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The Scandal That Is Employment Support Allowance

March 27, 2013

Employment Support Allowance…otherwise known as ESA.  The very name is just about the most oxymoronic and devious name ever devised to represent a welfare benefit for disabled and incapacitated people.

It used to be called Incapacity Benefit. That was, of course, before those who have decided to dismantle the welfare system hit upon the brilliant idea of making out that a regime of forcing incapacitated people into work constituted ‘helping’ or even ‘supporting’ them.

The first thing anyone learns about the move from Incapacity Benefit to Employment ‘Support’ Allowance is that it has nothing whatever to do with help or support.  The move starts with the claimant being sent a ridiculous ‘assessment’ questionaire ( form ESA50 ).  The form is 20 pages worth of idiotic questions like ‘ Can you set an alarm clock ?’ Right…so someone suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and hearing demons that threaten to burn the house down is fit for work because they can set an alarm clock ?? Seriously ?

More to the point, why is this form sent initially only to the person with the medical condition ? Why is the first point of contact for ESA the patient, via a questionaire full of trick questions designed to catch the patient out, rather than the doctor ?

And it gets worse. The completed form ESA50 is then to be returned, not to any government department but to a sub-contracted French owned company called ATOS…not primarily a medical company but an information technology company ! Yes, that’s right…someone incapacitated with heart disease, brain tumour, schizophrenia, or whatever, is to be ‘assessed’ by a subdivision of an I.T Company !

That’s on par with going to your doctor’s surgery and having your bank manager diagnose your condition ! The fact that ATOS have created a subdivision called ATOS Healthcare for this surely does not change the fact that its core business is as an I.T outsourcing company.

Only then does the claimant’s doctor…you know, the person who you’d think should have been contacted first…get contacted about the whole shenanigans.  The doctor is asked to complete a standardised report, form ESA113, which is a mere 2 pages. Yes…that’s right…the patient is asked to fill in a 20 page form while the doctor is asked to fill out a 2 page form that merely asks shorter versions of the trick questions in ESA50.  That alone tells you what this whole farcical charade is all about.

ATOS claim they do not ‘decide’ the claimant’s claim, but that is pure nonsense. Sure, it may be a person at the Department Of Work And Pensions who actually ‘decides’ the claim…but then what is the purpose of ATOS in all this if not to influence that decision ?

The net result of this farcical system is that incapacitated people are being judged ‘fit for work’…essentially based on little more than a ‘ medically trained’ computer operator at ATOS clicking check boxes for trick questions.  And to cap it all off….they have the sheer gall to call this travesty ‘support’.


From → Welfare

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