You’re not working enough hours, you need to tell your employer to give you more hours. You’ve got a week to do this. The DWP really hate so called under employed people.

Dear readers it’s Thursday again and luckily this week the weather was good. Yippee I thought, then I saw the already formed queue for the food parcels. I was also met by a German television film crew that had arranged to film us today.

You might ask why would a German television crew want to film us. The answer is this, they really can’t believe how the government is treating the poorest and most vulnerable, especially as the UK was previously known to them for being kind to people, and we had a good social security system. I can imagine that viewers will be shocked to see the truth.

As soon as the food parcels arrived they were taken by those needing one. They keep people going, help to prevent people from literally starving. I’ve no doubt that our advice, help, signposting and food parcels have saved life’s. Never underestimate the difference that you can make to a persons life by just being a friend.

I’ll list some of the conversations that I had with people today. As usual I wont use real names etc because of the very real repercussions from the DWP. This is a fear based upon facts. People are often targeted by the DWP for talking to people like ourselves.

I spoke to Ben. Ben is a young man and his situation is quite complex. Recently Ben had spent six days in prison and hadn’t realised that because of this and not being able to conduct a job search whilst in prison that his payments would be stopped.

As a result he’s now left with no money and has had to start again with his claim.

Most of the people that I speak to haven’t a clue what their legal rights are regarding the DWP. They also don’t know what they’re entitled to claim either and no DWP representative is in a rush to help with this either. Don’t fall for the lies spun by Amber Rudd, not one truthful word is uttered from her mean mouth.

Lets also not forget that government officials have sat on a report for eighteen months that said that universal credit was detrimental to claimants wellbeing. It also showed that people are worse off when claiming universal credit.

You might ask why they sat on this report for eighteen months and the answer is simple. The government wanted to continue with the roll out of universal credit regardless, knowingly ignoring the risk to the wellbeing of thousands and eventually millions of people. If the report had been disclosed then the rollout would have probably been halted. Simple really.

I spoke to an older man that is shocked that people are needing food parcels in 2019, stating that there shouldn’t be the need for them. He went on to say that he’s claiming universal credit and isn’t finding the process welcoming at all, saying that they (DWP staff) like to let you know that they’re in charge.

I asked a woman leaving the Jobcentre how it was going for her. Her reply was ‘It’s shit”.

I spoke to a man that spoke poor English. He had worked as a translator in Afghanistan and has lived in this country for a while. He didn’t understand that because his circumstances had changed he was now being made to apply for universal credit. He’s now been waiting seven weeks for a payment. He’s feeling upset, depressed and confused.

I spoke to Simon. Simon has been waiting for seven weeks for his first universal credit payment. He’s a fully qualified plumber and is looking for work as a plumber.

Simon told me that the only jobs available at the moment are jobs with agency’s that don’t pay a decent wage, have no reliable hours and he has to pay the agency £17 a week for them to send him any payments owed.

The DWPs answer was this… They sent him to B&Q to work for nothing for 16 hours a week. I’d love to know how much B&Q actually make out of working with the DWP. They’ve been doing it for years now. Everyone deserves a decent days pay for a days work.

I then spoke to Rob. Rob told me that he’s been sanctioned for not attending an appointment in February that he didn’t know about. He had checked his online account and any post arriving at his home. Rob wonders if his online account had been hacked or something. Theres a high possibility that the DWP didn’t even issue an appointment in the first place. Before anyone says it, yes I know that this happens all the time, I’ve been helping people regarding so called missing appointments for years. Please see earlier blogs.

I spoke to a woman with various illnesses and conditions. She uses a crutch to get around and really can’t cope with the DWP at the moment. Her situation is this.

Jenny moved into her partners home five months ago. Jenny informed the DWP eleven times via her online journal and face to face appointments that she had moved in with her partner. The DWP have now decided to stop her payments making her reliant upon her partner. To make matters worse the DWP are accusing her of committing benefit fraud when she had clearly told them.

I helped and advised her the best that I could. Now because of the inability of the DWP to do anything right she’s being punished. It’s easier to bully a disabled woman than to admit that they’re wrong isn’t it.

I spoke to a lovely chap thats trying to start his own business up making wooden jewellery. He’s happy at the moment but he won’t be after a year when he’s expected to meet the minimum income floor.

We then spoke to a chap thats already working part time doing a manual job. He likes his job however they’ve only offered him part time hours.

Today at his signing on appointment he was told that it’s his fault that he isn’t working more hours and he’s got a week to convince his employer to give him more hours. If he doesn’t then they’ll start asking him more to find more work.

It’s absolutely ridiculous to expect and employee to do this. If there were more hours at work he would be working them. This is what the DWP call being ‘Under employed’. The DWP are never happy with anyone even those working. It’s absolutely disgusting that people are being treated in this way, its sickening.

On days like this the words ‘By gods grace go I’ Meaning that I’m lucky at the moment, I’m not being harassed by the DWP at the moment but my time will come very soon and I’m dreading it.

Everyone that I spoke to today either was given a food parcel, given advice, signposting etc etc. No one left without receiving any help. We work hard to help people, because both we and I believe that EVERYONE is important, everyone deserves a decent quality of life, to be able to eat and keep warm should never be seen as a luxury. Everyone deserves a place to call home and to be safe. Sadly for thousands this isn’t the case.

As you might know the local elections are coming up very soon. Please use your vote and vote the Tories out. Use your vote wisely because the only way to stop this is to vote them out.

Please read, share, email and tweet my blog. For those that already do this thank you!

For everyone that supports the campaign and blog thank you very much. I’m a skint single parent just trying to do my best to change things and to help people.

I apologise for any quietness lately, due to my father dying I’ve been a bit distracted. I’ll be back to normal soon enough.

My sons five in Jun, they’re going to move me over to Universal Credit. I’m scared.

Dear readers, once again I have to apologise for the blog being published late. My father died late last week and I’m still trying to get my head round it. Anyway, like I have said before it’s not about me is it.

The weather today was surprisingly good, the sun was shining and it was reasonably warm. We didn’t get hassled by any officials either an added bonus.

As usual the food parcels went straight away, one of the men that took one told me that I was the only person that he’s spoken to all week. Poverty is extremely isolating.

We gave everyone that we spoke to a copy of our survival guide, we  signposted people, advised people and spoke to almost everyone that passed us to go into the Jobcentre.

 

The first Person that I spoke to was a man that we see regularly because he needs a food parcel and general help from us. He told us of his experience in the Jobcentre this week.

Whist he was in the Jobcentre looking for work on one of the screens that they provide. According to him a security guard stood behind him and told him to leave the building because he’s a protester.

If his account is correct, the G4S security guard should not have done this. He isn’t a protester, he receives food parcels and advice from us. He will be making a complaint to both G4S and the DWP.

I spoke to a vulnerable disabled man, he told by a DWP advisor that he couldn’t claim both universal credit and PIP, so he hadn’t had any money for quite a while. He’s now in rent arrears etc. Luckily now he’s successfully applied for universal credit and PIP after being advised to do so by another advisor. Honestly you couldn’t make this up could you.

How on earth are claimants supposed to navigate the system when their advisors often don’t know what they’re doing? They aren’t are they, they want us to go away, disappear or die, it’d suit them because the employment levels will be lower.

The DWP regard every claimant as a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder eg, workfare positions with various companies and organisations or sent on rubbish courses that do nothing to improve a persons life.

The DWP and the organisations and companies profit highly from this whilst claimants are left with hardly anything and many are reliant upon food parcels and the kindness of friends. Atrocious isn’t it.

I spoke to a man that needed a food parcel. He told me that he had some problems whilst telephone the ESA department. The first time that he telephone them he waited for 45 minutes to get an answer only to be told that the computers were down and they couldn’t help.

The second time that he telephoned them he waited another 45 minutes until he got an answer. Whilst I appreciate that people often wait a lot longer than that but it’s totally off putting for the person telephoning. Maybe that’s part of the plan, make them wait a long time to put them off making a claim etc. Who knows but I know what I think, you’re probably thinking the same thing.

I then spoke to an older man that looked annoyed. He took a leaflet and I asked him if he was ok. His reply was that he was sick of being treated like crap. His story is this.

Having worked for all of his adult life, his last job was as a hob carrier and he had worked for the same company for 25 years. Unfortunately he contracted TB, and a few weeks later he had a bad fall and broke his arm badly. He now finds himself at the mercy of universal credit and he’s trying to understand the system but is confused at the same time.

Because he’s now claiming universal credit the DWP are keen on sending him to different courses, the latest one being a fork lift carrier course to teach him how to drive one etc. Although he’s looking forward to this he still has to run around trying to get proof of how much the bus fare will be to get to Oldham where the course is being held. It’s ridiculous.

Due to the wait for universal credit he’s now in arrears with his mortgage and is scared that he’s going to loose his house. He told me that he’s scared, that he might be loosing everything that he’s worked for. A sad reality for many in his position.

I spoke to a woman that was attending the Jobcentre with her two children. Her youngest son has just been diagnosed with Autism. The DWP have told her that as soon as her son is five in June they’ll be moving her onto universal credit. She told me how scared she is, that she’s worried about her children, will she be able to feed them adequately etc. Having children and claiming universal credit is scary.

I advised her and told her what she could claim for her son etc and she took a leaflet.

No one should be scared like this woman, but most of the people that I speak to are scared because their futures are unpredictable, they don’t know what sort of hell is around the corner waiting for them.

We spoke to a woman thats recovering from breast cancer and other illnesses as a result of the cancer and the treatment.

Her story is this, she suffers from extreme tiredness, she missed two phone calls from the DWP because she was asleep. She doesn’t choose to fall asleep, she tried to stay awake but she couldn’t do it.

As soon as she was able to she contacted the DWP and asked them if she would receive a payment this week. She was told that she will but she’ll have to repay the DWP back.

Unbelievable isn’t it. A woman who’s been extremely ill isn’t given any support or sympathy. Basically she’s been left to her own devices and she didn’t know what to do.

No one should be treated like this. A caring government would let her rest and make a good recovery, instead she’s neglected and shunned. Disgusting.

I spoke to a woman that noted that she’s always waiting ages for an answer when phoning the DWP. Quite rightly she said that not everyone has a mobile phone and the DWP should understand this. They don’t and they have no intention of being understanding, its not in their remit is it.

I spoke to a woman that needed a form printing for the DWP. The DWP refused to print it for her telling her to go elsewhere. Typical treatment by the DWP.

We spoke to a woman who had waited for 13 weeks for her universal credit claim to be processed. She had been working for a local travel company that had gone bust, ceased trading. She was owed £1000 by her ex employer and the DWP wanted her to get the monies owed straight away. That might be easy to say but her previous employer is refusing to pay her so she’s taking them to the small claims court to try and recover the monies owed to her.

Thankfully she’s now receiving her universal credit payments but it’s left her stressed and in debt.

I spoke to an older man that told me in his opinion the people that designed universal credit should be forced to claim it for a long period of time. They should suffer like he is he said.

This all happened in the space of two hours folks, this will also be happening up and down the country as I type this. Please be a friend to someone it could be the difference between life and death.

Many thanks to Roy and Gordon for all of their help today.

Many thanks to all my readers and supporters of this campaign both online and in person.

Please read, share and talk about my blog because whilst Brexit is still the main topic of conversation people are still suffering and dying.

There is also a donation button at the side and top of this blog. I’m a skint single parent just trying to do my best to help people. Every penny counts thank you!!!

 

 

£220 a month to live on with children to feed. Universal credit literally starves people into submission.

Dear readers. Today was another interesting morning outside the new Jobcentre.

As soon as I arrived I was immediately met by yet another person from the council. That’s three different people in three weeks, they must be desperate to get rid of us.

To put it bluntly we’ve been doing these protests for over five years now. Not one council official or employee has ever approached us with offers of ‘help’ or suggestions of how we should do things. No concern was ever shown for the claimants that we’re helping except concern and help from local councillors and two MPS that have helped us.

Now I’m being met by differing officials all of whom are offering me the same thing. A room inside the council building on a Thursday at the same time as the demos. Although one of these people actually suggested a different day.

Whilst I’m interested in some of the suggestions that they’ve made they can’t and won’t whitewash us away because the DWP now share the same building as the council. They should have thought about this when the plans were being drawn up.

The employees that have been sent out to talk to us appear to have no idea that we are a high profile campaign and have a very large support base, and anyway I’m used to having to be able to stand my ground.

In simple terms I won’t be bought off.

Ok back to today. Once again because an official decided that they wanted to speak to me again I was taken away from being able to help people. I’m not sure that this is their intention, but wether it is or not I’m getting rather annoyed with it. At least members of the team were able to hand the food parcels out. Next week I refuse to be distracted by anyone.

All the food parcels were handed out within 20 minutes and everyone that needed help was signposted and/or helped.

As well as helping people we’re also there to protest against the inhumanity of universal credit. Quite simply it isn’t fit for purpose and people are dying as a result.

We spoke to many people and had some very interesting conversations with people. Here’s a run down of the conversations that we had today.

We spoke to a woman who told us about her experience of the DWP. Her story is this.

Last year she had an advisor that wasn’t being nice to her (sadly that’s not unusual), so she asked if she could change her advisor and requested to be treated with some dignity. Her request was denied and her advisor sent for two security guards to escort her from the building.

Yep a simple request denied and a vulnerable person treated as though they’re a criminal. Don’t fall for the rubbish that comes out of Amber Rudds mouth. Jobcentres are generally hostile environments.

I spoke to a man who is now relying on food banks and our food parcels to survive. He’s worked all of his adult life until now because his health isn’t good.

I like to chat with him because we’re most likely the only people that he sees and has a good chat with. When I looked at him I could see that he’s so fed up of the system because he’s just about surviving.

I then had a chat with a lovely woman and her friend. She told me that she’s always worked until now because she’s been ill and is now unable to work. She started to claim universal credit in September and every month she has to chase up the rent element of her universal credit. Every month the DWP underpays her.

As well as having to chase up payments she’s also stuck in the cycle of repaying back the loan that she was forced to take when she applied for universal credit and on top of this she has to pay back an overpayment from her previous tax credit claim.

