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Catch 22

SRD
Grafter
Posts: 300
Registered: 29-04-2010

Catch 22

Interesting example of government double think on the radio this morning; the Today programme looked at the case of the woman who was sacked from her job at the Ministry of Work and Pensions (I think) as she was considered too ill to be able to hold down her job but was declared completely fit for work when she applied for disability benefits.
7 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,359
Thanks: 29
Registered: 07-03-2008

Re: Catch 22

Left hands and right hands often seem not to know what the other is doing (or not doing!) in Govt.. circles. Perhaps she got up someone's nose before or after the sacking?Huh
jmd
Grafter
Posts: 2,933
Thanks: 2
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Catch 22

She worked for Dept of Work and Pensions.  They have a awful policy on sickness - after you have had your full entitlement of sick pay, and then still unwell and have had lots of time off in previous couple of years they class you as "inefficient" so finish you - when I was working one of my collleagues was dealt with in that way.
For example of the daft rules - I had 2 days off with a tummy bug in my last month before I retired.  This 2 days took my entitlement to uncertified sick leave over by one day. Two days before I retired I received a warning letter telling me that I was back on probation [after 29 yrs] because I had gone off sick leave, and that I would be watched during the next 6 months.......................
I ripped the letter up in front of my Manager as I thought it was so idiotic when I retired and finish work for good 2 days later!!
The thing is though that you may be unfit for the work you are doing but then a different Doctor will see no problem and state that you should not get benefit.  However, that particular lady appealed and received benefit.
So glad I no longer work in that Dept! [or any other for that matter}
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Catch 22

that's where people need some empowerment, to combat idiotic working practises and rules laid down by petty personnel dictators.
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,869
Thanks: 1,141
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Catch 22

I heard on Radio 4 this morning, that a lady who had terminal illness (lung cancer) and needed almost 100% care, was declared fit for work, by the new ESA scheme, and then died 6 months later...
She was denied any benefits, for which she was entitled to for the last six months of her life....
alanf
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,931
Thanks: 77
Fixes: 1
Registered: 17-10-2007

Re: Catch 22

All but the most severely ill must be capable of doing a certain amount  some kind of work. Whether there are sufficient posts available and whether anyone is willing to employ them and pay them enough to live on is another matter, when highly qualified able bodied people are struggling to find work.
SRD
Grafter
Posts: 300
Registered: 29-04-2010

Re: Catch 22

Whilst that is undoubtedly true the real difficulty comes when neither the employer, or the employee, know when their disability will strike.  How can an employer keep a job open for someone who, at the best of times, can only manage a few minutes or hours a day and then may not be capable for several days consecutively, but then is Ok over a weekend when the works are closed etc. etc.
Certain disabilities, like my own (I only have the use of one arm and have a damaged knee) are relatively easy to quantify and get round, I went from a strongly physical job to a desk job after re-training, but I was fortunate in that my literacy and numeracy skills were adequate for that, some of those with similar disabilities to mine at the retraining college were never going to be capable of retraining even for simple office procedures.  However physical tasks take a lot longer, so household chores that some would in a few minutes can take an hour or more, so I need more time to do my household chores, this can be extremely difficult after a busy, extended, day in the office.  There simply aren't enough hours in the day, and I don't have children to cope with, imagine the difficulties of looking after children whilst holding down a job and being responsible for a household whilst operating in a wheelchair, or with only one arm, or none.
Disabilities like my wife's (she has Multiple Sclerosis amongst other problems) means that from one day to the next she doesn't know whether she can lift a cup to her lips, or operate a keyboard, or even read a few lines of text.
Other problems (especially those involving mental illness) can appear to be Ok but when an attack starts the increase in drugs to combat the attack (by, for instance, damping down brain activity) can render the sufferer incapable of a desk job they breezed through a few days earlier.
There are always tales of disabled people making superhuman efforts to manage their lives, but their are tales of ordinary folk making superhuman efforts to do things, it doesn't mean that we are all expected to do superhuman things just to survive, but it does seem that disabled are expected to make superhuman efforts despite already having the handicaps that their disabilities bring.
The idea of disability benefits is to try to ameliorate the lot of the disabled and to put them on a level playing field with those of the same station as themselves, which is why it's a universal benefit, not a means tested one.  In general the amounts are so pitiful that it isn't worth the wealthy's time to apply but it can make the difference of a survivable life for those who are poorest, a life like anyone else's for those on lower and middle incomes and no difference at all for the wealthy.
Those without disability (and some who are) may feel that it isn't right that these things should come from the public purse and that it's Ok for the disabled to be relegated to the lowest echelons of society, those ideas were rampant in the first half of the 20th century, but, as a nation, we fought a war to prevent those ideas from becoming the norm.
David_W
Rising Star
Posts: 2,293
Thanks: 29
Registered: 19-07-2007

Re: Catch 22

There was an article on the BBC news about the new tests to find if people are fit for work, apparently 20% more than the government wanted are being rejected as fit for work, lots are going to appeals and winning, I think it was something silly like 80%.
I too am currently on "sick" due to a stress based illness and I'm due sometime soon my "are you fit for work?" test.  I'm not looking forward to it.  About 3 years ago I had to go to one of those tests with a doctor who was useless, after sitting me down and chatting she decided that I was fit for work.  I needed 10 points or something and only managed to get 9.
I rang up and said "what? you're crazy" and they sent me a letter saying "we agree with the doctor" so I went down the appeal route.  They send out a huge letter with reports and what you got marked as Yes or No, what points you're awarded.  I looked at the letter they enclose with it, looked at their Yes/No report and said "umm, on this letter they put that I was put onto sickness for a stress based illness, and on the Yes/No report they put that it wasn't a factor...."
It took a few months to get to the appeals, at which time your benefits are cut in half, trying to survive on £40 is blooming difficult I can tell you, I was struggling day after day to make ends meet.  I got to the appeal, sat down, and handed over the letter the DHS had sent me saying "Yes" and the report saying "No".  They awarded me 2 points for just that, putting me on to 11 points and I won, they also added an extra 2 points for something else putting me up to 13.
I agree that there are people on "sick" who are able to work, I really wish I was one of them and eventually I will be, okay, that came out wrong, eventually I'll be able to work and won't be on sick, but you know what I mean.  But if they say "you're able to work" and you appeal, you have two choices, appeal on half benefit which gives you no money to survive, or, appeal and go on JSA which you can only go on if you're capable and able to work, so you have to sign a form saying "yeah, I'm fit and able to work" whilst going through a process to declare that you're not fit and able to work.