Do you remember that we have been worrying away about whether the problems that beset Daniel Blake in Ken Loach’s film could happen in Kingston? Well, sadly we think that they could and that they do..
Why do we say that?
We did some research into twenty five recent cases which involved Employment Support Allowance claims by local people who needed our help and found that the process had been very confusing and distressing for many of them.
What are we going to do about it?
Recently a group of front line staff from four local agencies got together and thought about what the key problems are and what we might do together to resolve some of them. We worked out that some things can be tackled locally and some need to be addressed, or possibly more accurately, fought, on a national basis.
What’s going to happen next?
Locally we are devising some leaflets for people who are claiming ESA and who are then assessed as fit for work when they and/or their doctors don’t think that they are fit to work. The main point is that if you are in this situation you need help that focusses on your particular situation – there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Working together, our partnership of agencies will be working to make sure that you get exactly the help you need to make your claim. This will include some template letters setting out your situation for you to share with other agencies so that they can quickly and easily see where your claim is in the process and what the next step is for you.
Nationally we are working on gathering evidence of where assessments are not done well and where the process leads to hardship and suffering with ideas on how changes could be made which would stop this happening. Not only would changes to the policies make a difference to individuals in our society but we think it could save money too.
Watch this space for an update on how things go and, in the meantime, if you know of anyone who is not well and has problems claiming welfare benefits – do encourage them to contact us as we are here, ready, willing and able to help – Citizens Advice Kingston (the single front door to local information and advice agencies) 02031660953 or online at …….or drop in to our reception and information centre at Neville House, 55 Eden Street, Kingston, Surrey KT1 1BW Mon, Tues, Thurs or Fri from 10-3.30 🙂