The work and pensions committee has highlighted fundamental problems with how Britain cares for disabled citizensby Frances Ryan / February 15, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in March 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
If you need an insight into the moral fibre of a government, you need look no further than how it treats its disabled citizens.
On Wednesday, the work and pensions select committee released a scathing report into Britain’s disability benefit system, warning “a pervasive lack of trust is undermining its entire operation.” It detailed an assessment process all too familiar to the hundreds of thousands of disabled and chronically ill people pushed through it in recent years—one riddled with fundamental errors, a dire use of medical evidence and incompetent assessors.
This came only a few days after the committee released a preview report detailing the experiences of disabled people themselves (there were so many submissions from individuals—an unprecedented number for a select committee—that MPs chose to release a separate report just to fit them in). A person with Down’s syndrome was asked when they “caught it.” A woman reporting frequent suicidal thoughts was asked why she had not yet killed herself. It’s hard to imagine how any state could run a system such as this—and yet it is happening in Britain in 2018.
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