People are being put in fear for their lives because the Johnson government has started work trialling video assessments of disability and sickness benefit claims.
The trial arises from a false premise – that people with long-term illnesses and disabilities are as capable as able-bodied people of taking part in video calls with confidence and coherence.
That is not true and, in many cases, the mere fact of taking part in one of the Tory government’s notoriously-rigged benefits “assessments” will be enough to put them off.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey announced the trials at a meeting of the Commons Work and Pensions committee on September 30, saying, “We did try to get some extra capital on video assessments. We weren’t successful in getting additional money, so we have reprioritised some of our capital budget to get that underway.”
A senior civil servant, John Paul Marks, put flesh on these bones: “For video, CHDA has started trialling how to do fit for work decisions by video, so we’re starting that now.
“For PIP we’re trying to also test doing video assessments for about 500 customers.
“So we can understand, does that improve the health care professionals capacity to ensure a positive experience for the customer and be able to get more evidence to support a recommendation on a functional assessment.”
The website Benefits and Work pointed out that many claimants will be “deeply unhappy” with the principle of video assessment:
Some will find the experience of talking on camera provokes considerable anxiety. Some will have concerns about data protection, given that a copy of the video is likely to be saved on a server by the DWP.
At the moment it is not clear whether claimants will have the option to refuse to have a video assessment and insist on either a telephone or, when they become available and safe, face to face assessment instead.
A commenter to the site said the issue would be particularly acute for those with mental health issues:
“This could breach the Equalty Act 2010… Anxiety would make the assessment inaccessible or [the claimant] would suffer an unreasonable experience if required to be video [or] audio-recorded.”
Not only that, but what happens if the claimant doesn’t have the technology to take part in a video assessment, due – for example – to extreme poverty? After all, why would they be claiming the benefit if they didn’t need the money?
Consider this response to This Site’s story yesterday:
Got one ringing next week. They full well know I suffer with social anxiety and rarely answer the phone if I don't know who it's from. I hear they're going to move to video soon. They assume everyone has the technology to run zoom… yet they don't give them enough money to eat.
— Sharon🏴 Lefty Do-Gooder (@Shazzyrm) October 7, 2020
Some have already come to the conclusion that this is a quota-filling exercise; that the DWP isn’t interested in whether people deserve Personal Independence Payment or Employment and Support Allowance – the only concern is ensuring that a certain number of people are pushed off the books:
Given that these decisions are made by quota rather than on the assessment, and that they have a huge backlog, wouldn't it make more sense to roll a dice?
They could process claims much more quickly…
— Officially Revolting. (@Hairyloon) October 7, 2020
As with any change in a benefit system, it seems clear that video trials will be open to abuse.
This will have to be monitored closely and I will be keen to hear of any experiences.
Source: PIP and ESA video assessment trials have started
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From comments noted it would be individual choice, if they did not wish to be recorded then they could state that, hard to see how dwp could process this if that is against a person’s wishes
The client was well presented hair nicely done very clean looking client when asked shopped most days when asked about socializing they went out clubbing once a week when asked if they could work they answered they could manage twice a week hmmmm if client could do all this the very highly trained HCP has done a Jesus on them oh eck I’m cured aktion T4 rolling along with out much of a ado
They also managed to walk 100 yards, that was one i dealt with recently with just one small issue, the dwp paid for a taxi
This is interesting. After several hours with very few hits, this article suddenly spiked – with a massive number of people reading it. The spike corresponded with a huge increase in referrals from something called “WordPress Android App”.
Can anybody illuminate me as to why this phenomenon has happened? It occurs to me that, whatever magic button I pressed with this piece, I would be well-advised to learn how to do it again!
I’ve had my pip assessment over the phone last week but it was not done by video call it was a normal phone call I even said I really would have preferred to have had a face 2 face that way the person doing the assessment would have been able to see me herself how much I struggle my health has got far worse since my last assessment I’ve had a MRI scan what shows my disk has collapsed and my disks are covered with DDD. I’ve also had two spine injections what has not worked as iam struggling to walk so I can’t walk far without stopping most I can walk is between 5 or 10 meters I can’t carry anything heavy either even my balancing as I can fall very easy so the specialist wants me to have another MRI scan . I’ve been getting pip for the last 5 years but iam dreading the outcome of the one I’ve just had because they could be writing anything down because they don’t give us a copy what they done it means I can’t prove what I’ve said which is wrong if I was to appeal if I lost my pip surely this is against the law by not sending me a copy. She asked me where I live and I told her it’s in a village there is no local buses and I’ve to rely on a lift because I don’t drive I struggle with the stairs as I moved back to my parents home after my relationship finished leaving me with nothing apart from the clothes on my back so days iam in that much pain I don’t even leave the bedroom apart from going to the toilet it’s a struggle going down the stairs or going up stairs I’ve not been able to leave the house for the last few weeks because of the pain iam in. My doctor has me on 900mg of Gabapentin 3 times a day and it only takes a little bit of the pain away I feel my spine clicking everytime I move iam also on medication for other health problems for PTSD Aswel as other health problems and iam due my pip payment very soon it would not surprise me that they have already made there decision and stop this month’s payment of pip.
More people will be driven to suicide!
How many tens of thousands have died in this hidden genocide!
Still, every death is one to be celebrated by Boris’s gang!
Dead people don’t claim!
And this is what millions of moronic British people voted for at the last election?
God save us from the idiotic electorate!