David Cameron + Incapacity Benefit + Basic Arithmetic = FAIL

David Cameron has announced that he wants to reassess every person on Incapacity Benefit to see if they are fit for work within three years of a Conservative election victory.  Let’s do some maths.  (No, wait, come back!)

Numbers of Claimants

According to the BBC article, 2,600,000 people are in receipt of Incapacity Benefit.  If these 2.6 million people are to be reassessed within 3 years this means that:

866,667 people will have to be examined each year; or

16,667 people each week; or

3,333 people every day (ignoring the effect of bank holidays).

 

Staff Numbers

For the sake of easy arithmetic, let’s assume that processing each claimant takes the doctor or nurse assigned to the task an hour.  (That’s the time spent reading the paperwork relating to the claimant beforehand, the time spent with the claimant, and the time spent completing the report afterwards, for which an hour would seem barely adequate.)  This would mean that, across the UK as a whole, processing every claimant will require

3,333 staff-hours per day.

Let’s assume that each DWP doctor or nurse works for

7 hours a day (0900-1700, with an hour off for lunch – I’m assuming they don’t take tea breaks, or toilet breaks).

Assuming they do nothing but see claimants all day, and that everything runs like clockwork, each medical assessor will see

7 claimants a day.

For all 3,333 claimants to be seen each day, this requires a total of:

476 medical assessors across the UK (assuming no medical assessor ever takes a holiday, or maternity/ paternity leave, or falls ill, and that every medical assessor is instantly recruited, and so can begin work at 0900 the morning after a Conservative election win).

 

Staff Costs

These medical assessors will have to be paid.  Tracking down precise salary information is tricky.  Doctors applying for work on the DWP contract are promised

a competitive salary, contributory stakeholder pension scheme, generous holiday allowance, employee private medical cover, Life assurance, Personal Accident Insurance, Season Ticket Loan and a flexible benefits scheme that allows you to purchase discounted products and services

which seems to be erratically capitalised, and also sounds quite costly.  Nurses applying for work are promised

No Nights. No Shifts. No On-Call […] Excellent benefits

and

£28,500 – £32,700 pa depending on experience and location

Let’s assume that all of the 476 medical assessors are to be nurses, and that they all earn the exact median point of the salary range

£30,600.

The cost of the 476 medical assessors alone will be:

£14,565,600 per annum.

This excludes the cost of reception staff, administration staff, security staff, and so on.

 

Facilities

Each of these 476 medical assessors will require a consulting room in which to examine claimants.  According to their website, Atos Healthcare (the private company contracted by the DWP to provide medical services), currently maintains a

nationwide network of over 140 medical examination centres

in which they carry out

600,000 face to face medical assessments

per year for the DWP.

This means that, on average, each medical examination centre carries out about

4286 examinations per year; or

82 examinations per week; or

16 examinations per day (ignoring the effect of bank holidays).

If each medical examination centre carries out 16 examinations per day, then processing the 3,333 claimants per day required by David Cameron would require the opening of an additional

208 medical examination centres.

 

Conclusion

So, let’s review.  David Cameron is proposing

a minimum £14,565,600 increase in the annual public sector wage bill;

a 148% increase in the number of publicly-funded medical examination centres;

an unknown increase in the number of civil servants in the DWP to process the additional paperwork;

an unknown increase in the number of civil servants required to process an unquantified number of appeals against the removal of benefit.

This is all based on the presumption, for which he has advanced no evidence, that a staggeringly high proportion – one fifth – of those receiving Incapacity Benefit are capable of work, and that these hundreds of thousands of fraudsters (assuming they exist) will be flushed out by this process.  This is despite the fact that every single IB claimant has already been through multiple medical assessments of the kind he is proposing, and has been repeatedly found to be incapable of work.