She’s broke, is fed up and told me that both herself and her younger children are having to survive on £220 a month and that’s before she’s bought her gas and electric for the week.

Could you survive on this? Would it make you feel eager to find a job even though you might be unable to. I know that having to survive on such a low amount of money certainly doesn’t incentivise you into finding work. Instead it makes you hungry, driven by hunger and finding food takes over every other single thought in your head.

This is why so many give up, why many people die early and why some disabilities become worse.

As I type this around 3.7 million children are living in absolute poverty in the uk. That’s 3.7 million children that are hungry, that need the basics of life. much like this woman and her children. Why the government is being allowed to get away with this is beyond me, but hey the news will be taken over by Brexit.

Most of the people that I speak to couldn’t care less about Brexit because they’re hungry. That’s the most important thing for them. The reality is that not many of these children and their parents will ever be taken out of the circle of poverty that they’re now stuck in.

I asked the lady how was she surviving. She told me that it’s the kindness of friends that’s keeping her going. A sad reality for many.

I spoke to a woman needing some advice for their friend who’s now having to go through the whole ESA and PIP application system. It’s a nightmare and made as such to stop people from making a claim.

I spoke to a woman who had always worked until she became ill and had to have half of her bowel removed. If that wasn’t bad enough shes also broke her arm.

I asked her what would she like to do with her life in the future. She told me that she’d like to return to work but doubts if she would be able to for a long time.

I asked her if the DWP are treating her well and she told me that they weren’t because they don’t treat anyone well, saying that the whole system is awful and needs to be replaced. Of course she’s correct.

She’s also repaying her DWP loan back and a previous tax credit debt. I advised her and signposted her for help with these matters.

I spoke to a young man who’s being continually sent on the pointless DWP courses that they like to send people on. So far he’s been sent to a few of these courses.

It’s pointless he told me. They send me miles away and they’re supposed to reimbursement for my transport costs. I’ve asked for my fares to be paid this week and the company that I was sent to have refused to repay him.

This poor chap survives on £55 a week, out of this he has to get gas, electric, food pay the council tax supplement etc. He told me that he won’t be able to buy as much food as he would like to.

£55 a week is the cost of a breakfast and a few drinks to some Tory politicians. It’s absolutely disgraceful that we are supposed to survive on such low amounts of money.

This all happened within two hours outside one Jobcentre. People are suffering like never before but Brexit is taking over the news.

How long are we expected to survive like this? I’m certain that they want to kill us off slowly, because that’s exactly what it feels like.

We will be back next week, please come and join us we really need your support at the moment. If you can’t join us then please support us online. Thank you!!

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Help your neighbour and be a friend to others. So many people are suffering in silence, too proud to ask for help.

I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do or for the blog. I can’t stand injustice, unfairness and suffering and this is why I do what I do. I’m a skint single parent just trying to make a difference.

For anyone wishing to donate there’s buttons at the top and side of this blog.

They want to move us. Sanctioned for two months I’m going to lose my home.

Dear readers, its Thursday again at least it wasn’t raining this week. Today’s demo was a tad different and I’ll explain below.

All of the food parcels were handed out to people that really need them, it’s heartbreaking to see new faces waiting for us to arrive with them, and it’s going to become much, much worse.

We also signposted everyone that needed help.

Universal credit and Brexit are going to cause the perfect storm for the DWP. They’ll be more people for them to persecute, and we all know how much they like to do that don’t we.

As I arrived at our new spot a policeman cross council worker was waiting for me. He was polite and told us that he had been told to tell us that we have to move to another proposed spot…. ROUND THE CORNER WHERE NO ONE CAN SEE US.

Not only is that proposal ridiculous it will prevent us from helping people. We are now in negotiations with this chap. I’ve made it very clear that I’m not interested in going round the corner.

Having to deal with these negotiations took me away from helping people, now that did upset me and I will endeavour not to let anyone down next week.

For a start we aren’t trouble causers, we help people. Nor are we a dirty little secret that has to be hidden away out of sight and sound of anyone.

I was expecting this, so I’m not one bit surprised, like I’ve said before it’s going to be like starting all over again and we need your support. If anyone would like to join us one week to show solidarity we would welcome you with open arms.

Anyway back to the important stuff.

The mood of the claimants wasn’t good today, everyone that we spoke to seemed either depressed and annoyed usually a mixture of both.

I spoke to Sam when he was walking out of the Jobcentre. He took a leaflet and asked for my help. Sams story is this.

Sam has substance abuse issues and he’s trying his best to get clean.

Sam had just had a spell in hospital, he was released yesterday and he showed me his hospital wristband.

Sam was moved onto universal credit and he struggled to keep with the DWPS demands. The DWP don’t give a toss that he’s trying to recover from addiction and that this can take a long time.

Sam is now waiting for his eviction letter from his landlord. He’s being evicted because he couldn’t keep up with the rent payments due to the long wait for his universal credit claim to be processed.

Sam will soon be street homeless and will be classed as making himself intentionally homeless by the local authority even though he didn’t choose to be moved onto universal credit and he couldn’t borrow any money from family etc.

As a result the local authority could wash their hands of him, they might not and I hope to god that he gets some support because being street homeless would be awful for him.

I then spoke to David. Davids story is this.

David had been laid off in January so he made a claim for universal credit.

David was paid a Christmas bonus that he wasn’t expecting to receive just after he had made his application for universal credit.

The DWP saw this as a wage and stopped his claim for universal credit.

Sam spent all of the Christmas bonus money on vet fees for his dog that had to be put to sleep.

Sam then had to start the application process all over again.

Sam has been without money from December to February.

He’s worried that he’s going to become homeless and that he’s going to loose everything that he has.

The DWP don’t care though because they’re paid not to care. As it stands Sam will become yet another statistic, not a name, not a person but a number.

I then spoke to Jim. Jims story is this.

Jims working now but he had been unemployed for a period of 14 months not long ago. He was made redundant from his job of 30 years.

Jim told me that he was treated terribly, spoken to like dirt and was mandated to undergo workfare (work for nothing) at a local Barnados charity shop.

Jim worked long hours there, and when it was time for him to finish his time there he was told to not put this experience on his CV. Baffled by this response he ignored them and put it on his CV.

He told me that he thought that all this was a sick game that they’re playing with everyone. ‘They know that there’s no jobs, but they keep sending people on these crap courses which degrade us. They just like people like me to suffer’

That’s the truth of it isn’t it.

Jim told me that it was the worst experience of his life and that he never wanted to go through it again, stating that no one deserves to be treated with such disrespect.

Luckily Jim now has a job, he wanted to have a chat with us to tell us about how he felt, how he was treated because it still affects him now, saying that the whole experience had scared him for life.

A man walked past and shouted that he agrees with everything that we’re doing and to keep up the good work.

We then spoke to an older man who had been claiming Severe Disability Payments. Basically he’s in poor health and certainly isn’t fit for work.

All was going ok until he asked for his PIP payments to be increased due to needing a mobility scooter to get around.

They refused, sent him for a medical assessment and his Severe Disability Payments were also stopped.

He’s now been without money for 13 weeks.

A very vulnerable disabled man has been without any money for 13 weeks.

We signposted and helped him as much as we possibly could, but it left me feeling sick in my stomach. Before anyone says that thousands of people are suffering just like this man is, I already know this. I speak to people in this position all the time.

Some days I get upset, but I’m human with a heart and compassion something that the DWP don’t have.

This happened within 2 hours, hopefully I won’t be distracted next week as I was today. Can you imagine how many people are suffering at the hands of the DWP?

Thousands upon thousands are, thousands are homeless, hungry and scared because of universal credit. It’s not acceptable to treat people like this.

Please spare them a thought.

We will be returning next week.

Photograph taken at the old Jobcentre.

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I’ve lost everything because of universal credit.

Wow, what a palaver it was last week, an extremely bad bout of rain and the hassle from the new Tameside One staff and security. It’s mind boggling that they wanted to move us when all we are doing is helping people, feeding people and signposting them.

I was expecting a repeat of last weeks performance today, but it didn’t happen, however I’ve heard from a reliable source that they’re trying to find a way of getting rid of us, to move us on.

So here’s the deal. We help people, feed people, give people advice and have literally saved life’s.

We’re extremely peaceful, so much so that we’ve gained the respect of the local police force mainly because we help vulnerable people and prevent people from taking other options to feed themselves. Why? Because we feed them. Simple.

How anyone can take offence to this is beyond me, we do important community work.

If they do try to go down the injunction route I’ll let you know, and it will be reported in the press.

I was dreading today, not because of the hassle but because of storm Gareth. It’s here, it’s very windy and the rain has been torrential. It’s no fun standing outside in that.

We were lucky today because the rain actually stopped for most of the time so we didn’t get too wet. Imagine how awful it is for homeless people in this weather.

Luckily the locals are now aware of where we actually are so it was a lot less hectic than last week.

We handed the food parcels out and as usual there was a bit of a queue for them but they were glad to see us, as were we glad to see them. I like to know that they’re ok because they’re vulnerable people and need support.

Jenny walked towards me, she looked upset and in shock. She told me that she’s failed her PIP assessment and she doesn’t know how she’s going to survive. I advised her and gave her a food parcel, but I don’t have a magic wand even though I wish that I did.

People with disabilities are horrendously targeted at by the government. I have a theory that they want them to die. What other reason would there be for being as cruel as they are. After all they’re vulnerable people who cannot work due to disabilities.

Their doctors and consultants have diagnosed them and have informed them that they’re not fit enough to work but a physiotherapist who’s paid a large sum of money can diagnose them as being fit for work.

Their disabilities have suddenly been magicked away by the gods of Atos and Maximus.

Personally I believe that these assessors should all be made to pay for the damage that they’ve done, the people they’ve destroyed and the deaths they’ve caused. I also believe that these assessments should be stopped. We need to stop this downright persecution of the disabled community.

I then noticed Tom walking towards the Jobcentre, he was struggling up the steps. As he approached the Jobcentre I asked him if he’d like one of our leaflets, he said yes he did.

I helped and advised him and I also signposted him. He looked so downtrodden and depressed. This is exactly what the government wants though.

I then spoke to Sally. As I handed Sally a leaflet she told me that she’s lost everything because of universal credit. She struggles to eat, she’s sold anything of any value and she can’t afford to heat her home.

This is the reality of life whilst claiming universal credit. My heart went out to her, my god I want the government to pay for what they’ve done to people.

I then spoke to June. June cares for her husband who has brain cancer. He’s not going to get better but he recently failed his PIP assessment.

Yes folks because he can move he failed his PIP examination. They forget about the excruciating pain that he’s in, the side effects of the medication that he’s taken which render him unable to do most tasks. Disgusting.

When a person is seriously ill like this, they don’t want to be worrying about the DWP, they shouldn’t have this stress forced upon them. Many go to their graves worrying about the DWP and having no money, food etc etc.

Seriously this is about as cruel as it gets. We’ll soon have mass paupers graves again because we can’t afford funerals or burials.

Rhona and Sheila then arrived. Rhona had travelled all the way from London to help us. Thank you so much for doing this, you helped so many people today!!

I then spotted Jane walking to the Jobcentre, Jane told me that she’s failed her PIP assessment and she didn’t know what to do. I helped and advised her and also signposted her. Heartbreaking stuff.

I spotted Keith because he was hanging around the area outside the Jobcentre with his friend, he told me that he’s been sanctioned because he didn’t attend a group session arranged by the DWP. Keith will appeal this decision though because he had a good reason as to why he couldn’t attend.

A man walked out of the Jobcentre and shouted ‘Twats’ as he was leaving.

People can be critical at others who shout or get aggressive when the DWP treats them badly. Remember they’re probably upset because they’ve lost everything, they’re upset and are vulnerable. Instead of criticising they need to find out the reason why they’re upset.

I spotted two familiar faces standing outside the Jobcentre, they looked confused and slightly annoyed. I asked them what the problem was and they then told me.

‘My money’s been stopped because I’ve had to change my bank account, I’m not going to be able to survive this week because it’s going to take them ages to sort it out’

‘I might keel over and die, that lot don’t give a shit’

We had a good chat and I signposted him. His key worker is going to phone the DWP up for him. Rhona also helped him. Thank you so much!!

We spoke to a lovely couple who are appealing a failed ESA assessment. They asked if we knew how long that it’ll take for the appeal to be processed and they were shocked when I replied that it could be longer than a year.

Luckily they’re seeking advice from our local CAB office, but they thanked us for our leaflets and said that it was very useful.

Myself Dave and Rhona had a brief conversation with a man who was waiting for his universal credit claim to be processed.

Jim had been caring for his mum for 15 years, his mum had sadly died so he had to start claiming universal credit.

Jim had walked miles in the rain to get a food bank voucher from the council offices. He was freezing cold and wet through. I advised him and told him that there’s a brilliant food bank in Mossley.

I also advised him and Rhona helped him out.

This all happened within two hours, so many vulnerable people aren’t getting any support, most have to go without meals, many are without a home.

Quite frankly this government makes me feel sick with rage. No one should be treated like this, there’s no excuse. But hey the Tories hate poor disabled people because they see us as a burden. We are anything but that.

Thank you so much everyone for turning up and helping today. I was amazed at how many people, local councillors included turned up to show their support. Jan even brought us some chocolates. It means so much to me, having their support.

It goes without saying that the DWP weren’t impressed by our presence neither was the manager of the building. If they’re reading this then know that we are peaceful and we didn’t obstruct any area nor did we harass anyone.

Our demo was witnessed by others and it’s peaceful as always.

Safe journey home Rhona thank you so much!!

We’ll be back next week.

Please like, share and tweet my blog.

Many thanks to those that subscribe, read and share my blog. Thank you to all the other campaigners also fighting for change either online or on foot.

I’m a single parent just trying to do my best to help others. I don’t get paid for anything that I do. There’s a donate button at the side and the top, every penny helps!

A massive thanks to everyone that came along today to help and to everyone that supports my blog. Thank you!!

30 week pregnant woman told to look for work and new Jobcentre debacles.

Dear readers,

Today was the first day of protesting outside the new Jobcentre. Access to this Jobcentre is either up the stairs pictured below or in a small lift in the library pictured below.

Basically you’re stuffed if you’re claustrophobic and unable to climb stairs as well. Will the DWP be understanding of this… Time will tell.

