Ministers set to force work-related activity on everyone in ESA support group

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The Department for Work and Pensions is considering forcing all sick and disabled people on out-of-work disability benefits to take part in “mandatory” activity, its new green paper has revealed.

The suggestion of compulsory activity is revealed in a single line of the 92-page work, health and disability green paper, published this week.

Such a change would mean that all people on out-of-work disability benefits – even those who are terminally-ill or have the very highest support needs – would have to stay in regular touch with their local jobcentre or risk having their benefits sanctioned.

The measure would affect those in the support group of employment and support allowance (ESA) – and the equivalent group in the new universal credit – a group which is currently not expected to carry out any work-related activity at all.

The green paper, Improving Lives, says ministers “could consider implementing a ‘keep-in-touch’ discussion with work coaches” for people in the support group, which “could provide an opportunity for work coaches to offer appropriate support tailored to the individual’s current circumstances” and “could be explored as a voluntary or mandatory requirement”.

It comes only a month after the new work and pensions secretary, Damian Green, secured widespread praise for announcing an end to repeat assessments for those on ESA with “the most severe, lifetime conditions”.

He said then that the government would “sweep away unnecessary stress and bureaucracy which weigh them down” and that “if someone has a disease which can only get worse, making them turn up for repeated appointments to claim what they need is pointless bureaucratic nonsense”.

Now Green (pictured, announcing some details of the green paper to MPs) appears to have decided that the same group of people should be forced into repeated contact with a “work coach”, or lose some of their benefits.

Asked about this inconsistency, a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokeswoman did not deny the possibility of mandatory activity for all those in the support group.

She said: “We recognise that people in the support group have limited capability for work related activity – but that does not necessarily mean they should be left without any support at all.

“We believe it is important to give claimants the opportunity to take up the offer of personalised and tailored support if it is appropriate for them, regardless of what group they are placed in following the WCA.”

The green paper’s repeated emphasis that the government wants to “reinforce work as a health outcome” is also likely to alarm many disabled campaigners and healthcare professionals.

It says the government will increase the number of job advisers in healthcare settings and ensure that “all health professionals are sufficiently trained and confident to have work-related conversations” with patients.

It also warns that ministers “want to make the benefits of work an ingrained part of the training and professional approach of the health and social care workforce”.

Asked whether DWP accepted that many disabled people and health professionals believe that it is dangerous and unethical to view employment as a health outcome, particularly for people in mental distress, a spokeswoman said that “evidence shows that being in the right work is good for health and that being out of work can have a detrimental effect on health”.

She said that the government’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies mental health treatment programme was “voluntary at every stage and that includes the employment support offer within the programme”.

There may also be concerns about new mandatory “health and work conversations” in which work coaches will use “specially designed techniques” to “help” some ESA claimants “identify their health and work goals, draw out their strengths, make realistic plans, and build resilience and motivation”.

The green paper claims that these conversations were “co-designed with disabled people’s organisations and occupational health professionals and practitioners and the Behavioural Insights Team [the controversial ‘Nudge Unit’, which is part-owned by the Cabinet Office]”.

There has so far been little or no analysis of the green paper in the mainstream media or from politicians, with most of the coverage and comment occurring before it was published and so based on extracts offered by DWP.

Much of that media coverage repeated Green’s claim that the government would provide more “personalised” employment support for disabled people.

But the green paper provides little evidence of real personalised support.

Measures likely to be widely welcomed include plans to remove the 12-month time limit on permitted work for those in the ESA work-related activity group (WRAG), and the possibility of funding for some local peer support groups.

The green paper suggests that those placed in the WRAG will be allocated employment support places in either the new Work and Health Programme or the specialist Work Choice programme, while DWP will expand peer support job clubs – whose effectiveness was backed in research earlier this year by Disability Rights UK and The Work Foundation – to 71 Jobcentre Plus areas with high numbers of ESA claimants.

Ministers will also test a voluntary, supported work experience programme for young disabled people, and increase funding for Access to Work’s mental health support service.

The DWP spokeswoman said the personalised support “includes a range of new interventions and initiatives, [and]is designed to provide more tailored support which work coaches will offer” to disabled claimants.

