Tag Archives: living

What will the DWP do if a coroner says this mum died because her benefits were cut?

Inquest: did Philippa Day take her own life in despair after benefit assessment provider Capita cut her benefits and demanded that she attend an assessment centre – which was impossible due to her disability?

We’ve been here before, I think. As I recall, coroners tend to back away from criticising the Department for Work and Pensions when disabled benefit claimants die.

But – again, as I recall – questions have been asked about the validity of such inquests after claims were made that some of the relevant evidence was omitted.

This time, it seems very thorough preparations are being made to prevent this from happening; several pre-inquest reviews have been held to discuss the case of Philippa Day.

The mother, from Mapperley, Nottingham, is believed to have taken her own life after a long struggle to have her benefits restored.

When her Disability Living Allowance was converted to the new Personal Independence Payment in January 2019, the government slashed the amount she received from £228 per week to £60.

The most recent pre-inquest hearing centred on discussions between Ms Day, the DWP and private assessment provider company Capita before her death, and the decisions about her benefits that followed.

It seems Capita had demanded that she must attend an assessment centre in person – an impossibility due to her ill-health.

Ms Day was admitted to hospital in August last year – in a coma, according to her family. She never revived and died in October 2019, aged just 27.

The full inquest is due to take place in January.

Let’s hope it makes more sense than some others we have heard recently.

Source: Coroner to examine death of Mapperley mum who died after her benefits were cut – Nottinghamshire Live

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Disabled comedian Rosie Jones shames Tories with damning verdict on disability law and benefits

I didn’t see this when it was aired on the BBC’s Question Time last Thursday – and I’m sorry because it was one of the few times that sad rag of a show would have been worth watching.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act, comedian Rosie Jones, who happens to have cerebral palsy, was asked to comment on what it has meant for herself and other people who have disabilities.

She didn’t hold back. Her comments about the benefits Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and its successor Personal Independence Payment (PIP) were scathing.

And all through, Health Secretary Matt Hancock sat like a nodding dog. At the end, he was even smiling at the torment his government forces people to suffer:

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Man with worsening brain injuries has benefits slashed while Duncan Smith gets a knighthood [VIDEO]


You’re probably sick and tired of me banging on about the way the Tory government has been persecuting the sick and disabled – so I’ll hand you over to one of the victims.

Andy Nicholson runs a video blog under the alias ‘The Brain Damaged Baron’.

Doctors pronounced him lucky to survive a head-first fall down a partially-built stairwell in 1994.

The incident left him with a serious brain injury that means he is partially-sighted, has short-term memory loss, constant headaches, epilepsy and coordination issues, along with chronic fatigue.

These conditions have worsened over time but the Tories have twice pronounced him fit for work, in spite of medical evidence and, indeed, a court order.

Here he is to explain for himself:

It’s powerful stuff; it shows that the Department for Work and Pensions, under the Conservatives, is determined to gaslight people into accepting an unreasonable view that brain injuries can be healed, just because an unqualified assessor says so.

These people have to suffer their way through unnecessarily-complicated appeal procedures, simply to keep the small amount of money they need to survive.

Meanwhile, the man who made to possible for this government department to lie so blatantly and brutally, simply for the sake of holding on to a few farthings, has been awarded a knighthood.

If you live in the UK, you live in a crazed, corrupt country. And if you voted Tory – count yourself among the crazies.

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Johnson outdoes himself: minimum wage rise has upset employees and employers alike

Money: Boris Johnson is rolling in it but his policies have starved the UK of the cash that is the lifeblood of the economy.

Did you think the boost to the minimum wage was a wonderful thing?

Really?

I saw a rich toff on holiday in the sun, throwing a few crumbs at the plebs, so they won’t complain when he comes home and really puts the screws on them.

And did you notice?

The rise still won’t cover the cost of living; people on the minimum wage will have to try to claim benefits as well.

“National Living Wage” – it’s as much of a mockery as it was when the Tories first changed the name.

