About Me

My photo
I have been working to support disabled people to live as independently as possible and realising their individual potentials for over 20 years. I am qualified in Health and Social Care Management and Ethics and Social Welfare. All blog entries are my responses to issues I see affecting those I support and indeed myself as I joined the disabled community after surviving a stroke.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Benefit Shake Up - Out of Touch With Reality???

Dear readers, I fall upon your mercies in humble apologies for my absence from my blog in recent weeks. I have however been awoken from my cyber-slumber by Ian Duncan-Smith's announcement regarding those refusing to take up employment having their benefits suspended for up to three years for the serial work-shy.

I can see why this could be a good idea, after all the nation is attempting to reduce the financial deficit and as a taxpayer and blooming hard worker, I do not want to be supporting somebody who chooses not to work. However I am still recoiling in horror at the potential injustice that the Westminster decision makers are either unable or unwilling to see.

I watched Mr Duncan-Smith yesterday once again say, those who are disabled and unable to work have nothing to worry about, with the words "We are not in the business of punishing people who can't take work." has he passed on this message to ATOS?

For those who don't know who ATOS are, they are the people who are carrying out Work Capability Assessments for Employment and Support Allowance, this benefit is for those with disabilities and long term health conditions that impacts on their ability to work.

At the last count 70% of ATOS decisions that were going to appeal tribunals are being overturned. Faced with that kind of statistic, you can forgive people who are unable to take work for issues regarding health and disability for regarding Mr Duncan-Smith's words as somewhat meaningless compared with the reality of what they are having to go through.

Responses in opposition to this announcement of benefit punishment has simply been based on the lack of work available, completely missing the point of how disabled people who are clearly unfit for work are already having to fight to keep what they receive and have been described by the health care professionals who are familiar with their cases as unfit for work (as opposed to a 20 minute ATOS assessment that in the majority of cases say incorrectly that they can work), now there is the added risk of a) being told you can work and b) losing all your benefit if you refuse to take work that you are not fit for.

I am just putting the finishing touches to a number of case studies I have received from people who have been negatively affected by the Work Capability Assessment that I plan on sending to Ian Duncan-Smith and other relevant people where I shall raise these concerns. I'll let you know what happens.