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Incapacity to ESA Transfer (15th Nov 11 at 12:41pm UTC)
The dates and information regarding transfer from Incapacity Benefit to ESA, as Incapacity Benefit is phased out and ESA becomes the only alternative to Job Seekers Allowance

http://www.disabilityalliance.org/ibmigrate.htm

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/Illorinjured/DG_188859

This links to DWP information on ESA,
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/employment-and-support/
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Re: Incapacity to ESA Transfer (15th Nov 11 at 12:43pm UTC)
An article looking at some of the affects of cutting the welfare budget,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/17/david-cameron-nhs-welfare


15 July 2011

Yesterday representatives from charities involved with the Disability Benefits Consortium , attended a second roundtable meeting with Minister for Employment Chris Grayling MP at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

This was a follow up to a meeting held in September 2010 and attended by representatives from around 20 different charities.

Chris Grayling was supported by James Bolton (Health, Work and Well-being Directorate) and Karen Foulds (Jobcentre Plus).
Key issues

1. The DWP claims to have made good progress with implementing the year 1 changes agreed following Professor Harrington’s report on Work Capability Assessment (WCA) last year.

2. The charities stated that there were still many areas of unhappiness with Atos. The Minister stated that charities should deal with the DWP and not Atos directly, adding that in each jobcentre there should be a readily visible copy of the Atos charter. The DWP should be informed of any failures to comply with the charter, including if the charter was not in a place for all to see.

3. The transition process from Incapacity Benefit (IB) to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) has been amended in the light of lessons learnt from the pilots held in Burnley and Aberdeen.

Some of these improvements will now be piloted on the WCA for ESA in Wrexham and Bangor before being rolled out nationally.

4. The full national roll out of IB to ESA has begun. The DWP is processing 11,000 cases per week and expects to complete assessing all 1.5 million people on IB by March 2014.

5. Chris Grayling believes that the new processes will lead to fewer complaints but this will take time to assess as so few people have been through the new system. He emphasised that his aim is to get as many right decisions as possible.

6. The Minister was challenged to explain: if that is the case, why was he allowing an assessment system - that he had accepted was not yet suitable for people with conditions such as M.E./ MS - to continue to be used instead of delaying the assessment process for them until a fairer test is available? The perception of people with M.E./MS was that this was an indication of callous disregard for their right to fair treatment in order to save money.

The Minister strenuously denied that cost saving is a driver but once again refused to explain why a temporary waiver could not be granted.

7. There is much inconsistency in the way in which jobcentres are obtaining the additional medical evidence recommended by Harrington’s first report and some ambiguity concerning the DWP’s interpretation of the arrangements and what guidance should be given.

8. The Minister was explicit in saying that GPs’ opinions were not in his view wholly objective. The level of evidence would in most cases need to be a specialist consultant.

It was pointed out that this did not work because too many areas of the UK have no specialist services that could provide evidence.

Citizens Advice Bureau emphasised that many doctors, including GPs insisted on financial payment for such reports. This was not affordable for people living on benefits with no other sources of income which introduced a two tier system that favours the relatively well off.

Suggestion that the DWP should consider appointing neurological function champions who would be available to give advice to Atos assessors and DWP decision makers. (NB. mental health function advisors are being appointed in recognition that some conditions are particularly difficult to assess.)

Chris Grayling suggested that the idea be fed into the Harrington consultation which began this week. He also invited charities to brief DWP/Atos (jobcentres) on a regional basis – something which the MS Society has already begun to do.

9. In a discussion about how employers are being incentivised to support disabled people, Peter Spencer asked the Minister if he would agree to consider a major event with employers next year where a range of disability charities could help to inform employers about the practicalities and advantages of retaining/employing people who were well enough to work if reasonable adjustments were made. The Minister agreed to consider it.

10. Finally the charities were vociferous in opposing the 12 month time limit that has been retrospectively introduced for contribution-based ESA when a person or their family has other sources of income.

CAB cited cases of people having to sell their home in order to manage on very much reduced income this would cause. The Government had reneged on its obligations to insure people against ill health despite the National Insurance contributions they had made for many years.

Chris Grayling asserted that this was a political judgement forced on the Government by the inability of the national finances to fund the scheme except for those who had no other form of income and for whom a safety net would remain.

