Tory assassins the DWP continue to psychological torture the sick and disabled
Why so many are committing suicide and an alternative form of genocide to the Gestapo ovens
Soaring numbers of sick or disabled people are being punished by having their benefits taken away in a Government crackdown that experts say is pushing the most vulnerable in society to destitution.
The use of sanctions against those on sickness benefits has gone up by 350 per cent in a year as part of an aggressive drive to push more people into work. Those with serious health conditions can have their benefits removed for up to three years because of minor mistakes, such as missing an appointment at the Job Centre or forgetting to attend skills training.
Lone parents are also having vital benefits withdrawn for months - and even years - for failing to jump through the relevant hoops to prove they are seeking work. Of the 1.2 million sanctions meted out to those on jobseekers' allowance in the 18 months to March 2014, more than 52,000 were single mums or dads. More than 3,000 of these lone parents were in the highest category, which means the removal of benefits for between 13 weeks and three years.
Almost 16,000 sanctions were handed out to those on the sickness benefit Employment Support Allowance between January and March of 2014 - more than triple the number in the first quarter of 2013. In March 2014 alone more than 7,000 ESA claimants were sanctioned - the highest number on record and more than seven times higher than the same month in 2013.
Following controversial fitness-to-work tests, more than 500,000 people on ESA have been classed as well enough to start work-related activity – and can therefore be sanctioned. In some cases those with learning disabilities are being sanctioned even when they are unable to understand requests they are sent to attend appointments.
Many are left with no money for food after their benefits are taken away for trivial mistakes and misunderstandings. Some have lost their income for a month or more after missing appointments they were never told about, not searching for a job on Christmas day, or rearranging a job interview that clashes with a funeral.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Employment Support Allowance is not fit for work. Sick and disabled people face an uphill battle to get support because of a poorly-designed system. It’s important that taxpayer money is spent fairly and that anyone who is able to work does so.
The use of sanctions against those on sickness benefits has gone up by 350 per cent in a year The use of sanctions against those on sickness benefits has gone up by 350 per cent in a year (Getty Images)
“However the experience of our clients is that fit for work tests are unreliable and fail to give fair treatment and decent support to people with sickness or a disability. Far too many people regularly face long delays, flawed assessments, charges for medical evidence to appeal against decisions and an increasingly high chance of being sanctioned due to the tough new regime.”
There is evidence that a significant number of decisions penalise people unjustly. Of the 353,540 cases of jobseekers' allowance sanctions that were sent for review, almost half - 172,426 - were overturned, suggesting the person should never have had their benefits removed in the first place.
Matt Downie, director of policy at Crisis, said: “This is a shocking escalation in the use of sanctions and we are deeply concerned about the impact on people’s lives.
“Sanctions are cruel and can leave people utterly destitute – without money even for food and at severe risk of homelessness. It is difficult to see how they are meant to help people prepare for work. Our own research has shown that many homeless people face unfair and inappropriate sanctions, often handed out due to errors on the part of the Job Centre or Work Programme provider.
“We want the Government to commit to an urgent, wide-ranging review looking at the appropriateness and effectiveness of sanctions, especially for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.”
Of those on ESA who had their benefits taken away in March, 7,108 had missed a mandatory training session and 395 did not go to a compulsory interview. Experts say the sanctions can be disproportionate and there is increasing evidence that these can be born out of misunderstandings.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope said: “We back the Government’s commitment to getting more disabled people into work. But such a dramatic increase in the use of sanctions raises serious questions.
“Disabled people are being sanctioned for things like missing interviews with advisers. How often do sanctions take into account the reality of disabled people’s lives? Interviews with advisers can clash with medical appointments and inaccessible transport can make attendance extremely difficult.”
Another (anonymous) spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions argued that around 99 per cent of ESA claimants do not get a sanction and that those who do still get £28.75 in benefits and can apply for hardship payments.
He said: “Every day Jobcentre Plus advisers up and down the country are working hard to support claimants up and down the country into jobs and training so they can turn their lives around – and today’s figures show that employment is up, unemployment is down and people are moving off benefits.”
Thousands of sick and disabled face YEAR-long wait for a few crumbs from the tory table
Tory henchman Iain Duncan Smith and tory witch Esther McVey behind mass extermination of the sick
using psychological torture. Image by James Rowland
Claimants are close to despair and even suicidal because of the chaos in the new benefit system, Personal Independence Payments, an insider has revealed
Tens of thousands of sick and disabled people face a year’s wait for cash help under the Tories’ cost-cutting.
Claimants are close to despair and even suicidal because of the chaos in the new benefit system, an insider has revealed.
Applications should take no more than 26 weeks to process – but many are taking twice as long.
A call centre worker for private contractor Capita, which handles assessments for the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “I've had people on the phone crying their eyes out and saying they are going to commit suicide.
“On one occasion I had to call an ambulance because they said they had stopped taking their medication. Some people have been going for months and months without money.”
PIP, which is replacing the Disability Living Allowance, is worth £21 to £134 a week and is meant to cover travel, home care and other costs.
But because all claimants have to attend an interview with an assessor, there is a backlog of 145,000 cases.
The whistleblower said: “We’ve started getting calls from people saying their DLA will run out in a month’s time and they’ve not even got an appointment for an assessment. Others have been left with nothing because their DLA has been stopped. People have lost their home because they can’t pay their rent.”
