Just found a great disability charity (www.lcdisability.org) that also campaigns for disabled people and found out some great info - the government is inviting individual responses and experiences to: the Work Capability Assessment used to determine if someone is eligible for ESA; amendments to ESA in general and ideas for overall changes to the benefits system.
I've posted more info and links below. It might take a bit of time but we live in a democracy and should take every available opportunity to make our opinions heard, especially in such austere times.
Please pass on to anyone currently in receipt of ESA or any disabled benefits at all - and anyone, disabled or not, can provide ideas about the benefits system.
I'll post my response on my blog once I've sent my ideas and opinions.
For the first five years of ESA the Government has to hold an independent review of the test used (the Work Capability Assessment). They have appointed Professor Malcolm Harrington to carry out this year’s review. He is asking for people to share their experiences of the current test for ESA. You can find out more and respond by visiting www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/work-cap-ass-call-for-evidence.pdf . The deadline for responding is 10th September 2010.
ESA in general
To introduce proposed changes to the test for ESA (the Work Capability Assessment) the Government needs to introduce a new Statutory Instrument (this is a type of legislation). The Social Security Advisory Committee looks at any new Statutory Instrument related to benefits and they are holding a consultation on the proposed changes to the test for ESA. If you want to read more and respond to the proposed changes please visit www.ssac.org.uk/press/press23.asp . The deadline for responding is 10th September 2010.
The Government are currently looking at changing the benefits system and are currently asking people for their ideas on what they think the benefits system should look like. If you want to find out more and submit your own ideas then please visit www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2010/21st-century-welfare . The deadline for responding is 1st October 2010.