This ConDem Coalition is exploiting the apparent helplessness of disabled people by taking essential money away from them and forcing vulnerable people, for example, people with mental health difficulties.
I remember, when I was a practising social worker, the horror experienced by service users when they received a letter summoning them to undergo a medical examination (25 miles away in Norwich). Some became absolutely terrified at the prospect and the stress of having to get to and face the appointment led to one or two relapses and hospital admissions. Against local authority policy, I always took them to the appointment, went in with them and supported them through the interview acting as advocate.
The doctors at these reviews were employed by the Benefits Agency and usually retired from practice. They were also usually empathic with the service user and mostly helped to reduce the terror of the interview.
The new 'Workfare' reviews which every DLA claimant will have to undergo have no such safeguards against harm done (even the Mental Health Acts have safeguards). The 'Workfare' interviews are conducted buy a race of people called ATOS. These people have no emotions and no understanding of compassion. Their employers are reported to have been stopped in one or two states in America and are said to have been discredited there.
Yet, these ATOS people are selectively employed by the ConDem coalition. I have to wonder if this is a deliberate strategy to ensure stringency and mercilessness.
The Editor of the 'International Disability and Human Rights Network' newsletter (http://www.daa.org.uk) writes:
As claimed, besides targeting vulnerable
people and trapping them into making mistakes so their money
can be stopped, on April 4th, the new Work Capability
Assessment will be imposed on the 1.5 million people currently
on Incapacity Benefit. This test has been shown to be grossly
unfair, judging people fit for work who have life-threatening
medical conditions, severe learning difficulties or mental health
problems. Also jobs are hard to find, with unemployment rising
sharply and funds apparently being cut that assist people with
training and job-based support.
One lesson to be learned from this and other ‘reforms’ being
imposed in the name of creating the Coalition Government’s
“Big Society” is – if you want to be included in that “Society”,
don’t be poor, don’t be young and unemployed, don’t be a single
parent, don’t be old, don’t fall ill and, most of all, try your very
best not to be disabled. You know it makes sense. And if you
don’t know that now, you soon will.
We should all strive to add the N to this coalition!