Oh – and the British Chambers of Commerce are already playing up about it.

They reckon it will eat into training and investment budgets – which is interesting because in This Writer’s experience such budgets no longer exist.

What do these bosses have against paying a decent wage for a day’s work, anyway?

They have tripled their own remuneration over the last 10 years under the Tories, after all.

Still, when all is considered, Boris Johnson is to be congratulated.

He has managed to make an inflation-busting pay increase leave everybody short-changed.

Minimum wage workers will receive a 51p an hour boost from April, the Government announced last night.

The National Living Wage, which is the legal pay floor for employees aged 25 and over, will rise from £8.21 to £8.72.

The rate for 21 to 24 years olds will climb from £7.70 to £8.20.

In contrast, the Real Living Wage, set by independent experts and championed by the Living Wage Foundation, is £9.30 an hour rising to £10.75 in London, where costs are higher.

It is earned by all workers regardless of their age.

Source: Minimum wage will rise by 51p to £8.72 an hour in April, government announces – Mirror Online

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Johnson has broken his minimum wage promise. Will his Tory manifesto be as worthless as May’s?

Duper’s delight: This is the smile Boris Johnson wears when he is lying. Was he wearing it when he promised a big increase in the ‘National Living Wage’?

Boris Johnson has broken his manifesto promise to increase the “National Living Wage” (he means the minimum wage), within days of using it to win a landslide election victory.

Page 14 of the Tory Manifesto states categorically: “In our first months, we announced an increase in the National Living Wage to two thirds of average earnings, currently forecast at £10.50 an hour, and widened its reach to everyone over 21. That means an average pay rise of £4,000 per year for four million people by 2024.”

This was the flagship policy announcement at the Tory conference, where Chancellor Sajid Javid proclaimed it would show the Tories are “the workers’ party”.

It was to be achieved by pegging the wage to two-thirds of median earnings, not 60 per cent as it is now.

But in the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament last Friday, the words “provided economic conditions allow” had been inserted – rendering the promise meaningless.

The Tories will always be able to find an economic adviser who can claim conditions don’t allow a rise in the minimum wage.

In fact, with Johnson’s Brexit disaster looming large, it might be a long time before those on the minimum see any wage rise at all. Meanwhile the cost of living may rise out of control.

(… Not that I want to worry you!)

Then when the dirty Johnson decides to call another election (should that every happen), he can always wheel out the same promise all over again and know he can expect enough people to believe it – all over again.

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Did you think the Tories would stop hurting children just because there’s an election? Think again

Kori: This eight-year-old boy had a heart transplant last year, but his body is rejecting it. The Tory-run DWP doesn’t care, though. It has cancelled his disability benefit and left him to fend for himself.

Say hi to Kori.

Kori is eight years old. Last year he had a heart transplant – but it wasn’t a wonderful success.

His body is rejecting the new heart and he is fighting for his life in hospital.

And what have the Tories done?

They have cancelled Kori’s claim for Disability Living Allowance and his family’s Motability car.

Their reason: Kori is “as fit as any other child his age”.

Take a look at the photograph. Do you think that’s accurate?

Friends of Kori and his family have launched a crowdfunding page to help them cope with the loss of their means of support.

You can contribute to it by visiting this website.

Please do – you can be sure the Tories won’t want to help at all.

They won’t care what happens to Kori – despite the fact that they have a duty of care towards him.

They’re too busy planning new tax breaks for their rich friends – if we’re stupid enough to elect them again.

Read more on this Facebook page: Kori’s Fight for Life

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Tories got HALF A MILLION sickness and disability benefit assessments wrong – in five years

Logical conclusion: The Tory-run DWP’s persecution of benefit claimants has been implicated in the deaths of many thousands of people.

Research has shown that new benefit assessment techniques imposed by the Conservative government have led to more than 500,000 wrong benefit assessments in the last five years.

The evidence also shows that other measures introduced by the Tories have served to hide the facts from the general public.

