This article titled “Personal independence payments are a punishment of the poor and ill” was written by Polly Toynbee, for The Guardian on Friday 11th April 2014 06.00 Europe/London
She calls it: “Heartbreaking, truly astonishing, I’ve never seen anything like this.” Emma Cross is a senior Macmillan Cancer Support benefits adviser, and she says delays in Iain Duncan Smith’s new personal independence payments (PIP) leave the sick utterly destitute. “Does anyone know how many people are struggling?”
Macmillan’s mountain of PIP cases includes a mother being treated with chemotherapy for bowel cancer, whose operation left her with a colostomy bag. She gave up work and, with no other family to help, her husband gave up his job to care for her and their two-year-old child, taking her to frequent hospital appointments. They claimed PIP last September – and they have heard nothing since. No-one answers queries, lost in the gigantic backlog.
Until registered for PIP, which pays from £21-£134 a week, they can’t claim other crucial benefits: carers allowance, severe disability premium, escape from the bedroom tax, a bus pass, taxi cards to get to hospital, or a heating grant (she feels intensely cold). With credit cards maxed out, they have no idea what they’re due as PIP has tougher criteria: if this woman can just about walk more than 20 metres, she may get nothing now for mobility. Macmillan says people in this backlog are missing chemo appointments for lack of a bus fare.
“I wish this couple were an exception,” says Emma Cross. “But this is happening to so many.”
PIP replaces the disability living allowance, which Duncan Smith cut by 20% and abolished for new claimants; old claimants are being moved over. It used to pay out quickly, but PIP is an administrative calamity. The public accounts committee (PAC) queried why Atos won the contract to run it with its record of failure: Sue Marsh’s latest Spartacus report says 43% of appeals against DWP decisions based on Atos tests for employment support allowance are upheld. Margaret Hodge, the PAC chair, unearthed Atos’s tender for the PIP contract and found it had been “grossly misleading”, pretending to have hundreds of test centres inside hospitals, when in reality it had very few.
The last figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that 220,000 made PIP claims, but less than a fifth were processed. Ask any MP about PIP cases piling up in their surgeries and all parties tell tales of woe.
After he appeared on the Andrew Marr show this week, I challenged Duncan Smith over the PIP backlog. He waved it away airily. Oh, it’ll all be sorted by the autumn, he claimed. Nothing to worry about. That’s highly unlikely – but if so, why not pay claimants the old DLA until it’s fixed? Why should sick people pay the price for his maladministration? He batted away the idea with a shrug.
This is exceptionally monstrous, as Macmillan say people have died waiting. The 5% of cases dealt with as priority under “special rules” are those with a doctor’s letter certifying they’ll die within six months. Macmillan says it’s hard to know when people will die – six months or two years. Doctors rightly can’t write such a letter for someone who hasn’t asked for a specific death date. People need the money right now, regardless of the ghoulish prognosis demanded by DWP.
Labour’s Rachel Reeves and her team have been protesting, but the PIP story hasn’t become a national scandal. Why not? They say, glumly, that only the Mirror and the Guardian are interested, the rest turn away. Google PIP and you get myriad stories on breast implants. This reflects how much more tribal the rightwing press has become. The Guardian, as did I, covered Labour’s failings in power. The PIP saga is a “good” story. Where – yet again – is BBC news, which should be following the DWP with laser-accurate analysis?
Forget civil service factual information: Duncan Smith has just hired a Murdoch managing editor from the Sun and Sunday Times as DWP communications director. Perhaps he helps hone Duncan Smith’s terminological inexactitudes [see footnote].
On Sunday’s programme IDS claimed, again, that his bedroom tax simply followed Labour’s rules on restricting the number of bedrooms claimable on housing benefit in the private sector. Not so, says the House of Commons library, it was the Tories in 1989 who cut the number of eligible bedrooms – and only for new rentals, never turfing people out of homes they already occupied.
The PIP catastrophe is just the most extreme of Duncan Smith’s disasters. Nothing – not one of his programmes – has worked as planned. It hardly matters that universal credit (UC) is years late, but last month the PAC demonstrated UC will never do what Duncan Smith claims, its work incentives shot to pieces. With council tax, housing benefit cuts and national insurance, many on UC will lose almost all of every extra pound earned, while most lose 65p or more. The very rich down tools over a loss of 50p in the pound. At first, it might have been ignorance, but now IDS knows his claims for UC are untrue.
