Friday, 9 December 2011

Time Limiting ESA - We MUST stop it!

It seems that the Conservatives are simply not willing to give an inch on Time Limiting ESA.

Just to be clear, this means that if you have worked and paid national insurance contributions you will face an assessment. If that assessment finds that you are indeed unwell, but may be able to do some work at some point, you will only qualify for support for a year.

At the end of that year, no matter how ill you remain, if you have a partner who earns just £7,500 or more, or limited savings, you will lose all ESA. All of it.

Those with long term, serious illnesses, mental health conditions and learning disabilities are likely to be the worst affected. Sickness benefits as we know them will become a thing of the past. Just 6% of new claimants will qualify for long term support, the rest will have just one year.

I have written about time limiting extensively here (click for article)

The government accept that 94% will not have found work at the end of that year. They accept that they will not have recovered. They simply say "We can't afford it"

The only way we can now stop the government from going ahead with this most horrifying of policies is for Lib Dem Lords to vote against it.

Earlier this year, Lib Dem grasroots members voted for a motion and amendment at their conference opposing an arbitrary time limit for ESA. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour.

Here is the amendment in full :

After C. (line 25), insert:
D. That vulnerable cases like this, where a welfare recipient’s income is threatened ,should qualify
for free legal representation.

Delete 2 (line 35) and insert:

2. Liberal Democrats in Government to oppose an arbitrary time limit on how long claimants can
claim contributory ESA.

In 3. (line 36), after ‘representation’ insert: ‘and expert advice, and for Government to reconsider
the exclusion of welfare benefits casework such as this from the scope of legal aid.

After 3. (line 36), add:
4. A presumption that ESA claimants with serious and uncontrollable life-threatening conditions
should be allocated to the support group rather than the work related activity group.

5 A review of ATOS performance in delivering the Medical Services Agreement contract with
DWP in respect of the quality of medical assessments.

6. Effective contract compliance for contractors carrying out ESA eligibility assessments to avoid
poor performance, and a presumption that in future ESA eligibility will be carried out by the
public sector or non-profit organisations.

Once this vote was carried, opposing the time limiting of ESA became Liberal Democrat policy.

Today, I'm asking all of you - Liberal Democrat or not - to write to a Lib Dem peer and beg them to oppose the one year time limit. Here is a list of Lib Dem peers

Simply click on a letter at random, pick one and write to them. Beg them. Explain it to them. Feel free to send them my articles. Remind them about their conference pledge.

They're our only hope. If they support the Conservatives on this, despite the wishes of their members, 700,000 people will be affected. People with Parkinson's, Bowel Disease, MS, Cancer, Heart Failure, Kidney Failure, Lung disease, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar and any other condition you can think of.

Please, write today. Then write again. Pick another peer and then another and keep writing until after Xmas.

Very early in the New Year, Lords will vote on this issue for the final time. It is only this vote now that stands between time limiting ESA becoming policy.

Please, if you've ever sent one of my letters, every RTd an article because I asked, every written to your MP, every written a blog post or an article, please, do this. Keep doing it until the day of the vote. Tell everyone and ask them to write too.

The welfare reform bill is almost law now. We don't have very many opportunities to make a difference. Let's make a difference over this.

**Feel free to re-post, share, RT and generally make sure that everyone knows, thanks.

The following articles may help:


  1. Shared!

    In a week where I've watched my 24 year old son, who lives in Sheffield, find he can't keep his rented house, because he's now unemployed, and the LHA (housing Benefit) expect him to live in a hostel/shared accommodation, I've actually began to fear this Government and it's treatment of the most vulnerable. As my son returns home to me - leaving his friends and girlfriend 300 miles away I cannot understand why the country just sits back and allows us to treat the sick, disabled, young and unemployed in such a manner.

  2. Its because the mainstream media are used to convince everyone that all sick and disabled people are cheats and scroungers and nobody cares until the govt does someting that affects them directly.They know this and this is how any govt gets away wwith the things it does.People need to wake up and see what is really happening in this country before its all too late.Everything is for sale either and most of it is done without our knowledge by stealth.Read Privaate Eye and such similar the benefits blogs and see the real truth....and then do someting to help stop these people....

  3. I'm already suffering from depression; this is hardly doing my health any good NOW. If they push this through, frankly, I had may as well give up, as I won't be able to afford to live, or stay in my home, because with 3 bedrooms, and two occupants, myself, a single father, and my son, we will also be under-occupied, a fact which will be compounded when my son moves out in a few years.

    So, I'll have NOTHING. Nothing left, because OTHER people, banks, politicians etc got greedy and blew OUR safety net. Thanks Cameron, before too long you'll have my death on your bloody conscience, not that I expect you to lose one SECOND of sleep over it. Much appreciated.

  4. This a repeat of what the Nasty Party of the 80's did. They have not changed at all in spite of their lies to the contrary. We must do everything we can to stop them and remove them from power forever.

    They said none of this before they obtained power and don't forget which party made it possible the LibDems so much for liberal values.

  5. 3 years ago I suffered a brain hemorrhage.
    While recovering I found out that I wasn't entitled to the full benefits available because I wasn't up to date with my NI payments.

    I contacted NI and was told that during ... I had missed 3 weeks worth of NI payments.
    I was 17 and had gone on holiday with my parents!!!
    Even if I had cleared the 'debt' I still wouldn't have been entitled to full incapacity benefit, and the money used to clear the NI debt would have gone straight to my pension fund.

    My heart goes out to people from a similar financial background as me who have gained a disability and haven't been able to recover.

    Now look at this!
    The government are the greatest burden on this nation because they deliberately hinder the recovery and/or personal development of those from a weaker financal background.

    That is tantamount to a social hate crime and those responsible should be treated accordingly!

  6. I havr mental health issues and was on incapacity benefit previously. When I was transported across to ESA I had to go for a medical. I was examined by a registered physiotherapist. No other report was needed to say that I would be ready for work within three months. A Physiotherapist, no matter how well they practice their profession, is not capable of rightfully assessing anyone with a mental illness. This is corruption of the purest form.

    After receiving the assessment notes (which were used to make a dla decision) I was insulted and belittled by what criteria i was examined. I was 'well kempt' and 'sober' therefore I was deemed able to work.

    The whole EsA system and the welfare reform acts are ridiculous and damaging to the nation.
    I like to hear that in parliament, our prime minister assures us that the defense budget will not be harshly cut as welfare. What happened to 'we're all in it together? And in the words of tony benn; if this nation can find the money to kill people 1000s of miles away, we can find the money to help our own citizens.