We arrived as normal at 10am outside the new Jobcentre. It was pouring down with rain which didn’t help things either.

The minute that we arrived the police arrived, they must have been waiting for us. At first they were quite happy for us to stand outside the Jobcentre in the plaza area because it had been deemed a public place, however a member of the local authority decided differently. We were told that we had to stand in the area near the steps downstairs.

Flaming ridiculous. Of course that the Jobcentre don’t want us there so they’ve probably had words with someone, you know how these things go. Despite this’ll we will be back outside the Jobcentre next week.

We help people, hand food parcels out and support people… All things that the DWP should do. Whilst we were there local councillors who were standing with us weren’t impressed with us being moved. Believe me we will be back.

Today was hectic because the weather was awful and we’re trying to get used to our new spot.

There’s no signage up for the Jobcentre or the library either, its a fancy glass building and I like the library but there does need to be signs outside also.

Another matter of concern that was brought to me by a member of the public was that there’s no privacy near the computers and DWP staff were milling round the library and looking at what people were doing.

Lovely. A library is supposed to be a place of sanctuary.

We directed lots of people to the Jobcentre because they didn’t know where it was because of the lack of signage and we still spoke to people and handed food parcels out to those needing one.

I spoke to a heavily pregnant woman whos 30 weeks pregnant. Shes just made a claim for universal credit and has been told that she has to make a new cv and look for work.

What planet exactly do these DWP advisors live on? No one will employ a woman thats pregnant even more so heavily pregnant. The DWPs attitude towards pregnant women makes me feel sick.

Throughout the demo I was concerned and still are concerned about access to the Jobcentre for disabled people that can’t use lifts or stairs. What’s going to happen to them if they can’t attend their appointment? This needs addressing ASAP.

Because the weather was awful, the rain didn’t stop and we were freezing cold we left a bit early. I’m so sorry but we were freezing and wet through.

We handed out all of our food parcels and helped people. Next week we will help even more.

Massive thanks to everyone that turned up to help in this dreadful weather. I really do appreciate it thank you so much.

Thanks to everyone who reads wnd shares my blog, thank you so much ❤️.

Also thanks to everyone that supports my blog and the campaign. Thank you so much. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people and to raise awareness of the suffering of others.

My baby died and they won’t help with the funeral costs.

Dear readers, yes its Thursday again, this week was the last week that we’re going to be stood outside the old Ashton Jobcentre. Don’t fear though my friends, we’re moving to where the new Jobcentre will be which is the new Tameside One building where some of the local council will be based, the library and Welfare Rights. Because the Jobcentre is inside the new building and up a floor we can only stand outside on the ground floor where the public entrance is. Ah well, you win some and you loose some.

I wonder if the market manager will be reporting me to Interpol again for standing near Ashton market, that was extremely funny.

Today was a tad slow probably because the Jobcentre is closing tomorrow ready for the move to the new building. This didn’t stop the need for food parcels and need for help and advice.

As I arrived at the Jobcentre Roy was waiting for me with a few people that needed food parcels. I must note that I was on time but I had to get a coffee because it’s chilly again up north. I’ll list some of the conversations as I usually do, and I’ll use pseudo names to respect a persons privacy.

 

I spotted Dave as he was running into the Jobcentre, he hurriedly told me that he’d been sanctioned but he didn’t know why. He also hadn’t received any letter etc to confirm this. Needless to say that this is pretty standard, the DWP send most letters out second class and they don’t rush to post them either. I gave him some advice and handed him a food parcel upon his exit.

 

Jim stopped to chat to me as he was leaving the Jobcentre. Jims story is this, he had a heart attack a few weeks ago and he’s attempting to make a claim for universal credit whilst he can’t work. He wasn’t sure how long that it would take for him to receive a payment so I told him. Jim was surprised that it would take at. Least five weeks and he now hopes that he’ll be back in work before then. Nice one DWP, don’t you have any idea of how serious a heart attack can be? Callous is one of the words that I like to use for incidents like this.

 

I spoke to a young man who attends a local organisation called ‘Roots to work’. Roots to work sound very much like a work programme place where attendance is mandatory or else expect a sanction. I prefer to call them hell holes or sweat shops of struggle, pain, embarrassment and struggle. I’m sure that they’ll disagree with my opinion, but having experienced these places myself I know what I saw and experienced.

One day not long ago some DWP representatives marched into Roots To Work and informed him that he wouldn’t be able to claim ESA for much longer and he’s going to be transferred over to universal credit in the near future.

This is correct but they didn’t inform him that he would be eligible to claim the disability element of universal credit, so I informed him of this. What a surprise the DWP being selective in what they say to people. Their very presence set him into a state of panic.

 

I then spoke to Gill, a young woman who visibly looked upset. I asked Gill if I could help her. Her reply was ‘My baby died three months ago, I had only just made a claim for universal credit just before my little boy died.’

Gill then told me that her baby’s funeral had been performed by the local council council and she had had to pay for this themselves. She’s now struggling to get the DWP to reimburse her some of this money.

My heart went out to her, she had been ill advised, felt alone in the world and was now trying to get a receipt for the funeral to satisfy the DWP. I signposted her to my local MP for help with this.

I asked Gill how she was coping and were the DWP treating her well. Her reply was that she’s struggling to cope and the DWP haven’t shown her any sympathy for the death of her baby. She’s still got to search for a job.

I helped and advised her the best that I could. I gave her a hug and told her that I’m here for her whenever she needs someone. I also signposted her to local organisations that might be able to help her.

The memory of seeing her stood there in tears clutching her baby’s baby bag will never leave me. No one that have lost their child should be treated like this should they.

 

I then spoke to Mandy. Mandy is a young woman at the start of her adult life and should be enjoying it. Instead Mandy is battling the universal credit system and at the moment she’s loosing this battle.

Mandy’s story is this. When Mandy made a claim for universal credit she signed her new claimant commitment in front of her advisor as is required. Mandy was then surprised to see that her claim for universal credit had been denied because she hadn’t signed the claimant commitment which she had signed. You really couldn’t make this up could you.

Mandy then tried to appeal their decision but was told that they weren’t allowing this and she had to make another claim for universal credit, so she now has to go through the whole process again.

How much of this shit are we expected to put up with? A whole lot more when everyone else is moved onto universal credit and the system can’t cope. Wonderful… Not.

 

 

I then spoke to Jenny who is her sons registered appointee. Jenny receives al of her sons DWP letters and attends all of his DWP appointments with him. Jenny wanted to drop off some information on behalf of her son but was refused, she was obviously distressed so we set to task to sort this out.

I gave Jenny the telephone number for Ashton Jobcentre and she phoned them up from outside the Jobcentre, they then allowed her to drop off the required documentation. If I hadn’t done this then her son would have been most likely been sanctioned.

Honestly this shouldn’t be happening. To be told by a DWP representative at the front desk that she wasn’t allowed in to drop the documentation off and that she wasn’t his appointee either. Not only was this information incorrect, it caused her to become distressed and angry. If they had looked at her sons records correctly they would have seen that she is his appointee.

DWP stop doing this. It’s not that hard to correctly check a persons details and to be respectful to a person is it. Sometimes I think that I’m speaking a foreign language that they don’t understand.

 

I then spoke to the PCS rep for Ashton Jobcentre, he had no problem speaking to me and we discussed several things. Unlike his predecessor he wanted to listen etc. If you’re reading this thank you.

 

Today was tough but we do this every week. I’ve been standing outside Ashton Jobcentre for five years now, my comrades have been helping for three years. In a strange sort of way I’ll miss the old building. We’ve shared tears, hugs, and advice. We’ve also had plenty of laughs and have had some memorable demos there. Goodbye old building, DWP we’ll see you at the new building.

A massive thank you to all my supporters, readers and my campaigners. You all mean the world to me.

Thank you to everyone that came along and helped this week, thank you so much.

I’m a single parent just trying my best to help people and right the wrongs of the DWP. I receive absolutely no funding for the work that I do. There’s a donation button at the side and the top of my blog for anyone who would like to donate. Thank you!

 

 

Universal Credit guarantees poverty, hunger, debt, homelessness and despair.

Dear readers, its Thursday again and for a change it’s a lovely warm and sunny day. This gives many of us a huge sense of relief because we won’t have to put any heating on.

Today was a busy but quiet day. I know that this doesn’t make any sense to you, but its a bit difficult to explain.

When I arrived at the Jobcentre there was already a queue for the food parcels, amd Gordon had already arrived and was unloading the car.

Everyone that I spoke to today was hungry, fed up and wanted things to change. No one wants to live like this. It’s exiating not living, and it’s cruel and demanding. I wish that I had a magic wand to change this system and devise a replacement that’s fair for everyone.

I’ll list the conversations that I had this morning. Real names etc won’t be divulged either.

I spotted Chris as he was walking away from the Jobcentre, clutching a piece of paper in his hands. The same piece of paper that’s handed out to everyone that makes an enquiry.

Chris is a young man, very thin and pale. He was wearing thin clothing and looked downtrodden. I asked Chris if I could help him.

To break the Ice I handed him one of our leaflets, he looked at me and said ‘It’s not f#####g fair you know.’ I asked him what had happened. Chris told me that had an appointment early this morning but he was unwell and couldn’t leave his home until he felt better.

Chris had no money except the money that I gave him to buy a bit of food and a brew. He didn’t have any phone credit so he had walked to the Jobcentre to speak to someone.

Chris was told that he couldn’t have another appointment and that he had to wait for two weeks for his next Jobcentre appointment.

Chris was visibly upset, he knows that the reality of him being sanctioned are high and he didn’t know what to do.

I gave him some advice and told him that I’m there for him if he needs any help at all and he left a little happier than he was earlier.

I don’t need to tell you that even the threat of being sanctioned is enough to push people into a downward spiral of depression and panic. Many give up altogether, many never get over it. Sanctions traumatise people beyond belief

Sanctions need to be abolished because they do kill people.

I spoke to a young woman who was making her first claim. We advised her, gave her copies of our survival guide and leaflet. She appeared to be more confident when she walked away.

It was then that we were heckled at from a car that was passing by. Not one of us could decipher what they said, but they drove off feeling rather happy with themselves.

I then spoke to a young man how’s being made redundant after working at the same company for seven years. He’s never claimed any type of benefit before so I advised him, handed him our leaflets and had a nice chat with him.

June is an older lady trying her best to navigate the awful universal credit system.

June doesn’t know how to use a computer. Her son tries his best to help her fill in her job searches etc every week..

To make things worse June also has another problem with the universal credit system. Every month since she started to claim. Universal credit the computer system blocks her payment. Every month June has to telephone the DWP waiting over a hour and a half to speak to the right person.

The reason for this is that the system says that June had previously claimed incapacity benefit. June doesn’t even know what that is nevermind claimed it. So every month she has to fight to get her rightful payments.

No one should have to go through this. June suffers from various ailments and helps to look after her disabled daughter.

June feels like totally giving up. Luckily we were there to provide some support and advice.

I hate universal credit.

Meet John. John has had his wallet stolen. John is also very thin, looks unwell and was wearing unsuitable clothes. John has no money.

Thinking that the DWP would show some comlassion for his situation, he went to the Jobcentre for some advice. He was told that they wouldn’t help him, basically they didn’t care.

My heart went out to him. In the good old days people in his situation were able to get a crisis loan to see them through to their next payment day. This used to work well, and I’ve had a few crisis loans in the past.

We helped and advised John, I wish that we could do more but we can’t.

I spoke to another man who has also been made redundant. We advised him about what to do etc.

Meet Jenny, a young woman who works as a teaching assistant.. Jenny has children but has been forced to claim universal credit due to a relationship breakdown.

Needless to say, Jenny is struggling. She’s got a mortgage to pay, children to feed and to say that she’s unhappy with the system is an understatement.

Basically Jenny is being punished by the cruel universal credit system even though she’s working. Only a cruel Tory could devise such a cruel and heartless system.

I spoke to another woman thats struggling with the universal credit system. Please remember that not everyone can use a computer. Many find it hard.

I advised a woman who’s caring for her disabled daughter.

I spoke to another woman struggling on universal credit even though she works. She’s also finding it hard to pay her mortgage payments.

I spoke to a young man who’s making his first application for universal credit.

I spoke to another man who’d just been made redundant.

We also spoke to a couple who are experienced in fighting the system. They’ve self taught themselves and know their stuff. Well done to them. Having confidence or the appearance of confidence really does help. Advisors don’t see them as easy targets and are less likely to target them.

Yet again we helped lots of people, provided food, advice and comparison to people. We’ll be returning next week to do the same.

Many thanks to everyone that came to the demo today.

Massive thanks to everyone that reads and shares my blog. Also massive thanks to everyone who supports my blog.

64 year old woman with multiple health condition fails universal credit medical assessment. Living in substandard accommodation. How are people supposed to survive this?

Dear readers, its Thursday yet again. The sun was shining for us today, what a welcome surprise. It was lovely to see. No joy was found from the DWP though, there’s a surprise.

I’ll be listing everything that happened today as usual. No real names will be divulged either. Today we handed out six food parcels and helped lots of people who would have otherwise been left, stranded without help by a system that doesn’t care about them.

Those of you that have been through the system or know people that have will already know that the DWPs flagship universal credit system is cruel, heartless and punishing. It discriminates against everyone but particularly women, children, single parents and people with disabilities.

Universal credit is obscenely complicated and hard to navigate, often DWP advisors don’t know the rules either. Not one department communicates with another even though universal credit is computer driven by default. You’d honestly think that the designers of it would have thought about people that are unable to use computers or don’t have any access to the internet at home. They also didn’t take into account the fact that libraries are shutting their doors or reducing the hours that they’re open because they can’t afford to stay open.

Universal credit is a system that rarely works well for anyone, but it was designed to do this, to reduce the unemployment levels by any means possible. If that means that a person takes themselves off the system because they can’t cope then so be it. No one will try and stop them either. Above the door of every Jobcentre a sign saying ‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here’ because that’s exactly what people do.

 

The first thing that I noticed today was the queue of women waiting for food parcels. It goes without saying that there shouldn’t be a need for us to hand food parcels out but there is, and will be for as long as this rotten government is in power.

