Posts Tagged ‘ESA’

Nov 252012

At DPAC we receive regular emails from people who have lost loved ones and attribute this to the process of the WCA, indeed with recent evidence of 73 deaths and suicides per week we are seeing these emails increasing.  December 3rd is being marked as a day of remembrance for all ATOS victims. Disability activist Samuel Miller from Canada is taking this outrage against human rights as far as he possibly can in an effort to secure justice.

Samuel has made many efforts at the United Nations level on behalf of disabled people in the UK and the constant attacks they face under the Tory regime. We all owe him a debt of gratitude. He is looking for evidence of linked Atos deaths. DPAC supports this and want to help in any way we can –below we repost the blog from Vox Political with permission from Mike from Wales.

Please help if you can by publicising and also subscribe to Vox Political at: http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/ids-off-the-hook-with-icc-so-evidence-needed-of-atos-deaths/

IDS off the hook with ICC – so evidence needed of Atos deaths

Brian McArdle. On the BBC’s Question Time last Thursday, Iain Duncan Smith flew into a rage when Owen Jones challenged him about what happened to Mr McArdle, “57 years old, paralysed down one side, blind in one eye; he couldn’t speak. He died one day after being found ‘fit for work’ by Atos.”

People whose family members have died while going through the DWP/Atos work capability assessment are being urged to contact a disability specialist – who has been seeking international legal action against the austerity-enforced injustice.

Vox Political reported back in September that Samuel Miller had contacted the International Criminal Court in The Hague, intending to file a complaint against Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling and Maria Miller, the ministers at the Department for Work and Pensions, considered most responsible for “draconian welfare reforms and the resultant deaths of their society’s most vulnerable”.

Mr Miller got in touch over the weekend, but said that the result had been disappointing: “They stated that the International Criminal Court has a very limited jurisdiction. The Court may only address the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes as defined by Articles 6 to 8 of the Rome Statute.”

The Rome Statute is the document under which the ICC was established. Article 7, which covers crimes against humanity, states: “For the purpose of this Statute, “crime against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

“(k) Inhumane acts … intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.”

I thought this – Article 7 (k) – was a perfect description of what the DWP and its ministers are trying to achieve, and Mr Miller agreed. But he said: “Clearly the ICC is striving to discourage the filing of austerity complaints.”

There is a way forward. He added: “On a welcome note, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights recently acknowledged that austerity measures may violate human rights — which certainly is a step in the right direction.”

He’s right. The chair of the UN committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay said on October 23 that, although member states face tough decisions when dealing with rising public deficits, austerity measures are potentially violations of their legal obligations to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

“All States Parties should avoid at all times taking decisions which lead to the denial or infringement of economic, social and cultural rights,” Pillay said, citing an open letter to States Parties from the committee earlier this year that clarified the committee’s position on austerity measures.

By ratifying the Covenant, member states like the UK have a legally binding obligation to progressively improve, without retrogression, universal access to goods and services such as healthcare, education, housing and social security and to ensure just and favourable conditions of work, without discrimination, in accordance with established international standards. These rights must be achieved by using the maximum of available resources.

Pillay pointed out that austerity measures are also a disincentive to economic growth and thereby hamper progressive realization of economic and social rights.

The committee had pointed out that social insecurity and political instability, as seen in parts of Europe today, were also potential effects of the denial or infringement of economic, social and cultural rights.

The poor, women, children, persons with disabilities, older persons, people with HIV/AIDS, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, migrants and refugees were particularly at risk, the committee had noted.

Having identified the possibility, we come to the burden of proof. Mr Miller said: “My best hope lies in procuring coroner’s reports where the cause of death is found to be destitution and/or suicide.”

Inevitably, there is a problem. The UK Coronial system does not involve the collating of such information, nor does it look for national trends. The role of the Coroner is case specific, so wider information is not available. This is because the system of inquests into deaths was never intended to investigate whether those deaths were being caused by insane decisions of the government itself.

The law in relation to death certification may be amended in 2014 to provide for Medical Examiners whose role will be to examine such matters – but that is two years from now, and the DWP/Atos system could pile up another 7,600 bodies in that time (using the generally-accepted average of 73 deaths per week).

Mr Miller has written to the DWP, seeking a change of coroners’ duties to allow proper and robust reporting of trends such as stress-related deaths, suicides and/or destitution deaths of welfare recipients and recipients who perished shortly after being stripped of their benefits can be reported to both the DWP and the Ministry of Justice.

But I think we all know there is little chance of success there. This government is hardly going to hand over the tools by which its own ministers might end up in an international court. They’re insane, but they’re not stupid!