In February, when the backlog was 92,000 claims, the NAO said delays caused “distress and financial difficulties”.
The whistleblower said assessors who interview claimants have been told to focus on new cases and put older ones on the back burner.
She said: “It’s a shambles. Day in, day out there are people ringing up to say, ‘Why is my appointment cancelled?’ I’ve seen appointments cancelled time and time again.”
Capita’s Birmingham and Belfast call centres have issued staff with a three-page script to explain why cases are delayed. The £14,500-a-year worker said: “I am having to lie on a daily basis about why things are taking so long.”
She blames mismanagement, IT glitches and staff shortages.
Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper said: “By the autumn, we anticipate that no one will be waiting for an assessment for longer than 26 weeks.”
Capita said it was hiring more staff.
Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith introduced PIP last year to cut the £13billion disability benefits bill.
He claimed it would be simpler and fairer than DLA, which was often paid for life.
Killed by benefits cuts: Starving soldier died 'as result of Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reform'
Diabetic David Clapson, 59, died with just £3.44 left in his account after his Jobseeker’s Allowance was axed because he missed an appointment
A diabetic ex-soldier died starving and skint after officials axed his benefits.
David Clapson, 59, was stripped of the cash after missing an appointment under harsh Coalition reforms.
He died in Stevenage, Herts, with just £3.44 left in his account.
David once faced death on a daily basis as he served his country loyally in the terror hell of Northern Ireland.
And when he left the Army he went straight into the workplace with BT before becoming a full-time carer for his sick mother.
After she went into a home, diabetic David turned to the state for help while he looked for work.
But under the Coalition’s callous new benefits rules he had his £71.70 a week Jobseeker’s Allowance axed – merely because he missed an appointment with an adviser.
Stripped of his income, the 59-year-old could not afford food or electricity and died starving, penniless and alone at his home.
His death was from diabetic ketoacidosis – caused by not taking his insulin.
Tonight his distraught sister Gill Thompson told how she believes he may have stopped injecting himself with the life-saving drug after becoming so desperate over his lack of cash and work.
Choking back tears, she said: “I think he just gave up. I want the lessons to be learned. I don’t want anybody else to die. He shouldn’t have died like that. You wouldn’t let an animal die like that, would you?
“I just, I look at food now and think, ‘My brother didn’t have any.’
"My brother was not a scrounger. He was getting £71.70 a week. He was not living on champagne and caviar. They should have taken into account his past work and his condition.”
Stevenage council leader Sharon Taylor slammed Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith over David’s treatment.
She stormed: “He should hang his head in shame. David served his country. Treating him like this is disgusting.
“This tragic death is a direct result of Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms.”
When David died he had just £3.44 to his name, six tea bags, a tin of soup and an out-of-date can of sardines. His electricity card was out of credit meaning the fridge where he should have kept his insulin chilled was not working.
A coroner also found he had no food in his stomach.
A pile of CVs for job applications were found near David’s body.
Gill, 57, demanded a change to the welfare system she believes caused her brother’s death. She said officials knew he was diabetic as he nearly died when his benefits were stopped once before.
David, of Stevenage, Herts, had his benefits axed last summer for missing the appointment. There have been more than a million stoppages since the Coalition came to power in 2012.
David joined the Royal Signals Corps at 17 and served for two years in Belfast at the height of the Troubles in the 70s. He left as a lance corporal then worked for BT for 16 years.
He later had different jobs until he became his mum’s carer when she got dementia. That ended when she got too ill to stay at home. David took two unpaid placements but was denied a third.
Officials wrote to him on June 28 saying his Jobseeker’s Allowance would be stopped from July 12 until August 8. A last payment of £122.10 went in to his account on July 2.
David was found dead on July 20. Gill, from London, wrote to officials after his death. She said: “The answers came back, ‘Oh well, we followed procedures.’ Well I’m sorry to say the procedures don’t work if people die.”
Gill also told how David was also sanctioned in 2010 after not putting enough information down on a claim form. He fell ill but was rescued by a neighbour.
The DWP insisted he would have been told payments would still be available after sanctions.
A spokesman said: “Claimants can get financial support through the hardship fund. People can also appeal against sanctions.”
Anti-ATOS protestors arrested during Queens Baton Relay VIDEO
Police accompanying the Queen's Baton near Barrhead, East Renfrewshire arrest protesting disability activists, pinning one to the ground. The group, Glasgow Against Atos, has staged a series of increasingly high-profile direct actions demanding the removal of IT giant Atos as a sponsor.
The firm has sought to boost its public profile by sponsoring database software for international sporting events, but campaigners have fought to expose its role in deadly cuts to disability benefits.
The firm has seen a string of scandals and wrongful sanctions arising from its contracts quizzing sickness benefit claimants with "work capability assessments" for the Department of Work and Pensions.
The affair has even seen silent protest from Paralympic athletes who hid their branded lanyards from cameras at London's 2012 opening ceremony, while Sport Disability Scotland told MSPs in April of athletes who could no longer afford to continue their sporting careers after losing out to a work capability assessment.
Games organisers insist they are "very proud" of Atos' involvement, while press officers have refused to comment on whether they are contractually obliged to offer public shows of support.
Skinner on murdering tory assassins ATOS VIDEO
Private companies are making a fortune out of the unemployed
Poor people always tell you more than the rich. Any reporter knows this. Orwell must have known it.
