Oct 312016

Wanted - Damien Green - For Crimes Against Disabled PeopleToday Damien Green announced a consultation into the Work Capability Assessment a toxic and lethal test of disabled peoples’ ability to work. DPAC have consistently called for this to be completely scrapped as in spite of numerous attempts to reform the tick box computer tests they are still not fit for purpose. How many times do you keep trying to fix the unfixable?

It comes as no surprise either that Disability Charities welcome the changes which are being consulted on – why wouldn’t they after all there’s likely to be lots of financial pickings for them from the further misery of disabled claimants. Already Tom Pollard previously Campaign and Policy Manager for MIND has taken his thirty pieces of silver and moved to work for the DWP.

Overview and what these changes might mean

Now like Lord Freud the banker who wrote the guidelines for welfare reform for New Labour in 3 weeks and without any previous experience of our social security system Damien Green today has said “In the long run there is nothing more expensive than saying to someone, ‘Here’s a benefit you can have for the rest of your life…” Not that I’m sure what he means by that since this does not happen and disabled people face continuous repeat assessments to ensure they haven’t grown back any limbs or had a miraculous cure.

The consultation announced today places an emphasis on getting all disabled people back into work as fast as possible on the false assumption that working in a zero hours or low paid dead end jobs may somehow improve people’s health outcomes. Green seems to particularly single out forcing people with Mental Health and Musculoskeletal conditions back into work as fast as possible for as long as possible. Musculoskeletal conditions include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

This is against a background of massive cuts to MH services to help those with a MH condition receive the support they need. Added to which there are caps to the Access to Work budget , social care funding has been slashed, to access train services in many cases disabled people have to book 24 or 48 hours in advance, Disabled Students’ Allowance has been cut making it more difficult if not impossible for young disabled people to gain qualifications, and people are being forced to give up work as they lose entitlement to PIP and their Motability vehicles are taken away.

Further between 2011 and 2015 the number of Jobcentres employing a full-time advisor to help disabled people navigate the support system and find employment fell by over 60 per cent from 226 to just 90, with reductions in every recorded year.

Does Damien really not understand that without the right support services in place disabled people even if they want to cannot work? Is it really too complex for politicians to grasp that support services must be available to allow disabled people to work if they want to and feel able to. Do they really not understand that for some disabled people working is not and never will be an option?

And what of employers?  of course they’re queuing up to retain and employ disabled people and all workplaces are accessible as we all know. The much lauded Disability Confident campaign resulted in a whopping 40 private firms signing up in 3 years.

But not just Damien also Jeremy Hunt, the much trusted health secretary also suggests getting people back to work had major health benefits. He is reported to say that as it cost £7bn a year to treat long-term health conditions that kept people out of work, and employment could be a part of recovery.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said “People in work generally have better health.” Something that I would have thought is obvious as people not in work often have long term health conditions or impairments which prevent them from working. Thus an utterly meaningless statement if ever I’ve heard one.

One particularly worrying statement is “No one wants a system where people are written off and forced to spend long periods of time on benefits when, actually, with the right support they could be getting back into work.” Which we feel means they plan to scrap the Support group.

This would certainly fit in with the announcement on October 1st when Damien Green announced there would be an end to repeat WCA assessments for people with permanent or progressive conditions. There was little detail on the announcement with more questions being raised that answers given (such as which conditions would be excluded from repeat assessments) The DWP promised to release guidelines to clarify exactly what this change means – to date no such clarification has appeared.

My Challenge to Damien Green and why these proposals are a crock of  ****

Dear Damien find an employer for this person. I know having to work as well as survive will help her wellbeing. Please note Damien at the moment she has no money to feed herself or her family due to the barbaric and flawed WCA assessment.

“I am writing this email as I feel desperate and alone after I had a phone call today saying I scored 0 points on my esa assessment. I don’t know where to turn or what to do.

I will start from the beginning. From being young I have had hip disabilities and went through many many operations between the ages of 12 and 19. In my early twenties I broke my left hip 4 times. Also in my early 20’s my spine started to deteriorate and to date I have had 3 emergency operations to try to correct this. During one operation I was left with that much damage and scar tissue I have loss of feeling and severe foot drop in my left foot.

Due to my hip problems I have arthritis in both hips and I am awaiting hip replacements in both hips. Due to my left femur being broken 4 times it is no longer straight meaning the hip replacement surgery will be very difficult which is why my surgeon is trying to leave it as long as possible as the surgery could end very badly.

I have suffered with chronic pain all my life but have always worked until earlier this year when I had my contract ended by work as I was no longer fit to do my job due to my disabilities. This is when I started claiming ESA.