So people are going to have to do it themselves. We know about high-profile cases in which deaths have been blamed on Atos. Information about the others needs to be available now.

This is why I want to appeal for anyone who has lost a loved one because of the DWP/Atos work capability assessment system to get in touch with Mr Miller. He needs to know the verdict that was reached at the inquests into their deaths.

His email address is disabilityinliterature@gmail.com

I would strongly urge that anyone writing to Mr Miller keeps their correspondence to the point. It is to be hoped that he will receive a strong response, but this entails a large amount of work. It is therefore important to make that work as easy as possible, perhaps by putting the deceased’s name, address and the verdict at the top of your email.

Follow mike on twitter :@MidWalesMike

– See more at: http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/11/deaths-and-suicides-linked-to-wca-more-evidence-needed-for-justice/#sthash.za0c2VuT.dpuf

Charity adds to fears that ill and

disabled people

are being forced into work in order to retain benefits

Michelle Mitchell, head of Age UK

Michelle Mitchell, director general of Age UK, which has stopped providing mandatory work activity placements. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

A high street charity has stopped providing mandatory work placements because of concerns that jobseekers are forced to work in its stores as a condition of their benefits.

Age UK has become the third large charity in three weeks to pull out of the multimillion-pound Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) scheme.

It said it would also pull out of other government-run schemes in order to ensure its volunteers were making the “appropriate choice” to work for the organisation.

The charity said that although it did not have a policy to provide four-week mandatory work activity placements, some of its 450 nationally run stores had developed local links with private companies administering such schemes. It added that a further 169 independent Age UK stores would still make their own decisions on the policy.

Following last month’s decisions by the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research to drop out of the scheme, Age UK said it was now advising its stores to wind up their association with government employment programmes.

The latest charity departure comes days after the DWP handed new powers to job centre managers and back-to-work providers to force sick and disabled benefit claimants into unpaid work placements.

Former Labour communications director Alastair Campbell said the new regulations, which mean the 340,000 people on employment support allowance who’d been placed into the work-related activity group (WRAG) could have 70% of their allowance withheld if they fail to work, were “beyond any sense of decency”.

Campbell, who has written about his own issues with depression, said, “It is frankly beyond belief, and beyond any sense of decency, that patients with severe mental health problems, and serious physical illnesses, are being told they can work and that their benefits will be affected if they don’t.”

“I am all in favour of people who are ill being given hope of getting back into the labour market, but this is not about work for those who can, it is about work for those who can’t so that the government can cut the costs and try to help Osborne’s sums add up.”

Paul Farmer, the chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said that within the disability and mental health sector there was confusion as to why the government had introduced the policy of mandating sick and disabled people into work when there was “very little evidence” that it worked.

He said: “I think there is a growing sense of anger and frustration that across the disability sector that this is heading in the wrong direction and it does bemuse people because I think we all know that there are [other] ways of enabling people of getting into work.”

Farmer said people in the WRAG weren’t “scroungers”, adding: “These are people who have been through the work capability assessment and that’s clearly [found] these people aren’t fit for work.

“That doesn’t mean you should be forgetting about them and leaving them on the scrapheap, but it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to be forcing people into activities when there’s very little evidence that it works.”

The DWP said only a small number of claimants were expected to be mandated into work placements. Where “appropriate”, most would be offered voluntary placements, it said, adding that such placements would be flexible, with full consideration given to a claimant’s health problem or disability.

A spokesperson from the DWP said: “For people on ESA who are expected to go back to work when they’re well enough, a period of work experience is an excellent way to increase skills and confidence. Work experience is completely voluntary. In some circumstances, only where people refuse to take reasonable steps to address a barrier to work, it may be that a short, appropriate mandatory work placement – which must take the claimant’s health into account – would be helpful.

“Mandatory work activity placements benefit local communities while giving jobseekers valuable skills. We are grateful for the continued support of the wider charitable sector in helping unemployed people re-engage with the system and move closer to work.

“Age UK’s decision is entirely a matter for them.”

One claimant, who only wanted to be named as Annie, said the thought she could be forced into work was “terrifying”.

The 34-year-old, who has a teenage daughter, said she had previously worked in administration but now suffered from fibromyalgia, attention deficit disorder, anxiety and depression.

“I was working until April 2010, but after getting increasingly ill and even after my employer reduced my hours, and simplified my role as much as possible, I just wasn’t well enough to keep going in, even just getting to work was exhausting and painful.”

“My main symptom of fibromyalgia is constant, severe fatigue and exhaustion. I am currently finding it hard to get out of the house to go to the supermarket and having a lot of trouble doing basic things like cooking, bathing etcetera.