There was widespread media coverage of Green’s pledge to reform the work capability assessment (WCA), the controversial eligibility test for ESA which has been implicated in hundreds – and possibly thousands – of deaths of disabled people, and in causing significant harm and distress to tens of thousands of others.

But the green paper suggests little reform of the assessment process itself, although ministers say they would introduce a separate process for deciding what kind of employment support an ESA claimant should be signposted to.

It does suggest that the WCA process should be able to draw on information “from the NHS, the adult social care system or through other benefit applications” if this is “appropriate and relevant”.

And it suggests that there could be “a more appropriate process” for the “small proportion” of ESA claimants with the highest support needs, which could include “a simpler assessment process”.

Asked about the WCA reform plans, a DWP spokeswoman said there had been five independent reviews of the WCA, which had made more than 100 recommendations, “the vast majority of which we have accepted”, while DWP was now “consulting on a new approach to deciding entitlement to financial employment support”.

Questions are likely to be asked about the green paper’s pledge to introduce an extra 300 disability employment advisers (DEAs) to jobcentres, increasing the total number to 500.

The green paper fails to point out that, as recently as January 2014, there were 900 DEAs spread across the country’s 719 jobcentres, before hundreds were removed by ministers.

As recently as March, the previous – short-lived – work and pensions secretary, Stephen Crabb, promised to recruit an extra 500 DEAs.

Asked to confirm these figures, a DWP spokeswoman would only repeat that there will be an extra 300 DEAs.

In addition, DWP will recruit about 200 “community partners”, who will have “personal and professional experience of disability”, with many of them apparently to be seconded from disabled people’s organisations.

These community partners will work with Jobcentre Plus staff to “provide valuable first-hand insight into the issues individuals with a health condition or disability face in securing and sustaining employment”, and will draw on their local knowledge.

Questions may also be asked about the green paper’s refusal to provide any end date for the repeated ministerial pledge to halve the disability employment gap.

Asked if there was any target date, the DWP spokeswoman declined to provide one, but said the government was “committed to halving the disability employment gap” and had “helped nearly 500,000 more disabled people into employment over the past three years”.

There will be widespread concern at the statement in the green paper that ministers believe there should be a greater role for income protection insurance policies, which employers can take out privately to help address the risks and impact of ill-health among their employees.

Many disabled activists have grown increasingly concerned at the influence of at least one provider of such policies, which has been blamed for undermining the system of out-of-work disability benefits.

In September, a book by disabled researcher Mo Stewart detailed the influence of the US insurance giant Unum over successive UK governments, and how it had undermined the social security system in order to boost the market for its own income protection policies.

And there is likely to be frustration that, yet again, there is a strong focus on encouraging employers to be more “disability confident” – with a suggestion of offering them “financial or other incentives” to employ disabled people – but no mention of any measures to force them to implement their Equality Act duties on employing disabled people.

A DWP spokeswoman told DNS: “Businesses are required to fulfil their legal obligations under the Equality Act.

“As part of the consultation, we ask what the expectation should be on employers to recruit and retain disabled people and those with long-term health conditions.”

Meanwhile, there is confusion about whether ministers plan to scrap Work Choice, the specialist employment programme for disabled people, as was announced in last November’s spending review.

The green paper suggests instead that places on Work Choice will still be offered to ESA claimants from 2017.

The DWP spokeswoman said that the “Work Programme and Work Choice have been successful in supporting participants into work, but the current economic context demands a new approach” through a new Work and Health Programme, but by 11am today (Thursday) she had failed to clarify whether Work Choice will eventually be scrapped.

Help for those who are furthest from the job market will still be available through the Specialist Employability Support programme, according to the green paper, with the possibility of more places on the scheme for ESA WRAG claimants.

The green paper also promises to “open up apprenticeships” to young people with learning difficulties, by making “adjustments” to English and maths requirements, while it will work with social enterprises and disabled entrepreneurs to set up apprenticeships “specifically for young disabled people”.

A consultation on the green paper will run until 17 February 2017, and among the ways to comment are via an online survey and by emailing workandhealth@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

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  • Tony Turtle

    “OK, so we haven’t been able to kill off enough disabled claimants, can we find a way to kill more?”.

    I’m sorry, but if I have to deal with an idiot from the Department for Workshy and Painfree, telling me that going to work will make me better I want medical proof that going through pain and exhaustion will help. These people don’t know what chronic pain does to those who suffer from it!

