Anyone here not know about Lord Fraud's latest wheeze? That's right, he plans to insert a further hurdle into the process of claiming ESA: anyone wanting to appeal their WCA decision (from either April or October, it's not entirely clear which) must first go through another decision maker. There are two major problems here: first, there is no time limit on how long this DM can take to make the decision, secondly, you cannot claim ESA during this period. It remains unclear, if you make it past this phase, whether you can claim or have your assessment phase ESA reinstated pending an appeal - assuming of course they aren't scrapped altogether.
This means that one will have to claim JSA or go without in the interim; I'm not entirely sure you can claim JSA while an ESA claim is in some form active, which it would have to be surely, even if you aren't getting any money from it. Consequently, as soon as people fail their ESA, and that still seems the most likely outcome given ATOS' continued involvement in the process, there will be a rush to make a new claim for JSA. This can only further bog down an already beleaguered benefit system. You might argue that's what people found to have failed their WCA would have to do anyway but there are a couple of key differences: firstly they would normally appeal, which means their claim stays open and so less pressure on the processing side of benefits, secondly, they won't have multiple benefit claims running concurrently - and they won't then fill up the waiting room at the local JC+ (bringing with them any particular mobility or health issues that staff will have a legal obligation to address). Of course many will have subsequent JSA claims denied on the basis of their health conditions leaving them in limbo.
This will only get worse when Universal Credit comes in. If it makes little logistical sense to have two claims open simultaneously, it is at least conceivable that one might have two different benefits running. How then will this work under Universal Credit, the whole point of which is to replace the current multitude of different benefits with a single entity? Surely if one has an UC claim already open (on the basis of health) then how will the system be able to recognise another claim for the same benefit (on the basis of unemployment)? Has Fraud or IDS given this any thought at all?
We all know what the answer to that is. This is not a logical policy; it is the politics of incompetence and malevolence. It is reaction: a response to the perceived problem of lots of people thinking they are entitled to a benefit and 'clogging up' the appeals process. The real problem is the failure of the WCA and the incompetence (and malevolence) of ATOS. Listen to this recording of an individual with mental health problems going through his WCA; the 'healthcare professional' (who refuses to explain her obvious lack of suitable credentials or expertise) is so clearly out of her depth that she can only behave with contempt and indifference. This is a sign of things to come across society.
Of course IDS/Freud have no interest in addressing the real problems and instead resort to sheer incompetence. Where is the logic of introducing yet another tier of complexity into the system? Do they perhaps think, as they might do to advertise this change (I don't know for sure), this is intended to help people? Certainly there is no sense in introducing another decision maker if you don't think the person is deserving of another chance to have their case heard? No one that wants an appeal does so because they had a favourable decision and they want to fail! No, they want their failed decision to be heard again. But of course that isnt' the real reason for this; it's to cut benefits. That's all it is. They know they can't just ban people from making appeals or take their money away while they wait for them, so they create a new level of bureaucracy to do just that, thereby creating further demand for the services of an overstretched system - will there be enough decision makers? Of course not, so naturally these decisions, like most appeals (though of course as you still receive money pending, it's not as bad) now, there will be a long wait - without money!