In Britain, people who cannot work because they are overweight or suffering addiction problems could be threatened with losing their sickness benefits if they do not accept treatment under plans due to be outlined by Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday.
The Conservatives will consider whether to reduce payments worth about £100 a week for those they consider could do more to help themselves by going on medical programs designed to make them to lose weight, stop taking drugs or give up alcohol, according to The Guardian.
The prime minister has asked professor Dame Carol Black, an adviser to the Department of Health, to examine whether it is appropriate to withhold benefits from those who refuse assistance.
In the video, Trews’ Russell Brand takes a look at the risks of sugar vs. the risks of marijuana.
We are currently experiencing a “renaissance” in psychedelic research, as Michael Pollan writes in a recent issue of The New Yorker. Hallucinogenic drugs like psilocybin can be used to treat a range of mental health disorders, from anxiety and addiction to depression, and researchers at the nation’s leading medical schools are studying their full therapeutic potential.
The New Yorker: “Between 1953 and 1973, the federal government spent four million dollars to fund a hundred and sixteen studies of LSD, involving more than seventeen hundred subjects. (These figures don’t include classified research.)
“Psychedelics were tested on alcoholics, people struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder, depressives, autistic children, schizophrenics, terminal cancer patients, and convicts, as well as on perfectly healthy artists and scientists (to study creativity) and divinity students (to study spirituality). The results reported were frequently positive…”
According to the Huffington Post, the White House states that many immigrants in the United States illegally who apply for work permits under President Barack Obama’s new executive actions would be eligible for Social Security and Medicare benefits upon reaching retirement age.
Under Obama’s actions, immigrants who are spared deportation could obtain work permits and a Social Security number. As a result, they would pay into the Social Security system through payroll taxes.
No such “lawfully present” immigrant, however, would be immediately entitled to the benefits because like all Social Security and Medicare recipients they would have to work 10 years to become eligible for retirement payments and health care.
To remain qualified, either Congress or future administrations would have to extend Obama’s actions so that those immigrants would still be considered lawfully present in the country.
None of the immigrants who would be spared deportation under Obama’s executive actions would be able to receive federal assistance such as welfare or food stamps, or other income-based aid.
They also would not be eligible to purchase health insurance in federal exchanges set up by the new health care law and they would not be able to apply for tax credits that would lower the cost of their health insurance.
The issue of benefits for immigrants who are illegally in the United States is a particularly sensitive one for the Obama administration. As a result, the White House has made it clear that none of the nearly 5 million immigrants affected by Obama’s actions would be eligible for federal assistance.
The Obama administration first denied younger immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children access to health care exchanges and tax credits in 2012, especially disappointing immigrant advocates.
In the UK, George Osborne – a British Conservative Party politician – proposed a freeze on working-age welfare benefits if the Conservatives are elected in 2015. But its effect may cause some to reflect.
The Chancellor calculates that it will save £3.2 billion over two years, 2016/17 and 2017/18. Treasury figures suggest the total welfare bill across those two years will be roughly £356 billion – so the saving would amount to about 0.9% of the total.
To put it another way, the freeze would not affect 99.1% of welfare spending. Nevertheless, £3 billion is not an insignificant sum and some will argue it would be an important contribution to cutting the deficit.
The question, however, is whether the real-terms cut targets the right people. Around two-thirds of those affected by the freeze are in working households.
Government figures show that some 67% of those receiving child or working tax credits are designated to be “in-work families”. Most of those in receipt of child benefit will also be working.
It will also hit some of the poorest families in Britain. Income Support, which is included in the freeze, is a benefit specifically targeted at the poor. Child benefit can be the difference between just getting by and going without the basics for some low-income families.