Tories have wasted £120m in two years trying to tell people they’re not disabled

What a waste of time and money. Over the last two years, Conservative governments have spent more than £120 million in taxpayers’ money fighting disability benefit claims – despite losing three-quarters of tribunal appeals. That means automatic wastage of £90 million – but it is likely that the quarter of claimants who lost their appeals also had valid grounds to claim Personal Independence Payment and/or Employment and Support Allowance but were outflanked by a prejudiced system. The increase in expenditure is far greater than the 13 per cent increase in…

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DWP rejection of benefit increase call proves conclusively: we’re NOT ‘all in it together’

The Department for Work and Pensions has rejected a call by its own advisors to increase benefits and help two million people get through the Covid-19 crisis. The Tory government promised to increase the amounts of Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits payable to claimants, way back in March. But people on the so-called “legacy” benefits like Employment and Support Allowance have been denied the same courtesy. Ministers said this is because it would take too much time to implement. What – a few keystrokes on a computer takes too…

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DWP crashes to another court defeat over sickness benefits

The High Court has just ruled that a rule allowing the Department for Work and Pensions to force some benefit claimants to wait – unpaid – for a mandatory reconsideration before they can appeal against refusal is unlawful. The system previously demanded that, if a claim for income-related Employment and Support Allowance was refused, claimants would have to wait for a “mandatory reconsideration” of their case to take place before they could appeal. This could take weeks, and has often taken months, in which the claimant – who is claiming…

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Did Tory-run DWP change rules on cancelling benefits to avoid humiliation in court?

The Department for Work and Pensions has quietly changed its rules on stopping benefits of vulnerable claimants – after relatives of a man who died of starvation won the right to have a judicial review. Relatives of Errol Graham were granted permission for a judicial review of DWP policies after the department failed to review and revise them itself, following his death. The DWP ignored its own safeguarding advice to deprive Errol Graham of his benefits, This Site reported previously. Left with no income, Mr Graham starved to death. He…

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Court showdown for DWP over Errol Graham – who starved to death after his benefits were axed

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will have to answer questions in court about the legality of its safeguarding policies after a family challenged it over the death of a vulnerable man. The DWP ignored its own safeguarding advice to deprive Errol Graham of his benefits, This Site reported previously. Left with no income, Mr Graham starved to death. He had been receiving incapacity benefit, and then ESA, for many years as a result of enduring mental distress that had led to him being sectioned. The DWP stopped Mr…

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More than 600,000 jobs lost – so 45 fat cats can increase their wealth by £25 billion?

Covid-19 has had remarkably divergent effects on people, depending on their status in our society. At the bottom, more than 600,000 people have lost their jobs: The number of paid employees in the UK fell by 449,000 between March and April 2020 and early estimates suggest that a further 163,000 people lost their jobs in April. It is believed that this number would have been much higher if not for the Government’s furlough scheme, and other support measures introduced to help businesses. But with this scheme due to be wound…

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Try telling Errol Graham that ‘Black Lives Matter’. Oh you can’t – he’s dead

What? You think Errol Graham only died because he was ill? Your Conservative government is multiply-prejudiced and can ensure that people die for any number of trumped-up and ridiculous reasons. Consider this: Murdered by the State. Little news coverage. No public interest. No outrage, protests or riots. Some Black Lives Matter more than others. — Michael Marshall (@michael53021960) June 3, 2020 Fair point? Errol Graham was starved to death by a prejudiced Conservative-run benefit system. My report on Mr Graham states: He had been receiving incapacity benefit, and then ESA,…

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People with disabilities: do YOU want IAIN DUNCAN SMITH influencing how government treats you?

Iain Duncan Smith – his very name still triggers hate and fear in people with long-term illnesses and disabilities, in roughly equal measure. It is now nearly five years since This Writer demonstrated that his Department for Work and Pensions had been responsible for more than 100,000 excess deaths of people claiming sickness and disability benefits. The deaths had happened after he became Secretary of State and changed the way benefit entitlements were assessed, making it much more difficult for people who deserved them to make a claim. And he…

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Spain approves Universal Basic Income – and it’s more than UK sick and disabled get

Only a few weeks ago, Tories were delighting in claiming that no other nation had adopted a Universal Basic Income scheme in response to calls for the UK to adopt it during the Covid-19 crisis. Now they can’t say that any more. And the amount being provided to Spanish citizens will be more than people on the normal rate of Universal Credit, on Employment and Support Allowance, or on the lowest rate of Personal Independence Payment (if I recall correctly) – around £95 per week. If anyone is wondering how…

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Coronavirus is concentrating discontent with the benefit system – but does that include sickness and disability?

It seems the knives are out for Universal Credit. But while academics think in terms of justice for all, Tories don’t. Even if they accept changes to their flagship benefit, how likely is it that they will allow an end to their favourite pastime – torturing people with long-term illnesses and disabilities? As for bringing in a UBI – Universal Basic Income that will mean nobody goes without food, clothes or a home… The Tories are sure to tell us: go whistle. Or am I reading them wrong? Radical changes…

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