In the face of journalistic inquiry, even the modestly well off tend to clam up. Imagine it: a
young woman knocks on your door and says she's doing a piece on middle-class wealth, and could
she ask about your income, your savings, your holiday home if you have one, your weekly Waitrose bill, and so on.
Do you invite her in and put the kettle on and shout to your husband through the kitchen door: "There's a nice young woman here from the Guardian and she wants to know all our financial details. Can you tell me where you've put the Isa certificates? Oh, and that buy-to-let mortgage agreement?" I think not.
But in my experience something like that used to be the case when reporters called on families who were hard up. They took a benign view of our interest, perhaps because they had nothing to hide, if they were honest, and might even have felt that by disclosing their circumstances they were doing some good.
This may no longer be so true. Benefits Street and other series may have made the poor warier of the idea that journalism is on their side; that a TV crew has arrived "just so we can show the other half how difficult your lives are and how brilliant you are at coping". What remains true is that, having got the information, how little we, the better off, understand it. Tax credits, for example: how do they work? I read Polly Toynbee, I consult Wikipedia, but I'm still not sure. It is, of course, my good fortune that I've never needed to understand; that, outside child benefit and the NHS, my claims on the welfare system have been so few. But a society divided by wealth also has its classes kept apart by ignorance. Among the fault lines that run through British society, one of the largest is this matter of simple comprehension, between those who understand the welfare system, because they use it, and the rest of us for whom it's a complicated abstraction allegedly being simplified by Iain Duncan Smith.
An old friend emailed me recently from the northern city that has been his home since birth, though we first met far away in Pakistan where work had taken both of us. He's a freelance – I won't say in what or name him – but when he started out his city still exported machinery across the world and his work was associated with that. He's 62 now, single, no family, and owns a small house. "Work seems to have dried up these last few months," he wrote in March, "so I may have to sign on again – and no doubt get threatened with being 'sanctioned' again, although now I hear that for new claimants my age they're recommending pension credits – looks interesting, anything to get the JSA numbers down. They're certainly not making it any easier for these youngsters that are claiming – the jobcentre staff say they have quotas for sanctioning but the government won't admit to it, they really are a bunch of bastards."
I knew that JSA meant job seekers' allowance, which is £71.70 a week for a single person, and I suspected that he feared "sanctioning" – having his benefits cut – because he wouldn't be interviewed for any old job. But pension credits? His next email took the time to explain. So far as he could see, "the holy grail" of government policy was to reduce the number of JSA claimants by whatever means so that the unemployment figures look better. ("Thatcher did this by allowing millions to claim disability allowance, and we are paying the price for that!") Money could be saved by "bringing in the heavies" to take over from the "usually sympathetic local jobcentre people" and sanctioning the unemployed for not applying for enough jobs ("10, 20 or maybe 50 jobs a week") or for missing an appointment. Reducing numbers, on the other hand, required a different technique.
After a year of signing on as unemployed, a jobseeker is obliged to turn to one of the government's workfare programmes that are run by private companies where, in my friend's words, "they either try to find you work or, if you have nous, persuade you to go self-employed". Two years ago, he was sent to be interviewed by one of these companies, Ingeus, which operates under the slogan: "Our role is simple – to help people realise their potential." His interviewer strongly recommended self-employment in words my friend always remembered: "Look, you'll get £50 working tax credits, housing and council tax benefits, so you only have to earn £22 a week to be better off [than on JSA]. We'll give you a start-up grant of say £300 and we're off your back."
In fact, my friend was already self-employed – self-employed in theory and often unemployed in practice. His work picked up for a while, but is now again in the doldrums. If the government still wants to keep him out of the unemployment figures then the pension credit, a supplement to low incomes for people approaching pensionable age, is the obvious way to go. Before his work ran out, my friend earned £2,500 in the last financial year and received £50 a week in working tax credits and full relief on council tax. After some calculations, he thinks he'd be entitled to pension credits at the top rate of £145 a week while still preserving some or all of his council tax benefit.
To my friend, this looks a good deal. He won't need to sign on once a fortnight and the £7,250 a year in pension credits comes very close to the sum he needs to live on: he leads, as he says, a simple life. But the term "pension credit" confuses him, because, having neglected to pay enough national insurance contributions, his actual pension when he comes to claim it in three or four years' time will be lower than the money he could receive now, as a so-called credit. Nor is this his only confusion. Why is the government so keen to encourage private companies "to make a fortune out of the unemployed", paying the likes of Ingeus up to £14,000 for every person they help into "sustained employment" (including self-employment with small and precarious earnings), when jobcentres are offering £49 a week under the new enterprise allowance scheme to anyone willing to call themselves self-employed? If you want to cheat the figures, doesn't the state offer a cheaper way of doing it?
That may be so, but more states than the United Kingdom have offloaded their responsibilities under a smokescreen of talk that capitalism knows best. Ingeus, for example, was founded in 1989 in Australia as a small organisation called Work Directions dedicated to getting apparently "unemployable" people, often with physical disabilities, into employment. There was an inspiring story behind it. Its founder, Therese Rein, had seen her war-wounded father overcome severe handicap to work as an aeronautical engineer.
When the age of outsourcing began to dawn in the early 2000s, it rebranded itself as Ingeus and was soon opening branches in countries as disparate as Sweden and Saudi Arabia as a provider of welfare-to-work and business psychology services. When Rein's husband, Kevin Rudd, became prime minister, the group sold off its Australian business to avoid perceptions of conflict of interest, but three years later Duncan Smith's work programme opened a large new opportunity in the UK. Getting British people into work or "work" is estimated to generate about two-thirds of Ingeus's turnover.
