After two consecutive nights of virtually no sleep I’m feeling quite weary and I could quite easily curl up in a corner and go to sleep, but a lot has been going on which I need to tell you about so I think I’ll deal with them in chronological order. The other topics to tell you about were medical experimentation on primates and more on habit reversal training, but for starters this post is about the lovely ATOS and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). On Monday the Work and Pensions Committee published a lengthy report (I haven’t read it yet, I’m a bit of slow reader being the family thicky) on reassessing Incapacity Benefit (IB) claimants and helping them back to work (some jobs would be a good starting point). One point that was briefly touched upon was the way that the media has gone about reporting about the WCA, take for example earlier this week, here’s the front page report from The Express - express.co.uk/posts/view/26... coupled with very little TV coverage ( a short report on the Channel 4 news highlighting the plight of a man who was declared fit for work that died within 3 months) that shows any empathy towards the plight of the ESA claimant. The UK is definitely turning into the Orwellian nightmare from “1984” neighbours are encouraged to “shop” their neighbours to the DWP, the vast majority of disabled people increasingly feel under the microscope from strangers and feel that hey have to prove their disability. Take for example that fun bit of broadcasting on the BBC “Saints and Scroungers” this programme’s main focus is on benefit cheats, usually those who do it on a grand scale, you know villas in Spain, nice cars etc, this programme to get a bit of Yin and Yang and just gives us a little glance into the world of the genuine benefit claimant, but in a very simplistic way this programme seems to tip the balance, in actual fact the figures on benefit fraud are very low, this programme never seems to address that fact and lets the viewer believe that for every good guy (genuine claimant) there’s a bad guy (benefit fraudster) coupled with the press this just lays open the assumption that every disabled person or person on sickness benefits is swinging the lead unless proven otherwise.
We all know here that applying for disability or sickness related benefits is no picnic, I’m sure you’re average Express reader would be driven to tears just glancing through the questions. Applying for these benefits is quite, dare I say it a humiliating experience, the questions aren’t often applicable and some are just down right awkward. It me quite a while to get my head around the ESA50 form that I recently filed in, I took it along to an appointment with my HRT therapist for some help, in the hour that we had we only completed about a third of it. However, don’t despair, I did find this on tinternet that you may find useful if you’re about to fill in an ESA50 (application form for ESA) or go for a WCA. antp.org.uk/wcarules.htm Also myself and my cousin have set up a Facebook page for the purpose of gathering any news articles, blogs and of course experiences of ATOS, the DWP and ESA. facebook.com/pages/The-ATOS...
What would be interesting to find out, if anyone can help, peeps in the TA office, TS specialists is what the breakdown of the figure stating that 2 out of 3 ticcers are not in employment, what I mean is how many are currently on JSA and looking for work, how many are on ESA or IB at the moment, many are supported by partners, and how many are taking time out to bring up children. Also, out of those who are supported by partners, on JSA, or on ESA/IB how many would like to work and feel as though they could work and what support they feel that they would need to work (working from home/part time hours etc). This I feel as well as interesting would be essential evidence to see how the whole ATOS/WCA scenario is helping (or making our lives a nightmare) us ticcers. (Answers on a postcard please).
So this is enough of this topic for now, time for a cuppa methinks and I’ll probably back again soon discussing the delightful ATOS.