Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits


2:02 pm - July 31st 2012

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contribution by Maeve McClenaghan

Last night there aired not one, but two documentaries about Atos and the Work Capability Assessment. Dispatches and Panorama, which were screened consecutively, used hidden cameras to explore two sides of this emotive story.

Around £13bn is spent in the UK each year on disability benefits, but stories about able-bodied individuals claiming benefits fraudulently have lead some to worry that this money is being wasted. And so plans were made to tackle, what David Cameron called Britain’s ‘sick note culture.’

The answer, it was proposed, was a new test to weed out the fraudsters and encourage those able to do some form of work back into the system. Thus, the Work Capability Test was introduced, first by Labour and later developed under the coalition government.

However, as both Dispatches and Panorama reveal, while the test may be helping some, it is also having serious consequences for those legitimately claiming benefits, who are having the support they need wrenched away from them.

Dispatches- Britain on the Sick
The first programme to hit our screens was Dispatches on Channel 4. The 30 minute documentary, fronted by reporter Jackie Long, gave the viewer an inside look at Atos Healthcare, the French company tasked with administering the Work Capability Tests.

Dr Steven Bick, a GP and former Labour political candidate, was sent undercover for 16 weeks of training to become an assessor for the company. Hidden camera footage documents his training, from seminars with his jaded teacher to chats with fellow assessors. What he un-covered was often shocking.

The assessment measures 17 types of activity, such as raising your arms above head or walking 200m. The applicant is ranked on each activity, 0 points if you can perform the task, a maximum 15 points if you can in no way complete the action. The applicant needs at least one maximum score in one of the tasks to be put in the ‘Support Group’ and be applicable for the maximum Employment and Support Allowance of £96 a week.

The secretly filmed footage shows just how hard it is to score the 15 points needed. Bick’s teacher tells him that when it comes to the manual dexterity test, even having lost an arm is not enough to score you top points. ‘It’s almost unachievable,’ the trainer sighs, jabbing the air with her hand, ‘as long as you have one finger and you can just press a button you don’t score anything for manual dexterity.’

Similarly some conditions which one would assume would be counted as limiting a person’s working potential, do not score points. Treatment for breast and prostate cancer is not rated on the assessment, because the chemotherapy is not administered intravenously.

Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of disability charity SCOPE described the test as ‘deeply flawed’. ‘It is outrageous,’ he tells Long, ‘you need to look at a much wider perspective of a individual to determine whether they’re capable of working.’

However, more worrying that the technicalities of the test is the idea that there might be targets on how many people are allowed to pass. Both Atos and the Department of Work and Pensions, the government body that oversees the process, denies the allegation completely. When Bick talks to his teacher and fellow assessors he gets a different story.

Bick’s teacher warns that the numbers of those assessed as being in the top band ‘Support Group’ are closely monitored. If the assessor is assigning more than 12 or 13% to the group ‘you will be told your rate is too high’. He later checks this with a fellow assessor who agrees that she has heard there is a 12% limit and explains she thinks the figure comes from the DWP.

The final decision on whether to award benefits is not made by Atos but rather the DWP, but Dispatches reveals that the recommendations put forward by Atos are followed 94% of the time. Two fifths of all the decisions made by assessors are appealed by claimants. Of those appeals 30% are overturned to by independent judges. These appeals are costing £45m a year.

The DWP refused to be interviewed for the programme but asserted that in the first round of the assessment 29% were placed in the Support Group. They also said the are trying to reduce appeals by improving the original assessments and asking judges to give their reasons for overturning decisions.

Despite their poor appeal rate Atos are still in the running to win another government contract administering another disability testing programme in the future.

For Dr Bick, his time as an assessor is over: he quit after two days of working. It seems his teacher was right when she told him ‘This job is frustrating, it’s toxic’.

Panorama- Disabled or Faking It?
Flicking the channel over to BBC 2, the viewer is offered yet another exploration of the Work Capability Test. This time from a slightly different angle, the programme follows two claimants as they secretly film themselves being assessed.

