Tagged: welfare reform

‘Welfare Reform Isn’t Working As Planned’, Says Expert

With a further £12bn in welfare cuts in the pipeline, what evidence is there to show that reforms to the welfare system are helping people into work and cutting costs?

The head of Housing and Communities at the London School of Economics (LSE) believes that savings are lower and costs are higher than planned.

Anne Power says:

“In 2013 and 2014, LSE Housing and Communities carried out a survey of 200 social housing tenants across the South West of England to find out whether welfare reform, introduced by the coalition government, was in practice helping tenants into jobs and making them better off.

“We found that the impact was direct, harsh and in most cases not leading directly to work. We have also talked to 150 social landlords and their tenants all over the country to understand the impact of cuts in benefits on the way landlords and tenants are managing.

“Our findings are striking. Welfare reform isn’t working as planned. Government savings are lower and costs are higher, particularly disability payments due to mismanagement.

“The ‘Bedroom Tax’, was introduced to make social housing tenants with one spare bedroom move home or pay more rent. This has led to empty homes in some parts of the country as many social landlords in the North and the Midlands have surplus larger properties which they have under-let to small households. Tenants now compete to downsize, leaving a costly supply of empty, larger units. Often tenants simply can’t find a smaller unit to move too.

“Sanctions, government-imposed penalties on job seekers who fail to meet Job Centre requirements, suspend all benefits with no notice. Many appeals have over-turned the job centre sanctions but often too late to prevent deep and sometimes tragic hardship. Housing benefit payments are also rising because evictions have forced tenants to pay higher rents in the private rented sector.

“Welfare reform is directed at getting a job. But older working age bands struggle because, after a long gap, skills may no longer be usable and jobs requiring IT require considerable retraining. Former manual workers often suffer serious injuries at work and can no longer do hard labour.

“Benefit cuts create longer term social costs too. For example, carers and their dependents may need a spare bedroom for a foster child or sick relative or night-time carer.

“The government is playing to popular attitudes. Spending on welfare, when austerity hits everyone, is not popular. There is a common belief that far more people cheat than actually do, whereas bureaucratic errors are far more common and cost more.

“There is general belief that people should work, whatever the job and certainly tenants we spoke to want to work. Tenants like working. But “booting” people into standing on their own feet can cut vital support lines without jolting them into a job. It can incapacitate them.

“Welfare reform is underpinned by a strong belief in the value of the market; if things don’t pay, they will stop happening, so if benefits don’t pay, people will stop depending on them. This over-simplified view has led to unintended and unnecessarily harsh consequences. As tenants feel less certain that they can rely on benefits, they find job centre interviews and the threat of sanctions too painful and too humiliating, so some just disappear off the unemployment register.

“The number of people actually finding work through job centre action is far smaller than claimed.

“On the other hand, tenants want to work whenever possible, even when pay is poor, so in that sense the strong work focus of welfare reform is positive. Tenants also like training and learning – and job centres send claimants on courses.

“Tenants are adjusting to lower incomes, although paying bills is a constant juggling act and it is no longer possible to take basic support for granted. The adjustment tenants are making would be far more painful if it wasn’t for advice organisations like CAB, churches and charities that offer emergency support. Food banks help in extreme circumstances.

“Social landlords are responding to welfare reform and the wider cuts they face with considerable anxiety. They know the vast majority of their 4 million tenant households are hard hit.

“Collecting rents becomes even more important, but far more challenging. Welfare reform has forced social landlords to recognise the need for more direct, face-to-face, front-line contact with tenants to ensure payments and help resolve problems. They develop opportunities for training and accessing jobs to help welfare reform work.”

Source – Welfare Weekly, 26 May 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/welfare-reform-isnt-working-as-planned-says-expert/

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Delusional David Cameron Insists Tories ‘Protected The Poorest’

Delusional David Cameron has insisted the Tory-led coalition government “protected the poorest” in society, in an interview with the Independent newspaper.

