DWP, Atos, Fraud, Job Seeking, and Chronically Sick and Disabled People

There  are many who believe that people are choosing to live on benefits as an alternative to work. The vast majority of people want to work, some are desperate for a job, when there just aren’t enough jobs to go round. Then there are people who can’t work because of their chronic illness or disability. How must it feel to be called scroungers or shirkers on top of living with chronic illness and pain? People deserve to be treated with dignity. This excellent blog by Madd Suspicions entitled DWP, ATOS, Fraud, Job Seeking, and Chronically Sick and Disabled People makes this point. Think Left’s article Reframing the Welfare Debate  by Darrell Goodliffe shows how important it is to counteract the Coalition’s argument for benefit cuts before people are thrust into poverty.

DWP, ATOS, FRAUD JOB-SEEKING,

and CHRONICALLY SICK AND DISABLED PEOPLE

Reblogged from MADD Suspicions:

“I know, that is rather a long title, but I couldn’t think of any better for now.  Anyway, this is important, I believe. I know, that is rather a long title, but I couldn’t think of any better for now.  Anyway, this is important, I believe.”

There is still so much that the more priveleged among us need to understand, there is so much ignorance around, and misinformation and blatant lies to be honest around stemming from politicians and certain sections of the media , relating to benefits, job seeking, the chronically sick and disabled people, that I felt I had to write this post.I saw this posted earlier on Twitter by one of the “Dragons” from a programme here in Britain, called “Dragon’s Den.  I never watch it, because I’m not money orientated, I don’t have an obsession for it and never have believed that being happy and successful equals having lots of money.  However lots of entrepreneurs seem to be like that, i’m sure not all are, and some may do some good.  However lots are.  Anyway, this was the Tweet from one of the “dragons”, Deborah Meaden, which was retwittered by someone I followed (that’s how I saw it) :”

More people working means less spent on benefits. Stimulate economy and make sure it pays to work. 

When I first saw it, I didn’t know how to interpret it.  I don’t know anything of her politics, I don’t have anything whatsoever against her personally.  I do think however, that sometimes this sort of statement can feed into the “scrounger” rhetoric, prevalent in our “civilised society”.

On seeing something like that my first thoughts when knowing nothing about the person is that I want them to understand things, and try to speak about things from my own experiences.  Obviously I can’t speak from anyone elses experiences.  And I hope I came across when I twittered back as wishing to be matter of fact and polite.

I posted a link to this round-up about ATOS and the DWP, which I attempt to update as often as possible.  I also posted a link to this post I have also made, relating to how I pushed myself, as an entrepreneur on that programme may do without mental illness, only with mental illness attached.  And how that made my mental health worse.

I hope that she will take a look at those posts, at least.  And maybe she can understand, depending on her background of course, which again, I know nothing of.

I don’t know why I did it, as I know that posts like that will often draw out undesirable conservative ideologists with the “arbeit macht frei” financially conservative ideology, but I had to take a look at the responses.  They weren’t actually as bad as I thought they may be after I prepared myself, then dove in and took a look.

First I saw this:

More people working means less spent on benefits. Stimulate economy and make sure it pays to work. 

And a response to that:

@DeborahMeaden@nickgibbens It hasn’t just got to pay to work, it’s got to STOP paying to NOT work.

@Roberto_Rausa@DeborahMeaden Could not agree more Robbie…

I thought a response to both of them at once would be a good idea, so I did so.  Which, so far, hasn’t turned out to be too bad a decision.  And brought about quite an interesting Twitter chat.

Of course, not something I would be comfortable with in the real world.

I wanted them to know, and to understand a few important points.

