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If this report is true....


woolybanana

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why have the numbers being denied their benefit not been reflected in the unemployment figures, or perhaps they have, and the actual number of people losing their jobs is lower?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1220211/Just-incapacity-benefit-claimants-genuine-tough-new-test-reveals-TWO-MILLION-cheating.html

(yes it is the Mail, but is a slow news day!!)

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I agree entirely but if you know you're a genuine claimant it's just a matter of waiting for your assessment.

In 1995 John Major's Government tried to separate the "bad backs" from genuine claimants but where you have a system that automatically moved people from sickness benefit to incapacity benefit just because your illness had last more than 28(?) weeks then you were always going to see an explosion in claimant numbers. There are also other cultural reasons why the UK became a benefits society.

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I can't quite put my finger on the reason why but I feel uncomfortable about this.

Don't get me wrong I totally agree with weeding out those that abuse the system be they an MP or 'Joe public'. I think that what it is that causes me concern is that with the current state of the UK's balance sheet the government (and the Tories who hope to become the next government) are looking at ways to save money and they are not to worried about who they will hurt in the process. Just in the same way MP's have abused the system either legally or morally there are those that have done the same with incapacity benefit. Likewise there are a lot of honest people out there who have no choice and do have just cause to be placed on the register and receive benefits.

I think I would like these 'boards' that determine if a person is fit enough to work to not only have nurses and doctors but also lay members, perhaps those that have proven disabilities themselves who know first hand what having a particular disability is really like. After all a disability does not have to be a physical thing like a lost leg, hand or whatever.

What I don't want to see is a witch hunt and thats the greatest of dangers and could be the direction in which this could go. Perhaps with news reports both in the press and on the TV of people who have abused the system it is seen by the government as an ideal opportunity to tighten up on the whole thing with the public's blessing.

I did find it interesting that so many who received invitations to be reassessed decided to drop their claims. Perhaps the issuing of such invitations is in its self sufficient to reduce the amount of those cheating if you catch my drift. I also think that considering the stance and reluctance of those MP's who have been asked to pay back expenses, that going down this route is also a bit like "do as your told and not as I do", in short double standards.

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From what I am reading in various papers,the assessments are now done by private agencies who receive a bonus for each person found not to be unable to work.Therefore the obvious arises,it is of no benefit to these private agencies to pass all as unable to work.

Whilst I'm sure we all know of several who duck and dive in various ways and don't condone it but at the same time don't report them,I liken it to the Councils approach to the Household Rubbish problem. They would sooner build another pyramid of Council Inspectors with offices/transport/health cover/pension schemes etc, than spend the money providing a decent disposal service. Basically it saves the Government upsetting the major stores, read major party fund contributors,by charging them at source for all the un-needed wrapping.

Why all of a sudden do people have to drink out of cardboard cups when going to work?
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I seem to recall that for many years, during the Conservative years and thereafter, there appeared to be a tacit policy of putting people who had been made redundant and who were unlikely in the economic circumstances to get a job (especially over 50s) on to incapacity benefit (or its then-equivalent) as a way of keeping them off the official unemployment figures.

regards

Pickles

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Take the example of my OH, made redundant recently (not really redundant just a cost cutting exercise barely inside the employment laws)

Has not gone to claim any benefits as would only be able to claim job seekers allowance and really does not want to answer a whole load of irrelevant questions and fill out a pile of forms and attend several interviews to be told after all that she is only entitled to job seekers allowance (no kidding Sherlock, who pays for all that wasted time and energy?)

The staff at the government agencies should take it turn to be fired and go through the same process to gain benefits of any kind then we may get a change in the way it is done. You feel pretty low when you are out of work without further being degraded by the staff at the job centres.

So the stats are wrong as others do not register for the same reason.

There are habitual claimants who have no self respect (Jeremy Kyle customers) and they know every stroke to pull. They are not regular people they are sub class as the papers refer to them.

Post moderated by me to save someone some work [;-)]

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[quote user="Théière"]

You feel pretty low when you are out of work without further being degraded by the staff at the job centres.[/quote]

I'm unsure as to whether you speak from personal experience or from your perception of what your OH might have felt at a Job Centre.

If the former, then fine.  That was your experience.

If the latter, then it's a subjective observation and unfair.

My experience (admittedly more than a few years ago) was that I was treated with respect and with a genuine desire to help. This from a group of people who were clearly hard-pressed and who were truly 'up against it'.  Just my personal view, but an objective one.