The show’s introduction follows the same format as Dispatches, exploring the reasons behind the introduction of the test. Then, once more, we are introduced to Atos and told that in the four years since they have been running the assessment a third of those assessed have been found fit to work. But, Lawn asks, is it just weeding out the undeserving?

Chris Davies used to work in the steel industry and as a lorry driver before he was diagnosed with emphysema, a chronic lung condition. Davies was claiming Employment and Support Allowance of £90 a week when he was called in to do the Work Capability Assessment. He did not pass the test and was told he was fit for work. Shocked, Davies appealed the decision and won. He is one of many, Panorama tells the viewers that each year 176,000 cases go to appeal, at a cost of £50m, (a £5m discrepancy from Dispatches’ figures.)

Davies then repeats the assessment, secretly filming the process. He is seen being asked to bend and stretch, before his lungs are checked and pronounced clear. Not surprising, Davies explains, his own GP often finds the same but X-rays and blood tests show the extent of his emphysema. The Atos assessors do not have such methodical tests at their disposal. Davies’ assessment takes just 20 minutes, something pressured Atos assessors say is normal.

Much like Dispatches the programme then turns to the idea of targets. The Atos employees contacted by the programme, non of whom would appear on screen, reportedly mentioned 20% as a target, differing to the 12% heard by Dr Bick.

In terms of finding proof of set targets Panorama comes no closer. Lawn waves a copy of the Atos contract but explains it is heavily redacted in places.

DWP Minister Chris Grayling is interviewed. He denies the allegations telling Lawn, ‘there are no targets anywhere in this system for numbers of people to move on or off benefits’. But, Panorama explains, there are government financial forecasts, showing an estimated decrease in spending on disability benefits.

Lawn also interviews Malcolm Harrington, the man tasked by the government with reviewing the current system. He explains how such assessments cannot be purely methodical, but need an element of human understanding in order to make valid judgments. Asked if he thinks the current system is fit for purpose, he admits his recommendations have not permeated the entire system and that it remains ‘patchy.’ ”There will be people, because we’re in this interim period, that will suffer,’ he says, worriedly.

Cases of such suffering are heart-wrenching, like Steve Hill who was diagnosed with heart disease but still failed the Atos assessment twice. He had a heart attack and died, just 39 days after Atos found him fit for work a second time.

The Panorama programme also, importantly, touches on the issue of mental health. Lawn travels to the Maudsley hospital, where, we are told ‘they are picking up the tab for a system that has gone badly wrong’. The story of Andy King tells the tale well. Andy is bi-polar and described being asked to undergo the Atos assesment as ‘a body blow’. The impact was so extreme Andy was sectioned in the Maudsley hospital. He was catatonic and unable to speak. While he was in hospital Atos came and assessed him and put him in the ‘Work Related’ group. The hospital appealed on his behalf, but doctors there tell how having to fight such decisions is putting a huge strain on their work load.

It would have been interesting to have more on this, we are left wondering what questions there are, if any, on the Atos test that assess mental health issues relating to performing and holding down a job. If a man in a catatonic state can be judged fit to work surely there is a flaw in the testing?

Second opinion
Both Panorama and Dispatches offer powerful insights into the Work Capability Test and those it is affecting. While it is highly unusual to have two, such similar documentaries aired on one night, watching the two together does give a full picture of the complexities of the situation. The secret filming in Dispatches reveals doctors forced by strict rules and guidelines into clinical, often over-simplistic decisions, a kind of human-MOT. While Panorama’s various human case studies reveal the devastation that can be wrought on the already vulnerable.

Neither documentary manages to fully diagnose the targets as a governmental policy, but both find Atos assessors under the impression that they have to work to certain figures. While denied by both Atos and the government, the fact both investigations touch on the idea shows there is at least confusion within the system.

Not mentioned in either programme is the fact that, despite assertions from the government that the test is part of a policy aimed at getting people into work, Remploy, an organisation designed to provide work opportunities for those with disabilities, has recently announced the closure of half its factories due to government cuts.

Grayling tells Panorama the scheme is a form of ‘tough love’, these programmes prove he is 50% right.


