Thursday, 19 July 2012

I Want This Assessment

If you listen above the incoherent noise of those who know nothing about the topic and are therefore keen supporters of current policy on social security, you can hear us saying things. In between repetitive flat demands to know "well what is your alternative?" and "how should we check claimants?", you will hear us trying to clearly explain our ideas for alternatives and how eligibility for benefits should be assessed. We will do this even though we've come to accept there will be absolutely no change in the response from those yelling in our faces.

We don't think 'objective' tests are accurate, because we actually know what the word means. Simple math is objective(and easy, requiring primary education and/or a calculator), knowing what math to use to build an abstract and innovative model of something is subjective(and HARD, requiring expertise) and always subject to change as evidence comes to light suggesting iterative, progressive improvement.

This is objective. It's also idiotic.
The ideas on which the current assessment for ESA and the proposed assessment for DLA's replacement PIP, have gone through no such improvement since they were conceived in the 70s to justify the existence of occupational therapists.

The ministers responsible for these policies are strongly against the idea of a 'real-world test' based on evidence.

To accuse critics of lacking ideas, advertises ignorance about the subject. It's no wonder their main sources of info need to be specifically briefed on these matters, like the Sun newspaper was in May regarding ex-soldiers being reassessed when PIP is introduced.

And it was 'exclusive to all newspapers'.
The argument made was that soldiers already have to undergo thorough medical assessments(IE; real medical assessments, not the ones we're getting) in order to qualify for their Armed Forces Compensation award when they are injured or their mental health suffers. The Ministry of Defence were being shits in that they were wanting ex-soldiers to be assessed by the PIP process as well as the military medical assessment in order to qualify for the AFC, not just the PIP. You ask a department to make cuts and that's what they'll do, ethics be damned. Naturally it looked very bad among the government's army-supporting patriotic media mouthpieces. The government scrambled to quiet the noise and threw in some more concessions.

Among those is the one where the military assessment is deemed so thorough that it must override an unlimited number of PIP assessments stretching into the indefinite future. No solider having passed the military criteria for eligibility will ever need to be reassessed again for either PIP or AFC. Wow, even DLA's 'lifetime' awards never actually meant lifetime when they were around and Invalidity/Incapacity Benefit were subject to periodic review. So if the military way is so damn good, why don't we have that? What's so special about it?

Well, it just so happens to be a real-world assessment. Rather than thinking such things can be determined 'objectively' the military assessment works on 'balance of probabilities' burden of proof. They consider the extent of the injuries and how much that active service contributed to them being caused or worsened. If these criteria were used for ESA or DLA, there would be virtually no appeals and not a whole lot of inflation in claims. The assessment is either good enough or it isn't, it doesn't matter who receives it.

I want this assessment.


  1. I always get worried when adhoc analysis is made-currently they are considering timelimitting incomesupport/support for mortgage interest-as the following makes clear -people working(or lack of) is the skewer which will be used to justify these changes-the vast majority are too sick/disabled and their carers-no mention whatsoever is to be found-I hate them.

  2. JSA is of course time limited-and of no consequence in proposals re work but of course that is not the reasoning behind such "research"


    FFS Even the bloody headline creates a false dichotomy and leads the reader/viewer.BBC=Daily Mail- lite.

  4. Sudden need for an update of an adhoc research for DWP regarding IB/ESA and DLA as a mention,nothing I repeat nothing, to do with Mirror,two TV programmes and Judicial Review,totally coincidental