Monthly Archives: August 2012

Back where we started??

We have at last received some notification from DWP regarding the ESA claim. However it is only dated between February and April 2012 for some reason which is raising some questions for us since it’s now August! We had reason to believe that any incapacity Benefit received in the last year was taken to be your years worth of contribution based ESA but the letter states our ESA is contribution based. Is this why it only goes to April, the end of the financial year? If so why haven’t they included payment details for April to now? The payment breakdown is also confusing! They state they must take a percentage of my partner’s ill-health pension (from last employer) off the ESA, but then they have added a top up so that we don’t lose any money?????? So guess what we end up with exactly the amount we were getting before all this started!! We won’t get  any April increase though until the ESA rates catch up with the old Incapacity benefit rates. As to whether these rates apply to income based ESA, well that’s something else that’s not clear!

As you can  see lots of things we are unsure about meaning we still can’t plan our finances properly until we’ve sought answers to these questions. What does strike me though is all we’ve gone through to get back to where we started. What a waste of taxpayers money (we pay tax incidentally -on the pension). In an effort to get people of benefits the government is wasting money which could be better spent elsewhere and in many cases people will end up with exactly what they began with. If the medical criteria was not so unfair money would be saved immediately on the appeal processes that many are forced to go through. The sad thing is the government would rather waste money on them than give it to genuine claimants. People have died awaiting appeal, people who clearly aren’t fit for work have given up unable to stand the stress and are now being hounded by jobcentreplus to find work. Work that for them does not exist. Whilst government shovels money into Atos’ pockets. They should all be hanging their heads in shame at their treatment of  vulnerable people. Now Atos has been handed the contract to reform  Disability Living Allowance so we can expect much more of the same!

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Careers interview

I attended my second interview at the jobcentre yesterday with a careers adviser, having been referred by my benefits adviser. The meeting consisted of  a half hour interview which though interesting on one level, was of little use in helping me find work. I was asked why I’d been referred and when I told the adviser it was because people with partners claiming ESA are being called in, the response was ” we’ll just go through the motions then.” As you can imagine I began to think why are they wasting both their own and my time when they clearly have decided it will be of little use to me. The adviser had no access to programmes needed to help in my decisions about what I may like to do and so the only option was to conduct a personality test. This I did find quite interesting though I have a fairly good idea about my personality, after all I’ve had it a long time!!:) To be fair the result was fairly accurate but of limited value in my opinion.

I now have to go again next month in order to use the computer based careers programmes. What was the point of me attending an appointment when the right tools weren’t available to the advisor? It wasted my time as well as theirs. With every appointment I attend I become further convinced that it is an utter waste of time and of no value to me whatsoever. I was willing to attend these interviews in the hope that they would be of some help to me in finding work but if I wasn’t pessimistic about my prospects before I most certainly am now!!

Atos again!

Apparently there’s been a big hoo ha about the GP, Steve Bick,  who went undercover on the channel 4 programme http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/4od#3388055, because he is a Labour party activist. I can’t see how this affects what came from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, as he didn’t seem to be asking leading questions and most of the mentor/trainer’s comments were spoken during the training process unprompted. Incidently the expert who advised the government on the ESA assessment tests is out. DWP say Professor Malcolm Harrington was always due to go after three reviews of the system but after stating on TV that the tests still had a way to go to be fit for purpose, it does make you wonder. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01lldrc/Panorama_Disabled_or_Faking_It  

Both the government and Atos declined to show evidence, in the form of the contract between them, that they didn’t work to targets. If you have nothing to hide why would this be a problem? As both programmes came to the same conclusion I’m inclined to think that they are right in thinking that the main aim of this ESA assessment test was to throw people onto JSA or off any benefit totally and save money regardless of their circumstances. After all can it be coincidence that many people get no points at all rather than failing due to not getting the required 15 points? Why does no one seem to fail because they get 5 or 10 points? Unfortunately they either haven’t been clever enough to disguise their real intentions or they just couldn’t disguise their contempt for the sick and vulnerable!