Yesterday Mike also put up a story about a protest by Alan Cummings, the secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association, against the DWP’s insistence that two miners should reapply for their ESA benefit. The two men had been made paraplegic in mining accident 25 years ago, and had not worked since. Nevertheless, the DWP still wanted them to fill in ‘a labyrinth of forms’, according to Mr Cummings, who accused the Department of acting like Scrooge.
Mike states that a spokesperson for the Department has tried to fend off these criticisms by claiming that Personal Independent Payment is a ‘dynamic’ benefit, which needs to reassessed as claimants needs change.
Mike makes the point that this statement is inapplicable, as they were claiming ESA, not PIP. Furthermore, the men had not worked for 25 years, and so were obviously extremely unlikely to find work now.
The spokesperson also announced that the government was going to make sure that in the most serious cases, people receiving ESA would no longer be required to be continually reassessed. Further details would be announced in due course.
Mike concludes that this looks like another case of official harassment to deter the former miners from receiving benefit, before the new legislation was brought in which would prevent this.
This follows all the previous cases in which the DWP has harassed and hounded severely disabled and terminally ill people with demands that they be reassessed for their benefit. Such as the incidents where amputees have been asked when they expect their missing limbs to grow back, as if they were the shed tails of lizards. Or found people in comas, dying of cancer, ‘fit for work’.
As for this new legislation, which will exempt the most extreme cases from reassessment, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for it. The Tories have shown themselves to be inveterate, shameless liars, always making promises they have absolutely no intention of keeping. Such as Cameron’s claim that NHS spending would be ‘ring-fenced’ against cuts. Or May’s promise to put employees in the boardroom. Or all the lies about not privatising the NHS. I think this statement is another lie, and that the Tories have absolutely no intention of exempting anything from their policy of harassing people to deter them from claiming benefit.