Backlog of assessments for ESA. Double the passport backlog, but none of the coverage

Frankie Boyle in his interview with Chunky Mark, the Artist Taxi Driver, remarked that part of this problem was the culture of silence about disability. People simply don’t talk about it, and so it becomes a silent presence, or absence in the culture, which the government can use to bully and discriminate the disabled. As for the passport issue, I expect Labour’s concentration on it is because it’s more of an immediate vote winner than processing ESA assessments. Some of the claimants of which, are liable to be accused of malingering by Right-wing papers like the Mail, Express, Torygraph. And it was, of course, Labour’s Keith Vaz who arranged for a very swift grant of British passports to the Mittal brothers after they donated to Labour.


Via the Vox Political blog, I learn that it was admitted yesterday by the DWP that there was a backlog of 700,000 assessments for ESA claims. ESA is Employment and Support Allowance, a sickness benefit for those unable to work. 400,000 of the 700,000 backlog are new claims – that is people who feel they are too sick to work have lodged a claim for ESA, but have not had their claim assessed. While they wait, they have to make do with a lower level of benefit. The longer they have to wait to be assessed, the more anxious they are likely to become, risking exacerbating their health problems. The risk of falling into serious hardship also increases the longer they have to wait. The remaining 300,000 will be existing ESA claimants awaiting re-assessment of their claims. Any delay there brings with it the stress and worry of not knowing…

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