‘Capacity to work is not an abstract concept’

The comment below was sent to us by Grannie Bea relating to this post

The Country should be judged by the way it treats its vulnerable and right now, the only word to describe how England treats those who need protection and support is, appalling.

Those of us who have struggled to remain in work despite chronic illness now find ourselves in the DWP Spin Dryer treated with disrespect; regarded as cheats and lead swingers, accused of lying.

Soon I shall be three years and three months short of my official state retirement date: my GP – who tends not to be a liar despite the judgment of the DLA Tribunal, and other medicos recommend ill health retirement – now. I have been without any form of income for almost three months, exhausted what few pennies I had and have had to apply for benefit. I am allowed ESA but I have to undergo a medical examination to prove that I am burnt out. They will offer me training to get me back to work; they will offer me encouragement to think positively about how I can return to work. All of which is meaningless.

I have accrued 45 years worth of contributions to my state pension; I am entitled to the higher rate state pension because of those contributions. So I ask an economical question: would it be cheaper for the authorities to accept the advice of my medical advisors and allow me to officially retire at 60 and claim the state pension I have paid for; or, is it more cost effective for them to spend my money on contractors to examine me (this involves a round trip of 70 miles in my case), another contractor to assess my barriers to my return to work (a 20 mile round trip) and, to encourage me to return to reduced hours of work, offer me a shopping voucher to the value of £50.00 and then conveniently forget to send it to me?

Under the terms of the grant of ESA it is calculated that my living expenses are £2.11 per day. This would, if I had no sense of taste at all, probably buy me a tin of value baked beans, a loaf of bread and an oily spread made from whale fat posing as imitation butter but I would not be able to heat my cottage, run any electrical equipment, pay my mortage , pay my poll tax, my utility bills, my insurances etc etc etc etc etc. I live alone, not by choice, and I would have to have my animal companions put down; live in one room and choose each day whether to be warm or to be fed. I would like to see a cost benefit analysis of the administration of the ESA and have it cross-referenced against the cost of allowing those of us worn out by work to retire with dignity.

I am not a cheat: I am not a liar; I am not work shy. I have paid my dues, told the truth to the world, his wife and his dog, and worked for 45 years. Now I find I am valueless and the promises made to me under the guise of welfare were equally valueless. Successive governments have lied to me; stolen my savings and moved the goalposts  with regard to my state pension. Private pension companies in league with government, also lied to me.

I understand that presciptions for medication to manage depression have increased by 40% in the last four years. Society is surprised because…..? My generation has been robbed; fooled, and force fed false promises. Perhaps it would be cheaper for government to bury an entire generation and start over.

Ah well! Mustn’t grumble eh? No-one is listening anyway and we should always look on the bright side of life, eh Brian?

13 Responses to “‘Capacity to work is not an abstract concept’”

  1. Pete Riches Says:

    Hi – I just tried sharing this on Facebook to discover they have banned this page because as far as they are concerned it is “Abusive or Spammy”. I just sent them this:

    There is no abuse and absolutely no spam in this blog post. I suspect it has been cynically reported as abusive/spammy by an agent of the State whose job it is to disrupt Disability Rights campaigners. Unblock this post please. I will be notifying Disability Rights organisations that Facebook is blocking certain bloggers’ posts. This is an indecent, dishonest tactic by anti-disability ghouls. Read it yourself and you will see there is not a single syllable of abuse. What it does is criticise the huge amount spent by a French IT company paid by the government to force the severely disabled – and also people with terminal illnesses who have died shortly after being thrown off benefit support by the government’s agents – off benefits – a tactic which has already led to homelessness, poverty, despair and several suicides.

  2. Alan Wheatley, Green Party member Says:

    Thank you for this post, Grannnie Bea.

    Your opening was basically the Mahatma Gandhi line that a BBC2 tv ‘Working Lunch’ interview with me closed on in September 2000. An array of jobseekers had written/e-mailed the programme after Barbara Roache had announced to Labour Party Annual Conference that the UK would start issuing ‘green card’ immigration status to people with special skills from abroad.

    Those of us who wrote in argued basically that home-grown trainees on JobCentre Plus-funded training programmes were ill-served. That was after my mum’s purchase of a home PC for me as a then 44 year old mature graduate had given this learning disabled person more of a ‘hand up’ than progressively short-termist govt-funded training periods since 1978 had ever done. I had graduated as a mature BA in 1997, and progressed my computing skills and underpinning knowledge to the point that I passed an entry course for a Web Development course in June 2000. But asking the right questions helped me avoid the disaster of enrolling on yet another training period that would lead me to yet more failure.