As I was handing the food parcels out a young man stormed out of the Jobcentre. I asked him what was wrong and he shouted ‘It’s a pile of shit in there, they don’t give a shit do they’ I agreed with him and handed him a leaflet.

 

Meet Tom. Tom had successfully made an application for universal credit a couple of months ago, thats good you might think. Well, no because it appears that whoever processed his application didn’t quite do everything correctly.

Upon applying for universal credit a claimant is expected to provide ID and proof of tenancy etc at their first meeting, because as you know rent etc is all rolled into one payment every month. Here’s where Tom encountered his first problem. I say first because he’s bound to have more problems as time progresses.

Tom looked confused as he handed me a form that he had just been given by his advisor. As I looked at it he told me that he had already provided them with the ID and proof that they needed. Here’s the letter in all it’s glory.

 

In this letter he’s asked about every single detail of his tenancy, including gas and electricity check certificates and energy performance certificates. Tom has no idea what those are, his landlord didn’t issue him with these. The DWP need to remember that not all landlords actually do this.

Other questions included are ‘Are you up to date with your rent payments? If yes, provide evidence of this.’

‘Would your landlord accept less rent at times if you could not afford to pay the full rent?’

‘Will your landlord accept a lower rent if universal credit does not meet your full rent liability?’

‘Would your landlord take you to court to evict you if you failed to pay the rent?’

‘Would your landlord take legal action to recover rent arrears?’

These questions are totally ridiculous. Landlords rarely if ever lower a persons rent payment to suit the DWP, and of course a landlord will take action to evict a tenant for non payment of rent. It’s ridiculous to think otherwise, and very arrogant of the DWP to suggest that a landlord should back down to the demands of the DWP.

Honestly, the above form looks like something thats been typed out at home in a hurry. There’s absolutely nothing official on this form, no DWP logo either. It’s all very strange.

Tom quite rightly noted that they should have asked for this information when he first made his claim, he’s already received his first payment. He’d already paid his rent with this. Honestly you couldn’t make this up.

To make matters worse he had to make a new appointment just to hand in this form, if he doesn’t attend he’ll get sanctioned.

I asked him if he had moved house and he told me that he hadn’t, his was living at the same address when he made his claim for universal credit.

Luckily I was able to walk him through the questions and signposted him if he needs further help. Poor fella, he was so confused. He thanked me and he walked away hopefully less confused.

 

Tom looks after his sister who is computer illiterate, his sister struggles to get out and depends on Tom to do most tasks for him. Tom attended the Jobcentre a few weeks ago to hand his sisters fit note in. He was told quite bluntly at the reception desk that he couldn’t do this and he had to post it. So Tom posted it using an envelope that they gave him.

Today Tom attended the Jobcentre once more to hand his sisters fit note in. This time they accepted it but asked him where the previous fit note was. He told them that he’d posted it because he’d been told to. Unbelievable isn’t it.

Tom was understandably a bit fed up, saying this system is bloody ridiculous isn’t it.

 

I spoke to a woman struggling to pay the bedroom tax, a man that was sent away fro being ten minutes early and a woman who told me that she claims universal credit and PIP and its bloody awful.

I also spoke to an older woman that cares for her son who’s autistic. He had failed his latest ESA medical because apparently he ‘looked ok’. Obviously the DWP don’t recognised hidden disabilities, they’ve got quite a bad track record of this.

I spoke to a young man that has taken himself off the system because he couldn’t cope with it. I asked him how he managed from day to day, he told me that he tries his best but is dependent upon relatives. He hopes to get a job in the near future.

 

We spoke to a self employed plasterer, he quite loudly told us that universal credit has ruined many of his friends and colleagues. Universal credit made it impossible for them to continue with their trade. He was understandably angry, but angry at the government for doing this to them.

 

I spoke to Bill, bill has been sanctioned because his daughter had been taken into hospital and he missed his signing on appointment. He did telephone the Jobcentre and communicated this through his online journal, he’s even provided evidence of the hospital stay. But the gods of the DWP have decided that he’d be sanctioned so he was.

I told him that he could appeal the sanction decision and he told me that his advisor hadn’t told him that he could appeal. Thankfully hes now going to appeal this and hopefully he’ll win his appeal. He wouldn’t have known to do this if we weren’t there to inform him.

 

Meet Pat. Pat is 64 years of age and has numerous medical conditions, some quite serious. Pat hasn’t been able to work for years because of this. Pat also claims universal credit.

Pat recently attended a universal credit medical assessment, she failed this and was told that she’s now fit for work.

So the DWP gods have performed another miracle haven’t they.

Pat is determined to appeal this decision, so she informed her advisor of this. Her advisor then told her that she now needs to provide medical proof if she wants to appeal.

Pat has now had to pay £15 for a letter from her doctor. This is completely ridiculous, she’s already shown evidence of her medical conditions.

To make matters much worse Pat lives in a home riddled with damp and her landlord is reluctant to deal with it. She told me that she doesn’t know how much more she can continue like this, its becoming all too much for her.

Remember pat is 64 years of age, she shouldn’t be treated like this and she honestly didn’t expect this.

I did everything that I could to help her and signpost her. It’s absolutely heartbreaking when you speak to someone thats suffering as much as this. For gods sake we’re supposed to respect our elders. The DWP respects no one not even their staff.

 

I spoke to a middle aged man who’s in the process of being evicted. He told me that the move over to universal credit has caused this.n

We spoke to a young man that was prevented from attending an appointment with a friend, ten minutes later another man was prevented from entering the Jobcentre with his partner. He wanted to help her but he was turned away. The law states that a claimant is allowed support when attending an appointment but hey, the DWP employees at the front desk of Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre appear to totally disregard this.

 

Today’s conversations all happened within two hours on a Thursday afternoon. Universal credit doesn’t work, its very design dictates this.

We need to stop and scrap universal credit and replace it with a much fairer system that actually cares for people.

 

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

Thank you to everyone that turned up to help today, I really appreciate this.

 

Massive thanks to everyone that supports my blog. Without you I honestly don’t know what I’d do. Your support means everything especially when times are hard. As a skint single parent I can relate to everyone that I speak to.

Keep safe, we’ll be back next week as usual.

 

 

£213 a month to live on, and also have to top up rent payments with that. People are struggling to survive on universal credit.

Dear readers, today was grim and the weather didn’t help anyone, let alone the people forced to use the Jobcentre. Yet again we encountered numerous people with all sorts of problems ranging from universal credit, ESA and PIP, housing problems etc.

We handed out all of our food parcels, most were taken by single parents with children and working families. They rely on foodbanks to survive, it really shouldn’t be like this.

Thanks to Gordon for joining me and also Jack. Your help is invaluable and it’s appreciated by everyone.

As usual I won’t divulge the names of anyone that I spoke to this morning. The DWP snoop everywhere and I don’t want anyone that I spoke to being targeted by the DWP. This does happen, but not on my blog. I value everyone that I speak to unlike the DWP.

 

John walked out of the Jobcentre clutching the usual list of phone numbers that they hand out to everyone. I handed him a leaflet and asked him if he needed any help. John told me that he was ok, but thats only because he’s living with a relative that can feed and look after him whilst he’s waiting for his universal credit claim to be processed, saying that the alternative is to horrible to think about.

 

I then spoke to Gemma. Gemma has struggled almost all of her life, she’s 19 years old and to be honest isn’t enjoying anything about her life at the moment. In her short lifetime she’s been homeless twice and has been rehoused not long ago.

Gemma is claiming universal credit and is finding it almost impossible to manage. She receives in total £513 a month total to live on after paying her rent payment. Out of this she has to pay back her rent arrears that she keeps accruing because she’s finding it hard to pay her full rent. She also got into rent arrears whilst she was waiting for her universal credit claim to be processed, “What are you supposed to do, just pay your rent with the loan that they give you? It was impossible for me to pay my full rent because I needed food to eat, and gas and electric to buy. I’ve got no one to borrow money from, and that’d have to be paid back as well.

To make the situation worse Gemma also has to repay her universal credit loan back at £100 a month. There’s absolutely no regulation concerning the repayment of loan debts. No set amounts that people have to pay back, sometimes I think that they pick a number out of thin air and decide thats how much they should pay back. It’s ludicrous

Basically after all of her above debts are paid back Gemmas left with £213 a month to survive on. She’s got to buy gas, electric, food and transport costs. She’s a broken woman at 19 years old. Huddled up in the cold, Gemma muttered “It’s almost as if they’re trying to destroy me. I’m 19 years old and I’m worn out because of the stress and worry. There’s a good chance that I’ll become homeless again, and I’m doing my best. Universal credit is destroying me. They look at me (DWP staff) as if I’m stupid, like I’m something on the bottom of their shoe. They don’t want to help me”

Gemmas 19 years old, at the start of her life and should be enjoying life. Instead she’s worn out, depressed and feels like giving up. This, my friends is what universal credit does to people. It eats you up, totally consumes you until eventually you give up. That’s exactly what its designed to do.

 

Sarah is a single parent and is also having a difficult time. She’s claiming universal credit and to say she’s struggling is an understatement. Here’s her story.

Sarah was instructed to attend an appointment, which she was ready to do but unfortunately one of her parents suddenly fell ill and was rushed into hospital by ambulance. Sarah was with her relative when this happened and from the ambulance she telephoned the DWP to try and rearrange her appointment. The person that she spoke to said that this wouldn’t be a problem, and they’d phone her later with another appointment.

Only the DWP phoned the wrong number. Not the one that’s registered online, an old number that isn’t used anymore, and Sarah had already informed them about this.

Sarah also couldn’t remember her 16 pin log in details. How on earth is anyone supposed to remember this, its impossible. Even if people write it down its easy for it to get lost. If they put it in their mobile phone (if they have one) and the phone breaks, then the numbers missing.

Sarah phoned the DWP to tell them that she’d forgotten her PIN number. The DWP then told her that she had to go online to get the number. Sarah couldn’t access her online account because she didn’t have her pin. Basically they gave her an impossible task to complete.

Upon attending her next DWP appointment she was told that the DWP were deducting her universal credit payment by £200 but don’t worry, we’ll give you a LOAN for £150 that you have to pay back. Are the DWP getting their ideas from illegal money lenders or something? This is atrocious.

Basically Sarah was fined £200 for missing a phone call that she never received because they phoned the wrong number, and for loosing her PIN number. You really couldn’t make this shit up could you.

Sarah is also in rent arrears now because she was unable to pay her full rent because she was sanctioned. She now has to top up her rent payments and repay two DWP loans back.

Don’t forget Sarah is a single parent with a very young child, she didn’t have any food in her cupboards and didn’t know what to do. Luckily I gave her a food parcel and advised her on what to do. Hopefully she will access local services and she will appeal her sanction.

It’s despicable that people are treated in this manner, not only are the parents suffering but their children are too. The DWP just don’t care. It’s no coincidence that more and more children are being put into the care system is it. Many parents can no longer provide food, heating, clothing etc for their children and it’s not their fault. The blame lies purely at the governments feet.

 

I asked an older man how was he coping with universal credit. He looked at me and said ‘Just about. Now I’ve got to pay my council tax”

 

I spoke to a young woman working a zero hour contract at a local cake factory. When she started her job she was told that if she worked hard she might get a contracted job. She worked hard but never got the contract. Now she has no job security at all.

 

Gordon spoke to an older woman aged 62 who’s claiming universal credit, she’s struggling but then again nearly everyone claiming universal credit are aren’t they.

 

We then had a conversation Brian with an older man, he claims ESA and was told to phone an 0845 number recently. He wasn’t very clear about why he was told to phone this number up. He’s confused because the system is extremely confusing.

Brian has a contract phone and his phone bill per monthly is £15 a month. Brian tried phoning this number numerous times, each time he was placed on hold for great lengths of time. When he received his bill it was £54.

Of course he was angry, he shouldn’t have cost him  this much, all calls to the DWP should be free, but many still aren’t.

Brian was angry, frustrated and echoed concerns for those without a mobile phone contract saying ‘How the hell are they going to pay that? They’ll never get any help if they don’t have a phone will they’ He realises the systems rotten, and wondered why the government are allowed to do this ‘It’s criminal’ he said, and he’s not wrong.

 

Jack, a local councillor  represented a claimant whilst they had an appointment, this helps a great deal and I can’t recommend this enough. More should do this if they’re able to.

 

We left todays demo cold and a bit downhearted, but knowing that we’ve helped people makes everything worthwhile.

 

Please read, share and tweet my blog, also subscribe to it, it’ll save you from having to look for it every week.

There’s also a donate button at the top of this blog and at the side. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people, through my blog I’ve managed to reach thousands upon thousands of people. As a result of this and other campaigns, more and more people are aware of the cruelty of universal credit and the heartless state of our government.

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No money, no food, no heating. Stop complaining, take yourself off universal credit states DWP advisor.

Dear readers, it’s Thursday again, the weeks seem to fly by don’t they. It’s easy to forget that in the midst of the Brexit confusion that people are still suffering due to universal credit, ESA and PIP failed medicals and austerity measures in general. It’s extremely cold as well which isn’t helping anyone that I’ve spoken to either. A cold home is awful, it makes you feel like giving up altogether doesn’t it. Please check on friends and neighbours to see if they’re ok.

 

A bit of self promotion here, but I’ve recently had a few television appearances, those being The Victoria Derbyshire programme on Tuesday, RT News the week before and Sky News tomorrow morning. Some might criticise me for doing these interviews, but it’s important to get the news out there. People need to know exactly how bad it is don’t they.  By the way I don’t get paid for any of this either.

 

Today was cold, below zero and we had to leave half an hour early because of this. Self care is very important as I learnt in August when I was hospitalised, and I apologise for leaving early.

I’ll use pseudo names as usual, it was very busy today and we spoke to lots of people, handed out much needed food parcels and helped lots of people. Everyone that required help was given help, no one was left without it.

Cathy is a single parent with a young child, she claims universal credit and started a new job a few months ago. She was happy because she thought that it would be a way out of poverty. She’s since learnt that it doesn’t.