The research covered benefits including Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and its replacement benefit Personal Independence Payment.

The good news is that appeals against bogus decisions are at their highest success rate yet – the article on Teesside Live (link below) shows an increase in successes in North East England from 41 per cent in 2013 to 63 per cent in 2018. Across the UK, the success rate stands at around 76 per cent.

But the number of appeals reaching tribunals has fallen massively since the Conservatives axed legal aid for such cases – pricing such action out of benefit claimants’ capabilities.

The Labour Party has vowed to restore legal aid if it wins the election on December 12, to restore fairness to the system.

The research made it clear that the main reason for appeals against benefit decisions was “poor decision-making” and “obvious inaccuracies” by the private asessors hired to carry out interviews with claimants.

One way to challenge such issues is to record assessments, but it was recently revealed that the Tories have insisted on PIP claimants buying hugely expensive recording systems in order to do so – in what seems an obvious attempt to make it impossible. What benefit claimant has that kind of money?

Note also:

Daphne Hall, the vice chair of the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers, said: “… The DWP tend to base their decision purely on these assessments and disregard other evidence sent in by the claimant.”

Yet this evidence is always demanded – and further evidence is always demanded when a claimant appeals.

The DWP’s claim that “appeals represent a small percentage of all benefits claim it handles” is unconvincing because of the obstacles the government has put in the way.

Since 2013, people seeking to overturn a benefits ruling must complete a written challenge within a month, known as a mandatory reconsideration. If unsuccessful, people can then appeal against the decision at tribunal.

The problem is that most people run out of money long before the initial process is concluded and are forced by financial necessity to seek an alternative benefit (usually the nightmare that is Universal Credit), even though it is entirely inappropriate.

The denial of legal aid means most people are left unable to navigate the UK’s labyrinthine legal system. For most sick or disabled claimants, it may be impossible to gather together all the information required by a tribunal without help from a legal professional.

The DWP has claimed that any suggestion of a decline in appeals due to legal aid cuts is “pure speculation”. It would, wouldn’t it?

But its further claim that only four per cent of ESA decisions and five per cent of PIP decisions are overturned at appeal rings hollow in the knowledge that this constituted more than 70 per cent of all appeals.

Doubly hollow, in fact, in the knowledge that the number of appeals fell massively after the axing of legal aid.

This is darkly humorous, too: “It says it expects the ‘highest of standards’ from assessment providers and continually monitors performance, while PIP and ESA assessments are carried out by health professionals ‘who receive a variety of training in physical and mental health conditions and have the right clinical experience’.”

Oh really? And did the PIP assessor who happened to be a physiotherapist but ended up examining a person with multiple sclerosis have “the right clinical experience”? Of course not.

Oh, and: “It says PIP was introduced to ensure mental health conditions were given the same parity as physical conditions.” Oh really? This seems strange, considering the fact the mental health conditions are not mentioned even once in the points-based system on which PIP awards are based.

As This Site has demonstrated many times before, the Tory benefit system is a mockery.

Labour has promised to reform the system, dissolving the DWP altogether and replacing it with a new Department of Social Security.

Labour also intends to pilot a Universal Basic Income scheme, in which everybody receives an amount of money deemed enough to support them – making assessment interviews unnecessary.

People with illnesses and disabilities would receive appropriate top-ups.

Considering the huge number of deaths that have been connected with bogus benefit refusals, this is to be welcomed.

So the choice for people claiming – or dependent on – benefits is between an ever-more-draconian Tory system that penalises those in genuine need – often to death, and a return to justice under Labour.

That isn’t even a choice, is it? It has to be Labour all the way.

Source: DWP: Disabled Teessiders wrongly denied benefits are increasingly beating the government at appeal – Teesside Live

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Dupers’ delight: body language suggests Javid and Johnson’s policy promises are lies

Consider this:

‘This is Boris Johnson talking about his new policy in “building 40 new hospitals” – mouth curling and raised eyebrows are micro-expressions indicating someone is lying. It’s called “dupers delight”,’ according to a post on Facebook.

