Disability benefits

As someone who argued with the last government that they were being too tough over disability benefits, I welcome the recent announcement that people with long term conditions which are not going to get better should not have to go through regular re tests to keep their benefits. It will reduce their stress and worry, and will also save money and effort on the tests at the same time.

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31 Comments

  1. Posted October 3, 2016 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    About five years ago I knocked on the side door of one youngish guy in regard to a matter. He was sober, but strangely he supported himself partially by leaning against the door frame as we spoke. He told me he had his benefits stopped for the last couple of weeks and begged food from neighbours to survive. A doctor, had decided and a committee, that he was fit for work. He told me he was not. I caught him in my arms as he fell towards me.

    Have those singing, chanting, “Don’t let me go to live in Australia” young doctors got the hell out of our country yet?

  2. Posted October 3, 2016 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Is someone in government listening to you, Mr Redwood? Perhaps even reading your blog?

  3. Posted October 3, 2016 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    At last, common sense Wonder how many millions it took for the IDS ideological witch hunt to come full circle?

  4. Posted October 3, 2016 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Yes it was callous and vicious. What was the point of constantly reviewing people with problems that current medical science says are irreversible. Surely their data base could allocate them to the main problem categories, MS, Parkinson’s etc to be reviewed by a medical expert, say every three years, to see whether a cure/quality of life improvements has been discovered.

  5. Posted October 3, 2016 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Indeed providing these conditions are indeed genuine and long term this makes complete sense.

    So much of what the state sector does is just about creating and retaining pointless (or even actively harmful) jobs for people in the state sector to do.

    In Italy I understand that you even have obtain a licence and pay a large free just to move your relatives ashes from one village to the next, 80 euros I understant. Perhaps I should not be giving the UK any more ideas. We already have the litter police mugging people for feeding the ducks in Maidstone.

  6. Posted October 3, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    This change is indeed to be welcomed for the reasons you state. Does not someone in government need to find out how it came about that such a maladroit policy came to be promoted?

  7. Posted October 3, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Clearly some people are taking the mickey with their disability benefits. One of the methods of maximising benefits is through having a child diagnosed with ADHD and/or dyslexia.

    (Someone could have ed) a child with ADHD (we can’t see the difference between this child and any other) It means mum is a ‘carer’ and continues not to work (having never ever worked.) Both mum and child are housed comfortably in a 3 bed few workers could afford and (expensive items ed) are bought on ’emergency’ credit cards with such low repayments they could be considered freebies.

    They went on a recent holiday to (a distant place ed) and got to the whole family fast passes based on the child being ‘high rate’ ADHD. I don’t know if such passes are administered this side of the water – or if the Americans have heard of the looseness of our diagnostics.

    Whatever.

    A huge cost to our system if the abuse is widespread. Especially as people with a low work and learning ethic are being rewarded to breed while those who take responsibility for themselves can’t afford to.

    Reply Each individual case is meant to be properly assessed. I do not wish to become entangled in disputes over individual eligibility on this site.

    • Posted October 3, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      BTW – we predicted ADHD before the child was born. It seems almost inevitable in some communities. Also obesity – for which we’re all about to be punished by having our restaurant portions cut.

    • Posted October 4, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: It is a scandal pointed out by the Daily Mail and I’ve seen it for myself.

  8. Posted October 3, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    This is a no brainer. To further add to the stress at the end of life is unforgivable. Of late years when introducing new legislation the general perception is that not enough thought and inquisition has been applied to the proposals. As a friend of mine once said development is a result of inadequate initial design.

  9. Posted October 3, 2016 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Why do we need an American company to assess claimants. It seems we have endless funds for foreigners. UK bad Foreign good seems to be the policy.

  10. Posted October 3, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    While I have no problem with the genuine disabled I feel more should be done to weedle out those who are feigning disability. There are many people who could work but choose not to and claim thousands of pounds just to have a lifestyle funded by others. Better facilities could be given to the genuine cases with the money saved. Some might say this doesn’t happen but I’m sure many of us know of cases.