11. The Minister closed the meeting by thanking the charities for a large number of helpful suggestions. He would schedule a third meeting later this year. Meanwhile he reminded everyone of Professor Harrington’s call for more evidence on WCA that had been launched that day.
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Re: Incapacity to ESA Transfer (15th Nov 11 at 12:43pm UTC)
The migration of Incapacity Benefit to Employment Support Allowance, brace yourselves this is not an easy read,

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmworpen/uc1015-ii/uc101501.htm

if you managed to read it all well done and if you understood it all there may be a career in politics for you
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Re: Incapacity to ESA Transfer (15th Nov 11 at 12:44pm UTC)
Benefits stats dangerously misleading

29 July 2011

DBC press release

50 charities suggest Government is using 'dangerously misleading' statistics

Government statistics [1] have fuelled claims this week that high numbers of benefits claimants are ‘faking’ [2]. But a coalition of over 50 charities [3] suggest this is dangerously misleading and contributing to hatred and violence towards disabled people by portraying them as cheats and scroungers.

Hayley Jordan, from the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) and MS Society, says:

“Hours after an important committee of cross-party MPs condemned irresponsible and inaccurate portrayal of benefits claimants, DWP statistics led to more reports wrongly labelling people as ‘faking’. Disabled people are very disappointed that the Government is refusing to ensure accurate reporting and may be contributing to stigmatisation, victimisation and exclusion.”

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) released figures on Tuesday which suggest that only 7% of claimants for Employment Support Allowance (ESA), the new benefit that replacing Incapacity Benefits, were unable to do any sort of work. This led to claims that 75% of sickness benefits claimants are “faking”.

But the figures were released just as a report from a committee of MPs [4] decried misleading media coverage, and the false assumption that the tests are designed to ‘weed out’ benefits cheats:

“Media coverage of the reassessment is often irresponsible and inaccurate and we deprecate the pejorative language which some sections of the press use when referring to benefit claimants. Portraying the reassessment of incapacity benefit claimants as some sort of scheme to “weed out benefit cheats” shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the Government’s objectives.”

The committee report also highlights that the number of appeals is rapidly increasing, with people going to the Tribunals Service set to double over three years. 436,000 people will appeal in 2011/12 and this costs the taxpayer a staggering £50 million per year.

Independent reviews, charities, and the Work and Pensions Committee have all now told the Government that the figures for new ESA benefit claims mask the true level of capacity to work and that the assessment system used is ineffective, over-expensive and is denying many disabled people the support they need to get and keep work. But the facts are lost in ‘fakers’ claims which reappeared the same day the committee report was launched due to DWP publishing further statistics on the same day. This led committee chair, Dame Anne Begg MP, to write to the Minister [5] stating:

“By what I assume was a coincidence…The coverage of the statistics in some newspapers, notably the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, was a particularly egregious example of the way they can be misused.”

Charities are also concerned that welfare reform is supposed to deliver help to disabled people to get/keep work but support appears to be rescinding. Government misleading statistics on claimants was also published the same day as it was revealed the number of disabled people using ‘Access to Work’ had sadly fallen [6]. Neil Coyle, of the DBC and Disability Alliance, says:

“The Government must ensure appropriate support is available to disabled people to get and keep work. It is very worrying that some support has dropped in the last year. Sadly, the language to describe disabled people needing support has become more offensive and this also contributes to barriers to work as employers suspect genuinely disabled people of faking or being ‘work-shy’.”
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Re: Incapacity to ESA Transfer (15th Nov 11 at 12:45pm UTC)
Dame Anne Begg MP, Chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee wrote to the Minister for Employment Chris Grayling.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/news/letter-to-chris-grayling-benefit-payment-statistics/
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Re: Incapacity to ESA Transfer (15th Nov 11 at 12:46pm UTC)
Lib/ Dems will propose reforms to ESA at their conference in September,

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-14449896

The official guide,
http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/@disabled/documents/digitalasset/dg_177366.pdf

Britons back squeeze on welfare benefits. British people are overwhelmingly in favour of having a welfare state, but most want it tightened up, a poll for BBC News suggests.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15460427

something genuine claimants appear to back as well
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Re: Incapacity to ESA Transfer (15th Nov 11 at 12:47pm UTC)
Welfare reforms could force 600,000 off incapacity benefit,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/nov/08/welfare-reforms-incapacity-benefit
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Re: Incapacity to ESA Transfer (28th Jun 12 at 1:26pm UTC)
Benefits Cheat Rose Jones Caught Scuba Diving After Claiming £135,000 Of Taxpayers' Money