Recently I have had major changes to my health leaving me doubly incontinent. I have to self catheterise twice daily. I am experiencing that much pain I am taking copious amounts of medication including morphine every 3 hours. My mobility is very restricted and my partner has had to give up work to care for me. I can’t cook, clean, go to the shop. My emotional and mental health is suffering terribly and I am on anti depressant medication.

I attended my ESA assessment last week and the decision maker telephoned me today telling me that I had not scored any points at all during the assessment and my benefits have been stopped.

Because my partner has come out of work our tax credits claim was ended and we have had to re apply meaning we are not receiving any money from tax credits at the moment. The only money we had support us and our two children was the ESA payments of £72 per week and £36 per week child benefit.

When the advisor phoned me with the news today I broke down in the phone. I feel as though I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I can not go to work as I am too unwell. I spend a lot of my time feeling sleepy and not with it due to my medication, I can not control my bowels, I am in constant severe pain, my mobility is limited, my bladder does not empty itself so I have to self catheterise, I have short term memory loss and confusion due to medication, the list is endless. As the rent is now not being paid and with our previous arrears which I was paying off before this I am terrified my kids are going to lose their home. I can’t put food in the cupboards, gas and electric on. I feel hopeless and desperate.

I don’t know how this works. I have always worked I am not trying to get anything under false pretences. If I could work I would. I have lost my independence and I feel that the DWP are taking away my dignity along with it by making me beg to be able to live.

I am unsure why I have sent you this email but I don’t know where to turn. I am so sorry if this makes no sense. ”
What you can do

Write or email Damien to let him know what you think

ministers@dwp.gsi.gov.uk or Caxton House, 12, Tothill Street, London,SW1H

also please respond to the consulation

Full consultation here


take part in consultation here






[suffusion-the-author display='description']
 Posted by at 18:51

  7 Responses to “Arbeit Macht Frei and more Damien Green smoke and mirrors”

  1. Ah yes work will set us free…..or kill us. either or I don’t think the Tories mind.
    Before IDS chucked the towel in to fight full time for Brexit he was supposed to be delivering ‘his’ green paper. Part of which was to provide a sop to those who voted to cut ESA and felt a bit ‘queasy’ about agreeing that Social Security incentivises people to not get better, grow or regrow limbs etc. Thing is Green’s green paper is pretty much what I expected to be in IDS’s. Green seems perfectly happy to carry on where IDS left off and that was always going to be work as a cure and pushing everyone through the same meaningless hoops thereby removing the support group and ‘rewarding’ us for the thing that we do do as opposed to those that we not. So no Support group, which lets face it was always a ridiculous name for it as we don’t receive any support just the bare minimum that they think that they can get away with.
    I’m in two minds as to whether or not to respond to the consultation because the policy has already been agreed and written by Fraud, the Tories favourite Think Tank and pals including those ‘charities’ invited to the top table Scope, Mind and the usual suspects who are no doubt rubbing their hands together at the amount of money they all stand to make what with executive salaries and those revolving doors!
    The Tories have declared all out war and the mainstream media is as ever complicit in their silence.

  2. Disgraceful to see a respected charity like MIND collaborating with these forced- labour policies.

  3. Fit for work
    Gissa job?

    Date:19th September 2016


    Dear Sir/Ms,



    I request that you reconsider your decision dated september 1st 2016 -finding me capable of work.

    Please also send me a copy of the medical report known as the ESA85 you used to make your decision. I consider that I provided enough evidence for a finding to be made that I do have limited capability for work ).

    I do not consider that the decision maker took full account of the severity of my condition or of the way that it affects my everyday activities and bodily functions.

    the following is a statement regarding how my medical condition severely limits my capability for work.

    I do not have any further evidence to add at this stage. I will present any new evidence to the Tribunal service if I need to appeal your mandatory reconsideration decision.

    it is a full time occupation trying to cope with this.

    how it is unpredictable due to fluctuations in levels of pain and discomfort.

    if there was a scale from 1 – 10 of discomfort and zero to unbearable agony, my current condition fluctuates between 7 to 10.

    it has considerably deteriorated over the last 2 years from 4 to 10 as was.

    this account is broken and possibly repeats itself.

    i have had to try and do it over the last 2 weeks when i have been able to focus and type in lumps of about 10 minutes, and may well include repeats.

    i would add to this but that will take a long time to complete and i am aware that there is a time limit on the mandatory reconsideration.

    i cannot make anything more than tentative arrangements for anything based upon how much i can move on that day at that time, how much my perception of the situation will be affected by the level of discomfort i am in and how much walking, sitting or standing i will be able to tolerate.

