Category Archives: Benefits

People with learning disabilities in England are bumped up the Covid vaccine waiting list

This is because of the recent fuss over ‘do not revive’ orders that are still being applied to people with learning disabilities – for no reason other than to make sure they die if they catch Covid-19.

The idea, it seems, is to make people think the government is ensuring that all such people will be protected from Covid-19 as soon as possible.

But I don’t see any information that people with learning disabilities will no longer have DNR orders applied to them.

And of course while we’re now told the vaccine is 80 per cent effective after the first dose, that still means 50 per cent of people are likely to catch it.

And it is much harder to survive if there’s a doctor’s order hanging over you, saying you shouldn’t be put on a ventilator.

Source: All people on learning disabilities register in England to be invited for Covid vaccine | World news | The Guardian

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Philippa Day was right to distrust DWP. Coroner’s report suggests she was DELIBERATELY driven to take her own life

Inquest: Philippa Day took an insulin overdose after benefit assessment provider Capita cut her benefits and demanded that she attend an assessment centre – which was impossible due to her disability.

Philippa Day believed her benefit claim would be mishandled before she made it – and she was right. A coroner found 28 “mistakes” were made before she took the insulin overdose that ended her life.

But were they mistakes or was Gordon Clow, the coroner who reported on the case, simply unable to attribute “malign” intent?

Ms Day, who suffered from mental ill-health, certainly believed that the Department for Work and Pensions had no intention of treating her fairly, as evidenced by Mr Clow’s report.

He said she

was predisposed by her mental health problems to wrongly imagine malign motives on the part of those administering her claim

– but was she wrong?

The coroner stated [boldings mine]:

The administration of Philippa Day’s benefits claim was characterised by multiple errors, some of which occurred repeatedly throughout the period of her claim.

As a result of errors made, Philippa Day’s income from benefits more than halved for a period of several months, causing her severe financial hardship.

To try to cope with the cash shortfall, Ms Day took out high interest loans, creating a financial problem that she did not have the means to solve – and attacking her mental health.

DWP officers – and private PIP assessors – must have known that this was likely but it seems that either they did not care or they wanted it to happen. It seems to This Writer that there is a question not put by the coroner, possibly because it does not fall within his scope. It does fall within mine:

Why would a government officer deliberately push a benefit claimant into severe financial pressure, mental ill-health, and self-harm*?

That is what we see here. There was nothing accidental about it. The officials involved knew what they were doing because they had all the relevant information. The coroner stated as much in his report:

[The] risk was implicit in the information held in connection with the benefits claim and explicit in advice given to those processing her claim by Philippa Day’s community psychiatric nurse shortly prior to Philippa’s overdose.

This information was ignored.

The coroner described the result in his report:

A decision was made in June 2019 to require Philippa Day to attend an assessment at an assessment centre.

No assessment was in fact required in order to determine her claim and there was clear and abundant medical evidence that an assessment outside of the home would exacerbate her mental health against a background of two recent overdoses. The requirement for her to attend this appointment created a risk of a mental health crisis resulting in
an overdose.

Although the error in decision making was drawn to the attention of those administering the claim on more than one occasion, it was not rectified as it should have been.

The DWP made a deliberate decision to ignore the risk of a suicide attempt. And the coroner clearly argued that it was this decision that led to Ms Day’s overdose:

The failure to administer the claim in such a way as to avoid exacerbating Philippa Day’s pre-existing mental health problems was the predominant factor, save for her severe mental illness, affecting a decision taken by Philippa Day to take an overdose of her prescribed insulin on the 7th or 8th August 2019.

The distress caused by the administration of Philippa Day’s welfare benefits claim led to Philippa Day suffering acute distress and exacerbated many of her other chronic stressors.

Were it not for these problems, it is unlikely that Philippa Day would have taken an overdose of her prescribed insulin on 7th or 8th August 2019.

The coroner stated – accurately – that “it is not possible to determine on the available evidence whether or not it was her intention to thereby end her life”.

But attempts to revive her failed and she passed away on October 16, 2019.

Mr Clow’s report went on to raise “matters of concern” that give him reason to believe that further deaths will happen due to deliberate, intentional behaviour by DWP officers.