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/28/rose-jones-benefits-cheat-caught-scuba-diving-taxpayers-cash-pictures_n_1633140.html?utm_hp_ref=uk
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Re: Incapacity to ESA Transfer (2nd Jul 12 at 10:45am UTC)
GPs see rising sick note requests for patients on back-to-work scheme - Pulse
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/newsarticle-content/-/article_display_list/14216626/gps-see-rising-sick-note-requests-for-patients-on-back-to-work-scheme

By Madlen Davies | 02 Jul 2012

The GPC has complained to the Government over its drive to reassess everyone on incapacity benefit, as practices facing rising numbers of patients requesting sick notes while their cases are reviewed.
The move comes as BMA leaders voted to scrap the Work Capability Assessment system, which they said ‘has little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of the long term sick and disabled'.

The Government scheme aims to give everyone on incapacity benefit a ‘work capability assessment', but LMC leaders say it has resulted in rising numbers of patients requesting sick notes while they appealed the decision to have their benefits withdrawn.

Dr Deborah Colvin, chair of City and Hackney LMC, said each of the 10 doctors at her practice now see three to four patients a week in this situation when it used to be an occasional occurrence.

She said: ‘I can't bear seeing patients with major disabilities being told they can go to work when there are no jobs to be had even if they were fit- and they're not. What do they expect us to do? Are we supposed to leave people with nothing?'

Dr John Canning, chair of the GPC's Professional Fees Committee is leading negotiations with the Department for Work and Pensions. He said: ‘I have raised the issue on behalf of the GPC and the Professional Fees Committee. The DWP have undertaken to address the issue; I will not let this rest'.

The BMA's Annual Representative Meeting in Bournemouth last week voted for a motion that called for the scheme to be replaced with a ‘rigorous and safe' system that ‘does not cause unavoidable harm to some of the weakest and vulnerable in society'.

Dr Louise Irvine, BMA Council member and a GP in Lewisham, who proposed the motion, said the system was ‘completely inadequate', especially for assessing patients with pain, fatigue, mental health or cognitive problems.

She said: ‘It is putting patients through a really inhumane system.'

A DWP spokesperson said: ‘GPs should only issue a fit note if a patient has a health condition which impacts on their fitness for work, whether they are appealing any DWP decision or not.'
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Re: Incapacity to ESA Transfer (3rd Jul 12 at 8:37am UTC)
Abolish this harmful work capability test
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jul/02/abolish-harmful-work-credibility-test



You report on a clearly very unwell man who had been found fit for work following a work capability assessment (Report, 30 June). He then attempted self-immolation, and our thoughts go out to him and his friends and family. The Department for Work and Pensions asserts that its "internal figures do not suggest a rise in such incidents in recent months". But there is no official reporting mechanism from either primary or secondary care, social work or the third sector for such events.

Michael Marmot, a world expert in public health epidemiology, last week stated that we are in "a public health emergency ... if you look across Europe at unemployment rates, a 1% rise in unemployment in a country is associated with a 0.8% rise in suicides". According to the Campaign for a Fair Society, 25% of the cuts are falling disproportionately on 3% of the population, namely sick and/or disabled people in receipt of state support. The true figure for self-harm and attempted suicide among benefit claimants may be somewhat higher than the DWP statement would have us believe. Its statement lacks any credibility. The WCA is a harmful process and this is why the BMA has demanded its end with immediate effect. Is it not time that the workforce administering the WCA adopts a similar position?
Dr Stephen Carty Member and medical adviser, Black Triangle Campaign, John McArdle Founding member, Black Triangle Campaign, Linda Burnip, Debbie Jolly and Elinor Lisney Co-founders, Disabled People Against Cuts, Bill Scott Chief executive, Inclusion Scotland, Steven Preece Social Welfare Union, Helen Martin Journalist, Maria Rud, Ian McDougal Senior psychiatric charge nurse
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Re: Incapacity to ESA Transfer (5th Jul 12 at 12:34am UTC)
Well, i did try to understand some of the things re benefits etc and how things will change
However, i have to admit, my summary on this info is
We are basically screwed.
If ESA dont slash benefits
PIP will get us next time round

Or is it just me who doesnt trust the gov re benefit shakeup??
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Re: Incapacity to ESA Transfer (5th Jul 12 at 9:05am UTC)
Think the people that wrote the Spartacus report share your view Howie so you are far from alone.
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