The Vicious Trap That’s Been Laid For Disabled Workers

Disabled workers could be forced into not just unemployment, but homelessness, extreme poverty, workfare or even face being stripped of both employment and benefits for up to three years due to the Government’s vicious welfare reforms.

A recent large scale survey carried out by Disability Rights UK (PDF)  found that 56% of disabled people say they will be forced to stop or reduce work should they be stripped of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).  The Government is replacing DLA with the new Personal independence Payment (PIP), a crude cost-cutting exercise which is openly intended to strip disability benefits from 20% of current claimants.  On top of this the Government is closing the Remploy factories in a move which will see around 1,500 disabled people forced into the benefits system.

DLA is a benefit which is available to those in and out of work alike and is intended to meet the additional costs of living with a disability.  Many people depend on this benefit to allow them to stay in work, using it to pay for extra transport needs, specialist equipment or personal care.

The new assessments for PIP are to be carried out by private companies, using the same discredited model that is currently inflicted on out of work sick and disabled people who depend on benefits to survive.  This practice, carried out by French IT firm Atos, has caused untold devastation, with claimants driven to suicide by the brutal and inhumane system which ignores the opinions of GPs and medical consultants in favour of a short computer based test.  It is too early to say exactly how the process will operate, but if the recent Atos experience is anything to go by, disabled people could face losing benefits because having a job is deemed to prove they are not disabled enough.

Whilst Iain Duncan Smith has claimed that Welfare Reform will make work pay, the truth is that changes to DLA will force tens, if not hundreds of thousands of disabled people out of the workplace.

Many disabled workers have questioned the logic of stripping people of an in work benefit only to make them dependent on out of work sickness or disability benefits.  As Disability Rights UK have pointed out, this measure appears to make little financial sense.

Unfortunately the situation is far bleaker than many people have realised.  Employment Support Allowance (ESA) is the benefit for those unable to work due to sickness or disability.  This was shamefully introduced by the last Labour Government in an attempt to change the parameters of what it means to be sick or disabled.  It introduced the previously mentioned Atos computer based test to determine eligibility for benefits.  The stated aim is not to test whether someone is unable to work due to sickness or disability, but to measure whether there is any work that they could possibly carry out.  Being able to watch an episode of Eastenders has been one notorious factor that has led to people being found ‘fit for work’.

After undergoing the assessment claimants are placed in one of three groups.  Most people are found ‘fit for work’ and are forced onto Job Seekers Allowance. A small minority are placed in the Support Group, meaning that it is accepted they are unable to do any kind of work.  The rest are placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) which means they are deemed to be able to do some kind of work at some point in the future.

Disabled workers forced out of work due to the changes to DLA will be forced back into the assessment process to determine their eligibility for sickness benefits.  And the sad truth is there can be only one outcome under present conditions.  Their recent employment will be used against them and they will be declared ‘fit for work’.

Sick or disabled people will not, as ministers and charities have claimed, be sent to specialist provision run by disability charities to help get them back to work under the Work Programme.  They will be placed in the mainstream JSA system where they will face workfare and benefit sanctions if they do not complete mandated activity.

Over-stretched Jobcentre staff are not trained in the barriers that sick or disabled people may face in the workplace.  Over zealous advisors, under pressure to meet targets from above, can force JSA claimants onto Mandatory Work Activity should they decide someone is not trying hard enough to secure work.  This means four weeks workfare, quite possibly carrying out demanding physical work.  Failure to complete Mandatory Work Activity means benefits will be sanctioned.

More importantly JSA claimants can be forced to take any job under threat of benefit sanctions.  It will not matter if disabled people can’t afford to take the job due to the costs of specialist equipment or transportation needed to get to work.  It will not even matter if the workplace they are to be sent is inaccessible for disabled people as so many are.  Under new rules claimants are to be expected to travel up to 90 minutes in either direction to get to work and back.  This will be impossible for some disabled claimants but it will matter not one bit.

Those who refuse work that is unsuitable, or even impossible, will soon face benefit sanctions lasting three years.

Part time work, under the changes coming when Universal Credit is brought in, will no longer be an option.  Everyone will be expected to work 30 hours a week – or possibly 35 if ministers get their way – and will have benefits sanctioned if they are not deemed to be doing enough to increase their hours.

It is still unclear whether benefit sanctions under Universal Credit will include Housing Benefits.  Disabled former workers, forced out of employment, could be forced into three years homelessness and dire poverty for reasons completely out of their control.

