The Creative Incompetence of the Benefits Agency and DWP

I was reading the grimly fascinating piece on Benefit Tales about the way Disability Benefit claimants have not been told Atos’ decision on their benefits, in order, it would seem, to prevent them from appealing against it. It shows the bizarre world that Atos inhabits, and is all too eager to inflict on the most vulnerable members of society. I’ve compared it to Kafkaesque’s novels, particularly The Trial and The Castle, where the heroes are arrested and condemned without knowing the evidence against them, nor the charges on which they have been arrested. These novels have, with more than a degree of justification, been viewed as ominous prefiguring the gross miscarriages of justice committed by the later totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, Nazism and Communism. Their more immediate inspiration in humdrum reality is just as relevant here. Kafka was an insurance clerk, and he based his novels on his experience of the bureaucracy in dealing with compensation claims for injuries. And a cold bureaucracy that does not tell its claimants why they are being persecuted, nor present the evidence on which they could make an appeal sounds very much like Atos and the current DWP.

Reading some of the comments to the post also revealed another tactic used by the DWP: that of notifying claimants of the decision to deny them benefits just in time for them to miss the appeal deadline. I’ve also heard about that from some of the my own friends on Jobseekers’ Allowance. This has happened repeatedly. Friends have also told me of repeated instances where the centre dealing with their claims has repeatedly lost their details, or claimed it never received them. This has happened to the same people not once, or twice but several times.

This suggests that it is not an accident, nor incompetence, but government policy.

The DWP has been caught acting like this before. A few years ago under New Labour one of the centres was revealed as having a secret policy by which they were to remove a certain percentage of their claimants from Jobseekers’ Allowance through similar manipulation of the claims system. Something very similar appears to be going on here. And it’s disgusting.

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8 Responses to “The Creative Incompetence of the Benefits Agency and DWP”

  1. Mike Sivier Says:

    Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    At long last I can see the Beastrabban blog again! Here’s a cracking critique of DWP bureaucracy that is correct in every meaningful way.

  2. sjamiebunting Says:

    I have said that this is another import from the sinister world of right-wing America – probably based on Ayn Rand’s idea of “creative destruction”. It is not an accident.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Sadly, that really wouldn’t surprise me. Thinking about it, one of features of Bush’s regime described by his critics in Bushwhacked was the deliberate delays in voting further funds for social security. the result was that when the unemployed tried to make a claim, they were told there was no more money. As a result, thousands of unfortunate, decent Americans were thrown onto the streets, unable to pay their mortgages and rents.

  3. richardbroomhall Says:

    Reblogged this on this 'n that.

  4. The Creative Incompetence of the Benefits Agency and DWP | Beastrabban’s Weblog | this 'n that Says:

    […] The Creative Incompetence of the Benefits Agency and DWP | Beastrabban’s Weblog […]

  5. katrina Says:

    Yes after ATOS turned my partner down at the reassessment even though his condition has worsened the benefits office telephoned after weeks to tell him of their decision, when we tried to find out more they denied phoning. We were told to wait for the letter which on arrival we could not make any sense of, it left us one week to appeal and arrived after they had stopped our benefits. We have no money coming in at the moment because all claims were halted and can receive no help and no explanation. Friends and family have helped us put electricity on our meter and we received some food from the food bank. We live in a village with no public transport so when our last bit of petrol runs out we will be able to make it to the food bank without walking a total of 10 miles. We have no idea how long it will take for the DWP to receive the appeal and they had given us an addressed envelope which the job centre told us was the wrong address. I was lucky to take it to the local JBC as they would never have received it. No one will speak to us about why this has happened or give us any indication as to how we are meant to live in the mean time. If anyone has any suggestions would love to hear from you.

    • fkreid Says:

      I’ve just replied on Can anyone help Katrina on this blog. I suggested you contact Fightback on Facebook they have lots of experience and specialise in DWP Atos problems. May be worth trying as you seem to be short of time due to their bad behaviour.
      The link to their about page which gives you an idea if they can help is:
      https://www.facebook.com/FightBack4Justice/info
      Hope you get this sorted.

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