Home > Uncategorized > Rethink: 5 things you should know about benefits and the updating bill

Rethink: 5 things you should know about benefits and the updating bill

http://www.rethink.org/about_mental_illness/personal_stories_blogs_forum/blogs/jane_harris/5_things_you_should.html

 

1. Many people on benefits would like to work but simply can’t because they are too ill. Many of these people claim Employment and Support allowance, the main benefit for people too ill to work. Elements of this are only going to go up by 1%, even though inflation is 2%. So these people will be worse off, even though they didn’t choose to be ill. The claim that the most vulnerable are being protected from this Bill is simply not true.

2. Some people on benefits have to pay for prescriptions. While people with cancer are exempt, people with mental illness on contributory benefits have to pay for prescriptions. Many of our members say they’re not spending their benefits on luxuries but necessities like medication. We are worried about people on benefits being able to afford essentials like food, medication and heating once benefits effectively reduce.

3. Fraud is around 1% but mentioned in 29% of headlines. Lots of our members are fed up with Government Ministers talking so much about fraud. It’s adding to a perception that people on benefits don’t deserve them. In reality many people on benefits would love to earn enough not to claim them-but they are just trying to survive.

4. More and more people are being sent for repeated benefits tests known as the Work Capability Assessment even when their own doctors and medical evidence says their condition  is not going to improve. We think that’s a waste of taxpayers’ money. These repeated assessments cause undue stress and a massive toll on people’s health.

5. Over half of the welfare bill goes to pensioners, whose income is being protected. We don’t want pensioners to lose out, but we also want people who are vulnerable, ill or disabled, to have similar protections. Ian Duncan-Smith says it’s hard for pensioners to change their finances-the same is true for someone who is too ill to work. So why protect one group and not the other?

So there you have it. In our view, the decision not to update benefits can only increase people’s vulnerability.

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