Whether by accident or design some disabled workers face a brutal future.  It is little wonder that so many are now questioning whether it is actually the intention of this toff Government to eradicate completely those that have been deemed unproductive by this cabinet of over-privileged millionaires.

30 responses to “The Vicious Trap That’s Been Laid For Disabled Workers

  1. And of course the new offence of “drug driving” is going to take many with disabilities off the roads because of the powerful medication which they HAVE to take to control the pain, tremors or other symptoms. Care to bet that there are no exclusions even if we have taken them for so long they might just as well be smarties?

    • unless of course you have a disability that prevents you from driving in the first place!

    • I’m on quite a few meds and made the decision not to drive, because of the side effects of the meds. It’s up to you, the driver, to take responsibility to be safe on the roads, whether it’s drink or medication. We may feel that they don’t have any adverse affect on us, because we’ve taken them for so long, but how can we be certain of that? I couldn’t live with myself, if I caused an accident due to driving while under the influence of medication.

  2. Great. Just great. I’ve just come off ESA as I’ve managed to find a part time (22.5 hours a week) that I can do. So far, the 38 mile round trip by car is causing me considerable pain; I’m visibly limping/ one leg not wanting to work. I can’t work longer hours, I’ll be even more ill and in too much pain. My lower rate DLA funds my old car costs; I can’t get to my job on public transport. If I lose this, I won’t be able to get to my job. I’ll have to go back on benefits. No, wait, I won’t be able to claim ESA cos I’ve had a job. Bugger, I think I’ll be shafted. Shall I just sit in the corner now and wait to die Mr Cameron?

  3. Eric Greenwood (scared)

    Just wait till they combine housing (barrack type of rooms), where you are forced to work for the state.. for just your basics. Of course that means no luxuries, or food, what with the obesity panic, These people will be in working camps, with government diets.

  4. Whether by accident or design some disabled workers face a brutal future. It is little wonder that so many are now questioning whether it is actually the intention of this toff Government to eradicate completely those that have been deemed unproductive by this cabinet of over-privileged millionaires.

    Design. They consider the sick and disabled worthless, expendable annoying vermin. They want us dead. I believe “austerity” is a covert ruling class cull.

    Cheered on and enabled by selfish, mean, petty, pompous, sadistic, short-sighted, self-righteous Daily Mail reading bigots, who are too gullible, ignorant, propagandised and short-sighted to realise that the overlords that they enthusiastically doff their caps to, collaborate with and enable, intend to destroy them too, when they are finished destroying the poor.

    Heaven and Hell are not places you get sent to when you die, they are right here right now. The rich are living in Heaven; swimming in their gold plated swimming pools, drinking champagne and laughing without a care in the world, being given tax cuts and workfare slave labour by their political whores and being waited on hand and foot by their servants, secure in the knowledge that should they get sick or become disabled they will have access to the very best medical care and will be well taken care of.

    The unemployed, poor, sick, disabled and vulnerable are living in hell, which was deliberately created by and is ruled by devils (the ruling elite) and is administered by demons (politicians).

  5. Michael J Nicholls

    Know what?
    IT’S TIME FOR A CIVIL FUCKING WAR IN THIS COUNTRY.

  6. Andrew Healey

    It’s time the Sick, Disabled, Underpaid and unemployed ( there must be close to ten million of us) all descended on the house of the privileged and start that civil war.

  7. I am not disabled but what is going on now in the name of “Austerity” as regards the sick and disabled is a national disgrace.The country is devolving before our very eyes.

  8. Under the Equality Act, you can limit your hours so that you can work, so you can do part time work if you’re sick and disabled. The JOb Centre have to abide by the law. Whether or not an employer will take you on is another matter but the Equality Act means that reasonable adjustments have to be made otherwise it is discriminatory

    • if remains to be seen that this will offer any protection, but it is unlikely. if someone has failed both a PIP and an ESA assessment then the DWP will argue that they aren’t disabled.

  9. job centre plus are all to aware of the equality act,they have to follow this and so do any other parties.

    any breach its not just the employees fault its the company.

    they have tried to trip me up through disability,one adviser openly saying.
    “your disabled your more likely to be out of work”

    always appeal.

  10. If your made to get a job, causing your illness to worsen, you should be able to sue ATOS and the DWP. Try making them responsible for their irresponsible decisions.

