Mar 242014
 

This is an account we received of the continuous damage the regimes of Government do, on an individual basis and on a family basis-while the private companies lap up millions in public money. The impacts of failed systems are more and more destructive, making no sense at all. 

My son is 23 years old and lives with us. He has a serotonin deficiency which makes it difficult for him to sleep normally like other people. So he will go for days without sleep and then crash without warning and then nothing we can do to rouse him.

It’s always been a problem but it got worse when he was 15 due to severe depression and the fact that he had a number of traumatic incidents including saving sister from being kicked & hit by a rock at school, being hit with a half brick on way home from school and  punched in the face by someone he only knew vaguely. Then there were 2 muggings, one of which involved him going to police station and identifying assailants etc but he didn’t go to court as assailants pleaded guilty. Left him with traumatic stress syndrome.

So where previously he struggled to college he gave up and now spends months at a time in his room. Sometimes I don’t speak to him for weeks. Just leave messages on his computer. Some of his behaviour is quite odd but can’t get him psychiatrically evaluated as they say he is not in crisis and he won’t go there. They did manage an assessment over 18 months and found he was depressed and suffering from depression plus his neurologist has written letter to DWP about my son’s physical problems. 

Progress until Atos and back to work scheme

Things were beginning to go well. Under the neurologist they had worked out a strategy of treatment including a light box and drug treatment. That’s when ATOS struck. They had to try twice to find my son actually awake. We told ‘assessor’ all his problems but they moved him onto a back to work scheme. I wrote a letter to DWP and said there is no way that my son could guarantee to make any appointment. His treatment had just started and involved him adjusting gradually to a more normal sleep pattern which could take over a year to do. Forcing him to go to set appointment would destroy the treatment strategy. 

We went to CAB and we appealed against the decision. We had to wait a year before they even replied. Meanwhile the appointment letters kept coming. He made the first one at Job Centre. Seemed very positive and hope of training on some online course. Son was handed over to this other group SERCO but was told that they would take into account his sleeping difficulty. After several missed appointments he made a Serco appointment. The added problem of him going, as well as sleeping problems, meant that he wouldn’t travel on his own to the appointment, as he had panic attacks. The stress of whole thing was beginning to tell on all of us too. 

Treatment abandoned, appeal abandoned 

My son’s treatment regime had to be abandoned due to all these appointment letters phone calls coming. He missed the appointment. I would have to phone and explain why. They would send another appointment and the whole cycle went on for months. It was making me ill as well as my son.  Then we were sent a piece of paper to sign to say Richard had seen them. I took it to CAB and asked should he sign it as he had only seen them once in six months. I was told he had seen them even if it was only once so my son signed it and they moved him to new group and new building. All the stress and failure of never making a meeting made my son sink back into the depression. 

So he moved onto next group. There has been no help for him getting online courses. They wouldn’t talk to him online. He won’t use phone as it often brings on panic attacks. So he goes for several months and this time doesn’t make any appointments.

He is more withdrawn than ever and even misses seeing Neurologist.

Finally the DWP reply about appeal and say there will be meeting within six weeks. I go to CAB to prepare case but Son takes off in panic to Friend. I didn’t know exactly where although I knew he was safe and got messages from him re emails. CAB says we can’t continue without Son so we withdraw appeal and son comes back home.

 

Increasing problems, but Serco still drawing the cash 

His behaviour is now more and more erratic. He talks of laundry baskets attacking him and pinning him in corner. I set up appointment with GP but last minute he is asleep. SERCO then say he has passed through 2nd stage and is on 3rd stage. They set up an appointment for him to go to workshops. He hasn’t made one yet. The pressure of letters and phone calls start again but I have stopped answering them or phoning to cancel as my own health means frequent doctor appointments and clinic appointments and can’t keep up with SERCO too. I went to ATOS and actually passed as too sick to work. I do have chronic ME, a cataract and severe chest problems and was nearing 60 but hasn’t stopped ATOS re friends of mine. Probably the stress re my son helped as I was pretty shattered with it all and all my own hospital tests.

                                                     

Son has taken off once again to the friend. The letters are piling up. I suppose I should tell SERCO he is gone as he has been away for over a month. I think whole thing is a scam as no way has he progressed and he hasn’t had any useful help. If they were legit they would have referred him back to DWP and he probably would have had his money stopped. However if I go to DWP or police they could argue that sons flight off to friend means he isn’t meeting terms re benefit and possibly even accusing him of fraud. CAB says we need psychiatric evaluation of son. GP is unwilling to send someone to our home when Son is there & Mental Health people say he is not a danger to himself or others. If he has to talk to authorities he will probably leave forever and I will lose all contact with him. So at moment I know even SERCO will have to claim he has finished course eventually and then we will have to challenge them. We will be asked why we didn’t challenge before and Son will go into hiding.

It’s just a case of waiting for axe to fall…..       

 

 

 

Jun 242012
 

What follows is a personal account of the experience of one person and what it is like to be unemployed and disabled in Tory Britain. It shows the contempt that people are treated with by some so-called work program providers engaged by their Tory friends and paid for by the taxpayer.

This example shows quite clearly what we all knew: that people are not being supported under this Tory regime, rather they are being belittled humiliated and having legal rights under the Equality Act ignored. At the same time they are being driven towards new or further mental health issues resulting in suicidal tendencies for some.

The fact that this example features the A4e Company run by disgraced multimillionaire Tory darling Emma Harrison speaks volumes.  Ministers ended the A4e contract for the Welfare to Work scheme in May this year under the shadow of a range of accusations, arrests and resignations within the company.