    • Ed Edwards

      its not about getting us into work, its more like a cheaper option,,,,if you dont attend there would be santions, how many with severe disabilities wouldnt be able to make it regular, how many would not go through the stress and just wont claim what their entitled too, or how mayn would be kicked off for non attendance….its not about jobs or our wellbeing its about the money

      • Derek Robinson

        It’s about killing you all off !
        The Tories are evil bastards.

        • Simon

          I suffer severe chronic debilitating pain all the time and live on high doses of morphine daily as well as other chronic health problems and side effects from my meds and live in fear of assessments and those brown envelopes and with all this esa dla changes on top just think sometimes I should just take all my meds and end it all and save them the money it’s the least I could do!

          • srgc2731

            dont let them grind you down
            dont give them any satisfaction
            dont be quiet about it it is them not you
            the uk public has no idea

          • srgc2731

            tell the dwp and your gp how you feel they do have a duty of care especially since so many cases have been highlighted
            maximus has been informed by the dwp to give extra consideration in such cases

          • mindovermatter

            There is a site called “Benefits and Work” – please locate it and get the support you need to fight on for what you are entitled to. Don’t let the b*st*rds win, you have good reason to live and are cared about.

      • Brian Mcardle

        Now you know why May wants rid of the Human rights act

    • Brian Mcardle

      Ask him “Are you Jesus?,as you cure the lame and the sick ,or is this Lourdes?”

  • Lorna Thompson

    I have agoraphobia, as well as other assorted mental health illnesses. How do they intend to force me out of the house let alone to a job centre?

    • Brian Mcardle

      had that from 86-88 went back to work,it came back 1991 ,my late wife got me out and about again ,been ok ,but try telling one of these Nazis what it is like suffering Agoraphobia ,try a book from Dr Weekes she really helped me

  • Rowan Farmer

    FFS! If this goes through it WILL lead to more suicides! It makes me feel like giving up just reading about it!
    I’m now wishing my life away, I’m 61 and thanks to the government I have another 5 years of stress and worry about assessments, appeals, benefits sanctions, poverty and homelessness, so much so that I’m actually looking forward to reaching 66 just to get rid of the added stress on top of several chronic, deteriorating and very painful illnesses!

    • Chickpea the Tortie

      I’m in the same situation :’-(

    • Paul Wilson

      Same here I am 56 and I actually count the days until I am 66 so I can be left in peace from these Monsters I worked for 38 years and served in Northern Ireland during the Hunger strikes for 2 years and this is the thanks I get. I have now given up on the Labour Party and now support the SNP at least they know how to treat people with dignity.

      • Rowan Farmer

        They don’t really care about veterans, I learnt that when Edward Heath refused to help my Dad get a home for a growing family a few years after his 5 years as a Desert Rat in WW2, leaving us in crowded conditions for years. Nothing improves with the CONs, but I do have a lot of hope for Corbyn, I’d stopped voting Labour under Blair and Milliband, but am happy to be back now.

        • Brian Mcardle

          Conservatives conserve nothing they Consume in vast volumes,

    • jeffrey davies

      no no no you cannot allow yourself to give in otherwise you leaving them win fight and fight again but never give in

      • Rowan Farmer

        I won’t really give in, I am a fighter. but sometimes you read something that just fills you with despair, and this was one of those times. I cheered when IDS resigned, but this one isn’t any better, announcing this just days after saying they won’t continuing with assessments for the chronically sick!

  • Sparkz_

    will people have to phone from their hospital bed to keep in touch?

    • Ed Edwards

      no if they are in hospital they would’nt be able to attend….so they get sanctioned

    • jeffrey davies

      been there done that atos at its best in the high depend unit ouch

  • Treez

    My husband worked for 37 years in total before he suffered hypoxic brain damage. I suppose because he can still walk, though he falls a lot, and can talk he will be considered fit for work. Makes you laugh, I wouldn’t mind it was because of medical maladministration that it happened and I’m still fighting the monumental cover up from 2012 and getting no where. I hate this government with all my heart. I work and my husband worked for all those years without a break. I’m more than angry. Soon be November 5th.

