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A Letter To DWP Employees

November 28, 2013

This is a letter which a campaigner has written to DWP employees. They have asked for it to be shared, and for as many people as possible to send it, anonymously, to their local JobCentre.

27 November 2013

THE DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS vs THE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT:

The Conservative Government of the United Kingdom has gone too far with austerity measures.

This 4-paged letter is sent in the hope that you will gain some insight, and then decide to literally stand against the Conservative Government. Please take time to read this letter, and then realize that only the Department For Work and Pensions itself can make changes required to stop the austerity measures from falling on people who are sick, vulnerable and near death.

1. This is another era controlled by the Conservative Government and the horrors that they are leading us into. The Conservatives have always been a Government who have altered policies that have hurt so many communites and people.

2. The employed personnel of the Department For Work and Pensions should choose to oppose the Conservative changes to the ESA and DLA benefits claim, assessment and appeals procedures. Just a few years of Conservative policies, changes to legislation and Departmental procedures has caused more damage than good. Employment figures are cooked. GDP figures are cooked. The Conservative Government is on a mission to bring the United Kingdom back to the scenario where people struggle, people cannot save money- bank interest rates on savings are 10 times lower than what they should be.  Life is tough enough without the people making life harder for each other.  The Department of Work and Pensions must now unite in protest, or hold a strike- whichever seems more likely to be more effective.

3. It is disgusting that people die of cancer while fighting for their entitlement to benefits. The vast majority of people claiming the ESA or DLA benefits are genuine, and less than 0.7% of claimants have been found to be cheating the benefits system. When so many serious cases and genuinely ill people are being cut off benefits on a regular basis, the system of claiming, assessing and appealing for ESA/DLA benefits must be examined.

4. The Department For Work and Pensions and ATOS Healthcare should never ask if a person is suicidal. It is a question that no employer would ever ask of a person, nor a teacher of a student, or a bank manager of a customer. To aask a person if they are suicidal can trigger thoughts of suicide which the person may never have considered before, and it is wholly unprofessional to raise the question of suicide. In particular a claimant’s mental health problems are made far worse by the lengthy ESA/DLA claim, assessment and appeals process.

5. People who are claiming ESA or DLA benefits suffer great indignity and stress when they are informed by the decision maker of the Department of Work and Pensions that the claimant is no longer entitled to ESA or DLA benefits because most people have medical evidence and doctor’s backing, and the decision makers of the Department For Work and Pensions have been given the ability to override the ESA or DLA claimant’s doctor’s certificates and advice.

6. Currently the Department For Work and Pensions, ATOS Healthcare and the Tribunals have a monopoly of decision making, and the forementioned parties are one entity which operates under the framework set out by the Social Security Advisory Committee. The DWP and the Tribunals are knitted together by a ‘scoring mechanism’.  The Tribunals who assess a claimant’s appeal for ESA or DLA benefits are unable to truly be independent in their decision making because the same WCA scoring sheet is used by the Tribunals as is used by the Department of Work and Pensions, and the Tribunals Judge cannot simply override the DWP decision maker because the Tribunals Judge and Doctor are not allowed to consider health conditions which are not listed in the WCA scoring mechanism.

7. A claimant’s doctor usually knows the claimant’s health condition better than anybody, yet when the DWP decision maker fails the claimant’s work-capability-assessment, the usual doctor of the claimant cannot intervene with the procedure, and the doctor of the claimant should be included in the actual decision making of the claimant’s WCA.

8. Only the claimant knows how stressful the ESA/DLA claim and assessment procedure actually is.  If a person has a long term medical condition, then they have to fill out the DWP claim paperwork and obtain medical results from their usual doctor, and then has to fill out more medical history paperwork for ATOS Healthcare.

The Tribunals appeal requires a lot of courage, and the claimant has to prepare for the Tribunals appeal. The paperwork and face-to-face meetings with the DWP, ATOS Healthcare and the Tribunals is far too much for people with physical and particularly mental problems. A person with physical or mental problems has to face three Departments with meetings, medical exmainations, doctor’s appointments, and plenty of paperwork from each of the Departments involved with the claim, assessment and appeal process.  This process is repeated each year.

9. Numerous charities and rights groups are very concerned that vulnerable people are suffering extreme mental stress from the claim, assessment and appeals process for ESA or DLA benefits. The system has to change.

Jobseeker allowance claimants are not assessed by multiple departments, and it is obvious that the DWP/ATOS/Tribunals 3-way monopoly has to be stopped, because it has become bloated and bureaucratic, with decision makers been given the freedom to override the professional advice and diagnosis of the claimant’s usual doctor.

10. Media groups have been well-informed of the bureaucracy within the ESA/DLA claim,assessment and appeals process and of the number of people who have died while fighting for their entitlement to ESA and DLA benefits. Those people died while appealing against the claim, assessment and appeals process, and every single person employed by the Depratment of Work and Pensions, ATOS Healthcare and the Tribunals should be filled with shame and guilt that they have played their part in not helping, but causing more pain and anguish to people who are sick, vulnerable and dying.