He stated:

Call handlers [at] the DWP had not received, in their preparatory course prior to commencing work taking calls from claimants, specific training as to how best to interact with persons suffering from mental ill health in such a way as to avoid inadvertently exacerbating the difficulties experienced in progressing claims for benefits by such persons.

If true, this is a deliberate choice by the DWP’s bosses – to withhold training that could prevent deaths.

Records of calls handled were very brief and, at times, inaccurate. The records did not facilitate accurate decision making or enable queries to be dealt with efficiently and without inadvertently exacerbating the difficulties experienced by Philippa Day in progressing her benefits claims .

The word that sticks out like a sore thumb here is “inadvertently”. It seems Mr Clows included it because he had no evidence that the decisions “exacerbating the difficulties experienced by Philippa Day” were deliberate. But there must have been deliberate decisions to make inaccurate reports of calls handled – leading to the consequent failures that pushed Ms Day to her overdose?

(As a reporter, I have to make choices about what information I include in stories and what I leave out. Those choices are dictated by my judgement regarding what is relevant to the article. In this article, for example, I have omitted details of Ms Day’s mental health problems; it is known that she had a mental illness so there is no need to go into the details on this occasion. As benefit assessment officers, it seems to me, those responsible for handling her claim at the DWP had a similar responsibility – to include all relevant information – but they did not. That is a deliberate choice.)

The change of assessment process did not allow for a decision, which was incorrect, to be rectified without evidence of a subsequent change of circumstances.

That must have been a deliberate decision by whoever drafted the regulations controlling this process.

In addition, when a change of review process was appropriate, there was no means by which upcoming appointments could be cancelled without causing prejudice to Philippa Day.

Again, the regulations are drafted by people who know the consequences of the actions they require – and the consequences of the actions they forbid. The government has been providing state benefits for nearly a century and it is unrealistic to believe that cases similar to Philippa Day’s have not been handled before. In fact, the evidence of other deaths suggests that hundreds take place every year.

A misleading letter was sent which led Philippa Day to consider that her benefits would be stopped if she did not attend the upcoming appointment.

This is really vile. Knowing that an assessment outside her home would harm her mental health, DWP officers deliberately put her in fear of losing her benefits if she did not attend one. That is deliberate psychological torture.

Add it all up and we see deliberate decisions that mounted up into a force that pushed Philippa Day towards the overdose that ended her life.

But not one person involved in those decisions will face any penalty for having caused the death of another human being. Not one.

Information from previous reports shows that the identities of those responsible are known, but no action is being taken against them.

Meanwhile,

Analysis carried out by the Disability News Service suggests that there could have been as many as 750 benefit claimants of working age who took their lives in 2018.

I stated at the time that “the total number since the Tories introduced PIP – let alone the harsher benefit qualification laws brought in after they came into office in 2010 – is likely to be in the tens of thousands, if not, indeed, hundreds of thousands.”

It is worse than Aktion T4 – the cull of people with disabilities in Nazi Germany during the 1930s and 1940s.

So I repeat my comments at the end of a previous report:

How many benefit assessors from Capita (and fellow private contractor Atos) have contributed to those deaths?

How many officials from the Department for Work and Pensions?

How many Conservative ministers, who imposed the legislation, and backbenchers, who supported it?

And I ask:

When will they be brought to account for the deaths they have caused?

*Not suicide – the coroner’s report showed that Ms Day’s motives cannot be deduced from the evidence available; her overdose could have been a classic “cry for help”.

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One in six new universal credit claimants forced to skip meals during Covid crisis

It isn’t news that people claiming Universal Credit are forced to starve – especially in the five weeks before they receive any payments at all.

But the Tories have been making a big deal of their generosity in providing the benefit – along with a £20 uplift – to more people during the Covid-19 crisis.

Now we see the facts:

Many people claiming universal credit for the first time during the pandemic were unable to put aside enough cash to save £10 a month, eat healthily or regularly, or pay bills because the benefit payment was inadequate to meet basic living costs, a study has found.

A survey of the experiences of thousands of people who signed on after losing their job under lockdown concludes that even with the temporary £20 a week Covid-19 uplift many struggled to bridge the gap between benefits and living costs without borrowing from family, running up credit card debt, or using food banks.