  • Angela Sullivan

    This would be two-faced nonsense if there were loads of employers struggling to fill vacancies. There are fewer jobs than potential workers Unless they are highly skilled, disabled people will struggle to be offered or retain a job.
    The goverment’s policy can sound good: as though they were offering high quality training which fitted disabled people to occupy suitable roles in the work place (like the very successful Victorian program of training blind people as piano tuners enabling many of them to become self-supporting). However most of the work experience offered is low-level: sorting donations rags people

  • Pamela Rose Sharpe

    It already is kicking people on Support Group off ESA, I was on it…I attended an assessment and received zero points….JobSeekers have awarded me extra for being disabled and extra again for severe disability

    • srgc2731

      how can jobsekers allow extra points ??
      please explain
      asessmenr 0 points – DWP did you not ask for a mandatory re-consideration ??
      NO APPEAL TRIBUNAL ??
      ————————————–

      • Pamela Rose Sharpe

        Yes I asked for Mandatory Reconsideration

        • Brian Mcardle

          i asked for that,both the Atos nurse and DWP agreed i did not have Angina,so told my prof of cardiology that Florence nightingale said i had no Angina,despite a Heart Attack 06 two stents fitted ,on tabs for rest of life,he must have contacted them they could not do enough to reinstate my ESA and i got it raised as i had made contributions when working ,having Osteoarthritis ,and Diabetes 2 ,they think they know better than Medical Professionals

          • srgc2731

            hi brian

            unless you are in the esa support group you will find your benefit only lasts a year


            after that it is means tested £ for £ removal

  • srgc2731

    DEFORMED HIP (PERTHES )
    FUSED LUMBAR SPINE
    (SCHEURMANNS ) WITH PLATE DAMAGE ALL LEVELSARTHRITIS AND CARTILLAGE BOTH KNEES
    DEBILITATING DEGENERATIVE PROGGRESSIVE
    HEALED BY ATOS IN 2012 ESA WRAG BENEFITS REDUCED TO £21 PW 2013
    ——————–
    WHICH JOBCENTRES HAVE JOB COACHES ???

  • srgc2731

    the Work Capability Assessment used to consider eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance, the replacement for Incapacity Benefit, is a norm-referenced system. People must
    both score the number of points required for benefit receipt and fall within the proportion of people the norms system will allow to receive the benefit. In practice this means there is a finite number of claims the assessment system will allow to be awarded the benefit, regardless of the number of people who objectively meet the criteria for benefit eligibility.

  • srgc2731

    the fact that there are only 9 people commenting on this says it all
    apathy ignorance acceptance

    • Paul Wilson

      It is more likely because no one knows about it. England hang your heads in shame for electing these Tory Monsters!

      • mindovermatter

        Not many of ‘us’ did actually, don’t forget due to WWII quite a few of us had our grandparents moved down from Scotland to serve in the British army, that’s how my family are here in England, my grandfather was a Scots Guard stationed at Chelsea barracks, he was made a training sergeant at the age of 22yo when WWII broke out, my mother was born in 1939, so the union is part of us, not the political elite who’ve lied and twisted us apart.

        • Paul Wilson

          It’s no longer my union or many Scots like me it is a Westminster elite of Public school boys and their wealthy friends who care nothing about you or me I want out of this unequal union it is no longer fit for purpose Scotland doesn’t vote for they chancer’s England does so you lot are welcome to them. While people are fighting to get their entitlements only today another 360 Million is going to be handed to the royals so as Buckingham Palace can be modernised if it’s that bad pull it down while 35 Billion is going to be spent on the Palace of Westminster well not in my name thanks.

          • mindovermatter

            I agree, when we have “common purpose” ( not the corrupt, unelected group Blair introduced into our social structures) why wouldn’t we fight against the foe back to back as we did in all the wars we’ve (you and our ancestors) fought for the crown? The soldier Scots in my family go back to the Crimean. If you consider the vote at the last general election the Tories only got in on a few votes and I suspect dubious Russell Brands “dont’ vote” message enabled truck loads of electorial fraud. We are living in Orwell’s 1984 – here and in Scotland. I wish you all the best, I’ve read some of your posts and concur with the points you make. I like being “a bit Scottish” due to having an exceptional Scot as my granddad. Btw I’ve never attended a private school, I’ve worked in one ( as a HLTA) but my dad was a brickie.

