Judge accuses DWP of trying to hide compensation settlement made to discriminated men

“You are the government, and we should know what you are doing and what you are spending.” This is what High Court Judge Justice Lewis said when ordering the Department for Work and Pensions  – DWP to disclose details of a compensation settlement made to two men the High Court ruled were unlawfully discriminated against because of their disability.

 

The details of these payments is only coming out now as the government were forced to disclose them by a High Court Judge. In what I imagine was an attempt to avoid more claims, they had tried very hard to keep the payments under wraps.

The two men, known for legal reasons as TP and AR, received £6,517 and £4,788 respectively in compensation for the “pain and distress” caused when they lost over £170 a week in benefit payments.

The men had taken the DWP to court due to them losing the severe disability premium and enhanced disability premium when they moved to a Universal Credit area.

This is something I myself have fallen foul of. I used to be on Employment and Support Allowance in the Support Group and received both of these premiums. With Universal Credit came a new health assessment and as you know magically I am fit to work despite absolutely no change in my health.

More DWP lies

Esther McVey in the House of Commons
Head honcho Esther McVey lied to parliament, it seems it’s rubbing off on her staff.

They had initially both been told that these premiums would be protected when they claimed Universal Credit but this was in-fact a lie. When they did claim the government’s flagship benefit they saw an immediate drop of £178 per week in their income.

A solicitor at the London law firm Leigh Day who represented them said at the time of the ruling: “Nothing about either of the claimants’ disability or care needs changed, they were simply unfortunate enough to need to move local authorities into a universal credit full-service area.

“The government needs to halt the rollout and completely overhaul the system to meet people’s’ needs, not condemn them to destitution. If this doesn’t happen, further legal challenges will inevitably follow.”

The Department for Work and Pensions under Esther McVey have lost several cases in the last few months all related to Tory welfare reforms. They were found to have discriminated against mental health sufferers on Personal Independence Payment – PIP but have still yet to back pay them as ordered.

Targeting the most vulnerable

lonely-800x478803208720.jpg

Current policies for Universal Credit and those with health issues can only be seen as blatant targeting of people in some of the most difficult times of their lives. If you actually believe tens of thousands of sick and disabled people suddenly became fit overnight, I think you need to go away and re-evaluate things.

In a witness statement to the court, TP said constant money worries had made him more isolated, anxious and depressed. “The stem-cell transplant and chemotherapy was very gruelling and the anxiety around my finances and universal credit has made it all a lot worse,” he said.

“This reduction in my income came at the worst time it could have done. I know it has had a detrimental effect on my wellbeing and I believe it hindered my recovery, as it caused me a great deal of stress.”

It’s not over yet

Although the DWP agreed to pay compensation in this case, it is currently applying to the Court of Appeal to challenge the June ruling. It can only be for one main reason; To avoid mass payouts.

An estimated 500,000 benefit claimants are in receipt of both disability premiums and it is currently unknown how many have been affected by the roll-out of Universal Credit. Furthermore to have to maintain the payments after changing them over would inhibit their attempts to class them as fit to work. Something that would possibly cause Esther McVey physical pain.

Esther McVey has tried to call Universal Credit “world leading” and the Tories “the party of compassion.” She must be absolutely barking if she thinks anyone believes that.

What is true is that it’s blatantly clear that Universal Credit, like Personal Independence Payment is part of the DWP’s Hostile Environment towards the sick and disabled and that without a change of government, nothing will change.

My thoughts are that if they have been found to have discriminated these two men it would be the same in other cases. I only hope that the court of appeal sees through this exercise so as the DWP can stop wasting taxpayers money on court cases.

Alex Tiffin

@RespectIsVital on Twitter

Universal Credit Sufferer on Facebook

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5 comments

  1. it is good that a judge see’s fit to award compensation, however due to the amount of negligence, self-harm, suicide and worsening vuinerable adults conditions, is this good enough, no , not really, what should really be happening is a overhaul of the complete system to make those that make the decisions from the wca assessments to the decision maker’s accountable for there actions and in some cases blatant lies and they should either face hearings at regulating body level not some pathetic excuse or duck and dive copy and paste letter from atos,capita and maximus, with a fine for the companies commensurate to the money they made from there wrong decisions. There should also be more responsibility from the minister in charge and the previous ones and if that responsibility leads to charges of misconduct in public office, so what, they accepted the position, they knew what they were getting into, let them face due legal process and that does include ids, If that means they some some quality time in hmp, good, they can reflect on there mistakes, there won’t be much sympathy from me or anyone else.

    I get constantly amazed by these assessments, one of the best I have seen so far is the capita cure for advanced dementia, that wca professional should write of to the lancet and tell them there secret, with all the millions that are spent on research some flea-bitten 5 week wonder product from capita/dwp came up with a amazing cure. wonder what next they cure, bullshit in tories– that is impossible- no amount of research would cure that

  2. I hope that these people and all others affected get the justice they deserve. It seems that you can only get Justice in Britain if you have the money to afford good legal representation.

    Unfortunately the people affected are not just some of the most vulnerable in society, but some of the poorest also.

    Antony

    • totally agree, high time some of these lying assessors were at least sent to face a tribunal themselves (not enough of that happens), it would also be nice to see some of these so called decision makers who must know there not exactly making a correct decision, which is why there decision is challenged at tribunal level being held to account in law, not by some disciplinary system that means nothing, to me even the compensation offered for the stress caused is nothing, what price do you put on someone who self-harms or suicides, I know of a certain company that found that out the hard way, it was 5.1 million plus interest, that is what capita, maximus and atos need as well as the dwp, one lesson like that will do it, retrospectively the law needs to be changed so that when ministers make decisions and say wonderfull things like universal credit is working and is getting young people in jobs from the banks of sunny Nottingham, they should have the opportunity to defend there statements under oath in court, hard to lie under oath and they know it, they should also take away parliamentary privilege for ministers when there policies have been shown to do harm to people and they still carry on the practice and if that means trial by jury and judge, good, if found guilty lock them up, you maybe see honest ministers and there advisors if they know they could face prison sentences and there quite a few ex ministers and advisors that deserve a trial, as well as wca assessors and decision makers.

  3. if some one feels they have to go to a tribunal for lies on there assessment then the assessor and decision maker should also be at that hearing and punished accordingly x

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