“I haven’t changed. I am a compassionate Conservative”, he told the journalist, whilst travelling from Belfast to Cardiff during a four-nations tour to promote his support for the union.

“We had to make difficult decisions”, he says. “I would argue that this has been done in a compassionate way. We protected the poorest, the pensioners, the NHS. We had a balanced plan.”

When pushed to explain why a “compassionate Conservative” would push for a further £12bn in welfare cuts after May’s general election, he replied: “There is nothing compassionate about leaving people to live on welfare when they could have the dignity and security of work”.

He claims that the coalitions welfare reforms have led to 900,000 fewer people claiming working-age benefits.

> I wonder how that figure would look once you’d deducted those sanctioned…and those who have died.

“That is a deeply compassionate thing. That is very much the impetus of our welfare reform”, he said.

“It is not just about saving money. It is about trying to save lives and change people’s lives. Can we save about half of what we saved in the last parliament through a process of reform? Yes, we can.”

David Cameron’s comments will undoubtedly infuriate thousands of families who have been forced to turn to food banks, in the wake of some of the most callous and vicious cuts to welfare and social security in living memory.

More than 900,000 jobseekers were subjected to benefit sanctions in one year alone (April 2013 to March 2014), often for unfair or spurious reasons. This has resulted in a call from the Work and Pensions Committee for an independent review into the punitive system.

> Sometime in the next few years. Maybe.

Disabled people have been targeted with cuts to vital disability benefits and other forms of support, such as the abolition of the Independent Living Fund.

Low-income working families have seen their employment rights reduced and tax credits cut.

The hated bedroom tax has pushed some of the poorest and most vulnerable people into poverty and others out of their family home.

Abolition of Council Tax Benefit has resulted in a more than *25% increase in the number of households summoned to court over unpaid Council Tax bills.

*Read more: Half a million more people summoned to court over unpaid council tax, after benefits scrapped.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on how David Cameron’s government inflicted pain and misery on Britain’s poorest.

If this is what David Cameron calls being a “compassionate Conservative”, I hope we never get to see the real Tories. Some may argue we already have.

You can read David Cameron’s interview with the Independent here.

Source – Welfare Weekly, 07 Apr 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/delusional-david-cameron-insists-tories-protected-the-poorest/

Labour Pledges To End Dependency On Food Banks With Welfare Reforms

A Labour government would tackle the root causes of the increase in the use of food banks across the UK, with the party to pledge that they “can never be allowed to become a permanent feature of British society”.

Shadow ministers will promise to solve jobcentre benefit delays, halt the proliferation of benefit sanctions, and address low pay in a five-point plan aimed at reducing the number of people forced to turn to food banks.

They will cite Trussell Trust statistics showing that nearly a million people used food banks in 2013-14, figures that are generally assumed to underestimate the number of people who went hungry as a result of food insecurity over the period.

Labour will promise a cross-government approach to end what it calls the “chaos of food policy” under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, and will say that a Labour administration will make tackling food bank dependency a specific ministerial responsibility.

A target would be set to reduce the number of people who cite delays in benefits being processed as the prime reason for using food banks. Benefits typically take around 16 working days to process, although backlogs mean many disability benefit claimants have waited for several months.

Studies have shown that benefit sanctions – when payments are stopped for alleged rule infringements – are the prime reason for between 10% and 30% of food bank users being referred for food aid.

Labour says it will abolish jobcentre targets for increasing sanctions, and make hardship funds more quickly available for those who are sanctioned. The party has a longstanding commitment to abolish the bedroom tax, which is also driving food bank use in some areas of the UK.

It has also promised to address low pay, by raising the minimum wage to at least £8 an hour before 2020, promoting a Living Wage and ending zero-hours contracts, so that working people do not suffer the humiliation of being referred to food banks to put meals on the table.

The plan is a clear statement from Labour that it considers welfare reforms to be the biggest single driver of food bank use, a connection the government has always strenuously denied.