After IDS’s most recent interview on the Today programme with Evan Davis, the Child Poverty Action Group analysed his facts. Will he meet his child poverty targets? “I believe we will”, Duncan Smith replies. “But you’re not on target to do that.” “I believe we will.” “So frustrating!” exclaims Davis. Duncan Smith makes this claim: “Since I’ve been in power we’ve seen child poverty fall by 300,000.” He knows that’s just from the first year when Labour’s increase in child tax credits kicked in: since then, it’s all downhill.
Duncan Smith likes to mislead on the relative measure of poverty: “Actually upper incomes fell, so the idea of a relative income measure doesn’t make any sense.” But relative poverty has nothing to do with what happens to top incomes. It’s measured against the median – the middle point, not an average nor the top. Stupidity or duplicity? Take your choice.
“The last Labour government spent £175bn in tax credits chasing a poverty target they failed to meet,” he said. But that was over 11 years and it did hit two-thirds of the target, while IDS plunges ever downwards.
If your eyes glazed over, that’s what he counts on. Bamboozling voters who don’t have graphs to hand is how he gets away with it. When challenged, he resorts to “I believe I’m right”. But the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Royal Statistical Society and scores of experts stopped him moving his goalposts. The IFS predicts he’ll put 300,000 more children into poverty by next year, up nearly a million by 2020. In 2011 IDS claimed his was “the party of the poor” – that’s a promise he has kept. Of all his calamities, PIP is probably the worst.
• Comments on this article will be launched later this morning (UK time)
• This article was amended on 11 April 2014. The earlier version said incorrectly that “Atos, the firm contracted to deliver it [PIP], has walked away”. Atos’s contract to deliver PIP is to continue as planned; it is Atos’s separate contract to administer work capability assessments (WCAs), used to determine qualification for employment and support allowance, from which the company has announced it will be exiting early. The article also referred to “appeals against Atos tests”. To clarify: the appeals are against DWP decisions based on WCAs.
• The following correction was published on 15 April 2014: A Comment article about the treatment of disabled people by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stated: “Forget civil service factual information: Duncan Smith has just hired a Murdoch managing editor from the Sun and Sunday Times as DWP communications director. Perhaps he helps hone Duncan Smith’s terminological inexactitudes.” We are happy to accept that Richard Caseby, the strategic director of communications at the DWP, carries out his duties in a thoroughly honest, diligent and professional manner. He was not hired by Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary of state for work and pensions, but works as a civil servant. We apologise for any misunderstanding. In addition, the writer of the article said that “PIP replaces the disability living allowance” (DLA). To clarify: DLA is still available for children up to the age of 16.
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22 thoughts on “Personal Independence Payments are a Punishment of the Poor and Ill”
If you’re young and fit, leave Britain and emigrate with your skills somewhere better, and if you’re old or ill and unemployed, it will be a continuing nightmare no matter which criminal party politics are in power.
The system is and always has been throughout the whole history of the UK, one of subservience, fleecing and misery for the ordinary, and pleasure and luxurious privilege for the very few.
Only you the people that have a brain and aren’t subject to all the propaganda, can change the situation.
“”HER MAJESTY’S COURTS AND TRIBUNALS SERVICE, FAIR , INDEPENDENT AND IMPARTIAL”………..
“FORGET IT MATE, IT;S JUST BULLSHIT!”
NOT ONLY WAS IT THOROUGHLY BIASED THAT I WAS EXPECTED TO APPEAR IN FRONT OF THE SAME JUDGE, DAVID WALL, WHO HAD STOLEN MY D.L.A. WEEKS EARLIER, BUT HE TRIED TO OVERRIDE MY REQUEST FOR A DIFFERENT MAGISTRATE……………
THERE ARE CERTAIN EXPECTATIONS LAID OUT IN LEGISLATION AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT SPECIFICALLY STATES EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO A “FAIR TRIAL”.
NOT MANY PEOPLE WILL BE AWARE OF THE WORD, “REPUSAL” AND IT’S IMPLICATIONS DURING A TRIAL OR TRIBUNAL.
SIMPLY PUT, REPUSAL MEANS THAT IF THERE IS SEEN TO BE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST WHERE A BIAS MAY BE EVIDENT, THE JUDGE CAN ELECT TO STAND DOWN OR THE APPELLANT MAY REQUEST IT……….
WHAT HAPPENED IN MY TRIBUNAL IS THAT JUDGE WALL AND HIS FEMALE DOCTOR, TOOK IT UPON THEMSELVES TO TRY TO PROCEED EVEN AFTER MY OBJECTIONS WERE RAISED………..
MY OBJECTIONS WERE CLEAR…….