Cathy was given a different tax code, and as a result most of her wages were taken away by her huge tax bill every month. Her employer took pity on her and gave her an advance of her wages because she needed to eat, pay childcare and suchlike. Because the universal credit system saw this as being two wages in one month, they stopped her universal credit top up payments. She’s shown them all of the evidence that would rectify this but the DWP are at the moment refusing to change their minds.

So payslips, evidence from the tax office, proof from her employer have all been refused. They refuse to budge on this, they refuse to even look at the evidence.

Cathy has now had her tax code changed, but she won’t see the benefit of this until next month. The advance payment that was given to her had to be paid back out of her wages. She’s now left with £101 for the month to live on, remember she also has a small child, has to feed and clothe her child, get to and from work and keep her home warm.

I referred Cathy to our local MPs office, I’m sure that they will help her to rectify this but the plain refusal of the DWP to even look at her evidence is clearly wrong and is also extremely bad practice. Do they care? Not one bit, they don’t care if they both become hungry, homeless and suchlike. Everyone should be horrified by their attitude towards claimants.

Ben stopped me outside the Jobcentre, he asked me if I’d watch his bicycle for him whilst he attended his appointment, he can’t afford a lock for his bike. Of course I said yes, we do this a lot and have most likely prevented a fair few bikes from being stolen.

Ben told me that he was sick and tired of universal credit, he’s having a tough time and even after budgeting he can’t manage. Advance loans have to be paid back, rent and other debts have to be paid and it’s leaving him unable to support himself.

I handed him a leaflet and he told me that he doesn’t receive his next payment until the 9th of February, he’s got no food and no money to buy any either. He told me that he’d asked for a budgeting loan but had been refused. Basically tough, we’re not going to help you even though we got you into this mess in the first place.

As I handed him a food parcel, he couldn’t believe that a stranger would help him, care for him and listen to his plight, you see you don’t normally associate kindness with the Jobcentre. I pointed out to him that this is the very reason why we stand outside and why we aren’t allowed in on Thursdays even of someone needs our help. He couldn’t thank us enough.

It was then that I spotted Janet walking out of the Jobcentre. She looked both upset and annoyed, so I handed her a leaflet and asked her if I could help her. She told me that she didn’t need it because she was going to have to stop her claim for universal credit. I asked her why and she replied that her advisor had advised her to.

As you can imagine I was rather surprised at this because she hadn’t found a job, she was struggling to live on £250 a month to feed both herself and her children, so I asked her a few more questions.

Janet had attended her appointment and had told her advisor that she was struggling to survive on such a low amount of money, she also told them that she had worked all her life but had suffered a nervous breakdown after the death of a family member, Her doctor advised her to stop work and to rest, only the DWP appear to know better than a qualified medical practitioner.

The response from her advisor was staggeringly awful. If you don’t like it, stop claiming universal credit and survive without it. She had almost literally taken this advice literally, the stress of universal credit is crippling her she told me, and she can’t afford to eat on a regular basis. Their answer was basically tough, we don’t care and we aren’t going to help you either.

I spoke to an older man who had worked as a chef for around forty years. Due to ill health and disability he had to stop working and made a claim for universal credit. Since making his claim he’s struggled, he hasn’t a clue how to use a computer and can’t keep up with the demands that the DWP make of him.

I advised him as best as I could and he walked away with a bit more hope than he arrived with, he told me that universal credit should be scrapped because its awful and people like him just can’t navigate the system.

I then met Bill. Bill is 62 years old, has several health problems and is disabled as a result. He was claiming ESA but had failed his medical assessment so was now appealing this with the help of a local MP.

Luckily Bill has a good friend that can take him to the Jobcentre for his appointments, put him in touch with his MP and basically help him fight his corner. He realises that he’s lucky in this respect because thousands of people don’t have any type of support network at all and are left without any help.

I’m positive that Bill will be receiving good advice from his MP, but he really shouldn’t have to go through this should he.

The DWP have a remit from the government that they must fulfil, that remit being to get people off benefits by any means possible. Today’s conversations definitely show evidence of this.

Remember the DWP machine has no compassion towards anyone, it fails to recognise a persons individual requirements and needs.

Universal credit is designed to fail everyone, and to make claiming a benefit so hard that it prevents you from claiming in the first place. Remember this.

A massive thanks to everyone that reads and shares my blog.

Also a massive thank you to everyone that also support my blog. I’m a skint single parent trying my best to help people that are forced into an in tolerable situation. There’s a donate button at the top and side of my blog. Thank you!

No wonder people commit suicide.

Sounds a bit extreme doesn’t it, speaking from years of experience of helping people tackle the inhumane DWP system I have to agree.

Today was a day fraught with frustrations, helping upset, angry people barely surviving, seeking food from foodbanks that’s if they can find one or if they can find one that’s open. This morning highlighted just how fragile we all are when placed in this situation.

When you make a claim for universal credit you still have to wait at least five weeks. Yes you can get a loan, but from speaking to people many of them use this to pay some of their rent arrears off and to buy gas and electric. Food is lower down on the list because they’re scared. Scared of loosing their home, scared of what’s round the corner

I don’t want any medals for what I do, but I do wish that others would replicate what we do because its important to get out there, to help and to also protest against the very need for our being there. Saturday demos whilst good for raising awareness just don’t cut it when it comes to helping people.

Sorry for the rant, and I do appreciate everything that everyone does online, online activism is essential but for those that are able to join us or start a new group then please do.

 

Today was extremely hectic for lots of different reasons. The food parcels went straight away, we could have given more out. It’s cold and people are trying to stay warm so there’s less money to spend on food, that is if they have any money in the first place.

 

After handing out the food parcels I had a chat with a man who’s heavily in debt with Brighthouse. Companies like these are the scourge of our society, praying on the poorest because they don’t have the money to pay for a fridge etc brand new or second hand.

After having dealings with Brighthouse myself I can attest that their so called bailiffs (they aren’t bailiffs but they act as if they are) can be a tad scary and intimidating. We need to put more regulations on these companies and make it impossible to exploit the poor.

Because he had paid his Brighthouse bill he didn’t have enough money for food. I advised him of what he should do etc. At least he’ll eat now.

 

Today was also blighted by people having problems with their sixteen digit Universal credit log on details. Everyone is expected to remember this, many people either forget it or loose the piece of paper that they’ve wrote it on.

If they don’t log on they’ll get sanctioned. Combine this with many of these people being new claims for universal credit and they don’t know their way around the system let alone remember this. Basically if they don’t have a sympathetic advisor then they’ll get sanctioned. A decent advisor will tell them what their code is, many don’t though.

 

I spoke to Jane, she’s just made a claim for universal credit and is in the process of waiting for her first payment. She’s got at least four weeks to wait. Jane has a baby and has got a job but she needs to pay her childcare fees upfront,

Jane doesn’t have any money, if she doesn’t go to work she’ll be sanctioned so she’s at the mercy of her childcare provider and hoping that they can be sympathetic.

When she does receive her first payment then she’ll also struggle to receive her childcare payments. Not one person that Ive spoken to regarding this has ever received their childcare payments on time if at all. It takes constant phone calls and visits to the Jobcentre to rectify this. Then they have to repeat this a few weeks later.

To say that universal credit helps people is obscene. it drives people like Jane into even more poverty.

 

I was stopped by a man that appeared to be very agitated and upset, I’ll call him John.

John hates the Jobcentre, he doesn’t understand how the system works and he’s struggling.

John has been told that he has to attend the work programme twice a week, and because hes having to pay the debt for the loan that he had to take put whilst waiting for his universal credit payment to go through, hes skint.

John told myself and others of the struggle that he has walking to his work programme appointments. He’s frustrated because they don’t help him there. John needs proper support and understanding. Not someone that’s only supposedly helping him because there’s a financial incentive to do so.

Johns worn out both physically and mentally. He shouted that its no wonder that people commit suicide because THAT place drives them to it, and he knows because hes been close to it himself.

According to John the Jobcentre is a “f*****G joke. They don’t want to help you, no one does. They just leave you to cope and I wish that they’d leave me alone, its given me high blood pressure and I’ve never had that before”.

We all spent a lot of our time talking to him, giving him hope and showing support. We also signposted him to local organisations that can provide him with some support. I really hope that John is ok because I’m worried about him.

 

I handed a leaflet to a man, and as I did he said “ I don’t know how they expect me to live on this money. I don’t have enough to survive, are they trying to kill us?”

They aren’t officially but we know that the governments pernicious policies do indeed kill people.

 

A woman walked past muttering racist comments. She honestly thought that so called immigrants receive vast amounts of money whilst she lives on a pittance. I corrected her, but I’ve  noted that the amount of racist comments have increased of late. a sad indictment of the British press, media and of course the Tory government.

 

 

I then spoke to Val. Val is a carer for her son aged sixteen who has epilepsy. Val is ill herself and had to end her employment because of her ill health.

Val now clams universal credit and she’s distraught by her situation. After she’s paid her universal credit loan, her rent top up, her gas and electricity she’s got no money left for food. She’s tried reducing the loan repayments but she was refused.

Remember Val is ill and her son is disabled.

Val spends her days visiting foodbanks and trying to survive, she told me of her humiliation of having to ask for food, for being in this situation, for being in debt. She’s always worked and never thought that she would be in this situation.

Like Ive said before, this can happen to anyone, and I mean anyone. I helped and advised her, I became a friend to her and I hope that it made a difference.

 

I spoke to an older woman and I informed her of the WASPI campaign and told her that she’s not alone. She wasn’t aware of it so I like to let women know about the campaign.

 

We spoke to a man, he’s just been discharged from his mental health team after having a terrible time. Now he’s left to claim universal credit because he had to finish work due to his ill health.

We had a lovely chat with him and told him that we are there every week to help people. I also signposted him to a local organisation that will be able to help him.

 

This all happened in less than two hours. The food parcels went straight away, we helped everyone that we spoke to, we signposted those that required signposting and we gave people hope when they had none. It’s what we do.

 

Many thanks to everyone that joined us today you’re all amazing and I do appreciate it.

Thanks to all my blog readers for keeping me going, for supporting me and each other via the comments section. Also a huge thanks to everyone that has supported the blog and has shared my blog. Despite what others might like to say we do make a difference,

 

Please read share and rt my blog. There’s also a donate button for anyone wanting to donate. I do this on a small income and every penny helps. Thank you!

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Single parent, zero hour contract. Two wages in one month, universal credit stopped. Forced to go without any payments for at least ten weeks.

Dear readers, I’ll be blatantly honest with you. Today was awful, really difficult and wasn’t helped by a person insisting that universal credit is the best thing ever.

The conversation went on for about fifteen minutes and took me away from helping people.

It’s not hard to find evidence to prove that universal credit doesn’t help people  is it. It’s been plastered all over the newspapers these past few weeks. Anyway at least I wasn’t spat at this time. And  we know how much that people are suffering because we see it, we live it.

Anyway today was freezing cold and I can’t thank Roy, Pat and Ron for coming along to help. Also to a facebook friend that joined us for a while. I really do appreciate this.

 

Today was hard for many reasons, I did my best but I’m not a miracle worker. We handed out our usual food parcels, helped and advised people, signposted them and contacted my local mp, and put other people in touch with their mps. I’m extremely lucky that I can do this because I know that many can’t.

Anyway, I’ll list todays conversations. I won’t divulge any real names either, I never do because the DWP like to snoop.

 

Almost as soon as the food parcels arrived they disappeared. This is a regular occurrence sadly, An older man shuffled out of the Jobcentre obviously struggling to walk. Do the DWP care? Not a bit but you already know that don’t you.

I had a brief conversation with a man, he was visibly frustrated. He stopped to tell me that he thinks that the DWP are the most uncooperative lot that he’s ever had dealings with, ‘They just don’t care, they make me feel like shit”.

 

I spoke to a homeless man, he’s taken up the offer of a bed for the night scheme running here in Greater Manchester. He’s thankful that he’s got a bed for the night, but he has to move between two places ever week. He’s also concerned that when the scheme ends in March that he’ll just be put back onto the streets with no support. This does need clarifying.

Because he’s homeless and spends the most of his time wandering around he gets cold so he applied for a loan from the DWP. He was successful with his request and accepted £200 of the £350 offered.

It doesn’t end there though, after kitting himself out with footwear and thermals etc he ran out of money so he asked the DWP if he could have the extra £150 that they’d offered.

The answer was a loud NO, so now he’s forced to ask local charities for help. The DWP really are a heartless lot.

 

I spoke to a woman that had been refused her rent payment because she was in receipt of ESA. She’d been told that she had to transfer herself over to universal credit by a representative of the local council. Of course this is extremely bad advice, the DWP will contact her when she’s being transferred over and she’s still entitled to her rent. I signposted her to my local MPs office.

 

I then met ‘Debbie’. Debbie is a single parent with young baby. Her story is an example of how universal credit doesn’t help people at all, instead it plunges people into poverty.

Debbie is claiming universal credit and she was told by her advisor that she had to accept a zero hour contract job. Just how they expect a lone parent or anyone to be honest to survive on a combination of both universal credit and a zero hour contract is beyond me. They’re totally incompatible.

Because Debbie had two wages in December due to the way that the month worked out, she had her universal credit payments stopped. She no longer would receive universal credit and she would have to apply for it again.

I’ve wrote about this before and this is pretty standard behaviour from the DWP, you might have seen the recent court case concerning this in the news. Three single parents like Debbie took the DWP to court concerning this matter and they won, of course the DWP are appealing and it might not become legislation for many months if ever.

Debbie has been forced to go without any universal credit payments since December, she’s reapplied but she will go without any top up payments for around ten weeks, if she’s lucky it might be a couple of weeks less.

Did I mention that she’s also been without work for a while because its a zero hour contract and they haven’t contacted her?

If she leaves the job they’ll sanction her so she’s trapped. Not only is she trapped but her young baby is too. Debbie told me that her two friends are in the same position and are all surviving on food banks for food.

Debbie is also living in extreme fuel poverty also. She can only turn the heating on for half a hour in the morning, the same at around midday and just before bedtime. Remember its freezing cold at the moment. It won’t be long before their health is affected by this, before their home becomes damp, before they can’t take anymore.

