Category Archives: Disability

Destroying the Myth: Kayleigh Garthwaite’s tips for welfare bloggers

Kayleigh Garthwaite
Kayleigh Garthwaite’s profile image on Twitter

Kayleigh Garthwaite is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geography at Durham University – and the author of the eye-opening blog post The ‘scrounger’ myth is causing real suffering to many in society,

In this Q&A Kayleigh gives her tips on blogging about benefits and talks further about the myths surrounding welfare.

What advice would you give to people who are just getting into blogging about welfare?

It’s important to try to keep as up to date as possible with changes to welfare as it’s a constantly evolving process. Continue reading Destroying the Myth: Kayleigh Garthwaite’s tips for welfare bloggers

Useful links to Sept 16th: reassess mental illness; axe bedroom tax; the new poor; CPAG update

These are some welfare links we found interesting during the second week of September.

What were Ian Duncan Smith’s ‘welfare reforms’ really about?. Guardian, Sue Marsh, spokeswoman and author of Diary of a Benefit Scrounger says the reforms are frightening the most vulnerable.

Hard evidence: are migrants draining the welfare system?. The Conversation. The evidence is to the contrary.

Patrick Kennedy: ‘Speak up’ for mental illness. Politico, A call to reassess mental injuries caused in military combat.

UN housing expert’s call to axe bedroom tax ‘a disgrace’ – senior Tory. Guardian, Bedroom tax. Conservative party chairman, Grant Shapps takes issue with the UN special rapporteur’s views of the bedroom tax.

Ed Milliband to pledge crackdown on zero-contracts . BBC. In his address to the TUC, Ed Milliband will set out plans to tackle the spread of zero-hour contracts.

Child Poverty Action Group update: The reality of striving and surviving on benefits. Video with single parent, A Girl called Jack.

Europe could have up to 25 million ‘new poor’ if austerity drags on .Oxfam. The report states that damage caused by austerity measures will take at least two decades to reverse.

Useful posts to Sept 6: welfare reforms mauled;whose upturn? dreading UC

These are some welfare links we found interesting during the first week of September.

Useful links to August 30th: living costs crisis; intern death; DWP zero hours; modern workers

These are some welfare links we found interesting during the second two weeks of August.

Useful links from August 1st to 15th: child households; pooling resources; youth deal.

These are some welfare links we found interesting during the first two weeks of August.

The Bedroom Tax investigated in Birmingham: no place to go

Sharing a room with her four year old disabled son, Brenda*, a single mother from Ladywood, is just one of the 37,000 households in Birmingham living in congested conditions, making the West Midlands responsible for almost half of families living in overcrowded accommodation across the country.

With an increasing demand for properties and an acute shortage of social housing, the idea of taxing council tenants who maintain a spare room seems reasonable, but a closer investigation into the matter by a team of Birmingham journalists reveals that this taxation may not only be affecting society’s most vulnerable but also adding to a worsening housing situation. Continue reading The Bedroom Tax investigated in Birmingham: no place to go

The Work Capability Assessment – Audio recording

“Disingenuous” is a word I find I only use and use a lot when talking about the DWP.

The thought about audio-recording a WCA cropped up over a year ago and immediately gained the support of the illustrious Professor Harrington.  More recently, there has been a lot of upset due to confusion over how will it work, when will it be available etc. and it has been the source of several parliamentary questions from interested MPs to the equally illustrious the Rt Hon Chris Grayling, Minister for Employment. Continue reading The Work Capability Assessment – Audio recording

The real life impact of being targeted by a Sun journalist as a ‘benefit cheat’

The Sun’s announcement that it is targeting benefit cheats has led to at least one very nasty experience for a 68-year-old former dustman.

Elaine Milton writes movingly about her father’s injury, countless operations, and recent discovery of bowls, “with the support of his doctor”. Then:

“You can imagine how I felt when I heard that a Sun journalist and photographer had been knocking on his door, taking his picture, telling him that they were doing a story on benefit cheats. Continue reading The real life impact of being targeted by a Sun journalist as a ‘benefit cheat’

Disabled group releases report to oppose benefit reforms

A report published today on the controversial welfare reform bill, reveals Parliament may only have been told the partial truth about the overwhelming opposition to the government’s consultation on the planned changes to the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Some of the main conclusions of the document, which came to to be known as the “Spartacus report”, are summed up below:

  • Only 7% of organisations that took part in the consultation were fully in support of plans to replace DLA with PIP
  • There was overwhelming opposition in the consultation responses to nearly all of the government’s proposals for DLA reform
  • The government has consistently used inaccurate figures to exaggerate the rise in DLA claimants
  • The report shows that nearly all of the recent increase in working-age claimants of DLA has been associated with mental health conditions and learning difficulties. Between 2002 and 2010, the number of working-age DLA claimants – excluding those with mental health conditions and learning difficulties remained remarkably stable
  • 98% of those who responded opposed plans to change the qualifying period for PIP from three months (as it is with DLA) to six months
  • 90% opposed plans for a new assessment, which disabled people fear will be far too similar to the much-criticised work capability assessment used to test eligibility for employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Respondents to the consultation repeatedly warned that the government’s plans could breach the Equality Act, the Human Rights Act and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The report, based on data obtained through Freedom of Information requests, was written by Sue Marsh, author of the Diary of the Benefit Scrounger blog. It was researched and funded by thousands of sick and disabled people, who are about to be affected by the cuts to their benefits.

A contributor from the campaign group told Help Me Investigate:

“We have an army of over 600 volunteers to act as ‘constituency reps’. Each has the responsibility to contact their MP in their area with the report, so this will go very widely indeed. We are expecting a lot of press coverage.”

With only two days to go until the House of Lords votes on the bill, the group plans to campaign on Twitter as well and hope to get their hashtag #spartacusreport trending this morning.

Writing on the Guardian’s Comment is Free, Sue Marsh said:

“As evidence of the need for reform, the government has always claimed that DLA figures have risen by 30% in eight years. However, our analysis shows that this too is misleading – in fact the government has admitted that it gives a “distorted view”, yet continues to use the figure when pushing for reform.”