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Looks like a deliberate attempt to incite hatred of the disabled

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Sounds alarmist, I know, if you have had nothing or little to do with the benefits system.

I used to be scornful dismissive generous-minded when I heard people suggest it’s actually designed to stop those in need from getting support. After my first encounter with a DLA application form, I was converted to that view. It was about 56 pages – I have to be approximate as the format has been significantly different every time I’ve had to re-apply (making it impossible to save and re-use my last answers, and apparently ‘No change from last year’ gets your attempt rejected) and many of the questions leave you wondering exactly what They want to know. Even Wikipedia calls it ‘exceptionally complex’. Last year the booklet about help with the digital switchover was such an example of plain English that it drove home to me how obscure the DLA form always is. Which means they can communicate straightforwardly, when they choose to.

I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt when possible, and so I had been thinking it was muddle-headedness and poor design rather than deliberate contrivance that made DLA so difficult to apply for, and more difficult for those in most need of it (not coping with daily life because of pain or weakness; adapting to a disabled lifestyle for the first time; unable to pick up clutter from the floor, for example, bath a baby, or manage their own finances.)

Anyway.

It’s not only me thinking the coalition government is trying to stir up opinion against legitimately disabled people, as well as make it even harder to get benefit. To quote the opinion of the very useful Benefits and Work:

At worst, this press release appears to be a deliberate attempt to incite hatred of disabled claimants for political and economic reasons, at best it seems careless as to whether it does so or not.

This week’s Benefits and Work newsletter is all about the threatened tightening up of The System. The already-too-tightly-knotted-as-in-tangled-(which-in-WordWeb‘s-definition-2-is-‘Highly complex or intricate and occasionally devious’) System. And it’s about the Government’s intention ‘to harden public opinion against claimants’. At the risk of making this blogpost too long, I’m reproducing it here in full. If you want to follow up any links and don’t feel you can look at them all, the smear campaign link in the fifth paragraph leads to an angry but level-headed article with further points made in the comments.

5 July 2010

Firstly, just to say we have now quadrupled the memory on our server in the hope that this will prevent the site crashing when thousands of people click on links at the same time.  But, if it does still crash, please try again later . . . we’ll be back.

In this newsletter we look at the shock coalition government plans to slash the number of people receiving disability living allowance (DLA) by 20%.  A new, points-based system modelled on the notorious work capability assessment process for employment and support allowance is to be introduced for DLA, along with new qualifying criteria.

A treasury document has confirmed that all existing DLA claimants of working age to will be required to undergo a medical using the new system between 2013 and 2016, leading to savings of over a billion pounds a year in reduced DLA claimant numbers.  This means there’s still the opportunity to fight these proposals, but there’s certainly no time to lose.  Members can read more at:  One in five current DLA claimants to be axed (This article is members only)

We’re also deeply dismayed by the hate-provoking DWP press release that accompanied the emergency budget. The statement claimed that DLA was open to abuse and cited the rise in the number of people receiving DLA as evidence of this, without offering a shred of proof  that it is fraud rather than, for example, wider awareness of DLA that is the reason for this rise.

In fact, the DWP’s own statistics put fraud in relation to DLA at a tiny 0.6% last year. We fear that the coalition is embarking on a campaign of whipping up hatred of DLA claimants similar to the one waged against incapacity benefit claimants in recent years.  Read more and let us have your opinion at: Coalition begins smear campaign against DLA claimants

Moving away from DLA we have the news that the DWP has announced the scrapping of the ‘second medical’ for employment and support allowance (ESA) from later this month.  Along with the admission that Pathways to Work is a complete failure this leaves the entire ‘back to work’ aspect of ESA in tatters:  Second medicals for ESA to be abolished (This article is members only)

The tribunal service statistics suggest that other aspects of ESA are also struggling, with ESA appeals having more than quadrupled in less than a year and now far exceeding DLA appeals in number:  ESA appeals skyrocket

Finally, the forums were closed for a few days last week due to the huge quantity of budget related posts having to be dealt with by a reduced number of staff.  The forums are back online now, however, thanks to the continued dedication of our entirely unpaid team of moderators.

And, just to show that  some people are still successfully being awarded benefits, we’ve listed a few of the cheerier posts from the last few weeks below.

DLA 4 page SUCCESS!!! Increased award!!

ESA – Won my appeal but was the Doctor negligent?

Tribunal for IB is a WINNER!!!

DLA

DLA Short Form Renewal Success

ESA Appeal Today

IB renewal Success

Finally, the office has been closed for two weeks whilst we took our annual leave, so you won’t be surprised to learn that we’re still catching up on everything that’s been going on in our absence – because there’s been an awful lot. So much so that we’ll probably put out an extra one or two newsletters over the next few weeks in order to make sure we’ve given you all the major news.

And, once again, if the links aren’t working at the moment we really are sorry, but please do call back later.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

(c) 2010 Steve Donnison. Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd.  Company registration No.  5962666
You are welcome to reproduce this newsletter on your website or blog, provided you do so in full.

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