IN MY DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE TRIBUNAL SOME WEEKS EARLIER I HAD MADE IT CLEAR THAT I WAS LIVING ON £32.32P AND HAD BEEN SINCE JULY OF LAST YEAR.
I HAD A PARTNER AND A SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD SON AND OUR DIETS WERE AFFECTED BY THE LOSS IN BENEFITS.
THE JUDGE WAS INFORMED THAT WE WERE PURCHASING OUT OF DATE FOOD, EATING STALE CREAMCRACKERS AND CUP A SOUP.
MY ABILITY TO MOBILISE HAD BEEN TAKEN AWAY AND MY SON HAD TO PAY, BOTH FOR HIS MEALS AND TRANSPORT TO SCHOOL.
NEVERTHELESS, THIS EVIL JUDGE UPHELD THAT THE REMOVAL OF MY DLA WAS FOUNDED BECAUASE I HAD FAILED TO FILL IN A 35 PAGE QUESTIONNAIRE.
STRANGELY IN A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST TO THE DWP, THEY ADMITTED THAT IT WAS UNUSUAL FOR SOMEONE TO RECEIVE A QUESTIONNAIRE IF THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES HAD NOT CHANGED, AND THE CLAIMANT COULD INFORM THEM, IF IT HAD.
NATURALLY I INFORMED THEM MY CIRCUMSTANCES HAD NOT CHANGED, THEREFORE FULFILLING MY OBLIGATION.
WHILST IN THE COURT CHAMBER, I ASKED JUDGE WALL, IF THE TRIBUNAL PROCEEDINGS WERE BEING MONITORED, EITHER AUDIO, VIDEO OR BY A COURT STENOGRAPHER, HE REPLIED NO!
UPON ASKING HIM HOW A REPORT IS MADE BACK TO THE DWP, HE SAID I DO IT.
I PUT IT TO HIM THAT ANY REPORTS EMANATING FROM THE JUDICIAL CHAMBER WERE NEITHER FAIR, INDEPENDENT OR IMPARTIAL………..
NO WONDER IT STATES THAT YOU CAN BE IMPRISONED FOR MAKING A RECORDING OR FILMING A COURT PROCEDURE.
TO PUT IT MILDLY;
“YOU ARE BEING SHAFTED AT EVERY LEVEL BY THE MOST BIASED, UNFAIR JUDICIAL ARRANGEMENT EVER TO BE DREAM’T UP”
………A MASONIC BASED GENTLEMANS CLUB KOWTOWING TO THE MONARCH’S WISHES.
SORRY, MY ERROR, THE WORD IS “RECUSAL”
5 March 2013
Dear Ministry of Justice,
Please clarify the law on the recusal of judges.
If anyone in any court before any judge feels that there is bias or
apparent bias in the way the judge is conducting the proceedings,
they can ask the judge to recuse themselves or step down simply by
“I hereby make an oral application for you to recuse yourself on
grounds of your bias or apparent bias”
However, my understanding of the law on recusal or stepping down is
that the judge must immediately stop the proceedings and pass the
matter to a more senior colleague to continue the proceedings.
It is the feeling felt by the person requesting the recusal that
triggers the judge to step down and pass it to someone else.
However, judges who are bias are even more determined to continue
to the predetermined end-point and rarely step down which is
contrary to the law.
It is clearly wrong for a judge to continue to preside given that
the application for recusal has been made and there is a risk any
decision will appear to be prejudiced by that application.
“STRANGELY IN A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST TO THE DWP, THEY ADMITTED THAT IT WAS UNUSUAL FOR SOMEONE TO RECEIVE A QUESTIONNAIRE IF THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES HAD NOT CHANGED, AND THE CLAIMANT COULD INFORM THEM, IF IT HAD.”
The DWP need to made aware of their own rules they are breaking.
…………and stranger still, Razor;
ON THE 8TH MARCH 2013, THE DLA PEOPLE AT WARBRECK HOUSE, BLACKPOOL, SENT ME A LETTER CONTAINING THIS PARAGRAPH;
“EVERYONE ELSE IN RECEIPT OF DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE WILL NOT BE CONTACTED UNTIL 2015 OR LATER, UNLESS YOU REPORT A CHANGE IN HOW YOUR HEALTH CONDITION OR DISABILITY AFFECTS YOU”
………..THIS IS WHY I ALWAYS IMPLORE ALL CLAIMANTS TO REQUEST, IN WRITING, ALL INFORMATION THAT THE DWP HOLD ON THEM.
IT COSTS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO DEMAND IT, AND IT WILL PROVE INVALUABLE WHEN FIGHTING YOUR CASE AGAINST THEM.
