“I keep being kicked in the gutter”: the cruelty of multiple disability cuts ~ That should shame Britain to the core


UK Uncut, DPAC and Black Triangle visit Iain Duncan Smith’s house to serve an eviction notice 





See alsoMan partially paralysed with brain haemorrhage shot himself after benefits stopped Posted on April 17, 2013






Frances Ryan PUBLISHED 18 APRIL 2013 9:59

Thoughts and reports on inequality, from disability to gender

Thousands of people with disabilities or long-term illness are now being affected by simultaneous cuts. As the welfare state undergoes unprecedented changes, the same people are being hit over and over again, says Frances Ryan.


It’s just gone 5am and Ray* is awake again.

He emails me to tell me, on a laptop he’s been loaned by his local HIV charity.

He’s been getting up in the night a lot over the past few weeks, thinking about money and feeling a thump in his head.

His benefits, one after one, are disappearing and no one is listening.

“This past few weeks, months has made so feel so ill,” Ray writes. “The feelings in my head and body from not knowing how the hell I’m going to pay the bills or if I’m going to lose my home, the little home I love and feel safe in… Yet feeling like scum in the way this Government has and is treating me.”

Ray has mental health problems and, in addition to having HIV, is diabetic and insulin dependent. He’s unable to work and, at 47, pieces together a small income from disability benefits and help with his rent and council tax.

As the Government’s shrinking of the welfare budget kicks in this month, he’s watching as each part of that help is being withdrawn.

“I feel as I am being hit from all sides,” Ray says when we speak again. “Yet [there’s] nothing I can do.”

He is one of thousands of people with disabilities or long term sickness who, from this month, are being affected by multiple, simultaneous cuts

Disabled people often rely on a variety of different benefits and services and, as the welfare state undergoes its fundamental change, are as such being hit again and again and again.

The “bedroom tax” means Ray has now lost 14 per cent of his housing benefit for living in his two bed house. At the same time, cuts in support for council tax mean that poverty no longer exempts him from having to pay. He’s already lost nearly £50 per month.

“That’s one hell of a percentage out of my meagre monthly income,”

he tells me.

“I don’t know how I’m going to manage it.”

Ray is already in debt after his Incapacity Benefit, the outgoing benefit for people who cannot work due to a health condition or disability, was stopped last September and he was rejected for its replacement (Employment and Support Allowance).

He tells me a social worker spent twenty minutes on his application for the new benefit and after being assessed by Atos, he was found fit for work.

His benefits were suspended entirely for six weeks and it’s against this back-drop of debt and worry that the other cuts hit.

Ray’s depression is worsening.

His vacuum cleaner found itself smashed in anger and a blood vessel in his eye has burst; diagnosed by his diabetic nurse as being due to the stress. 

It doesn’t seem surprising. Push an already vulnerable person and effect would be expected. The Government, either ignorant or unfeeling, is choosing to ignore it.  

”Subjecting individuals to frequent reassessments and the financial hardship experienced as a result of losing benefits will cause the mental and physical health of many people to deteriorate,”

Mind, the leading mental health charity, stresses to me.

Ray tells me that right now he feels as if he’s at his “wits end”.

As the bedroom tax and council tax charges begin, he’s going through the process of appealing his ESA rejection.

He’s been told that, due to the backlog in cases, it will take up to a year to get a tribunal date. In the meantime, he must live on the appeal rate of ESA – 30 per cent less than he would otherwise receive.

“I’ve had to use my credit card, overdraft…”

he says.

“[I] even had to ask dad for help as I was unable to afford to feed myself properly.”

He’s currently trying to get by on his Disability Living Allowance (DLA) but, as its replacement, Personal Independence Payments (PIP), begins to be rolled out, does so with the awareness that this will be the next benefit at risk.

“I’ve had enough of it all,”

he says.

“It’s as if I keep being kicked in the gutter.”

Despite the Government failing to assess the cumulative impact of the changes, the cuts aren’t coming in isolation, after all. Nor are they coming for comfortable people in secure conditions; those who won’t miss a tenner a week or have the bodies and minds that mean, if needed, they can do a few more hours at work.

By the nature of need, the people relying on disability, unemployment, or rent support are the people who were already struggling before each string of their safety net was pulled away.

People like Alex Baker who, due to his chronic neurological condition, can’t cook for himself. His £20 a week DLA isn’t enough to purchase care so he lives on pre-cooked meals that don’t need heating up. It means he buys multiple lots of pasta salad and a takeaway for heat a couple of times a week.  

“This is a miserable way to live at any time,”

he says.

“But in winter not having a hot meal means that you’re cold all the time.”

He tells me, like Ray, he’s sure that even this money will soon go. The Government’s own figures predict the change to PIP will see at least 500,000 lose their support. Alex speaks as if he’s already planning for it.

“[I’ll] live on sandwiches on the days I am well enough to make them,”

he says.

“Or biscuits, as I did before my DLA was awarded.”

His fear is increased by the fact that the last time he re-applied for DLA he was rejected.

He lost his benefit for seven months and had to go to a tribunal, where it was re-instated.

He tells me he still remembers the welfare support officer who’d been assigned to help him explaining she’d done nothing with his case for six months because:

“most people pull out, so we wait.”

she said.

“I received monthly letters from the Department of Work and Pensions asking if I would like to withdraw my appeal in the run up to the tribunal,”

Alex adds.

It’s experiences like these that frame the welfare changes for many people like Alex; bureaucratic failure, disregard, and resulting months of having to skip meals. These experiences do not make a person feel they will be taken care of or that the system going through the rapid reform is one on which you can rely.

On top of the removal of DLA, Alex will have to be tested for ESA when his contributions based Incapacity Benefit is stopped. He tells me he’s awaiting the assessment with “terror” and expects the same will happen with his PIP claim and ESA migration as it did with his DLA.

“Only now I won’t have any assistance because [my council] have closed their advice service and sacked their welfare rights officers,”

he adds.

Alex’s council tax has now increased from £36 to £111 per year.

