Tag Archives: Personal Independence Payment

Did 3,000 people HAVE to die penniless while the Tories fought court case over PIP for the terminally-ill?

Lorraine Cox: she has motor neurone disease, but was denied PIP because she could say she would die within six months. It seems 3,000 others who also couldn’t predict their own deaths have died without receiving PIP in the last year.

It is one year since the Tories pledged to review their rules on which terminally-ill people could claim Personal Independence Payment – and it seems more than 3,000 would-be PIP claimants had to die before they were forced to do it by a court ruling.

They died without receiving PIP, because they could not predict when they were likely to die.

This Site celebrated like many others when Lorraine Cox won her case demanding a judicial review of the rules that said only people with particular terminal illness could claim PIP – and only if they knew they would die within six months.

Now we discover that – if recent trends have continued – then 3,000 people died between the Tories pledging a review that seems not to have happened and the Tory defeat in the Cox case.

I asked what happened to those people while Ms Cox was fighting her case in court.

Well, now we know.

According to The Mirror:

DWP figures show 17,070 people died waiting for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decision in five previous years.

If that pattern repeated, more than 3,000 will have died in similar cases since the review launched last summer.

Charities have demanded change.

The Tories are saying the Covid-19 crisis delayed their review.

Source: DWP: 3,000 people ‘die waiting’ for terminally ill benefit reforms one year on – Mirror Online

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Terminally-ill woman wins discrimination court case against DWP. What about those like her who have already died?

Lorraine Cox.

This is a genuine landmark judgement against the Department for Work and Pensions, and a boost for anyone with a terminal illness who cannot predict when the end will come.

It is also a blow against the tastelessness with which the Tory-run government department carries out its affairs, without the slightest pang of sensitivity about demanding that someone identifies the moment of their own death.

(For a similarly tone-deaf attitude, consider the rule that says single mothers must provide details of their rape before receiving child benefit for a third child.)

But what struck This Writer most about the story was the number of people who were shocked to read it, after I published my piece about it last week.

Lorraine Cox is only the latest in a long line of people with terminal illnesses to have suffered prejudice from the DWP, yet it seems many readers were learning about it for the first time.

The ruling that people with terminal illnesses can only receive PIP if they are likely to die within six months has been in place for years – as has the list of such illnesses on which the DWP relies.

The government has used it to discriminate against thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people before Ms Cox won her case.

What about them? What about their family and/or carers if they have passed on.

Are they due for compensation after the DWP ignored their pleas for support in their/their relatives’/friends’ twilight days?

Will they be permitted to demand recompense and restitution from the Tory-run DWP? Or will they be ignored?

I hope these are all matters the judicial review will consider.

A woman who has motor neurone disease was unjustifiably denied fast-tracked disability benefits because it was not clear how long she would survive, the High Court has ruled.

In a landmark verdict, the judge ruled Lorraine Cox, 40, suffered a breach of her human rights.

While other people with life-limiting conditions had the immediate right to enhanced payments, she was refused.

This was “manifestly without reasonable justification”, said the judge.

In court on Wednesday, Mr Justice McAlinden ruled the difference in treatment for terminally-ill claimants who cannot reasonably meet the six-month life expectancy rule was discriminatory.

He granted her leave for a judicial review.

Source: Motor neurone disease: Six-month death rule ‘discriminatory’ – BBC News

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Terminally ill woman forced to fight for benefits as it’s uncertain if she’ll die in six months

Lorraine Cox.

A woman from Derrylin, in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, has challenged the legal definition of a terminal illness after she was refused access to benefits due to uncertainty over her lifespan.

Lorraine Cox has Motor Neurone Disease.

Lorraine was required to still look for work months after she medically retired because of her condition.

The 40-year-old then underwent a medical assessment for both ‘Universal Credit’ and ‘Personal Independence Payment’ (PIP) due to a rule which states that those who qualify for payment are expected to die within a period of six months.

Law Centre NI legal officer, John McCloskey, who is assisting Lorraine in her application explained; “The inclusion of the six month criterion in the legal definition of a terminal illness has been described as cruel.”

