Clause 99 and the Catch 22 situation it puts ESA Claimants' in

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I am writing this FOI because I have seen many differing views regarding clause 99 and the catch 22 situation that it puts sick and disabled claimants in,

So my questions are thus:

Q1 When a person is refused ESA and appeals against the decision, what benefits can he claim if s/he has no income?

Q2 If an ESA refusal claimant is too “fit” for ESA, but too sick or disabled for JSA what is there recourse?
(i) How will they pay their bills?
(ii) How will they be able to get medication? (as they will not be on any benefits to qualify for free prescriptions)
(iii) What about their homes? Will you still cover the rent? Or will you be setting up modern-day workhouses?
(iv) Where are their human rights? I refer to article 6 and 25 respectively. Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights act is a provision of the European Convention which protects the right to a fair trial. In criminal law cases and cases to determine civil rights it protects the right to a public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal within reasonable time, the presumption of innocence, and other minimum rights for those charged in a criminal case (adequate time and facilities to prepare their defence, access to legal representation, right to examine witnesses against them or have them examined, right to the free assistance of an interpreter). Article 25. (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Q3 How can someone have a fair hearing (see article 6 above) at a tribunal when you have driven them into a catch 22 situation? i.e. A claimant refused ESA, through sheer destitution has to sign on and as soon as they do it cancels out their appeal, even though they are too ill to work and have no chance of getting a job. How legal is this since the UK signed the Human Rights act? Pursuant of this how many appeals will be made to the ECHR?

Q4 When a person is turned away from the JCP because s/he doesn’t fit the criteria to sign on (their illnesses means hospital appointments, etc) what are their rights if any?

Q5 What impact will Clause 99 have on the Infrastructure? i.e:
(i) The NHS?
(ii) Foodbanks?
(iii) Social Services?
(iv) The Police (people HAVE turned to crime when they have no income whatsoever)
(v) Local Councils (How can people pay the council tax with no money)?
Q6 How long will it be before the application of Clause 99 causes chaos and meltdown?
Q7 How many deaths will this cause?

Yours faithfully,

C Robinson

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Operations FOI Requests, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear C Robinson,

 

Please find attached DWP response to your recent Freedom of Information
request.

 

 

 

Yours Sincerely

 

 

DWP Operations

FOI Team

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'Clause 99 and the Catch 22 situation it puts ESA Claimants' in'.

Why won’t you tell the truth? That’s all I ask, I don’t mind if you are brutally indifferent, I just find your lies galling because:
You state that you have Disability Employment Advisors’ that are and I quote: ‘Disability Employment Advisers, trained by specialist staff from the department’s Disability
Employment Service’ if these specialist staff are trained to the same “high” degree as your disability analysts’ (AKA ATOS) then God help us all!
You state that: ‘the right safeguards are in place to mitigate the effects you and others believe will arise’ I do not believe these things will arise I KNOW that they already have because:
There is a lot of evidence that the NHS is in crisis because of the stress that you are causing sick & disabled people and your welfare reform has been slammed by the GMC, disability groups, GPs, local councils’, the police, judges’, MPs: didn’t Dennis Skinner lash out at the PM about the sad death of David Coupe and many others? Didn’t Margaret Hodge say the WCA was unfit for purpose? Hasn’t the Tripling in foodbank usage sparked the Trussell Trust to call for an inquiry? Because over 350,000 people received three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks between April and September 2013, triple the numbers helped in the same period last year.
In conclusion, hateful indifference I can take, but your lies are exposable.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

C Robinson

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JayneL left an annotation ()

"Against this background your questions about paying bills, buying medication, paying rent,
human rights, a fair tribunal hearing, the NHS, food banks etc., all fall away. Your concerns are
not new having been raised by welfare groups and in Parliament. But Parliament has agreed
that the right safeguards are in place to mitigate the effects you and others believe will arise."

What an arrogant and uninformed response - directly from the IDS 'I believe' Bible! Whatever happened to FACTS?

Operations FOI Requests, Department for Work and Pensions

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Please find attached our response to your Freedom of Information review
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DWP Freedom of Information Team.
 
 
 
 

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

..."I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'Clause 99 and the Catch 22 situation it puts ESA Claimants' in'.
because you state and I quote from your reply: "Your original question is based on the premise that there is a middle ground between being found not to have limited capability for work following an ESA work capability assessment and being able to meet the conditions for receiving JSA. Decisions made on limited capability for work following completion of a work capability assessment are binding on decision makers across the Department. Where an ESA decision maker has decided that a particular claimant does not have limited capability for work a JSA decision maker cannot subsequently dispute that decision.