Of course, the real reason this all seems to extraordinary is that David Cameron isn’t seriously proposing any of it.  He’s an intelligent man, and he knows fine well that this is an attention-grabbing, populist policy that hasn’t got a hope in hell of actually working.  He doesn’t need it to work – in fact, it would be a nightmare for him if it did work, because it would substantially push up the unemployment figures in the middle of a period when the numbers are already very high, and that would have a drastic effect on the perception of the health of the UK economy, and so would affect things like the exchange rate, and the cost of borrowing, in a really bad way.  No, David Cameron doesn’t actually want this policy to work, he just needs it to get knee-jerk approval from the kind of people who think that, because the media can find a few people claiming IB fraudulently each year, then that obviously means that all 2.6 million people on the benefit must be ‘at it’.  He needs it to satisfy the kind of idiot mentality that thinks that a back-of-an-envelope solution to a complex problem is going to make everything instantly all better.

And he knows, thanks to a shrieking, celebrity-obsessed print media, and broadcast journalists who are pusillanimous to the point of utter uselessness, that no-one is ever going to hold him to account.  No-one will ever ask him, or his opponents, the single most important question to ask of any politician proposing any policy on anything:  nice soundbite – but how would that actually work in practice?

Hat tip to Toaster in the Shower, whose idea of applying basic arithmetic to official claims about the reform of IB I have shamelessly ripped off.

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This entry was posted in Media commentary, Political commentary, Stuff I've read, Stuff I've watched, The benefit system. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to David Cameron + Incapacity Benefit + Basic Arithmetic = FAIL

  1. Kate says:

    Thanks for a more humorous and rational response to this scourge than mine. It was also on my mind too that the proposal was a proposterous attempt at luring the popular voter beleagured into believeing that they’re working hard to pay for all those lazy scroungers lying around on spurious disability benefits and I should have pointed that out vene more pointedly (with mathematical proof) in my post. This, by the way, is another rather humorous reposte that fits well with your post

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/half-a-million-benefit-cheats-throw-themselves-down-the-stairs-200910052111/

    My maths is crap (so don’t scrutinise my post for accurate calculations too throroughly!) so thank to you both for doing the sums!
    K.x

  2. Kate says:

    p.s. – and why there’s a ‘vene’ between ‘out’ and ‘pointedly’, I cannot tell you. My literacy ccapability has clearly slid down the same pan as my numeracy skills.(it’s been a long day).
    ;)

  3. cellar_door says:

    Nice post :o)

    Cameron is a twonk*. Unfortunately I don’t like any of them at the minute and am really struggling with who to back.

    *That wasn’t the first word I wrote, but it was the most publicly acceptable.

  4. Using my business head – rusty, but still alive, like a foul old reptile that I haven’t quite slain…

    I calculate they will break even between weeks 158 and 159, and make a weekly saving of £533,280 after that (not adjusted for inflation). My forecast does not cost for their extra MOT centres.

    So, ignoring that aspect, their forecast only overruns two weeks based on the forecast of the figures you’ve sensibly estimated.

    In other words, it all sounds horribly plausible.

    Where we really need to look and raise our voices is the extra costs to the NHS that will ensue from this policy.

    Sorry to piss on the bonfire.

  5. Forget that.

    Rusty old head.

    Back to the spreadsheet!

  6. Well, firstly I forgot to times the per-person weekly saving by the £25 they want to dock.

    But even so, that doesn’t go far enough.

    My maths is a bit like action painting. It takes me a while to see the picture, but I get there in the end.

    The point is, and the really pertinent pointy point is that if they shunt half a million IB claimants to the tune of £25 weekly each, that is a weekly saving of £12,500,000. Soon pays for that 14 mill a year (plus extras).

    Sorry to make a mess of your comments.

    Take care, Dx

  7. I’ve straightened out the spreadsheet. They break even in week 6. Which funnily was where they broke even on the scribbled graph estimatation my wife and I did by the fire half an hour ago.

    Sigh.

    Sometimes I think technology just complicates our lives.

  8. http://abysmalmusings.blogspot.com/2009/10/incapacity-benefit-and-tory-cunts.html

    Feel free to delete as much of my spoutings as you like.

    I’ll leave your poor comment box alone now! All the best, David.

  9. A Nutt says:

    Everything written here from the original post to the comment from abysmal is based on the assumption that the IB assessments will be conducted by a physical person.

