Limbless Teen Told He Must Prove Disability

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Kromovaracun | 11:34 Sat 24th Feb 2018 | News
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Edward Bright lost his limbs as a child as a result of meningitis. Upon applying for disability benefit, he was told that he would have to prove his disability to 'assessors' - a requirement which the DWP only withdrew after public pressure.

Lest you think this kind of thing is an isolated case - assessors have previously been instructed by the DWP that they are supposed to discriminate against people whose mobility is limited by mental illness:

According to a recent FOI request, these assessments (most of which are carried out by the company Maximus) are estimated to have cost about £100 million in the last year, and significantly, those who appeal their assessments are overwhelmingly likely to win:

Is this really a sensible way to run the benefits system? Or are these assessments just a cynical method of trying to deny money to the disabled in the name of "making savings"?


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Common sense is an almost extinct quality in any government system.
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I wonder if this is actually a lack of common sense, though, Zacs, or if the system has deliberately been repurposed to give out less money.
Absolutely appalling.
What a horrible thought Kromo. I prefer to (perhaps naively) think that the sort of people who end up getting jobs in the DWP (or possibly any government department) didn’t pick them as a career choice and are therefore, by default, not exactly enthralled with making the system work.
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It isn't just a problem with the people on the ground, though - who are either bureaucrats or often (in the case of assessors) the employees of private companies like Maximus whose bottom line is profit and not customer care. It's a matter of policy from the top down. Look at the guidance received by assessors from the DWP about mental health. Look at the constant whistleblowing by brave insiders about the deliberate cruelty in the 'sanctions' regime introduced by IDS. Consider how widespread the problem is - the vast majority of people who appeal their assessments win. It just isn't plausible that decisions like this are coming from a few silly jobsworths on the ground, it is a question of intentional policymaking.
Well I chose to work in a Government department and have seen all sorts of scams and ways of getting money off the government. So these 'schemes' are put in place to ensure that the money goes to those that need it.
Yes there are errors at times and people object to jumping through hoops but would you prefer that money was just given out to anyone?
I have been assessed as fit for work on 3 occasions, have appealed on 3 occasions, all in vain. However, i have been to 3 tribunals where a 'proper' doctor and a judge have ruled in my favour on each occasion. It doesn't take a degree in rocket science to deduce that the assessors are encouraged to pass almost all claimants as 'fit for work' in the hope that all will not ask for a reassessment - which is a waste of time, imho, as nearly all are in agreement with the original decision. It is then the claimant's responsibility to organise a tribunal and i'm sure that this puts quite a lot of people off from pursuing their claims. My advice to anyone who believes themselves to be unfit for work is to persevere and rely on the independence of the tribunal.
The whole benefit system, not just disability benefit, is now run on the basis of detering people to claim.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine on JobSeekers approached me for a small loan. I was reluctant to do a loan, but I did have a couple of days work I could give them, for which I paid them.
To cut a long story short, that resulted in their jobseekers claim being terminated, and they had to re-apply, attend an interview, got seven letters, lost a weeks benefit, and were fked about for a fortnight. I ended up having to loan them money anyway, until the mess was sorted out.

If I’d paid them cash in hand, and they hadn’t have declared their earnings then it would have been much better for everyone. Instead, being honest made them worse off.
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//It is then the claimant's responsibility to organise a tribunal and i'm sure that this puts quite a lot of people off from pursuing their claims.//

Especially those with mental health problems. I'm not entirely sure it is a coincidence that such a people (i.e. less likely to persevere) have been targeted.

//None of the contractors, Atos, Capita and Maximus, which assess disability, have ever hit their quality performance target, despite a “low bar” being set by the Department for Work and Pensions, according to the report by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee.//

Why, then, do they continue to use them? The most reasonable explanation is that hitting the quality performance target is not actually very important to the DWP - reducing spending is.
The problem is there are so many dishonest claimants that these systems need to be in place
I agree with the post of Islay....and what is the big deal that Edward had to prove his disability.
A taxi up to the Medical Appeal Tribunal, a chat with the doctors, a smile as they realise the situation, home by taxi and "Bob's you uncle."

Remember Tommy Smith...Liverpool "hard man" who was on DLA (top whack) and infront of millions of TV viewers ran 40 yards, smacked in a penalty and ran another 40 yards back?

Islay is correct.
I am so glad that I am now retired and my income is secure. I really feel for those whose livelihoods are threatened. This was never the intention when social security first came in.
Agree with Islay and Sqad. Just go prove your case and end of matter.
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I don't doubt it, Islay. But which is a worse problem? A seriously disabled person deprived of the money they need to survive? Or someone who manages to trick the system for a while into giving them money they shouldn't have?

Bear in mind that fraudulent benefit claims - while seriously undesirable and of course a genuine problem - are simply not all that significant according to any serious study. Certainly it is nowhere near as high as the public think it is.
Best answers to Islay @ 10:53 and 11:01
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//I agree with the post of Islay....and what is the big deal that Edward had to prove his disability. //

He hasn't got any limbs. Going anywhere is a pain. It also uses up time and money, as the government insists on contracting out disability assessment services - to companies that "accidentally" get it wrong so often that we have to spend hundreds of millions on correcting their mistakes.
My friend went to their fortnightly signing on and told their JSA advisor they had worked a couple of days, expecting to just be docked some money. Instead, their claim was terminated on the spot. They had to re-apply, they were called by an assessor, they had to attend an interview and the system had to be set up again. Definitely a waste of DWP employees time, and a huge inconvenience for the claimant, just for working a few hours.
//Definitely a waste of DWP employees time, and a huge inconvenience for the claimant, just for working a few hours. //

So was this person disabled? They seemed to have managed some work so the question has to be asked why cant you work more?

Seems reasonable to me to re assess.
Kromo...yes! yes! but those figures are for fraudulent cases that have been many are getting benefits fraudulently and haven't been caught?

I wouldn't trust any figures that came out of Governmental bodies...just me ;-)
//He hasn't got any limbs. Going anywhere is a pain//

Granted but no one is asking for it to be done daily. I would have thought a day getting out of the house would be welcome even if it was to the benefit office.

// A seriously disabled person deprived of the money they need to survive?//

That is not true though is it.

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