His disability that means he can’t work isn’t going to heal itself but the bills are increasing.

He’s being handed extra charges to keep his home whilst facing losing the support that helps him leave it.

It echoes Janet Mandeville’s story; another apparently faceless sick or disabled person being hit by simultaneous cuts and another person who has reached the point where they are grateful if anyone even listens.

The 50 year old has multiple health problems and tells me she’s been housebound for the past six months as she waits to be assessed for a wheelchair. All four of her benefits are being affected by the welfare cuts.   

Some have already come into effect for her, and others like DLA, are waiting around the corner.

Like many on the low rate of DLA, she tells me she’s sure the changes to eligibility under PIP will see her lose her support.

Janet’s doubly incontinent and the benefit buys some health and dignity.

“I use DLA mainly on complan, a food supplement,” she says. “And extra toiletries, wash powder and electric…”

From this month she’s losing over £13 rent a week due to the bedroom tax as well as £26 a month council tax. She tells me she’s already seeing the effect and is struggling with her finances.

“[I] had to pay less than the arranged instalment of water rates and TV licence and reduce food shopping to raise the bedroom tax and council tax,” she says. “It just isn’t possible to take £20 a week from someone who is only just managing in the first place…The Government is taxing us out of our homes.” 

The sentiment is particularly painful for Helen Aveling. Twelve years ago the now 44 year old, who has cerebral palsy, was living in a residential home. She lived there for seventeen years before moving to Chatham, Kent to “escape residential life” and live independently.

She’s been doing that with the help of the Independent Living Fund (ILF); the benefit that assists around 19,000 people with severe disabilities to live in their own home.

The Government has scrapped ILF from 2015 and devolved current user’s care to local authorities – and, even more worryingly, have not ring-fenced the money.

The fund is the difference between independence and existence for Helen and the uncertainty around the changes come at the same time as she faces cuts and change elsewhere.

In addition to ILF, she also relies on Disability Living Allowance and tells me she doesn’t know what will happen to her when it’s removed.

“I’m scared witless,”

she says.

“I’m terrified.”

One of her biggest fears is not retaining her enhanced mobility points under PIP and her accessible car being taken away. It is impossible for her to make the repayments on her own.  

Meanwhile, though she has never been charged any council tax before, she is now being told to pay £25 for the next nine months. She starts with £28.29 this month, she says. She expects to be charged bedroom tax as well.

“I have the sense that all I had hoped for when I moved out of [residential care] is being eroded, little bit by little bit,” she tells me. “I’m angry, terrified and helpless all at the same time.”

Ray tries not to be angry, he says, but that it’s difficult when you feel discriminated against and sick with worry.

“I hope all this crying, pain and fear ends damn soon because I can’t take very much more,” he adds. “I just don’t know where to turn.” 

*Some names have been changed


72 thoughts on ““I keep being kicked in the gutter”: the cruelty of multiple disability cuts ~ That should shame Britain to the core

  1. Kate says:

    Unbelievable. The Condems are a nasty bunch of psychopaths, determined to squeeze the vulnerable to bail out their feckless financial sector see Max Keiser.

  2. robertchewter says:

    ESTHER MCVEY the air headed tory robot claims that they want to help disabled by stopping their DLA for life payments and putting disabled through a pointless and expensive and inconvenient assessment process..inconvenient because not only does it put claimant through stress, it also affects the GPs and NHS as GPs surgeries will be used, thus causing more waiting times to see GPs..and adding resentment towards claimants, same could happen using NHS facilities eg physio depts..why are Atos not using their own assessment centres? help them save money? whose side are the govt on? oh wait we already know that one..

  3. Mike says:

    I cannot believe that any civilised government would treat its vulnerable citizens like this. Have they forgotten that they are voters too?
    Give the fascist tories and their Libdem collaborators a good kick in the crotch, next month, May 2nd. get them
    I know that will not help immediately, but it might make some feel better until we can get them out, in 2015.

    1. robertchewter says:

      @mike the PIP assessments are pointless all this targetting to the ight claimants is nonsense..if someone is extremely ill and dont see themselves getting better then whats the point? all it does is send out a signal to the tory fans that they are cracking down on ‘scroungers’ bollocks ..its just goddam mean and spiteful..and bloody expensive a fact thats ignored as the ‘hardworking taxpayer’ would not be too pleased about, unless they depict as as ‘money well spent’ tripe..money well spent on persecuting disabled people more like..

  4. Rogr says:

    PULSE, the magazine for doctors, has already published a four page form that GPs will be asked ti fill out for incapacity and PIP. It will cost you a minimum of £33 to get it done but it is far shorter than the one for DLA and has far less space to deal with multiple problems. Almost like putting a whole medical history on a postcard so that it is easier to reject whatever is said.

    1. robertchewter says:



      We have confirmation that the DWP is actively considering axeing employment and support allowance (ESA) payments for claimants who challenge a decision that they are fit for work. Instead, claimants will have to try to sign on for jobseeker’s allowance, where they will face a harsh new regime which, from later this month, will include potential benefit sanctions of up to three years.

  5. sue hale says:

    when they take everything from me as i am sure they will, i will take thelaw into my own hands, get sent to prison, because a prisoners human rights are greater than a disabled persons, cause they have to have three meals a day and a warm dry bed, lot more than i have now

    1. Abbey Lane says:

      That’s very true and the government don’t seem to mind paying for PRISONERS or billions in foreign aid. None of the three parties in government are listening to ATOS linked problems though. But you might get extremely lucky if you demand help right now from a Labour MP, they are keen to get back into power. Get onto Dianne Abbot & Ed Milliband then when voting go for UKIP.

