Your chance to #haveyoursayIDS

As you know from yesterdays blog we are going to meet with Liz Kendal and Kate Green on the 18th of November to submit our Petition about IDS & the DWP’s misuse of statistics, and asking the Work and Pensions Select Committee to hold Ian Duncan Smith to account for this and how it paints a dark and inaccurate picture of those on benefits, especially those on DLA and ESA.

As well as inviting those of you who signed our petition all 104,696 of us to attend the submission; we would like you to make a comment about how this misuse of Stats by the DWP has affected you, whether that’s emotionally, physically or if you have been a victim of hate crime associated with the media attacks fuelled by these Lies.

If you would like to make a comment please use the same email as before –  disabilitywatch@gmail.com and we will print out as many as we can, to bring with us to the hand over…

Lets tell the committee how we feel about what is happening… Please keep it clean, we don’t want to edit, we want it to be in your own words but we don’t want to lose the sympathy of the committee by being abusive…

Without all of you this campaign wouldn’t be going anywhere, it’s your voices that are important to us…

Jayne and Debbie xxx

Dear Kate Green – Where do Disabled People fit in Labour’s ‘Tough on Welfare’?

Dear Kate Green MP

You wrote in LabourList.org on Oct 18 you’d spent a week ” at home with a bad back, unable to make it into Parliament“, you then talk at length about the ineffectivenesses of ATOS and how the Labour Party needs ” to think about whether we can we develop an assessment process that looks at people’s real lives, at what they would really need to be able to do to hold down a job, and what support they’d need to do it.

I’d like to ask you to now consider those people who live with your ‘bad back’ every day of their lives; those of us who struggle through with a disability that causes sickening  pain, so bad we can’t sleep, move, or even think, What are Labours plans for us? We’ll never be able to hold down a job when it takes an hour to write a short, simple email because of pain, or confusion from lack of sleep. We are people who live in fear of a brown envelop, for fear it’s another ATOS appointment or another form from the DWP; where do we fit in Labour’s Welfare Policy?

It is all very well and good for you & your senior Minister Rachel Reeves to ‘think’ about Welfare Reform, and how you might make it work around supporting people into work; but in order for Labour to be a truly One Nation Party, you must recognise their are a proportion of us who will never (in my case ever again) be in employment.

I and thousands of others like me do exist and whilst we may not contribute via PAYE we have a role in Society; we are parents, grandparents, children, volunteers, bloggers  etc and are worth far more than to be ignored aside from the vicious media campaign of Scrounging Parasitical individuals who’s only aim is to bleed the Country dry.

You were incapacitated for one week, I hope this has given you a small understanding of our lives.

In anticipation of your thoughts

 

Why is the Labour Party in bed with a RIGHT-wing thinktank?

Would anybody from Labour care to explain why the Party is in bed with organisations that have decimated the provision of social security,contributed to the deaths of many thousands of ill or disabled individuals, and that intend to con many more thousands of workers out of hard-earned and desperately needed cash in the future, with their inappropriate health insurance policies?..

Read More at today’s Excellent Vox Political –  Why is the Labour Party in bed with a RIGHT-wing thinktank?.

PLEASE Share/Tweet this as widely as possible particularly if you have access to a Labour MP!!

Has the DWP let you know that you can ask for your ESA Atos face-to-face assessment to be recorded?

Last month (12 June), Mark Hoban said this during a debate on people’s right to ask for a recording of their employment and support allowance face-to-face assessments:

“The Department and Atos are in the process of amending written communications to claimants by updating the WCA AL1C form. The document is sent to claimants when they need to arrange a face-to-face assessment and will provide more information on how to arrange an audio-recorded assessment. We expect the revised form to be sent out to claimants by the end of next month, once the necessary changes have been made and the form has been cleared for use.”

In other words – the DWP was finally going to change the documents it sends to ESA claimants to let them know that they can ask to have their Atos face-to-face assessments recorded. It’s vital that people know they have that right, because with a recording, they are able to demonstrate beyond doubt what was said and what happened at their assessments.

By “the end of next month,” Hoban surely meant the end of July – and we’ve just gone past that deadline.

I along with Kate Belgrave, DPAC, Black Triangle, False Economy and Public Interest Lawyers (who, with disabled man Patrick Lynch, took a legal action against the DWP last year on people’s right to record their assessments  are publishing this blog and asking you to reblog and share it to find out if the DWP has changed the documents it sends out to ESA claimants and if people have noted that.

Earlier this month, the DWP sent Public Interest Lawyers a document as an example of the leaflet that claimants should receive about their face-to-face assessments. This document includes information which advises people of their right to ask for a recording. We want to know whether people are getting that document and if word is spreading that people can make that request.

This is important for a number of reasons. The first is, of course, that people need to know they have this right and that they can request a recording when they are called to an Atos ESA face-to-face assessment. The second is that Hoban claims that he is evaluating the demand for recordings and that he’ll be doing so until the end of summer 2013. (It will be important for people to respond to these blogs as soon as possible – by the end of August 2013 at the very latest – that being the case).  Hoban continues to argue that the demand for recordings is not high. Campaigners have argued, rightly, that their surveys and calls for information show that people do want recordings – and that demand may well increase if people actually know that they can ask for a recording.

Unfortunately – or intentionally – Hoban says that the evaluation of demand will finish at the end of summer. That isn’t far away and doesn’t give anybody much time to find out if the amended documentation (presuming that people are receiving it) is having an effect. The third reason that this is important is that the DWP says it has based its decision NOT to offer recordings for Personal Independence Payment assessments on the ESA experience: “the DWP has not seen evidence from other disability assessments that this would improve the quality of assessments,” Esther McVey told parliament this year.

So evidence of the demand for ESA recordings is very relevant to the PIP debate. The department’s whole approach to recording PIP assessments is a mess – Capita, which has a contract to carry out some of the PIP assessments, originally said it would offer recordings. McVey put a stop to that and said that it wouldn’t. Meanwhile, the DWP was telling journalists that recordings would be offered for PIP assessments.  They’re making it up as they go along, so pressure needs to be applied.

The aim should be to get rid of the work capability assessment altogether – but while it’s there, safeguards like recordings of assessments need to be in place. Claimants and campaigners have fought hard for the right to record their face-to-face assessments. As we’ve said, people need to be able to demonstrate beyond doubt what is said at assessments. Atos is notorious for returning fit-for-work reports which ignore a claimant’s true circumstances and the details shared in face-to-face assessments. The ever-increasing number of ESA appeals prove Atos’ problems with accuracy.

Campaigners have won some concessions through their hard work. These include a commitment from the DWP to offer ESA assessment recordings (on “official” dual-CD recording equipment – people still can’t bring their own recording equipment unless it can dual-produce a CD or cassette). The changed paperwork was another concession.

Let’s see if they’ve done it and if people are aware of it.

Tweet at #atosrecording