The ESA ‘Revolving Door’ Process, and its Correlation with a Significant Increase in Deaths amongst Sick and Disabled People


A Department for Work and Pensions Freedom Of Information request (FOI) yielded a response showing that people having their claim for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) stopped, between October 2010 and November 2011, with a recorded date of death within six weeks of that claim ceasing, who were until recently claiming Incapacity Benefit (IB), totalled 310. Between January and November 2011, those having their ESA claim ended, with a recorded date of death within six weeks of that claim ending totalled 10,600. 

Bearing in mind that those who were successfully migrated to ESA from IB were assessed and deemed unfit for work, (under a different assessment process, originally) one would expect that the death rates would be similar to those who have only ever claimed ESA. This is very clearly not the case.

Furthermore, there are NO alarming increases in mortality rates amongst those who are still in receipt of Incapacity Benefit – there were approximately a million and a half claimants, compared to less than a million ESA claimants for this period. Many of those migrated so far have not yet had a Work Capability Assessment, as the Government decided to re-assess those people when their review from the Incapacity Benefit  Personal Capability Assessment is due, for practical reasons. The migration process won’t be completed, it is anticipated, until 2014.

David Green from the DWP has urged that “care should therefore be taken when interpreting these figures”. Well I have taken care interpreting this data, Mr Green. My careful interpretation is that there is a probable correlation demonstrated here, linking the reformed Work Capability Assessment process and the withdrawal of lifeline benefits with an increase in mortality amongst sick and disabled people.

Incapacity Benefit was fair, it was a genuine social security provision. The “reforms”, including the new Tory-shaped ESA benefit, by stark contrast, are all about taking support and provision away from the sick and disabled, leaving them potentially very vulnerable. It’s very evident that there are measures in place to reduce successful claims for ESA, and many lose their lifeline support for the most arbitrary or manufactured reasons.

Indeed, the Tories have been very keen to articulate the welfare “savings” that they anticipated with regard to the disability benefits, including PIP, which is replacing DLA. But of course, these anticipated “savings” reflect a dark truth: the Government are setting targets to remove benefits from people, regardless of the impact of that imposed deprivation (and frank State theft of our tax funded welfare) on their wellbeing, health and safety. How else is it possible to predict probable “savings?”

Those claiming IB were not required to have continuous assessments, whereas those on ESA are constantly required to have the Work Capability Assessment. Many claimants have described a “revolving door” process of endless assessment, ceased ESA claim, (based on an outcome of almost invariably being wrongly “assessed” as fit for work), appeal, successful appeal outcome, benefit reinstated, only to find just 3 months later another assessment is required. The uncertainty and loss of even the most basic security that this process creates, leading to constant fear and anxiety, is having a damaging, negative impact on the health and wellbeing of so many.

A significant proportion of those required to have endless assessments have very obviously serious illnesses such as cancer, kidney failure, lung disease, heart disease, severe and life threatening chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, myalgic encephalomyelitis, rheumatoid arthritis, brain tumours, severe heart conditions, and severe mental health illnesses, for example. To qualify for ESA, the claimant must provide a note from a doctor stating that the person is unfit for work. There can be no justification for subjecting people who are so ill to further endless assessments, and to treating us as if we have done something wrong.

Marginalising and stigmatising vulnerable social groups via political propaganda in the media, using despiteful and malicious terms such as “workshy” and “feckless” is a major part of the Government’s malevolent “justification” to the public for removing the lifeline support from sick and disabled people, amongst whom are some of our most vulnerable citizens.

We are climbing Allport’s Ladder.

I have often suspected that Iain Duncan Smith is channelling the spirit of Goebbels.

In addition to very justified anxieties regarding the marked increase in disability hate crime that the Tory-led propaganda campaign has resulted in, many sick and disabled people have also stated that they feel harassed and bullied by the Department of Work and Pensions and Atos. Many talk of the dread they feel when they see the brown Atos envelope containing the ESA50 form arrive through the letter box.

The strain of constantly fighting for ESA eligibility/entitlement and perpetually having to prove that we are a “deserving” and “genuine” sick and disabled person is clearly taking a toll on so many people’s health and wellbeing. Many families of those who have died have said that the constant strain, anxiety and stress of this revolving door process has contributed significantly to their loved ones’ decline in health and subsequent death. The figures from the DWP, and the marked contrast between the ESA and IB death statistics certainly substantiates these claims.

