Phoenix Rising tells QMUL: release the PACE trial data
Mark Berry, Acting CEO of Phoenix Rising, presents the Board of Directors’ open letter to Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) urging them to release the PACE trial data, and hopes that other non-UK organisations will join British charities in the same request...
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UK Budget 2015 - "ESA cuts considered"

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by worldbackwards, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    OK, this has popped up again this morning for the third or forth occasion, but I think we can assume that they mean it this time round:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33347511

    I suspect this will happen: £12 billion is a lot to find and ESA has been haemorrhaging cash for the last couple of years. Looking at the latest statistics, 64% of new claimants got support group ESA, roughly the same amount of people who used to get Incapacity Benefit altogether under the old regime. A further 13% were put in the WRAG, so this will only affect a minority of claimants.

    In the short term, this will be devastating for people in the WRAG: they won't have enough money to live on. However, I suspect in the long term that it will at least make something clear which has so far been obfuscated: WRAG is an outpost of JSA, rather than ESA, and claimants are expected to work at some point. As it stands, too many chronic patients of all illnesses end up in the WRAG, think they're on long term benefits and aren't ready to deal with the consequences when they come up against the interviews and courses, underpinned by sanctions, that they are expected to undertake.

    This will make it more likely that those in the "reformed" WRAG will appeal to get in the support group, so as to avoid the attention of Jobcentre Plus and the like. Whether the government's belief that claimants are less likely to moan and appeal to get the extra money if they end up on Jobseekers is true, I don't know. But I suspect most people who are disabled and end up on JSA will appeal anyway: IT IS UNLIKELY THAT THEY WOULD HAVE PUT THEMSELVES THROUGH SUCH AN ONEROUS TASK UNLESS THEY WERE UNFIT FOR WORK. But this seems to have been lost once again on the DWP.

    Perhaps the most ominous sentence in the article is this:
    This may mean a tightening of rule requirements - it seems outlandish that conditionality and sanctions would be applied to the severely disabled (though not impossible, after all Priti Patel is now employment minister, a terrifying proposition).

    Given the chaos that ensued last time they attempted to forcibly eject large numbers of sick people from ESA, you might have think they'd have learned their lesson: the vast and overwhelming majority of people claiming for Incapacity are too sick to work and cannot be forced to do so. But it seems that, as soon as they've cleared off the enormous backlog caused by the last, calamitous run at this, they are preparing to start shouting at the rain once again. This will mean for claimants; further hardship, increasing severity of illness and, for some, premature death.

    And in the end it will all fail again.

    Trebles all round in Whitehall then, I imagine.
     
  2. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    I don't even understand how people in the UK can survive on 102 UKP per week, given the incredible cost of housing in big cites!?!
     
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  3. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    They get housing benefit on top of that. Though increasingly that's being cut back and scrapped for certain groups as well.
     
  4. deleder2k

    deleder2k Senior Member

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    Meanwhile people in Norway whine about GBP 1000-1400 a month!
     
  5. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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  6. deleder2k

    deleder2k Senior Member

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    Are we talking about permanent disability, or is this some sort of a temporary thing? Is it easy to get permanent disability?
     
  7. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    There's no such thing as permanent disability in the UK. That would be 'giving up on people'. It's always a temporary thing here.
     
  8. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    There are no permanent disability benefits in the UK anymore. The old Incapacity Benefit (the main disabled out of work benefit and predecessor of ESA) used to have a situation where you could be signed off work indefinitely, and Disability Living Allowance, which is a top up for care and transport costs, used also to have a permanent option. Nowadays you are reassessed at least every two years, even if you have a severe incurable illness or disability. There will apparently be five or ten year awards for PIP (the replacement for DLA), but no lifetime awards.

    That said, we are currently having a respite because the reassessment process has collapsed, due to the high rate of appeals and the over-frequent reassessments. This is ironically because the private firms hired out to complete them couldn't afford to do them all and still make a profit.

    The Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of ESA is supposed to be temporary, it's for people who are deemed to be likely to work in the next 18 months. However, that prognosis is not made by a claimant's doctor, it is made by an assessor on the basis of an half hour meeting.So lots of people end up in there who are chronically ill and will not be fit for work. They are subsequently harassed into completing activities that are harmful to them and are sanctioned when they fail.

    There is a general feeling that we've been punished enough. This is not shared by the government and the general population. Benefit cuts are the government's most popular policy. So everyone's really looking forward to next Wednesday.
     
  9. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    All I can say is that based on the UK experiences, we don't want the same changes to the welfare system to be made here!!!!
     
  10. deleder2k

    deleder2k Senior Member

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    I may be getting a permanent disability now after 4 years on a temporary plan. I am not sure if I think that is alright. I am not even 30 years old, and now I could be given benefits from the rest of my life even though we might have medicines to cure the disease in a few years.

    If one has been sick for 3+ years I think a reassessment every 5 years or so would be fair.
     
  11. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    We'd kill for every five years. Until recently there was a situation where many claimants applied, got rejected, waited a year on a tiny allowance whilst their appeal went through, won the appeal, then days later got reassessed, rejected, etc.

    Lifetime awards may be appropriate for some conditions, perhaps some people with ME - there's no guarantee of a cure and if you've been ill as long as I have you've seen "promising" research come and go. But reassessments every year or two for everyone are pointlessly savage and a huge waste of money.
     
  12. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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  13. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    It always seems strange to me that scientists have to jump through extreme hoops when involving humans in experiments, yet the government does it on a big scale with no compensation when implementing policies, like the changes to the ESA which are based on, at best, hypotheses. They think that it will save money, or encourage more people to work. But it could very well do the opposite, as pointed out in the article that Worldbackwards linked to...

    These are not evidence based policies, they are social experiments with real consequences of harm.
     
  14. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    The problem now is that if you are put in the WRAG group then in trying to appeal for placement in the Support group you have to climb all the way from the bottom rung of the ladder to the top rung, with no rungs in between. I expect it will be difficult in many cases to achieve that.
     
  15. markielock

    markielock staying independent, one day at a time

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    The only way I can imagine it working, at a stretch, is with Housing and Council tax benefit on top of having ESA. However, as @worldbackwards pointed out with that article, that could be under threat too. I'm currently applying for ESA and undoubtedly, being 25, will be put in the WRAG group. God knows what this would mean for me until I can find a way to not be dependent on the Government.

    I hope the 'considerations' for these benefits remain just that. There's nothing considerate about them!
     
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  16. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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    Not necessarily at all. About 80% of successful claimants get put in the support group these days and, like it said in the article above, it seems to be based on the potential danger to people's health caused by the WRAG. Throw the kitchen sink in on the form and get as much guidance as possible (ME Association, etc). You've got a much better chance than you'd have had five years ago.
     
  17. markielock

    markielock staying independent, one day at a time

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    Ah thanks for letting me know @worldbackwards, that's reassuring to hear :). I fully intend on getting as much guidance and advice as possible before my assessment.
     
  18. Artstu

    Artstu Senior Member

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  19. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    What the fuck is wrong with UK politicians?
     
  20. worldbackwards

    worldbackwards A unique snowflake

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