Tag Archives: payment

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

Habitual cruelty: if you thought the Tories stopped persecuting people with long-term illnesses and disabilities during the Covid-19 crisis, think again.

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 applications would suggest. And it is happening at a time when the country can ill-afford to waste any cash at all. There can only be one reason for it: sick cruelty – the Tories are enjoying torturing sick and disabled people to death.

And why are there so many applications for disability and sickness benefits in the UK? Do conditions here – especially working conditions – cause illness and disability?

The new figures are further proof that the Tories’ convoluted appeal process has nothing to do with saving money from fraudsters and everything to do with starving people with disabilities – to death, if possible.

It is now well-documented that claimants initially have to go through an internal appeal process within the Department for Work and Pensions called mandatory reconsideration.

The courts only recently ruled that a Tory regulation forcing claimants to go without any benefit payments, and therefore without any income, for the period of a mandatory reconsideration – no matter how long that may be – was illegal.

Only after the DWP rules that a claim should be rejected can the sick or disabled person take their case to a tribunal.

And it is at tribunals that 76 per cent of PIP claims, and 75 per cent of ESA claims, are upheld.

This means the Tories have needlessly and cruelly deprived these people of their means of survival for the number of months – years in some cases – that these claims have been disputed.

We all know that there is hardly any fraud in disability benefit claims – the last recorded number This Writer saw was somewhere in the region of one or two per cent of claims.

So the huge proportion that the Tories refuse – and the amount of time and money wasted in the appeal process – can only mean one thing:

The Tories hate disabled people and want them to die.

Why isn’t this a national – if not international – scandal?

Source: Government spends £120m in taxpayer money fighting disability benefit claims in two years, figures show | The Independent | Independent

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Tories force £100 million payout so outsourcing giant can chase over-75s for TV licence fee

The Conservative government’s relationship with private outsourcing firms is becoming more questionable by the day.

It has been revealed that the BBC is having to pay nearly £100 million to Capita so the firm can hire new staff to chase down senior citizens who fail to pay the TV licence fee.

People aged over 75 had been exempt from paying the fee because the government subsidised it – until George Osborne decided that he was going to axe the subsidy for no apparent reason other than cruelty.

The BBC was then forced between betraying all licence fee-payers by cutting its output significantly, or betraying over-75s by demanding that they pay the fee again.

It wasn’t any choice at all.

At least we’re all laying the blame where it’s due. As the Mirror article states:

Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said: “The BBC has taken this decision but in reality the principal responsibility lies with the Government.

“Until a previous administration transferred these free licences to the Corporation under a tapering funding arrangement they had taken the form of a welfare benefit for a generation, and to have done that without any consultation left a really bad taste in the mouth.

“The Government cannot absolve itself of responsibility for the upset and distress being caused to many of our over-75s today, the poorest and most isolated above all – and the sadness is that these older people have already endured so much over the last few months.

“The Government needs to sit down with the BBC urgently to keep these TV licences for over-75s free.”

Ms Abrahams’ suggestion is right – but we know the Tories won’t act on it.

They’ll say the Covid crisis, Brexit, and the collapse of the UK’s economy (all their own fault) mean the nation cannot afford to take back the TV licence subsidy.

In reality, though, the real reason is that they’ve given all the money to privatised outsourcing firms like Capita.

Source: BBC to spend ‘£100m of taxpayer cash chasing over-75s not paying licence fee’ – Mirror Online

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Covid lockdown and Tory PIP assessment cruelty made woman attempt suicide

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Lockdown cruelty: if you thought this image had been retired for the duration of the Covid crisis, it seems you’re to be disappointed because the Tory government had other plans.

The incompetent – or just plain cruel? – Tory government’s failure to make adequate provision for us all during the Covid-19 lockdown has been worst in the cases of disability benefit claimants, this story shows.

Cambridgeshire Live has published the story of Katy (not her real name), who said the stress caused to her by the Department for Work and Pensions’s assessment for Personal Independence Payment drove her to attempt suicide.

