Callous cuts to benefits become a reality
1 May 2012
Cuts to benefits introduced by the Welfare Reform Act became a
reality for some people with Parkinson's
If this affects you, it's really important to get advice and explore your options.
Call our helpline on 0808 800 0303.
People who have been on the benefit 'contributory' Employment and Support Allowance for more than
one year will find they can no longer get this benefit if they are
in the 'Work Related Activity Group' (WRAG).
This will immediately affect 100,000 disabled people, including
people with Parkinson's, and hundreds of thousands more in the
While some may be able to get some means tested support through
income-related Employment and Support Allowance, many will not
because they have some savings or a partner who works.
However, many people with Parkinson's are being unfairly
assessed and placed in the Work Related Activity Group when this is
As a result many people are having their benefits cut when they
are clearly unable to go back to work.
I've been told by the so-called medics involved in these fit to work tests that a 'return to work could be considered in 18 months'.
Robin, who has Parkinson's
Robin Mitchell, 61, from Derbyshire is just one of the many
people with Parkinson's who will lose his benefit:
"I worked solid for 42 years and had to retire on medical
grounds due to my Parkinson's.
"I've been told by the so-called medics involved in these fit to
work tests that a 'return to work could be considered in 18
"I don't even think I should be in this group, let alone be due
to lose the benefit which I've paid into all my life".
more about Robin's story in The Derby
Adding insult to injury
Donna O'Brien, our social policy and campaigns
"Seriously ill people with Parkinson's are being told they
should get better and back to work. But people with Parkinson's
don't get better. Even those with the most basic medical training
should know this.
"The assessments are not fit for purpose. As a result they
undermine medical advice, time and time again, punishing people
with long-term conditions.
"Now, to add insult to injury, the Government will snatch the
income of £94 a week from people who are unable to work. This
leaves people with Parkinson's and their families facing financial
worry, all while having to deal with their condition. This is
nothing short of callous.
The assessments are not fit for purpose.
As a result they undermine medical advice and punish people with long-term conditions.
Donna O'Brien, our social policy and campaigns officer
"The Government said it wanted to protect the most vulnerable
from the cuts. It said it would encourage and reward
responsibility. But this does neither.
"People who have worked all their lives need help in times of
illness but the Welfare Reform Act has put a stop to that."
What should I do if I'm affected?
It's really important that people with Parkinson's who are
affected get advice on these changes. Our helpline service can
explore options with you.
Contact our helpline on 0808 800 0303
There may be alternative means tested support available or an
option to challenge the decision to put you in the Work Related
Activity Group, but also important information you need to know
even if you lose the benefit entirely.
What should I do if I want to campaign on this change?
Although the Welfare Reform Act means the change is law, we are
working to make sure that people with Parkinson's are put in the
right group for them, so fewer people face a time limit on their
We are very keen to hear your stories and lobby MPs about the
need for proper procedures for people with progressive and
Get in touch
If you'd like to get involved with campaigning - or sharing your
story - contact Donna O'Brien, our social policy and campaigns
officer, on 020 7963 9307 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or for advice on how this affects you, call our helpline 0808
800 0303 or email email@example.com