Watch Dispatched Britain on the Sick here and Panorama Disabled or Faking It here.
Maeve McClenaghan writes for The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, where this is cross-posted from.

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Reader comments


I watched Panorama last night with increasing disgust at the way sick people are treated in this country at the moment.

I get low rate DLA and formed the impression that there were targets on DLA as well. Some time ago i applied for a higher rate as my condition had worsened, i have an autoimmune disease and had aquired another autoimmune disease.The DWP twisted everything round and said i could do things that i most certainly could not.

Basically they don’t care. They know these people are not fit for work and are never likely to be. How long i wonder before they start interferring with the appeals process as so many people are winning?

2. Planeshift

” Andy was sectioned in the Maudsley hospital. He was catatonic and unable to speak. While he was in hospital Atos came and assessed him and put him in the ‘Work Related’ group”

OH FFS.

Can any of the right wingers on here – with any seriousness – defend this?

Are there any jobs out there that don’t require some form of ‘communication skills’? What possible jobs could somebody catatonic possibly do? (apart from being a member of the house of lords possibily.)

Planeshift

Of course the right wingers can defend the indefensible. If they or their family members are not personally affected, it is fine ‘n dandy with them. Once they personally are affected they suddenly start singing from a different hym sheet – like their “heroic” Ayn Rand, who went to a state hospital when she was terminally ill.

Either that or they are seriously hogtied ideologically!

4. Shatterface

I’ve had 6 or 7 (I’ve honestly lost track) Atos ‘examinations’ arranged by my employer, most of these conducted over the phone. These aren’t about whether I’m capable of work at all but about ‘reasonable adjustments’ – but even if they were an accurate test of my fitness at that time it doesn’t tell anyone anything useful as I’m bipolar II. If was unlucky enough to be hypomanic during my assessment (which admittedly hasn’t happened yet) I’d over-perform.

I don’t think I could actually conscieve of an adequate system for the assessment of variable or progressive conditions, mental or physical, and I’m pretty sure any such system would be incompatable with any kind of bureaucracy.

Don’t get me wrong: I want to continue to work, and I think people who can work should do so, but the system we have now is unacceptable: payment of benefits should be seperate from helping people back to work.

2

I encounter this sort of thing on a regular basis, even before the implementation of Atos assessments, it has always been difficult for people with mental health problems to ‘fit’ into the category of ‘disabled’ as most of the forms and assessments are designed for those with a physical disability.

I have spoken on the telephone to Atos on at least three occasions this year to advise that the person they have insisted attend for an assessment cannot attend because they are on a section. And it’s a waste of time escorting those on sections to assessments as their diagnosis cannot be challenged, however, receiving letters which threaten to stop benefits if they don’t attend impacts upon their vulnerable mental state.

There can’t be anyone in the country who isn’t aware of the reality of the situation. Clearly, many thousands of people that are wholly unsuitable for a workplace environment at the current stage of their lives are being passed fit for work by a corrupt system, and everyone who is a part of it should hang their heads in shame.

Best of luck with your situation Shatterface

7. Northern Worker

I watched both programmes and I’m ashamed that the Labour government I voted for introduced this. But then it’s typical of the way governments of any colour work – tick boxes for everything. You can hardly blame Atos. Whichever company had taken it on it would still have been the same tick boxes.

But both programmes were poorly made and relied on a ‘survey of one’ technique. Yes, the people interviewed were clearly not able to work and should be supported. But does that go for everyone on DLA? I gather we have twice as many as Germany on disability benefit as a percentage of the working population. It’s hard to believe that every single one of our claimants is genuine.

I’ve said it before here or elsewhere, I worked for an inspector (engineering) who lost both legs in WW2. He was in pain all the time and a really grumpy sod, but he was in work before me and left after me. Okay a ‘survey of one’, but you get my point.

Like all the stuff appealing to the chiiiiiildren, we can lose objectivity so easily when faced with adversity. But the system is clearly flawed and has to change and allow proper assessment. How can you assess people with lung problems without an x-ray? Governments can because we’re just a box to tick.

