Reblogged from Morning Star
The government is acting like an abusive partner with claimants, whom it can beat at will, and claimants are too scared to be able to do anything to escape due to their chronic ill health or disabilities, says GAIL WARD Disability Campaigner with Black Triangle/DPAC
So the Tories have finally announced the new criteria for employment and support allowance (ESA) reassessments and while it is good news in one way, it has hidden horrors that many people are totally unaware of.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) skulduggery never ceases to amaze me any more, as it lies to the public that it protects “the most vulnerable in society,” claiming it is saving the public purse by scrapping unnecessary assessments — which cause so much stress that people are literally killing themselves — so they can focus on helping people into work.
Work is their primary focus, I hear people say: “Well what is wrong with that?” Well in theory, nothing at all provided the jobs are there.
Many chronically sick people and disabled people are not well enough to do so. In the last eight years this group has faced the worst of the welfare reforms which have lead to disabled people taking to the streets in protest.
Many disabled people’s organisations and charities have called on the government to stop these cuts, and have even taken their fight to the UN in Geneva, which called it a “human catastrophe” and found that they led to grave and systemic violations of the rights of disabled people.
First they had to deal with transitions to ESA, then the abolition of the independent living fund (ILF). Cuts to care packages have left people abandoned, isolated in their homes, then we have had cuts to personal independence payments (PIP), with many losing the cars they rely on to continue employment or to see family and friends, and now we have the debacle of universal credit.
With more cuts to come next year to families and the two-child cap and many other outrages, it is nothing more than conscious cruelty to those who need the most support.
Among the horrors of universal credit, behind the smokescreen of pleasantry to the claimant, is a brutal regime which will cause so much harm it is morally reprehensible to force the most fragile members of society into starvation or destitution or a choice between being unable to survive to the possibilities of taking their own lives as the only option left is a miserable existence and abject poverty.
Disabled people, according to the 2014 Scope report Priced Out, “pay on average £550 per month on extra costs related to their disability. As a result of these extra costs, disabled people are twice as likely to have unsecured debt totalling more than half of their household income.”
Yet many face severe cuts under universal credit, losing disability premiums totalling between £78-£140 a week if some are subjected to benefit cap as they underhandedly use a change of circumstances such as moving home to remove protections afforded to them — due to the severity of their disabilities — called transitional protections, which do not apply to “natural migration.” Only those on “managed migration” will get them.
“Natural migration: if you experience a significant change of circumstance that affects your benefit entitlement the opportunity will be taken to move you on to universal credit at that point.”
“Managed migration: if your circumstances don’t change, once universal credit has been established in every area for new claims, the DWP will begin to move people over to universal credit on a systematic basis.”
Considering this is meant to support those who are in severe need it is a funny way of showing it while deprivation of income, sanctions, foodbanks, leaving them without appropriate care needs is now the “norm.”
Many on universal credit are left for weeks without income and many lose their homes — the government’s response is to give them a loan and get them into further debt.
The government is acting like an abusive partner with claimants, whom they can beat at will, and claimants are too scared to be able to do anything to escape due to their chronic ill health or disabilities.
Failure to comply comes at a heavy cost with harsher conditions and it is affecting those already on it, and more children will suffer badly if their parents fail on some misdemeanour according to the all-powerful “work coach” — and that includes being late through no fault of your own.
In some areas parents are being targeted by social services for neglecting their children because they are unable to provide for them due to sanctions. While most people are responsible citizens and are either in work or looking, the government presents people as lazy good-for-nothing scroungers who idle their days away.
We are all a pay packet away from poverty but disabled people are more likely to live in poverty more than any other group simply because they cannot work because they are too ill, or too physically disabled to gain employment. Employers generally do not want disabled people in the workplace due to the fact they cost more to employ due to necessary adjustments or need time off when they need to attend health related appointments.
Sadly, work cannot set these individuals free from state-sanctioned abusive behaviour where the charade of assessments continue to fool society that the Tories are protecting the public purse from abuses of “claimants on the fiddle” from their hard-earned taxes, which is poppycock frankly.
Most claimants have paid into the system so rightly they expected support when times got difficult. The government has taken away the safety net and if you now fall through the cracks then that is just collateral damage and lives are seen as worthless unless you work and make your slave masters profit.
Many of those so far unaffected, who felt it was OK to punish claimants for their sins, are in for a big surprise next year when they start to become the next victims of a abusive government out of control. Especially if you are in zero-hours and low-paid work you will now face sanctions for not working hard enough, or earn £50,000 between the two of you— can kiss child benefit goodbye, as working tax credits are to be cut and many other sly cuts will hit those in work or families with children.
Pay-to-stay also starts being rolled out for those living in social housing and many face cuts to free prescriptions as the criteria for those have changed too. Not just pensioners claiming pension credit of mixed-age couples, the younger will face conditionality of the claimant commitment.
All these cuts hit the poorest in society, so welcome to Tory Britain where your government can abuse you with the consent of those in society who aren’t affected by them directly.