Tagged: mental health

After The Sun’s disgusting ‘scrounger’ awards, it’s time to recognise the biggest injustices of the benefits system

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from the Independent

The award season is in full swing, and last week The Sun newspaper joined the fun, publishing a feature it called “The Welfies”.

If you didn’t see it, “The Welfies” is a list of “hilarious” awards that celebrate Britain’s top “scroungers and dossers” (that’s Sun-speak for people on benefits).

The article includes such rib-ticklers as the “Excess Pounds Award”, which The Sun gave to a 31-stone man for being too overweight to work. There was also the side-splitting “Put a Knot it in it Award” which went to a 32-year-old woman for having too many children. Other questionable awards included the “Carry on Claiming Award” and the “Jobdodgers Award”.

Not wanting to be left out, I have created my own not-so-humorous list of awards to give much-needed recognition to the most stellar injustices of the benefits system.

Most unqualified fitness-to-work assessor

This goes to the…

View original post 552 more words

People With Mental Health Problems Hammered By Sickness Benefit Sanctions

More than 60% of adverse Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) sanctions decisions made during the first three months of 2014 were against people with mental health issues or behavioral problems, new figures show.

Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in response to a Freedom of Information Request, show that 9,851 adverse benefit sanctions decisions were made against ESA claimants with mental or behavioural disorders between January to March 2014.

This compares to:

  • 508 adverse sanctions decisions against ESA claimants with diseases of the circulatory or respiratory system.
  • 1,598 against those with diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue.
  • 571 against people with diseases of the nervous system.
  • 714 against people with injuries, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes.
  • 2,727 against those with other health conditions or disabilities.

A DWP official said benefit sanctions are used to encourage people to “engage with the support being offered by Jobcentres, by making it clearer to claimants what they are expected to do in return for their benefits”.

However, charities and medical experts say people with mental health issues, learning problems and behavioral disorders often struggle to understand what is required of them in return for their benefits. Following strict requirements can prove to be more difficult for these groups of people, without additional support and guidance.

Commenting on similar figures from November 2013, Tom Pollard, Policy and Campaigns Manager at the mental health charity Mind, said:

“We’re very concerned that an increasing number of people on ESA are having their benefits stopped, despite the fact that there are now fewer people in the WRAG (Work Related Activity Group).

“We know that around half of people in the WRAG need support because they have mental health problems, but over 60 per cent of sanctions are imposed on this group.”

It is unjustifiable that people with mental health problems are being disproportionately affected by this increasingly punitive system. This confirms our fears that people are being pressured to undertake activities that are inappropriate for them and are not having their mental health properly taken into account.”

As a result people often become more anxious and unwell and this makes a return to work less likely. We urgently need to see people with mental health problems placed on a scheme which recognises and helps them overcome the challenges they face in finding and keeping a job.”

In total, there were 15,995 adverse ESA sanctions decisions between January to March 2014.

A cross-party report published earlier this week said the harsh use of punitive benefit sanctions is leading to rising numbers of people turning to food banks.

Commenting in response to the report, Salman Shaheen of Left Unity said:

Sanctions mean that tiny mistakes can see people’s benefits stopped. Often people are given unclear instructions. Sometimes the rules suddenly change or appointments are moved. One slip-up and they join the ranks of the hungry.

“Every crackdown on benefits pushes more people into the food bank queues. Abolishing sanctions is the simple answer: no one should ever be left with no income to live on.

“We also need to raise benefits from their current poverty level. And it is vital to tackle in-work poverty by ending zero-hours contracts and raising the minimum wage to £10 an hour.”

Source –  Welfare Weekly,  10 Dec 2014

http://www.welfareweekly.com/people-mental-health-problems-hammered-sickness-benefit-sanctions/

Autumn Statement: Greens Slam Osborne’s ‘Ideological Commitment To Austerity’

The Young Greens have heavily criticised the government’s “ideological commitment to austerity”, following Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement.

George Osborne renewed the government’s commitment to control welfare spending by “freezing Universal Credit work allowances for a further year, cutting tax credits when overpayments are certain, and ending unemployment benefits for migrants with no prospect of work.”