    This is so far from reality. The assessments have been going on for over a year now. Every time you told your shrink about your hobby (whatever that may be, even if it was just your favourite pastime), you demonstrated your ability to work. Think back over the last year – did anyone in authority (GP, psychiatrist, psychologist, CPN, OT, counsellor, social worker, case manager, CPA lead, etc. even the trauma nurse in A&E) ask you if you had a hobby or a favourite pastime? Be honest – you know they did – even if it sounded so innocent – you never gave it a thought. If you have a hobby or a pastime – you can work.

    No one will need to be labelled a benefit scrounging scum. The government and the opposition are already putting in place the mechanism for change. Work is not your duty – it is your human right. Once the majority is in agreement on that simple point (the three political parties already agree) – well you can do the maths all day long – no one should violate your human rights.

    The best route to change is through a moral position. I find it disgusting how morality will be used in such a base way to achieve such an amoral thing as a funding reduction to solve a culture of greed gone ass over tit.

  10. Not guilty as charged. I just talked about the money. Not the assessments. Which are done by computer programs.

    As for hobbies… interests… I can do them as intermittently as I can do work – i.e. a random third of a year sprinkled by a blind ape with a broken dartboard and badly flighted darts.

    And I utterly and completely agree with your last sentence.

    atb D

  11. Morte says:

    I’m torn on what you say A Nutt, the paranoid me agrees entirely. And it’s a significant part of me. I had my suspicions sure but recent adventures in hospital confirmed (to me at least) that there is a great deal more going on than my basic medical care, of which the question ‘do you have any hobbies?’ was but a tiny part, albeit present and correct.

    But whilst no doubt reams of papers are compiled on my ability to work and contribute to society, rather than simply be funded to exist, I’m sceptical as to their potential value, if not legality.

    Incapacity just isn’t that simple. It’s not just being able to use your arms, it also covers highly complex issues such as mental illness, and as David rightly points out, the unique property of most mental illness is its intermittent severity. Is someone who is capable of work for one third of the year, capable of work? The likelyhood is the mechanisms involved in bouncing that person in and out of work is going to be more expensive than having them remain on incapacity benefit.

    But all that is semantics. Your final point is absolutely spot on.
    It’s always been a useful gimmick to squeeze the welfare state. It looks good in the papers and to core voters, and may even save a few quid. The sheer gut wrenching hypocrisy of the whole thing will be lost on many as attention has long been drawn away from those truly responsible for this economical calamity.

  12. A Nutt says:

    “intermittent severity” is an interesting term. This whole business of reducing the public debt is going to be handled sort of like rock – sizzors – paper. Each discipline will have it’s own defining terms. For mental health – intermittent severity will be paper and sizzors will be RECOVERY and of course rock will be HUMAN RIGHTS. In this scenario rock is actually a burning piece of lava.

    The other point about bouncing people in and out of jobs is simple. Not only have they set the mechanism in place to reduce the number of people on benefits – I have no doubt they have probably started planning the social enterprise culture to handle the return to work. What they paid out in benefits they will use to operate the new work places. You are probably too young to remember contract packing units manned by the mentally disabled – learning difficulties – special needs population. These units will return in a different form operated by the third sector – charities. Dreadful soul destroying brain numbing factories of human bondage. I better stop now – people will think I’m crazy.

    I just re-read George Orwell’s Animal Farm – I’m afraid to re-read 1984.

  13. Lucy McGough says:

    Thank you for your cogent analysis.

  14. bipolarbearbump says:

    I understand the point you make whatever the figures are and I appreciate your efforts.
    I can recall Peter Lilley standing on a stage saying something similar whist waving a list.
    What should concern us now is that there is no HM opposition and Cameron and Brown are preaching the same message. They do put on a puppet show once a week but they are two heads of the same beast.
    The benchmark for suitability for work will be determined by politicians and carried out by doctors and many will drop straight through the jobseeker scheme onto the streets.There is some mention of a training scheme but three are already 1M claiming and many more not so this can only be a sham.Cameron is undone by his figures-£25 saved by moving from incapacity to jobseeker its an admission than none of these people will be able to get work.