Last month Ingeus was sold to an American company, Providence Service Corporation, in a complicated deal that was reported to be worth $225m (£135m). Every time you hear of the growth in the self-employed, which allows the government to claim that "more people are in work than ever before", think of a graph at the new company headquarters in Tucson, Arizona, and the strange way money is made.
Man arrested after 'ripping tiles from roofs in protest at having his benefits slashed'
Only one of many driven to despair and death by the vile tory welfare cuts
A man staged a six-hour stand-off with police after climbing on top of his terraced home and hurling roof tiles into the street in a one-man protest over benefits cuts.
Neighbours gathered to watch the drama unfold as officers sealed off neighbouring streets and surrounded the house in a residential cul-de-sac in Wanstead, east London.
The man, who was carrying a hammer and a can of beer, stripped to his waist and remained on the roof for more than six hours before he was finally talked down and arrested by police at 9pm last night.
By then, the roof of one house was stripped almost completely of tiles and he had begun working on the property next-door causing thousands of pounds in damage.
Two cars parked below were damaged in the avalanche of falling slates.
A neighbour said: “He was shouting and taking tiles off, yelling ‘they stopped my income support, they stopped my housing benefit, how am I supposed to live?’
“He worked himself up into a bit of a frenzy and started smashing things.
“He was in his 50s or 60s and was wearing a t-shirt that he soon ripped off. He had a hammer and a can of beer.
“A few days ago he was playing music so loud it sounded like a rave in the street. The day before that he had all these strobe lights going, like it was a concert. I think he’d just worked himself up and it built to this.”
Isabel Gonzalez, 20, added: “I was sitting in my friend’s front room and could hear banging. We went outside and the man was ripping tiles from the roof and shouting. We were all very scared.
“He was also smashing tiles on the cars. I think two cars were damaged. He was being very erratic.”
A Met Police spokesman said: “Police were called at 2.45pm to reports of a man throwing objects off the roof of a house. Road closures were put in place.
“Shortly before 9pm the man was arrested and released on bail. He was not taken into custody.”
Staggering tally of deaths / murders from the tory assassins ATOS and DWP
And the gutter press still promote these EVIL murdering bastards as some sort of guardians of
the economy and well being of British citizens. What is even more
staggering is the SHEEPLE that still fall for the propaganda and think the Eton groomed scum CARE.
THE Con-Dems have admitted to MSPs that 1300 people told to prepare for work after Atos tests died in less than a year.
The Department for Work and Pensions included the shocking statistic
in a letter to Holyrood’s Public Petitions Request, who are looking at a plea
for Atos to be banned from sponsoring the Commonwealth Games.
Campaigners demanding the ban said it proved they were right.
The 1300 all passed away between January and November 2011 after going through the hated Atos tests and being placed in a “work-related activity group”.
Another 2200 died in the same period after being assessed but before they were told the results.
The DWP said they did not have figures for how many people had died after being declared “fit for work”.
Campaigner Sean Clerkin, who took the petition to Holyrood,
said: “These figures just underline why Atos should play no part in the Commonwealth Games.
“These people who died should have been allowed to spend their last years in peace and comfort without the stress and humiliation of being tested by Atos and the added worry of losing their benefits.
“This company and the DWP have only ever been interested in profits and
cost-cutting at the expense of some of society’s most vulnerable people.
“Atos should be dropped from the Games.
“And if that isn’t possible because of the timeframe, organisers should be forced to apologise for including them.”
Atos were handed a £500million deal to carry out work capability assessments for the Westminster Government. Disability rights groups have called the tests “ridiculously harsh”.
The process has also been widely condemned as seriously flawed, with tens of thousands of victims winning appeals after having their benefit stopped by the DWP.
After months of concern over Atos’s performance, ministers and bosses announced last month that their contract was being ended early. The firm said they were worried about death threats to their staff.
Classical pianist died penniless judged fit to work by Atos even though he needed a new heart
One more victim of the tory assassins ATOS and the DWP
A classically trained pianist has died penniless after government assessors deemed him fit for work and stripped him of his benefits - despite doctors explaining he needed a new heart.
Robert Barlow, who died aged 47 in his native Liverpool, had his Employment and Support Allowance stopped after benefit assessors Atos ruled he was healthy enough to hold down a job.
Mr Barlow had worked for the Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as a microbiologist for 15 years before poor health forced him to give it up nine years ago.
Doctors diagnosed him with severe cardiomyopathy - failure of the heart muscle - and recommended a heart transplant, saying that without it he might have as little as 18 months left to live.
However, despite never having a transplant he survived for a further nine years.
After years on benefits and despite his diagnosis, in January 2012, Mr Barlow was ruled healthy enough to work and, three months later, his benefits were withdrawn. He also lost his right to free NHS prescriptions.
He died almost two years later, in November 2013.
Towards the end of his life, Mr Barlow developed a brain tumour, could not walk and struggled to even read due to poor eyesight.
His family - backed by Labour MP Luciana Berger - now want the Government to learn lessons from the tragic case.
His aunt, Joan Westland, 85, said: 'I don’t know how they expected him to work. Nobody would have loved to work more than him, but he simply couldn’t.