  6. Barry. says:

    just in Motability how to get shafted by the elite check it out motability.co.uk/about-us/patro…

  7. Barry. says:

    I have a friend that suffers with mental illness, long periods off dread – he feels everyone & everything is ageist him – on the upside he’s full off beans laths & jokes about life & how crazy life is – short lived he’s back in the pit of hell bills pile up spends long periods in bed shutting himself off from the outside or as he puts it the evil world – he also suffers with split personality disorder on the up he’s the gentlest kindness person you could meet on the down side the delve plays tricks with his mind moody & angry saying nasty things to people he cares & loves constantly thinking death is the only path out of this hell… in his own words: I’m like a washing machine you never know witch cycle I’m on. He hates what he has become, he used to have his own biasness worked long and hard & even today wants to work but cant do this duo to his server mental heath problems but this Atos point scoring assessment dose not see what’s in his mind dose not see the mix of caricatures in his head dose not see the anger & frustration of not being able to cope with the miner day to day tasks.

  8. Nigel Simmons says:

    Why under Queen Victoria running the Empire which comprised of 75% of the World did we only need 40,000 Civil Servants yet today we need 500,000 .Why does the tax payer foot the bill for Spin Doctors to feed us fodder.When the truth is unpalatable or too overbearing because of family or financial concerns we the Public turn ourselves off to be able to cope .
    Successive Governments have continued the same Agenda, same parcel different wrapping .Profit before Humanity.They have created a Ruling Class.They rule the pennies in our pockets.How we are Educated.How we are NOT Policed as a society properly by civilians in uniform when they have no powers in Civil Law,leading to Law of the Jungle .Thatcher had a spectacular funeral ,but what of the Victims of Stafford the man in charge still carries on . No happy Media coverage, keep them down. http://www.brokenbritainundertories.com

  9. Dissabled dave says:

    “I received monthly letters from the Department of Work and Pensions asking if I would like to withdraw my appeal in the run up to the tribunal,”

    So how much does it cost the DWP to keep sending out letters every month trying to browbeat people into giving up their claims for money that their lives depend on?

    Businesses reckon that a preformed standard letter still costs about £25 by the time stationery, postage, office space, power, water, computers, and staff time are included. Given that appeals are now taking up to two years, that could be £600 per claimant x the number of appeals, and that number is rising at the rate of tens of thousands a month. This must be costing £millions if not £billions.

  10. Humanity2012 says:

    Jellyfish are Less Spineless than the Gormless British Public at Large and Probably
    Less Selfish as Well

    There are too many Scum out There Brainwashed by the Regime Media and with
    An I am All Right Jack Morontality of a Mentality

  11. Humanity2012 says:

    There is No Point Pretending All is Right in England’s Grey and Poxy Land

    I Despair Beyond Words

    People have been Deprieved of Legal Representation following the Boneheaded
    Abolition of Legal Aid upon the 1st of April so How the Bloody Hell can People
    Win Appeals

    ” Descriptors ” do Not take into Account Everything

    This Diabolical Horror Situation of Now would Not be so Absolutely Bloody
    Hopeless had Not

    There is Still ” Officially ” Over 2 more Years of Poxy Tory Scum in Office
    until the Next Gormless Election in 2015

    There should Be an Election every 3 Years 5 Years is too Flipping Long Especially
    when the Alleged ” Official Opposition ” stands about like Dummies

    Why are People Not Angry with the Con Dem Regime why are they more
    Concerned with Football Alcohol and TV Soap Opera Rubbish ?

    Thickness is the Answer

  12. anna says:

    Disgusting… People who are terminally ill being treated like rubbish… While the sick government can easily blow £10,000,000 on a state funeral for a dead tyrant. Burn in hell Tory scum.

  13. kasbah says:

    The sick irony is that to claim jsa you have to sign a declaration that states you are fit to work. This means you have to commit fraud to deal with the fraud that is ATOS/DWP/Tory fucker generated. I pointed this out to the twat who rang me back from some dept of the DWP and he went all defensive and wouldn’t be drawn on this obvious Orwellian nightmare.

    I think we could get the bastards on this if it went to court. Meanwhile may the Tories die horrible deaths in abject poverty.

  14. jed goodright says:

    we have political lock-down in Boston and media lock-down in britain – anyone notice anything suspicious????

    1. robertchewter says:

      @jed goodright i am wondering why we have a front page headline about a boffin banging on about GM crops and how we need them, around the same time that a boston bomber shows up on MIT campus when MIT are involved with intelligence, defence and communications and bio tech and are connected to monsanto who are the main company producing GM crops…go figure that one…

    2. JEFFREY says:

      question time in the usa as if we did that before.
      could this be as a result of the death of margret thatcher.
      the bbc is a mouth for the political class… jeff lph //

  15. jeffery davies says:

    I cry for my brothers and sisters who haven’t the strength to fight but this lot of mp,s with their greed taken over, were they who are suppose to look after us criminals the lot of them some cry out about our abuse but then nothings done nothing changes but evey day we loose more from our ranks ,but how much do one want their tables are full to overflowing while we stare at empty purses were its ear or heat and wish that the summer was all year round,but instead get kicked from piller to post and yet they do more abuse take away more from us ,then its a pity when they pass its the key to that door will that be lost to them well they putting themselves into jeapody ,but listen to that the noise we get from our glorious bishops supping with old nick retired their staffs up sheep being killed by the those who should be looking after us yep even the bishops are silent on this are they hopping to get in also has this door shut to them I wonder if they put aside their greed and do the right thing look after those who cant jeff3

  16. maureen says:

    What the tories are doing is sending us into the lions den,when we all die of stress related illnesses or starvation they’ll be slapping each other the back and saying what a great job they did! like you all im stressed out not sleeping terrified i’ll lose my home and not be able to pay the bills! BROWN ENVELOPE SYNDROME or B.E.S for short, is a new syndrome we all have aquired, and the fuckers all come on a friday to piss you off more over the already shit weekends were having!