  15. Of course, the Conservative proposal is no different to the one the Government is already trying to carry out, which is to get 1 million people of IB/ESA by 2015. They too are assessing everyone on IB by carrying out the move of people from IB to ESA and expecting them to have a medical assessment in that process.

    You are right that The Conservatives are headline-grabbing because unfortunately due to the vast majority of idiots this country contains, it’s the only way they will get any recognition of their policies.

    I have been a little disappointed by the amount of Tory-bashing I’ve read over the past week due to this story. The Conservatives really aren’t doing anything new and are certainly no worse than Labour on the topic of incapacity and benefits for the disabled. Remember, it is Labour who are leading the Green Paper on social reform at the moment, that threatens DLA and AA.

    I know a lot of folk around the madosphere try to sit on the left of the political scale, but so many forget that Labour are no longer a left-wing party.

  16. A Nutt says:

    MADOSPHERE – I like it very much. Beats the hell out of

    M E N T A L – H E A L T H – B L O G – O – S P H E R E

    I will start and I hope everyone else will adopt the term Madosphere – unless of course everyone has already and because of my advanced years and state of mind I missed something. With one caveate – if it is an American term – no no no no.

  17. Kate says:

    Intothesysytem – I don’t think any genuine leftist in their right mind would recognise any iota of socialism in New Labour as it now stands. As I said in a comment on my own post, deciding who to vote for in a coming election will be like having to decide between suffocating to death beneath a pile of turds or choking on one’s own vomit (unless of course you choose to pitch for one of the marginal parties).
    And no there’s really almost no difference between the 2 party’s plans for benefit-reform other than the Tory’s propose to be that bit more aggressive and efficient (with promises of putting additional funding into the cuts and schemes) which is all very well until they’re forced to put their money where their mouth is.
    I’m not sure what you mean by people being moved from IB to ESA. So far as I know that’s a way-off proposal and everyone who was awarded IB before last October (when it was scrapped and replaced) remains on it (until they get reassessed and possibly moved onto JSA). Also The threat to DLA wasn’t explicit in the green paper and it has now been confirmed that it is definately not under threat (not this time, at any rate).
    I don’t think I was simply Tory-bashing in the post I wrote which I think explained how both party’s policies amounted to much the same thing. But I do have a hunch that were they to be elected, things could just be that tiniest bit worse for claimants (if that were possible) – if not in actual financial terms but in the perceived stigma and collective resentment (again if that were possible) fuelled by their campaigns.

  18. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Blimey, there seems to have been an explosion in my comments! I don’t think i’ve ever had so many comments in such a short space of time. Anyway, because of the sheer number of comments i’m not going to do my usual thing of replying to each one in turn – but that doesn’t mean that i value the comments any less than i normally do, so please don’t take offence! :o) Instead what i’m going to do is make a few general points that cover some of what some of you have raised.

    OK, first of all, there seems to be a lot of fear about this, which i absolutely understand. It’s no fun being at the perceived bottom of the social pile at the best of times, and the (likely) change of government is an unknown, and makes everything al lot more frightening. I’m still convinced, though, that this is rhetoric, not actual policy. There would be a huge (almost impossibly large, in fact) logistical problem in getting through all the reassesments in a three year period – those 208 extra centres aren’t going to fall from the sky fully formed. If DC had announced an open-ended review, or adjusted the timescale to ‘over the life of the first Conservative parliament’, or something, i’d be a lot more inclined to take this seriously. But he didn’t.

    I view this pledge in exactly the same light as the pledge to reduce the size of Whitehall. Every government and every wannabe government always announces that they will go on a slash-and-burn mission in the halls of government administration, and every government presides over an increase in the size of Whitehall. ‘Tackling the benefit culture’ is one of those promises that every government makes – the slogan of Getting Britain Working could have been used by every government back to Lloyd George’s post 1st world war administration at least – but never actually delivers on. Politicians are creatures possessed of very short attention spans, and even shorter memories. They will always leap into action to say the thing that will make the nasty headline go away – the actual follow-through is always lame, and half-arsed, and abandoned as soon as it starts to look difficult.