'Robert said he wouldn’t have the heart transplant.
'He had no commitments and thought it would be better if there was a heart for it to go to somebody else. We tried to talk him into having the operation but he wouldn’t do it.
'It’s too late for Robert but there must be so many other people out there who are going through the same thing. It’s horrible.
'They need to rethink the whole system because they are ruining people’s lives.'
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said Mr Barlow initially challenged the decision to stop his benefits but then withdrew his appeal.
His aunt - who was awarded the British Empire Medal for her work for the Government - claimed that was because he became too ill to fight the case.
She added: 'Robert had very little money on benefits and nothing at all when his money was stopped. I know there are scroungers but he was not one of them.
'I want these fitness-to-work tests to stop because I don’t want other people going through the same trauma. Robert was very, very distressed after his assessment.'
Roger died after a fall at home last November and since then Atos has quit its £500million contract to carry out fit-to-work tests and ministers are looking for a new provider.
Wavertree MP Ms Berger, a shadow health minister, raised Mr Barlow's tragic story in the House of Commons last month.
She said: 'It’s not enough to change the provider. The whole process needs to be totally redesigned.
'My constituent is someone who lost his life at a time when his ESA was suspended.
'He was too sick to appeal the decision and died while he had no access to benefits.'
A DWP spokesman said: 'Our thoughts are with Mr Barlow's family. However, it is not true to say he died after being found fit for work.
'Mr Barlow appealed to the Tribunal Service, but the appeal was then withdrawn so we couldn't continue the benefit claim. He died over a year later.
'The WCA was introduced by the previous Government and we knew it wasn't working as well as it should, which is why we introduced a series of independent reviews and have made significant changes to make it better.'
In an urgent memo obtained by Benefits and Work, the DWP have told staff that due to a growing backlog at Atos all current employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants will be left on the benefit, without further medical checks, until another company can be found to do repeat work capability assessments (WCAs). The memo, dated 20 January, goes on to say that this will reduce the number of claimants moving off ESA, but that there are no plans to inform claimants or MPs about the change.
Benefits and Work obtained the memo from the DWP via a Freedom of Information request. It is headed: ‘FOR URGENT CASCADE. Control of the Referral of Repeat work Capability Assessments’.
The memo explains that back in July a ministerial statement announced that:
“in the drive to continually improve the Work Capability Assessment process and bring down waiting times for claimants, DWP had decided to seek additional capacity to deliver Work Capability Assessments.
“We are working towards having new provision in place – it will of course take some time for that to become fully operational.”
However, the memo goes on to explain that:
“The number of cases currently with Atos Healthcare has grown. A decision has therefore been taken to control the referral of repeat work capability assessments. Therefore, with effect from 20 January 2014, further routine repeat assessments referrals to Atos will be deferred until further notice.
“Controlling the volume of repeat Work Capability Assessments should help us to reduce delays for new claimants and those that have already been referred.”
The memo goes on to say that staff must still refer claimants for reassessment where there has been a reported change in condition, giving the example of a claimant placed in the Work Related Activity Group whose condition worsens and who might be expected to move into the Support Group.
Aside from this, however, reassessment of existing claimants is to end until further notice, with no new cases being referred to Atos from 20th January.
The memo is keen to point out that the decision to stop repeat assessments by Atos is not ‘linked to the quality issues outlined in July 2013’ which the DWP ‘has been working closely with Atos to resolve’. It also reassures readers that the change will have no impact on Atos’ ability to carry out personal independence payment assessments.
It does, however, admit that the result of the change is that the number of people coming off ESA each month will reduce because:
“the Work Capability Assessment is the main trigger for off-flows from the Employment and Support Allowance load. We will continue to assess the potential for alternative interventions on those whose repeat Work Capability Assessments are deferred to seek to manage this consequence.”
No details of what those ‘alternative interventions’ might be is given.
It is clear, however, that the DWP is not keen for people to be aware of the ever more disastrous state of medical assessments for benefits by Atos.
The memo explains that claimants who enquire about when their next WCA will be, should only be told that:
“Although the Department will periodically review a person’s Limited Capability for Work, there is no set date for this to happen.
“The timing of this review is at the discretion of the Decision Maker acting on behalf of the Secretary of State and is influenced by the evidence available to them, which can mean on occasion longer periods between face to face assessments. “
In addition, the memo explains that as this is simply an ‘operational decision’ and not a ‘policy change’ there are no plans to notify ‘external stakeholders such as claimants, claimant representative groups, Members of Parliament, etc.’
It is hard to imagine that IDS and his fellow DWP ministers believed that they could keep this further Atos-related failure secret for long: you can’t stop reassessing thousands of claimants a week without anyone noticing. If, however, they could have kept it secret at least until they found a new company to take on the repeat assessments, it would have been easier to explain away and not added to the ever mounting pressure for a complete overhaul of the WCA.
“Yes, there was briefly a problem” IDS could have said “But we now have a new provider and it is no longer an issue.”
As it is, this news is simply further proof that the WCA is not fit for purpose, because as soon as the DWP attempts to impose proper quality controls a massive backlog results. It is, we hope, another nail in the coffin of a completely discredited system.
And, for all those claimants with static or degenerative conditions who continue to be forced to undergo repeat assessments, often followed by repeat appeals, on an annual basis, the news will come as a welcome respite.