  17. kasbah says:

    I agree Maureen. I think the massive challenge for us is to stay alive somehow and not give in. That way we teach the bastards a lesson and set an example for the next generation. Much easier said than done i know. The last year has been a total nightmare for me,with it taking a year for my ESA appeal tribunal (which I won!!) to be heard. I shook all over and could hardly speak with terror but the judge awarded in my favour . Don’ know how I would have kept going without friends, family a good GP and Black Triangle. The next nastiness-the DWP take 2 months to cough up once you’ve won. You couldn’t make it up. Am dreading getting a brown letter saying they want to assess me again. but as Brian Blessed ranted: “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

  18. Bluesky says:

    The DWP has now released their response to the ‘consultation’ on a mandatory revision before appeal system. Under the new system, claimants who wish to challenge most benefits decision will be prevented from lodging an appeal with the Tribunals Service until the DWP have had another look at the decision. There is no time limit for how long the DWP can spend on this mandatory reconsideration.

    This is particularly important for ESA claimants who are found fit for work, as they are legally prevented from continuing to receive the assessment rate of ESA until they have lodged an appeal.

    After months of refusing to answer the question, the DWP have now revealed in their response document that they are still undecided as to whether claimants will be allowed to continue to receive ESA during the reconsideration phase. Worryingly the document does state that “other benefits may be available to claimants where ESA has been disallowed”.

  19. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    Strangely enough, if you try to find any impact assessments relating to the Welfare Reform Act, they all sing from the same hymn sheet!

    Try to find any documentation that puts a negative view on any of the related benefit cuts, they are none existent.

    If you ask a person or an organisation to give you the answer that you require, they will always oblige.
    Upon reading the impact assessment of the proposed PIP implementation, i was shocked to find a couple of paragraphs that clearly state that there is no link to removing a benefit and a worsening of health that would ensue.
    “Where the fuck they dig this claptrap up from defies belief”
    Its as insulting as saying “let them eat cake”.
    What the impact assessments all fail to say is that its not the removal of a single benefit, its the removal of multiple benefits.

    One benefit has a dire effect on a person and his or her family, multiple loss exacerbates the problem tenfold!
    Of course it affects your health! Depression, cold, limited diet and death are fast becoming commonplace. Suicides are suspiciously overlooked by the DWP. They arent really, but this is the stance they hide behind,
    BILL GUNNYEON, the man in charge of everything medical at the DWP is a disgrace to his profession! A hand picked “ANGEL OF DEATH”

    Every suicide and death that occurs due to benefits and disability changes in our nation has his backing.
    He, single handedly endorses the vile, heinous, evil perpetrated by government.
    In any other modern society he would be seen as a madman who actively encourages ethnic cleansing of the most vulnerable.
    This man, and i say man very loosely, has one aim, the introduction of health insurance through the back door.
    GUNNYEON, UNUM and ATOS are a festering disease devoid of any feeling, the products of the greed that is pulling the UK apart……

  20. Trevor says:

    Accounts of the despicable treatment being meted out to the sick and disabled remind me of the lyrics from Instant Karma by John Lennon: “Why in the world are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear”.

    It would appear the Con-Dems ( and their clone, New Labour) think that’s precisely why we – the downtrodden – are here.

  21. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    Once again another disabled person has come off second best.

    Tanni Grey- Thompson has lost her bid to become head of Sport England because of her dismay about stinging cuts to disability payments……

    So strange how they overlooked this lady in favour of Nic Bitel, who works for a firm of specialist litigation solicitors………..

    Maybe it will spur her on to further complain, from her opposition post, to amendments to disability rights and payments…..

    She had the backing of many influential figures, including Lord Coe of the olympic committee.

    Sadly the vote was influenced by tories who complained that she was “too political” for the position.

    Mind you, the eventual winner had the backing of the head of the Royal Yachting Club!
    Say no more……………………

  22. TR says:

    I sent this email to the EU

    For the attention of The Commissioner for Human Rights

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I have written to ask if you could please give emergency attention to matters in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where there is widespread fear, suffering, suicide attempts and high death rates among the disabled community as a result of harsh government policy. These policies are disproportionate and discriminatory and involve such treatment as forcing disabled people to undergo the controversial WCA test which has been widely criticised to be flawed and detrimental to the well-being and health of people with a disability. It is estimated by many disability activists that between 30 and 70 disabled people are dying each week as a result of the WCA test. This persecution does seem to break UK criminal law and I believe this persecution is contrary to the policies and laws of the EU.

    A Freedom of Information request in 2012 showed that 1,100 people died between January and August 2011, after the WCA test found them ‘fit for work’. The charity Rethink Mental Illness commissioned a survey last year in which 1000 general practitioners (GPs) took part. The survey showed that the test is causing great distress, suicide attempts, and even suicides on a national scale . (Links are provided below, with a space after http in the event that your email service blocks links)

    http ://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2012/04/32-die-a-week-after-failing-in.html

    http ://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/fear-of-fitness-to-work-tests-driving-disabled-patients-to-suicide-say-6-of-gps-8197432.html

    It seems that most of the UK disabled community find the WCA test to be persecutory. It has also been criticised widely. In 2012 the British Medical Association called for the test to be abolished and a more humane system used. The government’s Committee of Public Accounts has also recently recommended that the test be abolished because it is failing many vulnerable people. The PCS union criticised the test, calling it “cruel and inhumane”. The head of mental health charity Mind resigned from the government advisory board in protest of the test. And there have been a number of charities, medical personnel, MPs and journalists added their voices to the protest about the WCA test.

    http ://bma.org.uk/news-views-analysis/news/2012/june/scrap-work-capability-assessment-doctors-demand

    http ://www.personneltoday.com/articles/04/03/2013/59224/work-capability-assessment-slammed-by-house-of-commons.htm

    http ://union-news.co.uk/2013/02/scrap-cruel-and-inhumane-work-assessments-pcs/

    http ://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/apr/10/charity-chief-quits-over-fit-for-work-test

    The UK government has had evidence of the potential suicides that will occur as a result of the WCA, and while they have brought in many measures, these do not seem to be making enough impact, many deaths are still occurring, and they should have halted tests until they were safe. In January 2013, despite the mounting professional advice to abolish the WCA the government actually did the opposite and made ammendments to the the test which have made it even harder to pass, which will only increase the distress of disabled people and increase the amount of potential suicides.

