To understand the thinking behind the reform of disability benefits, we need to look at a Conference held in 2001, called ‘Malingering and illness deception’. The Conference papers were later published as a book, in which ‘the enthusiastic support of Professor Mansel Aylward [then Chief Medical Officer at the DWP] and funding from the Department for Work and Pensions’ was acknowledged.
Nick Dilworth is a welfare rights adviser who has seen the full impact of welfare reform on the lives of his clients. He is also skilled at analysing statistics issued by the Department for Work and Pensions, and believes that one number, which lies buried in the data tables, should be revealed and widely publicised.
MacMillan Cancer Care recently reported that in 2015 there will be 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK, due to improvements in survival rates. MacMillan warned that this would place "huge pressure on the NHS". What wasn’t mentioned was the pressure it could also place on the social security system.
When Atos walked away from its contract to carry out Work Capability Assessments, the government needed to find a replacement. Today (29 October 2014) it was announced that the contract has been awarded to Maximus. Only time will tell of course, but for many disabled people the initial reaction may be, ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’.
Thousands of people unable to work because of progressive conditions are being placed in a work-related activity group, even if assessors admit they are unlikely ever to recover, the UK government admitted.
In an important new paper from the Centre for Wefare Reform (http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org), leading independent disability campaigner Kaliya Franklin, part of the Spartacus network, carefully analyses how government policy has undermined the objectivity of the medical assessments on sick and disabled people used by the private medical firm ATOS.