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News and Opinions about MS, Health & Disability

Told you are well enough to work and don’t need disability benefits

on January 24, 2018

Campaigners and activists are concerned that the government’s disability employment strategy seems heavily influenced by the discredited “biopsychosocial” (BPS) model.

Tabitha Jay let out the cat out of the bag. She is the civil servant who heads the UK government’s work and health unit, responsible for the disability employment strategy.

According to the Disability News Service:

Jay told a meeting of the all-party parliamentary group for disability (APPGD) … that the disability employmentsocial model of disability underpinned the strategy, which has an aim of seeing one million more disabled people in work over the next 10 years.

But she also appeared to suggest that the BPS model was “running in parallel” to the social model within the strategy.

Critics  say the BPS model blames individual person with a disability for being unemployed. It says they have negative attitudes towards working.

So, our health problems are just in our heads, right? No, that’s not true. We’d love to work, we just can’t.

Government ministers say they want to reduce the disability employment gap by encouraging people with disabilities to gain employment.

disability employment

Chancellor Philip Hammond MP.

Then, of course, chancellor of the exchequer Phillip Hammond started singing from a different songsheet. He said disabled workers were holding back productivity in the UK economy.

Arrant nonsense of course.

Awarded zero points

It seems that he meant that there is no point employing people with disabilities. Why? Because the adjustments they require cancel out any usefulness they have. More nonsense, but it’s not going to encourage job offers to the disabled.

Turning  to disability benefits, Welfare Weekly says, in just 18 months, upwards of 220,000 people have been awarded zero points when assessed for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

It also says that, during the same period, 180,000 people have been denied PIP after being told to transfer from Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

By awarding zero points, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is telling people that there is nothing wrong with them. Well, not enough to justify them being given disability benefit money to help everyday living.

Journalist Mike Sivier, on voxpoliticalonline.com comments:

That seems to bear out the claim that the BPS model is still being used, and people are still being told their disabilities are all in their minds – and blamed for it, rather than helped.

• Just a thought, why was a civil servant representing the DWP at the meeting? She was filling in for disabilities minister Sarah Newton who had pulled out at short notice. She had originally promised to answer questions about the strategy.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.


One Response to “Told you are well enough to work and don’t need disability benefits”

  1. steveu says:

    Several occupations require you to hold a minimum medical category. As MS is a progressive disease you steadily fall down the medical categories until you no longer meet the minimum and then you are no longer employable, sometimes just the diagnosis is sufficient to move you out.

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