Tory assassins the DWP and ATOS trigger coma in mentally ill woman
Psychological torture of the seriously ill is all part of the master plan of the fascist nazi-like
Government workers pursue mentally-ill woman in COMA to see if she is 'fit to work'
A mentally-ill woman in a coma is allegedly being pursued by government workers to assess her fitness to work.
Sheila Holt, who is bipolar, had been receiving income support - but was sectioned under the Mental Health Act last month after becoming terrified when the payments were removed, her family claim.
Now, the 47-year-old woman from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, has been sent a letter by government-contracted healthcare company ATOS to find out whether she can gain employment.
Her family claim Ms Holt became terrified and suffered a breakdown when her benefits were withdrawn, before having a heart attack. They say she has been in a coma for more than a month.
But ATOS - which is used by the Department for Work and Pensions to assess those suitable for work under a benefits provision shake-up - now wants to assess her fitness to work.
Her family said a long-standing mental health disorder has meant she has never worked. Her case has now been taken up by Labour’s Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk, who has visited her in hospital.
He said the Government’s welfare reforms and the controversial Work Capability Assessment handled by ATOS were being ‘bulldozed through in an incompetent and insensitive way’.
Mr Danczuk added that Ms Holt had recently come off psychiatric treatment and been pushed onto the work programme, despite her family arguing that she could not work because of her mental illness.
He said: ‘From day one the approach by the Department of Work and Pensions has been clumsy and horribly misguided.
'I accept reform is not easy. But there has to be a smarter and more compassionate way of differentiating between those that cannot work and those that do not want to work.
'I am in favour of welfare reform but trying to bulldoze through changes in a reckless and insensitive way is not the right way to go about it.’
The MP said he feared Ms Holt’s experience was being repeated elsewhere in the country.
Ms Holt’s father Kenneth, who released the photograph published by MailOnline of his daughter in a coma, said her prognosis ‘was not good’ - but vowed that he would not give up hope of her regaining consciousness.
He said: ‘We feel the coalition’s changes to the welfare system are grossly unfair to a section of the community with mental health issues.’
Atos Healthcare spokesperson said: 'Our thoughts are with the family of Ms Holt at this difficult time and we are sorry for any further distress caused.
'When an application for benefit is made we receive a referral from the Department for Work and Pensions will automatically issue the standardised ESA50 claim form so that a claim for benefit can be made.
'Where we know of a change in circumstances either through the DWP or the family we will return the referral to the Department and not send any correspondence.'
ANOTHER ATOS / DWP MURDER FOR A PSYCHOPATHIC TORY GOVERNMENT
And this from royal arse kissing Harmsworth's hypocritical rag that promotes the tory state assassins IDS, ATOS and DWP as moral guardians instead
of the murdering scum they really are
Bedridden farmer suffering from diabetes had benefits cut and told he was fit to work... then was refused reassessment when diagnosed with terminal cancer
David Coupe lost his £50 a week payment after he was ruled fit to work.
Farmer, 57, was ill with injured back, diabetes, ulcers and heart condition
He was then diagnosed with cancer and given just weeks to live.
Mr Coupe tried to appeal the decision but died before it could be overturned.
Wife Lyn, 57, vows to fight in husband's name so other families don't suffer.
Prime Minister David Cameron said he would personally look into 'sad' case.
A farmer left housebound by a back injury and painful ulcers before dying from cancer was stripped of his incapacity benefit by Government assessors who ruled he was fit to work.
Despite being in constant pain, David Coupe lost his £50 a week payment, leaving his family reliant on friends and family for handouts, and unable to afford to heat their home.
Although the 57-year-old tried to appeal the ruling by Atos, the private company behind fitness-to-work tests, he was told it would take a year.
In August Mr Coupe was diagnosed with cancer and given just weeks to live. Although he tried to bring the appeal forward the request was refused.
Mr Coupe's health rapidly deteriorated and he lost both his sight and hearing before dying earlier this month with his family at his bedside.
His funeral will be held today.
Now Mr Coupe's wife Lyn has vowed to overturn the decision, with the backing of Labour MP Dennis Skinner - who highlighted the case to the House of Commons, describing Atos as 'unfit for purpose' and a 'heartless monster'.
Prime Minister David Cameron has also said he would personally look into the "desperately sad" case.
Mr Coupe was assessed as fit to work in December last year, despite the fact he was seriously ill with diabetes, a heart condition and a badly injured back, which had left him in serious pain and unable to work for the last 24 years.
The former farmer and butcher from Calow, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire had also been rendered housebound by ulcerated legs.
'Atos decided he was capable of limited employment and his benefit was cut, which left us with just £71 a week,' said Mrs Coupe, also 57.
'He was called to the Job Centre late last year.They just took his blood pressure. They never checked his back or asked about his diabetes and the ulcers he had on his legs.
'The computer told them he hadn’t worked for 24 years. He had damaged his back working on a farm and his health deteriorated.
'He worked long hours on the farm. He would leave at 5am and some days I would not see him again until 11pm. He was devastated when he was unable to carry on working.'
Mrs Coupe said that the benefit cut had left the couple needing to borrow money from their friends and family.
'I was borrowing money off everybody,' said the mother-of one.
'We couldn’t afford to put the heating on last winter so we sat with with blankets round us.'
'David appealed against the ruling but was told a decision would take almost a year but he didn’t have a year. A short while later he was diagnosed with cancer and given just a few weeks to live.