It seems she was put through an assessment interview with an employee of private contractor Capita – and it followed a traumatic pattern that readers of This Site should by now understand well.

Initially offered as a face-to-face interview, the assessment was rescheduled to be on the phone because of the pandemic – and rescheduled three times at the last minute, ensuring that Katy’s mental health support worker could not participate, despite that having been agreed.

The call was pleasant enough but – long-term readers of This Site will know what’s coming – the report that came back was riddled with “gross inaccuracies”.

Denied the benefit, she was forced to file a complaint about the assessor and request a mandatory consideration to receive the funds she deserved.

As a result she was pushed into debt.

In addition – in lockdown and isolated – she had to handle the “incorrect documentation” of a psychiatric assessment.

These symptoms of incompetence by the authorities could not help but exacerbate her condition, which forced her to cope with he side effects of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including nightmares and flashbacks, and limiting her from carrying out daily tasks like washing or shopping.

It all became too much and she tried to take her own life. Fortunately – and all-too-unusually – the attempt failed.

Now – after Katy’s case was taken up by her MP, Disability Cambridgeshire and Cambridgeshire Live, and may therefore be considered to have become a public relations problem – the government has granted her the highest rate of PIP.

Funny how that happens when there’s a whiff of bad publicity, isn’t it?

Both the DWP and Capita have offered the usual arse-covering soundbites about using all the information available and changing the decision when new facts come forward.

But the fact is that a woman was driven to take her life because of the cruelty of a so-called benefit system that the Tories have perverted into a death-by-deprivation scheme.

This Writer has been campaigning against this deadly policy for years, and the fact that there is now uncontradictable proof that the DWP has been driving people to suicide is welcome.

But I fear I know what will come of it: Absolutely nothing.

Source: PIP payments: ‘The disability benefits assessment made me want to end my life’ – Cambridgeshire Live

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Was Universal Credit INTENDED to cause massive errors in payments? DWP accounts suggest so!

People die because of DWP mistakes: here’s Errol Graham, who starved to death because the department wrongly decided not to give him the benefit money he deserved. The organisation later – secretly – changed its rules in a bid to avoid humiliation in court.

Online journalist David Hencke is to be praised for digging these facts out of the black hole of Whitehall obscurity:

The Department for Work and Pensions has recorded its worst year of benefit payment failures, with Universal Credit the worst offender.

Mr Hencke reports that the department has been censured for material inaccuracy in its accounts for the 32nd year in a row – going back to the days of the old Department for Social Security.

Annual accounts released on June 30 show that “Excluding State Pension, the estimated rate of overpayments has increased again to 4.8 per cent (£4.5 billion) of estimated benefit expenditure, from a restated rate of 4.4 per cent (£3.8 billion).

“The estimated rate of underpayments, excluding State Pension, has decreased to 2.0% (£1.9 billion), from its estimated rate of 2.2% (£1.9 billion) in 2018-19. The rate of overpayments in 2019-20 is the highest estimate to date.”

Universal Credit is the worst offender – possibly because the scope for inaccurate reporting of income, and inaccurate provision of payments, is so large. It depends on claimants’ income, which varies from month to month.

The report says: “For Universal Credit, the estimated rate of overpayments increased from 8.7% to 9.4%. This is the highest recorded overpayment rate for any benefit other than Tax Credits (administered by HMRC), which peaked at 9.7% in 2003-04.”

“Underpayments rates have fallen for Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance and Pension Credit, and the estimated rate for Housing Benefit has increased. Personal Independence Payment has the highest rate of underpayments at 3.8% of expenditure in 2019-20. This rate has not changed from 2018-19.”

Take note of that: people with disabilities are habitually underpaid and the DWP has done nothing to stop this. No wonder so many of them die.

Mr Hencke’s report lists other omissions that are nothing less than disgraceful:

The Department has never checked whether payments are accurate for claimants on Disability Living Allowance for 16 years – last done in 2004-05.