    usually (80%of the time) it is impossible.

    i wake up in pain and muscle spasm/locked up from my neck to my feet every day.

    i can not judge accurately whether i will be able to function that day at this stage, but a good indication seems to be the severity of this will affect what i can and cannot do that day.

    i have realised that i can only do about 20% of the things i used to do due to this.

    this could be summed up in constant pain and discomfort, inability to move without causing more pain and discomfort, and lack of energy/needing to rest 60% of the time due to the stress of living with this condition.

    the discomfort, with or without medication, limits every movement.

    i have to decide upon every movement whether it is firstly vital to my existence.

    this would include having to obtain food.

    i have no choice in shopping in small amounts. this is so that i know i will be able to carry whatever i buy back to the car. hopefully it will be in 2 bags balanced each side. sugar, jars, potatoes, canned goods and vegetables are a particular problem.

    i went for 9 months last year without buying these due to the pain of taking them to the car. and having to leave them in the car while i went inside to rest for 30 mins after going shopping.

    using cash machines is very complicated as i have to wait sitting until the queue is gone, and go through the stress pain and discomfort of standing up again.

    i will have to go through a process with the intent, if possible, every day, to get out of the house.

    this is effective nowadays approxiamately 4 days out of 7, but again is entirely unpredictable depending on the temperature, possibly how long i was active the day before and how long i have slept.

    this process currently involves the use of hot water bottles and heat pads on my back and neck for up to 3 to 4 hours along with pain killers. 4 to 5 on a very bad day. 5/7 days.

    if the pain is not too severe i may be able to do some stretching exercises to try and free up the muscles in my back. (2/7 days)

    this will sometimes give me a bit more freedom and i can bend down to pick things from the floor or empty the bins. i also drop things a lot as when my nervous system is in overload – due to the pain it seems to affect my hands.

    things will mostly stay on the floor for several hours or even days as the pain and fatigue it causes makes retrieving things not a priority. i drop things a lot.

    i have to plan every movement carefully from reaching to pick up a cup of tea, to getting dressed.

    i have to do this to avoid even more pain and discomfort; to not damage the muscles in my back any further by tearing them and to ensure that if i drop somethng or can’t reach it it will not injure me or others.

    i have found that muscle spasms and sharp shooting pains can make my arms and legs jerk or lose strength in the middle of moving.

    this also affects my driving. as my legs have lost at least 60% of their strength, about 50% of the time, and at times are almost impossible to move due to the pain in my back,. putting on trousers or using steps is very challenging 90% of the time.

    i can only drive for short periods of about 10 minutes without needing to rest, even though getting out of the car is extremely difficult, painful uncomfortable and tiring.

    the pain and spasms affect my legs, arms and hands. i cannot repeatedly, safely and consistently walk, pick up objects or move things without risking injury. my feet don’t go where i expect them to and i have to think about every step especially stairs.

    my arms and hands are not where i think they are and i will walk into doorways, knock things over or drop things due to spasms and numbness.

    every movement must be monitored constantly, visibly, in case they go astray.

    this adds top the stress and tiredness already present in this condition

    this morning process will culminate in the hottest bath i can stand to furher try and reduce the muscle spasms.

    about 3/7 days i will get a good range of movement, and my perception will be fairly sharp for about 2 hours, before i have to take codeine again.

    this is also as the fog from the codeine is starting to lift.

    the pain medication gives short periods of relief usually for about an hour. it takes the edge off the unbearable pain, and allows my mind to be less stressed for this period.

    the stress is as difficuklt to deal with as the pain. and may add to it.

    but i will also be getting very tired by now from all the discomfort and the effort required to fill hot water bottles, put the kettle on, move around the flat etc.

    i have no choice in this as firstly i live on my own, and movement gives me a sense of which part of my body is causing the most discomfort.

    this on 2-4/7 days will allow me to engage with work in a way that is relatively productive.

    just getting up and get out of the house is a nightmare and takes all of my energy due to the extreme pain and discomfort.

    the 5 hours of work that i am paid for will take me between 12 to 15 hours to do. this is due to the massive cognitive impairment of both the constant stress and discomfort and the side effect of the painkillers i could not live without. without them life would become unbearable. thius level of pain is impossible to live with without at least an hour where it is lessened a couple of hours a day.

    i will have to check my work at least three times as i lose concentration and focus constantly. it is impossible to learn anything new in these brief windows of awareness and constructive thought available to me.

    although driving is difficult due to the discomfort in my back, neck and legs, and any bump in the road sends shooting pains from my feet to my head , i believe it is in my best interest to get out of the flat if at all possible.

    to me, the emotional cost of staying at home is more than the amount of pain and discomfort i create by engaging with the world in the limited way i am able to.

    the days when i have to stay at home being unable to move beyond my flat are mental torture.