“I am not well enough to do work that would actually pay me real money and potentially improve my situation; I’m certainly not well enough to do unpaid work,” she said.

Age UK’s director of people and performance, Caroline Bendelow, said it was a large organisation with 7,000 volunteers: “We are committed to giving all individuals who volunteer with us an enjoyable and fruitful experience, with some finding it a useful way to move closer to the labour market,” she said.

Asked why Age UK was leaving the government scheme, Bendelow said: “Age UK strives to give all its volunteers the best experience possible and we want volunteering with us to be the appropriate choice for each individual’s circumstances.”

She said there was no head office involvement in government schemes and Age UK was now “working with our shops to end any local links that previously existed to such programmes in isolated areas”.

However, she added that this national policy would not apply to independently run stores using the Age UK name as they made their own decisions.

“There are also 169 local Age UKs across the country who are independent charities making their own decisions based on the needs of their local communities.”

img

Geoff Meeghan has early-onset Parkinson’s and is unable to walk more than three metres without support

Monday 03 December 2012

A disabled man was trapped in a centre run by Atos, which assesses fitness for work, when the fire alarm went off and staff evacuated the building, leaving him behind in his wheelchair.

Geoff Meeghan, 32, who has early-onset Parkinson’s and is unable to walk more than three metres without support, was being assessed on the second floor of a building in Neasden, north-west London.

Disabled people arriving for appointments are supposed to be asked if they can exit the building without assistance, but Mr Meeghan, pictured, was not. He waited with his support worker Nick Ephgrave, from the charity Parkinson’s UK, and his sister, who acts as one of his carers, before being called in for his assessment. A few minutes in, the alarm sounded and the doctor present said they needed to evacuate.

“The doctor held the door open for us to come out but then ran down the stairs and left us there,” Mr Meeghan said. “We weren’t allowed to use the lift and asked a security guard for help – he said he’d send some but no one came. Eventually another security guard came past and stayed with us, even though he had been told to evacuate.

“Even though I can tackle stairs with help, it was a highly stressful situation and I felt like it was far too risky. I was worried that flames might come up the stairs and that I might fall or something. It wasn’t a drill. We could see the fire engine arriving outside. I feel like there was a general lack of respect for disabled people at Atos – they make you feel as though you’ve done something wrong by being disabled – like you’re being persecuted.”

An Atos spokesperson said: “This should never have happened and we apologise unreservedly. We will be getting in contact with Mr Meeghan directly. We have since reviewed this case internally with the building security and management team to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/disabled-man-abandoned-on-the-second-floor-of-building-during-atos-fire-alarm-evacuation-8376322.html

 

This is just after the fire in Germany that killed 14 disabled people because they were too disabled to get out.

Vox Political

If any MP, government representative or stooge tells you the UK is bankrupt, or close to it, ask them why we can afford to pay Thierry Breton £1.9 million to preside over a company running a flawed system that leads to the deaths of 73 of us every week.

Mr Breton is the boss of Atos, the company that has been “reassessing” people who used to be on Incapacity Benefit, in a bid to clear the vast majority of them from the government’s welfare benefit bill within a year of assessment.

Only between 12-13 per cent of those who go through the Atos ‘work capability assessment’ keep their benefits indefinitely, going through to the ‘support group’ of the new Employment and Support Allowance. This means they have conditions which mean they will never be able to work in any way – and, in practice, many are likely to die in…

View original post 714 more words

Mmmm….interesting!!!DWP

paul8ar

via Steve Hanaghan

DWP trading under the name job center plus is public limited company with public liability insurance…

ANY company that causes distress, anxiety or hardship by their own rules and EU customer protection can be and should be issued with A NOTICE OF TORT in ENGLAND and a NOTICE OF DELECTI in SCOTLAND…..

then go to your local court office PLC…and fill out an affidavit…

this brings the company, that needs a third party to represent it….from their PRIVATE sector into the PUBLIC sector……..

SUE THEM THEY ARE TERRIFIED OF IT AND WILL DO ANYTHING TO AVOID IT ..COD IT WOULD START AN AVALANCHE OF CLAIMS IF PEOPLE WOULD ONLY FCKING WAKE UP

fck solicitors and lawyers…they are all crooks and take an oath to the crown just to be in their lying fcking profession….

layers hav 3 people above you that demands their loyalty…they are crooks and part…

View original post 246 more words

Prime Minister David Cameron was heckled on Friday evening at a Christmas lights ceremony in Witney by several people angry at the impact of welfare reforms and cuts. The protesters read the names and details of people who had died as a result of these policies, and held placards accusing Cameron of having “blood on his hands”.
Security were pretty quick to jump on us. One woman was violently arrested, while other security guards responded by dragging and shoving protesters and seizing a megaphone.

