Archive for the ‘employment support allowance’ Category

Sad news from DPAC

10 November 2016

It is with great sadness that we have to tell you one of our co-founders, Debbie Jolly has died following a short hospital stay. As disabled people everywhere we’ve lost a friend and advocate and a fighter for our movement.

Debbie has played a hugely influential part in the development of DPAC since 2010 and she and I have worked together virtually every day since dealing with the day-to-day things that needed to be done to make DPAC the successful campaign group we have become.

Read in full here

CarerWatch would like to extend our deepest sympathies to those that knew Debbie, both personally and through her campaigning work. RIP

 

Reverse the Employment Support Allowance disability benefit cut

13 March 2016

ScissorsPLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION, THEN SHARE AS WIDE AS POSSIBLE

The House of Lords has been unable to stop a planned £30-a-week cut to disability benefits forced through by Government MPs. This will cripple those in receipt of these benefits, leaving many in literal poverty.

The government must reverse this decision. Lives are at risk.

Sign this petition HERE

 

 

Daily Politics – Welfare Debate Tues 5th May

20 April 2015

welfare debate

 

Tuesday May 5th Daily Politics debate

BBC2    2pm

BBC News  8.30pm

Presenters  Andrew Neil and Alison Holt

Participants

Iain Duncan Smith  Conservative

Rachel Reeves            Labour

Steve Webb                  LibDems

Suzanne Evans           UKIP

Jonathan Bartley       Green Party

 

 

Opposition Day Debate and disabled people

29 October 2014
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Parliament

There was an Opposition Debate yesterday in the House of Commons – called by Labour on a motion to condemn the recent statement by Lord Freud about disabled people possibly working for less than the minimum wage. Lord Freud has since apologised and the motion was lost.

However for those of us who have been watching the debates on Welfare Reform since 2007 – it was chance to see how far in some ways we have come and how far in others  we haven’t moved forward at all.

For the first few years of welfare reform no one had a clue what it would be like in reality. All we had was Freud and James Purnell talking pure theory.

That has certainly changed. All MP’s now have a deluge of disabled constituents coming in to their surgeries, and they have found out what it is about. So the debate is finally informed amongst MPs. Yet still they do nothing.

Fundamentally the big problem with Employment Support Allowance remains. Both Tory and Labour parties have not (more…)

Employment Support allowance ‘easier to claim’ – joke

10 September 2014

CarerWatch and Pat’s Petition welcome the discussion on 5th September 2014 comparing the ease of access to ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) with access to the old IB (Incapacity Benefit).

ESA logo

However it is important to compare like with like. The new ESA is not equivalent to the old IB and they should not be compared directly. We would suggest that the new ESA Support Group alone should be considered as equivalent to the award of long term IB. If you compare these figures you will find that it is much harder to get in to the Support Group than it was to claim IB.

The ESA WRAG (Work Related Activity Group) is a temporary, time limited benefit, suitable for people with short term injuries or illnesses, who will get better and return to work within a year. It only lasts twelve months. It is the equivalent of the old short term IB.

We would also note other distortions to the figures including the time taken to process the initial application. If there is a short time to process, then all the short term injuries need to be counted, whereas with a longer processing period, these short term disabilities are gone before they are included.

We have pressed for a cumulative impact assessment of these changes and slowly we are seeing acknowledgement that this must be done . We cannot wait much longer.

We have always said that changes should not be brought in until the full effects are understood: they wouldn’t do this in any new transport system or construction plan so why are they allowed to experiment in this way on disabled people? .

There are many other issues involved in the comparisons – this needs serious analysis from professional and independent statisticians such as those at Sheffield Hallam University. This would all be part of a thorough cumulative impact assessment and we urge the government to ensure this is completed as a matter of urgency.

Frances Kelly

Pat Onions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments – Work and Pensions Committee Report

23 July 2014
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This is what multi party Select Committees were invented for. As a safety measure for situations exactly like this – when the main political parties cause a disaster and then gang up and turn their faces to the wall and refuse to see the enormous harm their misguided policies are causing.
Work and Pensions Select Committee
 
This report has been written by MPs who actually understand what is happening to sick and disabled people on the ground.
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Work and Pensions Committee
Select Committee Press Notice

AN06 2014-15
22 July 2014

Under embargo until 00.01am on Wednesday 23 July 2014

Report: Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessmentsread report here

List of conclusions and recommendations here  

Employment and Support Allowance is not achieving its aims and needs fundamental
redesign, say MPs

The flaws in the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) system are so grave that simply “rebranding” the assessment used to determine eligibility for ESA (the Work Capability Assessment (WCA)) by appointing a new contractor will not solve the problems, says the Work and Pensions Committee in a report published today.

The Committee calls on the Government to undertake a fundamental redesign of the ESA end-to-end process to ensure that the main purpose of the benefit – helping claimants with health conditions and disabilities to move into employment where this is possible for them – is achieved. This will take some time, but the redesign should be completed before the new multi-provider contract is tendered, which is expected to be in 2018.

In the meantime, the Committee recommends a number of changes which should be made now, to help ensure that claimants receive an improved service, and that the outcomes for claimants are more appropriate.