    I believe that the UK government are committing the criminal offence of gross negligence manslaughter, under UK law, for failing to take notice of the overwhelming expert evidence and continuing with the test knowing the large amount of lives that are being lost and will be lost. As Britain is a part of the EU I feel that the persecution and loss of lives of a large amount of the disabled community should also be a concern for the EU.

    This harsh treatment of the disabled seems to be political, and it does feel as though some politicians are continually taking advantage of inaccurate figures by some areas of the media and using persecution of the disabled community to further the success of their political party.

    This treatment is disproportionate which can be seen in many ways:

    a) It seems to be a response to myths such as 9 out of 10 disabled people are committing fraud, rather than true facts. The government’s own figures show fraud is around 1% of all welfare benefit claimants.

    b) It is said to be addressing public concern. The 2008 MPs expenses scandal also caused great public concern, but measures were taken, some MPs were punished, and it was left at that, whereas the disabled issue has been kept going constantly for around the last 5 to 7 years that I can recall.

    C) Despite cuts to public services there is hundreds of millions of pounds sterling being pumped into harsher treatment of the disabled, paying companies several hundred million pound contracts and many millions of pounds wasted in incorrect decisions that were overturned on appeal. This is taking priority at a time when there are financial cuts to vital emergency services and places such as children’s heart surgery wards are being closed.

    d) Politicians are using the excuse that it is in the best interests of disabled people, but this is not credible when weighed against the overwhelming amount of evidence (as above) by medical experts, other officials and activists that clearly shows the massive amount of harm that is being caused to the disabled.

    Please will the EU consider intervening in this matter to stop these unnecessary deaths, by taking action against the UK government if it will not cease this WCA test immediately. And please could you give this emergency priority in order to stop as many of these unnecessary deaths as possible.

    Thank you for any attention you can give to this situation.

  23. Diane says:

    My husband is severely disabled and has been found fit for work, their argument is: he can sit in a wheelchair, so if anyone knows of a job that fits the below criteria please let me know.

    1. must have disabled access
    2. must allow for all my illnesses
    3. must allow me to sleep in the afternoon (I am up all night with pain and fall asleep any time)
    3. must have a chair that can have my legs outstretched because my wheelchair is uncomfortable sitting for eight hours.
    3. must have someone at hand to fetch things and make drinks and food
    4. must have someone with me at all times to adhere to the health and safety rules (reg 29 and 35)
    5. must have someone strong enough to pick me up when I fall
    6. must have someone to do the work for me as I can’t use my hand’s sit at a work station or stand and walk

    button pressing job is preferred, but I’ll take anything that fits the above criteria.

  24. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    I herald your actions in trying to bring the unfairness and inhumanity of the way our disabled are being treated.
    Many such attempts to highlight our plight must have been made, it makes you wonder how much influence our government have within europe, to sweep the issue under the carpet.
    Each and every attempt must bring more emphasis and bring more pressures on the powers that be, to do something.
    I am sure that if the rest of europe became aware of the demonisation present in the uk, they would act accordingly.
    As you clearly state, it is not only immoral, it is thoroughly disgusting.
    How any country can persecute its weakest is beyond the realms of human decency, obscene by all standards.
    Greed has no merits, it tramples all that stand in its way, devoid of any feeling or principals, the objective raping all that stands in its path……..


  25. Humanity2012 says:

    An Ocean Change Revolution in Politics and Outlook is What the Nation
    Needs to Deliver It from Evil

    This Tyrannical Tory Regime with Liberal Democrat Collaboration is
    Government of by and For Rich Scum

  26. Humanity2012 says:

    People out There in the Wider Community Need to Get the Blinkers Off
    Cut the Evil I am All Right Jack Mentality and show some Genuine
    Compassion such as Standing Up For the UnderDog and the Vulnerable

    That Way they will Get a Clue and a Backbone in the Process Instead
    of being Self Centered Tabloid Brainwashed Swines

  27. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    What a tory propagandist shower of shit, the BBC are!

    This morning they invited a woman on BBC 1 to show how easy it is to eat for one pound a day………………

    This act defies belief. It was only a short time ago that they paid off a retiring executive a small fortune who had been in his job only a matter of days……..
    Their affrontary is beyond the bounds of expected moral standing, given that the payoff was funded by license payers hard earned cash……


    The corporation is headed by titled elitist hob nobs with absolutely no idea what poverty is. This sort of claptrap is wholly unwelcome to the most poor and vulnerable in our society, its like putting to fingers up to the have nots whilst endorsing welfare reform is good for us………….

    The hand picked woman in the interview stated how she shopped, frugally picking the cheapest value goods from the bottom shelves of supermarkets that sustained her and her three year old son.

    They enjoyed a varied diet of pasta, tinned tomatoes and kidney beans topped with cheap yoghurt and made drinks using uht soya milk…..

    Stooping this low ought to send a message across the bows of the BEEB once and for all……….


  28. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    Under the freedom of information act i asked why, if we are deemed equal, does an MP from the lords get £300 per day expenses, but a poor person just a quarter of this amount to live for a week?

    The answer was obvious,” we do not hold that information “.

  29. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:


    Dear Geoffrey Reynolds,

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received 20 April 2013. You asked;

    I recently read the following comments;

    We have confirmation that the DWP is actively considering axeing
    employment and support allowance (ESA) payments for claimants who
    challenge a decision that they are fit for work. Instead, claimants
    will have to try to sign on for jobseeker’s allowance, where they
    will face a harsh new regime which, from later this month, will
    include potential benefit sanctions of up to three years.

    Please clarify if any of these assertions are true?

