Archive for January, 2015

DWP Announces 18 New PIP Areas

Posted: January 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

Same Difference

With many thanks to Benefits And Work.

The DWP have announced that 18 new postcode areas will be subject to personal independence payment (PIP) for renewals as well as new claims from 23 February 2015.

The PIP reassessment areas extend to postcodes beginning: AB, BB, BD, DD, DN, EX, HX, KA, KY, LS, PH, PL, PO, PR, S, SO, TS and WF.

If your fixed term DLA award is due to end on or after 13 July 2015 you will receive a PIP claim form rather than a DLA renewal claim form.

Any DLA claimant reporting a change in circumstances which might affect their award will be assessed for PIP rather than DLA from 23 February 2015 in these postcode districts, any existing DLA claimant who turns 16 years old may also be assessed for PIP.

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As per usual, purveyors of corrupt government policies shirk responsibility & play pass the parcel – and by hiding behind another name, many disabled claimants will probably feel something’s changed…wrongly.

the void

chda-maximus The logo likely to be used on the paperwork for the Work Capability Assessment

Maximus – the US based firm brought in to replace Atos to carry out benefit assessments – will hide their corporate identity behind a hastily erected front company in an attempt to avoid damage to their brand The Guardian revealed yesterday.

According to the paper, the company will not use its logo on letters sent to claimants facing the notorious Work Capability Assessment, instead using a neutral name such as “The Centre for Health and Disability Assessment”.  In fact this company has been up and running since June 2014, suspiciously several months before it was announced that Maximus would be taking over the contract from Atos.  The Guardian should probably have known this, because they are currently running an advertisement for a Social Media Manager for the new company on the recruitment part…

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Unbelievable…

Ipswich Unemployed Action.

From written Parliamentary Evidence just out (Hat tip  NB).

John Longden –Personal Adviser

A Statement on events witnessed by me at Salford Jobcentre Plus and Rochdale Jobcentre Plus between 2011 and 2013

Summary

1.0              Managers at both district level and in the local office created a culture which encouraged staff to view the customer (benefit claimant) as an obstacle to performance. The Jobcentre operations became wholly performance led. Sanctions of customers were encouraged by managers daily, with staff being told to look at every engagement with the customer as an opportunity to take sanction action. I was personally told by a manager to “agitate” and “Inconvenience” customers in order to get them to leave the register. The staff performance management system was used inappropriately in order to increase submissions to the Decision Maker and therefore to increase sanctions on customers. Senior HR managers condoned this behaviour by refusing to issue…

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Sue Marsh, author of blog Diary of a Benefit Scrounger, stunned fellow disability campaigners by announcing on Friday the 9th of January via her blog that she has accepted a job with US firm Maximus.

Maximus was awarded the £500 million contract by the government to replace ATOS, administering the much-maligned Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants on behalf of the DWP.
The company brings it’s own fair share of controversy across the Atlantic, having been involved in several claims & scandals in the US – a few examples of which have been collated here by Tom Pride on Pride’s Purge.

So why is this such a shock? Marsh has been actively involved in the campaign scene for around 5 years with issues like the Spartacus Report and the unfit-for-purpose WCA, writing about them on her blog.
With such controversy surrounding the assessment and associated processes for many disability campaigners, it’s little wonder people are shocked with some left feeling betrayed.

Sue claims she has accepted the job as a ‘Head of Customer Experience’ to enable her to enact change from within the company itself – sort of a ‘if you can’t beat em, join em’ strategy. Whether she is able to encourage any form of change or not remains to be seen. Most likely the best possible outcome she could perhaps achieve would be a ‘more comfortable’ experience for ESA claimants undergoing assessment (Maximus call them ‘customers’ – giving the illusion of choice), it’s extremely unlikely she’ll be able to effect any change in the assessment process itself. A process which has been ruled as discriminating against mentally ill claimants.

Regardless of what Sue may or may not be able to achieve within the company however, is slightly irrelevant compared to the issue really riling up disabled people after hearing the news. Many people that read Sue’s blog and those that post to disability campaign groups on Facebook etc, are slightly more concerned by the fact that Sue has jumped straight from being in the support group of ESA into a full time, highly demanding job. This then presents worries that Iain Duncan Smith’s next move will be to place Sue on a podium as a shining example of how disability benefit claimants in the support group can all manage to work and should be doing the same.

It doesn’t matter to the government that each individual person claiming ESA & DLA have health problems unique to themselves, and that a pain level one person could tolerate may be unbearable to another. The only thing that matters to the heartless, callous party in power is that they can say they were right to impose sanctions on claimants, and that they’ve saved the taxpayer however many £millions. Never mind the fact that people are committing suicide because they can’t physically manage to get through the day. And their allowance has been stopped due to a civil servant working to targets (yes – ‘those’ targets that IDS claimed didn’t exist) giving no consideration as to their day-to-day life and how their condition affects them.

Life is already humiliating enough for those having to claim ESA, considering the number of hoops to be jumped through to prove disability and incapability of working. With it being renamed from Incapacity Benefit & Income Support to Employment Support Allowance, it rather gives the impression of a form of pocket money, handed out if you’ve been a good boy/girl this week. How patronising.

Many people with disabilities already live in fear of the dreaded brown envelope arriving with the morning post, summoning them to yet another horrendous WCA with the threat of a sanction looming. Many have withdrawn from social contact, other than communicating through the internet, as they’re petrified of being sanctioned for having the gall to enjoy themselves on one of their extremely rare good days. So many people partaking in the witchhunt devised by the government & media to hound disability claimants either have no idea, or care not that a lot of disabled people may have one good day, which can be followed by several days of being unable to get out of bed with levels of pain which make you wish you didn’t exist. Sadly, a large proportion of the public are blinkered to the truth that the majority of those receiving benefits are NOT doing so fraudulently, yet DWP policies enforced by ATOS – soon to be Maximus – work to governmental targets, rather than taking human suffering into account.

The last thing the section of society living with crippling conditions (be they mental, physical or both) needs, is yet another presumption/assumption about their lives. This situation, spun by the government and media, could be explosive, possibly creating far, far more casualties & fatalities in the months to come. I for one hope it turns out to be a dud, and that Sue Marsh is able to achieve some sort of improvement within Maximus…only time will tell.