Tag Archives: limb

DWP calls in Rentadoc to harass the sick off-benefit

Ingeus out of favour: This image was found on a site protesting against Workfare and demonstrates the high regard in which it is held by previous users of the Ingeus service.

Ingeus out of favour: This image was found on a site protesting against Workfare and demonstrates the high regard in which it is held by previous users of the Ingeus service.

Perhaps we’re jumping the gun with the headline but alarm bells tend to go off when you read that “people on sickness benefits will be required to have regular meetings with healthcare professionals to help them with their barriers to work”.

Everyone working on Employment and Support Allowance should already know what everyone receiving it knows – it’s more a bloodbath than a benefit.

This is down to the attitude of the healthcare professionals already working on it – the people who (and God forbid you should ever ask to see their qualifications) automatically sign 70 per cent of claimants as ‘fit for work’, whether they are or not, and tell most of the rest they need to be work-ready within a year.

The result? Mental breakdowns, depression and suicides; physical breakdowns, worsening of existing conditions, and premature deaths. By the thousand.

These are the people who ask claimants when amputated limbs are going to grow back, and who tell people with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis that they’ll be fit for work within six months.

If you did (God forbid) ask them where they got their qualifications, it was probably the Teaching Hospital of Noddyland.

“People on sickness benefits will be required to have regular meetings with healthcare professionals to help them address their barriers to work – or face losing their benefits [italics mine] – in a two-year pilot scheme in central England which begins in November,” the DWP press release states.

Isn’t this what happened with people on Jobseekers’ Allowance? Suddenly they had to start fulfilling lots of pointless extra requirements or their benefits would be withdrawn? Part of that is a regular meeting in which – as far as we can ascertain – innocent people are harassed, threatened and abused by DWP employees who are themselves, it seems, millimetres away from nervous exhaustion brought on by the pressures of the job.

Claiming benefits, it seems, is now an endurance test: Who cracks (up) first?

Now, for 3,000 people in the work-related activity group for ESA in the Black Country, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Staffordshire and Shropshire, there’s no relief even if they have a nervous breakdown and have to claim ESA on mental health grounds.

“People involved in the pilot – who have all been assessed as being able to work at some point in the future – will have regular appointments with healthcare professionals as a condition of receiving their benefit, to focus on helping them move closer to being able to get a job.”

There you go – all judged as able to work in the future. Presumably Iain Duncan Smith has taken a look at their files, glanced into his crystal ball, and declared that he has a “belief” in their fitness to work. If any of these people are reading, please contact this blog if you have a progressive health condition that won’t ever improve.

Because the meeting is a condition of receiving benefit, anyone attending can expect to be treated abominably. This is not about helping you back to work, or even back to health; it’s about kicking you off-benefit and nothing further. The aim, as with JSA, is to cut claimant numbers and thereby cut spending.

“It’s really important we give people who are disabled or have a health condition the support they need to get into work if they are able,” said employment minister Esther McVey who knows nothing about this at all (despite having been minister for the disabled).

“Traditionally, this help has tended to be work-related, but this pilot will look at whether a more holistic approach is more successful in helping people to manage their conditions and so break down their barriers to work.”

The biggest barrier to a person with a disability getting work is the fact that the Conservative-led Coalition government has been closing down employment opportunities for them and removing incentives for employers to take them on.

The healthcare professionals will be provided by Ingeus UK – a welfare-to-work provider that has been involved in the Work Programme – you know, the time-wasting scheme in which jobseekers are taken off the unemployment statistics while they learn simple skills that, in fact, most of them already have.

The company’s website is very slick but contains no information about the number of doctors in its employ.

Oh, and guess what? The company is half-owned by Deloitte, one of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms that currently writes British tax law to make avoidance easy for the big corporates. How much tax has Ingeus paid lately?

“Everything we do is results driven”, the site declares.

One wonders what Ingeus will do when the casualties start piling up.

Disabled? There’s only one way to make Atos ESA assessors understand your condition

Insanity: Apologies for using this image yet again but it perfectly encapsulates the lunacy that is rampant in the Department for Work and Pensions, headed up by Iain 'I believe' Smith.

Insanity: Apologies for using this image yet again but it perfectly encapsulates the lunacy that is rampant in the Department for Work and Pensions, headed up by Iain ‘I believe’ Smith.

We’re all getting to the point now, aren’t we?

You know what point I mean; the point where we realise that we can no longer afford to believe our dealings with the Department for Work and Pensions – including any of its representatives – involve contact with rational human beings.

There is nothing rational about DWP decisions. We’ve known that all along, but now we have enough evidence to prove it.

Look at the Daily Mirror‘s story today: Almost half of the ESA claimants who are known to have progressive conditions like Parkinson’s, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis are being refused admission to the support group.

Instead, they’ve been put into the work-related activity group, which means they are expected to recover from these permanently-disabling ailments to a point at which they could look for work.

This is, of course, impossible.

All doctors know it is impossible.

Atos assessors are said to be doctors. Therefore they should know it is impossible.

An Atos spokesperson, quoted in the article, tried to cover the company’s arse by saying decisions are made by the DWP.

The DWP spokesperson said, “There is strong evidence working can be beneficial for many people who have a health condition.”

Like Parkinson’s?

A condition like that of the gentleman quoted in the report, who gave up working six years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and who can no longer do even basic things?

Nobody can say he didn’t try to keep going for as long as he possibly could. But he was repeatedly told he would be able to recover from his progressively worsening condition and work again, and now the DWP is refusing to carry out any more assessments on him.

Closer to home, Mrs Mike – my own long-suffering significant other – first began experiencing the chronic pain that eventually stopped her from working in 2001. She soldiered on for a further two years before being signed off work by her doctor after spending a lengthening series of time on sick leave.

Her condition has worsened progressively since then, resisting all attempts at treatment. She was granted Incapacity Benefit but this was changed to ESA last year. She was put in the work-related activity group but appealed against this after being told by a work programme provider that she would not be healthy enough to work by the time her benefit ended, and that she should seek reconsideration (or appeal) with a view to being put in the support group.

She did this, but the DWP has sat on the request for almost six months without doing anything, waiting for her benefit period to end so she could be signed off and claimed as a “positive benefit outcome”. This finally happened, two weeks ago.

They say she must be fit for work now. In fact, her health is worse than ever.

Irrational.

And – as this is the prevailing attitude at the DWP – we can say that the DWP attitude as a whole is irrational.

(We know the DWP monitors this site, so: Hello, DWP snooper! Are you aware you’re quite mad?)

It’s reminiscent of the stories about amputees being asked when their limbs were likely to grow back. That, too, was irrational.

It does offer a way out, for those people under threat from these idiots and the Atos employees working for them. Not a particularly nice way, as you’ll see – but probably the only way that will work:

Anyone going to a work capability assessment takes an able-bodied friend with them. As soon as they are alone with the assessor, the able-bodied friend rips the Atos employee’s lower jaw off and destroys it. It doesn’t matter how.

(I told you it wasn’t a particularly nice way!)

For the claimant, and their friend, this course of action leads to a secure future in prison, where their bed and board will be supported by the taxpayer (albeit at considerably greater expense than if the DWP had just put them in the support group).

For the assessor, it provides insight into the plight of those he or she has been working with; sometime in their own future, they will know exactly how it feels to have one of their own colleagues asking, “How long before it grows back and you can get back to work?”

Now, I’m not suggesting for a moment that anyone should actually go out and perform such a heinous act on a (so-called) medical professional.

But I maintain that they will never accept the seriousness of your condition unless they are made to suffer it – or something similar – themselves.