“It’s sickening that a man responsible for the deaths of so many vulnerable people can play Santa at events like this” said Fran Yarnton. “Meanwhile huge numbers of disabled people are suffering from depression, self-harm and even suicide as a result of having their benefits cut or refused.”

[1] A poll of GPs found that 6% of GPs had patients who had committed (or attempted) suicide as a result of undergoing (or fear of undergoing) the WCA (Work Capability Assessment). 14% of GPs had patients who had self-harmed as a result of the WCA, and 21% of GPs had patients who had considered suicide because of the test:
 http://www.rethink.org/how_we_can_help/news_and_media/national_press_releases/new_gp_survey_shows.html

[2] A few of the most well-known deaths and suicides resulting from welfare reform are documented at:
 http://calumslist.org/

[3] Figures release under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that between January and November 2011, 2200 people died while waiting to be assessed for ESA (Employment Support Allowance), while 1300 people died after being assigned to the WRAG (Work-Related Activity Group), which indicates that the authorities believe they may be able to undertake some work with support. The DWP claims to have no statistics on the number of people who die after being judged “fit for work”.
 http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2012/incap_decd_recips_0712.pdf

[4] Around 424000 people are currently waiting to be assessed:
 http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/11/esa-appeals-increase-by-40-what-the-newspapers-wont-print/

[5] The mental health charity Mind reported “seeing extremely unwell people, who have only recently been discharged from psychiatric services, being found fit for work”. The charity’s branch in Oxford has supported more than 100 people through the appeals process over the past year, 90% of whom have seen the decision that they were fit for work overturned.
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/apr/10/charity-chief-quits-over-fit-for-work-test?CMP=EMCSOCEML657

[6] More than 70 first-hand accounts of the ESA process are included in The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment, a comprehensive analysis of this system and the policy objectives which fuel it:
 http://wearespartacus.org.uk/wca-peoples-review/

anonymous

Posted from indymedia.org.uk

forcemajeure007

My husband and I were watching BBC Parliament when they were discussing people with learning disabilities that live in care homes and the abuse that they were receiving at the hands of the ‘carers’ but that the care homes were monitored, obviously not closely enough (or they knew and turned a blind eye, because people with learning disabilities are unable to make a complaint themselves and even if they do they are not listened to.) Or BBC’s Panorama wouldn’t have had to go undercover at Winterbourne House to reveal the truth.

Then in the next sentence the MP’s said that they wanted these people to go out and work.

These people are obviously not able to live fully independently, then how could they possibly work, and when they are being abused in the ‘care’ homes, what is there to stop them from being abused at work, disabled people are scared…

View original post 1,158 more words

Please help DPAC and Mr Samuel Miller, fight for our justice, by reading and replying to his plea on the following link;http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/11/death…d-for-justice/

“I want to appeal for anyone who has lost a loved one because of the DWP/Atos work capability assessment system to get in touch with Mr Miller. He needs to know the verdict that was reached at the inquests into their deaths.
His email address is disabilityinliterature@gmail.com

Many Thanx
FM

More than a thousand sickness benefit claimants died last year after being told to get a job, we can reveal. We’ve highlighted worries about the controversial medical tests for people claiming Employment Support Allowance which are being used to slash the country’s welfare bill. The Government has boasted that more than half of new claimants are found “fit to work” – failing to mention that over 300,000 have appealed the decision and almost 40% have won.
We’ve used the Freedom of Information Act to discover that, between January and August last year, 1,100 claimants died after they were put in the “work-related activity group”. This group – which accounted for 21% of all claimants at the last count – get a lower rate of benefit for one year and are expected to go out and find work.
This compares to 5,300 deaths of people who were put in the “support group” -which accounts for 22% of claimants – for the most unwell, who get the full, no-strings benefit of up to £99.85 a week. We don’t know how many people died after being found “fit to work”, the third group, as that information was “not available”.
We have also found that 1,600 people died before their assessment had been completed.
But there are plenty of tragic cases – such as that of David Groves who died from a heart attack the night before taking his work capability assessment. The 56year-old from Staveley, Derbyshire, worked for 40 years as a miner and telecoms engineer but stopped on doctors’ orders after an earlier heart attack and a string of strokes. His widow Sandra said: “When Dave was called in for a medical, he felt like he was back to square one. “He wasin a terrible state by the day he died. It was the stress that killed him, I’m sure.” Stephen Hill, 53, of Duckmanton, Derbyshire, died of a heart attack in December, one month being told he was “fit to work”, even though he was waiting for major heart surgery.
Citizens Advice told us it has found “a number of cases” of people dying soon after being found fit for work. “There seems to be a clear link between the cause of death and the condition they were suffering from that led to the claim,” said Katie Lane, head of welfare policy.
WCA Outcome at most recent assessment and number of claimants with a recorded date of death
Assessment not complete 1,600
Work Related Activity Group 1,100
Support Group 5,300 Total 8,000
All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100. Data on the number of ESA claimants that have died following a fit for work decision is not available, as the Department does not hold information on a death if the person has already left benefit. The Department does not hold information on the number of claimants who died whilst an appeal was in progress.
We then asked for:
Clarification on whether these figures are only new ESA claims or whether they include the transfer from Incapacity Benefit?
We were told: These figures only cover new ESA claims – claims from IB recipients are not included.However, there are more figures on the outcome of Work Capability Assessments on the DWP website.