    The payment of assessment phase rate Employment Support Allowance (ESA) to claimants
    who are appealing a decision that they do not have limited capability for work following a work
    capability assessment is not changing. However, the process for disputing a decision is
    changing for decisions made on or after 28 October 2013. From this date claimants who wish
    to dispute a decision will need to request that the decision maker looks at it again, a process
    known as mandatory reconsideration. Claimants will only be able to appeal a decision after a
    decision maker has considered whether the decision can be changed.
    Following the introduction of mandatory reconsideration, payment of ESA will cease once a
    decision is made that the claimant does not have limited capability for work. If the claimant
    wishes to dispute this decision they must request that the decision maker looks at it again
    (mandatory reconsideration). Whilst the decision maker is reconsidering the decision, ESA
    cannot be paid as there is no legal basis to do so. If, however, following completion of
    mandatory reconsideration the claimant appeals to the first-tier Tribunal, ESA may be paid at
    the assessment phase rate provided the claimant sends medical evidence to the Department.
    During the mandatory reconsideration process, whilst ESA cannot be paid, claimants have the
    option of applying for alternative benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance, however they must
    meet the conditions of entitlement.
    From 22 October 2012 a revised JSA sanctions regime was introduced, the regime is designed
    to provide greater clarity about the consequences of not meeting requirements and more
    robust sanctions for repeated non engagement. The requirements placed on claimants will not
    change but the duration of sanctions have changed. The revised sanctions regime has three
    tiers. High level sanctions will apply for non compliance with requirements directly linked to
    employment such as leaving a job voluntarily.

    For these failures the sanction periods will be:
    13 weeks for the first failure;
    26 weeks for a second failure within a year of the previous one; and
    156 weeks (3 years) for a third (or further) failure within a year of a previous failure which
    resulted in a 26 (or 156) week sanction.
    Intermediate level sanctions will apply for up to 4 or 13 weeks when a claimant reapplies for
    benefit following disentitlement for failing to be available or actively seek work.

    • Low level sanctions will apply when a claimant fails to comply with a requirement that is
    designed to improve their chances of finding work or preparing for work such as failing to
    attend an adviser interview at the Jobcentre or to take part in a training scheme.

    The sanction for not meeting these requirements will be set at a period of 4 weeks for a first
    failure, and 13 weeks for a second or subsequent failure within a year of the previous one.

    From 3rd December 2012 a new ESA sanctions regime was introduced as a first step to
    aligning with the Universal Credit sanctions model. ESA claimants in the Work Related Activity
    Group (WRAG) who fail to meet Work-Focused Interview and work related activity
    conditionality requirements will be subject to a new two part sanction. This sanction is made up
    of an open ended period which is lifted when the claimant meets requirements – followed by a
    short fixed period of 1, 2 or 4 weeks. Claimants who re-comply within the same week of the
    failure will receive the relevant fixed period sanction only. The sanction amount will be 100 per
    cent of the prescribed amount for a single claimant, this is currently £71.00. The work-related
    activity component and any other additional elements to which they are entitled, such as
    premiums or payments for mortgage interest, will not be affected.
    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
    Yours sincerely,

    DWP Central FoI Team

  30. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:


    24 April 2013

    Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
    Can you please explain why information relating to success rates
    at social security appeals tribunals is being suppressed from
    public scrutiny?

    I have tried accessing the file (FOI/80708) and other information
    on the gov.uk website and it is being deliberately withheld.

    It seems that both yourselves and the court tribunal services are
    complicit in a cover up.

    Yours faithfully,

    Link to this

  31. jay says:

    Great work Geoffrey but I just don’t understand this DWP speak:

    “The payment of assessment phase rate Employment Support Allowance (ESA) to claimants who are appealing a decision that they do not have limited capability for work following a work capability assessment IS NOT CHANGING.”

    Then further down it says

    “Following the introduction of mandatory reconsideration, payment of ESA will cease once a decision is made that the claimant does not have limited capability for work. If the claimant wishes to dispute this decision they must request that the decision maker looks at it again
    (mandatory reconsideration). Whilst the decision maker is reconsidering the decision, ESA CANNOT BE PAID as there is no legal basis to do so.”

    Appealing or disputing the decision is surely the same thing. How can they say that it is not changing when it most surely is.

    They then talk about regimes.

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines regime as “a government, especially an authoritarian one”.
    From Wikipedia “Nowadays the political use the word regime is most commonly applied to any government that is most of the time not democratically elected and imposes strict and often arbitrary rules and laws on the people that are, because of the undemocratic nature of the government, non-negotiable.”

    Well I would say that description is crystal clear and sums up the DWP and Con-Dems perfectly

  32. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    Its the bit at the top i don’t like,”claimants will only be able to appeal a decision after a decision maker has considered whether the decision can be changed”.

    I think this is illegal as they are blocking a recourse to challenge a decision, in effect acting as judge and jury.
    I also noticed on the government website that when you went to ESA Appeals it said you may be able to appeal.
    They are trying every trick in the book to put people off from appealing.

    The truth is hurting them badly. Its costing too much in appeals being won………………….

  33. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    This is what Lord Fraud said to the Lords on 13th february;

    “I turn now to ESA. At the moment, if someone appeals a refusal of ESA, it can continue to be paid pending the appeal being heard; this is not changing. What is changing is that there can be no appeal until there has been a mandatory reconsideration. So there will be a gap in payment. In that period-and I repeat that applications will be dealt with quickly so that this is kept to a minimum-the claimant could claim jobseeker’s allowance or universal credit. Alternative sources of funds are available. Of course, he or she may choose to wait for the outcome of the application and then, if necessary, appeal and be paid ESA at that point.”

  34. jay says:

    Basically what will happen is that the DWP decision maker will reconsider the decision ie. Do nothing.
    The claimant will then be denied any benefit for two to three months or longer especially as the system will be overloaded with the upcoming Universal Credit disaster.

  35. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:


    27 April 2013

    Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

    On the 13th february Lord Fraud made the following statement in the

    “I turn now to ESA. At the moment, if someone appeals a refusal of
    ESA, it can continue to be paid pending the appeal being heard;
    this is not changing. What is changing is that there can be no
    appeal until there has been a mandatory reconsideration. So there
    will be a gap in payment. In that period-and I repeat that
    applications will be dealt with quickly so that this is kept to a
    minimum-the claimant could claim jobseeker’s allowance or universal
    credit. Alternative sources of funds are available. Of course, he
    or she may choose to wait for the outcome of the application and
    then, if necessary, appeal and be paid ESA at that point.”