    Another thing i think we need to keep in mind is that governments just aren’t all that efficient. They’d like us to think they are – the Tories very much want the general public to think that they will be ruthlessly effective when it comes to putting a rocket under feckless, workshy scroungers like me, but they won’t actually be so.

    That’s why i’d respectfully disagree with the suggestion that every off-hand comment made to every medical professional will be used as evidence of capacity to work. I’m not saying the politicians – both Labour and Conservative – wouldn’t like to introduce such a system, but they just aren’t going to be efficient enough at information capture. Governments fail at really simple organisational tasks, like not leaving CDs full of sensitive personal information on the 5-15 from Paddington, or checking whether or not the Home Office is being cleaned by illegal immigrants with criminal records in their countries of origin. British governments – whether Labour or Conservative – would struggle to find their own arse with both hands and a map. (Yes, even Margaret Thatcher’s government when she was at the peak of her powers.) No British government is going to be capable of introducing an Orwellian totalitarian system, no matter how much it might want to. It just isn’t.

    Bottom line: these nightmare scenarios aren’t going to play out in the way people are worried they will. I suspect there will be a lot of nasty things said about me and my fellow IB claimants in the next few months. I suspect, if the Conservatives win, there will be lots of busy-work changes that will drive those of us on the benefit half-crazy with stress and worry. The real-terms value of the benefits will likely fall, with all the extra difficulty in making ends meet that will cause. But then, when in 5 or 10 years time the dust settles, there will be virtually the same number of people on benefits because of ill-health as there are now.

    How can i say this with such confidence? Because we’re not, with some exceptions, on the make. We get Incapacity Benefit because we’re not capable of work. That isn’t going to change. Much as he would like to be, David Cameron isn’t jesus christ, and no matter how loudly he commands us to, we’re just not going to be capable of taking up our beds and walking.

  19. Mandy says:

    Hi Aethelread

    I don’ t think it makes much difference who is going to ‘lead’ this country after the next general election. We’ve seen Tory and Labour track records and thanks to a wreckless financial sector driven recession, the disabled are going to be on the thin end of the wedge.

    Re-assessments for all claimants under Mr Cameron, DLA and other support benefits to disappear under ‘reform the poor’ into oblivion campaigns…maybe just the titles will change but I fear the worst for disabled people…unless we can suddenly recover.

    Bleak House the reprise.

  20. J.Wibble says:

    I’m flattered you developed my idea, and also grateful someone else has done the maths instead of me on this one. :) Cheers for the linkback – free blog promotion is always welcome.

    From a social and empathetical perspective I can understand the concerns people have raised about these proposed “reforms” (and that’s all they are: proposals. What chance any of them have of actually happening is another matter) – however, from a personal perspective I am now too tired and have heard this nonsense too many times over the last few years to maintain any substantial level of anxiety over these bleatings.

    While my IB is a valuable source of income both for myself and my family, I know I can survive without it, because I had to for a year whilst they dicked about with my appeal. My husband’s student loan paid our rent and left pretty much nothing so we were both living off my DLA. It was thoroughly unpleasant, but we survived. Being on JSA (which as I’m under 25 would be less than half what I get in IB) would still be preferable to that. Maybe it’s just because I had a very stressful day today, but my reaction at the moment is pretty much, “Bring it, bitch.” I no longer have the energy to care what they do to piss me about, I’ll just work around it like I’ve had to for the last three years and carry on doing what I’m doing now – my degree, my music and my volunteering.