  • jeffrey davies

    by the summer of 41 they had culled over 70,273 people were killed at various extermination centres located at psychiatric hospitals in Germany it seems modern governments through unum help have learned that culling the stock by benefits denial is the new way forward

    • CHRISTIAN

      Agenda 21

  • Nicola

    To all those in despair – you need to start using the Equality Act 2010, reasonable adjustments, to get the sort of service appropriate to your needs, and to get the DWP off your back. Please look into it and search for Doug Pauley – he is a master at using the act against companies and service providers that trample over disabled peoples’ rights. I also think that if the Tories try and sneak this through there will be a judicial review brought by DPAC or similar.
    To fight the DWP you need to: have a supportive GP or consultant, get everything in writing off the DWP and its assessment companies, record all verbal communications, record (visually, now, as assessors are lying about the physical exam when they know the verbal stuff is being recorded) assessments, never attend an assessment alone, ALWAYS complain about poor treatment or error, and ALWAYS complain about the assessment if you are awarded the wrong rate of ESA or PIP. Always send in a Subject Access request for all the documents pertaining to your assessment and go through the medical report looking for lies and errors for your appeal and complaint, and always seek professional help to complete the forms (unless you are very confident of doing it correctly) to avoid going through appeal in the first place, also for reconsideration and especially for tribunals. I recommend Cornwall Benefits Resolutions, Tony Lea (they can cover the whole of the UK – but for tribunals they can’t help those in Scotland and NI, as the judicial system is slightly different, there). Also, if you have been harshly treated, don’t be afraid to tell people. Contact your MP, DNS, DPAC, etc. It’s only people speaking up that will stop this abuse. Look at all the fuss over I, Daniel Blake. It sent the Tories into a complete tailspin.

  • srgc2731

    re-asessed oct 14 th finaly put into the support group from wrag
    healed by atos march 2012 despite gleaning 15 points atr tribuunal
    benefits reduced to £21 pw march 2013 due to £60 ill health pension and disabled wife less of course the £22 mandatory bedroom and council tax
    —————
    oct 14 th benefits ESA increased by £88
    extra rent and council tax required to pay £74
    overall gain £14
    its not about the money its about making them tell the truth
    Will i ever work again no despite their capability test
    has the dwp finally admited such yes

    • srgc2731

      frustration anger self doubt worthlesness

    • jeffrey davies

      its laughable whot they do to us wasting tax payers monies on these chaletans who find you fit for work or the wrag yet every one of us has a tale to tell but we got to fight it

  • still oaks

    Remember, remember, the 5th of November
    The Governments Treason and Rot
    I see of no reason why Government Treason
    Should ever be forgot…

    The Tories and their companions
    Did the scheme contrive,
    To send the sick on workfare,
    In order to survive…

    Death is a “health outcome” they say,
    And the sick must work until that day,
    They want to “build resilience and motivation”
    Through pain, misery and deprivation…

    Were “Disability Confident” the charities advertise
    “Confident” in the profit from those facing early demise,
    Work will set them free
    From their pain and misery…

    Remember, remember, the 5th of November
    Our Government has forgot
    That three score barrels
    Once nearly blew them all to naught…

  • Ross Marc Campbell

    FFS, I’m in the SG BECAUSE work related activity makes my physical and mental health worse!.

    • Bob

      It seems Mr Green had promised he would protect those placed in the SG he’s now going back on his word, a typical Tory who can not be trusted.

  • Ross

    How long before Jobcenters double as re-programming camps, trying to brainwash the disabled and metally ill into thinking work is good for them?

  • jade

    So people like myself who suffer a minimum of 8 dislocations on a good day (within 3 hours on Tuesday id suffered 12+ dislocations) as a result of ny condition Ehlers danlos syndrome. On top of this I have PTSD, anxiety , depression, adjustment disorder and agoraphobia mainly as a result of my condition and a number of different traumas. I consider myself to be a liability to a workplace. Both shoulders dislocate without warning and when I try to raise them to shoulder height making the simplest of tasks hard. My left wrist permanently dislocated, my right wrist dislocative too, my knees ankles and hips dislocate every time I move my ankles cause falls. It’s shameful that at 25 my balance and co ordination is so bad that I’m faced with the prospect of being wheelchair bound by age 40. A condition that means they wont do surgery because I’m too high risk for complications and the surgery failing leaving me in more pain than I’m in already. Physio/rehab physio/hydrotherapy/cbt/counselling hasn’t helped. Believe me id love to be able to work but I’m literally a liability. I’m constantly sick with something due to being run down my stress levels are so high I have had chest pains every day for the last year and 2 months that are currently unexplained but potentially eds related which is dangerous. So people like myself who are quickly losing mobility (I cant walk and was criticised because I want to continue cycling – which still causes me dislocations and I soon wont be able to do it at all as a result and is in fact the only “safe” form of exercise that the hospital will allow me to do). Are we going to be forced through this process in between running back and too the hospital constantly ?

