Incapacity benefit challenge begins

It’s challenge time again on the Frugal Life blog. Cast your mind back to October this year and you may recall that the Conservatives revealed plans to review incapacity benefit if they come into power. Party leaders say they are on a mission to help the poorest in society better themselves by escaping the benefits trap and gaining the skills required to get back to work. They say they are launching a campaign dubbed ‘Get Britain Working’ to provide people with job opportunities and qualifications to enable them to return to the workplace. However, the Tories also claim that of the 2.6 million people receiving incapacity benefit, at least 400,000 are incorrectly claiming. They aim to make all recipients undergo medical tests to determine if they are fit to work, weed out fraudsters and return as many people as possible to work. The Conservatives also plan to cut the benefit of recipients deemed healthy enough to work by £25 a week by only allowing them to receive unemployment benefit of £64.

But what is life actually like for people on incapacity benefit living with a disability or illness? Over the next three weeks I aim to find out more. MSN Money has challenged me to live on the equivalent money received by an incapacity benefit claimant (£89.80 a week). I also hope to gain insight into the lives of recipients by meeting and chatting to real life claimants and disability campaigners.

According to the Directgov website, if your illness or disability started before 27 Oct 2008, you may be eligible for incapacity benefit (IB). The benefit is paid at three weekly rates – £67.75 for the first 28 weeks (£86.20 if pension age), £80.15 (£89.80 if pension age) between weeks 29 and 52, and after that the payment goes up to £89.80. However, the system is changing and if your illness or disability began after 27 Oct 2008, you are eligible for the new employment and support allowance which replaces IB. Under the new system claimants undergo a work capability assessment. Those deemed able to work are put into the ‘work-related activity group’ and take part in ‘work-focused interviews’ with a personal advisor. Those unable to work because their disability or illness is too severe are placed in the ‘support group’ and not expected to enter employment. People in the work-related group receive £89.80 a week, while those in the support group receive an extra support component, bringing the payment up to £95.15 a week. During the first 13 weeks while each claim is being assessed a single person under 25 is paid up to £50.95 and a single person over 25, £64.30. Married individuals or those with children may receive more. There are also other payments which disabled people may qualify for, such as disability living allowance and attendance allowance to help pay for additional care at home and mobility.

Obviously there is much debate in the media about the benefits system and feelings run high. Some commentators argue that the system is overrun by fraudsters and people too lazy to work. But disability campaigners say most recipients are genuinely unable to enter the workplace and already endure rigorous medical means tests to determine their fitness for work. I am looking forward to finding out more.

Do you think the incapacity benefit system is abused? Are the Tories right to tackle the issue or are they unfairly targeting the disabled and sick who are medically unable to work? Leave a message and let me know your thoughts.

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84 Responses to Incapacity benefit challenge begins

  1. Michael says:

    As someone who is categorised as \’disabled\’ – I have mental health problems – but has savings which were earmarked for my retirement (my previous job did not have a pension scheme), I receive NOTHING in terms of benefits since being made redundant 2yrs ago. Having worked for almost 40yrs and paid NI contributions and income tax it angers me that there are people who have never worked a day (and who will strive not to) who are \’milking\’ the benefit system dry. Why does the Goverment not means test Disability Living Allowance, for example? Or child benefits? There are people on very high incomes who receive these benefits who – because of their high incomes, dont actually need them. If the Goverment wants to save money that would be one way to do so. The central issue around Incapacity Benefit is that GP\’s are either misdiagnosing their patients and issuing medical certificates un-necessarilly which I doubt is the case or the present system is flawed and has been for many decades and cutbacks are focussed on the least able and most vulverable in our society.

  2. heather says:

    In January 2009 i badly broke my leg and now due to a misfitted plate in my leg i have to undergo further surgery. I was on statutory sick pay and after the 26 weeks got transferred to the new ESA. The system is totally chaotic i have had one medical and now have to have another in the space of 3 weeks even though my employer has kept my job open for me and my condition hasnt changed. I have been placed in the to work category and have to attend Seetec so they can find me a job, if i do not attend my ESA will be stopped. I phoned my boss to double check that he had held my job open for me he assures me my job is still there for when my surgeon says i am able to return to work. Total total madness

  3. ANDREW says:

    I agree the benefits system is being overun by fraudsters. I know of a individual who as had a bad back for the last 13 years and is claiming incapacity benefit surely that doesn\’t stop him picking a phone up in a call centre this is far more productive than him sat watching tv day in day out. The tests they are put through can\’t be that rigorous this individuals back is that bad that he can put a new engine in his car himself

  4. laurie says:

    there are genuine case\’s of people too ill to work and get nothing a friend of mine has had 2 discs removed from her neck and 2 metal ones put in she can\’t lift things etc & is on morphene to relieve the constant pain but was told she is not ill enough to qualify for any help at all. the guy who fitted himself a new car engine wants reporting. they should stop paying for these teenagers girls who wont work get in family way and then get a house. we had to work get a house & then think about a family.

  5. SCORRRPION says:

    Of course there are fraudsters on the benefit gravy train, but then again there are some already in govorment e.g lets bye a plasma T.V ,NEW WALLPAPER , CARPETS , AN PAY OFF SOME OF MY 2ND HSE DEBTS , and whats better still lets use public money. These are people who are already earning £50 – £60,000 Per year and still they want MORE and they get away with it , and they seem to think that HAVING to pay it back makes it ok. If I was caught fiddeling the system I could expect a fine and loss of benefits or the latter and jailed. My point is if you are running a country and you take from the people who put you there, what do you think the people are going to do ? They are going to do the same, LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

  6. Miriam says:

    Just had major back surgery- Have arthiritis and sciatica and on Morphine and tramadol- Am also a lone parent- 5 DAYS AFTER my op I have to attend a work focused interview for ESA – Have 2 kids by myself I get no help with them let alone get a job too- Just been put in the work related activity group because I\’m not dying-I Can\’t stand up for long , bend down- carry anything or sit for very long- Would love to know what job they expect me to get- I want to work- But some of us are telling the truth.

  7. Fiona says:

    My father was disabled after an accident at work when I was 7, his leg never healed as he contracted a disease which ate away slowly at the bones, he spent 10 years bringing up me a my sister and living in agony, bleeding, vomiting blood, dirty wound dressings, screaming in the night. My mother and I had to care for him. It made me really angry when people (neighbors and kids at school) just said that we were scroungers. My father worked for 20 years prior to his accident, employed others and paid taxes often at the higher tax rate. When I was 17 my father finally died. In a way I was glad he was dead just so I could turn around to people and say…see I told you he was really sick! I grew up in poverty in inner London. It makes so angry thinking that people abuse the system, then there is less money to around for people whom need it.

  8. Kevin says:

    I am sure a large percentage of people claiming benefits are genuine, but statements which excuse people returning to work through alcohol dependancy, drug dependancy or other excuses is wrong. Fraudsters should be imprisoned. The benefits system was set up to offer a safety net for people who had through no fault of their fallen on hard times. It is now a lifestyle choice for so many. You only have to pick up a newspaper and read about people who actually believe that they do not receive enough state money. The irony is that after a quick calculation it turns out that they tend to have far more disposable income than somebody who works. In the paper recently was the quote from one claimer saying "we don\’t even have Sky". Neither do I and I work long and hard.People who can work should work, people who can\’t work through no fault of their own should be assisted, end of debate !!

  9. john says:

    I was forced to give up work back in Dec 1993. At that time it was just before Christmas and I had a young family of two children ( 1 Boy & 1 Girll) I was only 37 and enjoyed my work I was a skilled man(Fleet Fitter Mechanic). I was facing a lenthy painful stay in Hospital and I knew my children like everyone else had their Christmas wish lists. Facing them was one of the hardist things I have done in my life and it is not one that I would wish on anybody. No one in there right mind would chose a life on benifits. It took my years to come to terms with the fact that I would never work again, I missed the camaraderie I shared with my work colleagues, my wife who is also my full time carer tried to help but could not understand the workplace humour. The whole family suffers and when it is long term financial trouble is inveitable, You heating and lighting is on more, but you are not entitled to the winter allowances that pensioners rightly get, due to your age but your illness means that you get just as cold. You are stuck in the poverty trap through no falt of your own but bad luck and you have to put up with the label of scrounger and now it is comming from Members of Parliament who enjoyed expenses claims that people who are unable to work would die for. The majority of people on invalidity benefit are genuine and deserve to be left alone to live their troubled life, they would have gone through enough test to be awarded the meagre benifit in the first place and to make us all go through this again is offensive and degrading, and all just to make the Conservatives look progressive. How we treat our sick and most venerable says a lot about who we are.

  10. piper says:

    Thanks for all your comments so far. Very interesting to hear from those of you who have experienced the system first hand. Thanks for taking the time to tell me about your experiences.

  11. ROBERT says:


  12. Julie says:

    Where I live there are a large number of people on benefits. Most of them have never known anything different and are possibly 2nd or 3rd generation dole wallers! They are brought up with no other asperation in life but to live off the benefit system and learn how to get more money out of the system than their parents previously did. When they are paid money for doing nothing except whinging why should they (that is their opinion not mine!) My father was paralegic and made sure that neither my brother, sister or I were ever going to end up with that mentality. Most of it is inbred and regarded as a way of life! When you are given £80+ a week ALSO free rent ALSO cheap if not free council tax ALSO child benefit ALSO free dinners ALSO carers allowance (for each other!) etc that amounts to a substantial amount of money they would have to physically find should they have to work and provide that money! This free money system for anyone without ethics needs to be addressed so as the people who really need the system are no longer made to feel like criminals, it really isn\’t fair on those who are really in need and have paid their taxes, NI etc.

  13. Unknown says:

    i am long term incap (in fact i was on the original sickness benefit/invalidity benefit) going back to thatchers government. At the time i hurt my back and suffered with sciatica and had to go through all the rules and regs that the then government had set in law. At the same time a lot of miners, steel workers, dockers etc were thrown out of work due to privatisation and modernisation and were put straight onto disability benefits so they wouldnt overload the dole queues. At the time thatcher was probably worried that having a long unemployment queue would look bad. Over the years i have had to attend several interviews/physicals were a doctor would give me an examination but when i had spine surgery in 2000 i saw one of the more notorious doctors who works in the north west and on examining my back and especially my scar declared to both me and my carer that" i would never work again". I am a pipe fitter welder by trade and if i could work i would have bearing in mind that i used to earn £30,000-£40,000 per year and that was during the early 90s. Nearly twenty years later i dont receive any where as much as i used to when i could work. Do people fiddle?,of course some people may fiddle their incap but when you look at the scandal regarding MPs and their expenses i believe only 5 MPs didnt put in spurious claims, which is less than 1% of total MPs, whereas of the 5 million on incap the tories suspect 400,000 to be on the fiddle which works out as approximately 8% which means that 92%of the people on incap/sick are good honest people whereas over 99% of MPs are on the FIDDLE.

  14. david says:

    I know people who were genuinelyill at the time they started IB, however they have since recovered and make no secret that they wont bother returning to work now or in the future. they blatantly upscale their problems for assessment time, how can yopu regulate this? Its a culture issue as well as a financial one.

  15. Christine says:

    It\’s not the living on the budget that is difficult, rather it\’s living with the illness that is hard. If you are physically unable to do things, you have an awful lot of time to spend filling up your time with things that you can do. And then there is the requirement that you have for help if your incapacity limits what you can do. Imagine that you had to ask DJ to do a lot of physical things for you – what happens if you can\’t cook, or you need help with the housework, or are unable to walk to the chemist for your prescriptions? Or what happens if you need cash, what about putting out the wheelie bin or whatever for the dustman? It\’s not living on the income that is the problem but the costs of getting other people to do things for you that you are no longer able to do for yourself which at present you accept as normal. No gardening? No cleaning? No going out for a meal? No doing your own shopping? What happens if you can\’t bath yourself or wash your hair? I was legs to a severely physically disabled step father and a somewhat disabled mother. I appreciate how much there was that I did under their directions for them. Nope you need to look at how physical incapacity affects you before you can start to manage your money. Even more complicated if you have to manage your own budget and to provide for your own help around the house. I know a number of people who are part of teams who help individuals who are severely disabled to live in their own homes. It\’s a lot more complicated than just being able to manage a budget Piper.

  16. Unknown says:

    That figure – that 400,000 IB claimants are well enough to work – has been conjured from thin air. There\’s no evidence that is true. Literally no studies or research was done to produce that figure. It\’s a guess. At the moment, we have a jobs situation where during the last quarter (according to the ONS), there were only 434,000 available jobs. We already have 2.6 million unemployed who are classified as fit and healthy and looking for work. Those 400,00 people who are going to be removed from IB and sent out into the labour surplus are facing a world of misery. Many will be genuinely ill and wrongly classified as fit and healthy because ATOS Origin, that company that decides who loses their IB, are well-known as a profiteering outfit – it\’s in their financial interests to remove people from IB because the government pays them to get results. Many of those 400,000 will have huge gaps on their CVs and a history of mental and physical illness – no employer will want to touch them with a barge pole. There aren\’t enough jobs for our fit and healthy unemployed. Graduates can\’t get jobs. How on earth will these people find employment in this economic climate?It\’s a very sad situation for a lot of vulnerable people, but unfortunately, the minority of scroungers and scammers get 10 times more publicity than the majority of genuine claimants. The reult is that nobody cares when someone who is genuinely ill loses their benefit, because everyone thinks these people – the mentally and physically ill – are ALL a bunch of crooks.

  17. susan says:

    This has happened to me in August I was asked to attend an assessment for work meeting. I was assessed by a woman who was not a doctor and spoke to me while she inputted onto a computer and had her back to me then she asked me to lift my leg up during an examination I have had a frozen shoulder and have depression after coming home and finding my only son had hung himself in my flat. As I only managed to get 5 points in the assessment I am deemed as capable of work. I spent six weeks trying to claim a benefit and am now in receipt of JSA, I had my claim disallowed from the date my Incapacity benefits stopped and was given no reason although I have been allowed to appeal although I had no reason as to why? as no one could tell me why it was disallowed! I am still trying to get Housing benefit for help with my rent and although I have lost income of nearly 30.00 pounds per week I have had two assessments of Housing benefit one saying I had to pay over 2000.00 pounds in overpayment and also 900.00 pounds in Council tax benefit. On looking at the figures they have used there are obvious mistakes in the calculations this has been ongoing since mid September (five times) I have also had a letter from my landlord saying they are looking at seeking repossession of my flat. I still have my deppresion its has been exacerbated by the amount of paperwork and toing and froing to my Town Hall to deal with all this at the moment when I see a letter from theTown Hall I physically shake Today I went for a session to help me focus in my search for a job the woman who talked to us said they have 2000 claimants looking for 200 hundred jobs I wonder never mind what David Cameron wants to bring in after the next election its is happening now! When the interviewer asked in my assessment for work if I was suicidal I shold have said I was because thats how I feel now!

  18. lisa says:

    why is it always the less able bodyed people or mums that the goverment focus on isnt it about time the made all able bodyed people get a job or lose there benefits most able bodyed people are on benifefits for years and never have to go to work focused interviews education corses and medical assesments that they send people on disabilitys on

  19. Carly says:

    Hi all. The benefit system is in place for people who need it. If you have worked hard, paid taxes and then have an accident the state should pay…and we as tax payers should have no problem with our tax £ going towards that. However when it is a life style choice then it is disgusting and we should stand up to it. If the system was fair then maybe the people who were in real need (ill/elderly/disabled) would have a better standard of living because we could pay more into their benefits. My sister has 6 children and hasnt worked in over 10 years. She has a beautiful home,plasma,freestanding cooker etc etc, I have 2 jobs, have always worked…juggle debts to stay alive. Point being, why should My tax go towards her children? I never made them and neither did anyone else on this forum. Its not just the incapacity benefit we should look at, its the child Benefit as well. Young Girls do go out and get pregnant just to "get a council house" its totally true. We should do what they do in Norway I think (could be sweden) pay the child benefit until age 3, then after that get your lazy arse out to work. I appreciate mistakes happen, but 6?Personally Im fed up working ny b***** off whilst others sit back and bleed our systems dry…..How about You guys?

  20. guy says:

    It\’s the M.P\’s that have been and are fiddling the system. Expenses scandle? Who do they really have to answer to at the end of the day? Nobody! I have been disabled and housebound for many years with a debilitating neurological condition which makes activities like going to the bathroom, which is no more than five paces from my bedroom, a huge task! I am largely invisible to society and spend most days on my bed in pain. I receive benefits, with which i could not cope, but constantly the rules change and the effort to prove my case, despite the confirmation of my consultant, further exacerbates my condition. What culture is this that we live in?

  21. Unknown says:

    For as long as I can remember ( I am now 65 ), succesive governments have pledged to end the scourge of "benefit scroungers". But now, we read that more than 20% of eligible working population is "on benefits". I say, CUT the benefits to the work-shy and the ne\’er-do-wells, for these are a-plenty; AND, INCREASE the benefits to the GENUINE needy.

  22. lee says:

    im 27,worked solidly every day from the age of 19,most of the time holding down two jobs at the same sept 07 i had the misfortune of hitting a concrete bollard whilst on my motorbike which snapped my leg in half,after 2 and a half years and two operations later im still unable to work,i cant spend more than 10 minutes on my feet and cant sit for very long in 1 place due to the discomfort in my leg which im still taking heavy duty pain killers for to this read that these plans by the conservatives is quite a worry as the money i recieve on incapacity benefit is barely enough to get by on as it is.can they really get awy with either forcing sick people back to work or slash their benefits.why dont they take a pay cut and see how they like it.

  23. keith says:

    wonderfull tories want to lower benefits whilst taking all their benefits and more.their expenses are far greater than what they expect a family to live on.the greedy legislators want it all for themselves and sod the rest which almost typical of all ofthose that have and dont give a damn for anyone else.

  24. grazyna says:

    People on incapacity benefit already get regular medical check ups by independant doctors so the Tories are not coming up with any new ideas.

  25. Neil says:

    I think the government need to look at all benefits, not just incapacity benefit. The other day I walked into my local chippie and met a guy I had known for years, but hadn\’t seen for a good while , a guy that had never done an honest days work in his life! I asked him what he was doing with himself these days and he replied "as little as f*****g possible". This guy was dressed in the best denim jeans and clothes that money could buy, better dressed than I could afford I might add, he also had a newish car sitting at the door and this was someone who had never ever worked, and had lived on benefits all his days!! Here was me having worked every day of my life (I\’m 50 now and he was a similar age) standing there saying to myself "who\’s the mug here?!" This guy has a 4 bedroom council house (which he has had for years) for him and all his offspring (who have now flown the nest but he is still in the house) and has never done a hands turn in his life and it\’s all paid for by hard working honest people ,like me!, This is the kind of situation that makes my blood boil and makes me think, why should I bother, maybe I should be just like him, because he seems to want for nothing and never has. I think people who are found to be fraudulently claiming incapacity benefit should have their driving licences suspended and their cars confiscated to pay the money back, if they can\’t work through cheating why the hell should the tax payer pay for the luxury of them running a car?!!

  26. Reno C. says:

    I too have fallen foul of ATOS Origin and their \’medical examinations\’.For eleven years I have suffered depression, suicidal thoughts, self harm, anxiety, social phobias and selective mutism. I have been failed by the mental health systems time and again and have just begun to get onto my feet and have been claiming this new ESA for around five months, however after only three or so the company were already trying to make out that I wasn\’t eligible. During one such \’examination\’ I was asked a series of questions by the interviewer (who was not any kind of medical professional from what I could tell), and the results came back completely skewed. I live in supported/sheltered accomodation with twice-weekly visits from support workers, am on antidepressants and am under the care of a mental health team. According to this examination report I am \’living independantly with no support from others\’ and my condition \’will resolve itself within six months with no intervention\’ from which time it is claimed that I will be perfectly fine and eligable for paid work!I don\’t feel proud of being on benefits and don\’t feel that I\’m \’owed\’ them and do not take advantage of them. Those of us who do try to live as independantly as possible on IB/ESA do not get enough for expensive things and we certainly don\’t live in luxary. It infuriates me to think that so many teenagers living at home with no living expenses get almost the same amount of money as us and take it for granted, and those of us who need that money are treated the same as them!

  27. paul says:

    my son is on ib he is severly disabled, deaf and blind. There is no way he could live a decent life on the amount of money he gets and its up to me and his mother to pay for things he can\’t. I know lots of people of ib who shouldn\’t be on it and their quite open about it, saying how they managed to fool the doctors on the medical board, even giving each other tips on how to do it.

  28. maria says:

    why is it i work full time and have done so for many years…and i know of people that have not even worked , but they are claiming benifits that rake in £100 less than me a month, something is not right somewhere….i live on my own so have no additional help….my husband died this year and it took us 8 weeks to get his disability benefit sorted and he had never been out of work since he left school….things are not fair,,,also they where quick enough to ask for the 1 weeks money they paid into my bank account after he died…because in the words of the person i spoke to , it was unfortunate for them he died over a bank holiday and the money had already been sent to my bank…..why dont they assess all the people who cant be bothered to work and ask for there money back!

  29. nicholas says:

    I worked for many years for the Govt. benefits system. The figures issued each month on the number of jobless/sick etc do not show the huge turnover that there is.If someone breaks an arm or a leg they are often only claiming for a few weeks and normally have a job to return to. In those instances it is ridiculous to insist they attend a work targeted interview before claiming, as it is a complete waste of resources To me it would make sense to only call in the sick for interview once they have been claiming for 4 weeks as psycologically they are feeling worse in the first week or two having just become ill and are not in a frame of mind normally to think in a positive way about work.This would free up a lot of staff in Jobcentres and in fact could be used to trim back the staffing as by the 4 week period a lot would have returned to work. There are some long term scroungers without a doubt but the govt. needs to work with their GP\’s to eradicate the problem as itis an easy option to issue a sick note to these people and often these people get abusive and in some cases threatening if denied a sick note.

  30. Robert says:

    No system is going to be perfect. We all know people for whom benefit dependence is a choice. Because of this there is less money available to the genuine claimants. It also breeds sceptism about the genuine. I note a lot of the complainers suffer from depression which like for example whiplash is hard to prove or disprove. Most people with depression apart from the really extreme would be better doing something active whether it is work or therapy.

  31. Around says:

    The people who object to any kind of benefit system are usually those that have never needed to depend upon it and don\’t expect to. I agree that no system is foolproof or couldn\’t be improved but our systems and society reflect our common belief in caring for those less fortunate than ourselves.Please don\’t speculate about the "benefit" system unless you have tried it. I have been unemployed for some months now and been told that I have no right to any money at all because my wife works in a lowly paid part time job. I get no council tax relief and spend half of my time filling in forms.I was a senior manager who now appears to be too old, underqualified, overqualified or just plain unwanted by industry. I have applied for dozens of jobs from £6.50 per hour upwards and am now hoping to get some temporary work for Christmas.When I visit my Job Centre to sign on I see the sadness and hopelessness of some of the people there and speak to some of the people who are also trying desperately to find work.People such as these did not cause our current economic situation. It was caused by the greedy and selfish people who now would see the poor made to pay their debts

  32. shirley says:

    i will be claiming this benefit soon as im awaiting major surgery on my spine, having worked all my life it will be a shock to the system.i wonder if you will need to buy new clothes or shoes in the 3 weeks ? as the ones most people on benefits own are falling apart, also another bug bare for me is that pensioners get £200 for heating costs or £400 if they are over 80 yrs old.what about the people who are on benefits, not a penny more, but they feel the cold just as one would choose to live on benefits as the amount you get is stupid, but yes there are many out there claiming and probably working cash in hand

  33. piper says:

    Thanks for all your comments. I\’m trying to keep an open mind about this issue but I can\’t help but feel uncomfortable about the potential for politicians – many of whom we have seen with their noses in the trough – to target vulnerable people simply to win votes. I\’ll be talking to real claimants too to find out what life is like when you can\’t get around on your own, suffer constantly with ill-health and have to rely on other people to do things for you.

  34. Anthony says:

    ROFL, I think is the text, though when I am rolling on the floor in an epileptic seizure, I certainly ain\’t laughing. It p***es me off no end hearing able people (usually those who have never had the ignominy of having to claim benefit) making out that those on benefit are taking THEIR money – I paid my taxes and NI when able to work and just by the way was earning in ACTUAL value the same amount that I get on IB, in 1978!!! Better off on benefit – cloud-cuckoo land.

  35. Unknown says:

    i think incapacity benefit system is open to abuse because many people who receive incapcity benefits can work for example I work on a day centre for people with learning disability and "service user" attend five days a week and the engage in activites such as painting , garderning , walking and peom writing which means they could equally be doing other payed jods in supermakets and farms or sell thier art. most of the services users are very effective in lobbing for thier right which means they are good communicators which is a good skill for a receptianist or outreach work. this is not say that all people with disabilities can work but to be truthfull many can contribute to the economy just like anyone else.

  36. Ronald says:

    Yes the system is being abused by those who say they cant work and have nothing wrong with them, people go on about not being able to live on the money they get, well the people l know who claim something, know how the system works, so they clain for everything, they get there rent paid, council tax paid, free dental, and so on and so on.Im lucky that l work, but looking at the people around me l am wondering if l would be better off on the dole with wife and 2 kids to claim for, although got to say l would go crazy if l did not work, lazying around all day doing nothing or taking drugs or alcohol.The system does not help people who pay there taxes and work for a living, l have been after a 3 bedroom house for over 12 years now and still never been offered one, and yet if l was out of work, a druggie or alcoholic or just arrived in country then l would be offered a house, having a boy and girl in same room l bet l would get offered a 3 bedroom house quickly.

  37. john says:

    I have been keeping an eye on what has been said as I am directly affected by this. It is funny that most people who think we are scroungers always know someone who is milking the so called system, if so why dont they report than?us genunie claimants would welcome this. If the Conservatives do win the next Election the cut backs they intend will put thousands out of work making the situation far worse, as previously stated lets get the millions out of work back in then see about sick. My local MP claimed around £150,000 over 5 years on expenses, for his food, Gas & Electricty, white goods, decorating his second home ect along with his salary of over £50.00 per year and he is a property millionaire an a Tory. Who is the real scrounger?

  38. Gbolahan says:

    It is a great national assignment that you have set for yourself and I wish you great luck. The significance of the assignment is such that can uplift gross domestic product; increase the generative capacity of the British economy and restore degrees of self worth to the people that you will help to wean off depedency allowances. But it wont be easy. Very many people are used to collecting this money and never wanting to do any type of work at all. I was selling into a shop in Deptford High Street one afternoon when an able bodied young fellow walked in and begged the shop keeper to help sign off a document he carried that there was no job for him! Such is the extent of the woeful dependency by many in the population. We must ferret out the genuine cases and give them every support. The lazy bones must all be returned to work for the sake of the country and themselves. So it is a very important public duty that you are about and I wish you every luck. How do we ensure that your findings will have a bite or stand the chance of being implemented??GSA

  39. malcolm says:

    please see what they are going to do for carers of disabled people tpp if you dont mind :)i have been a carer for my daughter since birth as she has spinabifida so nearly 18 yrs now and in all that time we as carers dont get any finacial rcognition in the terms of status:(if u are disabled there is a disabled category on loan apps etc etc but carers to this day still have no status so are being left to get old and die without being ablke to even make allowances for family they are leaving behind..Ie.. estate legacywould be very interested to see what u come up with at the end of your 3 wks 🙂

  40. Rock says:

    According to me, the Conservatives love an easy target. When the Cons were last in power, they encouraged invalidity benefit, as claimants were not listed as unemployed, so therefore not part of the national unemployment figures.I think this is typical Tory. It\’s part of the reason why the country rounded against them prior to New Labour.Also, Miss Frugal, 3 weeks is not long enough to fully appreciate what life is actually like on Benefits, try a year and with a disabillity. How will you be replicating this facet? (How about 1 arm and 1 leg in plaster. I find these celeb type \’let\’s play at being poor for a while\’ a real lowpoint.

  41. B says:

    The goverment only want people off benifits so they dont need to count them as sick or unemployed.

  42. terry says:

    This is a very serious and sensetive subject dealing with people s rights and ability (or not as case may be ) to work and recieve benefits they are entitled too. There are thousands geuine people who require help/support in this area of their life. But for every genuine claimant there are several who are, are able as you and I to work !! I am aware of more cases of people who because they know someone who has schooled them in filling out forms, (know the inside moves and tick all of the requirements/what to say in interviews) are recieving benefits which they are not entitled too. More often than not lots genuine people are turned down, usually mis informed or not enough experience in dealing with these agencies.With the state of the economic situation in the Uk at present and jobs difficult to find as it is, home reposessions up, house values down, companies stream-lining their resources who will be prepared to give up what little funds/income they have and go job hunting ?? I believe that most people are genuine but there will always be scope for people to take easy option and take hand outs from government and sit on their backside.The government is long overdue tackling this difficult but contentious issue, but it needs addressing ASAP, the ordinary working man/familys find it difficult enough to get by as it is without the government shaving off money in every other area of public sector spending in order to pay for people who couldn t be bothered to get up off their ass. The sooner everyone realises that they will have to play their part/work/volunteer their time/expertise the sooner the contry will be a little bit better for all off us

  43. trisha says:

    where do we start ..i my self have reported sevrel..for them working .as they are not working all the time ,and some of the time leave from a family members address..were they have stayed over night…it is harder to catch them . yet when you see them out intown..with a bad back ..carrying heavy shopping ..and children …as well …looking as smug as anything ..shouting catch you later mate for a few pints…were it is then ,they openly say who they have been working for …{ as they are now drunk} makes my blood boil. yet i also know others who are in need of help..and have been told to get a job ,which was so up setting for them ..and family ..some are just so CLEVER at milking what they can hand outs ,,,and working ….i work 39 hours ,and get working tax credit as i do not earn enough to live on..and 54 years old ..and dred the day when i can not work needs a new system get the lazy good for nothing s out of there beds ..and pubs… stop having children ..if you are not working .. how do some manage.. a bad back and a new baby every 12 months .and live apart . . and they dont get on ..ya right .. so how meny of them are taking up to council houses as well or flats …if the can have children togeather and sleep togeather ..they should bl##dy well live togeather…

  44. Bummy says:

    There is nothing serious or sensitive about this issue, the sick, disabled should be properly taken care of beause we dont know who may be the next that would need care, the jobless should be helped but theirs must go with a time limit, those rearing children without putting into consideration that they are doing this at the expense of diligent and hard working tax payers should be exempted from this , let them go back to work!!! and we shall see how serious they will be, even old women work really hard and pay taxes, all those gaps must be blocked for the sake of the honest hard workers and the country as a whole, the Tories , i am sure will be very fair with those who really deserve this benefits. So all these able bodied men and women should be encouraged to go and work for a living so they will know how valuable money can be.

  45. Stephanie says:

    Good luck with your assginment. I would be very interested in the results. Please don\’t forget to factor in hidden costs. It often costs a little more to cope with a disability, from fares to & from hosptial, or extra heating costs or special diets. Don\’t forget incapacity benefit does not entitle you to free prescriptions. If you have 3 or for regular meds it can work out expensive.

  46. Unknown says:

    I\’m sure there are shirkers who are milking the system, but the majority of claimants are quite genuine. However, one thing remains a fact, and that is that there are simply not enough jobs to go around. What employer wants to take on someone who doesn\’t want to work, when there are plenty who do? You can\’t "force people to get a job" unless there are employers willing to take them on. Any "government scheme" that forgets this is bound to fail. This is all about cutting benefits.

  47. Maggie says:

    I think there are quite a lot of shirkers who dont want to work when they can do nothing and get paid for it. My friend lives next door to such a person and it makes me sick that they are taking money under false pretences. I am genuinely disabled and cant walk more than a few steps due to severe arthritis in my spine which affects me legs and feet. I went to claim DLA in January 2008 as unless I was in receipt of that I couldnt even get a Disabled Parking Badge, which I really needed. My initial claim was refused because of a report made by the governments Doctor who visited me at home. He said I wasnt in pain because I wasnt going oh oh oh etc every time I moved but you learn to live with constant pain (I am on up to 16 painkillers per day as well as pain relieving gel that I apply directly to the most severe areas),so most of the time the majority of people wouldnt even know you were suffering. His observation was so bad that he even said I lived in a modern semi, when in fact I live in a small detached house bought with the money my Mum left me when she died in 2004!! I then took it to appeal, having spoken to them on the phone, written them a letter and getting my GP to write to them in support of my case. They took NO NOTICE WHATSOEVER of anything I had said or submitted and turned me down a second time!! My last resort was to take it to a Tribunal which was held 22 miles away from my home. They tried everything in my power to convince me that my Tribunal would fail, but friends and family built me up and all said they knew a lot of people in a lesser mess than me who already GOT DLA, so I pursued it to the end. It was a very frightening business as I had no-one official like a Social Worker etc to support me and HAD to present my case myself. My husband came with me but as he has had two strokes he wasnt able to help me very much other than just being there. I was given some advice by another applicants Social Worker and then I was called in to see the panel of three \’judges\’ who are totally independent from the government department who had been refusing my claim (I\’d cried many many tears during the course of my 16 month fight as I FELT that I warranted some financial help and it was very disheartening to keep being refused and intimidated by government employees) They took one look at me as they\’d already read my letter that I\’d submitted with my appeal etc, saw how disabled I was, accepted what I and my GP had said and I was immediately awarded the full Disability component of the DLA and the smallest \’care\’ component because I still manage to wash and dress myself, although I CA|NT stand to cook, iron or even hoover as my back goes into spasm. My claim was backdated to when I first applied and I received a nice lump sum a few weeks later and now get money paid into my newly opened account every month. My husband is retired (made redundant at 61 after 30 years with the same company), has had two small strokes which have left him with a degree of brain damage and we live on Pension and Pension Credit and I had NO money of my own until I was awarded the DLA payment. It has made so much difference to my life and I\’ve been able to purchase a new comfy chair to sit at the computer as I dont go out very much, and I\’ve got a new TV in my bedroom as I mostly live Upstairs. I have great difficulty getting Up and Down stairs and am waiting for the Council to install a Stairlift but that usually takes about two years so I have at least another 18 months to go before I get that!! I even have a step up to the bath now (the shower is over the bath and I CA|NT sit down IN the bath or else I wouldnt be able to get up again) and a seat across the bath with a rubberised handle so that I can stand to wet myself all over and then I can sit down to soap myself and get myself clean. For genuine applicants Disability payments are a Godsend and make a very difficult life just a little easier.

  48. Tim says:

    Hi, I\’m one of the people on benefits, after an accident at work left me with a severe back injury, to the point I could put myself in a wheel chair just by lifting something too heavy. I have a recommended 5Kg limit for lifting so no one will employ me. At the time I worked for First Great Western, tried everything to stay in a my job but when the occpational health doctor recommended ill health severance they just kicked me out. I did go to tribunal and win but it took 6 years. Due to this I also suffered depression and have been diagnosed as suffering post traumatic stress, I developed an oesophageal spasm which causes chest pains that mimic a heart attack. I am on 7 different medications which I have to pay for as my wife works I can\’t get help. I have to spend most of every day lying on the floor, as I am now, to try to releive the pain, I rarely go out anymore because of difficulty walking, I was getting DLA but that has been stopped because I laid a few bricks in my garden over several months, on average 3 a day which was all I could manage. I have been treated like a criminal by the DWP who will not reply to any letters to give information and are to be quite honest some of the most ignorant anuses on the planet. My appeal is next week for my DLA but I\’m not holding my breath for a good result, the whole system is under attack by people who consider a \’Duck House\’ a legitimate and essential item to their lavish government jobs as MP\’s. In reality they are using benefit\’s to divert attention away from their own theft of public money and attacking the most vulnerable people in the process, as if our lives aren\’t miserable enough any way.

  49. jeff says:

    the tories are out to con the voters, what they say they are going to do is already done and has been for the last 12 years i\’ve been on disability benefit, i\’m checked every three years, they also get all the info they need from my gp and the hospital. i was turned down by the dhss doctors at first, the medical examination was pathetic, they had no info from my gp or hospital either, my gp and the neurologist got onto them and gave them the info they needed and i was put onto the benefit straight away, i\’m told my condition is incurable and there\’s nothing they can do to help, i have to have someone with me 24/7 i\’ve had numerous falls and have broke my cheek bones, fingers, dislocated my arms and various other injuries but still have them checking me, i think when i finally turn up my toes they\’ll want to give me another medical in case i\’m conning them.

  50. Bill says:

    A few weeks ago, a charity was closed down by the local council after 12 years of successfully helping many disabled back into work etc. They offered work experience to many, & assisted 12,000 over 12 years. They had at least 1,000 service users & volunteers in regular attendance, when they were finally closed down without notice. Many were half way through IT literacy courses, many on basic literacy or numeracy courses. They are now all back on the human slag heap, so vulnerable to any & every rip-off, & no hope of sorting employment or benefit problems alone. Many need mentoring, & even counselling. They will no longer receive this, or any other moral or practical support. The state simply ignore them. If they attempt to fight their own corner, devoid of any suitable support, they are simply classed as having a "severe mental illness", oft schizophren paranoia, which allows them to be doped up with various tranquillisers/anti-depressants/sedatives etc., in order to prevent them "making waves". This effectively writes them off, with such an "illness" on their record, & completely non-compus-mentus most of the time, from the drug therapy, there is no point in them seeking any form of employment.Such people spend most of their time, even as non-drinkers, in a consistent haze, almost identical to the worst possible hangover. They find it impossible to cook the simplest bowl of cornflakes, or wash themselves successfully, & a shopping trip of 100 metres, just for a pint of milk & a loaf of bread is a mammoth task, which could take a whole week. They lose their entire self-confidence, & also self-respect. They oft become to shy, or to scared, to venture out onto the public street, & could easily die of malnutrition, dispesia, hypythermia etc, due to simple lack of food, drink, heat, light, excercise,& other basic essentials. They receive no form of basic medical or nursing support, but are simply left to rot, & due to complete lack of wherwithall, are completely ignored & neglected by their own familly, ex-friends, colleagues & neighbours. Many are seen as anti-social, simply because they do not wish to drink or smoke, or even because they cannot afford such dumb pastimes. Most who attempt to clean their own windows, oft due to "cash-flow" problems, or even out of pure pride, are classed as anti-social. My own neighbours do not allow me to change a wheel, or wash my own vehicle, they believe it is best left to a "proffessional". They do not have it possible to understand that I spent 35 years as a full time Master Transport & Vehicle Technician, & would return to it immediately, if they were to allow it.Most of us "Scroungers" are not so of our own free will, but are forced into it by such an arrogant know-all civil service. we had 2 full-time volunteer receptionists at the charity, 1 in each centre, both in wheelchairs, both extremely computer/IT literate & competent. They were both on full dissability Benefit, as complete write-offs. Why, o, why? With such a fantastic work ethic, & a matching sense of humour, they would be a great asset in any PR, Human Relations/Resouces, or management. They both drive adapted cars, nationwide, one as a family man, the other as a single. Sadly, most employers see them as freaks, or at least an added expense/burden. The Benefit is simply a not so polite means of sweeping them under t\’ carpet. For life.

  51. frank says:

    I am on these Benefits.After 30 years of solid back-breaking work-the wear and tear on my joints and spine have left me unable to do much of anything for any length of time.Some people watching me amble down the road no doubt think I am something of a malingerer, to look at me I seem to be a healthy 50 something man, but these people have no idea what I go through on a daily basis, it\’s not just the pain and discomfort that comes with these disability\’s there is also the indignity of having to rely on others to do things for you, that could be anything from help with getting your shoes and socks on in the morning to-help with bathing-cooking-shopping-or in some cases getting your nappy changed.I have no doubt there are hundreds if not thousands of people in the system who are capable of holding down a full time job but choose to take the lazy option and stay on Benefits longer than they need to, but how anyone can think that these people are living a life of ease and luxury on these Benefits is beyond me, you are now all aware of the rates of Benefits paid so get off your high horses and come and join us in the land of the disabled and infirm where you too will be able to fool the medical world into believing you have an illness when in fact you are perfectly healthy, I\’ll tell you what—you go away and work out a way for you and I to change places O.K., I\’ll take your health and in exchange you can have all the wonderful Benefits that I get, when I worked I could earn over two thousand pounds a week, who would want to go back to a job like that when they could have this great life on Benefits keeping them on Easy-Street ? I think you will find that the system is more flawed than the people, In Glasgow City Centre there is an office block where miracles are performed on a daily basis, the lame-the mentally-ill-the crippled-chronic alcoholics-junkies—you name it—can walk through the doors of this building and with no more than a twenty minute assessment (and it is an assessment-it is not a medical examination) these people are declared perfectly healthy fit and able to work by some G.P. who knows nothing of their illness other than what he or she has read in your completely confidential medical file (that became completely UN-confidential the day you applied for Benefits) and they are paid handsomely for their opinion, and make no mistake about it an opinion is all they can offer–they may be qualified Doctors (Debatable) but what good is it to me and others like me with spinal injury\’s and such to be called in front of a man who has specialised in say Dermatology or some other field ? they offer no comfort-no advice-no treatments-no referrals-no second opinions–it means nothing to them that you have been treated by the Top Men in their field their diagnosis and opinions suddenly become meaningless-X-Ray\’s are ignored-even letters from your own G.P.who in many cases might have been your family Doctor your entire life are looked on as having no relevance to your case, because that\’s all you become—a case number–a Benefit Claimant–a scrounger–you are not a Patient–you have not been summoned to that office to receive any sort of medical help, can you imagine being ill having to go to hospital-talking about your condition to a Doctor for twenty minutes-who then keeps his opinion to himself but informs you that he will pass his assessment onto the Benefits Agency and some Faceless Civil Servant will make the final decision on the state of your health ? I myself had my "Medical" on a Monday and on the Friday much to my surprise I got a letter telling me that I was Fit and Able to Work and would no longer receive these Benefits, with the stroke of a pen I had been cured, my whole medical hinged on if I could or could not lift a bag of Potato\’s, they could or would not tell me the weight of the bag or how many times a day I was to lift it or for what length of time I was expected to hold it, but in assessing me and my outward appearance it was assumed that I was capable of lifting this bag of imaginary potato\’s and was therefore fit and able to work, so yes the whole system is flawed right down to the people who carry out these assessments, so before you run screaming to your local M.Ps. to have this system changed in order to weed out the people you see as living the high life paid for by your Tax, have a thought for the thousands of genuine cases your misplaced jealousy is going to have a detrimental effect on, believe me the sick are really sick, the vast majority are not pulling the wool over the Governments eyes as some people would have you believe, before you start putting new systems into place that that will only serve to make qualifying for Benefits even more difficult than it already is you would do well to remember that we have not always been ill-we have contributed to society and we do deserve more than the glorious bounty lavished upon us at the moment, and don\’t forget this—just because you get home from your working day this Friday ready to relax over the weekend and perhaps spend some of your Hard Earned Wages on yourself and the family, there is no guarantee that you will be fit and able for work on Monday morning—Anytime-Anywhere you never know the moment, Welcome to the Benefit System you Scrounger.

  52. heather says:

    ESA when you first receive it is only £64.40 the same as JSA you only receive £89.80 after you have been assessed will you be living on £89.80 per week or the start off of £64.40 and you have to live on £64.40 for the first 13 weeks of claiming trying to pay people to care for you on 64.40 is impossible

  53. Bill says:

    for information: Everyone on any form of Benefit qualifies for Free prescriptions. We also qualify for an HC2, from Newcastle, forms & envelopes from any GP reception, CAB, any social office, or social service, hospital reception, etc. Necessary for all dental, optical etc.Legal aid is not available for those of us who need it, only for the idle rich, therefore we have no hope of any justice.Never appeal, or take any action in the magistrates court, you are guaranteed to lose. When losing a case against any state dept. in the magistrates court, go straight to the County court, hand them a copy of the latest Benefit decision or payment with the court application form, to sue not the original civil service scum, but to sue the magistrates who decided against you, it is their decision which is now bugging you, not the original case, which you lost.Your Benefit proof will save you the £150 court fees.

  54. heather says:

    Legal aid is available for anyone on benefits unless you have savings over the allowed limit

  55. Jackie says:

    i was forced out of my job by my illness i suffer from systemic lupus i was trying to work full-time in a busy store that involved heavy lifting and being in a very cold shop in winter,my whole body was slowly seizeing up stiff painful joints extreme tierdness bad headaches just to name a few of my symptoms i ended up on corticosteroids ,thyroxine,ant-malarials,methertroxate,all did,nt cure vasculitis in my hands so i was eventualy given intravenous-chemotherapy for a full year it worked it stopped my vasculitis, but sadly lupus is,nt curable just controlable so i still feel like i,ve a bad bout of flu most weeks my sleep pattern is horrendous with only 4-5hrs sleep most nights i am claiming incapacity benifit which i struggle on , i do think there,s alot of people out there claiming that are,nt ill just faking it which makes me angry as i,ve got a recognised illness i,m under a few specialists for but also its worrying to think it useualy ends up being the valid claimer who is picked on and the scammers get of scott free so i do worry that i could loose my benifits as i,m unable to work and cant survive without this moneyso i hope the conservatives get this on a proper level and dont end up targeting all the wrong people

  56. john says:

    I have been keeping up with this all week and I understand all the problems that people are saying as I am disabled my self. I have one thing to say to everyone who is worried over what might happen REMBER WE HAVE A VOTE as well, make sure you use IT.

  57. victor says:

    Loss of IB to those receiving it is a disaster for them. Question is how did those that have get it in the first place ? In my own case a board of doctors reviewed my condition and have put in a clause requesting state of health every two years. My GP and hospital Consultant know my state so could tick the box if requested. Inspecting/policing leaves a lot to be desired. Cutting costs ? After demobed I instructed aircraft engineering, the slogan said " If you think training is expensive try ignorance" I think this is the stage we seem to be stuck at ! trouble now is where can you get training that has the finness we desire at the price we want to pay ? Ret; Ex-RAF

  58. Wendy says:

    I am a 45 year female suffering from MS, everything i need is always a battle , people keep telling me about all this money that is unclaimed How do we get hold of it?

  59. Charles says:

    Despite being really quite ill I have to attend interviews at length with job advisers. My consultant states I am very unlikely to be able to work again. In spite of this, and repeated medical statements from my GP, I still have to attend a very rigorous Dept of Health medical every two years to be able to continue to claim Incapacity Benefit. There are other people, with families who GPs sign for Employment Support Allowance at the (slightly!) higher rate, because there are 23 applicants on ESA for each job vacancy in poorer economic areas. The GPs know if they do not sign these peopleoff work, they simply will not be able to afford to feed and clothe their families. hardly a life of high luxury!I accept that in some better off regions, there may be some workshy about, but I seriously doubt if this runs into the tens let alone hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants. Job centres cut benefits very quickly for those considered able to seek work who don\’t make active real and genuine efforts to find work.The other problem with ESA is that when a partner becomes unemployed, after 6 months ESA is means tested. This can genuinely result in some people being thrown out onto the streets, not a pretty sight in a country as affluent as the UK.

  60. Davethewerewolf says:

    it is very easy for the goverment to scream about benefit fraud, there will always be the odd couple of cases a year, how many prosecuted this year 4 or 5. with the disabled winning the right to work, all disabled are expected to work. if they really want to make a difference they should target the alcholics and drug addicts; because they could work by giving them money the goverment are just encouraging thier habits.

  61. Vicky says:

    I can only comment on my experience with my son who has Aspergers ( a type of autism) since leaving school, he has been on Incapacity benefit, as because of his communication difficulties he could never pass an interview, so instead of having in place local support, they throw money at the problem. Autistic people can be very talented in specific areas, but are unable to gain employment because of the first hurdle of the interview. The other problem I have with the system is the harrasment of attending medicals, autistic people cannot usually use public transport, especially not travelling to somewhere unfamiliar and would be a compelete no no without support, so firstly you have the problem of getting them there, and secondly, they are not physically challenged, so I would love for someone to explain the relevance of \’can you sit for long periods\’?, \’can you tie your shoe laces\’ ect ect… with so much publicity on autism and aspergers at the moment where is Gordon Brown and these so called doctors working for the government burying their heads!!! Money needs to be spent supporting these people to become valued members of the employed public.

  62. MASTER says:

    Yes, Piper, its one thing living or surviving, on these amounts, knowing that very soon the nightmare will be over and normality will prevail again. Its another game altogether to be submitted to the callous and cruel process of claiming and being assessed by incompetent, unprofessional and uncaring so-called doctors who actually hate sickness ( depth psychology) and therefore hate the sick and treat with utter contempt or denial what cannot be cured with a profit making magic bullet from the drug companies who provide them with their perks and freebies and jollies to lighten their load. These doctors are no more than puppets of the politicians,instruments of state social engineering, neither healing the individual nor the body politic. Greedy,selfish money grubbing frauds as our elected representatives make scapegoats of the poor as they always have, trading on ignorance and apathy and making certain that we are beaten down to stay ignorant and apathetic. Who pays the piper, calls the tune. Always remember; it was doctors who sat at the gates of Auswicz ( Arbeit macht Frei! ) and with one cursory look decided who was die immediately and who could be exploited a little longer, wether for labour, as experimental guinea-pigs or for personal sadistic gratification. Welcome to the 4th Reich.

  63. david says:

    the problem is they have let to many people into the county who are milking the system,and the only way they can get the money back is to cut people,s benefit,s….

  64. geoffry says:

    Yes, Mastermind, this is spot on, you speak the truth and this is rare. most people [even those who would consider themselves intellectual] get by on what their newspapers and televisions tell them which only keeps them ignorant [and blissful] – \’what\’s in the fridge, what\’s on tv\’? It is – more than ever – about the UNDESERVING POOR, strange the cleverest [and kindest] people I know are poor. This is the worst country in the world [Great?! britain], for treatment of the poor and the needy – the govt. start with the wrong premise – ie suspision! and it\’s people have come to think this way also, rather than look for the good, they look for the bad – you are deemed guilty BEFORE you are deemed innocent, [Kafkas \’The Trial]. Yes, it is truly horrible, but only for those that are aware.

  65. andrea says:

    we seem to have a situatuion going on where certain people want something for nothing a means of having there income bumped up there are genuine claimers out there and people that are fooling the system and grabbing what they can there needs to be a full review right across the board of all benefits and also mps wages and extras every penny given needs to be judged carefully because things are getting bad so many people claiming and lying these people need be fished out and genuine claimers get help benefits should not be a lifestyle

  66. Albert J B says:

    TYPICAL CONSERVATIVES!! HIT THE WEAKEST AND POOREST? with thier scum policies Cameron is a plonker.

  67. tina says:

    I find it difficult to believe that so many people are apparently abusing the IB system and think it will be found that there are not the numbers everyone seems to think there is. It\’s not easy to get past the Dept of Work & Pensions medical. I have worked for 40 years but am now genuinely unable to work and having got the benefit, failed the medical a year later, partly because the questions are geared up for physical disability, which I didn\’t understand, and not chronic illness/sickness and also because I believe the doctors are under pressure to fail anyone where there might be some doubt. Arriving at the medical walking unaided or having driven oneself to the medical is a sure way to fail. Driving for me is the least stressful option, in terms of energy, as opposed to getting the bus and having to walk at either end of the journey. I did get it back following an appeal but getting prepared for the appeal is no walk in the park. I would give a lot to be able to go back to work – living on £89.90 and savings with no other benefit is not much fun. Another problem is that if someone on IB is seen out, it will be assumed they are milking the system but even sick people can occasionally manage to get out for essential supplies; it should be remembered that you don\’t see what they are like when they are not out. In the unlikely event I were to make a recovery before retirement age, no one is going to employ me when they know what illness I have had or still have. The whole "looking at IB" is to get as many people off it as possible and onto the ESA which is £30 less a week but just putting people onto ESA is not going to suddenly make them fit for work if they are genuinely unwell. Marie

  68. Andrew says:

    I am 38 and have chronic ankylosing spondylitis which means i spend most of the day in pain and while it is easy to get angry about what the tory\’s are saying having seen some people lately i am actually supporting this. Now that seems a stupid thing for any disabled person to say but here is my reason. I recently had to go to my gp for a blood test and while there this guy came limping in on crutches pain seemingly all over his face. I had my test and started to amble off back home (i live 400 metres from the surgery and it takes me about 45 minutes to cover that in a lot of pain) i heard running behind me and because i cannot move my head i moved to one side as i always do hoping the person behind will go to the free side. Lo and behold here was that limping cripple crutches now firmly on his back and him running like an olympic runner. He stopped at the roadside next to me and turned round and said "your ok m8 they can\’t see you now you can lay off the limping". He assumed because he was faking that everyone is and the numbers who are faking are rising and they are getting very good at fooling cursory exams by doctors. I always worked uptil my illness and that whole time i always happily paid my tax and ni because i believed the money was going where it should but can the workers now who are paying our benefits with their contributions have that same faith no they can\’t. Our benefit system is a deal between every worker and those in need that tax will be paid and those in genuine need will recieve help when they need it for as long as they need it and while it might be a bitter pill for us the disabled to swallow we have to start supporting any measure that restores that faith and trust in the system. As for the figure of 2.6 million on incap we all know damn well IB was used as a statistic con by this labour government unemployed people that couldn\’t find work being encouraged to go onto IB so the figures looked good and that has now come back to bite us all. In the coming years every single person in this country is going to be paying for the incompetent handling of public finances and it\’s only fair those on benefit have to do the same but and this is the big but an assurance that once we have been for these new medicals that are being setup and deemed as unable to work we will be left alone for a longer period so that we are not made to feel like scroungers or frauds and that finally in this country we learn to actually treat benefit claimants with a level of respect many of us deserve. Personally if i was in charge i would make the system easier for the public to understand as ignorance of the system allows certain tabloids to invent their own spin. There would be two main categorys short term medical illness and long term, long term having to be medically confirmed. Whatever happens this country is in for a rough ride over the next decade and i am sure more of a burden then should be will fall on the disabled and those in reciept of benefits and being honest there isn\’t a thing we can do about it except what we do every single day get up and carry on as best we can always trying to keep positive no matter how much pain we\’re in or how bad we\’re feeling.

  69. Nicky says:

    i have cerebral palsy (due to medical mal-practice i may add!!) and therefor wheel chair bound. i think it\’s disgusting the way innocent people like me are penalized due to claimants out there who are abusing the system. it\’s not like i can go down no. 10 downing street & protest as i can\’t even use the so called public transport that is supposed to have wheelchair access. in the mean time, the government can make adverts on grassing up fraudsters whilst they get to carry on being corrupt with their many houses etc. in the mean time i\’ll worry about my next payment for an electric wheelchair and stay cold and hungary (i should feel so grateful).

  70. howard says:

    I do believe that some claimants may have slipped through the vigorous checks made by the benefits agency but mostly those with need are at risk of hardship and no one with severe or long term genuine illness should be harrased by this process

  71. Andrew Patrick says:

    Just how ignorant are the Tories? Why, in heaven\’s name, do we need another medical. Most, if not all, now on Incapacity Benefit are on Long Term Incapacity Benefit which means they will have suffered a medical at the hands of ATOS. For anybody ignorant of the ways of ATOS, this is not a medical with one\’s GP and or Consultant who know about our medical conditions. ATOS is a private American company used by the DWP to \’persecute\’ anybody silly enough to think they are ill or disabled. The medical is carried out in the space of twenty minutes by doctors, or now even nurses etc., who have no knowledge of your condition beyond what you write on your IB50 form. Not everybody is articulate enough to explain their conditions! The medical is conducted through the medium of a computer program that many would say is designed to deny anybody benefit. The upshot of this system is that there are hundreds of thousands of appeals. The retiring chairman of the Tribunals Commission (?) not long ago castigated the DWP for the level of appeals when legislation had been introduced to reduce the number of appeals. Chapter and verse can be found on the excellent Benefits and Work website.This system must be costing the taxpayer an incredible amount of money. If anybody knows please post. The cost of employing these ATOS doctors etc together with the cost of all the appeals they generate (mostly successful) must be astronomical. What do the Tories want to do, subject everyone to a medical again. It is insane. I don\’t doubt there are cheats in the system but the estimate that most accept is that it is not more than one half to one per cent at most! Even then a further medical may not weed out the cheats!If it is not already obvious then it should be, if you get through the ATOS medical and you receive Incapacity Benefit it is because you are entitled to it, you deserve it!!!!!!! Don\’t forget this is not some great act of governmental charity, you have to have paid up front. If you haven\’t paid your NI stamps you don\’t get Incapacity Benefit.If you want a political overview of what is going on both with New Labour and the Tories read what Noam Chomsky has to say. Every western government has two constituencies, the electorate and the global moneymen. If any western government offends the moneymen by doing something that offends against their god of profit then they have far more power to damage that government and country than ever the electorate has. One example is capital withdrawal. A tactic used time and again in South America.Anyone thinking of voting Tory should remember the last Tory administrations sheer monumental economic incompetence. Remember George Soros! It was Thatcher/Reagan who laid the foundations of the current banking crisis. Enough, my arthritic hands are to painful to go on………………….

  72. Andrew Patrick says:

    What I should have added was that what offends the global money men, among other things, is anything to do with welfare benefits. You only have to look at the furore in the USA over health insurance. Worth reading what Michael Moore has to say in this subject! Welfare Benefits detract from PROFITS. It is ironic of course that a privatised company, namely ATOS Healthcare(sic), is making so much money from our welfare benefits system. That is probably the real scandal!!!!!!!!!

  73. ROBERT says:


  74. piper says:

    Thanks for alerting me to the spambots, Robert. Tedious lot and am often having to delete messages from them. Cheers.

  75. ROBERT says:


  76. Bill says:

    Anyone here know how many MPs are disabled, or on Incap, please?Does the House of Commons have wheelchair access?I am certain many disabled are fit enough to do a better job of it than most MPs.

  77. Andrew says:

    Rather then shout "those damn tories" how about doing what i did and meet your local mp and talk to them explaining the situation your in. I did this with mine and he was genuinely surprised at how badly we are treated by the current system whilst also commenting that there are no concrete plans yet for how they will deal with the issue of disability benfits should they get into power. I have found more often then not what we face is not hostility or hatred it is ignorance and a little time in gentle education can be far more effective then hours and hours of shouting the odds. Also please lets not start blaming the former tory government for the mess we\’re in right now as labour have had more then enough time to sort out things if they wanted too they didn\’t because they like to talk nicely and act the opposite.

  78. brian says:

    my wife is disabled and when she turned 60 she lost most of her benefits and went from £94 pw to a pension of £78 per week back in 2004 and now gets £ ex wife was an alchoholic ,never worked,is still single,gets pension credits ,pays no rent or council tax and gets £146 would pay us to divorce. crazy

  79. Martin says:

    I was fine until I had an accident, I worked 7 day weeks and up to 17 hour days and paid 40% tax and often VAT, but since my accident I\’ve had a constant battle to receive the benefits I\’m entitled and despite having worked incredibly long hours for over 34 years all I ever hear about is how people on incapacity benefit are just lazy and are costing the country all this money with politicians confusing unemployed people with sick and injured people. I am now an expert on this subject so if you want to know anything ask me. Over 1000 forms, 6000 questions, 5 medicals (joke they are) & 3 tribunals and having to put up with DWP employees who blatantly lie and even break the law by fraudulently altering medicals to get you cut off! (proof upon request) I\’ve been forced to live on £28 a week due to this for the last 10 weeks so you\’re lucky on nearly £90! Positive discrimination is also rife! (please see the DWP\’s latest benefit cheats ads for proof of this) I was led into the wrong waiting room on my last visit and witnessed 25 immigrants receive free legal aid costing us up to £17500 in a single hour! and that\’s just one office in one hour so Incapacity is nothing compared to the cost of that! Especially bearing in mind most of us have actually paid in to receive our Incapacity Benefit. I\’ve come to the conclusion that being permanently injured, white and English makes me a criminal as that\’s how I\’m treated! Like I\’m a criminal! Anyone disagree?

  80. Jeffrey says:

    Until recently I worked for the DWP in the Pension Service. I was paid off due to time off as a result of severe asthma and COPD. Since then I have just suffered a similar fate with Bensons for Beds as a result of 2 days off with a chest infection. I attended 2 occupational health assessments with the DWP conducted by ATOS who advised that allowances had to be made for my condition, both of which were disregarded. I now have to try and survive on £64.30 per week of ESA and have had my child tax credit for my 6 year old son cut to a mere £8.00 per week. Asthma is considered a disability and is being ignored by the vast majority of employers, including the DWP!!. I wholeheartedly agree with Martin Wiseman in the way tax payers who fall on hard times are treated.I have tried previously for DLA but was turned down without even having to attend a medical. It is now getting to the point where life is no longer worth living. I want to work but getting advice from Job Centre plus to help me back to work is a joke. Jeff Angus

  81. steve says:

    Where do I start, I have an ill health pension of £387:69p as I have M.S. and Diabetes so for that reason alone I get no incapacity benefit, no employment and support allowance, no job seekers allowance and no DLA due to the excercise program I have to do for the diabetes. I have to pay £115 a month rent and £40 a month council tax as well as water rates and electric if you think its hard going on Incapacity Benefit try it on an ill health pension that is £5 a week above Income support and get no help from anyone.

  82. Andrew says:

    My heart goes aout to all those in genuine need and simply cannot get the help they need and deserve and who find that those employed to help in fact hinder and it is all too common for it to be a mistake or a "bad employee". We have a system right now that fails those in need and seems to favour those with the best knowledge of the in\’s and out\’s rather then the genuine.

  83. Alan Morgan says:

    I have epilepsy due to a serious car crash 207 and was dismissed from FGW under I’ll health. I can not look right as my right eye will move left and not right. I have memory issues as I can only carry out single tasks but still I am fit and reading is very difficult.

  84. hans says:

    Many are weak willed rather than incapacitated/disabled which is not a “disability”. Over the years they have become dependant on mother state. I know quite a few personally which is a common theme and certainly they exaggerate their incapacity/illnesses. People I know claim depression and have been doing so for over ten years. That is not depression that is pure lack of motivation. Being unmotivated is not a disability and these people really do need to learn to stand on their feet. They won’t do it willingly so the only way is to literally cut off their supply of benefits. You will soon see how need will bring about motivation. Of course genuinely disabled should be supported but it is certainly true that there are huge numbers of purely lazy people claiming the former DLA/IB which was the easy option. Human nature is to take the easy life but that’s more fool to those that supply it while struggling themselves. Life wasn’t mean’t to be without toil and struggle which these people have come to believe is the case.

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