Labour calls for review of sickness benefits assessment

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Shadow work secretary Liam Byrne defends decision to introduce Work Capability Assessment but admits it is not working…

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2 thoughts on “Labour calls for review of sickness benefits assessment

  1. My late mother in law lived through the Nazi’s discrimination in the mid 30’s. she was Jewish. I am disabled. For the first time in my life I am starting to understand how she felt..and it’s hard to forget it was My Labour Party that introduced the WCA. And engaged the services of ATOS.

  2. The government were quick to point out that more people than ever were being given long term *unconditional* support in the form of ESA for those in the support group (the group made up of the most severely disabled people who are medically assessed as likely to remain unfit for work and for whom there is no obligation for jobsearch).. However, they neglected to mention that on the introduction of the universal credit system next year, this support will be withdrawn from thousands of disabled people who claim the contributory element of ESA – regardless of whether they are in the support group. This is because universal credit will see contributory ESA (for which recipients must have worked and paid appropriate tax and NI contributions) means tested in line with other benefits such as jobseekers allowance, and all other household income will be taken into account as opposed to the present system which just takes into account the income (eg workplace pensions) of the claimant. This will punish those severely disabled people who have tried to work and have had to retire early – even those with the smallest of pensions will be means tested pound for pound and will lose most, if not all of their ESA entitlement. I worked for 25 years despite a severe congenital disability. I took medical retirement a few years ago with a pension of less than £400 per month, and now I find that this alone will be enough to wipe out any ESA entitlement when means testing is introduced.

    My neighbours are teachers and pull in over £70,000 a year between them, and yet they are allowed to claim child allowance in excess of £90 per week – roughly equivalent to the support group rate of ESA – with no means testing applied, Can someone please tell me how this is fair ? The welfare state was not intended to pay this kind of benefit to people who are capable of earning these sums whilst denying benefit to those people earning far less and being means tested to the bone. The loss of £90 per week child benefit to someone earning these sums cannot possibly be compared to someone who is sick or disabled and for whom that £90 per week represents half their income. Having children is a lifestyle choice, being disabled is not, and quite frankly I am sick and tired of hearing people such as myself being described as workshy scroungers by able bodied people who have no experience of disability and make sweeping generalisations based on the lies fed to them by the government via the press and the media. When the full range of changes are applied to disability benefits I will probably be left without my motability car – which by the way, enabled me to get to work, pay my way and make my contribution via taxes. I will no longer be able to afford the maintenance of my wheelchair and will be left effectively housebound – while my neighbours pass my window every day with their designer buggies and well dressed offspring, which are all partly funded by the tax payer, but I don’t see anyone outraged by that !!

    Please don’t misunderstand me – I am in favour of child benefit in the main, I am just trying to point out a major flaw in the means testing system which pays benefit to the richest and takes it away from the poorest. I never cease to be amazed by the fact that the NHS and the welfare state are being dismantled by this government, seemingly with the full consent of the ordinary man in the street, who never seems to stop and consider that he may walk under a bus tomorrow and be in need of the very disability benefits he is so quick to condemn today. A selfish society benefits no-one except those rich enough to not have to care about such things – caring and compassion seem to be things of the past and I think we are all poorer as a result.


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