloning shop and still have not learnt, they seem to thrive on worsening conditions, which then have a knock on effect to the health budget, however, you can’t tell ministers what is blatantly obvious and why that because all they see is saving there department and not really thinking in wider perspectives,until you bring in degrees of accountability and start making them and there advisors accountable, via pay, in the cases of causal self-harm/ suicide, criminal actions as there is to much of this get away with everything from ministerial to dwp levell and the accountancy at the three clown companies is laughable, they did not complete the medical to our exacting high standards, there a naughty boy and will be told of, what a joke, they should be put under the same procedure nhs trusts use under pals system, most of them wont be around if they make the same consistent mistakes that they make regularly, there should also be a mandatory reporting procedure to the bodies ie nmc, so that if a nurse becomes a regular offender then it has to become unfit to practice decision, not the current in-house 4 stage procedure that they expect vunerable adults to follow through and in most cases they wont and the ones that do are not normally mentally fit enough to until well after the event and they use that as another excuse, i also like the fact that they want service user input on there policy, it is 92 pages long, sure i could respond to it, with the usual strength that i do when i do reports like that, i also charge for some of that work, not always, however as i know that if i spent my time looking at that and replying would some bright spark sitting in planet dwp then turn round and say they had enough time to do this, whats wrong with them or more likely they pick the parts they like and not the parts that are critical friend and then realise there sitting on a hot potato and doing something even more unworkable, they need to find these guys safe jobs, counting traffic cones on the M1 during rush hour comes to mind!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I agree with the sentiment – but if you’re going to comment here, modify your language please. Some people get offended and you wouldn’t want them to ignore what you say, just because of the way you say it, would you?

  5. Helen Timson

    The problem is the government now views us as’ factory farm’ livestock.
    The fit and healthy who provide tax are looked after just enough to keep them going – but they aren’t treated as well as organic free range animals.
    The old, homeless and the sick can’t pay their way so are disposable.
    They can’t get away with sending us to the slaughter house – but cutting benefits, pensions, sanctions, fines for homelessness etc is their version ?

  6. Jonno R

    They torture claimants who complain so that the complaints process can’t be completed. I initiated a complaint because they ignored a first tier tribunal judge. So they booked my assessment to change from lifetime award of DLA to PIP when they were not supposed to be and awarded me 0 points. Then begun investigating me for fraud because if I had no disability under the rules.of PIP I must have been lying about DLA. I won a few points for pip at my appeal so now they have sent another work assessment for for me to fill out over Xmas when there is no.support available. The £21 I have been awarded for PIP was..waste of time as they have deducted £23 for a.pension that they forced.me.to cash
    I have made,several complaints about the cruel and discriminatory way I havebeen . Treated ut they just ignore me.

  7. Kathryn A. Cheek

    I lost half my benefits in the change over from DLA to PIP on the grounds of mental health condition I have struggled with for a lifetime. I also had an indefinite award. I am at the Tribunal stage after a year of waiting and following appeal. I ve been made to feel like a fraud and a criminal. No one is helping me, the Cit Advice representing me seem just as prejudiced against me as was the DWP. My psychiatrist is also unhelpful hard and dismissive of me. I am suicidal frequently.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Have you told anybody that you are often suicidal and that this is a direct consequence of the way the DWP has treated you?
      Try telling the press as well as the DWP – that would be a good place to start.

      1. Kathryn A. Cheek

        I have, told my psychiatrist and my GP and the CAB. Still have to wait for a tribunal date, still stressed out to blazes. No one is going to give me an easy fix.

    2. justin

      you could contact the trust involved via going through pals liason and ask them to look into this further

  8. Graham Chappell

    I am a community psychiatric nurse, currently in Hospital being monitored for cardiac problems. Work related stress is not helping. I am going to have to leave my job. One of the biggest stresses at work is the devastating impact that loss of entitlement to DLA and the linked Severe Disability Premium, is having on the life quality and prospects of my already desperately impoverished patients, when their PIP applications are rejected. It reduces their income by over 50% at a stroke, when most of them were already struggling to manage and have no realistic prospect of getting decent or reliable employment or ever earning a living wage. I can no longer cope with the disastrous consequences this system is having on my vulnerable patients or the massive increase in workload that trying to support them through the claim and appeal processes is causing. Our services are chronically under funded and have suffered annual ‘efficiency’ saving budget cuts for years. Colleagues are told we no longer have the time or capacity to help with these non-psychiatric ‘social’ problems and that other voluntary agencies are meant to do it. That relies on my often chaotic and troubled patients being o organised and articulate/coherent enough to secure that help from someone new that doesn’t know them. Lambs to the slaughter, but who cares?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I do.
      Encourage all your patients to write to the DWP, the press and their relatives, explaining to all of them that they have seriously contemplated suicide because of the way the DWP has treated them – and only because of their treatment at the hands of this government department. Tell them to make it clear that any future attempt to take their own life – successful or not – will be entirely due to the behaviour of the DWP and, by extension, the Conservative Government. And tell them to say that they want this to be made clear at any inquest.
      Then they may get better treatment.

    2. Kathryn A. Cheek

      The DWP want us and these poor hospital patients to commit suicide. That way they reduce the welfare benefit bill. do you not get that???? Until the law is changed, by a caring government, that is not going to happen in the foreseeable future. This witch hunt will continue. It’s a bloody disgrace, Nye Bevan will be turning in his grave.

  9. Pete Margetts

    I have just been through a PIPS assessment, am 64 years old with serious heart probs, fibromyalgia, arthritis COPD, and quite a few other medical problems. The assessor came to my house and that was about three weeks ago. I suffer with severe mental health disorders and was so stressed out I seriously contemplated suicide. A week ago I received another request to attend an assessment for ESA. My doctor told them I needed a home visit. Yet again I feel so down and upset that it feels like I am being hounded and there is only one way out of it. I hope all those in the same position will fare well this Christmas, and try to keep your spirits up don’t give in or give up. Sooner or later the Court of human rights will take these vile Tories to face manslaughter charges. If we all stick together, then we will win. I have worked since I was 15, and only stopped when I literally couldn’t get out of bed. It’s only the medication I’m on that is keeping me going, like a lot of others how are we supposed to hold down a job, sorry to rattle on, but I just had to put something on paper before I blew a gasket. Merry Christmas to all who are in the same boat, and may your new year bring you all luck and happiness.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Write to the DWP, the press and your relatives, explaining to all of them that you have seriously contemplated suicide because of the way the DWP has treated you – and only because of your treatment at the hands of this government department. Make it clear that any future attempt to take your own life – successful or not – will be entirely due to the behaviour of the DWP and, by extension, the Conservative Government. And say that you want this to be made clear at any inquest.
      Then they may treat you a little better.

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