    • You could also sue the health professionals for there assessment not being fit for purpose e.g. They have a duty of care and also must advocate for their patient. Also if your assessed by a non-mental health or learning disability specialist they must acknowledge their limitations in those areas. So if your passed fit for work and your condition/illness/disease gets worse see a solicitor for there acts/ omissions during the assessment must be in your best interest not the DWP’s. How do I know I am not disabled and am disgusted at the actions of this government and also the press/ news. I am also a health professional.

  11. Jonathan Sharpe

    It going to be a utopian society where every one is fit and young, hard working and productive: no room for the disabled and the sick in the future; those not up to it will be disappeared: a helpful lethal injection, in some mandatory euthanasia appointment where targets need to be meet.

    • They don’t even have the decency to give you a lethal injection. They prefer to leave you to die slowly in agony of neglect so that they have plausible deniablility.

      • Jonathan Sharpe

        I’m sure they’re working on that: It may become the ethical thing to do; euthanasia for those who are considered a burden on the state. Or it could be a “voluntary” programme, used to front other more sinister schemes, and the government will have to lie –they wouldn’t acutely kill people who don’t volunteer.
        It could happed –it’s not to far away: you may not have to die slowly in agony, you could be a volunteer on a new government scheme

  12. Angela Purkis

    This makes me sick, so those who genuinely pot in the effort are still going too get punished. This happens..I’ll give up the fight….be no point in sticking around in this savage country..take our huge taxes elsewhere, end up with more money in our pocket and not living under and twisted sick government who will do anything to prevent themselves from digging into their own pockets.instead of punishing those whoo are sick to save money, how about they ask take a pay cut! Saver us billions,any other caterer they Wolff have between fired

  13. There is a story that once, in the United States a Senator was asked by a reporter what kept the politicians on track and stopped them working too much against the interests of the people. In reply the Senator uttered one word “Walmart”. When questioned further on how a discount store could keep politicians honest he is said to have replied “In Walmart, for two hundred dollars, anyone can buy a rifle and a box of ammunition.”
    Does anyone now wonder why successive governments have been so keen to take away firearms here?

  14. Let’s not forget too that after April next year the govt. is proposing to effectively end the appeals process by insisting that one waits for a reconsideration before appealing. There’s no time limit on when the reconsiderations have to be made so obviously they just won’t happen #thintheherd #uselesseaters

  15. Reading Rogr’s story perhaps we should all bear in mind that the big banks (including Barclays) and hedge funds have recently been buying up American munitions companies. Soon if you want a gun and ammo you’ll have to buy it from a bank-owned company – if they’ll let you.

  16. We need to revolt, if this was France they wouldn’t stand a flamin chance on any of these “regimes” or the dictatorship we are being forced to abide by the French would be hitting the streets with riots, protests and all sorts why the heck aint we following their example! lets get out there and show them we aint gonna stand being told what to do every 5 minutes and having our basic rights quashed!

  17. So – anyone now working and in receipt of DLA, should seriously consider getting ‘a lot more sick’ very quickly, and chucking the job ahead of time.

    One is quickly running out of words to describe this nasty, lying, mendacious, cheating, vicious scum of a Government.

  18. As you have stated before, universal credit will be primarily an online affair. It does not bode well, aside from all the centralised data storage and access issues, what about people who cannot afford an internet connection, or are not very good with websites and computers?

    I’ve recently filled in a “form” on the governments DLA claim pages, and it has so far taken around 6 hrs of time, and it’s still not submitted – so where would people get this computer time from and what level of support?

    The website I was using didn’t have enough text fields for the questions, had erratic and ill defined behaviour, wouldn’t submit certain pages although the data was correctly formatted, stopped working randomly, and generally was not user friendly, easy to use, or consistent what so ever.

    Is this their plan to cut down on benefit spending?

    • It may well be that the government are intending to use this as a device to deny people benefits. They seem intent on creating a slave class with no rights at all.

  19. Pingback: 2012: A Year of Lies and Blunders at the DWP Part 1 | the void

  20. Pingback: Repost/reblog from “the void” 2012: A Year of Lies and Blunders at the DWP Part 1 « Launchpad: By and for mental health service users

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  23. I could have flamed in this nevertheless Queen Diana became a bad louis vuitton baby bag undergraduate. I’m going to inspire this daughter to ignore institution and only focus on the girl appears to be she’ll have a good deal for more distance.

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