The Chancellor also reiterated David Cameron’s pledge to freeze working-age benefits for 2 years, if the Tories win a majority in the next general election.

Georgia Elander, of the Young Greens’ National Committee, said:

“It’s clear that austerity isn’t working for anyone. The government borrowing forecast for this year has been raised from almost £87bn to £91.3bn, and Danny Alexander has attributed this to falling tax receipts due to people being in lower-paid jobs.

“Meanwhile, young people across the country are struggling to get by on low wages and zero-hour contracts, seeing their benefits stripped away, and being forced into workfare in order to claim any welfare at all.

“This isn’t good for the economy, young people, or the rest of the country. George Osborne’s dogged insistence on pursuing the spending cuts and deficit reduction policies of the last five years, despite their clear failure, illustrates this government’s dangerous ideological commitment to austerity.

“Osborne’s continued refusal, too, to raise taxes on the wealthiest in society shows once again that this government operates for the benefit not of the many but of the wealthy few.”

She added:

The Green Party would implement a wealth tax on the top 1% and a financial transaction tax, to make sure that it is the richest individuals and corporations and not the poorest who contribute the most to funding vital public services.”

The Young Greens say austerity measures are also having a wider impact on young people’s mental health, with low wages, unemployment and welfare cuts leading to an increase in stress, depression and suicide.

They welcomed the government’s pledge to invest £150 million in tackling mental health problems, particularly for children who suffer from self harm and eating disorders, but added:

“Mental health provision in this country is grossly underfunded, and while this funding pledge is a step in the right direction, much more needs to be done.

“We need to improve access to mental health services, and work to remove the stigma around mental health, so that children and young people with depression and other mental health problems can be diagnosed and treated before they resort to self-injury.”

What about child poverty?

Responding to today’s Autumn Statement, Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:

It’s striking that the only giveaway for children was for families who can afford to fly them abroad on holiday. For millions more children, today’s Autumn Statement is about staying the course for poverty rather than prosperity.

“The Chancellor once again failed to mention child poverty – it’s now two years since an Autumn Statement or a Budget mentioned child poverty, despite the Government’s binding legal obligation to reduce it and IFS projections warning that the Government is on course to rapidly increase, not reduce, child poverty.

“By cutting Universal Credit once again, the Chancellor is in very real danger of torpedoing Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship policy. Freezing the work allowance will harm work incentives and hit low paid families hard. Two thirds of poor children live in working families; we should be redistributing help towards them, not away from them.”

Britain needs a pay rise

Responding to the Autumn Statement, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The living standards crisis has wrecked the Chancellor’s strategy.

“He has failed his deficit reduction pledge as low-paid Britain is paying much less tax than expected. And businesses won’t find the customers they need if consumers do not have money in their pockets.

“Nothing in today’s Autumn Statement will give Britain a pay rise, and Conservative plans to effectively outlaw strikes will help make Britain permanently low-paid. Wrapping up last year’s infrastructure presents and giving them to us again will not give the economy the extra boost it now needs.

“Today should have seen policies for growth, but the Chancellor has boxed himself in with a rigid and artificial deficit reduction timetable. If he continues in office that will mean eye-watering spending cuts straight after the election. These would knock the recovery sideways, deter investment and lead to great damage to our social fabric.

“The way to heal the public finances is to build a strong growing economy in which successful companies and well-paid workers pay fair taxes. Pre-election giveaways today under this Chancellor will lead to even bigger spending cuts now that the global economy looks increasingly fragile.

“This is economic self-harm, threatening a vicious circle of further decline. That would be Groundhog Day all over again – the same mistake that the coalition made in its first two years.”

Source –  Welfare Weekly,  03 Dec 2014

http://www.welfareweekly.com/autumn-statement-greens-slam-osbornes-ideological-commitment-austerity/



Tories In £1.5 Billion NHS Sell-Off Scandal

A new investigation by Unite has found that since 2012 a scandalous £1.5 billion has left the NHS and gone into the pockets of just 15 private companies linked to 24 Tory MPs and Lords who voted for the Health and Social Care Act.