Welcome to universal credit, the system that actively punishes people for trying their best and drags people into the pits of poverty. How on earth do they expect people like Debbie to survive is beyond me. Needless to say Amber Rudd is in complete denial about this and reckons that only a few people are adversely affected by universal credit. Amber needs to meet Debbie and her friends, in fact I challenge Amber Rudd to stand with me outside the Jobcentre for at least two hours to get a dose of reality.

I’m also aware that she realises that universal credit isn’t working and Rudd doesn’t give a stuff.

 

 

It wasn’t much longer when I had a conversation with ‘Fran’. Fran is a single parent of three children, two of which are young adults but they still live with her and cost her money,

Fran is now in receipt of her third universal credit payment and to say that she’s struggling is an understatement. After paying her bills, rent etc she’s left with £300 a month to survive on, to break this down that’s £50 a week, less than that in a five week month.

Fran has to feed herself, her youngest child and also her older children out of this because they’re also skint.

Fran has to put £10 on her electric meter every two days because it runs out quickly. She cant afford to keep doing this so she mostly sits in the cold when she’s home.

Why should anyone be forced to live like this? She’s doing her best to find work but she cant find a suitable job. It’s obscene that in a country as rich as ours people are literally starving and dying from hypothermia. Don’t believe me? Read a newspaper or use Google. It’s happening and happening to lots of people.

I’m certain that both the media and officials underestimate the harmful effects that universal credit has upon women and their children. Even if we stopped universal credit now, they will still be paying a price for this cruelty for generations to come.

No one forgets living in poverty, being hungry. It can and does make people ill, children and their parents become malnourished, and often homeless.

The price upon their well-being will be massive and this will have to be addressed by future governments as a matter of urgency.

 

 

I advised an older man who’s in obvious ill heath about his upcoming universal credit medical. These medicals are exactly the same as the ESA ones, Ive taken a few people to these so called medicals. I wished him luck, he told me that he was thankful that someone cared about him.

 

I then spoke to a ‘Dennis’. Dennis is claiming ESA, but he had been told by someone from my local authority that he had to end his claim for ESA and apply for universal credit.

Remember this is the second time today that I’ve heard this.

Dennis hasn’t received a letter from the DWP either. The DWP move people over not the local council.

I immediately telephoned my local MPs office and they spoke to him straight away, they also advised him I’m so lucky that I can do this.

Dennis doesn’t have a mobile phone either so I used my telephone to help him. Not everyone has a mobile phone, remember you need money to buy one and money to top one up. I hope that Dennis rectifies this soon, I’m pretty confident that he will.

I’ll also be tackling this problem also, someone obviously needs some more training.

 

It also appears that quite a few disabled people using mobility scooters were asked to attend the Jobcentre. The DWP won’t leave them alone will they because the DWP likes to persecute anyone with a disability. Shame on them.

 

 

It was then that I spoke to a 63 year old man. He’s been told to finish work due to ill health and to claim his pension early’

He went into the Jobcentre for advice, they didn’t have a clue as to what he should do, but gave him a phone number to contact another department.

I also advised him to contact his local MPs office which he did and they told him what to do, and how to do it. He was very thankful because like he said he really didn’t know what he should do.

 

This is a brief summary of today’s conversations, we did speak to more people, we helped lots of people. If we hadn’t have been there then they wouldn’t have had any hope, they wouldn’t have known what to do and I’m proud that we showed them compassion and support.

 

 

It’s also become very clear that more and more older people, many of whom used to be of retirement age are being targeted by the DWP. Indeed, if someone of a pensionable age  lives with or marries someone of a working age then under universal credit they aren’t allowed to receive their pension anymore, they have to move onto universal credit.

We’ve already been seeing this happen in Ashton Under Lyne for quite a while.

Not only is this cruel, it will have a detrimental affect upon their health and well-being. Universal credit hardly provides enough money to exist on and these couples will be faced with neing £7,000 worse of a year. Mark my words this will result in extreme poverty and the death of some of our older generation and the DWP will have more blood on their hands.

Didn’t I say years ago that they’d come after the pensioners? I remember being laughed at every time that I said this. Those laughing won’t be laughing now will they.

 

It’s been a bad week for universal credit claimants, and it will continue to become much worse. We need to raise as much awareness about the reality of universal credit as you can. Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

If you have an awful MP attend their surgeries, contact them because even if they don’t listen or refuse to act then keep reminding them because they have to record it.

 

 

There’s a donate button for anyone that would like to donate. Every penny really does count.

Many thanks to all of my readers and to everyone that has supported my blog. Thank you so much, you keep me going when I’m having a bad day.

 

 

 

 

 

British Gas have taken my last £5 from me, I don’t know what to do. Universal credit, eating and keeping a home warm is an impossible task at times.

Today’s weather is bitterly cold, we are in the  -0s here, yet we have more and more people unable to heat or eat or do either. This isn’t going to get better anytime soon either. Summer comes as a blessed relief, and disappears far too quickly.

We were very short on numbers today, and the cold didn’t help. Regardless we plodded on. It’s not about us, its about everyone suffering under this cruel regime.

Today was quiet again, even so the food parcels were taken almost straight away. They always are and the need for them is increasing daily.

Whilst I wish all my readers a happy new year and hope that all of your life’s will be much better this coming year, I didn’t celebrate it much. I’ve got no reason to really. This year will see at least another 3 million people transferred over to universal credit. Many of these people will be disabled and self employed, all to be punished by a system that hates them. So excuse me for not celebrating, I’m preparing for battle instead.

 

Like Ive already said, it was quiet today, people were cold and there was a lot of rushing in and out of the Jobcentre, people desperately trying to keep their master (the DWP) happy, afterall the DWP more or less controls everything that we do and they aren’t shy about this fact either. It’s awful, and it’s been allowed to happen.

 

I spoke to a fella who has just been re housed into a place of his own. He’s happy about this, after all he can in theory start to rebuild his life now. This is in theory though, because he’s had problems with the smart meter that was already installed in his flat, an old tenants debt on the metre, and British Gas’s reluctance to help a chap who really hasn’t got anything.

He is in the process of sorting this out, and they are issuing him with a new smart metre, however this doesn’t help him now does it. Today he put his last £5 on the smart metre that he has and it ate it up in a very short time.

I did mention that it’s cold didn’t I. It’s freezing.

So now he’s having to find money to heat his flat, he cant afford food as well. So we gave him a food parcel to tide him over. I wanted a magic wand to make it all better for him, but I don’t have one.

Think about this though folks. Being cold isn’t just relegated to street homeless people. Thousands of people are just as cold whilst living in homes. As a result their homes become damp, and they become ill as a result of being poor.

Just because someone’s got a home doesn’t mean that they aren’t suffering, they are. They are suffering in so many different ways like shown in the film I, Daniel Blake which is incidentally being shown on BBC2 on Saturday the 5th of January. It isn’t a feel good film, and I hope that it spurs more into campaigning against universal credit like I do, or it encourages people who are able to help others more.

 

I spoke to a young family with a newborn baby and another young child. They didn’t realise that her maternity allowance is classed as an income when you’re claiming universal credit. No one told them of this before she had the baby, so they took her maternity allowance off her final universal credit payment.

This has understandably forced them into a very bad position financially, but they told me that they’re just coping. To make it worse because the local registry office is so busy, they cant register their baby’s birth until the end of this month, therefore aren’t able to claim any monies for the baby.

This system is rancid, it eats away at everything that a person has. It often takes away a persons sanity and their ability to feed themselves. And yet there’s been little opposition politically from this being extended to a further 3 million people this year.

There has however been lots of opposition from campaigners like myself, we know what’s coming, we know its going to be terrible but it feels at times like we’re banging our heads against a brick wall.

 

Highlight of the morning, a man that we help on a regular basis won £6 on a scratch card. Good on him.

Dislike of the morning, an older woman saying that the countries in this mess because of ‘foreigners’. We know that this isn’t true, and it sickens me to know that far too many people believe this.

 

Dislike number two, seeing an older woman crying because the DWP have accused her of claiming money fraudulently when she most definitely hasn’t been. The DWP now want her to repay this money, the money that she claimed legally. I do hope that she pursues this, we have encouraged her to.

Seeing  a person cry like this is heartbreaking and it never, ever gets easier.

This morning before I set off for the demo, I saw this posted on Facebook by my friend I’majsaclaimant. This is what can happen when you feel that your world is collapsing around you, when you believe that life isn’t worth living anymore.

This is what sanctioning people does to people, and the DWP won’t  give a toss, nor will the government. My thoughts and prayers go to this woman’s family and to everyone else that have been affected like this.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE.

Due to a “computer glitch” some people who were due to be paid their ESA next week have received half of it this week.
This has led to a lot of upset and confusion as people have been thinking their payments have been stopped and that was a final payment.
It’s not. They’ll receive the other half on their normal day next week.
They’ve now put an announcement on the ESA phone line before all the options you have to press.
So if anyone is worried, there’s no reason to be.

 

 

 

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog thank you!

Many thanks to everyone that supports my blog and the campaign it means the world.

I’ll  be back again next week, whatever the weather.

There’s a donation button at the top of the page and to the side if anyone would like to donate. Thank you!

We need to do more.

Dear readers,  I haven’t mentioned Christmas because I know how hard this time of year can be. Not everyone has a family that cares, and many of us can’t afford to buy food let alone presents. But I do wish you all a happy new year, and a better new year. God knows this year has been bad enough, but next year will potentially even harder.

 

We did an hour outside the Jobcentre this morning, but it was quiet. I’ve found that the DWP like to give appointments, sanctions etc before Christmas to leave people without money over the Christmas period, its the DWPs way of saying merry Christmas.

It was quiet today, people rushing in and out not wanting to speak. For the above reasons there wasn’t a lot of people to speak to. Those that were there dashed past muttering words such as ‘They are horrid in there, Its a load of crap and suchlike.

I thought that I’d post a newspaper article that I wrote and was published last Saturday. I don’t get paid for this but its good for the campaign.

Anyway, here it is I hope that you like it.

 

So five years ago myself and others decided to fight back. I couldn’t just sit back and allow this to happen, and five years later myself and the team are still outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre helping people, advising them, signposting and feeding them.  

The awful fact is that more people are interested in what Jeremy Corbyn did or didn’t say rather than the real news that’s right in front of them. 

People are dying. A further three million people will be forced into poverty next year due to the further roll out of universal credit. To be realistic I feel that number is underestimated. 

Even more children will be forced to go hungry, their parents will be even hungrier. What sort of society do we live in that allows this?

Homelessness will increase drastically due to the long wait for a universal credit payment to be processed. Many landlords don’t want anyone claiming any type of benefit to live in their properties, so in the absence of decent amounts of social housing being built, most homeless people will remain homeless for the foreseeable future. 

Thousands of self employed people will be forced out of their positions because its almost impossible to  fill the government’s impossible remit for self employment under universal credit. This will have a devastating effect upon local communities. This has also been underestimated. 

More and more disabled people will be persecuted by the government, be made to go hungry and not able to access the care that they desperately need. Many will become homeless as a result of being transferred to universal credit. 

We need to continue to fight against this cruel government and to be honest we need to stop being so nice about it, after all they aren’t showing any compassion towards those most in need, and they aren’t listening to polite requests to stop either. 

I spoke to lots of people today, none of whom couldn’t afford food over Christmas. We handed them food parcels which will tide them over until next week.

I had a conversation with a young working single parent. She says that her life has been destroyed by universal credit.

She took a loan out from the DWP to tide herself and her young child over until her claim was processed. She now has to pay this loan back at the cost of £150 a month.

After paying all of her bills off she’s left with £90 a month for her and her son to live off. This meagre amount is supposed to feed them both for a month. Could you manage on this small amount? It’s impossible, so she’s now reliant upon food banks to literally keep them both alive.

I helped and advised her and handed her a food parcel. I wish that I could do more but I can’t.

This is a damning indictment of the way the government regards working class people of this country. Combine this with the possible effects of Brexit, we could well see more poverty than has ever been seen in modern times. 

We need to do more, we all need to do more, both for our future and our grandchildren’s futures. If we don’t the future will look very bleak indeed. 

 

Many thanks to members of the team that came out today to help. I really do appreciate this, thank you so much.

Massive thanks to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog. Thank you!

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog. This is very important and I can’t stress how important it is to get the word out there.

Today we released doves and laid a wreath in memory of everyone that has died as a result of the government’s war against the poor and disabled.

Dear readers as many of you will know we have a special Christmas memorial service outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre every year.

We do this in memory of every person who have died as a result of the government’s heartless treatment of the poor and disabled. I call it a war against the poor because that’s exactly what it is.

Of course the government have taken away many of the means that people can fight back in the way if appeals etc. Legal aid is almost non existant and organisations that help people have had their funding cut to the bare minimum.

Be aware that this is all done purposely. The government regards us as a burden, not worthy of any help. In fact not worthy of anything.

So five years ago myself and others decided to fight back. I personally know people that have committed suicide because of the government’s cruel regime as have others. I felt that I needed to take a stand so here I am five years later.

The awful fact is that more people are committing suicide than ever before, more people are forced to live in extreme poverty than has been known in modern times, but still all the press are interested in is what Jeremy Corbyn did or didn’t say.

People are dying. A further three million people will be forced into poverty next year due to the further roll out of universal credit. Myself I feel that number is quite low.

Even more children will be forced to go hungry, their parents will be even hungrier. Homelessness will increase drastically due to the long wait for a universal credit payment to be processed and landlords not wanting anyone claiming any type of benefit to live in their properties.

Many self employed people will be forced out of self employment because they don’t fill the government’s impossible remit for self employment under universal credit.

More and more disabled people will be persecuted by the government, be made to go hungry and not able to access the care that they desperately need.

We need to continue to fight against this cruel government and to be honest we need to stop being so nice about it.

Remember this could happen to you and the safety net that you were relying on to catch you is no longer there.

I spoke to lots of people today, none of whom could afford food over Christmas. We handed them food parcels which will tide them over until next week.

I had a conversation with a young working single parent. She says that her life has been destroyed by universal credit.

She took a loan out from the DWP to tide herself and her young child over until her claim was processed. She now has to pay this loan back at the cost of £150 a month.

After paying all of her bills off she’s left with £90 a month for her and her son to live off. To buy food etc.

Could you manage on this small amount? It’s impossible, so she’s now reliant upon food banks to literally keep them both alive.