  1. Many people do NOT choose not to work.
  2. The chronically ill and disabled certainly do not.  And do not deserve beatings at the hands of the Lib Con regime in power.
  3. The DWP’s own figures show that levels of fraud on Disability Living Allowance are at 0.5% and Incapacity at 0.3% (Click here for the DWP official report in PDF format)
  4. The levels of DWPs own errors are twice as high as the levels of fraud.  (£160 million, compared to £80 million – See the above link)
  5. That isn’t even counting the importance of the human costs in lives due to deaths and suicides due to the stresses and strains of being forced through the process, which i’ve posted about previously.
  6. People go in for part-time jobs rather than/as well as full-time jobs for a variety of reasons.  a) Childcare.  b) You have to go in for those jobs available, if you don’t you could have JSA removed c) It is physically impossible for every person seeking work to fit into every single job available.  d) Not every job is suitable for every individual, as I posted about myself previously here.
  7. The focus seems to take away from those who do need real support, which is not only financial in nature, but often healthcare wise.  In fact, sometimes better healthcare and shorter waiting lists may mean that some of us are available to get back to work quicker.  Yet those privileged people do not seem to understand, the NHS and welfare are joined together.  You can’t have one without the other, and if you cut costs in both it’s bad, very bad!

And that is what’s happening right now.  Costs are being cut everywhere.  You can’t seriously expect to cut services in welfare and the NHS without there being consequences of that conservative ideology.  You force people through this process with your twisted ideology, you are driving mentally ill people closer to the edge, yes, some even towards suicidal tendencies.  You cannot take away people’s support networks tell them to swim and expect them/us all to.  Because we are not all going to be able to do that.

With costs being cut also in the NHS, as well as in welfare it’s the perfect storm.  And it is perfect for the conservative ideology.  With so many thousands of deaths already in less than 1 year alone so far, how many more?  It’s time to end the ignorance.  We need a joined up welfare, healthcare and employment system.  Because this system is dying, and as it dies, so are human beings.  Those in power cannot seriously be clueless about this end result.  Hitler certainly wasn’t with his “arbeit macht frei ideology”.

Be careful what you wish for.  You could become mentally ill tomorrow.  Then you’d see!  First they came for…… And where were you then? “

22 thoughts on “DWP, Atos, Fraud, Job Seeking, and Chronically Sick and Disabled People

  1. I went recently for an ATOS Medical and was treated like a cow in a cattle production line and nothing else. I was not treated fairly or humanely and was eyed with suspicion down the ATOS Advisors nose as soon as I got into the room! I was sacked from my previous job because I was ill and therefore unable to work but I scored 6 points only and as a result my ESA was stopped! I have a back condition that is so bad that my consultant won’t operate as it will make me worse. I am on Morphine and what employer would want me like that and I cannot sit/stand or walk far. I have been told to claim Job Seekers Allowance and find a job, this is government propaganda to get the disabled back to work and off the books of the government. I feel like slashing my wrists.

    • Wish I could wave a magic wand and make benefits congruent with people’s needs.. not just as they were before ATOS and the Welfare reforms, but a system which made life easier for people like yourself who have enough additional difficulty to deal with already! The system makes me feel very angry!

    • Hi Christine, I agree with everything Kitty has said, and stress it is vital you inform them you are appealing.

      I do understand how you feel and regularly consider emptying my med cabinet, what keeps me going is the thought of those vile creatures in Government smiling at the loss of another disabled person. It is probably the most difficult thing you’ll ever do, to keep going under these circumstances. but I assure you it’s worth it.

      As I wrote previously tell them you’re gong to appeal, then come and meet up with us on Facebook/Twitter; you’ll find lots of practical & helpful advise, a safe place to rant & some great ideas to start getting your own back!.

      If you want to meet up you’ll find me as Jayne Linney on FB, JayneL on Twitter or drop me a note on my WordPress account below.

      I hope to catch you soon -Empathy & Solidarity in Numbers

      J x

  2. I am in a similar situation to you having a serious back problem and in constant pain which is made worse by sitting standing and walking and a consultant advising against surgery after my atos “medical” I was awarded 0 points and told my incapacity benefit will end on 4 th January. I am at my wits end I do not know what I’m going to do I fear my depression will return making everything worse. What hurts the most is being made to feel like a liar and a scrounger I never asked for a back injury and to have to rely on benefits.

