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Everything posted by loan_ranger

  1. Bad hyperlink, I'll try again. http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcosts/Pages/nhs-low-income-scheme.aspx
  2. I read somewhere else that you can request to be switched to ESA(IR) but they will only do this reluctantly and discourage you from doing so. WARNING, ESA(IR) is a "means tested" benefit so they will take into account your partner's income which they will deem as sufficient for you both to live on and your ESA payments will cease (although your National Insurance contributions will continue to be paid for). If it's help with healthcare costs and free prescriptions you're interested in, you may be entitled to some help if you and your partner's joint disposable income falls below the threshold amount, in this case you can be issued with a HC2 certificate under the NHS Low Income Scheme
  3. Old news but thanks anyway, I have no illusions regarding this unapologetic expenses scrounging Tory attack dog's complete lack of integrity. I know he's lower than a snake's belly, nonetheless I couldn't let slip the chance to see him wriggle and slither like a specimen of the suborder of reptile he epitomises. He (when he was Shadow Home Secretary) already had some "form" when it comes to misusing inapplicable statistics to mislead the public and was publicly rebuked by Sir Michael Scholar, chairman of the UK Statistics Authority. If it hadn't been for the 'rethink' forum guidelines (re. courtesy) I would have added the quip, "Mr. Grayling needs to relearn a scholarly lesson". Chris Grayling use of crime statistics 'mislead' public
  4. I expect that he'll do the typical politician obfuscation thing + ignoring the toughest questions + repeating from the DWP doublespeak hymn sheet (the one wherein sanctions are called "support" and workfare is called "back-to-work help"). For what it's worth, I've added my questions and added my 2 cents worth, I expect I'll be ignored but I can still send it to him at Parliament and subsequently complain to No. 10 if I don't get a reply. After that lot fails I can try getting the Green Party M.P. to ask him my question in Parliament, and failing that I'll explore complaining to the European Court of Human Rights that our government is inciting anti-disabled prejudice. Here's what I posted: Mr. Grayling, every three months there is a DWP Press Release announcing the latest released WCA statistics in which each time (since July 2010) you and the DWP (acting under your guidance) have been making statements which create a narrative maligning 75% of ESA and IB claimants including the long-term ill and disabled as malingerers. By lumping in "Claims closed before assessment complete" with "Fit for Work" [1] [2] [3] these press releases are selectively using statistics in a misleading way and encouraging anti-disabled prejudice and scapegoat making tabloid bile [4 (i-iii)] which causes us distress, and even greater suffering to those of us with mental health disorders. Furthermore, the fact that the press releases omit to clarify the full meaning of "Claim closed before assessment complete" leaves an open door for more scurrilous reporting (e.g. Macer Hall in the Daily Express 26/01/2011 [4 (i)] - "...36 per cent simply abandoned their claims as soon as they were told to undergo new work capability assessments introduced to weed out scroungers") [5] Please could you answer the following questions without using the frequently trotted out "help" and "support" monologues, they have no relevance to my questions. Neither do I wish to hear, "take it to the Press Complaints Commission", I've done it before and it's a waste of time - self regulatory bodies are self-serving and the PCC ranks among the worst of them. Question 1. Would you agree with me that conjoining the "Claims closed before assessment complete" cohort with the "Fit for Work" cohort within the same sentence (by using the word "or" in the examples [1] to [3] provided) is misleading and should cease, i.e. clearly separate sentences or paragraphs will be used in future DWP ESA stats announcement press releases. Question 2. Would you agree with me that a footnote should be added to future DWP ESA stats announcement press releases. (See example below [5]) __________________________________________________________________________________________ Footnotes: [1] http://www.dwp.gov.u...http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2010/july-2010/dwp095-10-270710.shtml Quote The latest statistics for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) applications show that three-quarters of applicants are being found fit for work or are stopping their claim before their assessment period has been completed. Minister for Employment, Chris Grayling said: "The vast majority of people who