Many of these MPs and Lords have benefited from the combination of their links to private healthcare and the sell-off of the NHS.

 The 24 Tory MPs and Lords, include, The Prime Minister David Cameron, Andrew Lansley, Jo, Johnson, William Hague, Nadhim Zahawi, Nick Herbert, David Ruffley, Chris Skidmore, Mark Simmonds, Nicholas Soames, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Kwasi Kwarteng.

Lord Blackwell, Baron Higgins of Worthing, Baroness Cumberledge, Baroness Wheatcroft, Baroness Bottomley, Lord Freeman, Lord Popat, Lord Patten, Lord Glendonbrook, Lord Hunt and Baroness James of Holland Park.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said:

“This is a national scandal and the Tories must be held to account. The government had no mandate to sell-off our NHS but they did just that. You have to ask yourself why?

“Since the vote to sell-off our NHS £12 billion pounds of our services are now in private hands. Key clinical services including cancer care, blood analysis and mental health have been sold off or are up for sale. It is time to scrap the Health and Social Care Act and save our NHS.

“David Cameron promised there would be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS, but he lied. How can we be in a situation where dozens of his MPs, voted for the sell off and had links to private healthcare companies, knowing this would open up new opportunities for the companies that pay them.

“It’s no wonder that calls to protect the NHS from TTIP, a EU-US trade deal that threatens to make the sell-off of the NHS permanent, are being ignored by the Tories.

“The next election will be make or break for our NHS. It is clear what Cameron’s preferred path is – an American style health system.”

Source –  Welfare News Service,  04 Oct 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/tories-1-5-billion-nhs-sell-scandal/

 

Threat of mandatory mental health treatment for ESA claimants

Hundreds of thousands of employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants face being stripped of their benefits if they refuse to undergo treatment for anxiety and depression, under radical plans being proposed by ministers.

Existing welfare rules mean it is not possible to require claimants to have treatment, such as therapy or counselling, as a condition of receiving ESA. However, it has emerged that the roll-out of further mandatory pilot schemes are planned over the next few weeks.

One trial began last month, looking at combining “talking therapies” with employment support. Three further trials being launched this summer are intended to test different ways of linking mental health services with support for benefit claimants seeking work:

  • Using group work “to build self-efficacy and resilience to setbacks” faced by job seekers
  • Providing access to online mental health and work assessment and support
  • Third parties, commissioned by Jobcentre Plus, to provide telephone-based psychological and employment-related support

The aim is to get people with mental health problems off benefits and back into work, so saving the government crucial spending on the welfare bill.

The proposal will, however, raise ethical questions about whether the state should have the power to force patients to undergo treatment. According to the statistics, 46% of ESA claimants have mental health problems.

The Telegraph claims a senior government source told them:

We know that depression and anxiety are treatable conditions. Cognitive behavioural therapies work and they get people stable again but you can’t mandate people to take that treatment.

“But there are loads of people who claim ESA who undergo no treatment whatsoever. It is bizarre. This is a real problem because we want people to get better.

“These are areas we need to explore. The taxpayer has committed a lot of money but the idea was never to sustain them for years and years on benefit. We think it’s time for a rethink.”

Tom Pollard, policy and campaigns manager at Mind, the mental health charity, said:

“If people are not getting access to the support they need, the government should address levels of funding for mental health services rather than putting even more pressure on those supported by benefits and not currently well enough to work.

“Talking therapies can be effective, but it is often a combination of treatments which allow people to best manage their symptoms and engaging in therapy should be voluntary.”

Norman Lamb, the Lib Dem health minister, said mandating mental health treatment for benefit claimants would not work and was “not a sensible idea”.

“The idea that you frogmarch someone into therapy with the threat of a loss of benefits simply won’t work,” he said. “It is not a question of whether tough love is a good concept.

“You actually need someone to go into therapy willingly.”

Read the full story in The Telegraph

Source – Benefits & Work,  14 July 2014

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2843-threat-of-mandatory-mental-health-treatment-for-esa-claimants

Recession ‘led to 10,000 suicides’

The economic crisis in Europe and North America led to more than 10,000 extra suicides, according to figures from UK researchers.

