Posts Tagged ‘work capability assessment’

Inquiry – Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

With  reasonable adjustments many disabled people can work as productively as anyone else so that they can compete in the competitive  labour market on an equal playing field.

But many others can’t.

http://www.onethousandprinces.tumblr.com

Elephant in the room by Grace Collins
http://www.onethousandprinces.tumblr.com

This Elephant is not being addressed. It is sitting squarely in the road stopping further progress. Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch are submitting evidence to the Inquiry into  Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments being conducted by the Commons Select Committee for the   Department of Work and Pensions.

Full details on link below

We urge every one concerned about disabled people and carers to do the  same

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/esa-wca-inq-2014/

We will be drawing attention to the Elephant in the  room. Some disabled people have an impairment which means that, although they  can and would like to do some work, even with reasonable adjustments they cannot work as productively as people who do not have impairments. This means  that the potential employer will be faced with extra costs or losses. 
  
Employers recruit through the mechanism of a competitive labour market and this puts barriers in the way of disabled people   who are not able to work as productively. No effort has been made to name this problem or to solve it. Who should bear the extra costs or losses to the employer of taking a worker who cannot be as productive because of their impairments? Until this problem is named and addressed the progress of disabled people in to the workforce is blocked. The Elephant is sitting in the road.

As disability campaigners, we do not want to  undermine the image of disabled people who, with reasonable adjustments and enlightened attitudes, can compete in the labour market. But not speaking up  for disabled people who can’t compete on a level playing field has to stop.

WCA is finding many disabled people fit to work, but they are not fit to get a job in a competitive market. The misery being visited on these disabled people is cruel.  Sanctions, time limits, forced workfare – intolerable pressure to do something they cannot do.

Let’s get that Elephant moving. Let’s work on ways to  address the dilemma faced by employers in recruiting disabled people who will not be as productive. Society creates this barrier with a competitive labour   market and society needs to find ways to remove it.

Please come and help us formulate our evidence in the discussion group at   – http://patspetition.myfineforum.org/about31.html

Shocking Extent Of Sick And Disabled Benefit Sanctions Revealedread here

Sanction numbers for Employment & Support Allowance claimants revealedread here

 

 

 

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Disability is just not that simple

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

As most campaigners reflect on 2013, and look towards 2014, it was interesting to read this viewpoint.

 

This is also true of what I am now calling the ‘work shy’ movement, a movement that likes to call themselves the ‘sick and disabled’ movement but I feel it is unfair and wrong for these people to claim to represent all sick and disabled people, when they are simply about one way of thinking, and that is a way I find quite offensive. The ‘work shy’ movement is led by people like Sue Marsh, and Kaliya Franklin (better known as Bendygirl)

How can any one claim to represent all sick and disabled people. We are sure no one, including Simon Stevens makes this claim.

 

The confusion seems to arise because there are sick and disabled people who can overcome the societal barriers to work, and sick and disabled people who can’t,  and are overwhelmed by the barriers. In the middle are a spectrum of people having good days and bad days, and falling in to both groups for part of the time.

shaking-hands-150x150What is needed is for us all to work together to get more support for both these groups. It is unhelpful for any campaigner to identify with and campaign for only one of these two groups.

Disability just isn’t that simple.

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Employment Support Allowance is a disaster

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Yesterday members of Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch met with Kate Green, Shadow Spokesperson for Disabled People. From there they went to Lambeth Palace to meet with Archbishops advisers.

Proposed Reforms to ESA – Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch

For many chronically sick/ill and disabled people the barriers faced in the open job market are so significant that they do not have the opportunity to compete on equal terms. This is the elephant in the room.

elephant 1

The main Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Group – the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) – is based on the false premise that chronically sick/ill and disabled people can compete on equal terms. It makes no allowance for the barriers in the job market. Many can compete on equal terms. But many others have a lot to offer but can’t compete on equal terms.

It is unfair to place sanctions and time limits on disabled people in the WRAG until this problem is addressed and rectified.

ESA/WRAG is currently a disaster and we suggest the following reforms -

1. Find out how to make the labour market inclusive. Disabled people have a lot to contribute. Face up to the question of disabled people and open competition in a flexible labour market. Explore quotas, kite marks, subsidies, public pressure and any other option you can find.

2. Meanwhile place far more chronically sick/ill and disabled people in a safe, long term ESA group. The WRAG is not a safe group because of sanctions, time limits and means tests. The criteria to be placed in this safe group should be that you have an impairment which means you can’t compete in the labour market on equal terms. WCA isn’t designed to determine this. It doesn’t make allowances for the barriers in the labour market.