I helped and advised her and handed her a food parcel. I wish that I could do more but I can’t.

Here’s some photos and some footage of us releasing doves in memory of everyone that have died due to the government’s heartless treatment of the poor and disabled.

Theres also footage of our appropriate Christmas carols from the Glossop branch of unite Community.

Thank you to everyone for coming along today, I’m very emotional now so I’ll leave it here. Thank you for reading and sharing my blog.

Also many thanks to everyone that supports my blog and campaign.

They’ve stopped my money I don’t know what to do. Universal credit strikes again.

It’s supposed to be the festive season isn’t it? The time of year when we’re all expected to drop everything, forget all of our problems and celebrate Christmas.

Christmas won’t be coming to thousands of people throughout the country though will it. Presents won’t be bought, toys won’t be wrapped, food won’t be bought, homes won’t be heated and time won’t be spent with family.

For those that reckon that I’m exaggerating then think again because I’m not. This is the cold, hard reality of life whilst claiming universal credit. The DWP shows absolutely no sympathy, the government even less so. They’ve got hearts made out of  stone.

Whilst I’m writing this blog someone thats working and claiming Universal credit will come to the stark realisation that because their employer has been kind and paid them early for Christmas, they won’t be receiving a universal Credit top up payment in January.. Why? Because universal credit doesn’t take into account a four week month or an employer simply being kind.

 

Today’s weather echoed the atmosphere emanating from the DWP, it was freezing cold much like their souls, although I often wonder if they have one but that’s another subject. The cold weather did nothing to encourage people, and yes this does matter a lot.

 

As I approached the Jobcentre I was approached by a woman who I speak to regularly. Despite being skint she told me that she was doing well in her efforts to get better, it was nice seeing her smile.

 

We then took the food parcels out of the car. All five of them didn’t have chance to touch the ground. They were taken straight away and I offered some chocolate out that had been donated to me from a friend.

To be honest the food parcels went at a record speed which shocked me even though I shouldn’t be shocked. This happens a lot, too often and it shouldn’t be happening

 

A man that’s receiving help from the law centre in Manchester stopped me to tell me about his latest bad treatment from the DWP.

He claims universal credit and had been told by the DWP that he has to transfer over to the new system for his universal credit claim. H did just that, provided all of his ID etc and reckoned that he’d be ok.

He thought wrong, and he was told that it’d take five weeks to process…. Remember he’s already claiming universal credit and therefore shouldn’t have to go without money for five weeks. Not happy with this he visited our local citizens advice center. Luckily they managed to sort it out and he’ll now receive a payment in two weeks.

Complete madness. No Christmas for him, absolutely nothing to look forward to. His claim should have automatically transferred over but it didn’t. Someone or something decided that his claim would be different. Universal credit doesn’t work and this is a perfect example of why it doesn’t.

 

I briefly spoke to a gent and I offered him a leaflet. He told me that he had thought that being on universal credit would be a short term thing only it hasn’t been and he’s fed up. Totally understandable.

 

I spoke to a woman that told me that she won be getting her first universal credit payment until next week. Out of that shes got to pay all of her bills etc and she reckons that she’ll be left with nothing.

If this carries on we’ll look back at Christmas and believe that its only for rich people, for people with money much like a private club. I despise the government for this.

 

Ii spoke to a woman that had failed her PIP assessment so had started the appeal process.

 

I then walked over to a young chap who was desperately trying to get through to the DWP on the phone. Yes he was stood outside the Jobcentre doing this because they no longer have telephones that claimants can use, nor do they make telephone calls on behalf of a claimant.

He was frustrated and understandably so, despite having no money he was forced to listen to that flaming Vivaldi music.

His story is this. He went through a relationship breakdown and had found himself homeless. Luckily he’s got a bed ever night through the Andy Burnham scheme, but he’s still homeless and trying to sort out his money.

He said to me frustratingly that he had worked all of his adult life, had paid his national insurance and had also been in the army for four years. He doesn’t understand why the DWP wont help him when he’s paid into the system.

Of course he’s correct, they should be helping him but they don’t, infact they don’t care less about him and everyone like him.

 

It was then when I was asked to help a woman that I’ve spoken to on a regular basis. She was stood in the corner of the Jobcentre entrance with her head in her hands crying. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that her money had been stopped because someone had told the DWP that she’s moved house. She hasn’t of course, shes still living in her home albeit a cold home.

It really pisses me off that some people have seemingly nothing better to do than to report other people to the DWP and effectively ruin their life’s. I’m sure that some people get a kick out of it but I don’t. It’s cruel and as a result she’s without an income to feed herself and to keep warm.

Don’t forget it’s almost Christmas although like I said earlier thousands won’t be celebrating it so lets not forget them at this time of year, and every other day of the year. People are dying and until this stops I won’t stop either.

I cant thank the team enough for coming along today, I bet they’re all still defrosting.

Please come and join us for our special Christmas demo next week. We’ll be handing out special Christmas food parcels, laying a wreath, making speeches and releasing doves in memory of everyone thats died as a result if the governments cruel austerity regime.

 

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

Please donate if you can, theres buttons at the top and side of this blog. I’m a skin single parent trying to help others. Every penny helps to keep the blog going.

Thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog, this means a lot to me.

 

I used to donate to foodbanks now I rely on them. Had to finish work because of childcare costs. Universal credit at it’s worst.

Dear readers I’m back! Thankfully I was able to attend this weeks demo. Last week was extremely busy but very productive. Before I start writing this weeks blog, please can I send get well wishes to Roy and extremely valuable member of the team. Get well soon!!

If I said that today was busy that would be an understatement. From the minute that I arrived it was unbelievably busy, hampered slightly the weather but we’re used to it. If you can guarantee anything about Manchester and the surrounding areas it would be a given that it’ll rain sooner rather than later. Anyway enough about that.

As I arrived a man was waiting for me. I call him a regular because he likes to stop and chat and keep me updated on his situation. He’s recently been rehoused and hopefully hes managing his tenancy ok. He’s a lovely chap but he finds life difficult. There just isnt the amount of support that he needs out there although local organisations do their best. The government have systematically starved outreach organisations of any funding and many of them have closed. Those that remain open do so by sheer determination and the goodwill of others.

Not long after, I asked a young woman if she was ok and I handed her a leaflet. She told me that she regarded universal credit as being crap and after paying her rent and loans that she had taken out whilst she was waiting for her Universal Credit to be processed she’s not left with enough money for food.

She’s now reliant upon food banks and the goodwill of friends. Her life won’t be getting better anytime soon. How can anyone productively look for work when they are hungry? They can’t. Hunger takes over everything, all of your senses and instincts are taken over by the need for food. Anyone that says otherwise obviously hasn’t been hungry like this.

It was then when we ran out of food parcels. We handed six out, but a woman desperately needed food. Her situation is complicated and without food she could well find herself falling into a deep, dark spiral that’s hard to climb out of, so I took her to the shop next door to the Jobcentre and bought her some food.

I asked another woman how she was coping on universal credit. She told me that she’s ok for one week of the month, but after paying her rent, universal credit loans and debts she can’t afford food. Shes disabled but has been placed in the work related group.

The DWP have been very consistent with their hate for disabled people, and every week I find myself helping people with disabilities the most. The DWP cares not about disabilities only the potential amount of money that they can make out of a person.

A young man then stopped me, took a leaflet and asked me what we were doing outside the Jobcentre. I explained that we were there to help people, to advise and signpost people if possible. He then opened up and told me his story.

He had been claiming universal credit for a long while now, and was receiving the work related disability element. He had been asked to attend an appointment to transfer him over onto the new computer system. Unfortunately he became ill and was admitted to hospital. Because he was ill he had forgotten about the appointment, and anyway he was too sick to phone up.

Of course the DWP showed their distinct lack of understanding about this, they stopped his claim and ignored his reason for non attendance. He even showed them details of his hospital admission.

So he now he had to make a new claim, was now without an income, and the DWP didn’t  give a stuff.

As he was leaving an awful G4S security guard bellowed at him to go back inside the Jobcentre. Upon leaving the Jobcentre he was told that it’s now being sorted out. That’s brilliant however he’s had to go without money for a long while.

It was then that I asked a young woman if she would like one of our leaflets. She told me straight away that universal credit is awful. Previously she had worked but because she has twins and two other children she was paying more money out in childcare than she was receiving so she had to end her job.

Now she’s totally dependent upon universal credit and is paying back her universal Credit loan, buying gas and electric to keep her children warm and paying a top up on her rent.

To say she’s struggling is a massive understatement. She’s dreading Christmas, hasn’t got a clue how she’ll manage, but she does know that her children won’t be having much of a Christmas this year. Reliant upon foodbanks to survive its a complete nightmare.

I signposted her etc, and had a long chat with her. She told me that she used to always donate to food banks but now she’s reliant upon them. It’s a terrible indictment of how the government regards women and children.

I then spoke to a young couple with a young child. Whom I shall name Bill and Mary. Here’s their situation.

Both are on universal credit. Neither of them has a computer or the internet at home. Bill has Aspergers.

They live separately after living together and have told the DWP that they no longer live together. The DWP are ignoring this. Mary’s letters from the DWP are constantly being sent to Bills house, and they are constantly being accused of co habiting, and have even been told that they should make a joint claim.

Despite being a ridiculous thing to suggest, the reality is that they don’t live together therefore can’t make a joint claim. There’s two lots of rent to pay and a young child to look after, but the DWP reckon that its a good suggestion.

They’ve also been complaining about the letters being sent to the wrong address for a long time now but nothing ever gets done about it. Why? Because the system is crap, not one department communicates with another. They just don’t.

Can you imagine the implications of this if, say Mary’s partner was violent? Luckily he isn’t. If he was he would have details about her appointments, her finances etc etc. A woman’s safety is never a priority for the DWP, but this could result in something very serious happening to a woman.

So it looks like because not one DWP department adequately communicates with another there’s little regard for data protection laws let alone potentially a woman’s safety.

I then chatted to another woman with a young child. She told me that she’s having a nightmare with the DWP and universal credit at the moment.

She works part time and relays upon childcare to go to work. Every month the DWP expect her to upload her bank statement etc so that they can pay her childcare. Every month the system won’t allow her to upload this information, so every month she has to go into the Jobcentre to try and sort it out.

You’d think that a task like this should be easy to complete wouldn’t you, afterall they’re always banging on about how brilliant universal credit is, how it supposedly ‘lifts’ you out of poverty (it doesn’t) and how easy the computer system is to navigate (it isn’t either}.

It’s one big nightmare for her and she has to rely upon friends to survive, although shes worried that they’ll no longer be able to help her in the future.

It’s disgusting, degrading and humiliating. Anyone that believes that universal credit is a good thing and can be fixed needs a reality check. It’s got more holes than a fishing net and could they fix all the holes in one? It’s beyond repair and they need to wise up.

I spoke to the elderly father of a young man. He’s been supporting his son for around twelve months now. His story is a bit complicated, and from what I could make out he hasn’t received any payments for twelve months but they wern’t sure why.

I signposted them as a matter of urgency. They are struggling so much themselves and can’t afford to keep their son as well, but they also can’t leave him without. What a horrible situation to be in, it’s beyond cruel.

A young man then stopped me and old me immediately that Universal Credit is crap. I asked why and he told me that after claiming universal credit for a long while he now has to provide the DWP with all of his ID again. He wondered why he has to do this, they already have copies of everything and if they look they would easily find it. But no, that would be too easy wouldn’t it. So now, like many others he’s forced to start again and all because the DWP have created a system that fails to talk to the old one.

Wonderful and they wonder why suicide rates are rocketing.

In my living memory, the poor and disabled have never been persecuted as much as they have now, and this will get much worse next year.

The system won’t be able to cope, but the DWP and government will blame the claimant not themselves and they don’t give a stuff either.

A massive thanks to everyone that came along today, get well soon Roy and thank you to Pat for making us a new banner.

Please read, share, email and tweet my blog. Many thanks to my readers that already do.

Many thanks to everyone that supports my blog, thank you so much.

I hate asking this but if you can, please donate to keep my blog going. I’m on an extremely low income and every penny helps! Thank you!

Left without a penny thanks to Universal Credit and unhelpful DWP staff.

First may I apologise for the lateness of the blog. I had to attend an important meeting in London where I was representing the victims of universal credit, and the damage and pain that universal credit causes.

As you are already aware, universal credit creeps up upon people like a thief in the night, destroying every element of life as you knew it. Instead your future is often reliant on the network of foodbanks and the kindness of friends and family, thats if you have any of course.

It’s impossible to fix and has more holes than a fishing net.

As I know from experience poverty is very isolating and surviving becomes a priority, everything else seems to pale in comparison. Each and every person that myself and the team speak to are isolated in some way, and their struggles overtake their lifes.

 

 

Before I write the account of yesterdays events, please may I stress that everyone received help, advice, a copy of our survival guide and a food parcel if needed. Five food parcels were handed out to hungry people.

Also I need to thank every single  member of the team that attended the demo in my absence. Roy has given me a brief outline of yesterday’s events and I’m thankful of that.

 

 

 

The weather yesterday was terrible to put it mildly. It was extremely windy and the rain was bouncing down thanks to storm Diana, and it’s hard work standing outside for two hours in those conditions.

 

Gordon dropped the food parcels off and so the morning started. Because the weather was awful people were dashing in and out of the Jobcentre, heads down wanting to get their appointments over with as soon as possible. As a result it was hard engaging people in conversation, and I apologise for the lack of material in this weeks blog.

 

As usual, some people were waiting for the food parcels, albeit in different places desperate to find shelter.

It’s abhorant that people need to use food banks in the first place and we all need to campaign in whatever way possible about the very need for them.

Supermarkets set up boxes for people to donate food, and the poorest that have needed to use food banks themselves often donate the most. I argue that supermarkets should provide this food themselves, not the public. They can afford to do so, but hey my opinion means naff all in the world outside my blog and campaigning.

 

 

Roy told me of a man that looked distressed upon entering the Jobcentre. He apparantly left the Jobcentre in even more distress. He shouted ‘They’ve left me with nothing, I’ve got nothing, what am I supposed to do?”