Planeshift,

I’m right-wing and I can’t defend that.

Good for you Mr Potarto! If you have a business, or are employed by a company, this shameful stuff actually reduces the marketplace. You only have to look at third world countries ran by dictatorial kleptocrats to see that.

The true purpose of policies like this is to give an even freer ride to the super rich, who frankly (with few exeptions) want to have their cake & eat it. At the expense of the rest of us.

Officials that train doctors at ATOS to carry out their tests believe that what they are doing is wrong and toxic !

So there you have it : Just like Hitlers Government, officials, military commanders and foot soldiers they all knew what they was doing was wrong but they still went ahead and done it because it was orders.

The evidence was clear to hear and no person put words into their mouths throughout the entire documentary. This Coalition Government is guilty of lies, persecution, discrimination and serious breaches of human rights against the most vulnerable in society. This country is being run by a Tory Led Coalition of Evil.

Do we really live in 2012 Britain ?

It’s good to See the LC covering this issue.
All too often the benefit debate only airs in a skewd way in the daiy mail, the sun and the dangerous rhetoric of of some of our more right wing politicians.
Let’s try to remember behind the statistics there are real people and stop damaging attitudes to disability.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19059299

Mr Grunt, here are a few phrases for you…

Those who choose to be ignorant of history are forever doomed to repeat the mistakes of history.

For evil to truimph takes the inaction of good people.

Don’t blame me guv, i was only following orders guv.

one step, two step, three step, four
five step, six step, seven step MORE…

The phrases above come from a wide range of sources, everything from the bible to the failed defence of Nazis at the Nuremberg trials!

The employees of ATOS et al are proving themselves to be mindlessly authoritarian, scitzophrenic patsies. Shame on them for their collusion! As for the tories, (and new labour before them) what can I say, except they are proving themselves to be worse…

Totally agree with Northern Worker at 7. ATOS is working to a contract where its financial incentives are completely tied to assessing people as fit for work, irrespective of whether or not they are. Because that’s what the government (at the time, NuLab – the contract was signed in March 2005 under David Blunkett) wanted to ensure they would do.

Yes, points taken about SS guards, ‘just obeying orders’, etc etc. Fine: ATOS is a wicked amoral corporation (or a ‘corporation’, as they are also known). But I think we can fairly say that the Nazi leadership bear more responsibility for the Holocaust than anyone else.

By the same token, ascribing primary blame to ATOS for the vindictive, bean-counting and box-ticking policy that the UK government has enforced for almost a decade under both major parties is to completely and utterly miss the point. The contract, and the ends that it is designed to achieve, are the problem here.

I hate right wingers because they stink of poopoo and eat babies, I love left wingers because they are so nice and cuddly.

Unfortunately I’ve run out of time to talk about Atos and disabled people, but at least I’ve got the important issues out there

15. Chaise Guevara

Mr Grunt: “Do we really live in 2012 Britain ?”

Yep. See below.

Dissident: “The employees of ATOS et al are proving themselves to be mindlessly authoritarian, scitzophrenic patsies.”

Nah. Not in a way that distinguishes them from other people, anyway.

Doing nasty things because someone told you to is not special to Nazis or to nasty people or to people living under dictatorships.

In the Milgram experiment, authoritative scientists order subjects to administer what they believe are torturous and potentially fatal electric charges to an innocent person (an actor that they think is a study participant selected at random). 60-odd percent of people will do so. If they are asked to take part in a more passive way, by taking notes, this rises to over 90%. Note that, in the scenario compared to ATOS, the authority figure is a lot less powerful over the subject (i.e. a scientist in a study, not the subject’s boss) and the sin is far more obvious, shocking and visceral.

Basically, most people will do pretty much anything if someone they’ve identified as an authority figure wills it so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

Yes Chaise, I am aware of the Milgram experiment, I have been for years. It reveals a serious flaw in our species psychological profile doesn’t it. If you re-read my post in that light, maybe it will become clear that I was thinking along those lines anyway!

Thankyou for posting a link to those experiments…

Knowing the root cause however does not absolve people of guilt, when they collude in causing harm to others. It just means you understand it better.