The shadow environment, food and rural affairs secretary, Maria Eagle, will say in a visit to a London food bank on Wednesday:

“The Tories’ attitude to the relentless rise in hunger in Britain speaks volumes for who they stand up for. They refuse to accept any responsibility for it, despite the fact their policies are making it worse.

“Labour will take a strategic and joined-up approach to food policy to ensure that everybody has the chance to eat safe, nutritious and affordable food, now and in the future. Emergency food aid should remain just that – food banks can never be allowed to become a permanent feature of British society.”

Numerous studies by charities and academics in the past 18 months have linked welfare reform, austerity and the shrinking of the welfare safety net to the rise in poverty and food bank use. Food banks were practically unknown in the UK five years ago, when the coalition was formed.

However, ministers have insisted there is no robust evidence that social security policy has triggered the rise in food bank use. The welfare minister, Lord Freud, argued that food bank use had expanded because charity food parcels were “free”.

The Trussell Trust, which runs 420 food banks across the UK, is committed to reducing the number of people needing to use them, but its policy is to keep a “safety net” service in place in each major town.

Source – The Guardian, 25 Mar 2015

100,000 Children Affected By Benefit Sanctions In 2013/14

A new report from a coalition of major UK Churches has revealed that around 100,000 children were affected by benefit sanctions in 2013/14.

It also shows that in the same period a total of nearly 7 million weeks of sanctions were handed out to benefit claimants.

The new data, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, will feature in this evening’s episode of Channel 4’s Dispatches, entitled ‘Britain’s Benefits Crackdown’.

The report, entitled Time to Rethink Benefit Sanctions, is published today by the Baptist Union of Great Britain, Church Action on Poverty, the Church in Wales, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church. It contains new data on the severity and length of sanctions under Welfare Reform, and on how sanctions affect vulnerable groups such as children and those with mental health problems.

It features the stories of people like James (not his real name) who have had their benefits sanctioned:

“During the first three weeks of my sanction I continued to look for work as I was required to. By the fourth week however I was exhausted, unwell and no longer had it in me. I was not eating as I had no food and was losing a lot of weight. I told the Jobcentre I was unwell through not eating but was sanctioned for another three months for not looking for work properly.

Those who already have the most difficult lives are those most likely to be sanctioned,” said Paul Morrison, Public Issues Policy Adviser for the Methodist Church and one of the authors of the report.

“Sanctions impact disproportionately on young people, care leavers, homeless people, single parents, the mentally ill and those with long term illness. This system causes problems for the very people that most need help.

“But sanctions don’t just have a financial impact. The people we’ve spoken to have told us of the shame, demoralisation and loss of self-worth caused by this system.

“As Christians we believe that everyone is loved, valued and made in the image of God, and we have a responsibility to challenge any structure or system that undermines that dignity.”

The Churches are calling for a full and independent review of the regime and for urgent reform of the hardship payments system to avoid the deliberate imposition of hunger.

In the meantime, they are urging the Government to suspend all sanctions against families with children and those suffering from mental health problems. Most importantly, they say, there needs to be a change of culture, from one of enforcement and punishment to one of assistance and support.

If you commit a crime, no criminal court in the UK is allowed to make you go hungry as a punishment,” added Niall Cooper, Director of Church Action on Poverty.

“But if you’re late for an appointment at the Jobcentre, they can remove all your income and leave you unable to feed you or your family for weeks at a time.

“Most people in this country would be shocked if they knew that far from providing a safety net, the benefit sanctions policy is currently making thousands of people destitute.

“This policy must be reviewed urgently.”

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said:

“The findings of this report are disturbing.

“It exposes a system that is harsh in the extreme, penalising the most vulnerable of claimants by the withdrawal of benefits for weeks at a time.

“Most worryingly, it appears from DWP guidance, quoted in the report, that deprivation and hunger are knowingly being used as a punishment for quite trivial breaches of benefit conditions.

