Tag Archives: incapacity benefit

IT’S BEEN A WHILE!

It’s been a while since my last post, unfortunately life has got in the way! Since I last posted I have attended a careers advise session and an interview with my jobcentre adviser.
At the careers session I was given a computer to sit at and a questionnaire on the computer went through my likes and dislikes, whilst the adviser went off and left me to it. It came up with a few interesting things, a few totally unsuitable things, (hospital based in clinical areas when I’ve been known to faint at the sight of blood!), and a few pie in the sky. I was also asked by the adviser if I’d considered IT as I had completed the questionnaire by myself when most people wouldn’t have. I’m no whizz by any means but I have studied office based computer courses as I feel everybody needs them these days don’t they? I came away with a list of potential careers to peruse.
At the jobcentre, where I turned up at the alloted time to find it hadn’t yet opened, my adviser appeared to have noted very little from our previous two sessions! I was asked questions for a third time and then told that unless I needed help with a CV perhaps voluntary work was the way forward. A conclusion I’d already reached before any of these interviews! I was then told I wouldn’t be called in again unless the criteria changes with the introduction of Universal Credits.
I could have done all these things from the comfort of my own home, instead I’ve had to attend pointless time-wasting interviews in order for these people to justify their jobs.

On the ESA front, it looks as if the back money we are owed has been paid into my partner’s account although we have received no written notification and therefore need to wait until we get a statement to clarify this. At last we may be able to sort out our finances, well at least until the introduction of Universal Credits or my partner is called in for his PIPs medical!!

In the meantime I continue to look for that elusive job and am toying with the idea of starting my own business, but more of that later………

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!

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!

 

 

Atos or some similar swearword!!

Did anyone see the two programmes on TV regarding Atos last night? http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/4od#3388055 and http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01lldrc/Panorama_Disabled_or_Faking_It/. I found the channel 4 one particularly interesting as a GP went undercover to be trained in conducting the assessments. He uncovered that although both the government and Atos deny there are targets as to how many people they want thrown off ESA, in fact there is just that. Atos employees who pass too many as unfit for work are called up and asked to re-asses and alter their findings. Many of the criteria used for these assessments were shown to be fundamentally flawed and frankly laughable (if it wasn’t such a serious matter). How Chris Grayling could sit there, clearly lying through his teeth, is beyond the notion of any decent moral human being. The disgusting treatment of vulnerable people at the hands of Atos and this government is despicable. One man from my home county Derbyshire, had a heart attack and died 39 days after he was declared fit for work after undergoing 2 ESA assessments in a short period of time. It seems if you can sit behind a checkout and pass things over a scanner then you are fit for work. No consideration is taken as to if anyone will employ you with health problems that may mean you taking considerable time off.

People with mental health problems are also misunderstood under this system with people in hospital, sectioned under the mental health act declared fit for work! It was also mentioned in the channel 4 programme how one sufferer was asked why she wasn’t dead as she had taken several overdoses. What a way to treat someone already under stress. And the best thing yet Atos are on the shortlist to examine people for the new PIPS which will replace DLA so disabled and vulnerable people can expect more of the same.

The government is happy to shovel money into the pockets of Atos and the like, rather than pay genuinely sick people what after all many of them have paid tax for in the past and is only a meagre sum in real terms. I don’t know how they sleep at night!!

WORK BASED INTERVIEW

Well I knew it was coming but thought they’d have such a lot to get through that I wouldn’t be a priority, but just had a phone call for an interview at the job centre next week. I really think they’ve got enough on with the millions actually signing on without seeing me, someone who is trying to make herself employable by doing various courses and who is constantly searching for info on different ways to widen my knowledge and opportunities. Whilst they did stress I won’t be forced into a job but would see if there was anything they could do to help me, I’m not holding out much hope for any help. A friend who is on JSA has had little or no help so don’t see how I’ll be treated any differently. As many have told me, I think  they just go through the motions at the job centre. Said friend was in contact earlier saying how he had been told he must apply for fifty jobs a week in order to get his JSA. This from a man who clearly couldn’t be bothered to offer any help at all, sat playing a game on his computer!! He was then told his travel expenses were at the old centre and he would have to walk a total of four miles to get them or pay the bus fare out of his JSA. So if this is the calibre of help I can expect I’ll carry on trying to help myself!

We won ……………sort of!

Well we won the appeal despite it being an ordeal for OH. I myself was past caring. It was not a pleasant experience and couldn’t help feeling those we sat before didn’t really have a clue what it was like to be in our shoes. But hey it’s over with and whilst I know it doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen again we got through and have learned from it. Hopefully this time next year I won’t be reliant on DWP for my income. OH has been placed in the WRAG group, which we were told was the best we could hope for. So OH will have to attend an interview at the job centre designed to help him back into work but he can’t be forced to apply for jobs. We have been told that this programme is sketchy in its success as the help you receive often depends on the person appointed to help you. We will see.

So I will be  winding down this blog and starting a new one shortly. I will report back on here as and when there are any other developments and if anyone wants any help or pointers on the appeal process I’m only to glad to help if I can. Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for reading it has really helped to offload on here. Bye

An apology!?!?

Well it’s almost D-day and yesterday I received a phone call from DWP regarding my complaint letter. Once again they never received it (so they claim!), but my MP’s office has forwarded a copy to them after I expressed concern at having had no reply. Basically the postal service was to blame was the gist of the conversation. Apparently the DWP postal  centre is in Nottingham although the claims are dealt with in Derby?????????????? Really don’t see how that’s an effective system. When I replied that although I know the post office do lose things I really don’t see how one person can be so unlucky as to have the number of things go missing that we have had -it adds up to about 6 items in all! – he agreed that it wasn’t good enough. He stated that the service is paid for by the taxpayer and it isn’t doing right by its claimants. He reiterated several times that it wasn’t good enough but at no time did he say what was going to be done about it. So although the apology is appreciated it doesn’t seem as if the problems are going to be addressed any time soon.