It gets worse too. As people living in dictatorships frequently find. Once you empower a system that auses harm

I watched these programmes, and found it maddening to hear Grayling act as though there are millions of jobs out there, perfectly suitable and adaptable, for all these people who are currently on sickness benefits. He is living in cloud-cuckoo land, or he thinks we’re all idiots, either way.

I’ve written for this site before about how it’s extremely difficult to get a job if you have a disability or long term medical condition, and I’m afraid to say my experiences keep backing up my view that discrimination is rife at the recruitment stage despite it being very hard to prove or fight against.

There is a yawning chasm between the activities stipulated on the WCA and what you actually need to do to get and keep a job. The welfare rights officer on Panorama brought this up with his comment about there being no jobs where all you do is move an empty cardboard box, but the point wasn’t made often enough in my opinion (although I’m aware both programmes only had half an hour). It would’ve been nice to see a few job specs compared/contrasted with the WCA assessment. Or recruitment agencies phoning up employers: “Hi, my client can walk 200m and press a button, what work have you got for him?”

At the very least, they could’ve made the point that the WCA is based on doing certain activities once or a few times in isolation, not continually for seven/eight hours a day, five days a week, as a person with a full time job would be expected to do.

*continuation

Once you empower a system that causes harm, what is to stop that harm visiting you, or your family. What is to stop you from falling foul in any random way to what you have helped impose on others in the past? Usually at a time when that system is worse….

(ps note to Sunny, can you have the Publish field moved further from the comments field on the mobile theme of this site, please, for when you need to correct spellings. My fingers are not that small!)

19. Chaise Guevara

@ Dissident

Fair enough. My point is that it’s a mistake to portray ATOS staff as *unusual*. It’s not staffed by arseholes, it’s staffed by people.

20. Mr Bingham

As I have said before it is mow time for ALL the disability groups, organisations, charities and everyone that speaks out for the sick and disabled to come together as one and speak with one voice to deliver the sick, disabled and vulnerable in society from this evil.

It is now crystal clear that Government and it’s associates (ATOS & Others) are deliberately misleading and knowingly inflicting misery upon those that do not have a voice and cannot protect themselves.

If ALL these disability groups, charities and others come together as one they will become strong and be able to efficiently fight this evil. Until then, this entire evil process will just drag on for many years continuing to make the most vulnerable suffer this injustice that is clearly a serious breach upon the human rights against the sick and disabled.

Mr Grunt makes a good comparison because this is a Tory Led Coalition of evil. If ALL come together they will become strong and be able to repel this evil just as countries stood together to fight the evil of Adolf Hitler.

21. Robert Hughes

“Tough love” is just a polite way of saying ‘tough ****’

Mrs Fungus and I watched the Dispatches programme. No doubt there are people who are being assessed as fit for work who clearly aren’t, but one part of the programme was off interest to Mrs Fungus. As mentioned by the OP the programme thought it was outrageous that even having lost one limb would not get you maximum marks for the manual dexterity test – you needed a double amputation.

Mrs Fungus has worked with a one armed teacher who had no difficulty in carrying out his job and also sheher workplace received a presentation from a double leg amputee.

As mentioned in another post we have much higher rates of disabled than other countries and why do some parts of the country have significantly higher registered disabled than others?

I worked with a colleague who recieved substantial DLA. I do not understand why she was effectively given a free car and other allowances. Ok she was not as mobile as others and I would not want to have the condition she had, but she was in full time work. She could afford a car and would have bought a car anyway – just not as good as what she was given.

Fungus @ 22

As mentioned in another post we have much higher rates of disabled than other countries and why do some parts of the country have significantly higher registered disabled than others?

My first question would be, Do we?

Secondly, I would ask if you are comparing like with like? Given that most European Countries have stricter employment laws and protection is it possible that our brutally harsh labour market means that that even people with comparatively minor illness are de facto unemployable?

You know, it doesn’t really matter if someone with one arm (for example) can work, if no potential employers will ever employ you. Why would you employ ( a la Robin nest) a one armed dishwasher if thirty people all with two arms apply for the same job?

Stephen Hawking has a wonderful and highly succesfull career, yet I bet if he never made the grade as a scientist, he would have been unlikely to become a great shelf stacker.

24. Charlieman

My thanks to Sunny for relaxing the rules to allow such a lengthy OP. If it was cut in any way, it does not show because the argument flows without interruption.

On reading the OP, I immediately thought of the Stanford prison experiment. And I am sure that Dissident will pop up to say, “yes, of course”. 😉 In the Stanford prison experiment, the behaviour of both “guards” and “prisoners” was affected.

In the ATOS non-experiment, the behaviour of benefit claimants is certain to be affected by the conditions of assessment. At the very least, claimants understand that failure to pass assessment may lead to a financial penalty.

It will be psychologically damaging to the doctors who assess claimants. Even if ATOS doesn’t operate to a pass rate, even if ATOS doesn’t receive “performance” rewards, the behaviour of doctor assessors is being changed because they do not know the rules of the game.

As a matter of public interest, the operating procedures of ATOS and their contract with government should be published. Commercial confidentiality should not be a counter argument.

25. Charlieman

@22. Fungus: “…and why do some parts of the country have significantly higher registered disabled than others?”

You should have paid more attention in Geography lessons, Fungus.

Concentrations of industrial related illness are best understood by looking at towns and cities, rather than regions. Mining, chemicals, steel making, heavy engineering — and, surprisingly to many people, agriculture — have an impact on the citizens of a town. In a region, people who are disabled by industry will be concentrated in particular places. It is not necessary to be a worker to be harmed.

A second geographic consideration is the gene pool.

Another consideration is that “ability to work” is assessed differently in different places. Work prospects are different in different places and for different people. One armed middle managers usually have more opportunities than one armed machine operators.

26. Chaise Guevara

@ 22 Fungus

“I worked with a colleague who recieved substantial DLA. I do not understand why she was effectively given a free car and other allowances. Ok she was not as mobile as others and I would not want to have the condition she had, but she was in full time work.”

Would you have traded? Take the condition to get the DLA?

27. Chaise Guevara

@ 23 Jim

“You know, it doesn’t really matter if someone with one arm (for example) can work, if no potential employers will ever employ you. Why would you employ ( a la Robin nest) a one armed dishwasher if thirty people all with two arms apply for the same job?”

I think I’ve seen you bring this up several times when the whole “fit for work” thing is mentioned, and I just want to say thanks for doing so. It’s central to the issue, and something that the other side likes to conveniently forget. Hopefully there are some anti-DLA people who genuinely haven’t thought of this and will give it due consideration.

One error that both programmes did fall into was to assume that the new regime of ESA tests were brought in to detect fraudulent claims. This was never the intention, as they are not the correct type of test to do that.

To take a slightly modified current event, say we have a national high jumping contest where anyone who can jump over 1.5 metres get a medal. It is suspected that some people are cheating.

Would it make sense to deal with that problem by raising the threshhold for a medal to 2.0m? That is what the new ESA tests changed compared to the old incapacity benefit tests. If previous medal holders failed to clear the new height it would not expose them as ‘cheats’.

@ charlieman

I can’t resist – yes of course!!
What is interesting to note about the Stanford experiment is it was discontinued due to been entirely too successful. The ‘guards’ became sadistically cruel and the ‘prisoners’ displayed worrying evidence of mental dysfunction in only a few days.

@ Tom Low

Interesting analogy.

@22, 23

According to OECD data, the number of people of working age claiming disability benefits is 7% in the UK, slightly higher than the OECD average of 5.7%, but lower than a number of other countries.

http://www.oecd.org/social/socialpoliciesanddata/46462479.pdf

I believe that countries such as Germany and France etc have much stronger laws compelling employers to take on a proportion of disabled workers (although I’m no expert on this). So comparing us to them is like comparing apples to oranges.

31. Dave Angel

I have a friend with long-term illness who was recently placed in the Work Related Activity Group by Atos and the DWP.