“Employers would not be allowed to stop someone’s wages for a month the first time they were 10 minutes late for an appointment, but this is the kind of sanction that is being imposed on some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including those with mental and physical health problems.

“We are concerned that the problem may be even worse in Wales, recognising the higher levels of poverty in this country. No Welsh data, however, is included in the report because despite submitting a Freedom of Information request to the DWP three months ago, we are still waiting for a reply.

“There is supposed to be a 20-day turnaround period for Freedom of Information requests. We are pursuing this.”

Source – Welfare Weekly, 02 Mar 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/100000-children-affected-by-benefit-sanctions-in-201314/

IDS plan to kill social housing in 4 years

jaynelinney

Before anyone dismisses this as just another of #IDS ‘fag-packet’ ideas, read Joe Halewood’s take below: and to quote his closing point “ please stop calling this the ‘daftest policy’ you have ever heard. Stop saying you are speechless at this etc, and grow a set of balls and tell IDS and this government (and the next government and the one after that) to go f**k themselves and to start dealing on your terms.”

The Times and Daily Telegraph have a story today – the latest hare-brained idea of the tyrannical despot called Iain Duncan Smith.

If you have worked for a year you get your council or housing association property given to you for nothing!!

Yes seriously!

The plan is outlined here in an article in 24Dash:

Iain Duncan Smith is keen for the party to include a pledge in its election manifesto to give people who…

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Hidden impact of welfare reform concerns Northumberland council

> Another example of local politicians finally catching up with what’s going on. It’s good they’re finally getting the picture, but would have been much better had they noticed over the last 5 years how things were going. Still, I suppose there wasn’t a general election coming up before now…

Councillors have expressed concern over the hidden impacts of welfare reform in Northumberland.

They have pledged to do whatever they can, within their powers, to help and support residents who are affected.

The Government’s ongoing reforms to the welfare system are the most fundamental change to the benefit system since World War Two and are intended to deliver multi-billion pound savings.

However evidence shows that in Northumberland, workers on low incomes and people with a disability are likely to be most affected.

While much of the national focus has been on high profile changes such as the introduction of bedroom tax, two of the most significant issues for Northumberland are the introduction of a 1% cap on working age benefit and changes to the Disability Living Allowance.

Recent research from the Local Government Association (LGA) reveals that the introduction of a 1% cap on tax credits will mean a drop in income for anyone claiming benefits with over half of those affected being in low paid employment.

In Northumberland 32,500 residents will lose on average £823 per household, per year, equating to a total of £26.7million in cuts to the county.

Reflecting the county’s ageing population and industrial past Northumberland also has a higher than average number of households that are likely to be affected by the replacement of the Disability Living Allowance.

The prediction from the LGA study is that 10,000 people in the county will be affected, with an estimated average loss of £724 per year. This will put the county into the top 20% of local authorities to be hit hardest by this particular reform.

Council leader Grant Davey said:

“One of central government’s aims in introducing these reforms was to incentivise work, yet 60% of the losses fall on working households, in particular those on low wages.

“In Northumberland we have a high number of people working in low paid, seasonal jobs who are trying to make an honest living, yet it is these people who are going to feel the brunt of the changes.

“While we cannot change these reforms, we have been working hard behind the scenes to put measures in place to support residents who are affected by them.”

The county council is working to ensure everyone has the entitlements they are eligible for and that monetary advice is available through the support it gives to Citizen’s Advice Bureaux.

The council has also set itself a long-term target to help generate 10,000 new jobs in the county by 2031 by working with local employers, improving education standards, skills training, and job market links. The council’s employability and skills service also delivers a range of support to help get people back into work.

Councillor Scott Dickinson, chair of the county’s Health & Wellbeing board said:

“There is growing evidence locally and nationally that increased financial hardship can lead to ill health, family break-down and social problems which can in turn place greater demands on families, communities and a whole range of public services.

