Wednesday, 14 November 2012

DWP ESA Migration Figures for November 2012

Here are the DWP's November 2012 headline figures for ESA migration.

Figures in this issue cannot reflect the final outcomes, because they do not include:
·       effect of appeals still lodged in the legal system; and 
·       claims with no outcome yet recorded.  
For these reasons it is likely that the statistics underestimate the proportion of
claimants who will ultimately be awarded ESA, by greater amounts for more recent
Outcomes of initial assessments adjusted to account for outcomes after appeals for
incapacity benefits claimants referred for reassessment between December 2011 and
February 2012 show:

·       91 per cent of claimants have an outcome i.e. decisions have been made on
         their claims; 
·       3 per cent of claimants had their claim closed before having an outcome; and
·       6 per cent of claimants were still undergoing assessment.  Claimants with an outcome for their claim can be broken down as follows:
·       64 per cent of claimants were entitled to the benefit.  Within this – 
o   39 per cent of claimants were placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG),
o   25 per cent of claimants were placed in the Support Group (SG); and
·       36 per cent of claimants were assessed as Fit for Work (FFW) and are not
         entitled to ESA.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Welfare for All

The British Legion and the Poppy Appeal boasts that some of the monies collected by the poppy sellers from the public goes towards helping the wounded from British conflicts overseas.

Last year £90 million was spent on health and welfare; £20 million towards personnel recovery centres; and £18 million in individual grants - some of these grants probably for making homes of disabled service personnel accessible, no doubt.

As I speak we still have a welfare state. Though no great fan of the British military machine and the wars in which it becomes embroiled in at the behest of double dodgy governments, I am nonetheless a Socialist and hold strongly to the belief that the NHS and welfare state take care of the needs of our citizens as and when they present themselves; and that our NHS and welfare state are funded through NI and general taxation.

Disabled service people should not have to depend on charitable handouts, no more than any other person living in this country should. (Sorry, I am aware that hundreds of thousands of people, including children, are doing exactly that in soup kitchens and at food parcel distribution points up and down the country).

Ex-service personnel should not have to depend on 'charitable' handouts from the British Legion (BL). Sadly, the BL tradition is being rolled out in different forms up and down the country; and more and more of us will have to depend on the munificence of Lord and Lady Bountiful in the near future. And of course we all know there is always a price to pay for anything 'given' to you in the name of charity.

Do Epetitions Make a Difference?

A post on Socialist Unity questioned the effectiveness of epetitions as a political weapon. Personally, I'm ambivalent as to whether they achieve as much as the time and resources put into them. However, I am certain of one thing and that if a petition is going to be put forward that it meets a certain criteria. It should be presented in plain understandable language; it should be factually correct; and the subject matter should be inclusive so as not to antagonise the target audience, or those who have a stake in the issue.  

Below there are three petitions that I took from the SU post. The ICC petition and the one calling for ministers within the DWP to be investigated for corporate manslaughter are certainly worth signing. However, the one asking for exclusion for people with mental health 'problems' from DLA assessments in 2013 should not, in my view, be supported.

The petition is poorly worded and phrased as well as factually inaccurate and divisive.

The appeal confuses the situation by stating people will be assessed in 2013 for DLA, when the assessment will be for PIP (personal independence payment), and according to the rules of the new benefit which are more stringent than those of the current DLA.

Anyone going for assessment can be accompanied by a friend or representative. This is not to say being accompanied will necessarily improve your chances of receiving benefit; nor, according to people who've undergone ATOS assessments for ESA, will it stop ATOS assessors from manipulating medical evidence in order to downgrade results.

While those being wrongly assessed for ESA, including people with terminal illnesses, are being forced to present themselves as 'fit' for work in order to receive JSA, the PIP assessments are being not carried out to assess fitness for work; instead they are to assess whether a disabled person fulfils new criteria introduced in order to qualify for personal independence payment.

Finally, the disability movement, while recognising that people with mental health illnesses are subject to a range of difficulties unmet by others, does not support making distinctions when it comes to fighting against the inherent injustices manifold within the new PIP benefit.

Disabled people must be as one when fighting against the inequities embodied within the personal independence payment. When presenting petitions it is imperative we present our arguments fluently and factually. The petition in question does not lay out its case factually; and is, in my view divisive in its call to just exclude one group of disabled people, but not only that, its call for exemption implies acceptance of the new benefit and its rules.