I co-run an online advice and support group for people going through Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claims, assessments, mandatory reviews and appeals. Recently there has been a spike in people being reassessed for their awards of both kinds of support much earlier than expected. Furthermore, many are seeing their longstanding awards being taken from them by the Department for Work and Pensions following the reassessment, when this is clearly unjustifiable.
For example, a significant proportion of this group have chronic or degenerative illnesses that are not going to improve. If someone with such a condition is deemed unfit for work, or in need of extra support to meet their needs and maintain independence, given their condition cannot be cured, it’s unreasonable that following review, they have lost their awards, most often based on highly inaccurate reports from the Department’s decision makers.
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From the BBC script archives:
THE TWO RUSSIANS
AP: Good evening! It’s nice to be with you again, isn’t it Ruslan?
RB: Yes it is Alexander, and in a packed programme tonight we’ll be hearing from the director of Porton Down, who tells us he is confident that security there is so tight, they couldn’t possibly lose any of the ‘A-234’ nerve agent that they don’t have; [LAUGHTER]
AP: And we’ll be reading an obituary of Ivan Astyich, a Russian dissident and fierce critic of President Putin, whose death has been announced following a tragic accident next Tuesday. [CONCERNED MURMURING]
RB: But first the news: and criticism has been made of two would-be assassins who flew to England and travelled by train to Salisbury carrying a container of the world’s deadliest poison; a government minister said they took reckless and unnecessary risks in relying…
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A leading cross-party thinktank has proposed that ministers should consider abolishing the Department for Work and Pensions.
In a provocative paper that marked the start of Demos’ research examining the Department of Work and Pensions, Tom Pollard, formerly of the mental health charity Mind, who has also completed an 18 months secondment to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), illustrates a bureaucracy blighted by “historic dynamics and averse to radical thinking.”
Pollard’s paper identifies three problems with the DWP. First, the department is afflicted by a “benefits lens”, where case handlers perceive employment support as a condition for receiving benefits, rather than a means of enabling claimants to pursue fulfilling work. Where benefits are the carrot, sanctions are the stick. Sanctioning claimants for misdemeanours such as arriving late to meetings creates a “confrontational dynamic of power asymmetries.” In other words, it strips citizens of their autonomy.
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Once again the response from the DWP shows the reports writers to be correct in regards to their blinkered attitude.
Ministers should consider abolishing the Department for Work and Pensions after its failure to help ill and disabled people out of poverty, a leading thinktank has said.
Most of the work of Amber Rudd’s department could be carried out more effectively by other Whitehall ministries, according to a report by Demos.
Tom Pollard, the report’s author, spent 18 months at the DWP on secondment from mental health charity Mind. By the end of his time there he concluded that the “DWP is institutionally and culturally incapable of making the reforms needed to achieve such a shift in outcomes for ill and disabled people, or for ‘harder-to-help’ groups more widely”.
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