Follow Me On Twitter

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The latest evidence suggests that the DWP are stitching-up benefit claimants



Ms. Kerry-Anne Mendoza
Editor-in-Chief
The Canary

Just a short note to commend you and The Canary for your superlative work in exposing the misdeeds of the DWP in various pieces, including this particular instance (The DWP was just caught red-handed 'fiddling' benefit sanctions figures | The Canary https://www.thecanary.co/uk/2018/07/19/the-dwp-was-just-caught-red-handed-fiddling-benefit-sanctions-figures/). But I would argue that the DWP aren't merely 'fiddling' benefit sanctions figures; I contend that they are continuing the nefarious practice of egregiously stitching-up benefit claimants—accusations of this sort were first made by whistle-blowers years ago (see references below) but there's an urgent need for them to resurface now, in view of your 'fiddling' piece and this latest Disability News Service story: DWP is asked why ‘not fit for work’ universal credit claimants are being sanctioned (https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-is-asked-why-not-fit-for-work-universal-credit-claimants-are-being-sanctioned/). In 2015, when Esther McVey was employment minister, she blamed front-line Jobcentre staff for unfair benefit sanctioning practices instead of taking responsibility for the sanctioning regime and culture at jobcentres that she had created. She claimed that sanctions targets did not exist and that sanctions were only imposed as a “last resort”. Now, as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, she and her DWP ministers have the authority to crack down on this type of malfeasance, but have chosen not to do so because it's being committed at their behest.

Disclosure: I am a 62 year old Disability Studies specialist—from Montreal, Canada—who since 2012 has been campaigning daily on Twitter, and communicating frequently with the UN's human rights office, in Geneva, on the welfare crisis impacting U.K.'s sick and disabled.

References: Stitching-up claimants is all part of the job, says Jobcentre insider - Ros Wynne Jones - Mirror Online https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/stitching-up-claimants-part-job-says-3537051

Sanctions: staff pressured to penalise benefit claimants, says union | Society | The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/society/patrick-butler-cuts-blog/2015/feb/03/sanctions-staff-pressured-to-penalise-benefit-claimants-says-union

It was my job to impose cruel benefit sanctions – that the DWP can’t justify | Angela Neville | Opinion | The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/30/cruel-benefits-sanctions-dwp-job-advisers-evidence-work

Benefit sanctions: Britain's secret penal system | Centre for Crime and Justice Studies https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/benefit-sanctions-britains-secret-penal-system

Benefit sanctions have failed: a Comprehensive Review is needed | British Politics and Policy at LSE http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/benefit-sanctions-have-failed-a-comprehensive-review-is-needed/

[July 19, 2018] DWP is asked why ‘not fit for work’ universal credit claimants are being sanctioned https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-is-asked-why-not-fit-for-work-universal-credit-claimants-are-being-sanctioned/


Yours very truly,



Samuel Miller

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Statement from Canadian Samuel Miller on the ESA WRAG cuts and 'wrongful' welfare reform deaths in the UK


The ESA WRAG cuts have been in effect since April 3rd; the failure of the Guardian (which publishes articles on disability on an almost daily basis) and the British press to investigate how these new chronically ill and disabled claimants are faring as they struggle to survive on a below subsistence, JSA-level benefit, is a serious dereliction of duty.

If the media blackout on the ESA WRAG cuts persists much longer, the danger is that the DWP ministers will conclude that these vulnerable claimants are adequately coping on a reduced benefit and they'll promote that false narrative in the right-wing press.

Once the complete details of the personal support package (PSP) are obtained from the DWP, I will ask the UN CRPD and the Work and Pensions Select Committee to rule on whether the PSP a) fully mitigates the ESA WRAG cuts; and b) meets the subsistence needs of sick and disabled.

I intend to hold the DWP and its ministers accountable for 'wrongful' welfare reform deaths by facilitating a crowdfunded human rights lawsuit supported by UN reports, coroners, and the testimony of the Work and Pensions Select Committee. (I am a lifelong Canadian citizen and resident; I cannot sue your government directly, but I can lend my support in helping to arrange either a crowdfunded judicial review or lawsuit against the DWP).

Since 2012, I've been reporting voluntarily to the UN on the welfare crisis impacting Britain's sick and disabled.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Centre for Culture & Disability Studies Seminar: Sorrowless Lamentation by Prof Lennard J. Davis

Sorrowless Lamentation:
Viewers' Emotional Response to the Disabled Poor in Art

Prof Lennard J. Davis, University of Illinois at Chicago

Date: Wednesday 15 November, 2017
Time: 2.00pm–3.30pm
Place: EDEN 109, Liverpool Hope University, UK

This seminar reviews the history of the disabled poor in Western Art and
considers what the viewers' emotional response to such depictions would
be. Prof Davis is interested in the repeated tropes of disability and
poverty over time and how the viewers' responses might have changed.

Lennard Davis is Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at
the University of Illinois at Chicago in the departments of Disability
and Human Development, English, and Medical Education. He has written or
edited over 20 books, some of which are the most influential in the
field.  He has been an active member of the JLCDS board since its
inauguration in 2006 and he contributed to the previous CCDS seminar
series in 2015.


This seminar is part of the CCDS series, Disability and the Emotions.
Other dates include:

31 Jan 2018, Embracing Disorientation in the Disability Studies
Classroom, Ryan Parrey.

07 Mar 2018, Affective/Effective Images? The Aesthetics of Representing
Disability Experiences in Comics, Gesine Wegner.

18 Apr 2018, Crip Feelings/Feeling Crip, Brady Forrest.

23 May 2018, Remembering the Great War through Bodies and Emotions: The
Experience of Disabled Ex Servicemen between the Two World Wars, Ugo
Pavan Dalla Torre.

04 Jul 2018, Demanding Money with Menaces: Fear and Loathing in the
Archipelago of Confinement, Owen Barden.


For further information please contact Dr David Bolt:  Dr. David Bolt dbsw@hope.ac.uk

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Prayer For Sue Jones, British Disability Campaigner, Who Is In Hospital

May the One who was a source of blessing for our ancestors, bring blessings of healing upon Sue Jones, a healing of body and a healing of spirit. May those in whose care she is entrusted, be gifted with wisdom and skill, and those who surround her, be gifted with love and trust, openness and support in her care. And may she be healed along with all those who are in need. Blessed are You, Source of healing. Amen.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

My Letter To Iain Duncan Smith

Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Dear Mr. Duncan Smith,

You have stated that you resigned from cabinet over George Osborne's disability cuts, among other reasons. Bank of England's Governor Mark Carney is now warning that life will "get difficult" for the most vulnerable people in Britain as inflation rises in the coming months due to the sharp depreciation of sterling in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The Department for Work and Pensions says that it is scraping retesting for people with severe, lifelong conditions at the same time that there has been a sharp drop in Support Group awards and a sharp increase in people placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG). Charities report that 45% of people who put in a claim for Employment Support Allowance (ESA), and had Parkinson’s, Cystic Fibrosis, Multiple Sclerosis, or Rheumatoid Arthritis, were placed in the WRAG. 

Unless rescinded, from April 2017, anyone put in the work-related activity group (WRAG) of employment and support allowance (ESA) will receive the same benefit rate as jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), a loss of £30 a week. They will surely struggle to survive.
I would be most grateful if you would advise Work and Pensions secretary, Damian Green, and Chancellor Philip Hammond *not* to proceed with Osborne's life-threatening ESA WRAG cuts. A public statement against these pernicious cuts would also be appreciated.
Thanking you in advance for your assistance.

Samuel Miller