So scrap Work Capability Assessment

Some disabilities might involve a little more investigation, but with most the diagnosis should be a passport to a safe group.

3. Fraud has nothing to do with disability. Stop making the association.

4. Spend all the money on dedicated person centred support either to get paid employment that supports you financially or to live a happy, productive life doing voluntary work, permitted work, other activities – and don’t dismiss the second option.

This statement has received support from -

Pat Onions                               Pat’s Petition

Frances Kelly                            CarerWatch

Rosemary O’Neill                      CarerWatch

Rick Burgess                             Wow Petition

Jane  Benz                                 Wow Petition

Professor Nicholas Watson      Institute of Disability Studies, University of Glasgow

Sir Tom Shakespeare                University of East Anglia

Dr Simon Duffy                         Director Centre for Welfare Reform.

Paul Swann                               Disability Wales / Anabledd Cymru

Mo Stewart                               Disability Researcher

Gail Ward                                 Disability Campaigner

Catherine Hale                         South East London ME Support Group

Jim Elder-Woodward OBE      Chair of the UK Committee of the Campaign for a Fair Society

Jackie Maceira                         Scottish Disability Equality Forum

Michele Findlay                       Disability Campaigner

 

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WOW petition recently reached their target of 100,00 but there is another week to go. Time to still gather more support.

If you have not already signed, please do so and then share the link as wide as possible.

For further details see WoW website here

 

 

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Making Employment Support Allowance fit for purpose

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

 

HEALTH WARNING

This statement contains a message that no disability campaigner wants to hear – let alone campaign on. At first sight it appears negative and discouraging. However we believe that the best way to overcome a barrier is to name it and address it. And if it isn’t named, it leaves the government an open goal to take away safe, secure benefits.

MAKING ESA FIT FOR PURPOSE.

Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch are concerned that Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) uses PUSH economics to take away safe benefits as a means of forcing disabled people in to work. But many disabled people can’t compete in the open job market and ESA is pushing them up against a brick wall. They have nowhere to go. The failure of the Work Programme is the result.

http://www.onethousandprinces.tumblr.com
Elephant in the room by Grace Collins

http://www.onethousandprinces.tumblr.com

 

This is because many sick and disabled people have residual impairment, even after all adaptations are made, and are not as competitive in the open labour market as anyone else. Jobs are acquired through open competition: it is like asking disabled athletes to compete in the mainstream Olympics.

This is a very hard thing for disability campaigners to admit. We want to encourage people and talk up their strengths, not their weaknesses.  To admit that some disabled people are less competitive in the open labour market sounds like defeat. But the Social Model is about overcoming barriers. So far the focus has been on individuals overcoming their own individual barriers. But the competitive job market presents a structural barrier that also needs to be named and then addressed.

Of course there are many disabled people who, with adjustments and adaptations, can overcome their individual barriers to work and are just as competitive as everyone else. Talk about being less competitive is the last thing they want to hear.   But for many others this just isn’t the case. They are less competitive. And the relentless can do approach taken by ESA pushes them up against a brick wall.  ESA denies the can’t do. These people do not want to be written off as being unable to work (Support Group) but they can’t compete in the open labour market (Work related Activity Group (WRAG)). So there is no ESA group for people who have difficulty competing and they have nowhere to go. And these people have lost the security of safe benefits.

Let’s face up to and overcome the structural barrier in the job market. Because someone is less competitive it doesn’t mean they can’t work and contribute and there are still lots of options that might help them. Quotas, subsidies, campaigns, lots of opportunities for permitted and voluntary work. The government could intervene in the job market to make it a level playing field. Perhaps this needs a name – Supported Work. And being pushed down to work for less money below your level of competence is not a level playing field. Brick_Wall

Meanwhile stop the unfair PUSH economics that is pushing less competitive disabled people up against a brick wall. They need the return of a safe secure benefit while they negotiate this impossible situation.   ESA is not fit for purpose. It has two groups. The Support Group provides long term safe support for disabled people who are not expected to be able to work. All other disabled people are put in the WRAG and classed as being ‘on their way back to work’ and they are expected to compete in the open job market. Some can compete but there is no group for the many who can’t.

A new structure is needed that recognises the reality of disability and the job market and provides safe, secure support for all disabled people.

 

 

 

 

 

Report – OPPOSITION DAY – EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DISABLED PEOPLE

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

 

Wednesday 10th July 2013 was a great day for Pat’s Petition.  After a year of working to get over 62,700 signatures we finally had our debate  in the House of Commons.

Two of our team travelled from Scotland and the North East to watch the debate live from the gallery. Pat is blind, and Rosemary is a family carer, but they made it.

