Tag Archives: esa

Time to scrap disability assessments and bring them in house

With each month passing there is more and more evidence that now is the time to bring an end to the failed DWP disability assessments and private outsourcing by companies such as Maximus and Capita and bring all assessments in house.

Appeal success rates for those that go to tribunal  for both Personal Independence Payment and Employment and support allowance are at their highest rates ever, with success rates of 73% for Pip and 74% for ESA. This is an increase of 4% and 5 % respectively.

At the same time, waiting times for mandatory reconsiderations, which a claimant has to go through before appealing to a tribunal has increased by 86%. Average waiting times for a reconsideration have increased from 32 days to 54 days. This leaves many sick and disabled people in a severe financial hardship. This is totally unacceptable and is it any wonder that the use of food banks is at an all time high. The success rate of PIP Mandatory reconsiderations stands at a measly 19%. That is 2 opportunities that the DWP has had to get an assessment correct and fail and nearly three quarters of those people who go on to appeal are successful at tribunal. This is simply unsustainable, on top of the human suffering that this costs, there is the financial costs to the DWP and the justice department all because the private healthcare assessment providers and the DWP are failing to do their jobs. The system is broken.

There is also evidence of a canteen culture of contempt  at the DWP. In official tribunal papers for a woman’s appeal to Personal Independance Payments by a welfare official for the department of work and pensions, they wrote

In this lying bitches case she is receiving the mid-rate carers allowance component for providing day time supervision to another disabled person. The tribunal may wish to explore this further.

 

The mother of small children has a degenerative condition affecting her heart and lungs that leaves her prone to infection and in constant pain. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 41 Comments

It’s not just the ridiculous and ignorant mistakes made in PIP and ESA assessments that should worry us

You judge whether a society is civilised or not by how it treats its most vulnerable people.  The Work and Pensions Select Committee will publish a report this week which has recommendations for the reform of social security for sick and disabled people.

If one of your relatives suffered from a debilitating, life limiting physical or mental health condition, you would want them to have the best support possible. You wouldn’t want them to have to endure a social security system that is complex, demeaning and stressful.

As a prelude to their full report, the Work and Pensions Committee published a taster of the evidence they have received which outlines the awful things that people go through.

For me, it wasn’t the absurd and ridiculous incidents that caught the headlines (people being asked why they hadn’t killed themselves yet, or how they caught Down’s Syndrome) that upset me the most. It was the clear evidence that the way the system operates is harmful to people that made me angriest.

To be fair, none of this was news to me. I’ve been aware for some time that the system is broken. It particularly fails those with fluctuating conditions, Autism and poor mental health, but it’s stressful for everybody.

Filling in the massive form is particularly difficult. For some, it is even more so. I spoke at an RNIB Scotland fringe meeting at Scottish Conference about a year ago, The RNIB Scotland Chair, Sandra Wilson, talked about her experience of the dreaded form. She has no sight. They sent her a paper copy and expected her to fill it in. They knew she had no sight when they sent her the form.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 23 Comments

Opinion: What’s happened to democracy in the Liberal Democrats?

What’s happened to democracy in the Liberal Democrats? Is it dead? Or is it just comatose?

The reason I ask this question comes from my own experience of our internal democracy.

When I joined the party at the age of 18, I was impressed by how, unlike any other major party,  ordinary members had a real say. That I, as a member, had a voice equal to anyone else in the party, be it my local councillor or the party leader and that everyone’s vote was equal.

So, last year, when I learned about the shocking plans by the government to drastically cut …

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 72 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPaul Holmes 11th Aug - 12:27am
    @Marco. The point is though that when we were on 0-6% at the start of Paddy's Leadership it was an unusually low and quite temporary...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 11th Aug - 12:03am
    John Marriott, Canada conducted a UBI trial in the 1970s called Mincome as described in this article https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200624-canadas-forgotten-universal-basic-income-experiment "... for basic income to work on...
  • User Avatarsuzanne fletcher 10th Aug - 11:13pm
    Yes good stuff, after the faff of getting in to watch it. Hope plenty of people do bother though
  • User AvatarMichael Sammon 10th Aug - 11:03pm
    Excellent article Tom. The leadership contest has probably gone on too long, looking forward to us coming together and backing our new leader. Keir Starmer...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 10th Aug - 10:36pm
    As a contribution to debate, without necessarily endorsing it, I attach a search indicator to the Scottish Green Party's paper on UBI. Scotland can lead...
  • User AvatarJohn D Salt 10th Aug - 9:43pm
    Has everybody read "Fully Automated Luxury Communism"? I thought Aaron Bastani was rather too smug for comfort when I saw some snatches of him talking...