'He was dying and he just kept saying "I wish I could win this case before I die" but he didn’t.
'He got a rare form of cancer which took his sight and his hearing before he died.
'His doctors and specialist nurses wrote to the firm but never received a reply. Five weeks before David died I contacted Atos.
'I told them my husband didn’t have long to live but they wouldn’t bring the appeal forward.'
Mrs Coupe said that two weeks before her husband's death, on October 11, the Department for Work and Pensions had awarded him a Disability Living Allowance of £134.40 a week because of his illness.
'He was deemed fit for work yet the DWP admitted he needed constant care because of his cancer,' she said.
Mrs Coupe described her husband as a 'much-loved man who would do anything for anyone'.
She added: 'All David wanted to do was stay alive long enough to see them pay back the money he was entitled to. Sadly he didn’t live long enough.
'I’m bitter about what they did and I won’t let it rest. Other people can’t suffer like we did. David died waiting for an appeal.'
Colin Hampton, co-ordinator at the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers' Centre, said: 'There should be a complete overhaul of the system.'
A spokesman for Atos called it a 'terribly sad case', but said the Department for Work makes benefit decisions and manages the appeals process.
A DWP spokesman said: 'Our sympathy goes out to the family of Mr Coupe during what is obviously a difficult time.
'A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough assessment and after consideration of all the supporting medical evidence we are given.'
Dad blames ConDem's benefit assassins ATOS and DWP for driving ill son to commit suicide
The Tory/ Libdem bastards are psychologically murdering vulnerable citizens through the persecution campaigns instigated by ATOS and DWP.
Hitler's spirit is alive and well in the hallowed walls of Downing Street.
DAVID Barr, 28, threw himself from the Forth Road Bridge just weeks after finding out that his employment and support allowance would be withdrawn because assessor ruled that he was fit to work.
A HEARTBROKEN dad has blamed benefits axemen for driving his ill son to suicide weeks after being told his money was being stopped.
David Barr, 28, threw himself from the Forth Road Bridge after learning the decision to stop his benefit had been upheld.
An Atos assessor had ruled David was fit to work despite being on anti-psychotic sedatives, sleeping tablets and antidepressants. His condition was recorded on a medical assessment as “anxiety and depression”.
But his dad David snr, 57, said he had a host of problems including sleeplessness, memory loss and paranoia – and believes he may have been a schizophrenic.
David was assessed in May. In June, the Department of Work and Pensions told him he was fit to work – and his employment and support allowance was being withdrawn.
In an appeal letter, David wrote: “I disagree with your decision that I am fit for work. I have serious mental health problems that prevent me from doing everyday tasks which means I cannot work at this moment in time.
“I did try and explain this to the medical examiner.”
He was informed on July 17 of the DWP’s final say – they backed the Atos recommendation.
On the evening of Friday, August 23, he got a bus to the bridge, walked to the middle and jumped. He was recovered from the water but died in hospital that night.
David snr, of Leven, Fife, said: “He needed 15 points to ‘pass’ the test and get his benefits but he only got six. I know the difficulties he had – he should have got 106 points.
“The assessment is ridiculous. They said David was fit for work but, in fact, he was fit for hospital.
“I’m in no doubt this matter was the final straw. I would say they are 90 per cent to blame for him taking his life. He’d just had enough.
“I wish we could have got him checked out, even sectioned if necessary, and placed in a hospital where he could have received proper assessment and care.”
“I just hope something can be done so no one else has to go through this.
“We are devastated by our son’s death. David’s mum is in hospital and hasn’t eaten since David died. She is completely broken by this.”
David jnr worked cleaning buses for three years until 2011. His dad says his son could not cope with the routine of holding down a job.
He said his son was placed on strong medication last year but said his mental health had worsened.
David snr added: “He would claim people were trying to poison him but it was all in his head. He thought the police were following him.”
David’s assessment summary states: “Mr Barr has a mental health problem. He takes triple medication...He reports self harm in the past.
“He reports he attempted an overdose six weeks ago but he would not say what he took. He reports he has had no thoughts of suicide since.
“The evidence overall suggests that he is not at substantial risk.”
David snr is in the process of complaining to the DWP.
The DWP and Atos sent their sympathies to David’s family. A DWP spokeswoman said: “Through a series of independent reviews and by working with medical experts and charities, we have considerably improved the work capability assessment process since 2010.”
An Atos spokeswoman said: “We do everything we can to minimise people’s anxiety during the work capability assessment process and will continue to strive for improvement in this area.”
Scottish Labour welfare spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “It’s not the first time vulnerable people with health issues have been incorrectly assessed by Atos and it’s clear that the system needs reformed.”
DISABLED CHAMPION THREATENS HUNGER STRIKE OVER WELFARE CUTS VIDEO
Proud disabled hero Mary's despair at cruel cuts to Independent Living Fund
Mary Laver was a Games Maker volunteer and carried the Olympic torch but now she is contemplating a hunger strike
Last summer, when Mary Laver carried the Olympic torch along Newcastle’s New Bridge Street buoyed up by the cheers and applause of the crowds lining the route, it was as a British hero.
The former RAF servicewoman has rheumatoid arthritis so severe that she cannot walk or use her hands.
But in 2009, Mary’s journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats in her electric wheelchair – to raise money for The Royal British Legion – made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Last year, she was even one of the Games Makers who made London 2012 the People’s Olympics – camping with her carers and a battery-powered hoist to lower her on to a stretcher where she slept each night.