  11. Posted October 3, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    This will be of enormous help. Over many years we have had to keep filling in lengthy forms (some 3 yearly, some yearly) for our son with special needs. His disabilities are not something he can grow out of or recover from, so filling in forms regularly has been at best irritating and at worst very worrying, just adding to the general stress that so many carers face. Thank you, IDS, for pushing this through.

  12. Posted October 3, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I don’t think this will reduce their stress . People who have long term conditions hate the monitoring intervention , even though they are glad when they have attended the practice. The stress usually causes an elevation in blood pressure.

  13. Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I agree in principle but shouldn’t there be a assessment to see if a person is capable of some type of work or none? There should not be a carpet ban on working when a persons dignity and respect could be enhanced to allow them to see if any work is possible under circumstances that could be mitigated to help wherever possible including adaptations through Government help to work at home?
    Assessments could be ongoing with requests on both sides should situations change.

  14. Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I did very hard physical work for 40+yrs. I had to retire with shoulder problems. I have also got back problems and can manage just to get round the supermarket using a trolley for support. I have been like this for the last 5 yrs – I get nothing. I also know 2 people who have disability badges – and get disability payments. One had a heart attack, also got diabetes ( as do i ) – he rides a motorbike, smokes like a chimney, goes shooting on the moors etc with his shotgun, buying thousands of cartridges at a time. The other has severe asthma attacks, but still smokes and his hobby is karting. Both clearly have more mobility than I do.
    I can see the sense in cutting the cost of the repeated tests, for those whose conditions cannot get better, but how many fraudulent claimants will now see their lives become easier, as they will no longer have to put on an act ( I’M NOT SAYING THESE 2 ARE FRAUDS )? Also it would be nice to see ( or maybe not ) figures for how many people have arrived here in the UK – then gone straight onto disability, receiving benefits and even a Mobility taxpayer funded vehicle for arriving, for not one penny contribution to the system. Would the minister in charge also be able to find out how many Mobility cars have vanished abroad to be freely used as taxis back in someone’s homeland.
    I bet most of us have seen the program showing the Roma man coming here to register just to get benefits, then go back to Romania where he’s having his house renovated on our taxes. At the end of the program he said he was getting over £20 thousand a year – and all for driving here, then going straight back. I hope something is done – -it clearly needs doing !!! – We should not be funding the lives of half of Europe – some of who have never even been here.

  15. Posted October 3, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I respect you as a Brexiteer. I believe you genuinely want best for this country (even though don’t agree with you over EU – my goal being reformed EU with UK still part of). But there are some Brexiteers I don’t trust (just as there are some Remainers i don’t trust either), and it’s important – now that we’re on the road to Brexit – that Brexiteers in government are kept on their toes as much as possible, disability being one important issue (and that we don’t ape everything that is done in America, rather we remember that we are still Europeans in every sense, except that we’re no longer going to be part of the EU).

    • Posted October 4, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Ed Mahony

      You might want to check what some of our European partners pay. In France Germany and Italy you can only claim benefits if you’ve paid into the national insurance schemes of those countries for a period of years. In France Disability pay is paid as a % of average salary earned in work in previous 10 years prior to disability. If youve never worked the disability pay is less than 500 euros per month.

      US disability pay is actually higher than most EU countries . You are wrong. Apeing some of the US system would be far better than some EU systems. The whole thing including appeals process can be done with one online transition in the US.

      Not sure what you think is so special about most European countries. I think that we’d be better off having our own system built to suit us and our economy

  16. Posted October 3, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I was astonished to learn that people with MS had to undergo assesment for their fitness to work. Also those with Huntingdons disease. Two of my friends died from MS and one from Huntingdons. In my experience these are progressive diseases and do not get better.
    I agree there are quite a few people in the UK who are pretending to have disabilities or illnesses that they do not have, but we need to keep a sense of proportion and not expect those who have life threatening illnesses to work, even though they seem to be a little better at times.

