Tory ministers have rewritten the law to deny increased disability benefit payments to more than 150,000 people

Tribunals had said the DWP should expand the reach of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – but the government warned this would cost it £3.7bn

Panicking Tory ministers have rewritten the law to deny increased benefit payments to more than 150,000 people.

Two tribunals had ruled the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should expand the reach of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – which helps disabled people fund their living costs.

 Yet the DWP warned that would cost £3.7bn extra by 2022 – so unveiled emergency legislation to stop the change happening.

Tory Disabilities Minister Penny Mordaunt said her move would “make sure we are giving support to those who need it most” – and insisted no one who had already been claiming PIP would see payments drop.

But there was fury after she tightened the law without consulting the government’s own Social Security Advisory Committee.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams stormed: “Instead of listening to the court’s criticisms of PIP assessments and correcting these injustices, this government have instead decided to undermine the legal basis of the rulings.

Read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/benefits-cut-change-tory-pip-9906018?

Tens of thousands of disabled people hit by cruel benefit sanctions, DWP figures show : Welfare Weekly.

More than 71,000 sanctions were applied against disabled ESA claimants between 3 December 2012 and 30 December 2016. While the mainstream media is focusing on the latest employment data, figures published today by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reveal that tens of thousands of people with disabilities have been subjected to cruel benefit […]

via Tens of thousands of disabled people hit by cruel benefit sanctions, DWP figures show : Welfare Weekly. — DWPExamination.

‘Degrading and cruel’ – claimants view of the benefit system

In a series of special reports, Granada Reports looks at the current benefits system.

James Harrison died after Job Centre staff wrote to his GP telling them not to issue him any more sick notes.

He was a Community Centre manager in Liverpool for 35 years but his health deteriorated when he was made redundant. He was declared ‘fit for work’ after a Work Capability Assessment, something his doctor disagreed with, even though he had a serious lung condition and depression.

He died of heart failure still waiting for a second medical assessment to prove he was ill. His daughter Abbie said he was forced to use a food bank and was made to feel ‘degraded and ashamed’

The film director Ken Loach has made a film to show the harsh reality of applying for benefits in his film “I Daniel Blake’.

In April, the government plan to cut the new Employment Support Allowance (ESA) for ill or disabled claimants who are judged to be able to work in the future.The allowance will be reduced by a third to £73.10 per week, the same as Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and is designed to give an incentive to disabled people to find work.

Ken Loach says the most vulnerable are being targeted by the new ‘benefit reform’. His film “I Daniel Blake’ follows two benefits claimants plunged into poverty, its distributor is Entertainment One UK.

This week on Granada Reports we will be taking to claimants who’ve had their benefits cut, the charities trying to support them and those forced to go to court to prove they are ill

read more: http://www.itv.com/news/granada/update/2017-02-06/degrading-and-cruel-the-harsh-reality-of-the-benefit-system/

Atos try to interrogate unconscious hospital patient over non-attendance at benefit assessment

This is sickening. It comes to us courtesy of our friends on the Atos Miracles Facebook page:

I have a neuromuscular disease and the medication I take means I have virtually no immune system. This photo [above] is of me lying in ICU battling life-threatening sepsis.

ATOS had the audacity to actually call the intensive care unit and demand to speak to me about why I wasn’t attending my assessment (despite the fact my mum and husband had told them I was fighting for my life).

The staff were horrified and told them how dare they ring and try and interrogate an unconscious patient.

Read more: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/02/04/atos-try-to-interrogate-unconscious-hospital-patient-over-non-attendance-at-benefit-assessment/

Disabled claimants may not meet costs with cut in unemployment benefit, warn MPs

Government plans to cut unemployment benefit for new disabled claimants could leave some unable to meet essential living costs, MPs have warned.

The Commons Work and Pensions Committee said the evidence that reducing Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) would provide an incentive for disabled to find work was “ambiguous at best”.

While the Government’s aim to halve the “disability employment gap” – the difference between the employment rates of the disabled and non-disabled – was laudable, it said ministers had failed to commit to a timeline for achieving it.

Under Government plans, from April new ESA claimants adjudged to be capable of work in the future will receive £73.10 per week – the same as the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) – a reduction of £29.05 on the current rate. However, the committee said the measure – intended to save a total of £1 billion by 2020-21 – could leave some with lower disposable incomes than JSA claimants as they often faced unavoidably higher living costs.

It was imperative, the committee said, that the Department for Work and Pensions provided additional financial support for those claimants in the so-called work-related activity group (WRAG) who found they were unable to cover their essential living costs due to their condition.

“The Government expects the new, lower rate for the ESA-WRAG to enhance incentives to work. The evidence is, at best, ambiguous,” it said. “We heard substantial concerns about the possible impact of the new rate on disabled people’s capacity to look for and move into work.”

The report also noted, that at current employment levels, halving the “disability employment gap” would require an extra 1.2 million to 1.5 million disabled people to find work.

However, it cited one estimate by the Learning and Work Institute that on current rates of progress, it would take over 200 years to achieve.

Committee chairman Frank Field said: “We expect the Government to respond to this report before the proposed new lower rate of ESA is due in April.

“If they intend to proceed with these cuts, we expect an explanation of how this will not be detrimental to its target of halving the disability employment gap, by making finding and keeping a job even more difficult for disabled people than it already is.”

Cut to disability benefits may make return to work harder, claim MPs

Government plans to cut disability unemployment benefit for new claimants could make it harder for them to find work and push many into poverty, an all-party group of MPs has said.

Ministers justified plans to cut £29 a week from employment and support allowance (ESA) payments on the grounds that the reduction would supposedly remove “perverse incentives” that discourage people from returning to work.

But MPs on the work and pensions select committee questioned whether cutting benefit rates would incentivise ill and disabled claimants to get a job, concluding that the evidence was “at best, ambiguous”.

 

read more: http://www.welfareweekly.com/cut-to-disability-benefits-may-make-return-to-work-harder-claim-mps/