Universal Credit Cock-ups: the Computer Industry Speaks.

“Basic flaw rests in the idea that we can “personalise” benefits for millions of people. There are just too many moving parts; and in a system with millions of iterations, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. “ Following the advice of many people on this Blog, I have been looking at what the […]

via Universal Credit Cock-ups: the Computer Industry Speaks. — Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Woman with mental age of a toddler had benefits stopped because she missed her DWP appointment

The 26-year-old is to be medically assessed for work despite having mind of a three-year-old

A severely disabled woman, with the mental age of a toddler, had her benefits stopped by the Department of Work and Pensions because she “missed an appointment”.

Georgina Ball has aicardi syndrome, a rare brain abnormality which means she suffers from severe epileptic seizures and learning disabilities, and is unable to walk, talk, read or write.

The 26-year-old claims Employment Support Allowance but this was stopped in December after her mum received a letter to say that her daughter had missed an appointment, to be medically assessed for work.

Mum Paula, who is Georgina’s full time carer, says that she never received a letter, and added that even if she did her daughter cannot attend the appointment because the centre does not have the facilities to deal with her needs.

The 53-year-old said: “What three-year-old would be able to go to work? Georgina can’t read, she can’t write, she likes Teletubies and Thomas the Tank Engine.

“I do everything for her.

“I think it is disgusting that someone with her disabilities has to go and prove them.”

Read more and see the video here: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/woman-mental-age-toddler-benefits-12523947

Can’t use a computer, or read or write very well? Tough. No benefits for you.

From Kate Belgrave’s b;og:

…………………………..The fact is an employment minister’s claims that most benefit applicants happily apply and manage benefits online masks a monumental problem of exclusion. I meet people who have abandoned hope of applying for or keeping benefits, even though they very clearly need to. Complex application forms, intrusive and judgmental staff and constant rejection (particularly for housing help) are all reasons for this. Problems with reading, writing, using computers and just understanding and meeting the DWP’s convoluted requirements are often also high on the list.

And sure – the service people get at jobcentres these days is often terrible, but that’s because staff and the service have been run into the ground.

I really have lost count of the number of times when jobcentre advisers have told me that nobody has time to help people in need with job application forms, or calls to employers, or even to sort general problems out (the most recent was just a couple of weeks ago).

There’s certainly nobody around to help applicants get through the DWP’s own dire benefit application processes – to fill out the DWP’s own online benefit forms, or to sort out the endless problems people have when they’re desperately trying to make a Universal Credit claim. People who want to make an Employment and Support Allowance claim are simply given a number to call. Nobody at the jobcentre will do that for them, or help them fill in an ESA application form.

People need more face-to-face help, not less. Less is what they get, though, and I find it VERY hard to believe that’s going to change, no matter how government finesses closure news with tales of new work coaches and support, and god knows what else. The people I work with are not considered good job prospects. They won’t get much input from Damian’s supposed incoming army of work coaches, mark my words. They have been abandoned, very likely forever. Like I say, I keep meeting people who have given up applying for benefits at all.

When the likes of Damian Hinds blather on about people making and managing benefit claims online, they permanently exclude a whole group of people who can’t and don’t do that. Suppose that’s the whole point……………………………

read more here: http://www.katebelgrave.com/2017/01/cant-use-a-computer-or-read-or-write-very-well-tough-no-benefits-for-you/

NHS spending per person will be cut next year, ministers confirm

The funding constraints come despite the unfolding ‘humanitarian crisis’ in the health service

The Government will cut the National Health Service’s budget per person in real terms next year, ministers have admitted in official figures for the first time.

Numbers released by ministers show NHS England will face a sharp reduction of 0.6 per cent in real terms of per head in the financial year 2018-19.

The numbers corroborate claims by NHS chief Simon Stevens earlier this month that “in 2018-19, real-terms NHS spending per person in England is going to go down”.

The figures also fly in the face of the Government’s public insistence that it is investing more in the health service, with Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May repeating the mantra of an extra £10bn for the NHS.

That claim was debunked by the cross-party Health Committee in the summer, whose chair, Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, said the number was both “incorrect” and “risks giving a false impression that the NHS is awash with cash”.