    Walking to the car has to be taken 1 slow careful step at a time. it is as if i were barefoot and watching for broken glass on the floor.

    Getting into the car in time to avoid annoying other drivers is a constant stress as my legs are shaky due to the muscle spasms and i can only move very slowly, attempting to make it look as if I am completely relaxed and unhurried in case people see how vulnerable i would be to being attacked due to my weakened condition.

    Getting out of the car causes stress discomfort and pain and i will need to rest by leaning against a wall or the car to regain some energy aftyer a short walk of about 30 feet or so.

    this cannot be accomplished repeatedly or safely.

    Can I walk to the crossing incurring even more pain or can I walk across the road safely, in case a car speeds up towards me, where I am , as I will have to walk back the same distance? this creates additional stress and tirerdness sometimes a feeling that i am about to pass out.

    this also happens whenever i am standing in the queue at the checkout. i am simply unable to go into queues of over 2-3 people.

    Will I have enough energy to go to 2 shops today or will I have to waituntil tomorrow.

    Will I have enough energy to get home and up the stairs? after resting in the car i will attempt this.if i have been shopping i will need to rest for about 30 minutes before i can face putting the shopping in the fridge. i don’t buy potatoes or other heavy items as they cause too much pain and discomfort to move.

    Learning new things – this ionvolves being able to focus, concentrate and respond. this is not possible with the amount of discomfort and stress this condition creates.

    Doing housework is minimal at best. i have to prioritise my energy and the important use of it is to get out of the house if possible and try to engage with life even though this is severely limited. staying on my own with just the pain and discomfort is unbearable on the days that i have no choice but to do that.

    Getting tired after 15 minutes – due to the constant physical discomfort, emotional stress and inability to focus, i will ahved to take a break from all activities after about 15 minutes. i will ahve to try and physically relax as much as possible and try to ease the areas which are causing the most discomfort.

    Bending up or down

    Putting on clothes

    Taking 2 – 3 hours to do an hours work

    Inability to go out in the evenings as this has caused inability to get out of the house 2 out of the 3 times i have done this in the last 2 years.

    Uncertainty on ability to get safely home due to weakness in my hands and legs, unberable pain and discomfort and feeling as if i am going to pass out as my head spins.

    Leg spasms while driving making only very short journeys of about 5 minutes bearable. my feet have spasms of pain nearly all the time.

    Legs and back spasms while sitting or standing causing incredible discomfort and stress.

    Dropping things while nerve system locks up in overdrive. if i am able to ease some of the spasms i can get a couple of hours a day where this is less likely to happen.

    Social noise is like daggers and people don’t like it when you look miserable, therefore there would be no oint in going out anywhere that i am unable to control the environment.

    Shaving doing washing up work in lumps of 20 minutes involving resting due to tiredness, as does doing any other task including my contracted 5 hours per week paid employment.

    Having to slide into the car using the chair as support and resting before driving or getting out again.

    restricting times that i stop and get out to the minimum to avoid unbearable pain and stress beyond endurable levels.

    Being difficult to get in car later in the day as back won’t bend and hitting head as I get in.

    Constant need to stretch and try to bend to avoid muscles from locking into spasm – works about 2 times in 10. very tiring and stressful.

    Walking very slowly as if I’ve had a sports injury – to disguise the shame and fear of being attacked if i show how physically weak i am.

    Leaning or sitting after walking trying to make it look like I meant to to send a text or check the phone while i try and find some energy to continue.

    Having to think about every movement, bend, turn or reach as the increased pain, discomfort and stress is devastating.

    Having no choice in getting shopping or going out. i only buy what i can safely carry in my arms to avoid heavy shopping bags which will cause unberable pain and discomfort.

    Having to decide if the pain of getting up again justifies the benefit of sitting to rest although the feeling that i am about to pass out usually makes that decision.

    the way in which this illness has removed 90% of my life activities, and severely limited the remainder is a constant source of despair, trying to adjust and constant disappointment of being unable to partake minimally in all activities.

    all of my energy goes into coping with the varying amounts of pain, constant discomfort and shame/ depression of being unable to partake in any more than i currently do.

    to be very clear – if there was any way of taking on any more work than the nominal 5 hours i currently struggle to do, i would of course do that. i could easily earn much more than the amount given on ESA payments. why would anyone not do this?

    this condition affects my life so severely that it makes any other activity than the few i currently engage in impossible.

    i have no choice in this until a sustainable way of dealing with my back pain and other symptoms is found.

    a copy of this has been presented to my GP with the request that it be added to my medical notes for their information.

