Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Snugglybear

How Not To Reform Benefits

Recommended Posts

We all know there are people who take the mick with benefits, but the ESA reform is being done cack-handedly.

My bold.

New benefit system labelled unfit

Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was introduced 18 months ago to replace incapacity benefit.

But its new medical assessment has led to allegations by Citizens Advice Scotland that it targets the most vulnerable.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions believes ESA is the best way to ensure people get back to work.

A BBC Scotland investigation found that under ESA, more than two thirds of claimants are being found fit to work, almost 20% more than the government had planned.

It is now the most commonly appealed benefit, with 8,000 tribunals heard every month across the UK - and 40% of decisions are being reversed.

So far, only those claiming after 2008 have undergone the medical, but longer-term claimants are due to be transferred to ESA in October.

Citizens Advice Scotland said that the system was unfit for purpose and called for an urgent review.

The new Secretary of State for Scotland Danny Alexander has also questioned whether the roll out should go ahead.

ESA's controversial medical assessment is based on a points system. Those scoring 15 or more are entitled to extra money, and support back into employment.

Those scoring less than 15 have to apply for jobseekers allowance, or find work.

Paisley GP, Chris Johnstone, has piloted a back-to-work scheme and said he had serious concerns about the medical.

He believes the medicals are not thorough enough and they "don't appear to cover the areas that the patients want to talk about, often mental health problems".

Dr Johnstone added that a lot of stress and anxiety had been caused to a "vulnerable group of patients".

The medicals are carried out by private company Atos healthcare which also conducts staff medicals for the civil service.

ME sufferer Vikki Bell was dismissed from her Department for Work and Pensions desk job she had held for 15 years, after an Atos assessment concluded she was too ill for the role, and was unlikely to return in the foreseeable future.

But just three weeks later when applying for ESA, she was told by another Atos assessor that she was fit to work and did not qualify for the benefit.

Atos said the tests undergone by Ms Bell - who has since qualified for ESA after reapplying - were different with different criteria.

An Atos spokesman added that the company was audited by the DWP to ensure a high standard of assessment and that medical advice was correct.

A BBC freedom of information request revealed there are eight thousand ESA appeals heard every month. This is double the number of the next most appealed benefit, disability living allowance, which has seven times more claimants than ESA.

And around 40% of ESA appeals find in favour of the claimant.

Speaking before his promotion to the Cabinet, the Lib-Dem's Mr Alexander questioned whether it was appropriate to roll out the programme.

He added: "If the experience we've had over the last few months is anything to go by, there will be thousands, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of incorrect decisions that are made.

"Tens of thousands of appeals will follow, and that will be a system, then, that is close to meltdown."

October roll out

Citizens Advice Scotland, which has given the BBC access to its report on ESA's first 18 months, has called for the roll-out to be shelved pending an independent review.

The Department for Work and Pension plans to press ahead with the roll out in October.

A statement from the department said: "People need much more support to manage their conditions and get help to find work and moving them to ESA is the best way to do that.

"We are fully aware this is a big undertaking and that is why we are working on plans to make the change happen as smoothly as possible."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that that example of the woman signed off by one ATOS assessor and denied by another shows up bad practice. Trouble is, there are about a million people in the country on incapacity/ESA with mental health issues, the vast majority of which are anxiety and depression, not severe illnesses. Although work can be a source of stress and unhapiness, generally studies show that people with genuine mental health issue improve when they are working.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Assuming anyone wants to give you a job if they know you have mental health problems.

But that's not really any different from no-one wanting to give you a job if you are 58, or have been unemployed for say, 5 years. Unfortunate, but not warranting special treatment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who cares. When the money runs out or it takes a months wages to buy a tin of beans because these people stopping necessary cuts there wont be any benefits to reform.

Let them hang themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that that example of the woman signed off by one ATOS assessor and denied by another shows up bad practice .

It's not necessarily bad practice, it's just that medical assessments are subjective and the results often arbitary. Many observers and politicians seem to think that claimants can be divided into defined groups: the fit and the unfit, the willing to work and the unwilling to work. In the real world it's not like that. Every claimant is an individual with their own problems and limitations. Thus there is a frequency distribution of fitness to work, probably approximating to a normal (bell) curve. The decision point naturally gravitates towards the centre of that curve where the government can maximise its influence (and those operating the system maximise their employment). Consequently, the majority of claimants will be clustered around that mid-point and many decisions are consequently borderline, arbitary, and unjust.