Two-thirds of all claimants reported suffering financial strain, with one in six new claimants skipping a meal in the previous two weeks, and more than 60% reporting they would be unable to replace or repair electrical goods if they broke, or put aside enough cash to save £10 a month.

The fact is that Universal Credit is a sham that provides only enough in payment for the Tory government to make their claims – when in fact it plunges claimants into debt, and often into mental illness.

There are many reports of suicides among benefit claimants and the information above suggests ample evidence to support their reasons.

Source: One in six new universal credit claimants forced to skip meals | Society | The Guardian

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Sign the petition to stop ‘do not revive’ orders on people with learning disabilities who catch Covid-19

No ventilator for you: even after the NHS announced that ‘do not revive’ notices should not be forced on people with any disabilities at all, let alone learning disabilities, it is still happening. Is this a quiet cull?

Personally, This Writer wants to know who is still signing these orders after the NHS announced that they were forbidden and everybody should be involved in deciding the level of their own care.

It is clear that this is still not happening, and it is still people with disabilities who are being targeted for death by abandonment.

This petition is an attempt to raise the public profile of an issue that the media seem determined to ignore – so let’s do what we can to get as many people to notice it and sign it as possible.

It states:

People with learning disabilities have been given do not resuscitate orders during the second wave of the pandemic, in spite of widespread condemnation of the practice last year and an urgent investigation by the care watchdog.

Mencap said it had received reports in January from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19.

The Care Quality Commission said in December that inappropriate Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) notices had caused potentially avoidable deaths last year.

DNACPRs are usually made for people who are too frail to benefit from CPR, but Mencap said some seem to have been issued for people simply because they had a learning disability. The CQC is due to publish a report on the practice within weeks.

This is absolutely disgusting and cannot be allowed to continue. We must stand against this and not allow the UK to become a fascist state

We are all one and everybody has value. This is a serious human rights issue and cannot be allowed to continue in this day and age. We must join together and show we will not stand by and allow this horrific practice to continue. We must stand firm and resist this and insist this practice ends now!

Once again, the petition is here. Please sign it and pass it on to your friends and social media contacts.

This may not affect you – now. But who knows who will be targeted next?

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Boris Johnson SHOULD be blasted for thinking of plunging kids into poverty

Two-fingered salute: Boris Johnson displays his attitude to your starving children.

Bear in mind what we know about money: the government creates it in order to fund its policies, and taxes it back afterwards in order to prevent inflation.

Now read this:

Boris Johnson has been blasted for considering plunging hundreds of thousands of children deeper into poverty by ending the £20-a-week uplift of Universal Credit.

Anne Longfield, the outgoing Children’s Commissioner said the Prime Minister’s claimed commitment to helping youngsters catch up after the pandemic was “not compatible” with cuts to the vital benefit.

And she called on the government to back Joe Biden-style funding boost, aimed at families and children.

In suggesting that he won’t continue the £20/week uplift, Johnson is saying that his government prioritises funnelling millions to fake companies run by rich Conservative cronies over saving innocent youngsters from starvation that he has caused with his other policies.

We know this because the crony contracts keep being signed.

It isn’t a matter of there being not enough money; it’s a matter of priorities.

Now you know that his lie with his fat mates – and not with your starving kids.

Source: Boris Johnson blasted for considering Universal Credit cut that could plunge kids into poverty – Mirror Online

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How many times must we tell the ‘health service’ NOT to sign death warrants for people with disabilities?

Ventilator: after all the fuss last year over people with disabilities being issued blanket “Do Not Revive” orders, Mencap has revealed that it is STILL happening.

Who is responsible for this abomination against healthcare?

It has been revealed that, despite being told not to force “Do Not Revive” orders in people with disabilities who contract Covid-19, people with learning disabilities are still having the orders forced on them – whether they agree with them or not.

Pressure over this from the British Medical Association, Care Quality Commission and others, warning that blanket approaches to care are wrong, forced NHS England to tell hospitals, GPs and managers not to issue such letters… in April 2020 – nearly a year ago!

The following month, Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock was threatened with court action unless he legislated to safeguard vulnerable people. At the very least, it is an offence against their human rights.

But now we find that people with learning disabilities are still having “Do Not Revive” orders thrust upon them:

People with learning disabilities have been given do not resuscitate orders during the second wave of the pandemic, in spite of widespread condemnation of the practice last year and an urgent investigation by the care watchdog.