MY INFORMATION CAME IN THREE ENVELOPES AND WAS SEVEN INCHES DEEP…………..
SEND THEM A LETTER, RECORDED OF COURSE, NOW.
THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT MAY BE YOUR SAVIOUR.
Trouble is Andromeda, the people that have a brain are either too busy to be bothered (until it affects them), or too lethargic with the state of politics in this country to get involved. I know this because I WAS one of them – then ill health struck, I became familiar with the name ATOS and the DWP, and IDS, and have become even sicker as a result! Sick of the way our people cannot see what is happening to OUR country. Everyone says that the HOLOCAUST should NEVER be allowed to happen again, and yet we appear to be on the verge of another version of it, led by the high and mighty IDS. Hitler believed that he was right too!
Or we can stay & fight for the things our parents & grandparents built – NHS, Welfare State, social housing, & the things our children & grandcchildren will need – all those, + clean air & water.
“Limited Regular Employment and the Reform of Japan’s Division of Labor”
“Epidemic Of Hunger: New Report Says 49 Million Americans Are Dealing With Food Insecurity”
This is controlled murder by the State this is what they planned all along.
What is more important – Winning the Election or Sticking By Their Own Rules.
Winning the election is more important so the rules goes out the window. To pick up on the rules the DWP are breaking means costs for the DWP but costs don`t come into it to do with Equality & Human Rights breaches!! DWP stick to the rules it will be a lot cheaper !!
just had a letter from scarborough law courts that state, JUDGE DAVID WALL AND HIS FEMALE DOCTOR, WENT AHEAD WITH MY CASE, IN MY ABSENCE, AFTER I HAD LODGED A LENGTHY OBJECTION UNDER THE TERMS OF “RECUSAL”.
THEY HAVE UPHELD MY ESA REPORT FROM ATOS USED TO STEAL MY INCAPACITY BENEFITS.
WATCH THIS SPACE WHEN I TAKE ATOS TO COURT…………………..
These welfare reforms are either the product of an over complicated system and unintelligent planners or a deliberate attempt to follow neoliberal philosophy to give corporations (non human entities) jurisdiction over people. In short the corporate spokespeople (or ‘government’) are either insanely stupid or insidiously malevolent. Either way it leads to devastation.
“EVERYONE ELSE IN RECEIPT OF DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE WILL NOT BE CONTACTED UNTIL 2015 OR LATER, UNLESS YOU REPORT A CHANGE IN HOW YOUR HEALTH CONDITION OR DISABILITY AFFECTS YOU”
PEOPLE I KNOW WHO GET DLA BOTH HIGHER RATE MOBILITY AND MIDDLE RATE CARE (PENSIONERS) ARE SCARED TO EVEN TELL THEM THAT THEY NOW HAVE MORE CONDITIONS ON TOP OF THOSE THEY ALREADY KNOW ABOUT AND THOSE THEY DO ALREADY KNOW ABOUT HAVE WORSENED… IN CASE THEY LAND UP HAVING THEIR DLA TAKEN OFF THEM AND BEING PUT IN THE LONG QUEUE OF PIP APPLICANTS…OK THERE IS ONLY ONE MORE STEP TO FULL DLA BUT ARE THEY PUTTING THEMSELVES IN A BAD POSITION BY NOT TELLING THEM OF THESE DETERIORATIONS/EXTRA /NEW CONDITIONS?? WILL IT BE HELD AGAINST THEM IF IT EVER COMES ABOUT THAT PENSIONERS WILL ALSO BE TARGETED.?
Depends if the DWP see a worsening condition as a change of circumstances.!! Would that fool the disabled Mike Penning says to IDS !!
An apt quote from Jesus:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Evildoers. Yup, that just about sums up IDS, Cameron and the rest of the bogus “Christian” Tories.
Pity I’m an atheist because I would really love to believe that mob are destined for eternal torment in the flames of Hell as punishment for all the misery and suffering they’ve inflicted.
“it seems that the dwp do not hold the answers to this question”
Dear Mr Miller,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 7 April 2014. You asked;
Would you please provide the examples of qualifying statements for each question and
point section of the PIP assessment criteria.
Following a search of our paper and electronic records, I have established that the information
you requested is not held by this Department. However, in the interests of customer service I
would like to refer you to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment guide, which
you can find on the GOV.UK website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-
independence-payment-assessment-guide-for-assessment-providers. Chapters 3.4 and 3.5 list
the daily living and mobility activities that feature in the PIP assessment, and give examples of
circumstances in which various descriptors within the activities might apply to claimants.