are applying for these benefits are being found fit for work or have stopped their claim. These are people who under the old system would have been abandoned on incapacity benefits. It's a clear indication of why reform is so urgently needed. "This is exactly why we are going to reassess everyone claiming incapacity benefits for their ability to work, from this October. They will now be given the support they need to get back to work and will be expected to look for work if they are able to do so." [2] http://www.dwp.gov.u...http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2010/oct-2010/dwp141-10-261010.shtml Quote 26 October 2010 – Grayling: latest figures show the vast majority of people being found fit for work Three-quarters of people applying for the new Employment and Support Allowance programme (ESA) are being found fit for work after undergoing the Work Capability Assessment or stop their claim before they complete their medical assessment, according to official statistics published today. [3] http://www.dwp.gov.u...http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2011/jan-2011/dwp008-11.shtml Quote 25 January 2011 – Majority of people found fit for work as Government presses ahead with reforms The vast majority of people who apply for Employment and Support Allowance are either being found fit for work after undergoing a Work Capability Assessment or stop their claim before they complete their medical assessment. The official statistics, published today, demonstrate why Ministers are determined to reform the welfare system and press ahead with the reassessment of those on the old style incapacity benefit (IB), which began in Burnley and Aberdeen last year and will roll out across the country later this year. Employment Minister Chris Grayling: "It’s unacceptable that so many people have been written off to a lifetime on benefits and these figures show just how vital it is that everyone who has the potential to work receives the right help and support. "We are determined to get the medical assessment right and provide the necessary help for those that need it, however these figures show just how many people are found to be fit for work and not entitled to ESA. [4] (i) http://www.dailyexpr...http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/225311 Headline: "75% ON SICK ARE SKIVING" (Wednesday January 26,2011 By Macer Hall) Quote "Officials who carried out fitness tests on people claiming incapacity-related benefits found that 39 per cent were well enough to get a job. And a further 36 per cent simply abandoned their claims as soon as they were told to undergo new work capability assessments introduced to weed out scroungers." (ii) http://www.dailymail...http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1324035/75-incapacity-claimants-fit-work-Benefits-test-weeds-workshy.html (27th October 2010) Quote "Three-quarters of people who applied for new benefits for the long-term sick failed tests to prove they were too ill to work." (iii) http://www.dailymail...http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1298192/76-say-theyre-sick-work.html (28th July 2010) Quote "Three-quarters of those claiming to be too sick to work are fit and able to look for a job, figures reveal." [5] (My example of an additional explanatory footnote for future ESA stats press releases) The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) does not take place before the 13th week of the Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claim, by which time claimants with shorter duration health conditions will have recovered and returned to either employment or Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) voluntarily. A significant proportion of claimants with shorter duration health conditions may never need to attend a WCA, for example: 1. JSA claimants, they are required to transfer their claim from JSA to ESA after their second week of (un)"well notes" from their Doctor. 2. The self-employed, they can claim ESA immediately after a few 'waiting days' it they provide (un)"well notes" from their Doctor . 3. Employees whose employers don't administer Statutory Sick Pay, they too can claim ESA immediately after a few 'waiting days' it they provide (un)"well notes" from their Doctor. If someone in one of these groups (above) gets ill or is injured (e.g pneumonia or a fracture etc.) and subsequently recovers before 13 weeks (which typically they will), and then returns to work or JSA of their own accord before the WCA is due, they are recorded by the DWP as having stopped their claim before they complete their medical assessment. This does not mean that they have "abandoned their claims as soon as they were told to undergo new work capability assessments introduced to weed out scroungers", and newspapers should avoid making statements to this effect.
