Sunday, 24 July 2011

Disabled Charities Say: "We Can't Handle The Truth!"

A drip-feed of statistics about claimants who have been denied benefits by the Department for Work and Pensions because they are deemed fit to work threatens the safety and quality of life of its members, says an alliance of 50 charities. The government is feeding a negative attitude towards people with disabilities, which, the charities warn, will ultimately end in violence.
Note that they aren't saying the statistics are wrong, miscalculated or in any way untrue; they are just inconvenient. They are dangerous.

They will (somehow) lead to ordinary, sane people to decide to go out today and kick a cripple.

Really?
Alice Maynard, the chair of Scope, who is a wheelchair user, said: "We just feel it is too much now. It is becoming such a frequent occurrence, it is likely to have some very serious negative effects. I think in the end it ends up in violence."

She added that a hardening of attitudes meant she now "thought harder" about going out at night in London.
So do I, but I'm not disabled. It's just that the breakdown of law and order means I don't feel as safe as I did 20 years ago. It's got nothing at all to do with anything else.

I mean, I'm not worried about being assaulted or mugged by ordinary people turned somehow feral beasts by government statistics, but by the usual underclass scum for whom there are no more consequences, and so do as they please unhindered.
Jaspal Dhani, chief executive of the United Kingdom Disabled People's Council, said: "The language portrays disabled people as scroungers, as lazy – a drain who are not playing their part and making a contribution. It has led to an increase in hate crimes against disabled people, victimisation and reinforcement of very old stereotypes and prejudices.

"In my experience as a disabled person in the last few months, when I have engaged strangers in conversation, they are surprised that as a wheelchair user I actually work."
Where the hell are you meeting people, Jaspal, and who are you talking to? I personally know of at least three who work, one of them in my own building, FFS!
Last night Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd said he had repeatedly raised the problem with the employment minister, Chris Grayling. "For many months now on the select committee and in the chamber I have been on the one hand supporting the government's general direction on the work programme, while at the same time demanding that ministers and the DWP use appropriate language for people who are on benefits. The phrases 'benefit cheats' and 'scroungers' – while we are trying to support people with disabilities back into work – are inappropriate."
What exactly do you suggest in place of 'benefit cheat' for those found gaming the system?

27 comments:

Furor Teutonicus said...

I am in two minds about "disabled" and the claims system.

Guy I know who lost half an arm, 70% of the use of one leg, lost a lung and a kidney, developed arthritis in the spine (later found it had been cracked, but not discovered at the time), and suffered severe and regular epilepsy as the result of a motor cycle accident, was declared "fit to carry out his normal work" as a..... Hod carrier/scaffolder (!), and was, therefore, refused dissability benefit.

So don't tar all disabled, or "disabled", with the same brush, if any one was thinking of doing so.

JuliaM said...

That's utterly insane, and I bet the person who ticked the 'fit to resume work' button couldn't have done his job even without disability, having ridden a desk all their lives....

Joseph Takagi said...

Furor Teutonicus,

So don't tar all disabled, or "disabled", with the same brush, if any one was thinking of doing so.

And this is going to be one of the problems with this review. These bureaucrats now have targets for getting disabled people back to work, and that means that they'll do anything to push everyone, regardless of circumstance back to work. And you can bet that the disability cheats will just work out holes in the system (only new ones).

Over the past few years I've become jaded about the welfare state, to the point where I'm convinced that the whole thing should be turned over to charities who can just decide, on their own non-legally-binding judgement if someone deserves help, and what help. And people can give money to those charities that they see doing the most good.

Gallovidian said...

If disabled people are found suitable work, regain self respect and become independant, as they are for example in Russia where the blind are trained for suitable jobs, which are in turn reserved for blind people, what would charities do?

Furor Teutonicus said...

J.T. Aye, and from the other perspective, I have seen too many people running for the bus, and then producing a "get on the bus free (Disability) card.

And, the situation is exactly the same here in Germany, as in the U.K, regarding dissability.

Stupid, non-sensicle decissions made by some arsehole who has trouble tying her own shoe laces, making what amount to medical decissions, when all they have is two weeks in a "Government training" programme to teach them how to unzip the cover from their type writter, and varnish their finger nails at the same time.

