Archive for the ‘work capability assessment’ 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

 

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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

 

 

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…)

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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Work and Pensions Committee announces first evidence session for inquiry into ESA and WCA

3 April 2014

Work and Pensions Committee
Select Committee Press Notice

 

AN42 2013–14
3 April 2014

For immediate release

 

Work and Pensions Committee announces first evidence session for inquiry into ESA and WCA

The Work and Pensions Select Committee has today announced the first oral evidence session for its inquiry into Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments.

This session, with claimant and disability representative groups, will explore:

·         The effectiveness of the WCA in determining whether people are fit for work, including the findings of the Evidence Based Review and possible alternative assessment models

·         Key concerns about the delivery of the WCA by Atos, and how these issues may be resolved with the new provider

 

·         How eligibility for ESA is determined by the DWP decision maker

·         Outcomes for claimants following assessment

·         The process for appealing a decision and the available financial support during this period

·         The impact of time-limiting contributory ESA for those in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG)

·          The interaction between ESA and Universal Credit

 

The Committee issued terms of reference for this inquiry on 6 February 2014.

 

Details of the session are as follows

Time/date: Wednesday 9 April at 9.30 am

Location: Grimond Room, Portcullis House

Witnesses:

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

 

 

Details of further evidence sessions will be announced in due course.

 

–ENDS—

ESA and WCA – Work and Pensions committee

2 April 2014

Details of this enquiry were released Feb 2014. You can read about it here

With thanks to Grace Collins

With thanks to Grace Collins

The committee has now published submissions and they can be found here

CarerWatch, together with the team behind Pat’s Petition, sent a joint submission which can be read in full here

Our personal experience of ESA has not been a happy one. Members of our team have been involved in the anxiety of the original migration from IB to ESA. And now only a year or so later we, or the people we care for, are being recalled one by one for re-assessment. This looks as if it is going to be a regular, repeated feature of our lives at very short intervals even though we and the people we care for are all faced with diagnoses with conditions that will not get better. What is the point of this? It is causing gratuitous, unnecessary stress and is a waste of money. It feels like bullying and it adds to a climate of fear.

 

Employment Support Allowance is a disaster

4 December 2013

Yesterday members of CarerWatch and Pat’s Petition met with Kate Green, Shadow Spokesperson for Disabled People. From there they went to Lambeth Palace to meet with Archbishops advisers.

Proposed Reforms to ESA – Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch

For many chronically sick/ill and disabled people the barriers faced in the open job market are so significant that they do not have the opportunity to compete on equal terms. This is the elephant in the room.

elephant 1

The main Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Group – the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) – is based on the false premise that chronically sick/ill and disabled people can compete on equal terms. It makes no allowance for the barriers in the job market. Many can compete on equal terms. But many others have a lot to offer but can’t compete on equal terms.

It is unfair to place sanctions and time limits on disabled people in the WRAG until this problem is addressed and rectified.

ESA/WRAG is currently a disaster and we suggest the following reforms –

1. Find out how to make the labour market inclusive. Disabled people have a lot to contribute. Face up to the question of disabled people and open competition in a flexible labour market. Explore quotas, kite marks, subsidies, public pressure and any other option you can find.

2. Meanwhile place far more chronically sick/ill and disabled people in a safe, long term ESA group. The WRAG is not a safe group because of sanctions, time limits and means tests. The criteria to be placed in this safe group should be that you have an impairment which means you can’t compete in the labour market on equal terms. WCA isn’t designed to determine this. It doesn’t make allowances for the barriers in the labour market.

So scrap Work Capability Assessment

Some disabilities might involve a little more investigation, but with most the diagnosis should be a passport to a safe group.

3. Fraud has nothing to do with disability. Stop making the association.

4. Spend all the money on dedicated person centred support either to get paid employment that supports you financially or to live a happy, productive life doing voluntary work, permitted work, other activities – and don’t dismiss the second option.

This statement has received support from –

Pat Onions                               Pat’s Petition

Frances Kelly                            CarerWatch

Rosemary O’Neill                      CarerWatch

Rick Burgess                             Wow Petition

Jane  Benz                                 Wow Petition

Professor Nicholas Watson      Institute of Disability Studies, University of Glasgow

Sir Tom Shakespeare                University of East Anglia

Dr Simon Duffy                         Director Centre for Welfare Reform.

Paul Swann                               Disability Wales / Anabledd Cymru

Mo Stewart                               Disability Researcher

Gail Ward                                 Disability Campaigner

Catherine Hale                         South East London ME Support Group

Jim Elder-Woodward OBE      Chair of the UK Committee of the Campaign for a Fair Society

Jackie Maceira                         Scottish Disability Equality Forum

Michele Findlay                       Disability Campaigner

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WOW petition recently reached their target of 100,00 but there is another week to go. Time to still gather more support.

If you have not already signed, please do so and then share the link as wide as possible.

For further details see WoW website here

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