ESA story so far

CARERWATCH ARE FIGHTING TO RESTORE UNCONDITIONAL BENEFITS TO ALL PEOPLE WITH SEVERE AND ENDURING ILLNESS – SOME WITH ONLY MONTHS TO LIVE. IN PARTICULAR CARERWATCH WANT THE THREAT OF SANCTIONS AND CONDITIONALITY under ESA REMOVED FROM PEOPLE WITH SEVERE AND ENDURING MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. THIS CAN BE ACHIEVED SIMPLY BY PLACING THEM IN THE SUPPORT GROUP.

CarerWatch current campaign

previous campaigning on CarerWatch

ESA – the story so far

Over the last few years the Labour government supported by the Conservatives have been introducing Welfare Reform Bills. They are now all passed and ready to roll out. The idea is to help every one off benefits and in to work.

Carerwatch is concerned for people who are sick or have a disability and who before would have claimed Invalidity Benefit. They will now claim Employment Support Allowance – ESA. So far only new applicants have been put on ESA but starting now all existing IB claimants will be called in and examined and transferred.

When you are assessed for ESA one of three things can happen. You can be deemed immediately fit for work and put on Job Seekers Allowance. The plan is to halve the ESA claimants by putting half the existing claimants on JSA.

If you are assessed as having limited capability for work you will be put on ESA but the idea is that you get motivated and retrained and get back to work. This is a wonderful aspiration and all help should be offered but it is not necessarily realistic. The government are trying to shoe horn all sick and disabled people in to the model of fit people – I’m ill now but will get better. The LibDems have a much better model called Partial Capability Benefit which accepts that a person may be sick or disabled indefinitely and will support them in and out of full or part time work without loss of benefit. This takes the stress and fear out of having a go at working and having to give up again.

And that is the main problem with ESA. The stress and fear. People with severe and enduring illness or disability need the community to help them stay as well as they can.  This is how they best achieve their goals. Stress and fear can make them less well. This is particularly relevant for severe mental illness like schizophrenia and bi-polar. 

If you are put on ESA you will be called in regularly and exhorted to go back to work. You will be offered lots of help which is good but you will also be subject to sanctions of loss of benefit for non compliance which is a threat. For mental illness any non compliance may always be due to illness and so sanctions can never be fair. CarerWatch think this treatment for people with serious and enduring illness is inhumane and unacceptable.

There is a third option – being allocated to the ‘support’ group. Professor Gregg who designed ESA tells us that you can get all the back to work help from there. The good thing about the ‘support ‘ group is that there are no threats and sanctions and you can make your own choices and proceed at your own pace. The ‘support’ group  was designed for the seriously ill but the assessment procedures (which aren’t conducted by doctors but by a private company called Atos) have been set so that almost no sick person will qualify for the ‘support’ group. 

Our campaign is aimed at changing this and allowing all people with a diagnosis of a serious and enduring illness or disability in to the ‘support’ group and giving them back the dignity of making their own decisions and of controlling their own lives.

If you want to help with this campaign please come and join us in the CarerWatch discussion group.

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7 Responses to “ESA story so far”

  1. b sampso Says:

    As a carer for my wife (chronic schizophrenia)i can not imagine her well enough to return to a work in the near or distant future.she is unable to leave home unsupervised as she is a danger to herself.she has tried e.t.c. c.b.t various antipsychotic’s ,antidepressant’s and has been unwell 10yrs. she is currently on incapacity benefit and d.L.A also i claim carer’s allowance. why are people in our position targeted as welfare cheat’s. regardless of welfare my wife will still need care.

  2. Sandra Roberts Says:

    I like your cause of “UNCONDITIONAL BENEFITS TO ALL PEOPLE WITH SEVERE AND ENDURING ILLNESS”.
    May I place a link to here on my site?

  3. Kevin Says:

    DWP published report Unsuccessful Employment and
    Support Allowance claims – qualitative research

    http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2011-2012/rrep762.pdf

    Other published reports on various topics can be found at http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rrs-index.asp

  4. god lover Says:

    a person with a mental illness should never have been included for this barbarick e s a test to see if they are fit for work, how is it possible for them to work they would need constant watch, besides that they have started to close remploy works down leaving disabled people out of work, this scheme as been brought out soley to cut there sickness benefits it is another l c p to hurt the most vulnerable its disgusting and inhumane, when mps can get away with expences fraud it just does not make sense.

  5. mick Says:

    every time mps medal with benefit system they make it unworkable they medal to much its alright them living on on expences at the tax payers expence they all should be sacked at the next election we should give another party a go but not lab/lib/or con/try ukip why are we ruled from Brussels they make all the rules so what are the mps there for cant wait for another revalotion there all millionaires so why are they there to make are life difficult they only go in politics for there own goal and line there back pockets and totally agree people with mental illiness should not be put through this esa medical its all flawed

  6. kath Says:

    ….recently been informed that i have Bi-polar – having been treated for Depression for 16 years.Finally i am receiving the right medication (i hope!)-tried and failed numerous jobs – it is difficult to explain why i kept having to `throw-in the towel`…Unless you have experienced a Mental Health problem yourself or have lived with someone who has, you cannot deny the specific help that is required;be it financial or otherwise.After all would you refuse to let a diabetic have a sugary drink for low blood sugar? Would you tell someone to get up off the floor when they have just slipped on ice and broken an ankle?…not that i have got a chip on my shoulder or anything, but i am getting sick of hearing ill-informed individuals who tell me that i am a benefit scrounger. Would you survive on £100 a week?

  7. mr knight Says:

    I was put on esa support group in 2012 from ib in 1991 now I have to pay just short of 3000 pounds income tax .but any person moving from ib pre 1995 should not pay income tax this is in the disability hand book under chapter 51 sec 2 income. also secd10 transferred from invalidity benefit. but hmrc said I must pay this they are wrong

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