More extraordinary the Department has never checked whether money paid out to 12 million pensioners is accurate or not since 2005 – that is 15 years ago.

Instead the department maintains there is no serious fraud or underpayments in pensions – calculating it as just £300 million out of an annual payment of £98.6 billion.

Given this year we had a case this year of a 94 year old pensioner being owed a staggering £117,000 because of 34 years of underpayments, I find this complacency mind blowing.

I also think the National Audit Office, as their auditors, is remiss in not asking for an update.

Next year’s estimate of benefit fraud and error is likely to even more out of kilter thanks to Covid 19 as the ministry have got rid of staff monitoring fraud to be able to pay out the 2.6 million claims for universal credit.

And although the department is said to be investigating 143,000 suspicious claims under Covid 19, it can’t follow them up because it can’t visit them at home.

So the prediction is that the situation will become even worse – and much worse – next year.

And you know that the people who will suffer the most will continue to be those in the most need.

The DWP’s permanent secretary is Peter Schofield, who most recently came into the news for quietly changing conditions for receiving benefits after one man starved to death.

Perhaps we need to remind him of his accountancy failures next time he tries to cover up his department’s – call them what they are – crimes in such a way.

Source: Revealed: 32 years of benefit payment failure by the Department of Work and Pensions | Westminster Confidential

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This grandmother DIED weighing just three stone because the Tories LIED about reviewing benefits for the terminally ill

Christine McCluskey: when she died, after your Tory government cut her benefits, she weighed just three stone.

Christine McCluskey did not have to die in the humiliating way your Conservative government demanded.

The 61-year-old grandmother had suffered long-term health problems most of her adult life including Crohn’s disease – which left her with a colostomy bag – osteoporosis, arthritis, a stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

This housebound lady had a feeding tube and a painful fistula that leaked through her abdominal wall, she was severely malnourished and was being investigated for a worrying cough at the time the Department for Work and Pensions assessed her for Personal Independence Payment.

The decision: her payments of £117.85 per week were removed and her mobility car was taken away from her.

Weeks later she was diagnosed with terminal cancer but her payments were not restored. She died four months after her benefits were stopped, weighing just three stone.

She was unable to receive fast-track access to PIP that is available for people with terminal illnesses who have less than six months to live, because she was unable to show when she was likely to die.

But doesn’t her case, along with those of Stephen Smith and Errol Graham, show that – deprived of benefits – people definitely will die within the six months stipulated?

The matter is even worse, though: The Tory government promised to review its six-month rule more than a year ago – and then forgot about it.

In the time since then, it is believed that more than 3,000 people have died in similar ways to Ms McCluskey while the Tories sat on their thumbs.

Earlier this month, motor neurone disease sufferer Lorraine Cox won a court case demanding a judicial review of the rules that demand only people with certain illnesses, who can prove they will die within six months, may claim PIP on the fast-track system.

So the Tories will have to go to court and defend their decision (albeit by omission) to cause these thousands of deaths.

Or will they just quietly announce a rule change between now and the hearing, as they have with the safeguarding rules that failed Errol Graham?

Whatever happens, it seems a rule change will happen. If so, This Writer hopes the families of the deceased – likely to number more than 20,000 over the last six years – demand compensation through the courts.

More than 300 are already doing this over a change in Universal Credit rules, after the system that deprived people of benefit because they were paid on different dates at the end of each month was condemned as “irrational” by the Court of Appeal.

Will the Tories care?

That is a good question, that cuts to the heart of Conservative policy on benefits.

It has been argued that the benefit system is heartless and kills people because the Tories want to save money and don’t care if people die as a result.

But their system of constant review and persecution is actually more expensive than simply paying the benefits – especially when one adds in the cost of appeals by all the claimants who have been denied benefits under false pretences, and now the cost of compensation claims.

Current Tory measures have done nothing to reduce benefit fraud, which remains a miniscule proportion of all claims.