    The questions I asked were about guarantee of a work placement [there was no such guarantee, it was more or less all up to me], and ‘How come the course is so short [six weeks] for such a vast amount of curriculum. The answer to the latter question was that the course had been dougle that length until the government had told the training provider to halve the length of the training period so as to double the throughput from the dole queue. The Government had awarded that training provider ‘Positive About Disabled People’ status, but what essentially did that mean?

    Later, in 2008 at New Deal Intensive Activities Programme run by A4e Holloway, we were told to send the same CV for every job application and, “The more jobs you apply for, the better your chances. Ten job applications per day is good.” I think it would be more realistic for me to submit the same numbers to Lotto for each and every draw, after having achieved just 17 months total waged employment since November 1977.

    It is clear to me that the devisers of the WRAG/Support Group division and serial retesting think so positively about sick and disabled benefit claimants that they want the claimants rights to go the same way as overloaded recruiters would direct a CV not customised for the post on offer.

    My A4e experience had me determined that I would rather die than ever return to such a scheme; and tired of the more demeaning ‘earnings disregard’ for JSA claimants than for IB or ESA, I sought and obtained help to claim for ESA and DLA. My first WCA in June 2010 resulted in 0 points eligibility score that was overturned by the tribunal panel in December 2010 to 21 points and even put me into the Support Group on account of difficulties communicating what I want, and my second WCA has resulted in no change.

    But I would argue that the biggest communication difficulty results from the complete and utter delusions of those who have instituted the Welfare Reform Act 2009 and want even harsher treatment to come for those of us who do not ‘make the [very arbitrary] grade. Roland Barthes argued that the middle classes mythologise their own existence so as to justify their privilege. I believe such an analysis should apply even more so to those who use their intelligence to manipulate and destroy others in the ways that neoliberal conversion of the welfare state into a welfare state for the wealty does.

  3. Pete Riches Says:

    Hi Rosemary – I just tried it again and the pop-up which appears every time says this:

    “Message Failed

    This message contains blocked content that has previously been flagged as abusive or spammy. Let us know if you think this is an error”

    I’ve tried in three different browsers.


    • carerwatch Says:

      Try adding me using one of the 3 links I sent you for Facebook. Might let you ‘share’ it that way.

      No idea why you are having these problems.

    • carerwatch Says:


      I tried again clicking direct from the blog and get same message as yourself. However, if you add the link direct to FB it works.

      I will look into this problem. Thanks for making us aware.

  4. Pete Riches Says:

    I’m glad it wasn’t just me going mad! I’ll put the link in directly as you suggest.


  5. Pete Riches Says:

    Call me Paranoid, but you should be aware that there are a large number of companies who are constantly trawling social media sites and blogs disrupting the information and opinion flow by causing mischief. The Americans have literally militarised this tactic, as have several other countries. It’s very easy to reduce access to someone’s blog by simply making a false allegation.

    I wouldn’t put it past comanies like ATOS (who are, of course, an IT company) to be quietly sneaking around disrupting activists in subtle ways. Anything to stop the coming deluge of criticism!

    • carerwatch Says:

      Oh if only we were that important *smiles*. Our members are family carers/former carers, people with disabilities/ilnesses. If we, along with others, cannot make a stand for those that are unable to, what does that say about ourselves.

      So many people are unaware of what lies ahead. They believe the ‘scrounger’ ‘workshy’ stories, yet if time ever comes and they need support from the govt, God help them.

  6. ians12 Says:

    Its a fact that once you reach 50 you are less likely to be employed even without sickness and disability going against you. The “help” that ESA brings is therefore irrelevant if you are in that age group, it makes no difference and it can be shown to be so. ESA “help” is a sham therefore.

  7. Kate Says:

    I’m unable to share it on Facebook either – disgusted

  8. John Hargrave Says:

    It appears ‘Big Brother’ is watching everything we write and everything we do. So much for a ‘Free Country’ with free speech! We are being sanctioned at every level in the penny pinching world we now live. Even the government vilifies us, especially in the gutter press that utter such garbage that the public now believes what they say. Whether we like it or not we are now scroungers and whingers and woe betide anyone who dares to become ‘disabled’. There appears to be no political will that fights for our corner, so how soon will it be before we are labelled ‘useless eaters’ and treated accordingly? This is a form of disability ‘Hate’ crime., is it not?
    Keep the faith brothers and sisters, the tide will have to turn sometime, but only if we stand up and fight together we must win.. Don’t let the buggers get you down!

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