It is restricting access to support for people at a very difficult time. “The six month rule was introduced over 30 years ago and was intended to assist people in accessing special terminal illness rules, not restrict them. It is now hurting terminally ill people who have an illness that’s more difficult to accurately predict.

“The Westminster all-party parliamentary group for terminal illness described the six month criterion as ‘unfit for purpose’ and called on the UK government to amend the legal definition of a terminal illness.

“Walter Rader, in his independent review of PIP in Northern Ireland, recommended that the clinical judgement of a medical practitioner should be sufficient to allow special rules to apply. We are now testing whether the application of the six month criterion is in fact lawful.”

Source: Terminally ill woman ‘forced to fight for her benefits’ – The Fermanagh Herald

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Coronavirus: Government’s failure to offer video PIP appeals ‘is discrimination’ – Disability News Service

Discrimination is the right word for this.

Other people get the full remote service including video hearings.

But not people with disabilities.

There’s no good reason for the refusal to accommodate them.

So it has to be discrimination. And it’s no surprise, given the Conservative government’s legendary hatred of people with disabilities.

The government’s continuing failure to allow benefit appeals to be heard via video conferencing is discriminating against disabled claimants, say welfare rights experts.

Many disabled people are being forced to ask for their tribunals to be postponed, because they are only being offered a telephone hearing, says one disabled people’s organisation.

The tribunal system is not currently running face-to-face hearings because of the pandemic crisis, with judges instead deciding cases on documents alone or by holding a telephone hearing.

Disability Cambridgeshire says that telephone hearings – which involve a judge and two experts speaking on the phone to the disabled person making the appeal – can cause huge difficulty for the claimant.

It has had to seek adjournments for all but one of the personal independence payment (PIP) appeals it has been helping with since the coronavirus lockdown in March, because its advisers were not confident their disabled clients would be dealt with fairly if they had a telephone hearing.

The adjournment delay means they will be forced to cope without the benefits they are entitled to for many more months.

Video hearings, for example using the Zoom platform, are likely to be more accessible for many disabled people, including those with hearing impairments, learning difficulties or difficulties with concentration.

Source: Coronavirus: Government’s failure to offer video PIP appeals ‘is discrimination’ – Disability News Service

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

Iain Duncan Smith: apparently he isn’t demonstrating what he’d like to do to the throats of disabled people, although that isn’t clear from his record.

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 perverted the appeal system into a labyrinthine, Kafka-esque nightmare designed to drive people to despair or starvation before ever seeing a penny.

Now, the right-wing think tank that this vile creature founded – and still chairs – is trying to interfere in the lives of vulnerable people once again.

The shockingly-misnamed Centre for Social Justice has launched what it calls a “Disability Commission” which it hopes will influence the Johnson government’s strategy for dealing with disabled people.

According to Disability News Service:

The commission appears set to focus on the role of business, employment and the free market, with CSJ calling on the government to use the disability strategy to “prove that only a market economy delivers sustainable social justice in a way that enables everyone to realise their potential”.

So it seems the plan is to throw people with disabilities into a free-market nightmare in which any skills they have will be ruthlessly exploited to make cash for the already extremely wealthy, while paying them as little as possible.

(Remember when Lord Freud suggested paying them as little as £2 per hour because they were “not worth the minimum wage”? That is what Tories think of the talents of people with disabilities.)

There appear to be a few names on this “commission” who have spoken out against Tory “reforms” in the past, but these seem to be token placements, intended to lend credibility to the project.

This can only be bad news for people on Personal Independence Payment, Universal Credit and/or Employment and Support Allowance.

Source: Thinktank responsible for universal credit launches ‘Disability Commission’ – Disability News Service

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

Universal Basic Income: the Spaniards are getting it (in Euros, obviously) – why can’t people in the UK have it?

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 we reached a point where Spain supports its people better than the UK, just remember we’ve had more than 40 years of right-wing governments and they have laid us low.

Spain’s cabinet has approved the creation of a national minimum income, according to a government spokesperson.

Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told a news conference on Friday the creation of a minimum income worth €462 (£416.92) a month will target some 850,000 households or 2.5 million people.

The government would pay the monthly stipend and top up existing revenue for people earning less so that they receive at least that minimum amount every month, he said.

Source: Spain approves national minimum income scheme | The Independent

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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 to the welfare system are historically associated with major crises and events such as wars, civil unrest, famines or epidemics. There is no reason that it will this time be any different, says a new paper from Dr Stephen Davies, Head of Education at the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Redefining the State of Welfare argues it is very probable that Coronavirus will bring to a head discontent with the existing system that has been growing for some time and will lay bare its weaknesses, particularly that of its central element: Universal Credit.

Source: ‘Very unlikely’ Universal Credit will survive the Covid-19 pandemic – Welfare Weekly

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Coronavirus: Tories endanger disabled people with homicidal choice between a rock and a hard place

What charmers these Tories are! They’re telling UK-based people with disabilities they have a choice between starving while waiting for their benefit claim to be honoured, and dying of Covid-19 because the Tory government is sending them back to work too soon:

Disabled people and their carers are being put at risk of catching coronavirus by returning to the workplace after being missed off the government’s vulnerable list, the Guardian has learned.

As Britain edges back to work, employers are understood to be denying some disabled people and carers paid leave to remain at home if they cannot provide a letter from the government showing proof of vulnerability, despite being at high risk from coronavirus or caring for someone who is.

The government’s register for extremely vulnerable people, which has previously been criticised for excluding a number of high-risk disabilities, is primarily designed to help signpost the need for food support. But it has emerged some employers are using the list as a condition for allowing employees to take paid leave.

Disabled people and carers who were not on the list told the Guardian they had been required to go into work by their employer or face dismissal when they could not show proof of vulnerability, with one worker forced to self-isolate between shifts in order to protect their disabled child.

This is just plain homicidal, from a government that has been caught victimising people with disabilities – to death – many times in the past.

It’s no excuse to say that nobody asked employers to use this flawed register; it was the government’s responsibility to get it right.

But – as with so much of the Tory response to Covid-19 – the effort made was lacklustre, slipshod, and discriminatory.

Intentionally?

Source: Disabled people in UK threatened with sack unless they go back to work | Society | The Guardian

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PIP claim rejected due to ‘good eye contact’ – in a TELEPHONE assessment

As seen on Twitter: considering the thread quoted below, assessors caught doing this would probably protest that they were giving her a wash.

I found this on Twitter and had to share it.

Apparently people working on Personal Independence Payment assessments for a private company hired by the Tory government have developed the ability to see people at the other end of telephone lines.

Otherwise, how could this have happened?

Evander v – who identifies as “SLE(lupus), hEDS, Sjögren’s, suprapubic catheter, wheelchair user, depression, hypomania, self-harm, autistic” – continued with an excellent thread on the state of PIP assessments under the Conservatives, which I’ll reproduce here for you:

The thread has struck a chord with fellow Twitter users, leading to a large number of replies – because it is accurate.

Too many people have suffered as a result of fabricated, false PIP assessments, written by cynics who know that the appeal process is Kafka-esque; once you start it, you’ll be lucky ever to reach a satisfactory end.

The assessment process used to disregard mental illness completely, despite the fact that this was supposed to be one of the qualifications for receiving the benefit. The same process has always been considered to worsen such maladies.

PIP is, indeed, a benefit that – on the face of it – is intended to help working disabled people with their daily lives as much as those who can’t manage a job. But any actual independence appears to be penalised in the assessment.

And the last comment is brutally accurate. The system is, indeed, working exactly as intended by the Conservatives; it’s kicking people off of benefit, even though they need it more than ever.

You may have thought this problem had gone away in these “all in it together” days of the Covid-19 lockdown. Not a bit of it.

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Disabled benefit claimants are sidelined* again as DWP assessors diverted to Universal Credit

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.

Source: Coronavirus: Hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants facing delays as DWP staff diverted due to pandemic | The Independent

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