    Important note: should I wish to withdraw this request I will only do so in writing. Under no circumstances will I withdraw this request verbally. If you speak to me on the telephone about this matter, nothing I say should be construed as a withdrawal unless and until it is confirmed in writing.

    Yours faithfully,

  4. I read the email with tears in my eyes. I sincerely hope she has appealed the most incorrect and unbelievable decision imaginable? What kind of medical examination did she recieve? Was the person carrying out the wac a robot? Her medical evidence has to be overwhelming. I posted a responce yesterday regarding the statement from Hunt and Green. I will keep on saying it till the day I die. Legislation has to be in place to force employers to employ disabled people. No if’s, but’s or maybe’s. Nothing else will work, nothing. 40% of companies have signed up to taking on disabled people. They will take the cream of the crop. Those with the least disability. I signed on the dole for over 20 years. Only people who have gone through that process has any idea how it affects the individual. That was at a time when there was employment. May I also make it clear that Remploy would not employ a blind person. I tried and was informed of that fact.
    If we look back at the devastating legislation from this evil Government since they got into power. It is abundantly clear that the disabled are being targeted purposefully. Severe alterations the the criteria for pip from dla. £30 a week cut to esa. The wac, tests that are not fit for purpose by Atos and Maximus. A continual demonising of the disabled in the Tabloids. Thousands of disabled people taking their own lives because of these policies and legislation. Now even more physychological deomonising of the disabled by forcing them to take work, no matter what the affect. I wonder if these B….rds can state what type of work this woman can do? What employer would employ them? Will this be another ficticious game of Hunt the job that doesn’t exist and never will? This government are as close to the Nazi party as they possibly can. Cutting benefit to the disabled and to over three million people in owrk. “Arbeit Macht Frei” Work doesn’t set anyone free and never will. It is a means to an end. We need money to live, exist. I would have loved to get a job. Not to set me free. To prevent me from living on a pittance, never getting a holiday, where Christmas was a time when finances were at their worst. Making it through from day to day was horrendous. A job meant I could afford the little luxuries of life. Work will never set anyone free.

    Combining the wrag and esa will have devastating consequences for disabled people. These are evil, evil people and should be brought to trial for the countless deaths they have caused and will cause to disabled people.

  5. .

    I was also told that my ESA had been stopped and I was put on UC. The DWP informs me that everyone in the work related group will go on UC. I was telephoned early morning to say I was now on UC. I refused to appeal. I am exhausted with this system. I have found myself a zero hours job. I have now been waiting for a month before starting work.. There is no other way for me to work as I still go to the max fax unit on a regular basis and now manage pain with pain killers. Zero hours will give me the flexibility to deal with my impairment whilst earning a small sum on money. I have no transport of my own.

    However, the poor woman above must be at the end of her tether and I truly understand why disabled people develop mental distress. Nobody is expected to live in this manner in 21st century Britain.

    This is a crime against humanity. We are a commodity so that big capitalist corporations such as Maximus whose worldwide operations also extend to America and Saudi Arabia can ‘help’ people into work. I wonder if the Tory Government visited these countries to see how they ‘deal with their disabled people’.

    They then boast of how many people they employ. When I visited Maximus offices in my home town I note and photographed their notices saying that we disabled people need to treat their staff with respect. They kind of display an equality poster BUT clearly discrimination against Disabled people is not on that equality poster.

    The Government and its agents, such as Maximus have designed a system to penalise ill health and impairment. This is an understatement!.

    • Hi,

      I hope you don’t mind me posting here.

      I’m a current MA student, studying investigative journalism and am doing an investigation into WCA.

      Having spoken to a social worker who has helped a number of people appeal their WCA decisions, I’d love to speak to more people about their experiences of the system to see how they compare. I’m particularly interested in the legal aspect of the issue, and the mental toll appealing can take on people.

      I’m contactable on camilla.hodgson@city.ac.uk

      Thank you.

  6. I need to know why these attitudes are in place. Why are they attacting and abusing the most vulnerable? The psychological term projection comes to mind. Why cant they stand to see sick and disabled people?
    Why are they blaming sick and disabled people and in denial that we exist?
    Didnt the Nazis do this?
    How do we get them to see themselves?
    They are commiting the perfect crime as they dont think there doing anything wrong. The power balance needs addressing. Power corrupts. Mps need psychological testing and social training before they take up there positions. They are not fit for purpose.

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