Today, sitting in that same wheelchair in the conservatory of her home in a suburb of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, instead of thinking up new, positive challenges, Mary is contemplating a hunger strike.
“I’m not sure what else to do,” the 65-year-old says.
“I am thinking about begging David Cameron to stop and think about what he’s doing. I’ve never begged for anything in my life.”
Her voice shakes as she considers a third option.
“I’ve heard of disabled people talking about going to Switzerland to end it all,” she says, quietly.
“Because with the cuts, they fear their lives won’t be worth living any more.”
Mary needs round-the-clock care. “I can’t even scratch my nose without support,” she says.
At the moment, 46 hours a week of that care comes from the Independent Living Fund – a special pot of money aimed at helping severely disabled people live independent lives.
The Government is shutting down the fund, which is already closed to new applicants.
From 2015, Mary and 18,500 other severely disabled recipients will have to ask for help from councils already making cuts to social care.
“I am absolutely petrified,” says Mary, who is divorced and lives alone.
“We are very scared people. We don’t understand why the Government is treating us like criminals when we haven’t committed any crime.”
One of the very first recipients of the ILF 25 years ago, Mary is also a one-woman advert for the fund’s empowering ethos.
A former RAF driver and senior aircraftwoman, she was first diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis in 1988.
“The Independent Living Fund helped me get my quality of life back,” she says.
“It has let me be a relatively normal person that just happens to be in a wheelchair.”
Her carer Jackie describes the hardship Mary went through to be a Games Maker.
“She slept on a stretcher inside a tent and had to be lifted on to it using a hoist that we had to recharge every night at the campsite,” she says. .
“The wheelchair had to be recharged every day as well.
"It took two hours by public transport to the Olympics and the same back every day.
“If we can do that, we can do anything.”
Mary laughs that it was worth every minute.
“The whole time I was at the Games I never felt disabled. I took my Olympic torch along and it was held by so many children the gold paint has come off.”
Now, she can’t stop thinking about all the things she can’t do.
“If I lose those 46 hours a week, I will be back to just basic care,” she says.
“I’m going to be in prison in my own home. It will be like a life sentence. I can’t use my hands at all.
"I have kick switches for my doors, but I can’t open my front gate. I can’t feed, I can’t drink, I can’t use the toilet, take a bath, use the telephone.
“My arms are bent. I’ve had knee and elbow replacements. I have glaucoma in my right eye. I’ve got a hearing aid. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the muscles and there are muscles everywhere.”
Her greatest fear is that she will have to give up her Jack Russells, Jack and Molly.
“With only basic care I’d have to find a new home for them. I don’t know if I can live with that.”
The move to abolish the ILF has shocked even hardened activists.
“It’s very clear this government is now targeting people with severe disabilities,” says Kate Belgrave of research site False Economy.
Disabled People Against Cuts says the cost of abolition will be £39million – and that the £320million currently spent on helping severely disabled people through the ILF is less than a thousandth of one percent [0.004] of our GDP.
It is also far cheaper than using care homes.
“There are nearly 20,000 of us on ILF,” Mary says.
“We use it to go to work, to go to university, to go to college. What’s going to happen to us?
"That’s my big question. Is life going to be worth living? At the moment I don’t think it is.”
To see disabled people discussing the cuts, go to www.false economy.org.uk/blog/ilf
UK GOVERNMENTS ATTACK ON THE DYING AND SEVERELY DISABLED VIDEO
USEFUL v USELESS EATERS
Britain stinks , no amount of media propaganda at the Olympia mania or royalist madness can hide the vile despotic regime whose evil tentacles slither right across the length and breadth of a nation under a blood thirsty mafia.
All the pomp and ceremony is a smokescreen for the world to suggest somehow the Brits live under a sun drenched paradise of justice, morality and righteousness . But it is actually a stinking sewer of fraud, corruption and vast abuse of the peasants by the scum and filth that masquerade as some sort of democracy .
If you are USEFUL to them they will use and abuse you until you are squeezed of every last drop of your energy through Her Majesty's tax henchmen , or through Her Majesty's judicial henchmen , or through a myriad of complex schemes that produce only one outcome that props up the richest despot on the planet and the thousands of masonic henchmen that eat from her trough and hand picked and then embedded in every powerful position across the landscape of Britain. Spying and persecuting anyone who does not conform to their vile control network.
However if you are, in their eyes anyway, a USELESS eater your life will be so much worse as you are seen as a drain on the vast resources they have accumulated and every and all means are used to ensure you become as little a burden as possible on their vast empire.
Your life will become a constant battle to survive the devious and dangerous schemes to ensure that if you suddenly become ill and assumed all those years they have been fleecing you to pay for a safety blanket in ill health every dirty trick in the book will be used to avoid the obligations they promised at the start of your life enslaved to the ruling mafia's scams.
A government that has been groomed at Eton to have a pathological hatred of the poor and peasantry while ensuring they serve and show loyalty to only ONE master at the utter expense of everybody else not part of Her Majesty's mafia. Now the Olympic charade is over the sheeple will get back to their mundane lives serving the HM machine that continues to ride roughshod over all their lives but who are blinded by the propaganda machines that work endlessly 24 hours a day to ensure the sheeple are kept in their rightful place, serving the most vile regime on the planet.