Shinar's Basket Case said...

The whole system of Disabled Benefits is fucked up. Right from the basics of 'what IS a disability' and what is 'work'. Turning up for the interview almost proves you are capable doing something...I know of a case where a woman with , literally, days left to live with inoperable brain cancer and paralyzed was told she was fit to work.

Let me give you a real life example of the lunacy:

One of my kids was born a cripple. A spaz. He'll be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life etc etc. Every month upto the age of 18 he got approx £450 DLA.

Fair enough, right? Highest rate of Care and Highest Rate of Mobility.

Yet his brother who developed Type 1 diabetes at age 14 got £350 a month!

How does that tally? Diabetes is an awful condition, especially in Kids but its hardly a disability is it? It doesn't compare to cerebral palsy. It's a bit of a hassle having to jack up on insulin thrice daily I know but it hasn't 'cramped' his life style much. He eats his 10 big macs and drinks his 15 pints of Wife Beater and then corrects his blood sugar level accordingly.

But it gets more insane still.

Bestes Wife had a mental condition that turned her into a brain dead vegetable. She was basically comatosed, inable to move, eat,speak etc. Full care 24/7, tube fed, nappy etc. The only thing she could do, and I mean the only thing, was breath unaided.

They once did a lumbar puncture on her and she didn't move a inch.

I applied for DLA for her while she was lying like that in hospital.

They awarded her £16 aweek.

Go figure. And yes I did appeal and win.

thespecialone said...

There are no disabled people in my family, thankfully, so I do not have any personal experiences.

I do know however, two close family members who are getting disability allowance for 'stress'. This hasn't stopped either of them being able to live just an active life as me and are no more stressed than I am. I just wish that these charities would face reality and accept that there are 1000s of claimants who are able to work as well as me but are just dossers and willing to sponge of the state.

As for the one size fits all test or whatever claimants have to go through, that clearly is utterly ridiculous. Seems that yet again the braindead bureaucrats have got it wrong again.

Shinar's Basket Case said...

"two close family members who are getting disability allowance for 'stress'."

It's pretty much the case that you can pick three or four letters of the alphabet, stick them together and claim DLA for it.

I suffer from S.O.S

or to give it its full name: Sick of Syndromes!

Shinar's Basket Case said...

"I am in two minds about"-Furor

Mate you're in two minds about everything, it's called schizophrenia and you can get money for it.

:P

Anonymous said...

1. A question - "What exactly do you suggest in place of 'benefit cheat' for those found gaming the system"?

24 July 2011 12:54
2 - a response to FT's brief run-down of the way the "system" works" JuliaM said...

"That's utterly insane, and I bet the person who ticked the 'fit to resume work' button couldn't have done his job even without disability, having ridden a desk all their lives...." 24 July 2011 13:08

One answer to Q1 one is "the government, as in previous Labour shower and also present Grand Alliance, who have merrily picked up the baton from Labour who, under Purnell and then Cooper determined a "number to be taken off IC by being found fit" and then threw money at ATOS Origin to come up with a "medical test" (big big f**king joke) that would deliver the required number of 'fit' people. And yes IDS and Grayling have leaked some dodgy stats - claiming that their tests found 75% of those tested fit - they didn't - the figure was created by lumping together those found fit to work wit those the test designated as suitable for inclusion in a Work Related Activity Grouping for people who might eventually become fit for work, given the right treatment and support.

So yes the system is insane, and the person who declares you "fit for work" even when you have a terminal illness does so because the computer tick list "test" they use to do it is phoney and bogus and crap but, and here is the best insanity of all, the more people the test can "find fit" the more money the goverment gives to the people who designed the test to a pre-announced government requirement of ho many people they wanted it to declare fit. That is also insanity, as the bodies involved in the second phase "welfare to work" process of getting those designated "fit" are finding ... so many of those declared "fit to work" aren't, it turns out, so the "easy money" the government has promised them for finding these "deckared fit for work" job placements isn't flowing quite as freely as expected.

Budvar said...

Wrt the "3 people in wheelchairs" you know who work, how many of them are firemen, brickies or steel erectors?

I'll wager they're working in local authority/government dept or a company in receipt of government grants/contracts.

Am I close?