So it seems we should ask the question nobody seems willing to ask:

Did the Tories impose these rules simply because they wanted to kill vulnerable people?

Source: Grandmother, 61, with terminal cancer died weighing three stone after DWP stopped her benefits

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Universal Credit claimants have been forced to wait 11 weeks for benefits

Hundreds of thousands of universal credit claimants have been forced to wait for around 11 weeks to receive their benefits, it has been revealed:

The National Audit Office (NAO) finds that although the government has significantly improved the proportion of claims paid on time – from 55 per cent to 90 per cent in the last three years – “unclear” communication from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has caused people with complex needs and circumstances to “slip through the net”

In 2019, new claimants who were paid late faced average delays of three weeks in addition to the five-week wait for a first universal credit payment. Around 6 per cent of households – amounting to 105,000 new claims – waited around 11 weeks or more, according to the report.

There have been 2.5 million new household claims for universal credit since mid-March, with one in five adults in Britain having applied or planned to apply for benefits as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The NAO carried out the research before the pandemic hit, but the watchdog said the issues raised were only going to become more important as the economic upheaval caused by the crisis continue.

And the Tories said they’ve been handling this so well!

For the record, 11 weeks is more than twice as long as claimants should expect to wait – and it is well-known that the five-week wait is considered to push people into poverty and debt.

How much worse have the Tories made it for all the claimants they’ve had since the Covid lockdown?

Source: Hundreds of thousands of universal credit claimants forced to wait 11 weeks for benefits, watchdog warns | The Independent

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Propaganda: DWP sweet-talks mainstream news media about low Universal Credit pay

This is a blatant bid to manipulate the media.

It’s also fixing the barn door after the horse has bolted. The DWP’s Universal Credit supremo, Neil Couling, already gave the game away to Disability News Service on April 16.

So we know that the Tory government has adopted a hard line with people claiming UC because they have lost their job or their income due to the coronavirus lockdown.

As This Site already reported, he told DNS firstly that there is no way he’s going to speed the automatic processing of UC claims and they’ll all have to wait five weeks from the moment they claim, before they get any cash.

The system is designed to bleed you dry, weeks before you get any payments. Then you have to beg for a loan, and then you spend months trying to pay off that loan, while the lowered payments you get because you took the loan mean you go further into debt.

In the Torygraph today, Mr Couling is quoted, warning new claimants to brace themselves for the fact that their payments won’t be as high as they expect.

Look at the state of this reporting:

Director General Neil Couling counselled a “little bit of caution” over Universal Credit sums, saying that people may be “confused” about what they are entitled to.

He said: “People will get their result and they’ll say, ‘Hang on, that’s not what I was expecting’.

“There will be a few confused people out there for the first couple of weeks because they have not had experience of how Universal Credit works before.”

There are fears that new claimants will take home substantially less than they had anticipated because they received a redundancy payment in the past month or declared earnings from self-employment.

What a way to describe the financial enslavement of 1.4 million people!

Meanwhile, I hope you noticed that the Conservative government’s ministers have refused to take a voluntary pay cut, in solidarity with the working people whose income has been decimated by the lockdown:

Matt Hancock today flatly dismissed the idea ministers should take a pay cut in solidarity with millions of workers facing coronavirus hardship.

So much for us being all in it together!

Source: Coronavirus benefit claimants could be ‘surprised’ by low payments, DWP warns

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Bank’s Universal Credit delay means dilemma for single mum

This is the problem with a benefit that puts people too close to starvation.

When a fault at Clydesdale Bank meant her £410 Universal Credit payment was delayed by up to a week, single mum Megan Devine, of Glasgow, was left with no money to feed herself and her baby daughter Mairead, or to heat their home.

Her family can’t help as they don’t have any money to spare either.

It’s the kind of cock-up that puts lives at risk – for no reason.

Some might question how an 18-year-old woman has managed to get into such a situation in the first place – but it is not our place to sit in judgement on others. We don’t know the circumstances.