Mencap said it had received reports in January from people with learning disabilities that they had been told they would not be resuscitated if they were taken ill with Covid-19.

The Care Quality Commission said in December that inappropriate “Do Not Revive” notices had caused potentially avoidable deaths last year.

Mencap said they seemed to have been issued for people simply because they had a learning disability.

Do I have to put two and two together for you?

The fact that the government refused to put people with learning disabilities on the priority list for vaccinations makes this behaviour even worse.

So we find from NHS figures that in the five weeks since the third lockdown began, Covid-19 accounted for 65 per cent of deaths of people with learning disabilities. Although the statistics are drawn from different measures, it’s useful to compare this with the rate for the general population: just 39 per cent.

Younger people with learning disabilities aged 18 to 34 are 30 times more likely to die of Covid than others the same age, according to Public Health England.

Considering the inbuilt, systemic bias against them, it seems clear that we should not be surprised – just horrified at this apparent targeting of people with disabilities by the health service (which is supposed to protect people) and the Tory government.

For the sake of balance, I should report that the Department for Health and Social Care has said that it has taken action to prevent “Do Not Revive” notices and has asked the Care Quality Commission to review all such notices issued during the pandemic.

I look forward to its report.

I wonder if anybody will be found to have issued these notices wrongly.

I wonder if anybody will be found to have died as a result.

And if so, I wonder if we’ll learn the reasons these notices were issued. How damning will they be?

Source: Fury at ‘do not resuscitate’ notices given to Covid patients with learning disabilities | Coronavirus | The Guardian

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Tom Moore and David Clapson: outrageous disparity in the way Tories treat veterans

Found on Facebook:

“Incredible how differently Britain treats its veterans, depending on their circumstances,” says the caption.

No, it isn’t really incredible at all. It’s more Tory divisiveness. The difference here is that the difference between the two subjects is so marked.

Captain Sir Tom Moore was “one of us”. He had been living, retired, in relative comfort – a former Army officer who, seeing the plight of the National Health Service after years of Tory underfunding and the dismantling of its equipment to fight pandemic infections, literally stepped in to do his bit, raising £33 million in funds by walking laps of his back garden.

(And what happened to that cash, by the way? Did it pay for vital treatment or was it frittered away on crony contracts for Conservative chums?)

Former Lance Corporal David Clapson was “one of them”. After serving as a member of the Royal Signal Corps for two years in Belfast at the height of the “Troubles” in the 1970s and then spending 16 years working for BT, he gave up his career to become a carer, looking after his mother.

After she became too ill to stay at home, he started looking for work and claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance – making him a scrounger from the state in the eyes of the Department for Work and Pensions, run at the time by Tory Iain Duncan Smith.

So when he missed an appointment with a Job Centre advisor, the DWP axed his benefit, leaving him with no means of support.

He died soon after – not of starvation, but of diabetic ketoacidosis. Mr Clapson, who suffered from diabetes, had been unable to afford the electricity needed to keep his fridge working, meaning that he could not keep his insulin at the required temperature, rendering it unusable.

When his body was found, his assets totalled £3.44, six tea bags, a tin of soup and an out-of-date can of sardines. He had no food in his stomach at all.

Captain Sir Tom Moore was lionised as a hero. Lance Corporal David Clapson was treated like scum.

In terms of character, they seem to have been very much the same. Both obviously cared very much about the well-being of others and did what they could to help.

The only difference seems to be that the former, being “one of us”, was given every opportunity to make the impact he wanted, while the latter, being “one of them”, was denied even the means of survival.

It’s the Tory way. If you’re “one of us”, you get the best. If you’re “one of them”, you get nothing. Which are you?

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A woman died because the government drove her to suicide. Where are the prosecutions?

Philippa Day: benefit assessment provider Capita cut her benefits and demanded that she attend an assessment centre – which was impossible due to her disability. She took her life in despair.

A coroner’s finding that no fewer than 28 mistakes by the government and its officers led to the death of Mapperley mother Philippa Day is to be welcomed.

A report by benefit assessor Capita also found that three of its employees were responsible for errors that contributed to the events leading to Ms Day’s suicide.