    I know I can’t get a paid full-time (or even part-time) job right now, and with every day that passes the lingering cloud of ‘not ever’ grows larger and darker over my head. I’m doing my best to extend my skills and improve my employability, in preperation for if and when I am able to work, but not in any way the Jobcentre is going to help me with. I can already read, write and add up; what else are they honestly going to offer me? Are they going to pay my OU course fees to help me get my degree? My piano and music theory lesson fees, as I plan to teach both as soon as I reach the accepted standard and am being coached by my own tutors with this in mind? Not bloody likely. What I have to offer doesn’t apply well to the 9-5, Monday to Friday world of work, and thus I doubt they’re going to be of much assistance. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, and so will the policitians, i.e. “exaggerating through their teeth, the exaggerating bastards”.

    Welfare reform is the name of the game for this election, it would seem, and that’s exactly what it is: a game. David Cameron would promise you a holiday home on the moon if he thought it’d get you to vote for him. So would Gordon Brown; Nick Clegg probably would if he figured out how to formulate a press-appropriate soundbite. It’s all fanciful headline-grabbing nonsense, every last word of it.

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  23. BoB says:

    Fantastic post, hope you don’t mind that I’ve linked to it from my blog!

    It scares me that Labour and Conservatives are both so alike on this issue – playing into the Daily Mail reader obsession that anyone who isn’t doing paid work is a scrounger who should just go get a job, ignoring the fact that most of us contribute positively to society in our own ways, and simply cannot do the kind of work it takes to earn a living in today’s world. Of course it’s no surprise that they’d rather demonize the people at the bottom of the ladder than engage in any meaningful reform.

  24. Pingback: More on David Cameron « Benefits Culture

  25. Colin says:

    Hi Aethelread,

    Thanks for your humerous post. Cameron’s noises seem much like Blair’s back in 2006 and still nothing has been done. Lets face it both parties are blowing hot air trying to win votes. Nothing will be done to those currently on I.B. because the government just can’t afford to seen to be making the unemployment figures any more than they already are. (They want them down not rising) . Sure, they are making it much harder for new claimants to get on Employment Support but as for re-testing everybody didn’t they say re-testing for the under 25’s would start in 2009 and this hasn’t happened.

  26. tango says:

    u are all forgettin 1 major issue the goverment dont care how much money thy spend in the public sector its not theres its urs ,,the tax payer will replace it thats there attitude but in the article is 1 very true matter the goverment will not try and sort the incapacity benefit out cause there are so many on there they would not risk the sudden rise in unemployment if they did end the bennefit,,,also ill guarentee u that at least 2,3rds a nationals so there would b a uproar in racism and the cost of interpreters would b too much and wots the point ive always said it isnt people like us who rip the goverment of for millioins its the goverment itself look at the expence problems at the mo,,,lets face it there far richer then us yet there excempt from a tv liecence !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the goverment dont do maths they do guess work,,,and people like the tax payer do the work,,,

  27. tango says:

    ive got an idea i know it would never happen cause britain stiks together like paper nails not glue,,,why dont every1 in this country stop work for 1 week i know bills would not b paid for a week but u are hardly gunna die,,,, it would cost the goverment billions if every1 did and i mean every1 ,,, do ur maths on that !

  28. Jason says:

    What I find incredulous is the Incapacity Benefit Doctors being able to over ride your own doctor and specialists. In my case I had a work related injury to my elbow which required surgery and yet these so called doctors stopped my benefit about a week prior to surgery and after surgery I was in a plaster cast from shoulder to wrist. On appeal I saw yet another government doctor who could not even get right which part of my body was injured. Throughout the entire 5 mins the doctor in question kept repeatedly asking me about my hand and could I pick things up, I think senility was creeping in here. Not even going to bother with the re appeal, for £400 quid it hardly sees worth the hastle and BS. All better now and back at work but this does not instill any confidence in people supposedly trying to help.