A study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, showed “suicides have risen markedly“.

The research group said some deaths may have been avoidable as some countries showed no increase in suicide rate.

Campaign groups said the findings showed how important good mental health services were.

The study by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine analysed data from 24 EU countries, the US and Canada.

It said suicides had been declining in Europe until 2007. By 2009 there was a 6.5% increase, a level that was sustained until 2011.

It was the equivalent of 7,950 more suicides than would have been expected if previous trends continued, the research group said.

Deaths by suicide were also falling in Canada, but there was a marked increase when the recession took hold in 2008, leading to 240 more suicides.

The number of people taking their own life was already increasing in the US, but the rate “accelerated” with the economic crisis, leading to 4,750 additional deaths.

The report said losing a job, having a home repossessed and being in debt were the main risk factors.

However, some countries bucked the trend. Sweden, Finland and Austria all avoided increases in the suicide rate during the recession.

One of the researchers, Dr Aaron Reeves, of the University of Oxford, said: “A critical question for policy and psychiatric practice is whether suicide rises are inevitable.”

‘Policy potentially matters’

He told the BBC:There’s a lot of good evidence showing recessions lead to rising suicides, but what is surprising is this hasn’t happened everywhere – Austria, Sweden and Finland.

“It shows policy potentially matters. One of the features of these countries is they invest in schemes that help people return to work, such as training, advice and even subsidised wages.

“There are always hard choices to make in a recession, but for me one of the things government does is provide support and protection for vulnerable groups – these services help people who are bearing the brunt of an economic crisis.”

Andy Bell, of the Centre for Mental Health, said: “The study says what we feared for some time: that unemployment, job insecurity and many other factors associated with the recession are associated with poor mental health and suicide.

“It reminds us how important it is to respond to that need and take preventative action where we can, and that primary care is properly resourced and able to identify people who are at risk.”

Beth Murphy, of the charity Mind, said: “Since 2008, we’ve seen an increasing number of people contact the Mind Infoline concerned about the impact of money and unemployment on their mental health.

“Redundancy and other life circumstances brought about by the recession can trigger depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts for anyone, whether they have previously experienced a mental health problem or not.

“For some people, these factors can become so difficult to cope with that suicide may feel like the only option.”

Source –  BBC News,  12 June 2014

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27796628

Work Programme pushing people with disabilities further from work

A shocking report launched today (Thursday 12 June) has found that the back to work support provided through the Work Programme and Jobcentre Plus is causing severe anxiety for people with disabilities and pushing them further from the job market.

Fulfilling Potential? ESA and the fate of the Work Related Activity Group’ is based on data from over 500 people with a range of physical and mental health problems.

All respondents had been assigned to the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) having applied for the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

People in the WRAG can have their benefits stopped if they do not engage with work preparation schemes.

This research found that the Work Programme or Jobcentre Plus had helped just 5% of respondents move into work, while 60% of people said that their health, finances, confidence and sense of purpose had all suffered as a result.

Most people who responded to the survey had been compelled to undertake compulsory back-to-work activities or have their benefits cut.

The majority said their disabilities were not acknowledged or accommodated and made engaging in such activities difficult.

80% of people said they felt anxious about not being able to access activities and 70% were worried about their benefits being cut.

The actual or threatened cutting of benefits is meant to motivate people to get back to work, but the report suggests motivation is not a problem.

For most people (90%), their health or impairment was the main barrier to work.

The report was produced by Catherine Hale, a Work Programme service user, with support from the mental health charity Mind and the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Catherine currently claims ESA due to myalgic encephalopathy (ME), a long term health condition, and said:

The majority of disabled people want to work. However, people who have been awarded ESA have genuine and often severe health problems which make it difficult to access employment.

“The current system ignores these difficulties, and relies on the threat of sanctions to get people into work.

“It is no surprise that it is not only failing disabled people but causing additional distress and anxiety, on top of the barriers that they already face.

“People claiming ESA need to be placed with specialist organisations experienced in supporting disabled people into employment, not into mainstream welfare-to-work schemes.”