On arrival at Kings Cross they met with Rick and Jane from WOW petition, ( please sign and share as widely as possible), and then all made their way to Westminster. There they met with more campaigners, Ian, Andy and Adam.

Following a short chat it was time to gain admission to the debate. Jim Hood MP, who had secured the tickets to enable Pat and Rosemary entrance to watch/listen to the debate live arrived, and pointed out that HoC business was running late. This caused all previous plans about meeting up with other campaigners afterwards to be changed.

Following section from Pat and Rosemary.

Having to hand over phones meant we were unable to keep supporters informed as to how the debate was going but we knew many many people were watching the event on parliament tv, and engaging with each other via social media. We were later informed the hashtag #CiaDisability had trended for over 2 hours, peaking at UK trend no 3.

The MPs who spoke in favour of our petition could not have done more to support us.  Coalition ministers that spoke were unable to name an individual, academic, grassroots group, a charity – that agreed fully with their policies. Instead many names were reeled off that were against these reforms/cuts. Facts and figures were given, and yet from governments front bench there appeared to be an attitide of boredom,  and total disregard for the situation many disabled people now found themselves to be in. They showed no interest in what opposition members were saying and at times their bodies were partly turned, away from whomever was speaking at that time. This was more noticeable when Tom Greatrex MP was speaking.

As the debate progressed you can imagine our horror when Mr Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, suddenly made an impassioned speech calling us ‘extremists’, and saying that we didn’t represent disabled people. We will be taking this further.

Me, Liam Byrne Pat

In between the votes, we met with Liam Byrne, and issues concerning both disabled people and carers were discussed. It was agreed how evidence is going to be more vital in future, for people to also contact their MPs and explain how the cuts are impacting on them. More importantly, our campaigning continues.

The vote on the motion itself was lost… Ayes 227, Noes 296 – but the day itself was not.

These last few years with cuts raining down – the whole solid brick wall against us – Labour and Tory both supporting the cuts and the charities having to fit in somehow, was beyond belief.

Brick_Wall

Now the consensus is broken there will be far more open debate and we may start to get somewhere.

Independent campaigners from many groups  took the lead in breaking down this wall. This experience has shown all of us that grassroots campaigners are essential to the political process.

We need to stay vigilant

We need to keep fighting

We need to ensure any promises turn in to real action.

 Well done every one.

But the Fat Lady hasn’t sung yet.

Letter from Samuel Miller to Liam Byrne

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Permission has been granted to copy this letter here, that was originally posted on Twitter.

Subject:

July 10th Parliamentary debate: Cumulative Impact Assessment (‘The effect of Government Policies on Disabled People’)

3:36 PM (1 minute ago)

To:

Rt Hon Mr. Liam Byrne, MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
House of Commons
London, England
SW1A 0AA

Dear Mr. Byrne,

I am a 56-year-old Disability Studies specialist from Montreal, Canada who has been reporting frequently and voluntarily, since January 2012, to senior United Nations officials (see attached) on the crisis for the United Kingdom’s sick and disabled. Austerity measures, consisting of draconian welfare reforms and “sham” means-testing (Atos Healthcare U.K. and the Department for Work and Pensions) are ostensibly to blame for their plight—with disability hate crime and inflammatory media attacks factored into this mix.

I am writing you regarding this Wednesday’s Parliamentary debate on the effect of government policies on disabled people (http://carerwatch.com/reform/?p=1697), and in your capacity as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

It is vital that such a cumulative impact assessment include a (more…)

Holyroods Welfare Reform Conference June 5th 2013

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

I shall be off to this conference, in Edinburgh tomorrow, with my many hats tucked into my handbag.

They will make an appearance in no particular order – just depending on who is speaking on which topic.

HolyroodI am concerned however that the words by Margaret Burgess MSP could be an indication of how the day will run. The acceptance by the Scottish Government that these Welfare cuts, sorry reforms, are done and dusted, and we have to make the best of a bad job. For example Employment Support Allowance was designed on the back of an envelope by an ignorant man who knew nothing about welfare.

Why do we have to accept this when a few simple changes could make it safe and supportive.

There is a word in common use which has no place in my life. ‘Can’t.’

You can’t do this or that because …and there follows a whole stream of excuses.

I’ll count them and let you know.

Pat x

http://welfarereform.holyrood.com/#.UawN4oSXwHY.email

 

In the meantime some of the actions you can take…..

Sign WOW petition here

Join discussion forum to cover the issues with Welfare Reform

 

 

We stand united together and will grow and grow

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

As a gardener I am always looking for new ideas to add to my garden. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Like most of us who enjoy plants and trees – each new addition means a little less lawn to cut as we find a space for our latest acquisition.