I should also like to remind you that the Freedom of Information Act is about the supply of
recorded information held only, and is not about entering into a debate. A number of the
questions you pose are purely seeking opinion or attempting to initiate a debate on the merits
of Departmental policy. In view of this the Department is under no obligation to answer, and
may decide not to respond to further FOI Requests on this matter.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
above."

First of all allow to to say I don't want to get into any form of debate with you over politics or any other matter, I simply asked you for information and you answered with lies, allow me to elucidate:
you claim that there is NO middle road or catch 22 if you will between between being found not to have limited capability for work following an ESA work capability assessment and being able to meet the conditions for receiving JSA and yet cases are being exposed every day about claimants that are too ill to sign on JSA
see this link: http://www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk/Chris...
you state that: Where an ESA decision maker has decided that a particular claimant does not have limited capability for work a JSA decision maker cannot subsequently dispute that decision. How come your JCP staff wouldn't allow this man to sign on if that were so? You claim in the above newspaper article A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “It is important that we don’t simply write people off. There is strong evidence that working can be beneficial for many people who have a health condition." Isn't this evidence of what I initially said: clause 99 causes catch 22 and how can this poor man work if
1) he's too ill to be allowed to sign on
2) your disability denial factory AKA WCA, (which is that FLAWED even the prime minister said -on Oct 16th 2013 = that it had to improve) has found him "fit" for work
Finally, I have another question, if someone is in a clause 99/catch 22 situation what rights does he have since its illegal (under the Human Rights Act) to starve a person.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

C Robinson

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D Robinson left an annotation ()

what did you expect...but lies, lies and more lies. Thankfully the media now sees the DWP for what it is and is now exposing this evil organisation FOR WHAT IT IS!! i.e. evil liars.
We all knew the impact that this would have, all except the DWP, they must have chimps working around the clock to come up with such policies. They claim that they knew the impact that this would make and yet
800 children are homeless
500,000 have sought help from foodbanks
Judges have given food vouchers to shoplifters' that the DWP refused to pay
millions have been lost on their failed UC launch and useless IT companies
millions are spent on tribunals for sick and disabled that have been denied benefits by their disability denial factory ATOS.
The whole thing is a farce

Ashley Walters left an annotation ()

As the person above said: we all knew that this would happen, people will be starving and stealing and how can the law punish those that the DWP deny their basic human rights.
it's been quoted on here time after time, but, for the benefit of the DWP "chimps" I shall reiterate it
Article 25 says:

Disabled people have the right to enjoy the best possible health.
Disabled people have the right to the same range, quality and standard of free and affordable healthcare as everyone else – including sexual health and fertility services.
Governments should ensure healthcare professionals are trained to provide an equal service, on a human rights basis. This includes making sure that disabled people have access to information about treatment so that they know what treatment they are agreeing to.
Governments should provide the health services and treatment disabled people need for their specific impairments, including services that help people regain their independence after they have developed an impairment. They should ensure impairments and health conditions are identified early and that people get early support. These services need to be close to where people live – including in rural areas.
Governments should take steps to make sure health and life insurance policies do not discriminate against disabled people.

What does this mean?

This is not a right to be healthy but a right to conditions which enable best possible health and healthcare. It could mean, for instance, that disabled people have a right to continuity of care and treatment wherever they are in Britain.

You could use the Convention to argue that this means that treatment can only be given, or withdrawn, after full information about the treatment has been given and with permission of the disabled person.

It could also be used to mean that disabled people have the right to information about and access to contraception, whilst Article 23 (Respect for home and the family) makes it clear that disabled people should not be forced to use contraception.

Where does it say in this article that disabled people should be cruelly denied money and subjected to horrifying medical "assessments" that has driven people to suicide or extreme poverty and distress.
my very disabled relative, has to take morphine every day for the pain he's in and can't walk or use his hands very well and yet he's been found "fit" for work, he's still awaiting an appeal 12 months later and don't get me started on how they left him without money for 3 months -
were it not for our kind MP that got involved and helped us, I reckon he'd be dead now.

c fellows left an annotation ()

ARTICLE 25
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

This is article 25, however, no one seems to have these rights any more, correction no one that's poor or disabled have any rights.