> There is growing evidence ? ! You mean it wasn’t fairly obvious that those were the likely result right from the start ? Something top-level Tories, I’m beginning to believe, well understood and that’s why they’ve pushed them. Social engineering through poverty.

“Given that the reforms are being introduced incrementally means their full impact will not be felt for some time. There is however real concern about the effects these changes will have on residents and the additional pressures placed on local services. It is a situation we are very aware of and one we are working closely with other councils in the region to monitor.”

Source – Berwick Advertiser,  28 Jan 2015

35 Hours JobSearch: We Publish the Mad DWP Guidelines.

Ipswich Unemployed Action.

35 hours a week jobsearch tool-235 hours a week jobsearch tool-1

F

From JJ.

Read closely: it is a ‘time and motion’ study designed to trap people in a remorseless set of tasks for 35 hours a week.

“Phoning employers may take one or two hours per day” – that’s an awful lot of nuisance calls!

Application forms – one to one and a half hours. That’s a lot of slow-paced filling-in.

Jobsearch on-line up to two hours a day – that’s a lot of time-wasting when you’re already registered with ULM and other sites.

And so it goes, in mind-bogglingly meticulous detail.

Down to competency based application forms, researching ‘volunteering’ and ‘work experience’.

Work Coachy is looking at your every move!

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Is this How Jobcentres Operate? Beyond Belief Barely Covers it…..

 

> From experience, I’d say its EXACTLY how Jobcentres operate…

Ipswich Unemployed Action.

From written Parliamentary Evidence just out (Hat tip  NB).

John Longden –Personal Adviser

A Statement on events witnessed by me at Salford Jobcentre Plus and Rochdale Jobcentre Plus between 2011 and 2013

Summary

1.0              Managers at both district level and in the local office created a culture which encouraged staff to view the customer (benefit claimant) as an obstacle to performance. The Jobcentre operations became wholly performance led. Sanctions of customers were encouraged by managers daily, with staff being told to look at every engagement with the customer as an opportunity to take sanction action. I was personally told by a manager to “agitate” and “Inconvenience” customers in order to get them to leave the register. The staff performance management system was used inappropriately in order to increase submissions to the Decision Maker and therefore to increase sanctions on customers. Senior HR managers condoned this behaviour by refusing to issue…

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Esther McVey Refuses To Explain Punitive Benefits Changes

Esther McVey has once again refused to visit Holyrood to give evidence in support of cruel and callous benefit changes, it has been reported today.

It’s the third time the Tory Employment Minister has snubbed requests from the Scottish welfare reform committee to explain why the UK Government is “failing to support vulnerable people”, reports the Daily Record.

McVey’s excuse for failing to attend was that she was busy preparing evidence for a Westminster committee.

When she was last invited to give evidence to Scottish MSPs, cowardly McVey instead chose to send Neil Couling; who is now responsible for overseeing Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship Universal Credit project.

The Daily Record says Iain Duncan Smith has also refused invitations from the committee on FOUR occasions, while welfare reform minister Lord Freud has rejected one request.

MSPs have accused Esther McVey of “running scared” of the committee, and not caring about people affected by welfare reforms and punitive benefit sanctions.

SNP MSP Christine McKelvie said it was “totally unacceptable” for McVey to refuse to give evidence before the committee, on how Westminster cuts “imposed on Scotland” are affecting Scottish families.

She added: “A Tory minister has been repeatedly invited to come to Scotland and appear before the welfare reform committee to provide answers on their track record of failing to support vulnerable people, but this invite, and seven previous invitations, have all been snubbed.

“This refusal sends a clear message that McVey and her Government don’t care about Scotland.”

McVey defended punitive benefit sanctions in a letter to the committee, in which she wrote: “It is widely accepted that they play an important role in the benefit system.

“They are effective in encouraging compliance and we continue to manage the process so they are only imposed as a last resort.”

> effective in encouraging compliance – is that a chilling statement or what ?  Do what we say or we will make you destitute.

