Number of Claimants On New Sickness Benefit At All Time High Boasts Mark Hoban

atoskillsgrafIt is a tribute to the hard campaigning carried out by disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters that the Government are now boasting that less people are being found ‘fit for work’ than at any point since the notorious Work Capability Assessment (WCA) began.

A revealing press release from the DWP makes the claim that the WCA is now ‘fairer’ stating that: “nearly three in ten people completing a Work Capability Assessment between June and August 2012 were awarded unconditional support through ESA. This compares to just one person in every ten completing an assessment three years ago.”

This refers to claimants placed in the Support Group part of Employment Support Allowance, in which there is no requirement to look for work.  It suggests that even the DWP admit that many of the initial assessments were ‘unfair’, despite internet con man Grant Shapps’ recent attempts to smear all those stripped of sickness benefits as fraudulent or fake.

The press release also contains  a timely acknowledgement that those placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG)  group – the majority of claimants now on sickness or disability benefits – are not ‘fit for work’ as has often been claimed.  According to the DWP:  “People who are placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG) for ESA are currently too ill to work, but with the right help will be able to move into work in the future”

Astonishingly people in this group can still be sent on workfare or face having their benefits stopped.  Grasping charities such as the Salvation Army have been only too happy to staff their charity shops with claimants who, in the opinion of their own doctors, Atos and even the DWP, are too ill to work.

And it is this that reveals the truth behind this apparent change of attitude,  which is little more than some cheap spin spewed out by skiving Employment Minister Mark Hoban in a panic before the local elections.  As well as condemning sick and disabled people to unpaid labour, Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms are set to make a significant number of them homeless.  Despite minister’s lies that disabled people will not be affected by the bedroom tax or benefit cap, hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled claimants in the Work Related Activity Group will be hit by the changes.  Many will lose their homes.

The figures also contain details of appeals, and show that 37% of appeals against decisions made by Atos have been successful, a figure which has remained more or less stable since the introduction of the WCA.  This translates total to a shocking 15% of all ‘fit for work’ decisions in total.  And that just represents people who appealed.  The number of those wrongly stripped of benefits and now forced into the Jobseekers Allowance regime, or living on the charity of friends and family, will be far higher.

A couple of year’s ago this press release would have been littered with smears claiming to prove the number of ‘fit for work’ decisions shows how those on sickness or disability benefits are scroungers.  The new direction should not fool anyone.  It seems that the new DWP spin on the figures is intended to imply that the WCA they inherited –  shamefully introduced as it was by Labour – was terribly unfair, but now they’ve fixed it.  The persistent high rate of successful appeals reveals they have done little more than change the PR and tinker around the edges.

Hundreds of thousands of people with serious health conditions or disabilities are still being found ‘fit for work’.  The appeals figures show over 1 in 7 of those decisions are ‘officially’ wrong, whilst the Work Programme statistics show barely any of those thrown off sickness benefits are finding jobs.  The number of disabled people helped into work via the Government’s Access to Work scheme has slumped to an all time low over the last two years. 

There has been no time in living memory that those who are too sick or disabled to work have been treated so viciously. It has not been enough for this Government to impoverish people and now even drive them from their homes, but also to collaborate in callous smear campaigns in the press to abuse and discredit sick or disabled claimants.  This week’s figures show that those smears were based on lies so big that not even the DWP dare attempt to hide the truth any further.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

27 responses to “Number of Claimants On New Sickness Benefit At All Time High Boasts Mark Hoban

  1. reg 25 makes the wca even worse, if it could be….now hcp’s can give medical advice…

    • ps atos hcp’s can now give medical advice..

      • overburdenddonkey, this is extremely concerning. I would like to read more about it, if you have the time and the links to hand could you post links that would tell me more. I am thinking to myself does this mean that those with mental health problems, which by diagnosis can not be treated can be forced to take medication or sanctioned. Surely that would be in defiance of the mental health act. Any info you can give would be much appreciated. Thanks in Advance.

