The Welfare State – Putting Targets Above Health……

31 May

The Department for Work & Pensions has made its position clear in respect to claimants of Employment & Support Allowance, the benefit for people who are unable to work due to ill health but not classed as disabled.  The inference is that the majority of claimants are not sick, exaggerate their medical condition, are able to work and falsifying claims in order to receive larger benefit payments.  Whilst this may be true for a minority the draconian measures being implemented to reduce eligibility is having a profoundly damaging effect on the wellbeing of vulnerable people……

The Ideology of the Welfare State is to provide support for people in need.  We consider our society to be a caring one in which we pay our taxes to provide healthcare, education and benefits.  We accept this system and understand that some people will need more medical treatment than others.  Some people will marry, have children and require education; some will need support when they are unemployed or sick.  We accept this system and understand that the Welfare State functions like an insurance policy where ‘claims’ are based on need and that the tax and National Insurance contributions of the many provide for this.  The system has served us all well for many years and very few people can claim to have never been the beneficiaries of the Welfare State.  However, the Government now intends to limit the number of claimants which is totally at odds with the spirit of the system……

Targets Intended to Reduce Social Security Payments are now a matter of policy and one that affects some of the most vulnerable people in our society.  The new Work Capability Assessment has been specifically designed to meet a target rather than a need; the outcome is decided and the details made to fit.  It does not take peoples medical conditions into account and is contradictory in its language and implementation…….

Letters sent to claimants by Atos Healthcare are headed “Medical Services”.  However, the form completed by the assessor is a mixture of genuine medical terminology and strange statements which convey no useful information.  One section is titled “Build”.  The assessor has three options which are small, average and large.  “Build” is more fitting of the description a Police report of a suspect may contain.  The standard terminology used by the medical profession is the Body Mass Index, from which useful information can be gained.  A five feet tall lady weighing seven stones could be described in the report as “small” although her BMI would fall within the normal range.  I was described as “average”.  At that time I had lost two stones in weight and being six feet four inches tall, had a BMI of 18 which is classified as malnourished.  The form also contains a “Prognosis” which in my case stated “A return to work could be considered within 3 months”.  The ‘Decision Maker’ at the DWP who, as far as I am aware has no formal medical qualifications, decided to disallow my claim immediately even though the prognosis said “Could be considered within 3 months”.  This is a very different statement to “Can return to full time employment immediately”?…..

Challenging the decision was a time consuming and stressful experience.  The doctor who carried out my assessment made statements regarding some of my illnesses which he was not qualified to make and without seeking the advice of the Consultants who treat me.  The reply to my complaint to Atos Healthcare pointed out that it was NOT a medical assessment but a Work Capability Assessment but offered no explanation as to why the WCA contained medical terminology.  They were also unable to explain how their doctor was able to state how I acquired a blood born infection, when the Consultant Haematologist could not.  In total there were five fundamentally floored statements which were retracted and a complete revision of how my illness affected my ability to function on a daily basis was done.  Eventually, after many months of letter writing and complaints the DWP accepted that they were wrong.  My worry is that not everybody has access to the information they need or understand their rights when challenging decisions, adversely affecting the benefits to which they are rightfully entitled……

The Statistics Show that only 6% of the 1.5 million claimants are found to be unable to work, suggesting that 94% of claimants are either lying or, the policy that has been put in place is based on predetermined outcomes for financial motives……

So What’s Next?  Will we implement a policy like the Chinese to limit the number of children to lower the education budget?  Will obese people be refused NHS treatment and smokers too?  The current state of our economy and the ‘austerity’ measures that are affecting the people on the lowest incomes and the high levels of unemployment, are primarily due to greedy bankers and their clever derivatives which cost theUK tax payers £65 billion to save private institutions.  The Government have made no attempt to close the tax avoidance loopholes which deprive the economy of an estimated £120 billion per year but have managed to target those with the most need……

Clearly, “We are NOT all in this together”.  The politicians continue to make obscene expenses claims, are being exposed in their dealings with the media and big corporations and carry on regardless while the rest of us suffer……

If You Have an ESA Assessment please ask for a copy of your medical report, check your “prognosis” which will almost certainly state “A return to work could be considered within 3 months” and get in touch so together we can compile a dossier of incompetence.  I’ll be more than happy to help you with your appeal, after all, with a little knowledge you can easily demonstrate their ineptitude and win your appeal…..

Other Interesting Articles:

http://www.myhiv.org.uk/News/Positive-Update-everyone/Issue-5-March-2012/Welfare-reform

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jul/29/incapacity-benefit-failing

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/esa_wca/esa_wca_24012012.pdf

Here is Karl McCartney MP’s Opinion on ESA Claimants:

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