Figures show the number of people affected by benefit sanctions in Scotland has rocketed since 2009, with the biggest increases occurring under the new sanctions regime introduced by the UK Government in October 2012.

The same figures also show a 65% rise in the number of sick and disabled Scots having their benefits slashed by sanctions.

Opponents of the new sanctions regime claim too many unemployed and vulnerable people are being sanctioned for punitive and unfair reasons. Such as turning up five minutes late for a work focused interview, even though they had informed the Jobcentre that they had a hospital appointment.

Source – Welfare Weekly,  07 Jan 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/esther-mcvey-refuses-explain-punitive-benefits-changes/

Iain Duncan Smith’s Directory Of Death

More than 60 people have tragically lost their lives after having benefits docked or removed, say campaigners.

Some argue the true figure could be in the hundreds, or even the thousands.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith MP, has overseen some of the biggest changes to Britain’s welfare system in decades. This hasn’t come without incident and campaigners say most, if not all, of the lives lost to welfare reform were avoidable.

Below are just some of the names of people where welfare reform, and removal of benefits, has been cited as a contributing factor to that persons premature death.

If you are affected by the issues raised in this article, please contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, or visit their website at www.samaritans.org/.

Terry McGarvey, 48. Dangerously ill from polycytheamia, Terry asked for an ambulance to be called during his Work Capability Assessment. He knew that he wasn’t well enough to attend his WCA but feared that his benefits would be stopped if he did not. He died the following day.

Elaine Lowe, 53. Suffering from COPD and fearful of losing her benefits. In desperation, Elaine chose to commit suicide.

Mark Wood, 44. Found fit for work by Atos, against his Doctors advice and assertions that he had complex mental health problems. Starved to death after benefits stopped, weighing only 5st 8lb when he died.

Paul Reekie, 48, the Leith based Poet and Author. Suffered from severe depression. Committed suicide after DWP stopped his benefits due to an Atos ‘fit for work’ decision.

Leanne Chambers, 30. Suffered depression for many years which took a turn for the worst when she was called in for a WCA. Leanne committed suicide soon after.

Karen Sherlock, 44. Multiple health issues. Found fit for work by Atos and denied benefits. Fought a long battle to get placed into the support group of ESA. Karen died the following month of a heart attack.

Carl Payne, 42. Fears of losing his lifeline benefits due to welfare reform led this Father of two to take his own life.

Tim Salter, 53. Blind and suffering from Agoraphobia. Tim hanged himself after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.

Edward Jacques, 47 years old and suffering from HIV and Hepatitis C. Edward had a history of severe depression and self-harm. He took a fatal overdose after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.

Linda Wootton, 49 years old. A double heart and lung transplant patient. Died just nine days after the government found her fit for work, their refusal letter arriving as she lay desperately ill in her hospital bed.

Steven Cawthra, 55. His benefits stopped by the DWP and with rising debts, he saw suicide as the only way out of a desperate situation.

Elenore Tatton, 39 years old. Died just weeks after the government found her fit for work.

John Walker, 57, saddled with debt because of the bedroom tax, John took his own life.

Brian McArdle, 57 years old. Suffered a fatal heart attack the day after his disability benefits were stopped.

Stephen Hill, 53. Died of a heart attack one month after being found fit for work, even though he was waiting for major heart surgery.

Jacqueline Harris, 53. A former Nurse who could hardly walk was found fit for work by Atos and her benefits withdrawn. in desperation, she took her own life.

David Barr, 28. Suffering from severe mental difficulties. Threw himself from a bridge after being found fit for work by Atos and failing his appeal.

David Groves, 56. Died of a heart attack the night before taking his work capability assessment. His widow claimed that it was the stress that killed him.

Nicholas Peter Barker, 51. Shot himself after being told his benefits were being stopped. He was unable to work after a brain haemorrhage left him paralysed down one side.