  5. I think this could be fun!! From: http://yesministerltd.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/rethinks-opportunity-to-speak-with-chris-grayling/ Thursday 10 February sees your chance to grill a Government Minister about welfare reform Many people affected by mental health issues are worried about the Government’s proposed changes to the welfare system. The benefits that millions currently receive are to be radically overhauled over the next few years. But thanks to the amazing work of Rethink campaigners, anyone concerned about these changes now has the chance to hold Chris Grayling MP, Minister for Employment at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), to account. On 10 February at approximately 11.30am, Rethink will be hosting a live web chat with the Minister, and anyone can join in. This is your chance to ask the question that you feel hasn’t been answered. Post your question in advance, right now, by visiting the Rethink website at http://www.rethink.org/talk/topic/1444-ask-the-minister/
  6. Hi Kicking Us Off ESA, further to my previous post, I thought that this video may be informative: I'll be back on CAG asap but my current focus is upon defying this un-elected excuse for a government re. benefits "reforms" and cuts which affect us. There's a good and competent team shaping up where I am now supporting. Re. ESA/Atos, Kaliya has done a vid: 75% of Incapacity Benefit Claimants are NOT being found fit for work
  7. All of the following sites, amongst their interests and activities, are intent on fighting ESA/Atos by campaigning and protesting: There's the militant no-to-welfare-abolition group opposing the government reforms and cuts in welfare, it combines many existing UK groups into a unified front. You have to sign up to this Google Group and after a few days you'll start receiving news about campaigns and demos via email: http://groups.google.com/group/no-to-welfare-abolition?hl=en The Broken of Britain web-site (a word play of Cameron & Co's "Broken Britain") was set up following a "call to fight" type article entitled "A fight on their hands" written by Rhydian Fon James in the Guardian (21 October 2010). He was contacted by (amongst others) disabled rights campaigner Kaliya Franklin and they (with help from others) created the fully functional website on the 24 October and have 177 signed up members already. Watch Kaliya's videos on YouTube, she's no pushover and has media connections and clout (as does Rhydian). More articles in the Guardian written by Rhydian here. There's another website worth following but unfortunately their billboard host slips an advert in at the bottom of each page and CAG rules about "commercials" might be broken if I posted the link. No problem if you join the "no-to-welfare-abolition group"because you'll find out about "CW" when the emailed news starts arriving in your inbox. Best regards, Paul.
  8. These links are to the DWP advice: 'Permitted Work' - working while claiming Incapacity Benefit Permitted Work' - working while claiming Employment and Support Allowance
  9. OOPS! Sorry, I seem to have strayed
  10. I've only seen the suggestion on issuing vouchers being proposed by some of the bigotted morons commenting on the Daily Heil on-line. I'm addicted to nicotine and take great offense that the morons wish to deprive me of my only remaining vice on the grounds that those who can afford to smoke are receiving too much in benefits. I agree that the £15 a week I spend on rolling 'baccy is a lot, however considering that around 12 out of the 15 £s is excise and VAT going back to the government this makes the cost to the taxpayer of subsidising my "habit" fairly insignificant.
  11. The forum board up-graded software really sucks! Flexible New Deal (see: an account of a real person's experience of a New Deal boot camp), the replacement schemes under the con/dems "work programme" and the possibility of doing "work for your benefits" could occupy you for 30-40 hours mon-fri, apart from that I believe that there are JSA rules whereby a claimant becomes ineligible if they are attending college. Part of the JS Agreement is "being available for work", going to college is incompatible - sorry, but by their rules it might be bye bye benefits! While I was writing this MikeyD has come up with something more useful (above). Regards "which course", talk to the OU and try to talk to an admissions adviser, explain your new situation and have your options reconsidered, perhaps a B.sc.(hons) psychology, social sciences or nursing may be appropriate to your chosen career path.
  12. Thanks for your comment. Over the past year I've seen many ppl on the forums setting up yet another web site or FB group (i.e. splintering) when what is really needed is consolidation and a figurehead who has media clout and contacts, I was forlornly hoping for someone famous to come along who could raise our media profile (e.g. like "comely" Ms. Lumley did for the Gurkhas), I think Rhydian might be the one. I was pleased to note the very many commentators after the article who were offering to come along to street protests, for this is what is needed - we cannot allow ourselves to be simply "brushed under the carpet", which is what has been happening so far for decades with the charities who purport to represent us (e.g. Mind and Disability Alliance "consultations" with HMG regards welfare reform and the introduction of ESA) being in the government's pocket in order to protect their state grants and their own jobs. HMG used these "consultations" to provide a veneer of respectability (i.e. a pretence of "fairness") to some of the most iniquitous laws since the poll tax. We have had our backs pushed against the wall and with the June Spending Review and this month's CSR this has become much worse and blatantly obvious to those affected by the cuts that the con/dems are waging ideologial war against the sick and disabled, therefore it's time we followed the example of the French in order to get the message home to those who are ("by the grace of god") as yet unaffected and tell them that they may one day need some state help and the safety net won't be there for them because their silence allowed this to happen.
