Sharp rise in rejected claims for disability benefit

Labour raises alarm over number of people being turned down for personal independence payments.

This article titled “Sharp rise in rejected claims for disability benefit” was written by Rowena Mason Deputy political editor, for The Guardian on Sunday 16th April 2017 23.01 UTC

About 200,000 people face seeing their claims for a disability benefit to help with daily living and mobility refused this year, new figures obtained by Labour suggest.

Senior MPs have called on the government to explain an apparent spike in people being turned down for personal independence payment (PIP), which is a top-up benefit with two components related to the extra costs of daily living and limited mobility for disabled people.

Read more here:http://www.welfareweekly.com/sharp-rise-in-rejected-claims-for-disability-benefit/

Eight things you should know about the benefit cap

‘Fairness’ was the word Lord Freud used to justify the lowering of the benefit cap. But there is no fairness to be found in a policy that ignores assessed need, mostly affects people who can’t work to increase their income, and hits households with children in 94 per cent of cases.

Here’s what you need to know about the benefit cap:

  1. The cap breaks the link between what you need and what you get. People are assessed for social security support according to need, but if that help goes above the – arbitrary – level of the benefit cap, it is restricted. In other words, the needier you are, the more likely you’ll be hit by the cap.
  2. When the cap was originally set, the amount (£26,000) was based on the premise that non-working households shouldn’t receive more than the average earnings of working households. But this isn’t comparing like for like: it’s comparing incomes with earnings. A working family on £26,000 could also receive a range of benefits and tax credits.
  3. The new – lower – amount (£20,000, or £23,000 in London) does not have a rationale. And it has come in at a time when the cost of living is going up.
  4. One of the stated aims of the cap is to incentivise people to move into work. But only 13 per cent of people affected by the benefit cap are on Jobseeker’s Allowance – i.e. expected to be actively trying to get a job. The vast majority of people affected by the cap are not expected to work because of disability or ill-health, or because they have very young children.
  5. Ministers claim people capped are 41 per cent more likely to move into work. That sounds big, but actually the effect is relatively small. The government’s own evaluation showed about 16 per cent of people moved into work shortly after being capped and that 11 per cent of people would have moved into work anyway. That difference in rates (4.4 percentage points to be precise) is where the 41 per cent figure comes from. About 75 per cent of people move off JSA after 6 months, 90 per cent by 12 months.
  6. More than 116,000 families will be affected by this new cap – and more than 319,000 children. It’s not just larger families either. Most families affected by the lower cap have two or three children.
  7. The Supreme Court has said that the benefit cap breaches the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and that ‘it cannot possibly be in the best interests of the children affected by the cap to deprive them of the means to provide them with adequate food, clothing, warmth and housing, the basic necessities of life’.
  8. The only other way to become uncapped is to move house somewhere cheaper. Yet a family with two young children will not be able to find a cheap enough home in 60 per cent of the country to escape the cap – including the entire southeast and southwest regions.

Families with very young children and people with disabilities – who are most likely to be affected by the cap – ought to be given the strongest possible protection against the deprivation this policy leads to. That would be fair.

read more here: http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/eight-things-you-should-know-about-benefit-cap

Thousands of disabled people to face inappropriate benefits reassessment this year

Thousands of disabled people who suffer from progressively worsening conditions will face reassessment for their benefits this year, new figures show.

Campaigners and MPs are now demanding changes to stop those with such conditions being repeatedly reassessed to claim personal independence payments (PIP).

Between April and October, 3,500 people suffering progressive conditions rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease and motor neurone disease were reassessed for PIP, according to a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Madeleine Moon.

SNP MP Carol Monaghan said she was dealing with four cases in her constituency of people who suffer from MS being reassessed for PIP, despite their condition only getting progressively worse.

“MS is a progressive condition, they’re never going to be any better than they are at the moment, so they should never be asked to go for a re-assessment,” she told the Press Association.

“Some of these people are still able to walk to a certain extent, so they get themselves in just about, and then they’re being told that ‘you look fine’. That’s like somebody ill going to a doctor and the doctor saying ‘yeah, you’re looking all right, I’m not going to bother doing any tests’. It’s a medical condition – it’s not about how somebody or somebody presents. It’s actually about a diagnosis that’s given by a medical professional, and this simply isn’t happening.”

In 2015/16 2,400 people with these conditions were reassessed for PIP, according to the figures obtained by Ms Moon, compared with a total of 200 in the previous two years.

Read more here: http://www.careappointments.co.uk/care-news/england/item/41618-thousands-of-disabled-people-to-face-inappropriate-benefits-reassessment-this-year

Food Bank Britain: who is responsible?

 

Amid the politics of austerity, the state is relinquishing its responsibility for preventing hunger.

  1. Being food secure means being sure of your ability to secure, at all times, enough food of sufficient quality and quantity to allow you to stay healthy and participate in society.
  2. The rise from the 61,468 food parcels which were given out by the Trussell Trust  in 2010/11 to 1.1 million people in 2015-2016 does not reflect the number of people living with insufficient food in the UK today:
  3. Food security figures released in the last week of March by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) show that 13 per cent of UK adults are only marginally food secure and that 8 per cent have low or very low food security.
  4. In deprived areas, such as Bradford, we have found that 14 per cent of women with young children cannot afford to put food on the table.
  5. Reduced entitlement, increased conditionality and the restructuring of and reduction in state-provided crisis support have pushed people to seek emergency help with food.
  6. Difficulties include inappropriate sanctioning decisions, errors made in declaring people on Employment Support Allowance fit for work and, more generally, ineffective administration of welfare payments.
  7. The survey of GPs has only been conducted for two years. 16 per centsaid they had been asked to refer patients to a food bank in the first year and 22 per cent in the second year.
  8. 7366 people were admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of malnutrition between August 2014 and July this year, compared with 4,883 cases in the same period from 2010 to 2011 – a rise of more than 50 per cent in just four years.’

Madeleine Power,  Richard Wilkinson, Kate Pickett:

University of York and Equality Trust

Thios is part of a summary. To read the whole report go here: http://taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/news/food-bank-britain-amid

MS sufferer slams ‘awful’ benefits chiefs who axed her Motability car in favour £65,000 taxis

BENEFITS bosses axed a disabled woman’s Motability car to save cash – but then agreed to pay out £65,000 to taxi her to and from work.

The bureaucrats first decided Jan Davis, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, no longer qualified for the disability allowance she used to pay for the car.

But just weeks later officers from the same Government department ruled she did qualify for help in getting to work.

They agreed to pay for a taxi to take Jan, from Ayr, to and from her job in East Kilbride, 33 miles away.

The move, which would cost the taxpayer an extra £19,000 a year, was last night branded “shambolic” by her local MP.

Jan, 58, who suffers excruciating pain, had been receiving the Personal Independence Payment, a non-means tested benefit, and used this money to lease a Motability car.

But the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last month informed Jan she would no longer qualify after a snap reassessment of her benefits ruled she did not need the car to live independently.

Desperate to keep her job at HM Revenue & Customs, Jan turned to the DWP’s Access to Work scheme after taking advice from her MP.

To her surprise, she was informed the DWP would pay for her to take a taxi to and from work – despite a cost of almost £65,000 over three years, compared with the £8000 cost of leasing a car over that period.

Last night, Jan, of Ayr, blasted the DWP’s approach, saying: “It’s crazy – it would have cost them less than £6000 for me to keep the car and yet they are willing to pay up to £65,000 for taxis.

read more here: https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/ms-sufferer-slams-awful-benefits-chiefs-who-axed-her-motability-car-in-favour-of-taxis/