    • I like yourself have a serious back problem, exactly the same in fact. I have Spinal Stenosis and believe you and me it is no picnic, I am in constant pain which too is made worse by sitting, standing and walking and is now just over the xmas period one of my knees is giving way and I collapse with no indication of when it will happen it just does. I had an ATOS “medical” which was so degrading and made me feel like the bottom of the nurses shoe. I am now appealing against the decsion made by her to send me back to work although I was sacked from my job for being too ill to work after nearly 10 years!. I am at my wits end too. I do not have incapacity benefit only bare bones ESA which I am thankfully appealing against. Whilst my appeal is in, the DWP must still pay me that pittance until a decision is made either way. I am seeing the doctor next week as I am depressed and I want to work too but can’t, in fact I tried for a job at Sainsburys as a checkout operator and was told that because of the fact I cannot stack shelves then I cannot have a job as a checkout operator!! I felt so sad but at least I tried. I get £71.00 a week ESA which is better than nothing but I am not a scrounger or lazy either. Please keep us posted Claire won’t you on how you are getting on? good luck.

    • Claire, Sorry to hear you are going through this situation. It’s standard for Atos to award 0 points, that tends to happen to most people being assessed. This lousy government have set targets that Atos remove benefit from 7 out of 8 of us. However, many people get that overturned when they appeal.

      There are some excellent support groups on FB that provide really good advice as well as support. If you need some support, and advice , and feel you would benefit from the group , let me know

    • I hope you are considering appealing, as many people win at appeal. The tribunal panel is made up of an independent judge and a real doctor. I won mine after also being warded 0 points. If you want to appeal, you really need to do so before april. The Government have changed the law after then, which means it will be difficult to appeal, as you wont be abler to claim basic rate ESA. AS it is now, if you ring the Job centre, and tell them you are appealing, ask for basic rate ESA or incapacity benefit. You will be entitled to one of those whilst you appeal, as the law stands now. You can do that immediately as well – ring the DWP and say you are appealing and want basic rate sickness benefit.

  3. “It hasn’t just got to pay to work, it’s got to STOP paying to NOT work.” It NEVER paid not to work. Benefits only cover the costs of basic living requirements : food, fuel and shelter. The amount was carefully calculated by a body of professionals and officials. But the Tories have been ideologically hankering to dismantle welfare since Thatcher.

    WHERE are the jobs, in the middle of a recession? Only a stupid and very cruel Government would punish those out of work, and the sick and disabled, and in a recession as well.

    People like Deborah Meaden ought to stick with their privilege and “enterprise” and refrain from making social statements about the plights of those they know NOTHING about. How despicable to endorse the removal of support that is about meeting BASIC human needs – those we need to fulfil to stay alive, in fact. God spare us from sanctimonious rich business people who give a shit only for profit and care little about human lives.

    • Thank you for the information and to everyone who has commented I will be appealing and will let you know how it’s going.

  4. The best thing to do with Atos and the DWP is to record your conversation with them and do not let them know you are doing it – they cannot stop you doing this – but in today’s society the problem is you now need a witness to show how badly you are being treated.
    But we cannot always have a witness present – so tape the conversations you have with these people to show how badly you are being treated and let the world know of the inhumanity arising in our Civil Service.that now call us customers (and they are no business)
    Once these bullying people begin to learn that people are taping conversations with them it will make things get better – because lets face it civil servants in Councils, the DWP and Atos are becoming a dangerous group for many civilians to deal with honestly.

    A case in point – Tony Benn the MP is known to tape record every conversation he has with people whether they are from the phone or from the public.
    So use his wisdom on this.

  5. I am a Civil Servant am we too are being screwed! I am off sick with depression and have to undergo an ATOS assessment soon. We are treated like shit.

  6. Sue I was a Civil Servant for 10 years until the MOD screwed me over and I had to be taken on by a private company after being tupeed over with no choice of getting another position I might add. I got seriously ill and as a result got sacked from my job for being ill, I was happy very very happy with being a Civil Servant and I loved my job as did my husband who has been with them 15 years but now needs an ATOS Occupational Assessment for being off work too long! He has had two major operations and yes you are being screwed he says. I will keep you informed if you keep me informed Sue with my husbands outcome? Oh by the wy he cannot claim ESA for anyone reading this as he has not got enough class 1 contribution stamps.

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