Anti-disability politics

Anti-disability politics : 

 the Government's Welfare reform proposals.

"With what can easily be described as ‘anti-disability’ policies throughout, the Welfare Reform Bill aims to change and remove ‘benefits’ that the majority of disabled people in Britain rely on, and has real potential to damage the lives of so many vulnerable people."

Melissa Smith : Broken of Britain 7th March 2011

Government admits Jobcentres set targets to take 

away benefits

Friday 8 April 2011 16.39 BST

Jobcentre staff around the country have been involved in a drive to kick people off benefits amid pressure to meet welfare targets set by their managers, the government has admitted....

The Guardian has spoken to several more jobcentre staff who, speaking anonymously, claim that targets and pressure to stop people's benefits still exist in their office, and that vulnerable clients are often affected. One employee claimed the practice had been going on at his office since they joined in July 2009.
One personal adviser backed up claims that targets led advisers to "set up" claimants. He said: "On the question of tricking customers – it's quite true. You box them in so that they go wrong themselves. The whole system is now orientated to stopping rather than enabling."

Woeful Benefits: Department of Practices

The message being sent through the benefit system is that the government is intensely relaxed about making the poor poorer,
Besides embarking on an unprecedented programme of cuts to benefit rates, the government is hastily tightening eligibility criteria. For example, all sick and disabled benefit claimants are about to be forced through a stringent new medical test, even though a pilot study which the government itself commissioned found all sorts of problems, and even though there are vast numbers of cases where withdrawn cash ends up being restored on appeal. Vulnerable people caught out by this test will be shunted on to jobseeker's allowance, which pays just £65.45 and which will continue to be aggressively administered to maximise statistical "off-flow", even if the sanctions quotas mess is satisfactorily cleaned up.
In this new world of rough justice, most claimants will receive no real justice at all. The government has proposed abolishing legal aid in social security cases, even though these naturally involve people in no position to foot their own legal bill. The coalition's creed is looking less like the liberalism that it proclaims, and more like a desiccated libertarianism – which talks up the freedoms of people with means, and hurls those with none to the dogs.

This benefits bonanza is more big Serco than big society

The evidence is damning: private firms aren't much cop at welfare to work. But their chief executives are earning millions.

  • Incapacity benefit claimants began to be "invited" in for tough new work-capability assessments on Monday – an invitation they can't refuse. In two pilot schemes 70% of claimants were judged fit for work, with a third put straight on to jobseeker's allowance – leaving just 30% too frail to be chivvied further.

Last week the government announced who had won contracts for thework programme: there was shock when, out of 40 contracts worth between £3bn and £5bn, only two went to not-for-profit groups. Not so much "big society" as big Serco. The biggest winner – and a surprise – was Ingeus Deloitte, which won seven huge contracts amid acid observation that its CEO was a former director at the Department for Work and Pensions. Concern was expressed that Ingeus had underbid more experienced providers: price was a clinching factor in the official scoring system, whereas bizarrely previous performance was not scored at all.

Welfare bill ignores reality of disability

 Kaliya Franklin
21 March 2011

One of the most alarming changes in the welfare reform bill is the proposal to scrap disability living allowance (DLA) and replace it with apersonal independence payment (PIP). On the surface PIP appears to be DLA expensively rebranded. However, the devil is in the detail and the details of PIP are deeply disturbing. The government's stated aim to reduce the caseload by 20%, when DLA has a fraud rate of just 0.5%, indicates that hundreds of thousands of genuinely disabled people can expect to lose out as the goalposts are narrowed.
Instead of claimants being assessed on their ability to walk, their 'ability to mobilise' will be considered. So, if someone could theoretically use a wheelchair, they will be considered to be able to 'mobilise' and deemed ineligible for the mobility component of PIP - even if they have no wheelchair available. Maria Miller, the minister for disabled people, has suggested the justification for this change is that improvements in technology, and laws against discrimination, mean disabled people are able to access the mainstream world and so do not require funding to overcome access barriers.

Nothing reforming about welfare bill

Edward Lawrence 18th March 2011

If 'reform' in the welfare bill were a matter of semantics, and nothing else it would be of fleeting interest. But the bill is a matter of life and death, quite literally. The Disability Rights Partnership, an umbrella group of 500 local and national disability groups, surveyed disabled people about the reforms. 9% of respondents were of the opinion that if the reforms were implemented and they lost disability living allowance then life wouldn't be worth living at all. And if that figure seems low, how about the 62% who highlighted the entitlement that DLA gives one to other support, and fear reform will cut the link and increase exclusion and poverty – with 35% reporting finding it difficult or very difficult to get by already? With the new, even more stringent re-assessments of existing and future DLA claimants soon upon us many are set to lose this benefit altogether. It is the same with the current employment support allowance 'work capability assessment' which is supposed to deem one capable of working during a thorough, exhaustive and comprehensive 45-minute computer generated tick box exercise. The WCA has found terminally ill people fit for work and is largely discredited.
The welfare reform bill states the intention of cutting DLA by 20% by 2015/16 – a £2.1bn loss to disabled people.

Disabled people's ability to work isn't about whether they can hold a pen

Alice Maynard 16th Feb 2011

The government's new method for assessing a person's fitness for work is, for instance, a very blunt instrument. Someone's ability to bend their knees or hold a pen are not the only factors that determine how likely it is that they can get a job.

Disability is not a lifestyle choice

The majority of people receiving disability living allowance truly need the money and desperately wish they did not
Melissa Smith 14th Feb 2011

The next time you see a story about government cuts to benefits and how disabled people drain the state, please remember three things:
1. Disabled people are not spongers – they are people who truly need the money, and desperately wish they did not.
2. When you go to bed tonight you won't need someone to clean your bottom, and you won't be left to lay in your own excrement.
3. Many disabled people are born able-bodied and lose their independence, mobility and autonomy either suddenly or by degrees due to accidents and illness. This could also happen to you.


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