  17. Posted October 3, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I certainly agree those who have a permanent limiting condition should not have the worry of going through annual assessments, however I would like to see a comprehensive medical check up completed by an experienced and qualified practitioner.

    I would not want some box ticking bonus paid ex biscuit salesman, with little or no medical knowledge completing such, as we seem to have had before, as this would be a complete fiasco.

    Given the advances in medical science and drug development, I would also like to see some sort of review at perhaps 5 year intervals for such people.

    Rest assured, I would certainly not want to harrass any genuine cases, but there are people out there who feel that the State owes them a living, and sadly they will try and use every trick in the book to convince others that they are rather more disabled than is the case.
    Thus the State/Taxpayer owes it to themselves to make sure that if we are to sign people off for a number of years, that a proper medical investigation is completed before this happens, and certainly the first examination should be completed by a qualified medical professional.

  18. Posted October 3, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Quite right- what an incredibly stupid policy was being followed previously. Let’s hope common sense can be restored in some more areas.

  19. Posted October 3, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    FTSE 100 and FTSE250

    Year-long charts of their operation are not being shown by the media. I wonder why?

    • Posted October 4, 2016 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      They are available on any investment website.
      But if you want to believe in conspiracies …

    • Posted October 4, 2016 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      @Prigger; Since you asked … because the GBP turned red on most FX charts perhaps, something far more important than the FESE as movement on the FX markets affects the prices of imported goods etc, and (as the europhobes keep reminding us) since the UK imports far more than we export…

  20. Posted October 3, 2016 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    It would be really helpful if the Chancellor could stick to the facts about the current UK economy rather than seek to continue his pre 23/06 position. Does he really need to say that the UK economy is likely to experience a rollercoaster effect? What actual evidence does he have for this, or is he following the BBC Kamal Ahmed ‘the UK economy is heading for turbulent times’ line. John? Is it really that difficult for the Chancellor to give a positive vision for the UK in embracing Brexit or do we have to suffer that underlying disappointed tone in his voice? Is his heart really in it, or should he look at an alternative future?

    zorro

    • Posted October 4, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Indeed. He still suffers from the Cameron/Osborne/Carney/May group think gloom and project fear. Doubtless he still thinks Hinkley, HS2, central wage controls, a sugar tax, SDLT tax at 15% and all the absurd greencrap subsidies are a good plan too.

      Free trade with the World, democracy, no fees, control of our borders with selective immigration, cheap non green crap energy, lower taxes, a bonfire of red tap, simpler laws, a better legal system, freedom ………. what is not to like? Let us grab all the many new opportunities.

  21. Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Very pleased to hear what you say about the disability benefits.

  22. Posted October 4, 2016 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Back on topic….I would be interested to read this announcement, Mr R, since it does affect one of my close family members, who recently had an interview for P.I.P and has a long-term mental health condition which is generally incurable. Do you have a URL for this?

  23. Posted October 4, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    The current BBC line is that the pound has hit a new low because of Brexit. The ftse is at a 16 month high in spite of it
    What a missed opportunity it was when John Whitingdale was reigned in because Cameron needed them for his remain campaign

    • Posted October 4, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I feel that the BBC should have had a complete overhaul, but it was apparently too useful to Cameron for him to rock the boat. I think it behaves dishonourably, not abiding by its Charter terms. It seems to be too heavily influenced by the EU, NGOs, the climate change lobbyists, to name but a few, who seem to use it to forward their own agendas.

  24. Posted October 4, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I thought Damian Green made an excellent speech when this was announced. Of course it is always difficult to strike a balance between care with taxpayers’ money and being too rigorous, but Green came across very well. In fact it has been an excellent afternoon at conference and the two speakers before Jeremy Hunt moved me to tears.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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