  • Bob

    What a total load of BS from Mr Green, you should not be making people suffer anymore you evil cretin, you promised that you would leave those placed in SG alone and you would get rid of the WCA tests??? How much do you think the sick and the disabled can take with your persistent bullying and tireless excuses of lies?

  • Shafto Way

    Great another illegal work for your benefits scheme. New Deal,Workfare,Welfare To Work, Work Programe now under a different name. More billions of pounds of tax payers money wasted and so called employers can use and abuse this new system to get a free work force again.

    No ones jobs are safe now since employers can have people for free and make extortionate profits all at the tax payers personal expence. Im sure law firms can have a field day with this as well as the press. Same old tories they havent changed still abusing there power and against the will of the people.

  • lifewithoutpainhasnomeaning

    Says the DP mouthpiece: “evidence shows that being in the right work
    is good for health and that being out of work can have a detrimental
    effect on health”. That’s not actually what the Green paper says. It
    says’ being in work is for for health’. A subtle but important
    difference. I would like to ask both what this ‘evidence’, as nothing is
    forthcoming, and who it was provided by? All the evidence I have seen,
    and I have attended lectures by actual, not govt pretend, experts, on
    the subject. If anything their view, drawn from extensive studies into
    how peoples health deteriorates if they try and work while ill or
    suffering from serious mental health issues, is the complete opposite.

    I
    other words, once again, we are dealing with a govt soundbite that’s
    sounds suspiciously like one 70 years old; Arbeit Macht Frei?

    This
    comes from the consultation document, and I suggest everyone here and
    all their friends fills it in, and the tone should worry all disabled
    people and their families:-

    “11.2 How can we
    ensure that all healthcare professionals recognise the value of work and
    consider work during consultations with working-age patients? How can
    we encourage doctors in hospitals to consider fitness for work and,
    where appropriate, issue a fit note?”

    Note the
    emphasis on making sure that actual medical staff rather than the
    delightful DWP staff, are ‘on board’ with the idea of ‘work setting you
    free’ from the shackles of ill health. Forget the fact that the vast
    majority of people in the support group might well want to work, but
    there is no way on God green Earth they can. Or, that those who don’t
    want to work, don’t for a very good reason – they stopped working
    because it was that or literally die.

    But no,
    health professionals are getting it wrong, and this goes back to
    Camerons claims that GP’s were not suited to make the decision on
    whether you are fit to work or not, and you ARE ready for work. After
    all, Mr Green says so, so it must be true!

    This
    is simply another cost cutting measure, one aimed at chucking even the
    most seriously disabled and unfit to work people off benefits. Dress it
    up to please the Daily Mail how the govts likes, it is a transparent
    attack on people who need leaving alone to get well, not being harassed
    by DWP staff and corrupt private medical firms looking to hit targets
    and make profits.

    Finally, after such an extensive
    rant, as a former ACAS employee, I recognise only too well that the
    writer of the piece is correct. Govt will not do what is needed to get
    people who are ready to work, into employment.

    To do so they would need to:-

    Strengthen, not keep weakening employment law.

    Scrap Employment tribunal fees

    Give free training to businesses to enable them to understand the disabled issues.

    Give incentives to small employers to encourage them to take on disabled employees to mitigate what they see as a ‘risk’.

    Give
    medium size businesses help to make workplaces suitable for the
    disabled. It’s a common complaint that the law requires them to do so,
    but they don’t have the spare cash – which would be better spent to
    employing a disabled person.

    While trying not to be
    cynical, all this smacks of govt simply window dressing more cuts to
    benefits and attacking those who need them the most.