Do we want to be part of a Conservative plan which is aimed at reducing numbers on ESA or DLA benefits by simply ignoring the impact of mental health issues on the benefit claimant?

Mental health issues of the claimant can become much worse as a result of being told ESA or DLA payments have been stopped when the usual doctor of the claimant has made it clear in writing that the claimant suffers from mental health issues.

The ten main points listed above only scratch the surface of the biased ESA/DLA claim, assessment and appeals process. Each department involved with the claim, assessment and appeal of the claimant has far too much power over the claimant’s usual doctor, and that is completely wrong and unfair to the claimant.  The physical actions of bending and kneeling were removed from the work-capability-assessment scoring mechanism, and many people with spinal, knee or hip problems will not be recognized as having a limited capability by the DWP, ATOS Healthcare or the Tribunals, which is discrimination and deliberate ignorance of specific disabilities which was put into law by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions George Iain Duncan-Smith, with backing from the Social Security Advisory Committee.

Most claimants of ESA/DLA have genuine health problems, and the changes to ESA and DLA claims, assessment and appeals can be considered to be discriminatory because bending and kneeling are physical actions that people with spinal, hip and knee problems would find difficult and painful to perform, and many types of work involve lifting heavy objects and crouching or bending.  The activity descriptor ‘bending and kneeling’ must be re-implemented into the work-capability-assessment so that a fair work-capability-assessment score can be awarded to the claimant.

People with post-traumatic-stress-syndrome caused by physical or mental abuse are also merely assessed by the DWP as just another claimant.  Those people are not just claimants- they are people affected with mental or physical trauma, and should not be put through the ESA or DLA process. In comparison, a claimant of Jobseeker’s Allowance does not endure the stress of assessment, nor does stop receiving benefits on such a regular basis. Government should prioritize ESA/DLA claimants and reverse the changes made to the ESA/DLA claim process, assessment and appeals process to the procedures as implemented within the work-capability-assessment in the year 2008, and then include the claimant’s usual doctor within the decision making.

The employees and in particular the decision makers of the DWP should choose to oppose the Conservative changes to the ESA and DLA benefits claim, assessment and appeals procedures. A permanant strike in protest by the people involved with ESA/DLA claim, assessment and appeals process must be organized before the Government decides to clamp down furthur on ESA/DLA claimants. A Judge in a Court of Law will mostly take sides with the Law, which means that if a claimant attempts to hire a lawyer, then they will not be able to change the law simply by defeating the DWP in Court.  Changes to the way the ESA/DLA claim process currently functions can only be made by Parliament if the issues are raised in Parliament and a vote is called for.

No other people but the Department For Work and Pensions employees and decision makers can force the change to happen. The winter of 2012 was a harsh winter.  Statistics have been released on the number of deaths during the winter of 2012- and thirty three percent (33%) more people died in the winter of 2012 compared with the average. Many of those deaths were elderly people who also have little money to decide whether to pay for food or pay for heating bills. This is the future scenario of the Conservative plans, should they continue this way.  More people will be reduced to poverty and ill-health due to austerity.  Government must be told to stop taking money from the sick, vulnerable and dying people in society.  The bedroom tax is forcing ninety-thousand people to decide whether to buy food or to heat their houses, which impacts greatly on people with health problems, people with disabilities, forcing many disabled and sick people to move to a smaller home.

If the DWP, ATOS Healthcare and Tribunals were to protest or strike, then the message would be delivered to Government directly, and at least then the Department of Work and Pensions might claw back some control over their own assessment abilities rather than being dictated to by the Conservative Government. Each year the Conservative Government alters the work-capability-assessment, and today the assessment is far more of an unjust procedure than ever before. We have to stop the Conservative party in their tracks.

Please pass this on to as many parties as possible, and then decide.

Decide whether you want to be part of a Government body who are told to ignore specific medical problems and hurting people who are sick or dying.

It is time to make a stand in defense of fellow country people, not collaborate with Conservative policies to further make each others lives more difficult.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. George permalink
    November 28, 2013 9:16 am

    If they work there it’s to earn money to pay their bills, if they refuse to follow what management instruct they will be disciplined. Most who cared got out years ago. The ill and unemployed are in shock at their treatment by this gvt and as such their family’s friends and broader society have to be lobbied to insist the cruelty stops and is reversed. This overturning of the destruction of the Welfare system can only be changed by the democratic majority showing they want honesty, fairness and compassion not vilification of people who can’t work because they are ill or haven’t yet got a new job via speaking out and voting for people who are trusted not to support the cruelty being metered out to those who are ill, poor or worn down by their experience.

  2. ONEMAN permalink
    November 29, 2013 9:31 am

    There is no mention of the threat to the Jobcentre itself. This would be a big influence with the employees of JCP.

  3. Pappy Buddy permalink
    November 29, 2013 1:16 pm

    Before you send this letter copy into your word or open office first and spell check it,
    The DWP is under threat when there are fewer people allowed to claim there will be no requirement for the DWP anymore.

  4. April 13, 2015 3:12 am

    Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog.

  5. April 13, 2015 4:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

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