The Grenfell Tower fire was the end result of a disdainful housing policy

The people who lived in Grenfell Tower should be writing this article. But those who died cannot tell their stories, and those who survived are still dealing with their trauma. The residents had tried for so many years but were silenced by a system that prevented them from being heard. The most persistent were threatened with legal action for defamation which had the effect of discrediting their claims of neglect and mismanagement. It’s only now that people are listening – when it’s too late.

I worked with a group of residents living in Grenfell Tower through my involvement with the Radical Housing Network, a network of housing campaigns across London. The first meeting of tenants in early 2015 was attended by around 100 residents. Each spoke of the historical neglect of the building, of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) failing to undertake basic but vital maintenance or improvements. Residents recounted incidents such as disturbing power surges in which appliances “blew up”.

read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/20/grenfell-fire-housing-policy-social-housing-tenants?CMP=share_btn_fb

Heartbroken mother of mum who took own life: ‘The DWP has blood on their hands over my Jodey’

Family fury after mum-of-nine Jodey Whiting is ruled to have taken her own life after inquest hears how she had her benefits stopped

……………..”The 42-year-old’s inquest heard Jodey took her own life after her benefits were stopped because she missed a health review – despite never seeing the appointment letter.

Plagued by ill health, including a brain cyst and a curved spine, she could barely make it through her Stockton home’s front door.

And days after her body was found near a suicide note, her family received another DWP letter confirming the benefit cut – despite Joy already telling staff she had died.

“I blame the DWP for her death,” said grieving Joy. “The DWP has blood on their hands over my Jodey.”

read more here: http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/heartbroken-mother-mum-who-took-13092932#ICID=sharebar_facebook

 

What exactly is the jobcentre for?

It’s been a long time since jobs were advertised in jobcentres and you went there to look for work, but a jobcentre actively intervening to stop people’s own efforts to find a job places it firmly in the category of worse than useless. It’s not just that they’re making people waste time with pointless exercises. People are telling us about ‘work coaches’ making them stop doing things that would be genuinely helpful.

Read more here: What exactly is the jobcentre for?

Tragedy of Liverpool mum who died penniless after her benefits stopped

A mum-of-one suffering from severe mental illness died without any money after her disability benefits dried up.

Annette Francis, 30, was found dead at her Garston home two weeks ago, leaving behind 11-year-old son  Kieron. Her distraught family say Annette  was let down by the authorities in the  months leading up to her death.

At the time of the tragedy, Annette had spent six months without receiving a single penny in benefits, her aunt Ann Sorotos claims.

She told the ECHO: “Annette was penniless because she had  no money coming in from the benefits people. I’m disgusted with them and  think Annette was really badly let  down.”

Annette suffered from a mental  illness similar to bipolar disorder  and was unable to hold down a job.

read more here: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/tragedy-liverpool-mum-who-died-7232928#.U5OZ834xH9l.

TOXIC ATOS REBRANDS AGAIN

blueannoyed

Toxic Atos are again having to rebrand claiming

Following an independent review of the PIP assessment journey claimants experience in December 2014, Paul Gray recommended a number of changes to claimant communications to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Assessment Providers.
After consultation with DWP and reviewing our communications, we have introduced a new business name that better represents the work we do independently assessing PIP cases.
We believe Independent Assessment Services does this because: • It makes it clear that we are ‘independent’ providers, distinct from DWP • ‘Assessment’ explains the service we deliver assessing PIP cases more clearly than ‘healthcare’ does

It can rebrand as much as it likes, it  doesn’t stop the DWP destroying disabled people’s lives when being assessed and losing their money,  vehicles, jobs when they fail to be assessed correctly and leaving some so distraught their health actually deteriorates or they lose…

View original post 466 more words

PIP is a disaster for disabled people. At last the full horror is emerging

From test centres with no disabled access to the mass repossession of cars and wheelchairs, a report exposes the true scale of this catastrophe

When does reform become dangerous? Over three years ago the Conservatives began to roll out personal independence payments (PIP) – in essence, the mandatory, mass re-testing of disabled and chronically ill people – and the answer is getting stark.

A report released today by Muscular Dystrophy UK is the latest piece of evidence to expose an administrative catastrophe: appointments cancelled at the last minute, lost applications, year-long delays. Two in five respondents report being sent to an assessment centre that wasn’t accessible for disabled people. That’s in order to be tested for a disability benefit.

Make it inside the building and the picture is as dire: widespread reports of assessors – employed by private firms hired by the Department for Work and Pensions – who showed no respect for disabled people, while some didn’t even understand the condition they were testing (one man, with muscular dystrophy, pointed out that the word “progressive” means “muscles don’t come back”).

The result of this chaos is anything from rent arrears and credit card debt to mental scars. One woman, with a muscle wasting disease, said that she developed panic attacks after her assessment. She is now under care of a mental health team and doesn’t leave her house.

That the government deliberately built PIP with tightened criteria – and is sitting by as the system descends into disarray – becomes grimmer still when you consider that this is being done to a benefit tied to other essential disability services.

Without PIP a disabled person can’t access anything from carer’s allowance to severe disability premium. If that isn’t enough, anyone who is rejected – or bumped down to the standard rate – is also barred from the Motability scheme for an accessible car or powered wheelchair.

Sarah, a nurse with progressive muscle wasting and weakness, is seven months’ pregnant – and has been forced to hand back her Motability car. The 29-year-old had been receiving the higher rate of disability living allowance (the predecessor to PIP), but after being reassessed she was knocked down to the standard rate – despite her condition deteriorating.

Sarah can’t take her fatigue medicine without affecting her pregnancy, and her disability means she is at risk of falling when she walks, and permanent damage. “That vehicle was a lifeline to me,” she says. “I’ve lost my independence.”

Last week Sarah was due at a tribunal to appeal against the decision, but found it cancelled with just two days’ notice – and no explanation. She’s been in hospital twice this weekend.

Will this be making many headlines? It took the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith and a budget hole of billions to get the mainstream media to shine a light on the disaster of PIP – or many politicians to find a conscience. One cut to the benefit is stopped. A new secretary of state is hired. And the news cycle moves on. The disabled can’t. For many, things are only getting worse.

Between 400 and 500 adapted cars, powered wheelchairs, and scooters are being taken away from disabled people every week. Independence gone – with a maximum of seven weeks to hand your lifeline back. As an insight into the logic, let alone empathy, in this system, that’s notably less time than it takes to go to appeal or even to get the results of mandatory reconsideration – meaning the DWP’s ruling can be overturned, but the disabled person’s car or wheelchair will already have been taken. (At the last count, 60% of appeals against PIP were successful).

read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/07/pip-disaster-disabled-access-report-benefits?