  13. This is what I thought but didn't dare to say, the move to JSA means that you'll be obliged by the rules to leave college or lose your benefits. There may be a way around this e.g. the Open University. About 10 years ago I got accepted by the OU and the course fees were covered by a bursary award from them because I was on a qualifying benefit.
  14. The CSR may well turn out to be "the last straw" catalyst and have the effect of spurring into mass action under a single united banner all the many interested separate groups and sites for the ill, the disabled and their carers. In Thursday's guardian Rhydian James (who is a frequently published feature writer supporting our rights in the guardian and himself disabled) wrote a call to action type article which I recommend. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/21/disability-welfare-cuts-impact Building on the massive response to his article yesterday Rhydian has decided to launch a Disability Rights group - a sort of sister group to carerwatch for disabled people. What do you lot think? I think it's a great idea. Rhydian already writes great articles and if they can get some talking heads for radio and television then at long last disabled people might get some real representation instead of those feeble wet charities who always seem to be on the government side.
  15. duplication of the post above due to buggy forum software (hanging) failing to confirm successful post.
  16. Hi chedworth98, your smi will continue but you'll have to inform them of your change in circumstances i.e. being moved from I.S. for lone parents onto JSA. I think that there is bad news on this because you'll have to sign the "jobseeker's agreement" and this requires you to be available for work, furthermore, after a period on JSA they can oblige you to participate in some sort of "work programme" which may clash with your college attendance.
  17. My multi-millionaire former landlord (private sector) will be so pleased to see that his winter fuel allowance hasn't been scrapped. What with the 2-3 foreign holidays he takes every year the extra spending money will really help. "We're all in this together" - my foot!
  18. Well said Fuzzgin. I'm reminded here of other somewhat indefinable and therefore "woolly" words and phrases that advertisers and spin doctors constantly use. E.g. "common sense" (whatever the person who says it thinks is best - there is no real consensus) The usage of such words and phrases seems to me like the verbalised equivalent of the loo roll puppy being used to make our minds associate the advertised product with feelings of warmth, cosiness and comfort etc. whereas what they're really selling is a sh1twipe. In many ways rather like the spending review!
  19. Carer Watch has received this.... they will be airing at 6pm TONIGHT so please contact Tom if you want to have your say. ************************************************* I would love to hear from anyone who is claiming the Employment Support Allowance ESA -- especially anyone who fancies being interviewed from Tom Symonds BBC UK Affairs Correspondent [email="[email protected]"][email protected][/email] tom.simmons + bbc email suffix (in case the cagbot stikes out the full email).
  20. Here's a few on-line benefits calculators. http://loanranger.no-ip.org/penury/index.php/web-links/47-benefits-calculators.html
  21. Re. IB/ESA abroad, the best person to ask is cloe who lives in Spain if we want to get a handle on the practicalities. She has some seriously high powered lawyers on-board and has been (by her advocates) advised to keep quiet (to prevent prejudice undermining the judicial process) Her I.B. was refused but is probably going to be restored, so I.B. looks safe, ESA is still an unknown. Maybe you'll have to apply for the French version out of work sickness/disability benefit?
  22. Hi duxbury, your case is a perfect example of how the short sightedness of the cuts will actually cost more. Bernie259 and I are following this via a new thread, please post there because this is a bigger issue than first thought, have a look at my comment re. ECHR intervention to overturn this stupid new cut in mortgage interest benefit. Main thread: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?279895-interest-payments-reduced-by-dwp-can-the-action-group-assist-with-mass-complaint-to-the-goverment%283-Viewing%29-nbsp
  23. I'm glad to see this raised as an issue, the con/dems shortsighted policy can only lead to increasing the costs taken up by other agencies i.e. councils, social services and the NHS. Where's the sense in making someone unable to afford their adapted home and force them to move and have the council etc. pay again to adapt their new home? Under the European Convention on Human Rights it impinges on government to carry out an impact assessment re. the disabled and to ensure that changes in the law do not deprive the disabled of the income required to maintain their survival. HMG has failed on both of these conditions and need to be brought to justice. P.S. Can we keep this one as the main thread whilst the mods (bless them) merge the two.
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