Tom Pollard, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Mind, commented:

This report adds to the existing evidence that the current benefits system is failing people with disabilities and mental health problems.

“There is far too much focus on pressuring people into undertaking compulsory activities, and not nearly enough ongoing, tailored support to help them into an appropriate job.

“We urgently need to see an overhaul of this system.”

The report has been endorsed by a further 18 organisations including Mencap, RNIB, Parkinson’s UK and the National Autistic Society.

Read Catherine Hale’s report here

Mind is promoting a campaign in support of changes to the current system, which you can read about and sign up to here

Source –  Benefits & Work,  12 June 2014

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2799-work-programme-pushing-people-with-disabilities-further-from-work

MP raises fears over planned mental health service changes

A North East MP has entered the row over proposed changes to mental health services that will see scores of jobs lost in the North East.

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery says vulnerable patients and their families are left feeling abandoned by plans to alter the way that important services are delivered in the region.

Controversial plans have been made by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust to close mental health wards, relocate service and develop new units.

Mr Lavery said: “I have met with a number of my constituents who use the services and they feel that they are being abandoned by the mental health trust.

“It really concerns me the planned changes that have been made. We cannot sit back and say that everything is fine because the reality is that it is not. These changes will put real and increased strain on patients and their families.

“We cannot get rid of such critical services. It would appear that these changes are being made to cut costs with patients not being the main focus.”

Under the proposals, as many as 169 frontline NHS posts will be axed and more than 90 beds reduced as more care is delivered in the community.

Each year since 2010, the trust has been required to make savings of approximately £12m while meeting the same levels of demand.

Health chiefs are adamant that the proposals will significantly improve patient care while delivering cost savings to ensure services remain viable in the long-term.

James Duncan, acting chief executive of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have listened very carefully to the feedback we have received from service users, carers and our partners in recent years so that we can play our part in providing the best modern mental health services for local people, designed around their needs.

“Building on this, we have embarked on a challenging transformation programme to ensure that our services continue to be high quality, are easier to access and provide the best value for money.

“It is important to remember that the vast majority of people who use our services are supported in the community, with only about 3% needing to spend time in hospital. Alongside changes to inpatient services, we have also seen significant improvements in mental health services locally.”

Staff at the health trust have undergone a consultation process and a number of public engagement events have taken place to discuss the proposals.

It is expected that all the changes will be in place within the next two to three years.

Source –  Newcastle Journal   05 May 2014

Fears for mental health patients as 150 jobs go at North East health trust

Fears have been expressed for some of the region’s most vulnerable patients after it emerged more than 150 frontline NHS posts will be cut.

As many as 169 posts at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust will be lost under radical plans to change the way that care is delivered to mental health patients.

Nurses are set to be the worst hit, though a total of 867 employees will be affected as staff may be required to change their place of work or undergo different shift patterns.

Plans put forward for consultation will see wards close, services relocated and the development of new units as the trust aims to reduce costs by 20% over a five-year period.

Health chiefs have insisted that the changes will significantly improve patient services, but staff and unions have raised fears over employees’ safety and future staffing levels.

Glenn Turp, regional director for the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Trust management have told us that although they are endeavouring to redeploy all of the staff who are affected by the restructuring, they can not give guarantees that all staff will be redeployed, and as a consequence they have issued ‘advance notice of redundancy forms’ affecting around 170 staff.

“The fact remains that local NHS employers are in the invidious position of having to make huge cost savings that are not deliverable without having a negative impact on patient care, frontline staffing and inpatient activity.”

Thirteen new schemes will be introduced across the region covering all aspects of mental health, including older people’s services, psychiatric intensive care and male high dependency.

Community services will be enhanced so that fewer people will require hospital admission.

It is believed that more than 90 beds will be reduced and new ways of accessing treatment introduced for those with psychosis, non-psychosis, cognitive disorders and learning disability.

A mental health nurse, who has asked not to be named, said: “A number of challenging patients who used to be managed within the hospital setting are now going to have to be cared for in the community.

“Without significant additional investment in community services and staff, this will put significant pressure on both the patients themselves, and their families who will be increasingly relied upon to provide support when NHS staff are not available.