Dame Anne Begg MP, Committee Chair, said:

(more…)

The truth about Employment Support Allowance

25 June 2014

 

Congratulations to Dame Anne Begg who has finally spoken the truth about the Employment Support Allowance  “work related activity” group (WRAG).

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Dame Anne Begg, chair of the work and pensions select committee,  said last Friday that large groups of people appear to have been “parked” on the benefit in the “work-related activity” group, which covers all those found neither to be fully fit for work nor so disabled that they cannot be expected to look for employment.

Disability activists across the country will be as delighted as Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch that politicians are finally admitting to the false premise on which Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) was based.

ESA is a failed experiment conducted live on sick and disabled people.

Sick and disabled people who are assigned to the WRAG are found not fully fit for work. Almost none of them are finding work. Yet the government is sanctioning and stopping their benefits; telling them they are ‘expected’ to find work. This is cruel, it defies logic and is causing tremendous anxiety for claimants. They are being threatened and required to do things that they are not able to do because of their physical or mental condition.

ESA was designed using flawed premises and has failed. It needs to be completely rethought.

Meanwhile Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch call upon this government and the next to take responsibility for this disastrous mistake. We call upon them to introduce the following immediate reforms to prevent disabled people having to live this nightmare existence while the politicians responsible sort it out.

. Reduce the level of sanctions
 
· Take off the time limits
 
. Raise the income levels for means testing

· Stop the WCA re-testing for long term and progressive conditions.
 
·Take the Bedroom tax off disabled people

. Expand the Supported Permitted Work scheme

These changes will make the WRAG safer and reduce the costly appeals against WRAG allocation.

Making these simple changes will make the WRAG safer and give disabled people some space to feel safe away from anxiety, while everyone works together to look for the long term answers.

 

News articles below –

Work Programme ‘failing those most in need and should be broken up’

DWP denies risk of rising disability benefits breaching welfare spending cap

Submission from Independent Taskforce on Poverty and Disability

28 April 2014

CarerWatch and Pat’s Petition welcome the Task Force Report (download document here). We fully endorse all the positive suggestions for enabling disabled people to get ready for and join the work force. It is to be celebrated that so many barriers to employment for disabled people can now be managed and overcome.

However the report is in danger of forgetting that in some cases Impairment does still Impair.  And that this has to be negotiated with employers who will face extra costs.   Supporting disabled people is only one half of the equation. Getting a job is a contract between two sides. Disabled people are one half of the contract and employers are the other half. The contract is negotiated through the mechanism of a competitive labour market which doesn’t favour impairment.   It isn’t sufficient to just be concerned with the disabled person. Government has to think about employers and examine how they relate to disabled people. (more…)

We still need discuss the Elephant in the room

10 April 2014

 

Fit for work – but not fit to get a job

These last few weeks we have all been inundated with articles re Employment Support Allowance, Work Capability Assessments. From Atos announcing they were walking away from their contract, to a Work and Pensions committee evidence session held Weds 9th April. Available to watch here .

No one thinks that changing the provider will solve the problem

Mirror article here

Huffington Post here

So what is the real problem?

ATOS were asked to test disabled people and find out if they were fit for work.

Sadly being able to do some work is not the same thing as being able to get a job.

 

The real world out there is a competitive labour market. Employers hire the candidate who convinces them that they will be the most productive and stand up to the most pressure. The candidate who is the fittest, gets the job. That’s the real world of getting a job.

 

With thanks to Grace Collins

With thanks to Grace Collins

 

But what should an employer do when they are asked to take on a disabled person whose impairments will bring extra costs to the employer? No-one even asks the question. It’s the elephant in the room that no-one talks about. They’ll talk about reasonable adjustments and enabling people to overcome the barriers to being productive, but can that work for everyone?

 

Until we start asking these questions, we won’t find the solution. Governments intervene in markets all the time to promote equality: but apparently not for disabled people.

 

So let’s move the focus away from disabled people.

Stop blaming them and putting all the pressure on them to be fit for work when we know they need to be fit to get a job.

Let’s move the spotlight on to employers and the labour market out there in the real world. And look for solutions there.

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Upcoming business – Fraud and Employment Support Allowance

6 April 2014

 

Grimond Room
Meeting starts on Monday 7 April at 4.30pm   watch live here

Fraud and error in the benefits system
Witnesses

  1. Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, and Mike Driver, Finance Director General, Department for Work and Pensions, Mr David Gauke MP, Exchequer Secretary, HM Treasury, and Nick Lodge, Director General, Benefits and Credits, HM Revenue and Customs

 

Also

Grimond Room
Meeting starts on Wednesday 9 April at 9.45am

Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments  watch live here
Witnesses

  1. Rachael Holmes, Head of Policy Research, Families, Welfare and Work, Citizens Advice, Tom Pollard, Social Policy and Campaigns Officer, Mind, Donna O’Brien, Social Policy and Campaigns Advisor, Parkinson’s UK, Anna Bird, Head of Public Policy and Research, Scope, and Joanna Kennedy, Chief Executive, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust

 

 

 

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