Mark and Helen Mullins, 48 and 59 years old. Forced to live on £57.50 a week and make 12 mile trips each week to get free vegetables to make soup. Mark and Helen both committed suicide.

Richard Sanderson, 44. Unable to find a job and with his housing benefit cut forcing him to move, but with nowhere to go. Richard committed suicide.

Martin Rust, 36 years old. A schizophrenic man who killed himself two months after the government found him fit to work.

Craig Monk, 43. A vulnerable gentleman and a partial amputee who slipped so far into poverty that he hanged himself.

Colin Traynor, 29, and suffering from epilepsy was stripped of his benefits. He appealed. Five weeks after his death his family found he had won his appeal.

Elaine Christian, 57 years old. Worried about her work capability assessment, she was subsequently found at Holderness drain, drowned and with ten self inflicted wrist wounds.

Christelle and Kayjah Pardoe, 32 years and 5 month old. Pregnant, her benefits stopped, Christelle, clutching her baby son jumped from a third floor balcony.

Mark Scott, 46. His DLA and housing benefit stopped and sinking into deep depression, Mark died six weeks later.

Cecilia Burns, 51. Found fit for work while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She died just a few weeks after she won her appeal against the Atos decision.

Chris Cann, 57 years old. Found dead in his home just months after being told he had to undergo a medical assessment to prove he could not work.

Peter Hodgson, 49. Called to JCP to see if he was suitable for volunteer work. Peter had suffered a stroke, a brain haemorrhage and had a fused leg. His appointment letter arrived a few days after he took his own life.

Paul Willcoxsin, 33 years old. Suffered with mental health problems and worried about government cuts. Paul committed suicide by hanging himself.

Stephanie Bottrill, 53. After paying £80 a month for bedroom tax, Stephanie could not afford heating in the winter, and lived on tinned custard. In desperation, she chose to walk in front of a lorry.

Larry Newman suffered from a degenerative lung condition, his weight dropping from 10 to 7 stone. Atos awarded him zero points, he died just three months after submitting his appeal.

Paul Turner, 52 years old. After suffering a heart attack, he was ordered to find a job in February. In April Paul died from ischaemic heart disease.

Christopher Charles Harkness, 39. After finding out that the funding for his care home was being withdrawn, this man who suffered with mental health issues, took his own life.

Sandra Louise Moon, 57. Suffering from a degenerative back condition, depression and increasingly worried about losing her incapacity benefit. Sandra committed suicide by taking an overdose.

Lee Robinson, 39 years old. Took his own life after his housing benefit and council tax were taken away from him.

David Coupe, 57. A Cancer sufferer found fit for work by Atos in 2012. David lost his sight, then his hearing, then his mobility, and then his life.

Michael McNicholas, 34. Severely depressed and a recovering alcoholic. Michael committed suicide after being called in for a Work Capability Assessment by Atos.

Victor Cuff, 59 and suffering from severe depression. Victor hanged himself after the DWP stopped his benefits.

Charles Barden, 74. Charles committed suicide by hanging due to fears that the Bedroom Tax would leave him destitute and unable to cope.

Ian Caress, 43. Suffered multiple health issues and deteriorating eyesight. Ian was found fit for work by Atos, he died ten months later having lost so much weight that his family said that he resembled a concentration camp victim.

Iain Hodge, 30. Suffered from the life threatening illness, Hughes Syndrome. Found fit for work by Atos and benefits stopped, Iain took his own life.

Wayne Grew, 37. Severely depressed due to government cuts and the fear of losing his job, Wayne committed suicide by hanging.

Kevin Bennett, 40. Kevin a sufferer of schizophrenia and mental illness became so depressed after his JSA was stopped that he became a virtual recluse. Kevin was found dead in his flat several months later.

David Elwyn Hughs Harries, 48. A disabled man who could no longer cope after his parents died, could find no help from the government via benefits. David took an overdose as a way out of his solitude.