    Why?
    Because the lack of evidence being provided beyond claims that it
    ‘exists’ means there isn’t any. Green and the Cabinet have simply
    dreamed up a catch phrase as a cover for attacking those who cannot
    work. As we all know, non compliance, for the weakest of DWP reasons
    will result in sanctions or loss of benefits altogether. At the same
    time Austerity rolls on. This means no money will be available for any
    sort of real and meaningful support to get people into work, and the
    means to stay there once they do. Well, beyond coercion and bald threats
    anyway..

    Finally, employers simply don’t want
    disabled staff. Fact. They see them as too much hassle, too much of an
    investment for not enough return, and for SME’s they are seen as a
    ‘burden’ because very often they are not able to attend work as
    regularly as the non disabled. As such HR depts, in particular since
    2010, as the lack of a threat of ET means they simply couldn’t care less
    about employment or equality laws, weed out disabled people at
    interview stage, or employers simply pressure people with disabilities
    into leaving. The DWP spokeswomen clearly hasn’t a clue when she spins
    crap like ’employers are engaged with the equality act’. They are NOT,
    and until govt does the things I suggested above they increasingly won’t
    be. Is govt going to change that mindset by getting employers to
    ‘engage with health professionals and charity staff’, of course, and I
    too can see pig flying by…

    As such, with govt
    about as likely to reinforce the rights of disabled people in the
    workplace as I am to see Satan skating to work, all the gumpf in the
    Green paper is just that, gumpf.

    Apart from forcing people off benefits that is…

  • Pearl5

    How sad it is that folks can’t try to get jobs until the kind DWP rescue them from ‘sitting’ on disability benefits. I suppose it is against a new law or something? These wonderful life giving jobs denied a whole section of the population based entirely on the fact that these folks are too busy ‘sitting’ on their disability Benefits. And then what luck Maximus and the DWP can kick them off and ‘help them’. Where I’m confused is the bit where folks are denied their usual money to live on whilst still being out of work. Is there not a danger during this transition that folks will fail to adapt to living on fresh air and also fail to get into work because the reason for finding the person fit was the desire to save lives by removing them from support and not actually because they were fit enough to get an actual job?

    Surely if work is so life giving and worklessness so dangerous (and therefore costly to the NHS and tax payer), then it should be illegal to refuse to employ someone and illegal to sack them too? These are peoples lives we are talking about after all. It is all to common for folks who become sick or disabled and who fail to recover quickly, for them to be hounded from their jobs because; they are a financial liability, covering their post is a logistical nightmare and finding a way for the person to continue in the firm often means the job that needs doing, doesn’t get done. In addition folks removed from ESA but who still have problems are surely an employers worst nightmare? They will likely take time to get into work and once they are 12 weeks off ESA, once in work, won’t they need to be paid sick pay if they get sick again? And who pays for this these days? The Employer?

    I fear I see a problem with this splendid plan to save folks. The employers are gonna run for the hills when they spot folks with problems, leaving them in dire straits both health wise and financially. And even nice employers are going to have to look at the bottom line first. The reason for business is profit not social responsiblity and philanthropy.

    Ever been asked to quit because you are single handedly destroying a company and putting your colleagues jobs at risk because you are no longer up to the job? Denied the time to get better because it is inconvenient? As though your problem is a deliberate act of sabotage that you could help if you wanted to? Oh yes, work is great for your health and being bullied day after day to do it, is an absolute tonic.

  • flyingfox

    It is unrealistic to make this compulsory, some people simply can’t engage reliably which is why the support group exists in the first place. So if you made it compulsory you would need an exemption group for the exemption group, which is another example of pointless bureaucratic nonsense if ever there was one. They should instead focus on positive incentives instead of the cat-o-nine mentality. The people in the support group need to be treated gently, coercion would be stressful and damaging to their health as stress suppresses the immune system and is injurious to the infirm which is a well established biological fact with well understood evolutionary causes.

    I would urge those devising policy to stay in touch with medical reality.

    • Nic

      This. I’m usually only well enough to get out of the house once a week (if that), and so any socialising or outside errands (including doctors visits) have to be carefully planned. On a bad week, even that’s impossible. I have a constant list of “important” things and “urgent” things that I have to make fit somehow, and the result is that currently, my six-monthly doctor’s visit which I should have arranged round about Easter, has had to be put off repeatedly in favour of less important but more urgent items.

