The Scandal of DWP Silence

We know from  the official DWP report that between January & November 2011 10,600 disabled people either in receipt of or awaiting benefits died.

Since then the DWP have, despite numerous requests refused to release further updates; we can only speculate their reason why, as we can only surmise just how many more disabled people have since lost their lives?

It is well documented how the ‘Scrounger‘ rhetoric have adversely affected disabled people  and those who are chronically ill, and even Esther McVey – Minister of State for DWP stated she “would not disagree” when it was put to her in October 2013 that “ hundreds or even thousands of people who had died sooner than they should have done, or had a much lower quality of life over their last few weeks or months because of their experience of the WCA.”.

From this we believe it is safe to presume there has been an increase in the number of annual deaths of disabled people in 2012 & 2013; given the loss of life in 2011 was 10,600, even a 2% increase per annum would result in  12,720 in 2012 and a startling 15,264 in 2013. That would give a overall figure of 38,564 deaths over the 3 years the Coalition has been in Government.

Is this shocking statistic what the DWP don’t want us to know?

Attending ATOS? WE Can Help – Update

As many of you are aware from the original post, I am the founding director of Disability Enabling and Empowerment Project (Leic’s) (DEAEP); this project came about from a discussion I had with my daughter and my best friend (both disabled) regarding how we three would manage to get through the ESA/DLA assessments and other such troubling appointments, without the mutual support of each other.

Currently we have written all the paperwork necessary to run a 10 week part time course, and have been desperately trying to find a venue to pilot this in Leicester, thanks to Unite community this is likely to start mid April ; we’re also investigating how we could offer the same as an on-line course. The course will be free for anyone willing to then, pass on the skills by supporting others through the trials of assessment or other similar stressful situations.

Like everything else, in this greedy age we currently live in, we’re unable to source funding for this Social Enterprise; despite the fact we’re contacted almost daily by disabled people struggling to get through. Therefore we’ve decided to take a chance on you.

From this post we’re looking for similar minded people who are willing to help us make the on-line option a reality. Are you brave enough to commit to meet with me on-line for three hours a week (day to be confirmed) and trial our course;  unfortunately this will have to be on wiggio.com & via email and there is currently no accreditation for this due to the cost. Having a proven pilot completed will give us the data and evidence we need to submit funding applications, potentially allowing us to gain accreditation and buy the suitable website to make this a reality.

If you are share our belief that we disable/vulnerable can help ourselves deal with the stress of ATOS/CAPITA etc. by passing on skills; and are seriously interested in either joining us at Unite. or to work with me on-line, please respond to either to this post or via our website by Friday 1 February.

I’m looking forward to all your replies 🙂 xx

Cameron a Christian???

Today’s Telegraph has an article by Damien Thompson on the death of Ivan Cameron & his (Thompson’s) seemingly shocked view that Ivan’s family loved him!! As a parent who’s second son developed leukaemia and died at 3 1/2, I’m deeply pissed off at this

Thompson finds it striking that “the tragic handicaps that afflicted their little boy did not lessen their joy in his presence” I find nothing remotely striking in this. I don’t remember having met many people either in real life and on social media who don’t feel exactly the same; and I am friends today in both worlds, with adults born with severe disabilities who will make the same claim.

What I find so offensive is this blatant attempt by Thompson, to humanise the man who as PM, has led the most brutal attack on disabled UK people in many years. He shares a front bench with Politicians who laugh and jeer as the life stories and deaths of disabled people are told by the opposition; and he supports a team at the DWP & the Treasury who knowingly are removing the financial lifeline from people who share the same illness as his son. If Cameron indeed held a “truly Christian attitude towards the sanctity of human life” he would not be allowing this.

This has to be the most blatant attempt to remove the tarnish from Cameron’s image I’ve seen to date, and all I can say is remember the expression “you can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter”!

Attending ATOS? WE Can Help:

Disability Enabling and Empowerment Project (Leic’s) (DEAEP) was set up in 2013 in response to identified needs; disabled, chronically sick and vulnerable people are increasingly required to demonstrate their need for the financially support necessary to survive, both often in employment, as well as not.

DEAEP is a social not for profit business that offers accredited training to  sick and disabled people, unemployed, and other vulnerable individuals. The training experience enables participants to, knowledgeably and confidently, actively support others during times of extreme stress; this could be attending ATOS assessments and, or to participate in social and community engagement.

So far we have a 100% success rate with people we’ve represented

The rationale behind DEAEP:

Anyone who’s disabled or chronically ill in the UK 2013, is only to well aware of the devastating effects of The Welfare Reform Bill, whether it be someone on Incapacity Benefit (IB) waiting for the dreaded assessment onto Employment Support Allowance (ESA); a new claimant for ESA after losing their job, or a current ESA recipient  who’s almost at the one year cut off time. It might be a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) recipient waiting for the claim form to apply for the new  Personal Independence Payment (PiP)

These are just some of the ways that Welfare Reform is affecting those of us too ill to work or live with the ever increasing costs of being disabled.

What these changes all have in common is the growing number of ‘assessments’ we’re all forced to undergo.

