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Work Programme adviser: ‘Almost every day one of my clients mentioned feeling suicidal’

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by Bob, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. Bob


    England (south coast)
    A UK news article re DWP sanctions for ESA claimants - includes an ME patient's experiences.

    This is a depressing but interesting article, via the Guardian, about ESA (work related activities group) & benefits sanctions, including: a candid exposé by a whistleblower; an account of the personal experiences of an ME patient; and her legal advice that she would have a strong case to sue the authorities for discrimination.

    Work Programme adviser: ‘Almost every day one of my clients mentioned feeling suicidal’
    Whistleblower says her job was box ticking, sanctioning sick people who had little chance of employment, and she wasn’t able to treat clients as human beings
    by Melissa Viney
    The Guardian
    Wednesday 5 November 2014
    alex3619, Sasha, WillowJ and 3 others like this.
  2. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

    Many heartfelt excellent comment's below the article. Some from people who have worked for DWP.
    One comment shared a link where they got the information that according to DWP own statistics only 00.7% of claims were fraudulent. Yet most claimants get bullied and treated like criminals.

    The guardian allows you to like comments without signing in. :)
    Wildcat, CantThink and Bob like this.
  3. Wildcat



    'A list of welfare-related deaths of UK's sick and disabled. They shall be remembered forever.'

    (This link was provided by a Commenter to the Guardian article)
  4. Wildcat



    The UK Department of Work and Pensions is still refusing to release the figures (since 2012) of deaths of people who had recently been through the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) to assess their ability to work. The bigger figure is of people who had been assessed and placed in the Support Group (not capable of any work). The point here is that too many of the people were so sick and or disabled that retesting at that stage was really a cruel and pointless procedure to go through, when the under the old Incapacity benefit system, people who won't recover, or are at a late stage of disease, were not repeatedly put though arduous assessments to prove they were not fit for work.

    Many of the people who died within months of the WCA assessment, had been refused ESA (sickness benefit), or had wrongly been put in the Work Related Activity Group (assumed to be ready for work at a later date, and have to attend regular work related assessments with DWP jobfinders, or go on courses with an outsourced private company such as A4E)....... those people then had to go to Appeal to be put in the Support Group; thus had been forced to spend their last months of life fighting a legal battle to 'prove' that they were too sick to work.


    The Independent. July 12th 2013:

    "Despite the barrage of criticism that has come its way, the DWP went on the defensive today over reports it had "quietly ditched" statistics used to collate the number of deaths of recipients of incapacity benefit, now known as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)."


    'Telling lies or damned lies can often get politicians into trouble, but it is statistics that tend to land Iain Duncan Smith and his Department of Work and Pensions press office in hot water.

    Although the communications team met the UK Statistics Authority and a senior DWP statistician earlier in the year, press officers are being dispatched on a statistics course this summer after a series of complaints concerning figures it has published.

    Despite the barrage of criticism that has come its way, the DWP went on the defensive today over reports it had "quietly ditched" statistics used to collate the number of deaths of recipients of incapacity benefit, now known as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

    Disability campaigner Samuel Miller wrote to the department to see if it would be updating its July 2012 report entitled Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of Recipients, showing that 10,600 claimants died between January and November 2011.

    The total was broken down based on the person's most recent Work Capability Assessment (WCA) result. The number of deaths of those whose assessment was not complete stood at 2,200. Those in the 'work related activity group', where individuals have limited capability for work, totalled 1,300 and there were 7,100 in the 'support group', where people receive unconditional benefit.

    Mr Miller was told by the DWP's ESA analysis team that "there is no intention of releasing an updated version of these statistics" in a written reply. The Canadian-based campaigner said he was concerned mortality rates had risen since welfare reform and that the DWP "is resorting to petty obstructionism-even a full-fledged cover-up-because the mortality of the sick and disabled has become too politicised for the Tories to cope with."

    He added: "I suspect that there has been a staggering increase in the number of benefit claimant deaths since November 2011."

    Mr Miller said he was filing a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office.

    A spokesman for the DWP said: "These figures were put together on an ad hoc basis last year and therefore there are no plans to update them. They've also been used in a very misleading way. The figures show the number of people who were claiming ESA but who then died with a recorded date of death.

    "As the report says, data on the number of ESA claimants that have died following a fit-for-work decision is not available as we do not hold information on a death if the person has already left benefit."

    Previous DWP 'ad hoc analysis' led to Mr Duncan Smith having his knuckles rapped. Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, said in May that the work and pensions secretary's statement that 8,000 people who would have been affected by the benefits cap had moved into jobs was "unsupported by the official statistics published by the Department" in April.

    Labour’s Glenda Jackson told the Independent the DWP’s use of statistics, spin and language has led her and a number of her cross-party colleagues on the work and pensions select committee to repeatedly ask officials for “greater clarity” on a number of issues.

    She said: “The largest beneficiaries of benefits are pensioners yet the language that has often been deployed by the department and has taken hold in the country does not reflect that. There’s a very grey area with who is briefing and selling government political policy - the press officers, the special advisers or the ministers - and a lot of that confusion comes down to the spin that is put on statistics. The situation is not improving.” '
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014

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