The Liberal Democrats said the figures show Tory claims of investment were “disingenuous” while Labour said the Government should use the March budget to close the black hole opening up in the health service’s finances.

read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nhs-cuts-spending-policies-theresa-may-jeremy-hunt-tories-labour-lib-dems-a7549686.html?cmpid=facebook-post

Fresh evidence that DWP bars email communication from disabled claimants

Fresh evidence has emerged that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has refused to allow benefit claimants to communicate via email, despite its claims that it allows disabled people with “valid reasons” to do so.

Last week, one disabled PIP claimant, Mark Lucas, told how he was taking legal action against DWP for refusing to allow him to communicate with its civil servants via email as a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act.

DWP insisted in its response that “claimants are entitled to request to receive all communications from the department by email on the grounds of disability under the Equality Act 2010“.

But after Lucas’s story was published, other disabled people have come forward to cast doubt on that response, and have described how DWP has refused to let them deal with their benefit claims by email.

One claimant, disabled campaigner Graham Kirwan, who represents Dudley Centre for Inclusive Living on accessible information issues, told Disability News Service (DNS) that DWP paid him £1,700 damages to settle his claim against the department for refusing to communicate with him by email over his personal independence payment (PIP) claim.

In settling the case, which Kirwan took himself as a “litigant in person”, DWP admitted that it had failed to make reasonable adjustments for him, stating: “The Department accepts that it has not sent you communications in your required format and that it has taken an unreasonably long time to agree and make the reasonable adjustments you have requested.”

Kirwan had previously been a long-term claimant of disability living allowance (DLA), but had his payments suspended when he failed to respond to letters asking him to apply for PIP, its working-age replacement, letters that he says he never received and that would not have been accessible to him anyway.

Kirwan, who is partially-sighted, has computer software that can magnify text, but it does not usually work with scanned or PDF documents.

read more here

: http://www.disabledgo.com/blog/2017/01/fresh-evidence-that-dwp-bars-email-communication-from-disabled-claimants/?utm_source=DisabledGo+Blog+Update&utm_campaign=7ee637e2ff-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_444b4daa4c-7ee637e2ff-127142017#.WIuAnPKn97E

PIP INVESTIGATION: Politicians call for action over ‘widespread dishonesty by assessors’

Labour, the Green party and the Liberal Democrats have called for the government to act on claims of widespread dishonesty by the medical professionals paid to compile benefits assessment reports, following a two-month investigation by Disability News Service (DNS).

The three parties spoke out after DNS shared the findings of the investigation with key opposition figures.

Government report confirms fears over impact of Independent Living Fund closure

Former recipients of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in England experienced a loss of support, a greater reliance on unpaid care and an “adverse” impact on their physical and mental health after its closure, according to a government report.

The research, published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), confirms many of the warnings and concerns raised by disabled activists who campaigned against the decision to close the fund, before it shut in June 2015

read more here: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-report-confirms-fears-over-impact-of-ilf-closure/

MPs hear of activists’ anger and frustration over ministers’ response to UN report

Disabled activists have told MPs and peers of their frustration at not being able to hold the government to account for its “grave or systematic” breaches of the UN disability convention.

The UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) found in November that the UK government had discriminated against disabled people across three key parts of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), following a lengthy inquiry sparked by disabled activists.

read more here: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/mps-hear-of-activists-anger-and-frustration-over-ministers-response-to-un-report/


Cuts to support killed my neighbours,’ MPs are told


By John Pring Disability News Service 26th January 2017

A disabled campaigner has told MPs that he believes cuts to support have contributed to a quarter of his neighbours in the sheltered housing development where he lives dying in just one year.

Larry Gardiner told the communities and local government select committee this week, as part of its inquiry into adult social care, that five of his neighbours had died in the last year.

He said that to lose so many neighbours in such a short period of time was “absolutely unprecedented”.

He said: “Some of those deaths were expected and anticipated… but there were others which I think were premature, unexpected and for which there should be an investigation, and there hasn’t been.”

read more here: http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2017/01/26/cuts-to-support-killed-my-neighbours-mps-are-told/