Once again the Tory government shafts people with disabilities.
More than a quarter of a million people who should be receiving sickness and/or disability benefits are falling into debt because the DWP is forcing them to wait for a decision while it deals with coronavirus-related Universal Credit claims.
Yes – it is important to help the people claiming UC because the government’s lockdown deprived them of their income. We must not hold a grudge against them because they were dumped in a bad situation.
But the Tory government has a responsibility of care – in which it failed by diverting staff to handle UC and cutting PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) claimants adrift.
Why not just divert staff who would have been working in job centres? Why not employ somebody new, on a temporary basis, if necessary?
These are rhetorical questions.
The answer is that no Conservative government will lift a finger to help people with illnesses and disabilities if it can find an excuse not to.
People who are physically or mentally infirm are unable to work for Tory-supporting employers and are therefore of no use to that party.
As Tories consider all working people to be nothing more than “stock”, we may conclude that they consider sick or disabled people to be defective stock, and therefore fit only to be scrapped.
This is the only rational explanation for the way Tories have treated people who deserve as much respect as anybody else.
The worst of it is that these overlooked claimants probably expect to receive attention as soon as the coronavirus crisis ends. This is doubtful; the Tories will find another excuse to make them wait.
Reason: making sick and disabled people wait is a great way of making them die, without any fear of blame.
Figures published by the DWP in response to a parliamentary written question show that as of 27 April there were 166,630 personal independence payment (PIP) claimants with either an assessment scheduled or awaiting scheduling. As of 4 May, 101,910 people were waiting on employment support allowance (ESA) claims.
Charities are also concerned that people who are trying to appeal decisions to reduce their sickness and disability benefits are facing longer than usual delays.
*Feel free to read in a more colourful verb of your choice.
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