Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Over half new PIP claims and third of DLA to PIP transfers fail, PIP and ESA backlogs grow, huge fall in ESA appeals

It’s hard to know which of the numbers in this newsletter is the most appalling.

The fact that 31% of disability living allowance (DLA) claimants get absolutely nothing when they transfer to personal independence payment (PIP).

Or that just 45% of new PIP claims are successful, if you don’t include people with terminal illnesses.

There’s the staggering 92% drop in employment and support allowance (ESA) appeals since the DWP brought in mandatory reconsiderations.

Then there’s the revelation that the PIP waiting list is still getting longer, in spite of promises by ministers to fix it. There are now 323,000 people waiting for a medical, meaning an average wait of at least 35 weeks.

Or is it that just 19% of claimants who made a new ESA claim between October and December 2013 have so far had a decision, again largely because of long delays in getting a medical?

The only mildly entertaining number in amongst all the latest statistics is that, after all this time and money, there are still fewer people receiving universal credit than have season tickets for Watford Town FC.

24 September 2014 newsletter

Monday, 22 September 2014

The nasty coalition move to make English human rights subservient to business profits

Are you black or gay and feel your firm discriminates against you? Are you disabled and find a company stops your right of access? Are you woman and you don’t get equal pay with a man?

Naturally you might expect the government’s independent champion  the Equality and Human Rights Commission, to be on your side and prosecute firms who repeatedly failed you.

But a pernicious piece of legislation now going the House of Lords plans to put all this at risk by putting a nasty spanner in the works to hobble the very body that is supposed to stand up for your rights.

The nasty coalition move to make English human rights subservient to business profits

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Disability Hate Crime ‘Overlooked’ And ‘Under-Reported’

Crimes against disabled people are often overlooked by police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the former director of public prosecutions said today.

Lord Ken MacDonald told the BBC that police were failing to recognise that abuse against people with disabilities is often “simply because they’re disabled”, allowing perpetrators to escape longer sentences.

Disability Hate Crime 'Overlooked' And 'Under-Reported'

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Damage to the basal ganglia causes fatigue in ME/CFS

Reduced basal ganglia function has been associated with fatigue in neurologic disorders, as well as in patients exposed to chronic immune stimulation. Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have been shown to exhibit symptoms suggestive of decreased basal ganglia function including psychomotor slowing, which in turn was correlated with fatigue.

Damage to the basal ganglia causes fatigue in ME/CFS

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

How not to be a Doctor

So let's turn the Dr's own question back to him. How is it that 2 Drs with identical qualifications and clinical experience can come to totally different opinions of their patients? How is it that one can see the whole person, taking into account education, wealth, opportunity, mental state and family circumstance, while another can only see a diagnosis?

Perhaps if the DWP spent as much time weeding out judgmental, paternalistic, ignorant, potentially dangerous Drs as they do seeking mythical hoards of supposed benefit cheats, the health of the nation might improve dramatically.

Diary of a Benefit Scrounger: How not to be a Doctor

This is your brain on snacks: Brain stimulation affects craving, consumption

At the "basic neurobiological level," the study provides direct evidence that the DLPFC is involved in one specific aspect of food cravings: reward anticipation. People with weak executive function may lack the dietary self-control necessary to regulate snack food consumption in "the modern obesogenic environment." Faced with constant cues and opportunities to consume energy-dense foods, such individuals may be more likely to become overweight or obese.

This is your brain on snacks: Brain stimulation affects craving, consumption -- ScienceDaily

Monday, 8 September 2014

Coming Soon: The privatised sick note service that will email you back to work

After the cruel and nasty system that forced disabled people  to find work or lose benefits run by the French company, ATOS, I have a suspicion that this new system could push the sick back to work before they are ready.

While ATOS did this by personal interviews and tests, Maximus look like putting the sick back to work without examining them to see they are fit and well. No doubt the government will see it as another way to tackle the workshy. But even employers’ advisers are sceptical about this. This new development needs watching.

Coming Soon: The privatised sick note service that will email you back to work | David Hencke

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Sick And Disabled People To Be Forced To Wait Seven Days To Claim Benefits

New rules coming into force from 27 October this year will force people, including the sick and disabled, who lose their jobs to wait seven days before they can make a claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). ESA is an out-of-work benefit for sick and disabled people who are unable to continue working.

Sick And Disabled People To Be Forced To Wait Seven Days To Claim Benefits

ESA far easier to claim than IB - shock government figures

Disabled people are far more likely to be successful in a claim for the much-criticised employment and support allowance (ESA) than the benefit it is replacing, incapacity benefit (IB), Disability News Service (DNS) can reveal.

The figures came in a response from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to a request under the Freedom of Information Act from DNS.

ESA far easier to claim than IB - shock government figures

New mechanism in pain management unlocked

A new mechanism that can reverse chronic pain has been discovered by neuroscientists. Using an animal model, their research has found that pain signals in nerve cells can be shut off by interfering with the communication of a specific enzyme with calcium channels, a group of important proteins that control nerve impulses.

New mechanism in pain management unlocked -- ScienceDaily

Unemployed To Be Given ‘Attitude To Work’ Interviews

Benefit claimants will be required to undergo character profiling in order to determine whether they feel “determined”, “bewildered”, or “despondent” at the prospect of returning to work.

Those with a less positive attitude, and those deemed to be not psychologically ready for the world of work, will have to take part in intensive attitude readjustment coaching in job centres.

Unemployed To Be Given 'Attitude To Work' Interviews

Friday, 5 September 2014

Spanish pensioners in clover

AS we read so often, millions of British pensioners are struggling to live on their state pensions.

But Spain’s old folk have no such worries. According to the Spanish Social Security, 8.04 billion euros was paid out in pensions last month – a 3.1% year-on-year growth.

​In Spain the average retirement pension is 1,001.93 euros – 2% higher than in the same period last year.

The average pension from the Spanish Social Security system as a whole, which includes all the various types of pension available (retirement, permanent disability, widowhood, orphanhood, and those paid out to relatives), was 872.48 euros per month, representing a year-on-year increase of 1.7%.

In the UK the pension is 113 pounds, but that’s only if you have paid in for the full 30 years.

Spanish pensioners in clover | Canarian Weekly in Tenerife


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