    Could you please answer the following questions;

    1/ There is no mention in his statement about the DWP decision
    makers being involved in making a decision as to whether the
    claimant can go to appeal. Has the DWP reinterpreted this to suit
    there own ends?

    2/ Would your department be breaking the law by insisting that the
    decision makers control the right of a claimant to appeal an ESA

    3/ Could i sue the decision maker for breaking my statutory right
    to appeal?

    4/ How long will the Mandatory Reconsideration be, given that t was
    introduced as “being dealt with quickly”?

    5/ If this is being kept to a minimum, how many claimants could be
    locked in limbo without payment?

    6/ If the claimant was appealing their decision of being found fit
    to work by an ATOS HCP, they could end up without benefit. Forcing
    a disabled person to sign as fit for jsa is against the Disability
    Discrimination Act. Do you intend to break it?

    7/ If forced onto jsa and noticeably disabled, the jobcentre will
    deem them as unemployable and turn them away.
    Is forced destitution, hardship and maybe suicide another folly of
    GUNNYEONS onslaught against the disabled?

    8/ What alternative funds are available now that you have
    transferred responsibility of social funding to local authority?

    9/ Local authority funding is not ringfenced, therefore claimants
    will be left without provision. Have you put by an emergency fund
    to cover this, similar to the MPS FUND?

    10/ Why has the DWP taken upon itself to distort, for pecuniary
    advantage, the address given to the house of lords on february

    Yours faithfully,


    Link to this

    1. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

      Its the norm for them to do this nowadays. They try to elicit public opinion and if no one is seen to rebel, they bring it in.
      They play group against group, like they did with cuts to disability, fully in the knowledge that they could get away with it.
      Every policy is based on division of thought, divide and rule.
      Strivers and Skivers etc.
      The principle is as old as the hills but still works sufficiently to make one tract of society to think they are better than someone else.
      Unity goes out of the window, instead of furthering a cause we concentrate on “alienating” the people we purport to be a threat to our living standards.
      Keep feeding people with lies and they eventually start to believe it.
      There will now be pensioners out there, poorer ones, mumbling that its only right for the richer ones to give back heating allowances, bus passes and tv license fees.
      No doubt i will hear it today!
      This smokescreen will take the focus away from the real causes of the mess we are in, bankers, bonuses, tax evasion and corruption and tax cuts for the rich…………

  36. Dissabled dave says:

    So Iain Duncan Smith wants the rich to pay back to the Government any payments from Government that they do not actually need.
    MP’s salaries and expenses are paid by the Government.
    Iain Duncan Smith is so stinking rich so doesn’t actual need his MP’s salary and expenses.
    So will he lead by example and pay it all back?

  37. Humanity2012 says:

    Redistribution of Wealth from Rich to Poor is Long Overdue

    Had we had a Revolution Things would be Better Now

    People have been too Laid Back and Servile

  38. Nigel Simmons says:

    Cameron was Special Advisor to the Tory Chancellor ,Special Advisor to the Tory Home Secretary and also worked in the Tory Research Department considering the state of the Country they were Titles obviously of no consequence .Thatcher employed Saatchi & Saactchi at great expense to the Tax Payer to give us a typically moulded version of what a Right Wing Ogre was .Blair’s Spin Doctor was Alistair Campbell who started spinning his Lies in a Porn Magazine .So basically we could take a tramp off the streets and dress them up with a little voice coaching and you have a ready made clone of an Autocratic Puppet that takes no responsibility ,wastes Public Money by the bucket load keeps the Public in the dark as far as possible and sponges off the rest of us .Giz a job.

    1. robertchewter says:

      @diane it seems at present there are strange ppls who would rather others would keep quiet about the goings on at DWP and Atos..

  39. Linda says:

    If there were so many deaths and suicides in any other section of society, there would be an investigation. Someone would be held accountable.

  40. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:


    Dear Geoffrey Reynolds,

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received 26 April 2013. You asked;

    Are you telling me that a DWP Decision Maker will now determine as to whether a
    claimant will be able to pursue an appeal against an ESA decision, or any decision for
    that matter?

    Any decision can be appealed against if it is done within the time restraints.

    Are you acting as judge and jury?

    No, this is not correct. Whether a decision is appealable or not is set out in Schedules 2
    and 3 of the Social Security Act 1998. See http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/a1-3001.pdf.
    This is a statement rather than a request for information. However, it is not right to say
    this. Schedule 2 of the Social Security Act 1998 lists decisions which are not appealable – see
    It is not clear what in particular the question is referring to. Information relating to the
    role of the decision maker can be found in chapter 1 of the Decision Maker’s Guide – see
    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
    Yours sincerely,

    DWP Central FoI Team

    1. robertchewter says:

      @all on here. may i ask if anyone would be interested in the make up of decision makers at DWP , their position and previous experience and occupations? or is it none of our business?
      i have a reason to ask following some things i came across which made me wonder..would appreciate any thoughts on this, thanks.

  41. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    Dear Geoffrey Reynolds,

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received 23 April. You asked;

    You state that your department does not issue food vouchers and yet, in another of my FOIs
    you state that there are no plans to introduce them. State clearly if the food voucher idea has
    been terminated or not?

    DWP does not issue food vouchers, and has no plans to do so.
    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
    Yours sincerely,

    DWP Central FoI Team

  42. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:


    25 April 2013

    Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
    The following extract was taken from a recent case in which a
    claimant was awarded £2000 plus costs against ATOS.

    Atos tried to argue that they were not bound by the Equality Act
    when delivering WCAs, and so did not need to make reasonable
    adjustments for disabled people, and also tried to claim that I was
    not disabled, as defined by the Equality Act 2010.

    An expert medical report, ordered by the Court, concluded that
    there was “no doubt” that the impact on my condition [as a result]
    of the events of 9 August 2011 were “significant”, and that
    “certainly several steps could have been taken to avoid the
    exacerbation of symptoms”.

