Once again, a bombshell that could cause huge financial hardship to tens of thousands of claimants has been dropped, virtually unnoticed, by a government minister.
The shock plans, for ‘simplifying’ the work capability assessment for employment and support allowance (ESA) include docking points from amputees who can lift and carry with their stumps. Claimants with speech problems who can write a sign saying, for example, ‘The office is on fire!’ will score no points for speech and deaf claimants who can read the sign will lose all their points for hearing.
Meanwhile, for ‘health and safety reasons’ all points scored for problems with bending and kneeling are to be abolished and claimants who have difficulty walking can be assessed using imaginary wheelchairs.
These changes, and many more, have already been approved by the secretary of state for work and pensions but have not yet passed into law. They will affect both ESA claimants and the 1.5 million incapacity benefits claimants waiting to be assessed for ESA.
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I'm scared enough about my medical as it is. When Jeanine came round to help me with my form she told me about some cases she was helping to appeal. One that stuck in my mind was a woman that scored 0 points, one of the reasons for this was that the "doctor" believed she could "walk her dog for 20 minutes a day"....the woman didn't even have a dog.
I got a leaflet put through my door the other day from my local MP (Labour) spewing the usual crap but there was a check box to say you wanted to see him and they would be in touch.
I think I'm going to tick that box and see just want he thinks about the matter because unless he loudly condemns this AWFUL plan then he won't be getting my vote.