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From exactly how my OH felt from her recent visit, subjective no, a generalisation possibly, as different areas have different staff, based on her visits to a south London job centre and the shear arrogance of the staff. The situation could quite easily be caused by them having to fill out endless forms in order to arrive at the obvious as stated in my previous post

To add some balance your visit "more than a few years ago" is an outdated observation, a few years ago many people were treated with respect in many situations.

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[quote user="Benjamin"]I agree entirely but if you know you're a genuine claimant it's just a matter of waiting for your assessment.

[/quote]

Not necessarily so straightforward Benjamen.  My mum applied for disability benefit when she was 59.  At the time she applied she had breast cancer, severe heart disease (she was waiting for a triple bypass and an aortic valve replacement) and advanced arthritis in her spine (collapse of three vertebrae) and both hips.  The latter was inoperable due to deformities from childhood rickets (she was one of the war babies who didn't benefit from rationing!). She had worked her entire life - despite having four children and had never claimed any benefits before.  The assessing doctor insisted that she walk upstairs despite both my parents advising him she had been told by her own doctors that she was absolutely not allowed to do this. (Her assessment was done at home where she had, and still has, a chairlift installed for this reason.)  My mother is one of the generation who trusts all doctors and will try and oblige all their requests.  She always plays down her problems.  The assessment triggered another heart attack and, within hours of the doctor's visit, she had a blue light ambulance to the cardiac ward where she spent the next few days.  Her application was turned down.

My mother found the experience so traumatic and humiliating she has refused to consider ever claiming benefits again.  At one point they were living on less than £50 a week because my father had to give up work to care for her.  She said she would rather starve than go through the process again.

The system tries to weed out rogue claimants by incentivising the benefit assessors (I refuse to give them the dignity of calling them doctors) by awarding bonuses for each claim turned down.  They assume if you are really sick you will appeal.  Rather than ensuring that benefits are awarded to the most needy, this process ensures benefits are awarded to the most persistent / hard faced.  IMO benefit claims should be assessed by an independent doctor (i.e. no bonuses for removing claimants!) who should be required to take into account evidence from the claimants own doctors / consultants.  At the moment there is no requirement for the assessing doctor to seek a report from the claimants own medical team (this evidence is often only seen on appeal / tribunal).  Further, the assessing panel should include a disabled person with the same / similar condition.  There should be strict penalties on doctors or other health professionals who provide false or misleading information.  It has always struck me as bizarre that the benefit agency's 'cited' rationale for using an agency 'doctor' and not seeking medical reports is that 'it is not the medical condition per se that gives entitlement to benefits but how the condition impacts on the life of the claimant'.  Firstly this creates a dramatist's charter: the blacker you paint the picture, the louder you moan, the more you limp / wince the greater the chance of a successful claim - regardless of the medical evidence (or lack of it).  The truly disabled stoic (like my mother) is on a hiding to nothing.  Secondly, if this is the case, why is the claimant not assessed by an occupational therapist rather than the 'doctor'?  That is an OT's job surely?

The other major flaw in the system is that it assumes a black and white scenario - you are either sick or you are well.  There is no halfway house.  Many of those on here who have a disability (or know someone close to them with a disability) will know that it isn't so simple.  Depending on your condition you may have good days and bad, or you can work for part of a day but then need to rest, or that occassionally you will have nights where you can't sleep for pain so you may not be able to work the next day, or you can sit for so long but then need to move...the list goes on.  I would also add that most disabled people I know would love to do some work  It gives structure to your day, it is a distraction (it's amazing how slowly times goes when you are in pain and all you have to focus on is the pain), it gives you a social network, (some) financial independence and dignity.  But for many there is no choice because you have to be on one side of the line or the other.  Even if you felt you could work how many part-time flexible jobs are there for the disabled?  How much better if the Government could fund initiatives for companies to offer such employment - particularly with all today's technology that would allow more home working etc?  Further, the process of applying for the benefits is so onerous and convoluted that, even if a job was offered to them, many disabled are frightened of taking the risk of moving off benefits in case they find the job is too much for them and they are left with no income while their claim is assessed.  Indeed, many of those who try to work and then find they can't, find their benefits cut when they return to claiming disability.

IMHO there are far, far too many benefit cheats who need to be identified (but who will, in any case, probably just move to job seekers allowance or similar!) but the proposed approach isn't going to help the genuinely disabled.

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Scooby I am sorry for the obvious distress this has caused your parents and the rest of the family, I do know what its like. Its a typical example of how the system lets down those that need it the most whilst lets those who don't get away with it. It is yet another example of the government attacking the most vulnerable in society, its disgusting.

My father took two years to die. When he was sort of mobile he went for an assessment and was turned down. Ironically however my mother was given Attendance Allowance to look after him. I still have never worked that out. My mother could not really cope and my father would have respite care every three weeks to give my mother a break. Because, like many of his generation, he had saved they had to pay for the respite care. I am sure that the stress of all this was a major contribution to my mother's early death by heart attack.

