Thursday, February 11, 2010

UK - 200,000 would-be sickness beneficiaries put on dole

I have been getting pilloried at the Frogblog for suggesting that invalid and sickness benefits are, in many cases, de facto unemployment benefits.

So it is with interest that I read about the new testing regime being applied in the UK.

Anyone claiming incapacity benefits, now called Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), must undergo a thorough medical examination within 13 weeks.

The Work Capability Assessment grades them in categories such as walking, sitting, standing, memory and concentration.

Those with 15 points or more are classed as "Support Group" and are allowed full benefits.

A second classification, the "Work Related Activity Group", means the person does have health issues but will be given work-focused interviews with a personal advisor to help them get a job.

The third classification, "Fit for Work", get no incapacity benefits and have to sign on for Jobseeker's allowance.

Every benefit claimant will have taken the test by 2013.

So what are the results so far?

I am relying here on a report from The People because it would appear they obtained an exclusive release of information. But it looks genuine enough as the reporter has included quotes from officialdom. (Further DWP info is here.)

...[of] almost 300,000 people who applied for sick benefits, 200,000 failed the test and were told to get a job.

And just 24,800 of those who passed, less than ten per cent, were told by medical experts they could do no work at all...

....68 per cent of people trying to go on the sick were fit enough to get a job.

They were put on Jobseeker's Allowance and paid a lower rate than the disability benefit of up to £95 a week.


brian_smaller said...

The whole sickness benefit thing pisses me off - even more than the dpb does. I have a bad back, a stuffed knee, terrible eyesight, suffer occipital lobe neuralgia and get depressed. But I still manage to hold down a freaking job.

Lindsay said...

If you didn't Brian, you would undoubtedly get more depressed.

Anonymous said...

I would call a bludger a bludger regardless of category.

Anonymous said...

I try to avoid going to the supermarket Tuesday and Wednesday in town cause its benefit day and the place is packed.

There is one block of flats on the edge of town which is entirely inhabited by the less fortunate among us. By 9 30 am they are all outside their caves nursing their boxes of Stag beer soaking up the suds and the sunshine..

They are a pitiful sight but there but for the grace of God go I.


Anonymous said...

Who cares:


every single person on these is a bludger. Every single one is sucking useful doors into useless taxes. NZ cannot afford it any more.

Zero all benefits. Every one. Including "health" and "welfare".

Anonymous said...

There is one block of flats on the edge of town which is entirely inhabited by the less fortunate

Time for some Semtex - some "IRA town planning"!

Lucy said...

I agree with testing all beneficiaries. And if you have to go on a benefit you should be obliged to do every thing possible to help yorself. I worked like hell.
Ive got new lungs. Now Im working to be able to go back to work Yipppeeee!

Manolo said...

Different name for the same thing.
I'd tend to agree with Brian on the odious exploitation by many of the sickness benefit, but the DPB is the worst offending benefit.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
schrodinger56 said...

Sorry Lindsey but you're wrong (as a lot of people are) in relation to the Support Group cohort. Everyone has to get 15points to claim ESA however to get into the 'Support Group' you need to satisfy another set of criteria which are much harsher than the criteria that you needed to get the 15 points.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe the vitriol thrown at people on benefits!! OK some may be getting them erroneously but the situation has gone far far to the other extreme. I realise a lot of people are working with all kinds of conditions/illnesses and that's great - I was myself a short while ago. I worked for over 10 years with a degenerative neurological condition but had to give up when I was no longer productive and found the stress of work too much - it was actually detrimental to my health as I found out once I had stopped. Fortunately I received an occupational pension and decided not to go for ESA (even though I would have got 15 points) because having just received a verdict of being unable to work from an occupational doctor who did not see/know me but used reports from occupational and medical specialists, I could not see the point of being assessed by a functionary ticking boxes on a computer and being told I must go back to work!! if the assessments were fair I might have more faith in the whole process but instead when I read of terminally ill cancer patients being told to get work, I see it as a government-motivated incitement to discrimination of the ill and way of saving money under the clever ruse of enabling disabled people to get work. I am all in favour of the latter and applaud any real help that can be given to those who want to work and who may have been abandoned to a life on benefits before. But this is different from making things impossible, ignoring medical reports and taking no account of people's very real problems. There is supposed to be a new emphasis on the holistic approach to treating people with long term condiitons - allowing them choices, respecting their decisions, allowing them to set their own goals. As far as I can see the current treatment of those applying for ESA deprives people of all dignity and sense of worth. A country is judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable people - including the ill and
disabled. I simply despair of this country and its attitudes. I can only say to those of you showing such lack of compassion maybe if you went down with some debilitating condition you might begin to understand the huge mountain of difficulties faced by people to get through a day just surviving let alone working and how hurtful and frightening it is to see and hear such hatred directed at them. I hope you never have to face this as it is a situation that simply robs you of quality of life.