Having had some experience in jumping through "disability benefit" hoops, the last tory gov (major) had a policy of claimants medical revue.

What this entailed was going for a medical by a state doctor who found you were fit for work regardless.

My dad in his 60s had 2 hips replaced and walked (still does) or hobbles around with the aid of 2 sticks.
He'd worked all his life up to this point, it's not like he's one of the "Glass back merchants".

This doctors conclusion was he was fit for work, my dad said "How am I going to get a job like this?"

The doctor replied (I kid you not)"Well you could get yourself a job as a car park attendant".

My dad said "I live on a rural Scottish island of 500 people, how many carparks do think we have?"

Doctor said "Not my problem, you'll have to move as you're fit for work".

Suffice to say he appealed the decision and won.

Anonymous said...

Shinar:

my dad was fully diagnosed as having lung cancer, bone cancer AND a brain tumour all at the same time - they refused him Disabilty benefit. He was dead a few weeks later.

Mad Morgan.

Budvar said...

"If disabled people are found suitable work...."

Like what, yet more charity based "Crip made" crafts like basket weaving etc?

How about rounding them all up and putting them in a institution saving all that DLA/carers allowance and employ people to dose them up and lie in their own shit all day?

We tried that, and it was found to be cheaper by miles to pay family to look after the disabled.

It's so much cheaper in fact, with "Care in the community" that dangerous people who should be in institutions for their own and the public good are roaming the streets.

Senior said...

Scope's own research shows that disabled people were being attacked because of their disabilities before the government's welfare policies were announced, as do several cases such as the deaths of Fiona and Francesca Pilkington in Leicestershire, David Askew in Greater Manchester, and Michael Gilbert in Luton. To charities like Scope, the disabled are weapons. To me, the disabled are people.

Shinar's Basket Case said...

"To charities like Scope, the disabled are weapons"

When they aren't investments...

James Higham said...

And there's an awful lot of gaming the system.

Ancient + Tattered Airman said...

People genuinely requiring benefit help shoud get it.
Benefit cheats are thieves and liars.

ivan said...

A few observations.

First, the charities are afraid the money they get from the government will dry up if they don't make some sort of showing.

The whole benefits system is a shambles and should be scrapped in its entirety for everyone. What I'm saying is that there is a better, cheaper way of providing money for those that can't work, or find work, for one reason or another.

Put in simple terms it is Negative Income Tax. Everyone, and here I mean every citizen, gets a guaranteed income from the government which is untaxed - anything above that attracts tax on a sliding scale. Yes, there will be some people that require extra as is shown in the comments but they are special cases and are treated accordingly.

The main thing with this system is that it does away with things like housing benefit and all the subsidies that are added - no more child benefit so we don't have people seeing kids as an improvement to their lifestyle.

In this system, if you run out of money before the end of the month - tough, ordinary working people do at the moment if they don't manage their money well.

Again some will say that it would not encourage people to work - giving out benefits at the moment doesn't either - but with this system if they do work they get to keep most of the extra money they earn until their earnings get to a level where it no longer matters.

Introducing such a system would have the benefits industry in a turmoil. Those that rent out properties expecting to be paid by housing benefit would find their income severely curtailed - not a bad thing, but the upside would be that councils could use the money they don't pay out to build affordable homes to be let for a fair rent. The charities would have to live off donations from the public and not handouts from the government. The people that are amassing more that the average wage on benefits would squeal the most as their income would be cut to a realistic level. The upside of it only being available to citizens of the UK would mean that the country would no longer be seen as a soft touch by those that want to come expecting to be fed and housed at taxpayers expense.

Shinar's Basket Case said...

"Benefit cheats are thieves and liars."

Nope on the whole they are, like the rest of us, just trying to make it through the day and put food on the table.

Claiming for a 'syndrome' is about the only way people on Minimum Wage or in the Benefits Trap can afford to live these days when Gas goes up by 20% in summer.

JuliaM said...

"And this is going to be one of the problems with this review. These bureaucrats now have targets for getting disabled people back to work, and that means that they'll do anything to push everyone, regardless of circumstance back to work."

Path of least resistance. As always.

"I do know however, two close family members who are getting disability allowance for 'stress'. This hasn't stopped either of them being able to live just an active life as me and are no more stressed than I am."