Trouble is, there are about a million people in the country on incapacity/ESA with mental health issues, the vast majority of which are anxiety and depression, not severe illnesses.

In many cases if not most, anxiety and depression IS a severe illness.

Although work can be a source of stress and unhapiness, generally studies show that people with genuine mental health issue improve when they are working.

For some people it can, but for others it may worsen their illness. In practice, few employers are willing to take on people with a history of mental illness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Charity MIND were looking for people who had had difficulty finding work because of their past condition and a failure of employers to respond as they are required to do by the Disability legislation.

They wanted to test the Law in the Employment Tribunals.

I do not know how they are getting on, but believe that taking a case through the Tribunals would test the sanity of anyone.

The Disability legislation just does not work and it is cynical to thow people into the 'unemployed' category when they have no chance of overcoming the situation they are in through disability.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But that's not really any different from no-one wanting to give you a job if you are 58, or have been unemployed for say, 5 years. Unfortunate, but not warranting special treatment.

Actually they're afforded protection under the Disability Discrimination Act in both declaring in disability during the application process and in requiring an employer to make 'reasonable adjustments' to the workplace to allow them to work there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually they're afforded protection under the Disability Discrimination Act in both declaring in disability during the application process and in requiring an employer to make 'reasonable adjustments' to the workplace to allow them to work there.

And 'reasonable adjustments' to the selection criteria where the disability has an affect.

However, no-one, even most public bodies which have stricter duties, takes much notice of the legislation,

The legislation just doesn't work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The trouble is, even mundane minimum wage jobs are expected to be filled by energetic go-getters keen to catch the eye of their supervisor with their exceptional performance and attendance.

Yes, someone with, say, moderate depression may seem capable of doing a lot but still couldn't, realistically, do the most basic job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In many cases if not most, anxiety and depression IS a severe illness.

For some people it can, but for others it may worsen their illness. In practice, few employers are willing to take on people with a history of mental illness.

I disagree with you that it's most cases that are severe out of the million, or at least that they started that way. Anxiety and depression can be very severe but there are many cases of mild to moderate that will get worse if they sit at home doing nothing. and losing touch with people. Exposure is necessary.

For some, work may worsen their illness, if they are in a harsh/bullying etc. environment or are an estate agent but a lot of research going into work and mental health recently highlights the positive benefits for the majority

http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/spru/seminars/Grove09.pdf

Some mental health trusts are quite passionate about this and, knowing the stigma that some employers attach to mental health issues, they are bringing employment advisers into the workforce and working with businesses to employ service users

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest BetterOffOnBenefits

Still hearing the same old cliches from the politicians

"benefits may be reduced" if the unemployed don't play their part.

I can't see this happening, for example, Joe says "I'm not looking for work, can't be bothered".....so his benefits get stopped? Then what? He starves?, steals?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rented and all,

My experience is that when applying for jobs employers simply do not answer my application so we never get to sit down to discuss what changes they could make. I have a neurological disease.

It would be helpful if more employers would adopt the approach of guaranteeing an interview to unemployed disabled applicants who are qualified. They could be given Govt incentives to employ disabled people.

My disabled support group is full of people who would desperately love to work but there are simply not enough employers who will interview us, offer homework or part-time hours (for those who cannot leave their homes or are only mobile for short periods each day).

Then we need a public transport system that actually allows people to travel to jobs. I'm in London and few tubes and trains are accessible to disabled persons.

(as an aside members of my disabled group do not feel supported by legislation and the CAB and legal advisers agree that employee tribunals are largely a waste of time of us).

We have discussed this as a group with our own MPs and at Parliament where we met with Labour Govt Ministers more than once. Ministers knew that our members did not have working legislation, access to fair employment tribunals / complaints process and a fair benefits system because we presented case studies and examples to them over years.

They also knew that this was resulting in poorer physical and mental health, poverty and increased suicides (including members of my group) but they did nothing to help us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • 152 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.