All we know is that the Tory-run system has failed another person in need, and the consequences could be catastrophic.

Source: Single mum left with £0 to feed baby daughter after bank causes Universal Credit delay – Mirror Online

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Election 2019: Will YOU vote to support Tory policies of death by benefit denial?

Uncannily accurate: The Conservative government’s genuine policy towards PIP claimants may as well be as it appears in this cartoon from 2017.

 

It would be easy to forget – during the general election campaign – that Conservative government policies have contributed to the deaths of thousands of disabled people.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions, they died after the government rejected their claims for Personal Independence Payment – or before the government could be bothered to make a decision.

I refer to official figures released on February 1 this year.

They state that 7,990 claimants, who died within six months of their claim being registered, had had their claims rejected. Can anybody doubt that these decisions were wrong?

And 5,219 claimants died after registering but before the government made a decision on their claim.

Now, I’m not saying that all 13,119 of them would be still alive if their claims had not been handled under Conservative government rules.

But I’m absolutely sure the Tories did not treat them reasonably and many of them may still have been alive today, under a different system.

The newspapers – and This Site – have been full of stories demonstrating the ways in which the Tories have mistreated vulnerable people.

It is clear that anybody voting for the Conservatives supports the untimely deaths of people with disabilities.

But now the people have a chance to put and end to the cruelty.

All we have to do is vote for a Labour government.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Vox Political proved right about payments to the EU – £200m/week LESS than claimed

‘£350 million a week for the NHS’: it was a ‘Leave’ campaign lie, endorsed by Boris Johnson. In fact the UK has paid only £150m a week to the EU, on average. Is Mr Johnson using the rest to bribe us in the run-up to an expected general election?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed that UK payments to the European Union averaged around £150 million per week between 2014 and 2018 – but this shouldn’t be news to you.

Vox Political said we were paying more or less that much in June 2016 – a little more than a week before the referendum was held.

How did I know? That’s easy. I knew because I did my own research rather than taking the word of the selfish right-wingers running the “Leave” campaign.

Before anyone writes in to point out that I said spending was £161 million a week and that’s not the same as £150 million a week, please bear in mind that I quoted that figure three years ago and our payments have fallen since then. The £150 million figure is an average over a period of years.

Britain’s contribution to the EU budget was £150m a week, significantly lower than the £350m cited by pro-Brexit campaigners in the 2016 referendum campaign, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Figures published yesterday showed that the UK’s net outgoings to Brussels were as low as £7.8bn a year on average over the past five years, once the rebate and other payments were taken into account.

Previous estimates by statisticians suggested the figure was closer to £9.8bn a year between 2014 and 2018.

Vote Leave, the official pro-Brexit campaign group, claimed the UK’s contribution to the EU was “around £20bn”. The group covered a bus with a slogan stating the country sends £350m a week to Brussels, and called for the money to go to the NHS instead.

The logical question, following on from this information, is: what has happened to the extra £200 million a year that we haven’t been paying in to the EU?

In fact, as I pointed out in my 2016 article, once you factor in the UK’s profit, in revenues raised from EU migrants, this country was in profit by £120 billion per week.

Admittedly, this was also in 2016 and the figure may have fallen drastically after the referendum result made these shores unfriendly to visitors from the EU27.

There’s still a huge amount of moolah missing, it seems to me.

Is this how Boris Johnson has managed to afford the huge funding commitments with which he is trying to bribe the people?

If so, someone should point out that he and previous prime ministers could have used that money at any time between 2016 and now, shoring up our health service against (for example) winter crises that have killed tens of thousands per year, or preventing the deaths of more than 100,000 people by boosting the benefits system.

It would be the depth of immorality to try to buy our votes in this way.

Would you be happy to support Boris Johnson, knowing his offers are backed by blood money?

Source: Britain paid just £150m a week to Europe – lower than the £350m cited by pro-Brexit campaigners in 2016 | inews

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

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And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook