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Disability benefits nightmare
The security that the benefits system gives disabled people is being increasingly knocked, particularly by the government reviews of ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) and PIP (personal independence Payments).
The private company Maximus, working within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), must be deafened by the sound of 'kerching' as they get paid for every piece of work done.
One of our disability campaigners related how he had a PIP form forwarded to him a year in advance so that the DWP could have time to get the paperwork done. One whole year required to process the paperwork!
Two other members told us how they were sent ESA forms, which are 28 pages of A4 paper, a very daunting and worrying prospect.
One had a face-to-face interview lasting two hours, which had been delayed for 20 minutes as the interviewer had to read the notes.
The member telephoned the DWP for a verdict soon after his interview as he was worried about his money.
He was told he would receive the same amount of money but would be subject to a review in one year's time, meaning being harassed and worried again.
This is someone whose condition will not change and yes, the beneficiary will be Maximus as they complete another piece of work.
One member has completed a 48-page form asking him to disclose all his financial arrangements, under the suggestion that he could possibly be paid an increase in benefit! This is a means test by any other name, and if any extra payment is forthcoming, it will have been earnt by the time and effort needed, and anxiety produced, in completing the form.
2019 needs to be the 'year of complaints'! MPs, particularly Tory ones, claim that a subject cannot be an issue unless formal complaints have been received.
We must all complain to our MPs and the DWP to make sure the issues affecting our lives are on the agenda.
On the back of the recent legal victory by single mothers on Universal Credit, we want to take the home office to court!
I read the interesting article 'NHS funding crisis: Tory 'super-plan' is a super-con!' which points out the terrible pressures the health service is under.
A huge problem with the NHS is a lack of hospitals. The Thatcher government closed over 150 hospitals throughout the country.
My town used to have two busy general hospitals. The valleys to the east and west of my valley also had their own general hospital.
Three of these hospitals have gone. One of the hospitals, which was being renovated at the time it closed, stood empty for ten years before being pulled down.
Our one remaining hospital can no longer cope. Waiting times at the A&E can be 12 hours and more.
JA, Glamorgan, South Wales
My area no longer has a hospital. It closed in the early 1990s and houses now stand on the site. We need to travel to Newport for treatment. For me this means taking three buses.
People are waiting a year and more for knee ops and our NHS is now sending people to private hospitals and paying for it out of NHS funds. Aneurin Bevan must be spinning in his grave!
Ann D, Gwent, South Wales
In The Socialist 23 January 2019:
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