Monthly Archives: March 2011

One last chance for you to stop the harsh new ESA test!

I don’t normally put stuff on here that has a political taste

to it, but I really feel that this issue needs to be addressed, 

and as quickly as possible, so I have posted the latest 

newsletter I have received from the Benefits and Work site, below:

One very last chance for you to stop the harsh new ESA test

28 March 2011
In spite of the fact that the harsh new work capability assessment (WCA),
the medical test for employment and support allowance (ESA), became law
today, there is still a chance of getting it cancelled. 

But it does depend on you urgently attempting to persuade your MP to get
off their . . .  seat and do something useful before they go off on their Easter
holidays next week.

Labour leader Ed Miliband and 7 Labour MPs tabled an early day motion on
23 March ‘praying’ for the new WCA to be annulled.  New regulations like
these can be overturned by a vote for up to 40 days after they were laid. 
Because the DWP messed up the laying of the regulations and had to lay
them again, the 40 days does not run out until 6 April.

There is a huge irony in the labour party challenging the harsh new WCA
when they actually drew it up themselves, but didn’t have time to
implement it before being booted out of power.  The line labour is taking
to justify their u-turn  is that the recommendations in the Harrington report
should be implemented before any consideration is given to further changes
to ESA. 

And, whatever the reason for labour’s change of tactic, there is a chance
that there could be a debate, a slim possibility there could be a vote and
a tiny chance that the government could be defeated. We know that a
similar process in the House of Lords ended in feeble surrender last
week, but a tiny chance is better than no hope whatsoever.

So, please consider contacting your MP as a matter of urgency and ask
them to support EDM 1651 to try to halt this shameful new test which
discriminates against many seriously sick and disabled claimants including,
for example, blind people with guide dogs. 

You can view the early day motion here.

You can send a standard form email to your MP objecting to the changes 
by entering your details on the Leonard Cheshire website.  You can read
and approve the whole email before it is sent, once you have entered
your details.

Alternatively, you  can
email your MP objecting specifically to the provisions relating to visually impaired people using the RNIB site.

Or you can fax your MP from here

We do apologise that it’s taking us longer than we’d hoped to get the new
WCA guides published  – the revised test is as confusing, complicated and
unfair as its predecessor.

But the DWP’s WCA Handbook (180 pages), which is the guidance given to
Atos health professionals, and our guide to Understanding ESA (43 pages)
can now be downloaded from the members area. (Members only).

Please note:  the site may run slowly or even crash at times on Tuesday
given the size of these files and the number of people likely to be
downloading them

The guide to qualifying for both the work-related activity group and the
support group on physical health grounds (73 pages)will be available
from sometime on Tuesday 29 March.  The mental health and learning
difficulties guide will be available on Thursday 31 March.

We will also be publishing an extended guide to ESA appeals within
the next two months, but in the meantime the current appeals guide
still applies.

We welcome suggestions and feedback about the new guides.  You
can email us   Unless, of course, the
new WCA is annulled next week, in which case we won’t care what
anyone thinks because we’ll be removing them from the site.

Now, please do go and give your MP – for whom the expenses regime
has just been relaxed because it was considered too complex,
time-consuming  and unfair – a poke before they go off on their 3
week Easter holiday next Tuesday . 

Which is followed by a 2 week Whitsun holiday at the end of May,
7 weeks summer holiday from mid-July and then nearly 4 weeks
off for party conferences from mid- September. 

You can quite understand why they don’t have time to fill in
complicated claim forms, can’t you?

Good luck,

Steve Donnison
Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No.  5962666

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Filed under Disability Issues, Politics