    At the WCA I was award 0 points and assessed as fit for work, [the]
    DWP rubber stamped that advice. It went to appeal where I was
    placed in support group after a 5 minute hearing – after waiting
    months on reduced benefit.

    I would like to ask a couple of questions about what is written









    Yours faithfully,

    Link to this

  43. Humanity2012 says:

    Revolution is the Solution to Sweeping Aside the Nazi State of Oppression Misery and Suffering that is Con Dem Regime Britain

    The Revolutionary Commission for Investigation and Justice must bring Redress of Grievance for All who have Suffered under the Con Dem Regime such as the Poor and Vulnerable Victimised by Degrading ” Tests ” and ” Assessments ”

    Politicians must be Made to Account for their Involvement in the Expenses Outrage and Also Voting for Measures that Further Wrecked the Quality of Life for the Poor and Vulnerable such as ” Welfare Reform ” Welfare Ruination in other Words

    The Regime Media also Needs to Apologuise for their Involvement in the
    Persecution and Harrassment of the Poor and Vulnerable with all the Pahlava about So Called ” Benefit Scroungers ” when the Actual Scroungers the Politicians have Lived in Corrupting Obscene Luxury

  44. Humanity2012 says:

    Instead of Just Meekly Accepting all this Further Pahlava from those
    Scum of the Con Dem Regime Get the Con Dem Regime Scum Out
    of Office

    Never Again must a Tory Government be Allowed to Hold Office
    as they are just a Bunch of Nazis

  45. Humanity2012 says:

    People Need to Get Out and Demand All Oppressive Sanctions are
    Scrapped Immediately

    Those who Do Not Listen must Not Hold Office and are Certainly
    Not ” Representative “

  46. robertchewter says:

    @geoffrey the DWP have a strange view of ‘the public interest’ its what they decide what is the public interest it seems..a request about mandation of signing up to the UJM was responded to along the lines of ‘none of your business’ albeit ‘politely’

  47. karin says:

    The DWP don’t realise that 11 million people in the UK are disabled and therefore part of the public, who have interests in the sense it is meant above.


    1. robertchewter says:

      @KARIN as if being kicked in the gutter and being labelled as a scrounger isnt enough i’m finding now that disabled posters are being targetted online , held up for abuse and ridicule..its getting worse..

  48. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    Theft of benefits (PIP)

    GEOFFREY REYNOLDS made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

    Currently waiting for a response from Department for Work and Pensions, they must respond promptly and normally no later than 3 June 2013 (details).

    2 May 2013

    Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
    Recently you gave the following text as a FOI response;

    Questions 3 and 4 – All existing claimants aged 16-64 will be
    invited to claim PIP and will be
    assessed for the new benefit if they choose to claim it. We began
    replacing DLA for people
    aged 16-64 with Personal Independence Payment on 8 April 2013. We
    are taking more time to
    get this right by extending the reassessment timetable. We will
    learn from the initial stages of
    PIP delivery and make sure the assessment is working correctly.
    We have started by taking new claims for PIP from areas including
    Merseyside, North West
    England, Cumbria, Cheshire and North-East England. New claims for
    the rest of Great Britain
    will start in June 2013. From October 2013, some existing DLA
    recipients will be invited to
    claim PIP. PIP will be subject to an independent review in 2014 and
    we will use this review to
    understand how the assessment is working in practice. The vast
    majority of reassessments will
    not start until October 2015 – this means that those with
    indefinite awards will not be affected
    until at least October 2015 (unless they report a change in their
    condition which would affect
    their rate of payment, their fixed-term DLA award expires or they
    reach the age of 16)
    DLA recipients can use the “PIP checker” to find out when their DLA
    may be affected. The PIP
    checker can be found at https://www.gov.uk/pip-checker

    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting
    the reference number
    Yours sincerely,

    DWP Central FoI Team

    Could you please clarify the following,

    1/ Why would you say “invited” to claim when it is just theft on a
    grand scale?

    2/ Why use the term “assessed” when the outcome is biased, unfair
    and totally premeditated?

    3/ Why would you state, “if they choose to claim it”.
    This is perceived as a threat to dissuade a claimant?

    4/ Why would you learn from the ” initial stages of PIP delivery?
    You certainly have’nt learned anything from the last fiasco, ESA.

    5/ Why would you want to “get it right”? You never managed this in
    the past judging by the embarrassing backlog of appeals and
    tribunals, furthermore, it’s only going to get a whole lot worse
    with bedroom tax and benefit cuts kicking in.

    6/ When would you deem it to be working correctly, would it be the
    spiralling death rate, destitution or misery that would oblige you?

    7/ Are the “indefinite awards and lifetime awards” the people who
    you stole from after you decided to change their status?

    8/ Will the organisations that represent the disabled community be
    invited to give opinion at an “independent review” or will it be a
    handpicked elite who share your ideals, as is done at the moment?

    9/ Will the PIP CHECKER hold information as to how many deaths have
    occurred since the introduction of the Welfare Reform Act, or will
    your staff turn a blind eye to their heinous crimes and pretend
    nothing is happening?

    Yours faithfully,

    Link to this

  49. nigel simmons says:

    The man in charge of our National Health Service has been found totally lacking in his ability to manage it with any semblance of credibility .Over a THOUSAND DEATHS caused by his lack of COMPASSION & PATIENT COMMITTMNENT in One Hospital – Stafford .Thatcher brought him in to close all the mental hospitals and implement Ken Clarkes ‘Care in the Community’ in 1990 which caused suicides galore and since then he has run the NHS on Profitability Grounds rather than any Patient Care and Respect .We the British Public owe it to the Victims of all Patients that have suffered under his Callous Regime .Ask yourself before you sign the Petition “Why hasn’t he been sacked” because he knows too much and he would take too many others with him .Please Make A Stand Against Our Ever Eroding Rights As Members of the British Public http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/49715

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