Karen wrote to DPAC so that her story could be shared –we believe this inhuman treatment and worse is happening to many people under this Tory regime. She says:

Background

I finished University in 2002 and was sent toQueenAlexandraCollege. I signed on in 2004, before that I had long term problems with health and eyesight. I had specialist help from Action for Blind People who were instrumental in getting me a voluntary placement at aBirminghamCollege. Although it was two years before I got a paid contract there. I was supported in furthering my skills and gaining more qualifications as well as experience. In 2009 government cuts meant I was unemployed again. Action for Blind People got me some courses under the advisors discretionary fund. However, I was summoned to the jobcentre and informed I was to be put on flexible new deal with A4e in 2010. I was stopped from seeing Action for Blind People and the placement they were arranging fell through as a result.

A4E and the constant threat of sanctions

I informed A4e that I needed large print documents, but they continued to send out small print documents which were illegible to me. The first contact given for at A4e was not contactable so I went to my job centre and asked for someone else. A4e said they’d send someone out but I had already arranged a lift to their offices. When I got in the office they presented me with a form to fill in, in small print. I told them I couldn’t see it and asked them to photocopy it, but they didn’t enlarge it. I was then taken to a very public area where there were other clients and I was asked humiliating personal questions. For example: are you a drug user? What medication do you take? and so on, at no time was I informed that I didn’t need to answer these questions.

I was then called over to see a woman, let’s call her Ms Harris. The first thing she said was:

If I were you I’d go on the sick.

This would have meant that I was off their books. I told her I wanted to work, at which point she became very rude and then refused to reimburse my travel costs. I explained that I needed large print documents, Ms Harris and her manager barked at me that they didn’t need to provide me with anything! Then they amazingly proceeded to threaten me with sanctions.

Three months passed. I decided that if they couldn’t provide reasonable alterations, equipment etc.   I wasn’t going to sign it or do it. They threatened me with their sanctions again and put me through a psychometric test. Once again, no attempt was made to provide for my reasonable alterations. In the end I showed the A4e worker how she could enlarge the screen this for others that might need it, after I’d worked it out for myself-they didn’t have a clue nor care. I think I skewed the results so badly that they didn’t bother me for a while, until I received a call from Ms Harris, she informed me about a teaching job. However, when I told her that I didn’t have a teaching qualification, she got aggressive. I later learned that she had immediately got in touch with the benefits office in an attempt to impose sanctions again. To be fair they did provide training in CV writing-that was great as they told me to leave my degree off the CV! In the end they submitted the CV I had done while at Action for Blind People and claimed credit for it.

More months passed and I was transferred to Beacon Centre for the Blind. It was not taken into account how I would get there, I got lifts mostly, but trying to get travel costs reimbursed was still made as difficult as possible. At this time my mental health issues had been worsened by the treatment at A4e. I told A4e I couldn’t use buses (I had had some training before going to A4e but it was a bad experience and really didn’t work). A4e thought this was an opportunity to belittle me and humiliate me, telling me I was missing out. By the next meeting they made their contempt even clearer:

Look you’ve been sent here, you’re better off than others: stop complaining!.

If you don’t like it, don’t sign on-nobody is forcing you to claim JSA are they!

I was then sent to the Job Centre. They told me to sign for the work program, if I didn’t …then – you guessed it: I would be sanctioned.

I am now with Action for Blind People again, the people I have had a ten year relationship with, they saw the mess I was in and helped me loads. I am also now seeing a specialist mental health nurse and psychiatrists for the suicidal feelings.  I avoid signing anything and am terrified of going to the job centre now, after my experience.  In fact, I am starting to be scared of going out at all. Sometimes, I’ll pretend to be sick so I don’t have to go out of the house. For example I live with my parents and they often go to see my nephew-I just can’t face leaving the house. It’s the same when I have the chance to go to my brothers.

Complaint

I put a formal complaint in to the Independent case examiner. They believed that it was acceptable for A4e NOT to provide large print documents, despite the Equality Act. The job centre still doesn’t provide large print documents. I have to ask each time and explain again and again. I’m close to the end of my tether with it all. I finally got my travel expenses 12 months after that first meeting with A4e, after my formal complaint. They were paid on the 1st April.

 

Mar 032012
 


Disability Works UK is a not-for-profit consortium of eight national disability charities that have come together to provide tailored employment support to disabled people. Disability Works UK is not involved in the delivery of the government’s Workfare scheme.

Disability Works UK has secured a number of sub-contracts to delivery the Work Programme; the government’s employment initiative aimed at supporting long-term unemployed and disabled people into work. This programme is not related in any way to the Workfare scheme.

Through the Work Programme, Disability Works UK provides tailored support and training, including interview practice, skills development, help with job applications, CV writing and in-work support. We also work with employers to ensure that people are well supported in their roles.

Given the combined expertise of our members, we feel that we are ideally and uniquely placed to be able to offer disabled people high quality support that meets their individual needs. We are engaging with the Work Programme to ensure that people receive this tailored support, which we know works; and to give disabled people the best possible chance of success of securing a job.

DWUK believes that sanctions do not incentivise disabled people to look for work, nor do they give them the confidence to do so. DWUK will not be directly involved in delivering sanctions. This will continue to be the role of the DWP via Job Centre Plus.

Disability Works UK includes: SCOPE, MIND, MENCAP, Leonard Cheshire, Action for Blind People (RNIB)

https://www.disabilityworksuk.org/