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A petition to HM Government to exclude vulnerable, severe and enduring mental health sufferers from disability benefit assessments in 2013 has been launched on the e-government website: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/35092
In the Summer I wrote about my seriously ill friend Yvonne, who has had a double lung transplant, breast cancer, and multiple other health problems.
Today, Yvonne is in an ambulance on her way to Harefield Hospital in Middlesex, from her home in North Wales. Two weeks ago, she was summoned to her local Jobcentre, having been placed in the Work Related Activity Group by Atos, who believe that with support Yvonne could return to work in the future. Yvonne will be lucky to be alive in the future, but thanks to Atos and the DWP, she is spending what time she has left worrying about her appeal against this ludicrous decision.
The former UK minister for employment Chris Grayling was adamant that he was "unreservedly and implacably opposed to a real world test" when it comes to assessing people with disabilities and serious illnesses in terms of their fitness for work and eligibility for benefits. That position remains unchanged.
Since the Work Capability Assessment fit-for-work test (which in large part determines eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance) was introduced in October 2008, more than 400,000 people with serious illnesses and profound disabilities have appealed against the decision to strip them of state support.
As we report elsewhere today (12 November 2012), the WeAreSpartacus network of disabled people have today published a detailed and compelling 70-page People's Review of the Work Capability Assessment, which has taken some months of hard work under difficult circumstances to research and compile.
The 'We are Spartacus' (http://wearespartacus.org.uk/) network promoting disabled people's views on welfare reform, is launching a major campaign today (Monday 12 November 2012), and aims to make a big social media splash from 8am onwards.