 

“Duper’s delight”…

“Duper n. a person who deceives or tricks someone.”

It seems Mr Johnson may not have been entirely truthful about his promise to invest billions in NHS hospitals, then.

Now, what about this:

Chancellor Sajid Javid has pledged to raise the National Living Wage to £10.50 within the next five years.

He will also lower the age threshold for those who qualify from 25 to 21.

Look at his face:

It’s not going to happen under the Tories, is it?

Mr Javid was just saying it as something to put up against Labour’s offer. If you’ve forgotten (or weren’t aware of) what Labour’s offer is, it’s this:

Labour pledged to raise the National Living Wage to £10 an hour in 2020 and to include all workers under 18 – who currently get a minimum wage of £4.35.

Even on the surface, Labour’s offer is better – £10 an hour, for everyone, by 2020 leaves opportunity for much more growth than an extra 50p by 2024, which is all Mr Javid is offering, and then only for people aged above 21.

But the clincher is always going to be the simple fact of body language that it seems neither BoJob nor The Collector can hide:

Labour’s offer isn’t a lie.

Source: Tory conference: National Living Wage to rise to £10.50, says chancellor – BBC News

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It doesn’t matter which theory underpins Tory disability jobs strategy – they’re both awful

[Image: Lisa Norwood via photopin cc.]

So the Tories have moved from trying to make people with disabilities believe their health problems are all in their mind to trying to make them believe society is stopping them from getting a job?

Neither seem helpful ways of getting these people to live a useful life, if you ask This Writer!

And to be honest, I don’t see much effort made to get society to adjust to help people with disabilities. Look at Philip Hammond’s comment that disabled workers were holding back productivity in the UK economy.

He was saying there’s no point employing people with disabilities because the adjustments they require cancel out any usefulness they have.

How are we to expect employers to offer them any opportunities after that?

The Biopsychosocial model has been explored at length on This Site, and I am grateful to see that it is supposed to be discredited.

But I haven’t seen any evidence that the questions in assessment interviews have changed, or that the decisions made by assessors are based on criteria that are any more sympathetic.

According to Welfare Weekly, more than 220,000 people have been awarded zero points after being assessed for Personal Independence Payment, in the last 18 months.

The same article claimed 180,000 people have been denied PIP after being told to transfer from Disability Living Allowance, again in the last 18 months, despite having been in receipt of the other benefit.

These are people who have been told that there is nothing wrong with them – or at least nothing that would justify them drawing benefit money to help them cope with their disabilities in everyday life.

That seems to bear out the claim that the BPS model is still being used, and people are still being told their disabilities are all in their minds – and blamed for it, rather than helped.

The civil servant who leads the government’s work and health unit has sparked fresh concerns that the new disability employment strategy could be heavily influenced by the discredited “biopsychosocial” (BPS) model of disability.

Tabitha Jay told a meeting of the all-party parliamentary group for disability (APPGD) … that the social model of disability underpinned the strategy, which has an aim of seeing one million more disabled people in work over the next 10 years.

But she also appeared to suggest that the BPS model was “running in parallel” to the social model within the strategy.

The BPS model places blame for being unemployed on the individual disabled person and their supposed negative attitudes towards working, whereas the social model explains that it is the barriers in society – and not people’s impairments.

Source: Civil servant sparks fresh concerns over ideological basis of jobs strategy


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Sickness and disability benefit assessments: Has anything changed in the last five years?

Unhealthy: Theresa May insists on employing private contractors Atos and Capita to assess benefit claimants’ fitness for work according to criteria that are not fit for purpose, and this has caused huge problems.

The video clip below resurfaced on This Writer’s Facebook page today; apparently I posted the link to it five years ago.

Has anything changed – other than the fact that Atos has been joined by Capita in carrying out the assessments?

Comments from people who have had assessments recently will be illuminating, I think.


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