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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.”
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.
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.