The Govt. and DWP say that the welfare reforms haven't caused problems, now that would be laughable were it not so serious!!!!

1) thankfully the ridiculous WCA has got that much attention in the media, it makes it look like the keystone cops are running the DWP. Even the PM was shamed at PM question time in parliament (on 18/10/13)
2) the impact on foodbanks, the NHS, Police, courts, social services et al on the first year alone has been catastrophic and cost more than keeping the status quo
3) IDS et al have lost millions on the IT fiasco, he was that blinded by his hatred of any DWP claimant he was hell bent on costing the taxpayer Billions to implement his "reforms" and transfer to UC
4) the true cost of appeals for the genuinely ill and mentally and physically disabled runs into the millions already, or as IDS likes to call it millions of taxpayers' well earnt dosh

Operations FOI Requests, Department for Work and Pensions

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C Robinson
 
Please see copy of your FoI request attached
 
DWP Freedom of Information Request Team
 
 
 
 
 

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D Robinson left an annotation ()

THE DWP ARE FULL OF **** SEE THE BELOW ARTICLE FROM THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER

How Atos comes under pressure to declare disabled people as fit for work
A leaked report shows 97% of people undergoing its assessment are 'expected' to recover within two years

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree...

Leaked data suggests the Department for Work and Pensions is holding Atos to extremely tight tolerances. Photograph: Janine Wiedel Photolibrary/Alamy
Ask Atos, the company responsible for executing the work capability assessment (WCA), or the Department for Work and Pensions, which defines how the WCA is conducted, and they will tell you that they have no targets for the number of people who pass. Yet a new report from the Centre for Welfare Reform, How Norms Become Targets, uses a leaked set of Atos data to suggest that the DWP is holding Atos to extremely tight tolerances on its results.
Atos and the DWP admit to the existence of "statistical norms" and that these are used to manage the performance of individual healthcare professionals carrying out the assessments. Campaigners have long claimed that these norms function as de facto targets, but were surprised by the detail of the data logged and matched against acceptable ranges. Not only are there figures for overall numbers of people awarded the points needed to qualify for the employment and support allowance (ESA), figures also exist for individual prognoses, for the points awarded, even for the word count of the summary findings. And each Atos region is expected to stray no further than 20% from the national average.
Combining any data-gathering system with pressure to meet expectations will drive staff to converge on the "official" numbers; norms will become de facto targets, and no manager wants to be forced to justify their region's figures. Unfortunately pressure to meet expectations is exactly the process described to the Guardian by Atos whistleblower Dr Greg Wood, who went public after being repeatedly asked to change assessments, including at least one case that conflicted with his professional medical opinion.
Whether the Atos data represents targets, as the CWR report suggests, or norms, as Atos insists, the numbers themselves are deeply problematic. An assessor is expected to see about 40 people per week, 65% of whom, the data shows, are expected to fail the assessment. The remainder will be split between the ESA support group (14.5%) and the work-related activities group (20.5%). Those who pass, in either group, are then further divided across five sub-groups, which specify whether an applicant should be expected to recover in six-24 months or "longer term" (in practice three years). Only 2.6% of WCAs are expected to result in a "longer-term" prognosis, which effectively means an assessor can allocate the prognosis to just one person a week; allocating a single extra person across a month hovers on breaching the allowed 20% variation. All other applicants, no matter their disability, are labelled as expected to have recovered within two years or less.
This suggests an explanation for some of the stranger Atos rulings, where people with lifelong or degenerative disabilities have been told their conditions are expected to improve in six months. Any assessor struggling to keep down their average for longer-term prognoses has to be tempted to assign a shorter prognosis instead. Someone with a long-term disability should theoretically face an assessment once every three years, but if they are consistently assigned to the six-months prognosis group, they will potentially face not one but six assessments in that period.
Similar problems exist for points awarded during the assessment. The "descriptors", if matched, are worth six, nine or 15 points, and many disabled people will match multiple descriptors. It takes 15 points to qualify for the ESA, yet the report suggests national averages of 2.1 points for physical issues and 3.6 points for mental issues. The only way to maintain such low averages is by scoring several people at zero points for each one who passes. Are cases of people who score zero points when they clearly should pass simply evidence that the assessor saw too many seriously ill and disabled people that week? There is already an outcryover the state of the work capability assessment, with roughly one in six of all assessments successfully appealed against, at a cost to the Tribunals Service, and the taxpayer, of more than £75m per year. If that failure rate is not caused by poor quality work at the healthcare professional level but is a consequence of the Atos management system, which in turn is driven by the contractual requirements placed on it by DWP, then shouldn't that outcry be louder still?
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Mr Harris left an annotation ()

Well done for getting DWP to explain more fully. We have here a classic situation. There are reports of abuses/catch 22 and DWP deny it can happen.