Furthermore, Chapter 3.3 includes a number of examples of how the ‘reliability’ criteria might
be applied to the daily living and mobility activities.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
DWP Central FoI Team
……………………………………………………………..then how does the DWP DECISION MAKER MAKE A DECISION?
SURELY NOT ANOTHER LIE?
“LIKE YOU SAID RAZOR, ATOS ARE STILL DOING THE ASSESSMENTS THAT LEAD TO THE MOUNTING PILE OF DEAD PEOPLE”
DWP LYING. SURELY NOT?
Dear Ms Conner,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which we received on 28 March 2014.
What is the exact date that ATOS will cease their contract in regards the assessment of
claimants for work capability assessments.
How much are they paying back to the DWP in regards to the cancellation of the contract.
An exact date for the cessation of Atos’ contract with the department for the provision of Work
Capability Assessments will be set in due course.
In reply to point 2, I can confirm that the Department holds the information you are seeking.
However, the information you have requested is exempt from release under Sections 41 and 43
of the Freedom of Information Act. Section 41 exempts information which, if disclosed, would
constitute an actionable breach of confidence against the Department.
Section 43 exempts information which, if disclosed, would be likely to prejudice the commercial
interests of any person. It protects not only the commercial interests of third parties but also the
commercial interests of the Department. As required by the FoI Act the use of the exemption in
Section 43 requires the public interest for and against disclosure to be assessed. On balance I
am satisfied that, in this instance, the public interest in applying the exemption outweighs the
public interest in disclosure.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.
Health Services Directorate
“I WONDER HOW MANY OF YOU DISABLED, OUT THERE, HAD THE WORDS “CLIENT DECLINED”, ON THEIR ATOS MEDICAL REPORTS”………..
Dear Ms Bellows
Freedom of Information Act – Request for Information
Our Reference: FOI 407
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which we received on 25 January 2013.
With reference to ESA Work Capability Assessments
What does ‘Declined’ mean when used in an ESA medical report form?
Is there an option in LIMA other than free text which allows giving reasons for a client
to decline to attempt to do something or to decline examination? Because of pain for
What do DM interpret ‘Declined’ to mean when seen in a medical report and when
there are no explanations?
How can ‘Declined’ be shown in a medical report when the available LiMA
documentation doesn’t list ‘Declined’ as an option for the HCP to select?
The explanation does not appear in guidance, but in order to provide an explanation “decline” is
a word used by our computer system (“LiMA”). It does not differentiate between ‘will not’ and
‘cannot’ perform a movement, but highlights the fact that it is not a movement a customer
followed through on the day of the examination. It is intended as a descriptor to highlight to the
Decision Maker at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) the customer’s ability on the
day of the assessment.
DWP Business Management Team
Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)
IF A COMPUTER PROGRAMME CANNOT DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN “WILL NOT” and “CANNOT” PERFORM A MOVEMENT, THEN IT IS NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE…………
HOWEVER, THIS IS ANOTHER LIE FROM THE DWP BECAUSE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SCREEN USED BY THE LIMA SOFTWARE, SHOWS CLEARLY THAT THE OPERATOR ONLY HAS TO TICK A BOX THAT SHOWS THE CLAIMANT WAS UNABLE TO DO THE TASK.
WHEN THE DWP DECISION MAKER SCRUTINISES YOUR MEDICAL REPORT, HE TAKES THE OPINION THAT YOU HAVE REFUSED TO COOPERATE DURING YOUR MEDICAL, REFUSING TO DO WHAT WAS ASKED OF YOU.
“WHO SAYS DISABILITY DENIAL IS NOT IN FULL SWING IN THE UK?”
“Personal Independence Payment – myth buster”
“Individuals with fluctuating
conditions will lose out.”
No. We will take into account that
people’s conditions fluctuate and
their level of ability may be
The assessment will not be a
‘snapshot’ of any one day.
We will consider an individual’s
ability to carry out
activities over a
one year period.
We will consider the impact of an
impairment where it applies on over
50 per cent of the days in this
“UTTER DWP BULLSHIT”
truth/ OVER FORTY THOUSAND PEOPLE HAVE DIED FROM THE WELFARE COMEDY OF ERRORS TEAM, THE DWP…………….
” YOU KEEP ON FAILING THEM AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO BURY THEM”…………
Oppression of the Poor is an Atrocity against Human Decency
Much of The Media and the Public at Large being Brainwashed Sheep have a Lot
to Answer For
Wake Up Britain and Stop being a Land of Zombies
Restore Legal Aid Scrap MPS Expenses
No More Oppression of the Poor