Denis Jones, 58. A disabled man crushed by the pressures of government cuts, in particular the Bedroom Tax, and unable to survive by himself. Denis was found dead in his flat.

Shaun Pilkington, 58. Unable to cope any more, Shaun shot himself dead after receiving a letter from the DWP informing him that his ESA was being stopped.

Paul ?, 51. Died in a freezing cold flat after his ESA was stopped. Paul appealed the decision and won on the day that he lost his battle to live.

Chris MaGuire, 61. Deeply depressed and incapable of work, Chris was summonsed by Atos for a Work Capability Assessment and deemed fit for work. On appeal, a judge overturned the Atos decision and ordered them to leave him alone for at least a year, which they did not do. In desperation, Chris took his own life, unable to cope anymore.

Peter Duut, a Dutch national with terminal cancer living in the UK for many years found that he was not entitled to benefits unless he was active in the labour market. Peter died leaving his wife destitute, and unable to pay for his funeral.

George Scollen, age unknown. Took his own life after the government closed the Remploy factory he had worked in for 40 years.

Julian Little, 47. Wheelchair bound and suffering from kidney failure, Julian faced the harsh restrictions of the Bedroom Tax and the loss of his essential dialysis room. He died shortly after being ordered to downgrade.

Miss DE, Early 50’s. Suffering from mental illness, this lady committed suicide less than a month after an Atos assessor gave her zero points and declared her fit for work.

Robert Barlow, 47. Suffering from a brain tumour, a heart defect and awaiting a transplant, Robert was deemed fit for work by Atos and his benefits were withdrawn. He died penniless less than two years later.

Carl Joseph Foster-Brown, 58. As a direct consequence of the wholly unjustifiable actions of the Job centre and DWP, this man took his own life.

Martin Hadfield, 20 years old. Disillusioned with the lack of jobs available in this country but too proud to claim benefits. Utterly demoralised, Martin took his own life by hanging himself.

Annette Francis, 30. A mum-of-one suffering from severe mental illness, found dead after her disability benefits were ceased.

Ian Jordan, 60. His benefits slashed after Atos and the DWP declared Ian, a sufferer of Barratt’s Oesophagus, fit for work, caused him to run up massive debts in order to survive. Ian was found dead in his flat after taking an overdose.

Janet McCall, 53. Terminally ill with pulmonary fibrosis and declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos and the DWP, this lady died 5 months after her benefits were stopped.

Stuart Holley, 23. A man driven to suicide by the DWP’s incessant pressure and threat of sanctions for not being able to find a job.

Graham Shawcross, 63. A sufferer of the debilitating disease, Addison’s. Died of a heart attack due to the stress of an Atos ‘Fit for Work’ decision.

David Clapson, 59 years old. A diabetic ex-soldier deprived of the means to survive by the DWP and the governments harsh welfare reforms, David died all but penniless, starving and alone, his electricity run out.

Chris Smith, 59. Declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos as he lay dying of Cancer in his hospital bed.

Nathan Hartwell, 36, died of heart failure after an 18-month battle with the ­Department for Works and Pensions.

Michael Connolly, 60. A Father of One, increasingly worried about finances after his benefits were cut. Committed suicide by taking 13 times the fatal dose of prescription medicine on the 30th October – His Birthday.

Jan Mandeville, 52, A lady suffering from Fibromyalgia, driven to the point of mental and physical breakdown by this governments welfare reforms. Jan was found dead in her home after battling the DWP for ESA and DLA.

Trevor Drakard, 50 years old. A shy and reserved, severe epileptic who suffered regular and terrifying fits almost his entire life, hounded to suicide by the DWP who threatened to stop his life-line benefits.

Unnamed: Death of a severely disabled Dorset resident, unnamed, who took her own life while battling the bedroom tax.

Source: List sent to Welfare Weekly via twitter.

Source – Welfare Weekly, 04 Jan 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/iain-duncan-smiths-directory-death/