My attempts to try to "resolve" these issues are at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/n... and (on a different subject) https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w...

My "method" is basically to ask for DWP research into the situations. They should then produce the reseach or admit they haven't got any.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'Clause 99 and the Catch 22 situation it puts ESA Claimants' in'.

Forgive the lateness of my reply, extreme illness and a hospital stay have delayed my reply, (believe it or not I’m “fit” for work, by ATOS) notwithstanding, my health problems, your answers are evasive and I still haven’t had clarification on my original question regarding 'Clause 99 and the Catch 22 situation it puts ESA Claimants' in'.

You state: “Some claimants will genuinely believe that they cannot possibly be entitled to JSA because they are too sick to work” - this is utter rubbish, claimants’ have to claim JSA or starve (if they don't qualify for any other benefit) you did Not make this clear, PLEASE MAKE THIS CLEAR.

Also you state: However, any claimant who presents himself at a jobcentre must be given the opportunity to make a claim, explain his predicament, as he sees it, and for the Adviser to let him know that that may not be an obstacle to employment. It is 'may' because, of course, there is the Claimant Commitment to be signed.

You obliquely use the word ‘may’ what does that mean? What about if a failed ESA claimant cannot fulfil the claimant commitment? i.e. their disability prohibits applying for certain jobs? e.g a bricklayer and you can't walk? Allow me to elucidate: I am disabled, "FIT" FOR WORK and on morphine for the intense pain I'm in, not to mention all the hospital appointments and stays I have, what about if hospital appointments, etc coincide with signing on? - How often do you get sanctioned for doctor/hospital appointments and stays?

Also what help is available for disabled JSA claimants’?

I WAS OFFERED NONE! And yet I was told to sign on and if I signed on no allowances would be made for me (I was told this by the JCP) as the Claimant Commitment wouldn’t cover my disabilities, ISN’T THIS PROOF OF MY ORIGINAL CLAIM THAT 'Clause 99 puts ESA Claimants' in a Catch 22 situation’?

What does this comment mean? ‘This may not be as 'softly, softly' as the claimant would like but then at that time he has been found fit for work by a decision maker (not Atos) - a decision moreover which is final in law - and is claiming a benefit for job seekers’.

Terminally ill, cancer sufferers, physically and mentally disabled are being found “fit” for work, for no other reason than saving money, they have been cruelly treated by ATOS and decision makers’ that get paid bonuses for getting people off benefits (this is common knowledge) so no they haven’t been treated softly softly. Are you saying then that ‘a not softly softly’ approach means that a disabled person, has to apply for the same work as a non-disabled claimant or starve?

I want clarification! I and the thousands of victims of ATOS need clarification, I want you to tell me in no uncertain terms that a disabled person:
1) Gets no help whatsoever getting back into work, i.e. disability advisor (n.b. I wasn’t)
2) Allowances are made for doctors and hospital appointments AND hospital stays when signing on
3) AND FINALLY PLEASE answer my original questions to the title of this FOI 'Clause 99 and the Catch 22 situation it puts ESA Claimants' in' I really don’t think that I am asking for much?

Suffice to say, I do not want to have to write to you again, but, until you can stop being evasive and answer my questions properly without equivocation, I want you to admit that in my case and in other disabled persons cases your clause 99 causes a catch 22 situation creates penury and starvation.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

C Robinson

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C Robinson left an annotation ()

Can I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support (via email or annotation) in getting answers from the DWP.
It has been like pulling teeth.
They claim that the JCP have "disability" advisors, this is a pack of lies in my case, they said if I sign the claimant's commitment then I am signing that I'm fit for work.
SO HERE'S THE CATCH 22! When a disabled person can't apply for certain jobs they can be sanctioned, for not keeping up with your claimants commitment.
All along they have purported that there's no catch 22, but, as you will read from this FOI there is! All I want now is for them to admit it! And I won't give in until they do!

Mr Harris left an annotation ()

My related FOI now has a further answer, see https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/n...