Previous to this, she was retired early on ill-health grounds from the NHS. Guess who runs “all medical input to ill health retirement and injury benefit schemes for the largest pension scheme in Europe [NHS Pensions].”? Yep, that would be Atos Healthcare.

http://www.atoshealthcare.com/about_us/our_customers

So the same private company took the shilling to pronounce her unfit for work then, only a few months later, using their ridiculous computerised test, took more government money and pronounced her fit for work. The test took no heed of her GP, her consultant, or even their own original assessment.

She will now have to go to a tribunal, and is being put under huge stress that she should not have to suffer.

Dehumanising and despicable.

Fungus, 22

“I worked with a colleague who recieved substantial DLA. I do not understand why she was effectively given a free car and other allowances. Ok she was not as mobile as others and I would not want to have the condition she had, but she was in full time work”

(The programmes were not about DLA,) DLA is a non-means tested benefit and is not an out of work one. The car is not “free”, it’s paid for out of the Mobility component of DLA. DLA is given in recognition of the fact that disabled people incur higher costs, and one of the justifications for paying it has been that it can help people remain in work, indeed, in this case, in full time work.

(It is also paid to people not in paid employment, of course.)

Fungus @22:

People on DLA do not get a ‘free car’. I have heard this repeated many times and it simply is not true. If you receive the higher rate mobility component of DLA, you are eligible for the Motability scheme, whereby you use your DLA money to RENT a car from the scheme. You don’t get to have your DLA money *and* a car, it’s one or the other. Moreover the car is not yours, you do not own it. So the money you put into it does not come back to you in the form of resale value, etc.

Also, depending on what make/model of car you want/need, you often have to top up the money out of your own pocket. Only a few makes of car are available to rent for the basic DLA money alone.

Once a car has been rented out for three years, whichever Motability partner you are using then sell it.The DLA money they’ve received for the three years you rented the car (around £10.5k) compensates them for its loss of value and then some. It’s a good business for them. You then rent a new one, and of course this gets reported as ‘disabled people get a new car every three years’.

I calculated, when I was on DLA, that it worked out better value over the long term to keep my DLA money and buy a second hand car with my partner. Motability does help a lot of people get mobile – it’s just not as simple or as generous as many people think it is.

Possible New WCA Descriptors

thankyou Sue Marsh

http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/


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  2. ManchesterLabourLeft

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  3. Eugene Grant

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  4. Eugene Grant

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  10. Katherine Runswick-C

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    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/VcBASLfs via @libcon

  12. Richard

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/VcBASLfs via @libcon

  13. Noxi

    RT @libcon: Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits http://t.co/8Alk1rna

  14. Noxi

    RT @libcon: Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits http://t.co/8Alk1rna

  15. Paul Cardin

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/VcBASLfs via @libcon

  16. Paul Cardin

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/VcBASLfs via @libcon

  17. Colin-Roy Hunter

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits http://t.co/7U8sVimd

  18. Colin-Roy Hunter

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits http://t.co/7U8sVimd

  19. Colin-Roy Hunter

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/mnETjVa0 via @libcon

  20. BevR

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/8rvfYR15 via @libcon

  21. neil lambert

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/8rvfYR15 via @libcon

  22. Stop Starvation

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ziNfF8f9 via @libcon

  23. Valerie Bee

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/nrtCxgXD via @libcon

  24. ste

    @MaeveMCC Hi Maeve. Just saw your piece on LibCon. Have posted a comment as Dave Angel which might interest you. http://t.co/I7v9bpmO

  25. voynich

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/DT0Rlzda via @libcon

  26. saramo

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/iPF9OAzJ via @libcon

  27. sue francis

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/rn6I3q2E via @libcon

  28. sue francis

    Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/DT0Rlzda via @libcon

  29. Reactions to the BBC and Channel 4 documentaries on ATOS and the WCA « kickingthecat

    […] Tough love or tough luck: two programmes on assessing disability benefits […]

  30. ste

    @AtosVictims1 Hi. I've posted a comment here (as Dave Angel) which might interest you. http://t.co/I7v9bpmO





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