“For those patients who do not have a supportive family network, this may put both their health and safety at risk.

“The public should be concerned about the scale and the nature of this restructuring, because it looks as if community care is being delivered on the cheap. That has implications for everyone.”

The trust is currently working with staff on the proposals and a number of public consultation events have taken place. It is expected that the changes will come into force within the next two to three years.

A spokesperson for Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust said: “Service users, carers, the voluntary sector and our commissioners and local authorities have been involved for many months in developing our plans for mental health services across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear.

“The vast majority of our services are provided in the community with only 3% of our patients ever needing to go to hospital, yet we spend more than 50% of our resources for services on our inpatient beds.

“Our aim is to improve quality in both our inpatient and community services whilst at the same time meeting the cost savings required of us.

“In terms of our inpatient beds, the trust currently has over 650 beds and as an example, in the last three weeks we have used in the order of 470 beds each day.”

Source – Newcastle Journal  23 April 2014

MP blames Government for North east depression epidemic

Shocking new figures show that the North is the anti-depressant capital of Britain.

The region takes up six of the top 10 places in England for use of the drugs, with poverty and deprivation being blamed for the widespread problems with people’s mental health.

NHS data shows doctors here prescribe more anti-depressants per head than anywhere else in the country, with more than one million prescriptions handed out in the last three months of last year.

In the former industrial heartland of East Durham there are 45 prescriptions for every 100 patients – the second highest rate in the country.

And six of the 10 most-prescribing areas are in the North East, including Sunderland, Gateshead, South Tees, Newcastle West, and North Durham.

Mental health charities said depression and anxiety were strongly tied to deprivation, with some laying the blame at the government’s door. Easington MP Grahame Morris, a member of the Commons Health Select Committee, said: “We’re fighting a rearguard action to protect our community.

“I see in my surgeries every week people displaying symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression as a consequence of the government’s policies.

“I had a gentleman come to see me on Friday who was 60-years-old, had worked from being 15, and he’d had to give it up due to a crumbling spine.

“He’d been put in a fit for work category when he couldn’t walk for 20 paces, and his benefits were suspended for eight months while the appeal is heard.

“There’s a definite link between the Government’s policies of austerity and welfare reform and the impact it’s having on people’s mental health.”

Doctors in Sunderland made 41.2 prescriptions for every 100 people in the area, while Gateshead gave out 40.7.

Other badly affected areas included Salford, St Helens, Barnsley and Blackpool – all former industrial areas. Richard Colwill, from the mental health charity SANE, said the figures should be treated “with caution” because they might be inflated by repeat patients for drugs which are used for a range of other conditions.

But he argued they “should be no surprise” because of the strong links between depression and “unemployment, debt and homelessness”.

He said: “SANE’s own experience suggests that it is not only the high demand for treatment that is concerning, but also the dwindling supply.

“The Government’s relentless agenda to cut expensive community and inpatient services often leaves healthcare professionals with little to offer other than medication.”

Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said: “We know that reforms to the welfare system are taking their toll on the mental health of many people. Depression can affect anyone, regardless of background, but there are certain factors that can increase the risk of someone developing depression.

“Unemployment, financial difficulties, a problematic housing situation and physical health problems can all put stress on people, which in turn can lead to mental health problems.”

A spokeswoman for clinical commissioning groups in the North East said: “It’s well-known that poverty and mental health are linked, just as poor housing and mental health are linked.

“As the North East has some of the highest areas of deprivation in the country, it’s not surprising that there are higher numbers of people who need support for mental health issues.

“It’s important that people realise that while sometimes medication is required, there are alternatives for those with mild to moderate depression or anxiety.

“Talking therapies work very well and can act more quickly than perhaps antidepressants or other medical treatments.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “Our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities, with the Universal Credit making three million households better off.

“We have also expanded the ESA Support Group so greater numbers of people with a mental health condition now qualify for the benefit.

“We are transforming the lives of the poorest in society and bringing common sense back to the welfare system – so that we can continue to support people when they need it most right across Britain.”

> But then, they always say that… whatever the question was.

Source –  Newcastle Evening chronicle  20 April 2014