Yes, this is where the bureaucrats should focus their efforts, not obviously disabled people like SBC's examples.

"...and here is the best insanity of all, the more people the test can "find fit" the more money the goverment gives to the people who designed the test to a pre-announced government requirement..."

Yup, the system's broken, all right.

"Wrt the "3 people in wheelchairs" you know who work, how many of them are firemen, brickies or steel erectors?

I'll wager they're working in local authority/government dept or a company in receipt of government grants/contracts."


They are all office workers, deskbound obviously. One is a civil servant (and regales us with anecdotes where their much-vaunted 'disability friendly' policies don't meet up with bureaucratic reality!).

JuliaM said...

"Like what, yet more charity based "Crip made" crafts like basket weaving etc?"

More money invested in Remploy would be a start.

"To charities like Scope, the disabled are weapons. To me, the disabled are people."

Indeed! Or as SBC points out, investments.

"on the whole they are, like the rest of us, just trying to make it through the day and put food on the table.

Claiming for a 'syndrome' is about the only way people on Minimum Wage or in the Benefits Trap can afford to live these days when Gas goes up by 20% in summer."


It's still stealing!

Shaun said...

The system is fucked up. I encountered it first in 2007 when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Leaving aside being frozen out of work and having to go freelance (I am a web dev so that wasn't too savage), my experience with DLA was that a 40 page form is a fantastic opportunity for someone who is legally trained, like me, to make a case with supporting evidence and lots of Doctor's names on every single page. I can still walk but not well and did not need/claim anything on the 'care' component.

I get the higher rate.

A disabled woman, locked-in from the neck down and with difficulty swallowing, also with MS, whom I met via the MS Society, was turned down for ALL DLA. Her condition and her carers were not lawyers, nor even keen pen-pushers.

That is not just. Far from it. So in some respects, I welcome moving away from forms and towards medicals but ONLY if they are conducted by medical professionals and not cheery minimum-wage amateurs.

Conversely, I have noticed that while the rhetoric of 'scroungers' is ramped up that I do encounter slightly more hostility while out and about. I use a 6' staff as a walking aid (I am 6'6" so a walking stick would be silly) so it normally manifests as aggressive questions because, really, would you start on a 6'6" bloke with a staff if you thought they were scamming? Right.

Which is why the actual scammers annoy me so much. They ensure that ALL disabled people are tarred with their shitty brush. Much like corrupt police men make ALL police men be considered as probably corrupt.

I would point out that while there is a 10:4 ratio of rejection to approval under the ATOS ESA test, of the 10 rejected, 60 percent are awarded ESA on appeal. Which makes the actual 'fiddle' rate an atrocious 4 in 14 and not a 'they're all at it' 10 in 14. Just sayin'...

Shinar's Basket Case said...

"Her condition and her carers were not lawyers, nor even keen pen-pushers. "

Yep, I see it a lot....and those poor souls who go to CAB in the belief that they, the CAB, know how to fill out the forms often find out to their cost that they don't.


When I last reapplied for someone I got a phone from the DLA asking if we might like the higher rate instead of the middle rate....

Shaun said...

I saw the form and thought 'This has been written by lawyers with two conflicting aims - the first is to be so long as to deter the casual chancer and the second is to walk you through producing a legal-style 'case'. Most normal people are deterred by the former and the latter passes them by.

No way to run a rail-road, I tells ya!

Shinar's Basket Case said...

"lawyers with two conflicting aims"

Exactamondo!

Shinar's Basket Case said...

"It's still stealing!"

No actually its fraud.

"Stealing" is what the government do to you every time you buy a litre of petrol or a packet of smokes.

Shaun said...

I wonder if people who pretend to be disabled to claim disability benefit should be prosecuted for some other offence. After all, they do, demonstrably, get ALL disabled people a bad name and 4 in every 18 is still quite a lot - almost 25% - and the harm they cause by stoking up hatred of the afflicted is clear and real.

I wouldn't look to use a hate-crime law but some sort of criminal defamation perhaps. I'm not sure - I am libertarian by inclination so don't like unnecessary laws but when a real harm is caused by an otherwise criminal act that is not punished as part of the main crime, some legal redress must be made, surely? Julia?