Many of us who have already experienced the cold, inhumane and in some cases, downright dangerous process of being assessed by ATOS,  know the associated costs these visits have on our health; from waiting for that now dreaded brown envelope, the energy it takes to complete the overly long complex claim form, the stress caused by actual ‘assessment’, through to the wait for the decision made at the DWP by a low level civil servant who might have had two days training in disability!

None of this is news to many of us, and many more disabled and sick people will soon be au-fait with this ever rotating process.

Many people on social networks like Facebook & Twitter have expressed the view that when  having someone to help them through this experience,  be it form filling, support at ‘assessments’ or at appeal it has helped them; and it is this what we at DEAEP aims to do.

We  offer free accredited training for people to skill them up, to then act as peer supporters for others going through this process.

We also can help with support at hospital/GP visits or in fact anywhere sick and disabled people feel having someone at their side to prompt them tell their story and get the truth across.

The training programme will also help participants in other areas, and can open doors to further education or even employment.

So if you are interested or require our help please contact us athttp://www.deaepleicester.moonfruit.com.

All personal and medical data disclosed is destroyed on conclusion of case

 

IDS at W&P Select Committee – Was it worth it??

By now you’ll have all read many accounts of how IDS performed at the Work & Pensions Select on Monday; how ‘he got way with it’, his choice use of language, his need for bodyguards etc.

It’s taken me until today to write my account, this is due in part to initial feelings of fury and outrage at his behaviour and the seeming inability of the Select members to nail him down; also the trip itself – a 220 mile round day trip to London with complimentary train tickets courtesy of The Mirror, which in regular circumstances is relatively easy and enjoyable, has left me feeling as if I’ve physically and mentally wrestled with dinosaurs!

Prior to gong into the Select Committee I met with Kate Green MP to get her views on the persistent misuse of statistics by IDS and his junior ministers; I was impressed by her clear understanding of the complexity of issues around misusing statistics, and how this has resulted in a press witch hunt against disabled people and the clear links to an increase in hate crime; she also spoke of her desire ensure this behaviour does not go unchallenged in the future. We went on to talk about the issues we as disabled people have experienced under the Coalition and I left her hopeful that we have a shadow minister who not only understands how we have been treated but who is determined to listen to and learn from us when writing her part of the Labour manifesto for 2015.

Leaving Kate my long suffering carer & I went to the 1st floor to the Wilson room where the Select was due to start; as we came out of the lift I had to hobble past IDS, Fraeud, the 2 Civil Servants due to give evidence, and a further 10 bodyguards and junior aides, none of whom moved or even acknowledged my existence, to join with fellow campaigners and journalists queueing to access the meeting. As we patiently waited, IDS refused to look in our general direction, he stood amid the huddle of bodies as if trying to seek shelter, in total contrast Fraud persistently shot looks across the top of our heads as if he wanted his glances to be bullets.

Inside the room IDS demeanour changed, he was on his turf, the playground of Politics, ready to hit back at all and any claims he was in any way wrong; begrudgingly I have to admit that he knows and can play what he clearly sees as his game; I can only liken it to a sporting match with the opponents knowing they have the ability to win but…fail to believe it.

The worse thing with this is whilst the opposition continue to act in this way IDS will continue being the bully boy and WE will keep paying the price; having watched this spectacle unfold I’m convinced there is only one thing we can do, we must make the opposition fear us more than they fear him. This requires all of US suffering and dying under the Policies and Cuts of IDS & Co to unite; to cause these peacocks realise just WHO is in it together and that WE have had enough. The reality is we’re Dying because of their game playing, so WHAT do we have to lose?

The Petition we, Debbie Sayers & I started, asked for the “Work & Pensions Select Committee to Hold IDS to account for his use of statistics“; well they tried but, as I ask in the title of this piece, was it worth it? I think it’s time for us to decide; today’s Mirror contains Ros Wynne Jones account of Monday and closes with something I said to her outside the Select “We haven’t got 18 months to wait for an election. I don’t want to think what the figures will be by then of how people are living, and even how many of us will be left. We’ll keep up the fight and keep campaigning. It doesn’t end here“; I am absolutely convinced this is true but now it’s over to you – Was It??

 

ESA Assessments DO Have Targets?!!

At last, Kaliya Franklin,  has produced the evidence we all have been waiting for – Proof that ATOS & the DWP operate the ESA assessments against Targets!

This means People must both score the number of points required for benefit receipt and fall within the proportion of people the norms system will allow to receive the benefit. In other words it matters not how many points you might score if the target has already been met your claim will be denied!!

Read Kaliya’s post at – Benefit Scrounging Scum: and her full report here How Norms Become Targets

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

Our Petition goes to Parliament at LAST

At last we finally have a date to submit our petition for the Work & Select Committee to hold IDS to Account for his persistent misuse of statistics; on Monday 18th November @ 2pm we are meeting with both Liz Kendall – Shadow Secretary for Care and older people and Kate Green – Shadow spokesperson for Disabled people at Parliament.

