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Trudy Baddams, MPs, open letter, health and work conversation, ESA, jobcentre, DWPA new wave of horror and cruelty is heading its way to the sick.

Dear MP,

I have sent you a couple of emails but received no response. Both related to pensions.

But I write to you today about something far more sinister.

You may recall when we first met we discussed the ESA and the Work Capability Assessment and I certainly remember your shock when I explained that the patient has no recovery time before being harassed to attend the face to face assessment, then the work focused assessment, then the job centre pathways to work appointment.

So, I have today read this very disturbing piece about a new wave of horror and cruelty heading its way to the sick: because the private firms your government employ to carry out these unnecessary assessments cannot cope with the demand, the sick are being doubly attacked.

Because there is such a delay in actually being assessed for benefit eligibility the patients will now have to attend a Health and Work Conversation (HWC) at the jobcentre at the beginning of their claim, before they reach the assessment.

What is the purpose of this Health and Work Conversation?

This is what I found:

“We know that the start of the claim can be a challenging time for claimants and that the longer a claimant is on benefit, the more difficult it is for them to move into employment where appropriate.

“The Health and Work Conversation (HWC) will provide this early support to claimants.”
and will draw on “behavioural insight techniques and research” to “develop voluntary action plans” and help claimants “move closer to the workplace”.

“All new ESA claimants would have to sign a new “ESA Claimant Commitment”, which would “set out the expectations and legal requirements that claimants will be required to accept in order to receive ESA”.

“A sanction will be applied for failure to attend or participate in the HWC without good cause. This means a claimant’s ESA payment will be reduced.”

Although actually a sanction is the removal of ALL the claimants personal allowance for a minimum of 4 weeks, regardless of good reason and regardless of continuing to conform.

So, as if the assessments weren’t stressful enough, at whatever stage of the process, patients now have to deal with this new ‘conversation’.

People are having panic attacks, heart attacks, at these assessments; what are they going to be like so early on in their application for a benefit which is supposed to support them through their illness?

MP, this has to be stopped in its tracks.

When 62 per cent of patients being found fit for work are having their decisions over-turned at appeal stage, there is something very wrong and it needs to be rooted out, not added to.

What I’m finding on all my Facebook groups, with over 7,000 members, is that more and more that these assessment reports which are sent to non-medical decision-makers are a pack of lies.

This is not me saying this, it is the patients themselves who don’t recognise the person described in these reports.

I ask you to act, before more patients perish.

You will note I’m using the term patient. This is what they are: they are sick people still on sick note from doc advising them not to work; they are patients claiming what they are entitled to, a payment from the funds they have contributed for all these years to look after them in their hour of need, not herded like sheep to slaughter.

Signed: Trudy Baddams, from the We Paid In, You Pay Out campaign.

  1. Brilliant. Excellent letter. Thanks.
    I live in Crete due to ill health. I got arthritis at age 51 and was medically retired without early pension. I have been assessed by Greek doctors for Incapacity Benefit and DLA. I received this then suddenly was told at 62 that I’d had all my entitlements. ESA stopped but DLA continued. £88 per month. Not the full pension I expected at 60.
    Fortunately I had a good job and no children so can just about manage on my occupational pensions as my house is paid for. But my colleagues, friends and other women of my age can’t manage. I have to do without things I expected to be able to afford, but I know many women where their choice is either to eat, or to get heat. Not a nice thing to have to decide to do,(due to a broken Govt promise)at age 63. I’m one of the lucky ones but I’m still campaigning for those who aren’t as lucky as me. This letter broke my heart with sympathy and empathy for them.

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