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A disabled lady was on her way to a fit to work assessment when she received a voicemail saying it would have to be rescheduled. A few days later the DWP demanded to know why she didn’t attend. She informed them the appointment was cancelled by the assessor. DWP then cancelled her benefits because she had missed the appointment ‘without good reason’.
Incredibly at the first tier tribunal the judge took the side of the DWP. At the second tier tribunal however it took the judge just five minutes to rule in her favour.
Freedom of Information request reveals DWP’s internal target of 80% to uphold mandatory reconsiderations in their own favour.
MP Iain Wright is demanding an investigation after a stroke victim claimed she was told she must undergo a back-to-work test – while in a hospital stroke unit!
No shame – Maximus admits carrying out ‘under a dozen’ fit to work tests in hospitals each year for the DWP
DWP say “It is extremely rare for a WCA to be carried out in a hospital and this would only occur if not enough evidence was provided..”
DWP has been unlawfully blocking people from appealing if they miss the one month deadline for asking for a mandatory reconsideration. In truth, the deadline can be extended by a further year where the claimant has good cause for being late. But the DWP had decided that it was up to them to be the judge of whether the claimant had a good reason for missing the deadline and that tribunals shouldn’t be allowed any say in whether they could hear the case.
Britain going backwards on rights of disabled, says United Nations committee producing damning 17-page report
The U.N. Committee on the rights of disabled people said it had more concerns about Britain – due to funding cuts, restricted rights and an uncertain post-Brexit future – than any other country in its 10-year history.
The committee, which reviews states’ compliance with the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, published a 17-page report with recommendations about how Britain could do better.
“The UK is at the moment going backwards in accordance to the information that we have received,” committee member Stig Langvad told a news conference in Geneva.
Britain said it was disappointed by the report. It said it did not reflect the evidence it had provided to the committee, nor did it recognise progress that had been made.
The U.N. committee’s chairwoman Theresia Degener has described the situation in Britain as a “human catastrophe”.
“The austerity measures that they have taken – they are affecting half a million people, each disabled person is losing between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds per year, people are pushed into work situations without being recognised as vulnerable, and the evidence that we had in front of us was just overwhelming,” she said.
The most acute concern was the limitations on independent living.
“Persons with disabilities are in our view not able to choose where to live, with whom to live, and how to live,” Langvad said.
Britain was also not fulfilling its commitment to allow inclusive education, and there was a high incidence of bullying at schools. A growing number of disabled people were living in poverty.
Budgets for local authorities had not only been slashed, but they were no longer ear-marked for disabled people, another committee member, Damjan Tatic, said.
Langvad said people with disabilities should be involved in preparations for Britain’s Brexit talks with the European Union, to avoid losing protections that historically came from the EU.
“Persons with disabilities are afraid of the future since they do not know what is happening and since they do not feel that they are involved in the discussions on how to secure the rights of people with disabilities afterwards,” he said.
Britain’s government said it was a recognised world leader in disability rights, and almost 600,000 disabled people had moved into work in the last four years.
“We spend over 50 billion pounds a year to support disabled people and those with health conditions – more than ever before, and the second highest in the G7,” a government spokesperson said.
Debbie Abrahams, the opposition Labour party’s spokeswoman for Work and Pensions, said the “damning” report was a vindication of Labour’s criticism of the government’s policies.
“This confirms what Labour has been saying all along, that the lack of progress on all convention articles, including cruel changes to social security and the punitive sanctions regime, are causing real misery for sick and disabled people.”
A Labour government would incorporate the convention fully into British law, she said in a statement.
The most shocking aspect of the UN report is what it reveals about the UK government’s increasing non-compliance with existing UK legislation. For example, it is obliged by law to carry out impact assessments and gather necessary statistics concerning any policies likely to have a disproportionately negative impact on disabled people. But its replies to UN requests for data repeatedly demonstrated that it is in breach of this public sector equality duty. As a result, the government’s schools green paper, published a year ago, failed to conduct the legally required impact assessment, even though this policy would undoubtedly have affected the life chances of many disabled children.
A United Nations committee will hear from British disability campaigners that the Government is breaching the rights of disabled people and ignoring requests for information on key issues.
On Monday activists will tell the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that their previous concerns have only been met with complacent or evasive answers.
In October the CRPD reported that welfare reforms have led to “grave and systematic violations” of disabled people’s rights, findings the Government said it strongly disagreed with.
The committee is now conducting a much wider investigation to assess the UK’s progress in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, as part of a periodic review all nations signed up to the convention must go through.
Kamran Mallick, the chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said many of the Government’s answers in its submission to the committee “have a tone of complacency at best and high-handed evasion at worst”.
He said it has provided no evidence to show how it is supporting people to lead independent lives, while its description of the Equality Act and the Care Act “simply don’t reflect the everyday experiences of disabled people in the UK”.
Mr Mallick added: “Many disabled people and their families saw the UK’s signature of the international convention as a vital milestone on the journey to true equality and the fulfilment that comes with leading independent, rounded lives.
“They now feel betrayed by the Government’s failure to adhere to either the spirit or the letter of the convention.
“Small steps forward are more than outweighed by a raft of significant adverse measures, such as cruel and demeaning benefit changes and the extension of compulsory mental health treatment to the community.”
Mr Mallick is set to tell the committee in Geneva that a range of Government policies and a lack of appropriate support and services from the NHS and local authorities mean the UK is breaching the human rights of many disabled people.
Many disabled people are unable to live the independent, fulfilling lives they could enjoy if the Government respected the convention, he will say.
CRPD’s review will look at issues such as detentions under mental health legislation, employment, education, transport and housing.
Disability Rights UK and other groups will give verbal evidence to the committee on Monday.
The committee will question representatives from the UK and devolved governments later this week.
The committee’s previous inquiry was instigated by the charity Disabled People Against Cuts, which contacted CRPD in 2012.
Other charities subsequently confirmed that they had also been in contact with the UN.
The UN’s report highlighted the impact of changes to housing benefit entitlement, eligibility criteria for personal independence payments and social care, and the closure of the independent living fund.
Backup to article here
We already knew there was an 80% target to sanction jobseekers. Now though it turns out the same figure applies to rejecting benefit appeals. 80% of those who ask for their claim to be looked at again must remain rejected.
DWP try to wriggle out of it by referring to it as an ‘expectation’ but their own staff admit it is a target.