The Tory benefits racket that cheats the poor and pushes them to self-harm

A food bank in London. ‘Poor people are bilked out of millions of pounds that are rightfully theirs’ [Image: Leon Neal/Getty Images].

Remember this, next time you see crocodile tears in Parliament from the likes of Tory backbencher Heidi Allen, who weeps at the first opportunity but also supported every single Conservative government policy on benefits.

Aditya Chakrabortty knows his subject well, and readers of This Blog are encouraged to read the full article, in which he explains how ‘Moira’ has a history of self-harm and, after a humiliating tribunal hearing that was adjourned to await medical evidence on a subject that has nothing to do with her claim, said she would cut herself “good” afterwards.

That is exactly what the Conservatives have wanted, ever since Iain Duncan Smith started his homicidal “reforms” back in 2010.

They want benefit claimants to hurt themselves; in particular, they want people with long-term illnesses and disabilities to die. ‘Moira’ is marked for death.

If I put it that way, is it easier for the reluctant to understand?

That our benefits system is broken is no longer up for debate. Ministers are told universal credit is a fiasco and MPs weep over starving families in one of the richest societies in human history. Even rightwing tabloids run grim updates on how men with terminal cancer are declared fit to work just weeks before they die.

Such cases are described as shameful. As failures. They are lined up like so many one-offs – not representative of fair-play Britain. But Pike and her colleagues know different. They see a system that routinely snatches money out of the hands of people who need and are entitled to it and bullies claimants with contempt.

That’s Moira’s experience, too. Her trouble started when she found herself feeling steadily worse – and so did as she was told and rang the Department for Work and Pensions. Her recent back operation hadn’t worked, the arthritis in her spine, hips and knees was getting worse and the heavy-duty painkillers were wrecking her kidneys. She was summoned for a reassessment in Southend, a 70-mile round trip from her home in London – tricky for a woman who cannot walk more than 10 steps without crutches. Claimants such as Moira are entitled to a home assessment, but Pike told me they are often dispatched “miles away”. She was still told off for being late, says Moira. After the examination, she lost her personal independence payment.

I have seen a copy of the report by the nurse employed by a private firm, which notes that Moira “has a bath mostly every day”. Wrong, she tells Pike. Her depression means that she needs to be “motivated” to bathe – or else “I’ll run a bath and it’ll sit there for four days.” More tears, this time of shame.

The nurse says she has three meals a day. “Lying ass,” shouts Moira, who says she doesn’t eat more than once a day. The report claims: “She is able to get on and off the toilet without difficulty.” Moira’s own form says, “I have great difficulty getting up off the toilet as the joint in my right hip gets stuck.”

The nurse concludes: “Since her last assessment two years ago, this lady’s restrictions have considerably improved.” Yet Moira’s own GP has written to the tribunal, “I would feel that her general overall condition has got worse.” None of these contradictions surprises Pike. Moira, she says, is simply the latest victim of “a lack of care and a culture of money-saving”.

Moira never went looking for welfare advice; she was just starving.

Source: Our benefits system has become a racket for cheating poor people | Aditya Chakrabortty | Opinion | The Guardian

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2 thoughts on “The Tory benefits racket that cheats the poor and pushes them to self-harm

  1. Terminator

    I was sent a PIP assessment letter with a 90 mile round trip in 2014 so contacted the CEO of the assessment company, the ones that used to do ESA, I received an email saying they had tried to phone me, the only phone numbers they had for me were 4 years out of date as I hadn’t put any contact numbers on the form.

    I had detailed the trip in my email for my average day walking, I am sure they don’t count waiting as part of the travelling time, so just put in that they would have had to carry out the assessment while I was on the journey there if they used the 90 minutes rule for looking for work. They said phone the 0800 number on the letter and they changed it to the centre just over 3 miles away. I ended up with enhanced on both parts, stand up for your rights if they don’t have a local centre near you that meets your requirements demand a home visit. If you have had a home visit before and they refuse a home visit tell them you are taking them and the DWP to court for not making reasonable adjustments for your condition(s), and follow it through.

    In my case they started to say I had to attend the assessment then he quickly changed to, oh yes how about here just three miles away on this date at this time, he must have seen a copy of the email to the CEO because I was about to butt in with the see them in court lines.

    Moira should have used this tactic against the DWP and assessment company then IMHO she wouldn’t have had to travel so far. Another thing, is after a failed assessment and Tory Con (Mandatory Reconsideration) she should contact the DWP and the CEO of the assessment company and tell both that she requires the DM’s (Decision Makers) or the HP (Health Professional) ROFLMAOPIMP to attend the tribunal to answer questions. Don’t worry they don’t turn up so ask for a decision in your favour when attending the hearing. If told the medical person on the panel will answer questions ask them how many books or sentences or paragraphs or pages the HP read on your conditions during their training or just prior to your attendance? The HP’s field of medical expertise? If you get a reply of DISABILITY ANALYST ask what medical body recognises that as a qualification? The answer is NONE! How does a nurse, midwife, Paramedic, or other occupational assessor know more than a specialist in their field of medicine?
    Really though if the writer of the report isn’t there to defend their report it should not be used as evidence and in 99.99% of cases a win for the claimant should be the case.

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