Despite what people may have heard about the new welfare reforms being delayed by computer problems, the government has brought in most of the new restrictions plus a vicious sanctioning regime well in advance.
The change from incapacity benefit to ‘Employment Support Allowance’ for many long-term sick and disabled and has meant an increase in our caseload. Even after someone has been allowed it (usually after an interview by ATOS, and then an appeal or reconsideration, since medical evidence is rarely considered before a first decision) most, particularly those with mental health problems, are called for another interview after six months. This is causing people a huge amount of stress to no good purpose.
People with disabilities are also having their money cut off altogether by the sanctioning regime for ‘non-compliance’ with Job Centre requests — this can be for as little as being a few minutes late for an appointment, or as ridiculous as one person we helped of who was sanctioned for ‘being over-qualified for the jobs applied for’.
Congratulations to the people who put out the WOW (War on Welfare) petition for reaching their 100,000 signature target, and do sign yourself while there’s still time.
Parliament needs to take a proper look at what is happening to people’s lives.
We call for a Cumulative Impact Assessment of Welfare Reform, and a New Deal for sick & disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions. epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43154