Some analysis is here: http://ukwelfarebenefitstruthseek.blogsp...

D Cook left an annotation ()

this is part of a letter I sent David Cameron (personal details I have omitted)

Dear Mr Cameron,

I am writing this letter to ask you when you are going to end your attack on the sick, disabled and unemployed. Your polices have driven the disabled to suicide and penury, allow me to elucidate:
I am fifty-five and in that time I have never involved myself in politics, e.g. I never got involved in the poll tax demonstrations and myriads of other things that put people’s backs up in my lifetime. I led my life quietly, daily caring for two-close disabled relatives and I did this with little money and no complaints, that was until your systematic attack on the disabled, which has made a disabled activist out of me and I was the most politically laid back person on earth.
As soon as you became prime minister you and your (complicit) ministers’ began the most vicious attack on the poor since the Tudor poor laws, which began initially with the help of the media (especially the Daily Mail) your skiver v striver rhetoric courted controversy and there wasn’t a day go by when skivers’ wasn’t demonised in the news and the likes of Osbourne and Iain Duncan Smith tried to use Mick Philpott as their ‘poster child’ for benefit claimants’.
Very few people (outside those effected by your cuts) complained: ATOS was exposed on BBCs Panorama and Channel 4’s Dispatches; even then it didn’t have much effect on non-disabled people - that was until you went too far! Since last summer, there wasn’t a week go by that the most sick and chronically physically and mentally disabled wasn’t found fit for work, cases like David Coupe that died whilst found fit for work when on appeal, I’m sure you remember when Dennis Skinner lambasted you in parliament last October? Even Richard III was found “fit” for work!
I could add hundreds of cases like David Coupe’s: cases like my son who is in a catch 22 situation, you won’t allow him to claim ESA and his autism prevents him from signing on, so all he has is his DLA to live off, until you take that off him with DLA to PIP assessments. It’s galling to think that you had a disabled son that you claimed DLA, how would you have liked to have been treated the same way that you treat others?
What angers me most is how you kept changing the law to suit your attack on the disabled, firstly, because there were so many successful appeals, you now have to await a mandatory reconsideration before you go to appeal and you have to starve whilst awaiting a decision, some have committed suicide and many have had to rely on food banks because they have no income. Even then the disabled – given no choice - STILL appealed and so you moved the goalposts further by considering charging for DWP appeals, how monstrous can you get? Do you think it will stop the disabled (that have NO choice) from appealing?
The situation has become that untenable that even the UN has criticised your bedroom tax policy. I am not a victim of the bedroom tax, but, I know that good people that are and it’s making their lives unbearable, especially as there’s NO smaller properties to move to. Is your hatred of the precariat that bad that you are prepared to see them out on the streets or in workhouses? A wise man once wrote: ‘Starvation makes the anarchist out of the meek’ I truly believe the demonstrations outside all the ATOS offices this week are testament to this and it’s just the beginning of the rebellion that’s to come and the acquisition of water cannons et al will not stop the festering anger, anger that will make the London riots like the queen’s tea party. I’m no prophet or anarchist; nevertheless, I don’t have to be either to foresee the outcome of your policies. Even ATOS are abandoning the sinking ship and want out of their contract with the DWP.
It’s not just the disabled that have been severely affected by the welfare “reforms”, I want to relate to you one experience of JSA sanctioning and please don’t tell me this is humane:
My friend’s daughter was sanctioned - the week her father died (January 2013) - for not looking for enough jobs! (n.b she was NOT workshy she'd been laid off from her job in hospitality - due to the recession)
3 months she was without money!!!!
Have you any idea how your reforms have impacted on:
The NHS as I write this a mentally ill woman is in a coma because she was denied ESA and mental health problems have rocketed.
SOCIAL SERVICES are inundated with cries of help off people that they wouldn’t ordinary see pre welfare “reform” days
THE POLICE the police and courts have been full of people whose crime was to steal when hungry, because you denied them benefits.
SCHOOLS: have to deal with absences due to sanctions of parents and trying to find places for children that have to move due to the bedroom tax.
COURTS: appeal courts are bursting at the seams with DWP appeals and debt collection for arrears from council tax and Bedroom tax.
I could write a thesis on the impact of your welfare “reforms”, but, what’s the point, you will not listen, just don’t say you weren’t warned when the impact on your welfare reforms go into meltdown.

D Cook left an annotation ()

I forgot to say I'm not holding my breath awaiting a reply

DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

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