      The one time I had to attend a WRAG Job Centre meeting before my reconsideration put me firmly into the Support Group, it wiped me out for a fortnight. I do not need more of that pressure masquerading as “help”.

      The only help that would be genuinely useful, is more publicity (including the commission of actual leaflets to explain it) about the permitted work set-up. And preferably, a line drawn between part-time self-employment, and a hobby that people might do on the occasions they’re well enough and sell on rare occasions, instead of the DWP’s current stance that if you sell ANYTHING at all, it’s work.

  • Guy Stewart

    The government are perfectly aware that money and support should be aimed at employers. Offering them financial incentives support and advice is what will ultimately improve the employment rate for disabled people. There are already skilled trained motivated disabled people available for work, but without support for employers, there is little point in forcing disabled people to believe that their unemployment is their own fault by ”nudging” them towards what?
    Sanctions! Making us believe that our inability to gain work is our fault, when it absolutely is not, is cruel, but neatly fits into a government that constantly initiates dogma driven policy, rather then evidence driven policy.

    • Msw3681 sw

      Employers should not be offered money to take the sick and disabled. They should take the person if they are capable of the job whether sick, disabled, or both.

  • Kevin Glynn

    So work is supposed to be good for you?

    Try telling that to the Sports Direct employees at Shirebrook and the victims of the Ashley regime, who were carted off to hospital in 76 ambulances called to the warehouse. This is only the cases of which we are aware, but it is probably just the tip of the iceberg with such Draconian work practices!

  • srgc2731

    many on ESA are too ill to work despite being labeled ” capable ”
    you will find little or no support at the jobcentre offices
    During my 4 1/2 years in the ESA wrag group i attended the jobcentre 5 times
    at no point was i offered any support
    however the ” advisor ” recognised i would never work again
    ————–
    oct 2016 re asessed ESA suport5 group
    very little difference in payment as apart from £14 it is all means tested and removed from housing benefit

  • srgc2731

    There seems to be no evidence that the norms themselves are based on
    any empirical evidence as to the real impact of disability on someone’s
    ability to work. The very low success rate in helping disabled people to
    find work suggests that these targets were artificially imposed by the
    DWP and serve only to save money by cutting the incomes of the poorest.
    Moreover, the process of setting norms and managing to those norms,
    further corrupts the assessment process and seems likely to have
    undermined its objectivity.

    Today this is a grave problem within
    the use of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) process which is used to
    restrict access to the Employment Support Allowance and to assign
    people to either the ‘Support Group’ or ‘Work Related Activity Group’.
    Furthermore this norm-based methodology will damage any system of
    assessment in the future.

    It should be a concern to all tax payers that:

    Systems for the assessment of disability are being created that lack proper empirical foundations

    These systems are managed in such a way that their objectivity is likely to be undermined

    The process is becoming both more unfair, unreliable and expensive

    http://www.centreforwelfareref

  • Re

    lies damn lies governments and their friends.
    This is a God delusion when pieces of paper and the opinion of an overpaid benefit scrounger deems you cured of all the things you are suffering or dying from.
    Congestive Heart Failure turns into Hip Damage that will improve in six months time, PIP assessor either cannot read medical notes or is lying, I know which one it is, but can I do anything about this, NO. Now ESA assessment request for yet another work capability from the same company, and I will just have to take the sanction as there is no way I can make the journey, it should be morose to to be glad that this abuse will be short lived on me, but I am actually the lucky one in that these B@stard’s wont hurt me for much longer, What kind of country has this become in such a short time.
    P.S. The PIP assessor even had the nerve to ask me whether I had made any funeral arrangements just before I left, of course I don’t have any surplus cash, people like that have made sure of it, just an over-daft, it’s a pauper’s burial for me.

  • Marcus

    Being in the right work has an amazing affect on mental health and phsyical wellbeing. Yeah sure. Just let me be a racing driver, an a-list actor, or some such and that’ll be me sorted.

    The DWP – with Green trying very hard not to be another Iain Duncan Smith by being more subtle and underhand about his dealings – are absolute potwasher morons who should be doing exactly that…WASHING BLOODY POTS!!!

  • denise clendinning

    i want to see evidence as to which sort of work is good for your health before my son is seen and what about the one,s they said who dont have to be assessed again i think they are playing mind games