Too fat to work? this made my head spin. Read and weep!
Almost two thousand people who are too fat to work have been paid a total of £4.4 million in benefit, it emerged last night. Other payments went to fifty sufferers of acne and ten incapacitated by leprosy.
Frank Field, a former Social Security Minister, said last night that too many people were working the incapacity benefit system to avoid work. “It is a racket, which governments have allowed to exist for far too long. I do not blame people for working the system, it is the job of politicians to stop them doing it.”
The number on incapacity benefit has more than trebled since 1979 but in recent years it has been broadly stable at about 2.7 million. In the past 12 years, however, there has been a dramatic shift in the illnesses for which people are being given the benefit: 40 per cent now claim for mental health problems compared with just 20 per cent in 1995.
Mr Field said: “The big change over the last decade has been into illnesses which largely defy a clear medical classification: depression, dizziness and such. It is a move from the tangible illness to the intangible.”
The complete list of the 480 different illnesses and complaints for which people received incapacity benefit in February were released by the Department for Work and Pensions. More than £2 billion was paid in 2006-07 for mental health complaints, including £518 million to those with what are described as “unknown and unspecified” diseases.
Overall more than £1.1 billion was paid to people suffering from a depressive episode plus a further £276 million to the estimated 116,000 claimants with “other anxiety disorders” and £122 million to the estimated 50,000 suffering from a “reaction to severe stress”.
A total of 15,600 people received benefits for “malaise and fatigue” and a further 8,100 for “dizziness and giddiness”. The figures disclose that 4,000 claimants had headaches, 2,700 migraines and 1,890 suffered from eating disorders. About £100,000 in benefits went to those with acne and a similar amount to 60 people with “nail disorder”. Nausea and vomiting cost £2 million in benefits for 900 people.
All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!