Anonymous said...

I have been getting pilloried at the Frogblog

So don't read FrogBlog!! You're not a member of the Communist Party of NZ (Gaia-Terrorist Tendency) so why are you reading their blog?

I cannot believe the vitriol thrown at people on benefits!!

Noone's actually thrown any virtriol (although that's not a bad idea, come to think of it). Which part of: we're sick of bludgers taking our money don't you understand!

A country is judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable people

Absolutely NOT: A country is judged on how productive and competitive it is, and how well the best people do! Go and read Women's Weelky: see any stories on bludgers there? Of course not: it's the best in the society about whom proles wish to read.

maybe if you went down with some debilitating condition

If I, or Lindsay, or anyone else here "went down" we would have our private insurance to deal with them. If they were insufficient or did not cover the condition then we would do what is right so that were we not burdening our families or fellow taxpayers

Why is that so hard to understand?

Anonymous said...

Now I know that Great Britain is no longer great and has gone to the dogs. I'm glad I am no longer living there. jcuknz

Lindsay said...

Anon, Where is the vitriol in the post? This blog is a NZ blog by the way. Like the UK we have seen incapacity benefit numbers soar in relation to the population and if the numbers keep rising they will be unsustainable. But I wouldn't support terminally ill people being forced to work if that is indeed the case. Only 2-3 in 100 people on a sickness or invalid benefit has cancer though.

Last anon, at the moment most people do not have private insurance because they are taxed to a degree that prevents it.So I do not begrudge them using welfare when there is absolutely no other alternative. Some moderation and realism wouldn't go astray.

Anonymous said...

Of course the "benefits" recieved by those elected and or appointed to rule over us dont count. These are "earned" and may be part of larger employment packages. Free/Subsidised air travel, housing,vehicles, away from home allowances, double dipping, free private medical insurance and i almost forgot obscene salaries.

Bludgers come in all shapes and sizes.


Anonymous said...

at the moment most people do not have private insurance because they are taxed to a degree that prevents it.So I do not begrudge them using welfare when there is absolutely no other alternative.

Another canard lindsay and you know it.

Let's rephrase that:

at the moment most peoplecarry out armed robbery to pay for their food because they are taxed to a degree that prevents them buying it. So I do not begrudge them using welfare

It is quite clear that is unacceptable. People have to make choices. There is always an alternative to welfare, an alternative that does not require begging, charity, or being a charge on anyone else at all.

Anonymous said...

I've known a few armed robbers im time and none of them ever claimed they were driven to violence because of the onerous tax system.

Most had drug habits or were just plain stupid.


Lindsay said...

Many people simply do not have the means to fund their own earnings protection or take out catastrohic insurance. They might if they could opt out of the public social security system however.

Anonymous said...

With respect lindsay

its Friday night and the turps is flowing.

But isnt that my arguement? though i do not endorse violence as a means to an end.


I gotta go i need a pee....

Lindsay said...

Dirk, I was disagreeing with anon previous. Never start an argument with someone "in his cups" my mam told me:-)