        • work house….one link here…there are many more…say disabilityrights uk…should have a bit+upper tier judgement useful in determining the legal perspective thats all i can do..i hope it is useful…

          • Thanks overburdenddonkey, that does help. It would seem to me this is as I suspected very concerning and should be getting a wider coverage. Specifically this part here concerns me……..
            “There is no explicit requirement to take into account side-effects of
            medication. This is worrying for more than one reason. There seems to be an implicit suggestion that medication
            ought to be enforced. For obvious reasons that is very troubling. It has serious implications for issues of medical consent, and patient rights.”

            Thanks again for the heads up, OBD.

            • something survived...

              And if the medicine/treatment they order you to have, would make you ill/paralysed or kill you?????!

  2. frank begbie

    All the cutbacks and austerity is all about saving money.

    But its not about saving money to get the deficit down.

    Its so that the rich tax dodging bastards in this country can continue their lifestyles.

    But you won’t see that on the front of The Mail.

  3. I think the paralympics is partly to blame for the ,mostly tory attitude,that disabled ppl,should be considered suitable for work placement.Im sure most disabled folks would be quite happy to have work,but a good many are just not capable.

  4. Grrrrr, my pc is doing my head in… one of the fans keeps making a “slushhh, slushhh” sound at almost the same speed as my heartbeat… i’m sure its trying to lull me into a false sense of living, then when its finally fully synced it will stop and therefore give me a heart attack :-/

    I think its been infected by the ATOS virus.

    • Do not worry Jonathon, the ATOS virus is easily cured. Simply take your computer down to your local Atos centre and it will miraculously be fit for work again. And you get the Ian Dung Can Snifffy seal of approval!

  5. Pingback: Atos To Sponsor Nursing Awards – Shame on the Nursing Times | the void

  6. I had my assessment in january and had my appeal today, scored 0 at the wca, today that was overturned on article 29 and 35 witha recommendation that they leave me alone for 18 months although it is only a recommendation, pretty good result and i am happy, the judge was a benefits lawyer who did not know her stuff and i had to correct her on a couple of points, lucky for them because if it did not go my way i probably would have thrown myself through the big glass windows of the foyer in the building so i am glad i did not have to do that.
    The wca was brutal, the woman assessor i felt was the coldest person i have come across and the fact that she ignored most of my evidence which led to a 0 score on the discriptors whilst telling me that i should have a very good case, well until next time….

  7. Also don’t forget that one main reason for the increase in the numbers being placed in the support group now compared to 3 years ago is that the majority of assessments/decisions now are transfers of people previously on long-term Incapacity Benefit and so it would be expected that the rate would increase as these are people previously defined as “permanently unfit for work” in many and possibly most cases and this despite the pre-existing problems with assessments and decision making process prior to ESA and the WCA being introduced. In fact the government’s own projection was that this would be the case precisely because of this factor.

  8. Pingback: Atos To Sponsor Nursing Awards – Shame on the Nursing Times

  9. Landless Peasant

    How lower can this Government possibly get? It’s the old Aristocracy killing-off the excess Peasants.This is the most evil, twisted, devious, lying, uncaring, sadistic, psychopathic, sociopathic, (and possibly Luciferian?) bunch of over-priviliged, inbred Upper-Class Ruling Elite SCUMBAG OPPRESSORS to ever govern this ‘Sceptred Isle’ since the days of King John and his brutal Norman Barons……Either that or they’re just completely unbelievably clueless fuckers who do not have a clue how people live or how the nation functions. Not a fucking clue.

    • frank begbie

      Totally agree.
      Every time you think things can’t possibly get any worse, they do exactly that!
      Thank God for the internet. I think word is finally getting through the propaganda.


  11. GARY LEE
    1) You need to stop shouting. Calm down dear !
    2) You need to learn to spell guido / ukip then search to find an apt forum for your opinions.
    Jv – hope this ain’t too abusive ?

  12. GARY LEE
    3) Ask nicely and some of us could reccomend a “fully qualified medical professional” I’m sure ! Till then keep taking the tablets.

  13. To change the subject – Good night and good luck to the QUISLING Liberals after south shields result-coalition with monster raving loonies beckons if they’ll allow it.

  14. Pingback: Atos Join The Army – MOD Hand Out £25 Million Contract To Bungling IT Firm | the void

  15. Pingback: Atos Join The Army – MOD Hand Out £25 Million Contract To Bungling IT Firm

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