Written evidence submitted by Anne May |
1. I would like to raise my concerns about the Government's
proposals to change people over from long-term Incapacity Benefit
2.The medical assessment itself is unfair and does
not accurately reflect a person's ability to carry out full-time
employment. They are often carried out by Healthcare Professionals
who do not understand complex conditions. These medical assessments
should be carried out by fully trained doctors and where a person
has a specific illness the doctor should be knowledgeable about
it. There are many descriptors which are so ambiguous that they
allow the DWP to find people "fit for work" when clearly
they are not. For example just because a person can pick a light
item up once, or can reach above their head with both arms once does
not make them fit to work.
3 There are many, many examples of people who have
been wrongly assessed by these so called professionals. We have
heard news reports about people who have brain tumours, and cancer
and have been found fit for work. We have heard about people who
have started the appeal process, only to die before even getting
a Tribunal date. They must have really been fit to work!
4. Probably the most unfair proposal is the one to
limit Contribution Based ESA to 12 months, essentially treating
it as a means-tested benefit and not an illness based entitlement.
This will affect all previous claimants migrating from Contribution
Based Incapacity Benefit. In effect, what the Government is saying
is that if the claimant has a partner who works then they
should keep them financially. This is grossly unfair as these
claimants have paid into the National Insurance system for many
years whilst working, so why should they be punished because they
have a partner who is prepared to go out and work.
5.Claimants of income based Incapacity Benefit which
is payable through Income Support and Income based ESA, are in
effect rewarded for not having worked. In the majority of these
cases their partners will also not be working so the Government
is encouraging people to be lazy in order to protect their benefits.
At the same time the Government is punishing genuine hard workers,
by inflicting the financial burden of their partners living expenses
on to them.
6. Likewise, people who have worked for many years
and have paid into a private pension or occupational pension will
be punished. Never mind the fact that they have already been taxed
on the pension contributions, whilst working and then taxed on
the pension itself once they were too ill to work, they now also
face the extremely unfair likelihood that their ESA will stop
as the Government decide to means-test it. This is absolutely
disgusting, another example of the Government picking on the vulnerable
members of our society.