That is another thing that these people don't seem to understand about the spouse of people who are incapacitate is the enormous stress it places upon them. More often the spouse have know knowledge or training on how to look after them and they are simply left to their own devices with little or no support.

I wonder if the money they save by sorting out the system will be made available to those who have genuine problems, silly question I suspect.

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Likewise Quillan.  It's the sort of thing that can make you very angry if you allow yourself to think about it too much.  I used to work with a national charity supporting people with a serious (incurable) illness and saw the same scenario repeated time and time again.  Those defrauding the system are not only stealing from the taxpayer but their behaviour is the cause of trauma to legitimate claimants, many of whom do not have the physical resources for a protracted battle. 

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[quote user="Théière"]

From exactly how my OH felt from her recent visit, subjective no, a generalisation possibly, as different areas have different staff, based on her visits to a south London job centre and the shear arrogance of the staff. The situation could quite easily be caused by them having to fill out endless forms in order to arrive at the obvious as stated in my previous post

To add some balance your visit "more than a few years ago" is an outdated observation, a few years ago many people were treated with respect in many situations.

[/quote]

Two years ago I was in the same situation, in Central London.  I found that the staff, once you got to see them, were usually OK, but I sat for a long time watching them whilst waiting for my "turn" and I found that they seemed to be quite happy to spend several minutes (sometimes many) chatting amongst themselves (when there were customers waiting), laugh, showing photos etc.  Now I realise that this is a normal activity in offices (whether it should be is another matter) but not, I believe, when you are performing a customer service.

I agree with Theiere - the staff approach does not always help - and I did resent being told how to job hunt (for heaven's sake I was usually old enough to be their grandmother (certainly mother) and I've been job hunting on and off for the best part of 40 years.  Added to that, my job was to find information - so job hunting was merely an extension of what I'd been trained for and done all my life.  The most sensible ones recognised this, and we galloped through the forms ticking a few boxes so that we could both get on with more important things.

Mind you, it did help to have been in the same situation several times before, so the last time I went prepared with all the list of my job hunting typed out ready - and guess what, I had to fill in the form for them.  I gave up filling it in after several weeks, especially as I had decided to stop job hunting once my 6 months of JSA was up, and up sticks to France, and become a retired lady of leisure (now that will be the day!)

So from that point on I would not have been in the unemployment statistics, though I was of working age, and unemployed, but because I was not claiming I would not appear on the stats.  Since I was also not in receipt of a pension at that point, I would fall happily between all stools, and be a non-counted person!!

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Hello

MY OH has very recent experience as when we returned to the UK he was unemployed and so attended the job centre. He did come out of it feeling as others have posted, the staff were arrogant and delighted in telling him he could not claim anything since he had not been in the country for 6 years and so had not paid any contributions. He hated the experience and would not want to repeat it, neither of us have ever been out of work so have never claimed any benefits anywhere.

He has got a job now so for him it was just the one visit. How depressing for anyone who has to go on a regular basis.

Scooby, I found your account of your mothers situation very moving, it must have been so hard for you all. You put across a whole different side to the argument, really made me think.

Panda
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Truly heart rending stories from Scooby and Quillan. My comments come from having experience of the benefits system, but dating back to the early 90's. Many of your experiences ring true from our own perspective.

The point I was trying to make was that there are far too many false claims that have previously been awarded which have led to many genuine claimants being viewed as scroungers.

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I don't think either Scoopy or I would disagree with you. Unfortunately it would seem that using outside contractors to decide who should and not should not receive this benefit and who are also paid a bonus for every one they weed out is not the way to go. As I said before my greatest fear is that some of those genuine people will also loose their benefits through no fault of their own. I would certainly want those who are entitled to get better allowances and treated like human beings. I would also like some compassion shown towards the spouse who look after them especially the very young children who miss out on a life and education to some degree. All unpaid and doing it out of love and necessity because nobody, it appears, really cares a damn.
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[quote user="Gastines"]From what I am reading in various papers,the assessments are now done by private agencies who receive a bonus for each person found not to be unable to work.[/quote]

They don't make a human decision. It's all done with a computer program called Lima. They simply type in the answers provided on the form completed by the claimant and the computer makes a decision. The company who are doing this are on an £800 million contract, with a £250 bonus for every claimant they remove from Incapaicity Benefit. So, they will say almost all claimants are fit for work just to get the bonus, even though many of the people will only be able to work (or seek work) for a few weeks before having to claim benefits again because they genuinely are not fit for work.

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