The horrific, unforgivable and massive increase in deaths over this period coincides with the Government’s totalitarian styled rapid fire legislation – the “Reforms” – in the face of protest, horror, disbelief, fear and mass opposition. The Tories cited “financial privilege” to trample over opposition and stifle dissent, to drown out the voices of protest. Those protesting this Bill notably included many from the House of Lords. I lobbied the Peers, and emailed every single one of them, stating very clearly that the welfare reforms must not happen. I got a high number of encouraging responses. But  David Cameron got his own way.

Cameron made a Freudian-style slip when he announced to Ed Miliband recently, during Parliamentary debate, that We are raising more money for the rich.” Not that we didn’t already know this was so. Many of us – around 73 sick and disabled people every week –  are paying for that wealth increase for the already wealthy with our very lives.

There are many who have so tragically lost their lives because of this malicious Government’s brutal and grossly unjust economic war on the poorest, on sick and disabled people and on the most vulnerable citizens, because of the Tory-led ransacking and plundering of our welfare provision and social support programs.

But just one life would be one too many.

Further reading:

The Black Triangle Campaign

Many thanks to Robert Livingstone for his outstanding artwork.

This is an excerpt taken from a much longer piece of work – Remembering the Victims of the Welfare “Reforms.”

131 thoughts on “The ESA ‘Revolving Door’ Process, and its Correlation with a Significant Increase in Deaths amongst Sick and Disabled People

  1. It’s murder. More than an apology and compensation is required. It is also required that Atos has it’s assets forfeited, and that individuals and politicians stand trial. If they are convicted, they should die for their crimes and their entire net worth be confiscated.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. my Autistic son was caught in this and he decided not to continue with this constant assessment, He was asked if he would get better!!!!! The people doing these are not qualified to fill in a detailed report on the person they are assessing , it is a multiple choice questionaire, they tick the boxes and if you don’t score the right number you are considered fit for work. The questionaire is heavily aimed at drug and alchohol related conditions, eg ; do you need a pill or drink to function in the morning. It is diabolical that genuinly disabled individuals with incurable afflictions are subjected to this demeaning process.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Can I simply say what a relief to discover somebody that genuinely understands what they are talking about on the net. You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people ought to read this and understand this side of your story. It’s surprising you aren’t more popular because you surely have the gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Please sign this then SHARE it across as many media formats as possible

    This is going to take some, i believe more than any other petition so please get this out to everyone you can!!


    Our FB Group – Disabled UK:


  5. I think we should make it mandatory for Iain Duncan Smith, David Cameron and a few of his other side-kicks to complete the Dr Robert Hare ‘Psychopath Test’ ….. and then send them all off to prison. Lacking in empathy, triangulating, bullying, threats, intimidation, blaming and ‘entitled’ to mistreat others as they see fit….. are all traits of a Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath. Covert abuse is murder without leaving a corpse! Someone who can abuse the poor and the sick without feeling any remorse or guilt has no conscience!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sociopaths lack the manipulative characteristics that Cameron and IDS demonstrate, so psychopathy is the most likely. Cameron fulfils every Harre psychopathy tick box criterion as well. Narcissim overlaps with all of the personality disorder spectrum.

      And yes, murder by stealth is still murder.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Or better still, isolate them. Each in their own cell. Take away their ‘narcissistic supply’ and watch how they will whither way. Who on earth is going to stroke their ego? Doesn’t the world know how special they are? Isolate them. Narcissists hate being ignored.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can definately see the merit in that, because of the slow psychological torture involved. However, it’s expensive. That’s why I’d rather see them dangle, as they have already cost us far too much. Rope is cheap, and there are plenty of trees still in the UK.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Totally agree with that. That’s why I’d confiscate all their eatates as well as hanging them, just like the attainder of the old days.


      4. Absolutely! Confiscate all their Eatates! These guys are pure evil. We should be demanding a general election NOW before more people suffer at the hands of these deluded pair! Why can’t despots like these be made accountable? Why do we have to suffer in silence and wait until the next general election comes? It’s simply not fair. This government is a Totalitarian government and I for one do not wish to live under similar constraints and ‘monitoring’ as the people in North Korea and Burma.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is murder Plain and simple I am not disabled anyone who is not disabled and thinks this does not affect me i don’t care shame on you Disabled people have mums dads brothers and sisters just like anyone else Fuck you government you murdering bastards There must be someone who can hold the responsible for there actions


  7. Disgusting, blatant murder. ATOS are a disgrace to their professions, a bunch of liars prepared to inflict suffering on those who are already sick or disabled just to toady to the Government and make themselves rich. As to the Government leaders, they might call themselves Tories but what they truly are is plain for all to see: Nazis. Roll on next year to vote them out!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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