In other words, Capita employees and government officers pushed her to her death. Why are they not facing criminal charges?

Come to that, the system that allowed them to make such mistakes was enforced by Conservative government ministers. Why are they not facing charges?

And ultimately, the system was created by legislation put forward by a Tory Work and Pensions Secretary. Why is that person not facing charges?

If I were found to have caused the death of another person, I would face a charge of murder if it could be proved to have been intentional, or manslaughter if not.

Why are these government-connected individuals allowed to get away without even being challenged?

You might think this one case is bad enough. But consider this:

Analysis carried out by the Disability News Service suggests that there could have been as many as 750 benefit claimants of working age who took their lives in 2018.

And the total number since the Tories introduced PIP – let alone the harsher benefit qualification laws brought in after they came into office in 2010 – is likely to be in the tens of thousands, if not, indeed, hundreds of thousands.

How many benefit assessors from Capita (and fellow private contractor Atos) have contributed to those deaths?

How many officials from the Department for Work and Pensions?

How many Conservative ministers, who imposed the legislation, and backbenchers, who supported it?

The coroner has issued PFD (Prevention of Future Deaths) notices that demand action from the Department for Work and Pensions.

But no action is being taken even to identify the men and/or women responsible for pushing Ms Day to suicide.

It seems the Conservatives have perfected a method of mass-slaughtering innocent people.

Source: UK: Government report describes appalling official treatment of seriously disabled Philippa Day who took her own life – World Socialist Web Site

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Why are the Tories running a survey on a planned disability strategy without telling anyone?

If you have a disability, did you know about this? It has been running since January 15.

Has there been a whisper about it in the national, or even local media?

If so, This Writer hasn’t seen it.

I was alerted to it by a contact, to whom I think we should all be grateful.

Let’s try to get the following shared with as many people as possible – obviously anybody with a disability needs to see it and take part.

Because it seems people with disabilities are the last ones the Tories want to hear from.

The Disability Unit at the Cabinet Office is developing a National Strategy for Disabled People. Publication is planned for Spring 2021.

To help the government with understanding the barriers that disabled people face and what it may need to focus upon to improve the lives of disabled people, we need to hear about your views and know more about your experiences.

This survey will ask about your life experiences either as a disabled person, a carer or parent or as someone who has an interest in disability issues.

Many people have had big changes in their lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and there will be an opportunity at the end of the survey to state if your life has changed notably due to COVID-19, and in what ways. However, please answer other questions thinking about yourself, your own experiences and your current situation.

The survey will be open until 23 April 2021. Responses received before 13 February 2021 will inform the development of the National Strategy, while those received after this date used to inform its delivery.

Source: UK Disability Survey – Disability Unit – Citizen Space

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Trickster Coffey: she says disabled people should switch to Universal Credit – where they’ll be worse-off

Therese Coffey: you wouldn’t think she was trying to get her jollies by encouraging people to quit legacy benefits for Universal Credit with a false claim that they’ll be better-off, would you?

Did Therese Coffey get her doctorate in lying to people?

Having refused calls to extend the £20-per-week Universal Credit uplift to so-called “legacy benefits” that sick and disabled people receive – Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and others – she has suggested that they should claim UC instead.

People on Severe Disablement Premium (SDP) were unable to make that move until Wednesday (January 27) – when the Tories removed that barrier.

But charities have warned that this is a trap.

People with long-term illnesses and disabilities are more likely to lose money if they switch to UC and, once they have made the move, there is no going back.

It’s just another example of Tory discrimination against people with disabilities, that has reached new heights in the Covid-19 crisis, which they have used as an excuse for persecution.

People who’ve been on SDPs can get £120, £285 or £405 per month in transition payments – depending on their circumstances. But DWP officials have confirmed these payments “will be subject to erosion and cessation” over time.

And the Disability Rights UK group has claimed that, “after transitional help is eroded after time”, Universal Credit will be “significantly less generous” than legacy benefits for disabled people.

So the two-tier discrimination against people with disabilities in fact continues, no matter whether they are on “legacy benefits” or Universal Credit.

This Writer’s advice is clear: stay where you are. Don’t give Trickster Coffey the giggle she wants to get from hurting you.

Source: Fears as DWP chief urges disabled people to switch to Universal Credit from Wednesday – Mirror Online

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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