Up here in Scotland we have some beautiful natural stone. Most of it huge and attached to a mountain but my garden has its own fair share.

Granite is plentiful in many areas. As such it is used a lot in buildings as it is one of the hardest stones known to man. And woman who digs it out of her garden!

 

cairn

A cairn is often used to mark the tops of mountains – people who reach the summit can add a stone. They are also used to mark paths keeping travellers safely away from the dangers of the edges. The lasting durability of the stone cairn is a symbol to those that follow behind.

 

So the idea of building a cairn in the garden was born.and it will represent those 62,709 people who signed Pat’s Petition before it closed.

I laid the first stone and it will be added to as and when weather, time and availability of gathered stones allow.

 

cairn laying 1st stone 2

I don’t think I can count 62,709 but will use one stone per 100 signatures. The strength and hardness of these stones represent us all – disabled people, carers and their families.

 

PP closed 4 months ago but we are still inundated with requests from people wanting to add their support. To this end a space has been created here. New stones will continue to be added to the cairn as these numbers increase.

Like the cairn which won’t crumble into the soil – we stand united together and will grow and grow.
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There are still some important petitions open on the government website.

 

WowPetition  sign here   – further details of the campaign group here

 

Stop the Abolition of Disability Living Allowance for Personal Independence Payments  – sign here

 

 

 

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This is just the end of the beginning – Welfare Reform

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Iain D Smith

The government is bringing in so many cuts that a Cumulative Impact Assessment is far too difficult

April Fool – it’s actually really very simple 

 

At last more and more people are waking up to the realisation of the horrors lying in wait for disabled people, their carers and families. At last there are debates in Parliament with dozens of MPs relating true stories from their constituents. They all tell the same story. How disabled people, those with serious illness, and carers are being hit the hardest.

And this is just the end of the beginning.

Six more drastic cuts come on line today.

It is the perfect storm

That’s why I’m so proud of Pat’s Petition and what we achieved together.Pat’s Petition asked the government to “stop and look at the way all these changes would add up and impact on the lives of disabled people and their carers.” 62,709 people signed in the year that was open to us.

But the government refused. They say it is too difficult. You can read their response on Pat’s Petition here . They are conducting one enormous social experiment and leaving it for history to tell them what they did to us.

How can they get away with this?

Well – they can’t get away with it. We won’t let them. And neither will you.

The government are pretending that it is amazingly complicated when we are asking for something that is really simple. We are asking for an assessment of the impact on individual disabled people. There is no reason why they can’t run example cases through all the benefit changes one by one and show us, and the voters, exactly what they are doing to individual disabled people.

Scope/Demos  have released research on these changes. And it isn’t as impossibly difficult as the government maintain.

We aren’t going anywhere until the government face up to their responsibilities and produce a projection of what their policies are, and will be doing, to disabled people and their carers.

Pat’s team is working with many other campaign groups and we are meeting with government statisticians to discuss how they can carry out a Cumulative Impact Assessment.

The WOW petition is still active and you can sign that here. Their number of supporters is growing daily. Please share this petition as wide as possible asking others to sign and share too.  You will note they have had a preliminary response in which again the government states -

“Cumulative impact analysis is not being withheld – it is very difficult to do accurately and external organisations have not produced this either.”

This is NOT acceptable.

We still receive many emails and requests from people wanting to support this campaign. To this end a space has been created here to add your support, comments can be added too.

This Cumulative Impact Assessment

is going to happen

 

 

 

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Inclusion Scotland – Impact of the Change from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Received from Inclusion Scotland

 

Change in Assessment Criteria:

In December 2012 the UK Government announced an unexpected change in the PIP Assessment criteria. This change reduces the distance someone can walk (safely) before qualifying for the Enhanced Mobility element of PIP from 50 metres to 20 metres (the Enhanced Mobility element of PIP is equivalent to the Higher Rate Mobility Component of DLA).

The change has contributed to a substantial increase in the numbers expected not to qualify for the Enhanced Mobility element of PIP – up from 250,000 to 428,000 (a 70% increase).

Using the DWP’s own UK-wide projections of expected “winners” and “losers” arising from the replacement of DLA by PIP Inclusion Scotland have now calculated the equivalent figures for Scotland. These are set out below.

One piece of good news is that the majority of disabled people on life-time or long term awards of DLA will not now be re-assessed for PIP until after October 2015. However the following groups will be assessed before then -

* disabled people making new claims

* people currently in receipt of DLA whose awards end before Oct. 2015

* people whose condition/level of impairment changes before then to a level where it amounts to a change of circumstances requiring reassessment.

Mobility Component:

Using DWP projections, by 2018, Inclusion Scotland estimates that (more…)