  29. Louise says:

    I myself claim income support because I am too ill to work, I want to be able to work but I can’t… I assume these ‘retest’s’ would effect me also as I think IB pay my nation insurance contributions so… I am so worried about this that its making me ill… more ill that what I am already, I suffer from an anxiety disorder, I literally have not been able to sleep now for over 48 hours because am stressing about it, I don’t think JSA can cope with people like myself that have ‘mental health’ issues… My anxiety is coupled by a array of other problems that make the anxiety worse.. I don’t understand how they propose that to work… I have had an assessment last year and was put on income support for 2 years with check ups and what not.. You ofern get them forms that ask if there have been ‘any changes’ and you say yay or nay and send it back.. The assessment was purely questions when I went, and it was terrible, because I find it so hard to explain how I feel half the time, I had a melt down whilst in the office, huge panic attack and she just looked at me like I was mad… She was asking questions like ‘what time of day do you get up?’ and ‘are yo dresses and ready by X time’ ‘can you go to the shops?’ and half the time they don’t relate to the issues you have.. Yes of course I can go to the shop but what happens when I get there is an entirely different scenario.. The same with time I get up… the medication I take seems to make me want to sleep most the day and then at night *looks at the time ohh its 02:18am* I then can’t sleep at night… Oh great… that and the stress of not sleeping sets my anxiety off.. I don’t have one thing that sets it off… It could be anything… I mean I have worked and got good gcse’s and a levels but

  30. Louise says:

    ((meh damn laptop posted and I hadn’t even done… meh)) I find that I am having panic attacks more frequently because I am so worried about earthing.. I worry about the war, I worry about my loved one dying, I worry and over think almost everything… I got told by an friend, that I was an work shy layabout and that the anxiety was in my head and that I should go and get a god damn job… She upset me so much that I just wanted to go away and never come back… Its how a lot of people look at anxiety and mental health in general. and if s called friends think that then what hope do I have against the Tories and there benefit re shake… Jeez you know I shouldn’t be worried and that I can’t work because my dr says so he also said he has no idea how I mange to get from dahttp://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=121315y to day the way I was and still am … And I see an counselor and therapist… but so far its do sweet fa… I only hope I can cope and get through what ever happens because at this every moment I am so worried I feel sick… I just know I will end worse than I was last month before all this stuff with the election happened… Almost had an panic attack at the poling station trying to decide to vote for.. God almighty… I feel sorry for the anyone that has to asses me… I’ll be the one hyperventilating in the waiting room… and I will add that the center I was assessed at was awful and felt more like I was being accused of something… And with that I am going to try and get some sleep… I use the word try…. Nights… and sorry for the rant, I don’t get to do that very often and now you have an insight into my mind.. messed up isn’t it.. :/

  31. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Hi Louise, and thanks for commenting.

    I recognise the feelings you’re describing. I’m sorry you’re having such a lousy time of it, and i hope things get a little better soon.

    One of the consequences of the hung parliament is that David Cameron, assuming he becomes PM, isn’t going to have a free hand to do what he wants. The “war” on IB claimants will, i think, be quietly dropped. Certainly it’s not likely to be as awful as DC made it sound in his conference speech. What i mean by that is that it’s not something you have to particularly worry about. I have enough experience of anxiety to know that it won’t stop just because it should – it’s not a rational thing, so it doesn’t respond to rationalism – but at least it’s not something you have to worry about with the bits of your brain that do work rationally.

    The important thing to keep hold of is that you’re not able to work, and you’re not lazy or gaming the system, and the authorities will have to eventually recognise that.

    The friend who told you you’re lazy isn’t a true friend. That’s upsetting in itself, of course, but anyone who can believe those things of you – let alone say them out loud – doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

    My experience is that it could be worth sticking with the therapy, even if it doesn’t seem to be achieving much – it might prove helpful in the long run.

    Hope things get better soon, and take care,
    A.

  32. Tim J says:

    Writing the report afterwards? Hmmm . . .

    A few years ago I was on Incapacity Benefit and had one of these assessments. During the interview I thought she was making notes, but when I subsequently asked for a copy of the report, I realised that her scribbling at the time was the report. Much of it was wildly inaccurate: for example she made it look as though I did all of a week’s typical activities in one hectic typical day; wrote that I played in about 12 concerts a month (I’d said 12 a year); and in several cases wrote down answers which were the exact opposite of the ones I gave.

    I failed the assessment, wasn’t well enough to attempt the appeal process, and lost several years’ income as a result which I now can’t claim back, but at least she did a quick job . . .

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