The Welfare Reforms

The Welfare Reforms were brought in in the last two years of the Labour Govenrment with the full co operation of the Tories. They go far wider than sickness and cover all claimants. The idea is that every one on welfare must go back to work.

So now almost no one is considered too ill to work. This has been phrased as – however ill you are you will be happier working so we are going to help you back to work. Almost the only people exempted are those with less than six months to live.

People believe that lots of people are fraudulently claiming to be ill and now the election is over the process will start of calling them in and reassessing them (not by doctors but by officials). Of the two million currently sick – half will be declared well and their sickness benefit will be stopped and replaced with unemployment benefit which is time limited and going to be very forcefully pressurised in to taking any job offered.

But for the more seriously ill they will get an ESA benefit which is conditional on retraining, dealing with your illness more positively and you will be expected to find work. While it is a wonderful aspiration and a great offer to help people with serious and enduring illness like schizophrenia to find work – the fact that it is not an open offer but accompanied with threats and sanctions and loss of benefit is a nightmare for very ill people and the tragic cases being highlighted by the Citizens Advice Bureau show the anxiety and distress this is causing to the really ill.

It’s impossible to campaign to get our new system for the very sick stopped because it is so unbelievably cruel to very sick people that neither the Tories nor Labour spelled the new system out as it was being legislated (they must have been too ashamed) and no one here has any idea how cruel it is.

All the publicity is on the malingering welfare scroungers and the really ill claimants have been swept up in this and are being terrified.

As an example think of someone with schizophrenia. They will be expected to find work or lose their benefit. For people who may have been sectioned, homeless, destitute previously in the acute stage of their illness and are now managing to stay stable and living quietly on medication – these threats bring up terrible memories and are more than cruel.

3 Responses to “The Welfare Reforms”

  1. Pip Says:

    This is very true. The Welfare Reform Act 2009 is a vile piece of legislation, reinforced and surpassed by the coalition government. It is a conscious attack at the very heart of the welfare state and any co-operative values still remaining in our society. The purpose is not to do any good for the majority but to make the rich richer – if that means bullying sick people into work, that’s what they’ll do. At the same time some very dodgy companies are making millions out of the misfortune of the sick & the unemployed.

    However I must say that to refer to “malingering welfare scroungers” and distinguish them from “really ill claimants” is to use the very language of the destroyers of welfare. It’s divisive and one of the reasons people are so easily convinced that benefits should be cut!

    • carerwatch Says:

      I agree it’s divisive and I feel bad about it but it but we are carers for some very sick people and we have to put them first. What do you want CarerWatch to do? We didn’t invent this script or the language. IDS following the Labour Party and the popular press are convinced that half the people on Incapacity Benefit soon to be ESA are not really ill and could easily work. They plan to move one million people off sick benefit on to JSA on the grounds they are able to work. This is a fact and what is going to happen.

      In defence of this IDS quotes some information from the last Thatcher government when unemployment was approaching three million – that people were deliberately put on IB to brign the unemployment figures down. This is actually true. They were mainly miners over 50 who would have been given lighter work at the mines until retirement and were stuck in pit villages where the mines had closed.

      We didn’t invent this idea of malingerers. This problem of the supposed malingerers is all over the press. It has to be countered and argued against. Ignorign their accusations isn’t going to work. No one is suggesting that any real malingerers should be able to carry on claiming fraudlently. The question is – are there any and how do you tell and how can you detect them without stressing all the genuine claimants. They have developed an absurd test that is absolutely meaningless. Rubbish in to computer/ rubbish out of computer. It just throws every one off.
      This needs to be fought.

      Then the next question is for those still allowed to claim ESA – is it possible with support and equality legislation and all the other new help – that some people can be helped back to work despite beign ill. I don’t know. So far I have seen a lot of private contractors on targets with no new ideas except sanctions and threats.

      This all has to be thrashed out because the government and the popular press are determined to do this. There is no way out of this. It is going to be very messy and could turn very nasty. We might as well face up to their accusations and counter them with real facts. I don’t think ‘don’t mention malingerers’ is going to help here. Let’s prove there aren’t many and if they are find a humane way of detecting them that doesn’t scare the life out of all tthe other genuine claimants.

      But CarerWatch are mainly concerned with people who are seriously and enduringly ill to the point of needing family carers. In particular we are concerned about people with severe mental illness such as schizophrenia and bi polar who really can’t be caught up in this fight as collateral damage. They are too vulnerable to anxiety and stress and including them in this purge is cruel and inhumane.

      We would like to fight for every one but we can’t and we have to protect the seriously and enduringly ill first.

      As a first move – it’s a fact that there are no well people misdiagnosed by the NHS and given serious diagnoses. It just doesn’t happen. A serious diagnosis is given as a last resort are exhaustive tests. And we want these very vulnerable people taken out and protected while the rest of this very messy and probably pointless purge takes place.

  2. Mike Says:

    I am sick and worried at the scathing attacks on the sick in society. I have a condition which is not only baffling to myself, but also the doctors.
    I have terrible spasms in my neck and continuous neck pain.

    I have been like this now for three years and am now so depressed about my state that I am sick of life. I am beginning to make plans for my end as I can see no way out of my situation. I have tried different trying to do work as a test and the little that I can manage leaves me absolutely drained. I have done these tests under my own steam as how could I know what I can and cannot do without trying!

    Not good enough for the dwp. I should ask permission first!

    I will be leaving this sick society soon but I leave my whole hearted support to people whom are ill and their carers alike.

    Future, well I have none. I am trying to work something out for my wife but don’t know the way forward. I feel so bad for her, she does see my physical pain, but I keep my depressing pain from everyone, even my family doctor as my wife accompanies me each time I go – and I don’ want to be given Prozac etc on top of all my other meds.

    No way out I’m afraid for me.

    Wishing everyone here as good a future as possible under these very trying times.

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