My opinion is:….Therefore, the work capability test is akin to a ‘cull”, of the weak and the most vulnerable members of our society. If there are many more deaths in the years to come it will be more like genocide of disabled and unhealthy people. Isn’t that what Hitler did to the Jews?

You can read the full article here at http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigat…ailing-in.html

The WCA is psychological abuse designed to break down the already vulnerable disabled and unwell people of the UK.

Aren’t ATOS the governments mercenaries of psychological warfare?

It might be old news, but this holocaust is still happening !!! But the government are doing it legally…apparently!

I have come across the following debate ( Public Accounts Committee taking evidence on ATOS Medical Services) which was held on Monday 19/11/12 . Please see the following links:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/…00/9770606.stm

Or for a transcript; here:

http://www.publications.parliament.u…-i/uc74401.htm

Very interesting viewing/reading!

P.S. Who the heck does Robert Devereaux think he is??? The way that he speaks to Margaret Hodge ‘chair’ is astonishing, I think he has a narcissistic God complex!!!

After having just finished watching the Public Accounts Committee, if the MP’s couldn’t get a straight and honest answer out of Mr Devereux what chance has any disabled person got of taking on this system and their Doctor Bill Gunnyeon.

The government are at fault in the first place by giving the contract to ATOS, aren’t they?

The chair was saying that the appeals were overturned using the same medical facts, as had been used when they were refused benefits regarding their disability.

Robert Devereux ” In about a third of all cases, the judges are saying, from their drop-down menu, that they reached a different conclusion on substantially the same facts. So in one third of all the appeals on which they are reaching a different view, they are saying, “We have reached a different view on the same facts.”

In around 60% of the cases, they are saying that they reached a different view based on oral evidence presented at the hearing. You will recall that these hearings are, regrettably at the moment, a long time after the event, and whether the condition of the person at the appeal is the same as it was at the test is something we do not know. But then, last of all-this comes back to the question you asked me-when the medical assessment relied on by the decision maker from Atos contained a significant error-

Q74 Chair: And that was in what proportion?

Robert Devereux: Less than 1%. I am thinking: here is a piece of evidence-all right, it is only one piece of evidence-and, as I said, this is the primary reason they are adducing-

Q75 Fiona Mactaggart: But you said that 30% came to a different conclusion on the same evidence, which means not necessarily that the evidence they have received is wrong, but that the judgment of the Atos assessor has been wrong.

Robert Devereux: Except that the judgments are made by my staff, on the basis of the Atos assessment. Decisions in this Department are made by decision makers.

Q76 Chair: So your staff are incompetent, are they, in a third of cases? You are taking the blame rather than Atos. Is that it?

Robert Devereux: I am not saying that, but we have to be really clear about this, because this was precisely the reason I asked about who was going to appear. The thing that we are looking at is a process based on law and decision makers in my Department, with the contracted-out tests designed by my doctor. I am really keen to be very precise about what evidence there is about what Atos is doing, what the Department is doing, and what the failings in the process are.”

There is so much more that was discussed at the above posted meeting, you really need to see for yourself!

Our opinion:

That 30% should never have lost their benefits in the first place, and some don’t even fight decisions due to their cognitive impairments and other disabilities or learning difficulties.

All of those who created the WCA should take the blame for the lives that they have wrecked.

It is also mentioned that medical evidence should be handed over at the very start of the process, but I have heard many, many accounts of people taking their medical evidence to their ATOS assessment, and the health care professional (as they call them) put the medical evidence to one side and do not even look at it. These ‘health care professionals’ are undermining and overruling the medical opinions of all of our Consultants, Oncologists, Specialists, Neuro-psychiatrists, G.P.’s and psychiatrists.

Please feel free to copy and paste this or any of my posts to spread the word to other support sites..