From there Liz will  place the petition in the Petition Bag (which hangs on the back of the Speaker’s Chair), and after presentation The Votes and Proceedings publication will record:

  • The petition’s subject matter.
  • Description of the petitioners.
  • that the petition was presented formally.

The full text of the petition will then be printed in Hansard. A copy of the petition will be sent to the DWP who are expected to offer observations which will also then be printed in Hansard.

This process guarantees we will receive a response which should be that IDS is attending the Select Committee on December 9th and there he will be challenged on his untruths.

If anyone wishes to join us in submitting our petition please let us know by commenting below before Monday 11 November.

The Conspicuous Absence of IDS

In the words of Debbie Sayers, my Hold Ids to Account campaign buddie –

Back in June we had reason to feel positive our petition asking the work and pensions select committee to hold IDS to account for his use of statistics had reached 100,000 and we had been told that the committee wanted to tie it in to the end of year review of the DWP so they had all the facts at their disposal. A date would be forthcoming…

Time dragged on  and in June we were told MR Smith had cancelled because the end of year review was still not ready…

Time dragged on…

and once in July again the appointment was cancelled with the promise of something in the autumn…

Time dragged on…

and in September we were told November but…

Time is still dragging on and now on the 31st of October 2013, and we’re told it will be December…

That means the end of 2013, the 2011/12 Annual Report from the DWP will be eight months late… Yes that’s right EIGHT MONTHS late why is nobody shouting about this… well I guess we are…

I’M wondering why the press AREN’T wondering what’s going on, why MP’s AREN’T asking questions…

So I’m calling on everyone for help can we start making a noise about this can we tweet #whereisIDS #DWPLateReview

 I would also ENCOURAGE  everyone to start writing to their MP, asking why the DWP’s end of annual report is nearly eight months late… and asking when he will be seeing the Work and Pensions Select Committee in person. We don’t want his juniors to be answering questions we want him to explain what is going on Ultimately Mr Smith is responsible for his DEPARTMENT not Mr Penning or Ms Mcvey…

When a whole department can’t be held responsible and circumvents the balance and checks process we should all sit up and pay attention

Perhaps MR Smith thinks he is above answering questions… Perhaps he’s busy… either way time should be made to get the review in and discuss its good points and short comings… that’s the process that’s the job if he doesn’t like it perhaps he should resign…

Thank you all for your continued support of Debbie and myself, I assure you we are doing all we can to push for this and any help you can give us, and MPs like Sheila Gilmore who is also fighting to get IDS to committee is very much appreciated… I’d just like to take this opportunity to once again thank all those that have helped with the campaign fund… We  plan to be using it soon 🙂

Where do Disabled People fit in Labour’s ‘Tough on Welfare’ – The Party Response

As well as sending my letter asking Where Disabled People fit in Labour’s ‘Tough on Welfare’? to Kate Green, I also submitted it as a comment in to Labour.org; I received a reply from the Labour Party today –

Thank you for your email about Labour’s plans for social security reform.

Because of this Government’s economic failure, the next Labour government must start planning now for what will be a very difficult inheritance. David Cameron claims the economy is fixed, but the welfare bill is going up, not down. Long-term unemployment is up; the housing crisis is pushing up housing benefit spending; and the growing number of people earning less than a living wage is costing the taxpayer more in tax credits and other benefits.

One Nation Labour will get welfare spending back under control, but based on our values, not the Tories’ failed approach. That means tackling the underlying problems in our economy that drive up welfare spending: unemployment, low pay and the housing crisis.

The Tories have allowed long-term unemployment to rise. But under a Labour government, nobody who is capable of work will be left to live a life on benefits; people who can work, should work. We will guarantee anyone out of work for two years or more (or 12 months for under 25s) an offer of a real job, which they must take up, or risk losing their benefits.

Labour will halt the race to the bottom in our workplaces, tackling low pay, insecurity and exploitation rather than leaving the taxpayer to pick up the bill. We will strengthen the minimum wage, encourage more employers to pay their workers a living wage, and ban exploitative zero hours contracts.

Under the Tories, Britain is building fewer new homes than at any point since the 1920s. As a result, rents are soaring, and for every pound spent on bricks and mortar, £19 is spent on housing benefit. Labour will turn this around. We’ll aim to build 200,000 new homes a year by 2020, and if necessary, we will use ‘use it or lose it’ powers to force land-hoarding developers to build the homes that communities need.

Labour will build a social security system that is fair for both those in and out of work. To restore the public’s faith in a system that sometimes appears to give something for nothing, we will look to better recognise contribution of people who have paid in to the system for years. And where the Government’s incompetent handling of welfare reform is costing a fortune, Labour will get a grip, reforming the Work Capability Assessment so it works properly and gives disabled people the support they need.

So it seems the Labour Party feel that reforming the WCA, which I totally agree is essential, is enough to reassure those of us too sick to work will receive the essential support we need. Whilst the ‘recognition of people who have paid into the system’ might refer to a change to the current time limit on claiming contribution based ESA; there is no mention of PIP, or any of the other benefit  losses such as the Independent Living Fund.

Given this and the lack of reference to disabled people having value as human beings  I await a reply from Kate Green herself with intrigue.