Thursday, 20 November 2014

DWP’s Secret Death Reviews Spare Atos, 500k Sanctioned Claimants Disappear, Three Labour WCA Changes

Labour claims it will make three ‘crucial’ changes to the work capability assessment (WCA) if they gain power next May. But how ‘crucial’ are the changes in reality and will the promise make you more likely to support Labour at the general election? Give us your views and we’ll make sure they are passed on.

(Also, see below for how the chances of getting into the support group have been increased by the upper tribunal due to cahnges made to the WCA in 2010).

We can probably guess your views on the fact that an average of two benefits related deaths every month are secretly investigated by the DWP, many following a WCA. But the evidence from such reviews may not be being passed on to coroners courts. Moreover, the DWP are refusing to follow an official recommendation that a medically qualified person should always review Atos medical reports in these circumstances.

Claimant deaths are increasingly being linked both to WCAs and to sanctions. Two weeks ago Labour MP Debbie Abrahams told IDS in a Commons debate that “People are dying because of these sanctions!”. His reaction was predictably dismissive.

Meanwhile, two new reports reveal that welfare reform in general, and sanctions in particular, are fuelling ever greater levels of prejudice against unemployed and disabled claimants as well as causing the current massive rise in food bank use.

In addition, Oxford academics are due to report next month on what has happened to half a million jobseekers allowance (JSA) claimants who were sanctioned but who subsequently disappeared from official employment statistics.

19 November 2014 newsletter

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