Apparently he had made a claim for universal credit and was a chap about ten years older than myself. A man brought up in what seems like a different world, a world that cared for people, a world that had a good safety net that could be relied upon. Now the safety net has disappeared, gone, nowhere to be seen.

He was advised to take a food parcel and signposted to various local organisations that might be able to help. Will he contact these groups? Who knows. He might feel ashamed that his life has come to this, a bag of food and some kind words by strangers.

Universal credit, the benefit reforms and the governments so called austerity measures are responsible for the deaths of thousands, this we do know. People like this man are a high risk of becoming one of these deaths simply because there’s no real safety net at all, NHS services are cut to the very bone and trust in organisations such as Mind and Citizens Advice are low because of their involvement with the DWP.

The DWP has now become the enemy of the people, something to be feared. The DWP buys off charities and organisations and even has supermarkets like Sainsbury’s spying on disabled people for them.

Big brother is here in the form of the DWP.

Disabled people and many unemployed people are becoming afraid to leave their houses for fear of abuse by the right wing types, discriminated against because they have a disability, discriminated against because they are poor.

We know that this isn’t acceptable but to thousands it is. The tories have directed a hate campaign via the media and it worked, people have become even more isolated than before.

Like my friend Paula said yesterday, we need the left wing, especially the Labour Party to change the language that they use, lets stop pitching workers against disabled and unemployed people please, because thats exactly what it feels like.

 

Yesterday was tough, tough for many reasons and reality is tough. No amount of positive thinking can change this.

We will be back next week, and I will certainly be there, so come and say hello. We do important work and people rely upon us.

Know this, as you’re reading this, someone will be thinking of taking their own life because they can’t take any more persecution from the DWP.

Know that a mother or father or both won’t be able to eat today because they can’t afford to do so, but they will feed their children.

Know that a young person will be leaving care with little or no support, many becoming homeless.

Know that an individual or family will be made homeless today and won’t have anywhere to turn, many having to sofa surf or live in rat infested temporary accommodation.

I could go on for forever but you get the picture. People are dying and the government doesn’t care.

 

 

Please read, share and email my blog. a massive thanks to those that have already, thank you!!

 

If you can, please donate to keep my blog going, I’m a skint single parent and every penny is really appreciated. Thank you

 

 

 

Watch out folks it’s Christmas sanctioning time. Single parent-sanctioned in time for Christmas. Another dire week outside Ashton Jobcentre.

Do you know what especially pees me off, readers? Christmas sanctions. Every year just before the Christmas period the DWP appears to hand out long sanctions for often the most dubious reasons. Of course, they know that this will ensure that all claimants and their families if they have one, won’t be able to celebrate Christmas. If they have a home it’ll also ensure that they’ll be living in a cold house or flat with hardly any food.

This week towards the end of the demo we spoke to a young woman with two young children. She was visibly upset and I asked her if we could help. She told me that she’d been sanctioned for not attending an appointment because she didn’t receive the letter telling her when the appointment was.

This is the most common trick in the DWP’s book. These letters hardly ever arrive, and in the rare instance that they do they arrive they do so weeks after the appointment date given.

Scared that she would lose her home she spent all the money that she had on paying her rent. this left her without a penny in the bank. Nothing.

My colleague and friend who was stood next to me started to cry, the poor woman was doing her best to cheer her children up until one of her children dropped a sausage roll on the floor. Knowing that she wouldn’t have been able to buy another, my friend gave her some money to buy another. It’s heartbreaking.

So a woman with young children is left penniless because she’s effectively been sanctioned for not receiving a letter that the DWP have supposed to have sent. They won’t be celebrating Christmas like the DWP staff will. Instead, they’ll be sat in a cold home with food parcels and anything that local charities can help them out with.

The government is heartless, the DWP are sadistic in their actions and they aren’t going to stop doing this anytime soon. Use your vote it’s the only way to get rid of them.

Luckily we were there and we helped her, advised her, told her what to do, where to go for help and where to get help over Christmas. There is never any justification for sanctioning children and their parents. To hell with it, they shouldn’t be sanctioning anyone. Starving someone into submission won’t find them a job, or show them a way out of the system. Instead, it makes them ill, depressed, often suicidal.

Of course, this is all purely intentional on the governments part. They knew that this would happen, they knew that people would die as a result. But don’t expect them to care, they love it. They want to get as many people off the unemployment statistics by any means possible and they mean to cause limitless damage to the working class of this country.

Upon arriving at the demo this morning I was stopped by a woman that’s working and claiming universal credit. She has children and relies on her childcare being paid by the DWP. After all, they promise this in their fancy adverts don’t they.

She told me that not once has she been paid her childcare payments on time and the payments are always wrong. This happens every month, and every month she has to complain, cause a fuss and demand that her childcare is paid. After all, they are supposed to pay it. She’s receiving a low wage and is worse off claiming universal credit.

Universal credit certainly doesn’t pay, especially single parents and their children. They suffer immensely, with children to feed and the DWP reluctant to help them it makes living hellish at times.

Of course, this is blatant discrimination, the Tories have never liked single parents and their children, you only have to look at the front pages of right-wing newspapers and television channels to see this. Regarded as scroungers, scum and every other awful name in the book. To put it bluntly, like disabled people, we are an easy target for theDWP. It’s not acceptable, not one bit but it happens all the time.

Universal credit causes immense problems for most people that are forced to claim it. Take ‘Linda’ (not her real name).

Linda receives the universal credit work-related ESA equivalent element. She’s disabled. Out of her monthly universal credit payments she has to pay her rent top-up of £180 a month. This leaves her with next to nothing to live on.

Linda had applied for a discretionary housing benefit payment but she’d been refused this. Before speaking to us, she didn’t know that she could appeal this decision, and she wasn’t aware of where to go, so I told her what to do and where to go.

How the hell are the government expecting her to survive? Don’t forget she’s disabled. As a man said to me today it’s criminal, people shouldn’t be treated in this manner, should they.

Not long afterwards we handed a leaflet to a man who was leaving the Jobcentre. We had a lovely conversation, he’s set up a radio station called Greater Manchester Rock Radio. If you can check it out. I’ve got absolutely no idea what bandwidth it’s on though, sorry. It’d be brilliant if he can gain a few more listeners. No, I don’t have a link sorry.

Here’s another example of stupid universal credit bureaucracy. ‘Helen’ (not her real name) already claims universal credit and in her words its shit. Because Ashton Jobcentre is upgrading their computer system she’s been made to go across the road to a local further education organisation that has been hired by the DWP to make a new claim for universal credit. Some organisations are easily bought, aren’t they?

So now Helen has to apply for universal credit again and pray that she receives next months payment, that is if the system doesn’t mess things up. So two applications for the same benefit, two arduous procedures to go through and extra stress and worry just to top it up.

Why the DWP can’t transfer people over that are already claiming is beyond me, but they never miss out on an opportunity to make someone suffer do they.

I was stopped by another woman that told me that she had also been refused her discretionary housing payment. As a result, she has to pay £76 a month top up for her rent, this is taken out of her monthly £276 payment. Do the maths, take away money for gas, electric and food it leaves her with very little to live on.

I advised her on how to appeal etc and where to go.

Not long after this, we were approached by an older man clutching a bundle of letters. He claims the work-related ESA equivalent of universal credit, but he didn’t realise this. Nor did he know how to do anything DWP related, he’s lost, he doesn’t understand the system and can’t understand why this is happening to him.

We all took the time to explain things to him, and what to do if he needs help. Poor fella, it breaks my heart it really does, and I bet it breaks your heart also.

Remember the government hype about being able to get an interim loan from the DWP when waiting for a universal credit payment to go through? Well, you can, but this often comes at a price, £86 a month to be exact for a couple that I spoke to. Of course, this will ensure that both themselves and their children are guaranteed an extended period of living in poverty.

Don’t believe the hype folks.

We then spoke to a young woman who’s first universal credit claim has been delayed because of a DWP blunder. Their answer was that she might get a payment tomorrow, but it might be Monday, who knows. But it’s delayed and it’s not her fault either.

How about we sanction the DWP for this. Not a bad idea.

A young man that I shall call Joe stopped me, his story isn’t uncommon but it’s awful non the least.

Joe doesn’t understand how universal credit works, it wasn’t explained to him.

Joe didn’t realise that he had to pay his rent out of his monthly payments.

Joe then owed rent.

Joe was evicted because of rent arrears.

Joe’s now one of the thousands of sofa surfers that aren’t treated as a priority by anyone, one of the hidden homeless.

Thanks to the DWP and their lack of communication, Joe despite being young doesn’t have much of a future.

Ta for nothing DWP, thanks for ruining a young man’s life and all because you don’t take the time to advise people, although you do take the time to punish people.

When I say that universal credit can be hell on earth it is, I don’t say that in jest. Every day someone is thinking about committing suicide because of universal credit, ESA and PIP-related worries. Delayed payments, debt failed medicals all contribute towards this. In my eyes, the government are responsible for these deaths, each and every one.

Today, we handed out five food parcels, helped lots of people and provided support and solidarity to everyone we spoke to, and we all worked very hard. Many thanks to everyone that turned up to help it means so much to me.

Many thanks to everyone that reads and shares my blog, it’s become my life’s work, an essential documentation of how the poorest are treated in the UK.

I don’t receive any payment for writing this blog and as a single parent myself, life can be a struggle for myself as well. Any donations would ensure that both myself and the demos can continue, thank you!

A massive thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. It means the world both to myself and the team.

Man given eight-month sanction for missing an appointment. Can we stop sanctioning people, please?

Dear readers, I apologise for the lateness of my blog. As you may have heard Esther Mcvey has resigned from her role as the DWP minister because she doesn’t agree with the deal put forward by Theresa May, she actually stated that she wouldn’t be able to look her constituents in the eye. I found this quite hypocritical because she has no problem looking in the eyes of the disabled, poor, working poor and the families of those who have died as a result of her cruel decisions whilst in office.

Don’t celebrate yet because she’ll be back, she’s done this before, and anyway, they’ll replace her with someone equally as odious and stone-hearted. We shouldn’t start celebrating until we have a general election and Labour win, and if this happened it’d take us years to repair the damage.

Anyway, the blogs late because I had to go to Salford Quays to be interviewed by Granada news regarding this. So my apologies once again.

Once again can I remind people that we handed out five food parcels, we helped and advised everyone that we spoke to and signposted everyone that needed to be signposted. We also act as an impromptu councilling group and we offer advice concerning other matters also.

The campaign doesn’t end at 12pm on Thursday, for me, it lasts for seven days a week.

Yesterday was a little warmer even though it was dull. armed with a cup of decaf I walked over to the Jobcentre. I was greeted by a woman who we’ve been helping for a while now. She’s a shy woman and yesterday we had a breakthrough, she opened up about her situation and we can now help her further.

Due to circumstances out of her control, she’s had to make changes to her claim for universal credit and as a result, she’s not going to receive any payments so I handed her a food parcel.

It’s so sad to see someone that’s desperately trying to improve her situation being pushed further down into poverty. This won’t enrich her life, it’ll make life much harder for her and to be honest I’m worried about her.

 

I spotted a lady walking out of the Jobcentre with two small children, one in a pram. She told me that she’s had to make a new claim for universal credit and she has been forced to take a loan from the DWP to survive.

It shouldn’t be like this, children shouldn’t be forced by the government to go hungry, not to forget their mother will be hungry and no doubt their health will suffer. It takes a government of psychopaths to inflict cruelty such as this.

 

A woman stopped Gordon and she explained her situation, which unfortunately isn’t uncommon. Her situation is this. She’s currently claiming JSA and has been offered a job. Brilliant you might say, and it is, however, there’s a problem. Her job is a part-time position and it would take her over the threshold that’s allowed when claiming JSA, she’d have to move over to universal credit and the thought of this scares her.

She knows that she’ll have to go without any payments for at least five weeks, she knows that the conditions of universal credit would damage her both physically and mentally. Basically, she’s scared.

We had a chat and we’re hoping that her situation has been rectified, but once again it shouldn’t be like this. Making a claim for universal credit feels like you’re being punished, and it’s a fact, to be honest. We’re being punished for being poor, for needing help and it’s cruel and unnecessary.

 

I was stopped by a man that myself and the law centre have been helping told me that his mandatory consideration. He’s beginning to gain confidence, mainly because he knows that he’s being supported, listened to, understood and respected. Being cruel certainly doesn’t encourage people does it.

 

We noticed a man walking around confused. He’d been told that he needs to provide proof of his address. Simple you might think, but it isn’t for many. People move homes, are homeless, have had to leave a property in a rush and are staying in temporary accommodation. Some people have chaotic lives, but it doesn’t mean that they should be punished for this, unfortunately, they are. There’s a massive lack of understanding not only from within the DWP but in all governmental and local governmental departments. Often the receptionists at these places can appear uncaring which doesn’t help.

 

Gordon and myself were stopped by a woman who I shall name Dot.

Dot is an older lady, her husband died in March and Dot is still grieving. She’s depressed and is finding life very difficult.

Dot is claiming the sickness (ESA) related element of universal credit and she’s struggling. She’s constantly worried and she’s being reminded that she’ll soon have to return to work.

Dot should be allowed to recover and grieve, but there’s no way that the DWP will allow this.

Dot’s future doesn’t look good thanks to this government.

 

I spoke to a man whom I shall name Jim.

Jim walked out of the Jobcentre looking confused, he’s an older chap.

Jim had spent three days trying to make an online claim for universal credit. Three days folks, because he was struggling with the system. In his words, he ‘doesn’t get along’ with computers and he was constantly being thrown off the website for one reason or another.

Jim went to see his advisor and he was told that he shouldn’t be making a claim for universal credit, he should be claiming ESA. He was told by a different advisor that he should apply for universal credit.

You can see why Jim is confused, can’t you? I can. Honestly how hard is it to ensure that you give the correct advice? Impossible I fear.

Does the DWP care about Jim? Not one bit.

 

I was stopped by a woman, she had been made redundant. She was told to go to the Jobcentre to start her universal credit claim. Simple you’d think. Nope. She told me that she was being sent to a different building to make her claim.

 

A rather frustrated man stormed out of the Jobcentre, he shouted ‘Theresa May is an old bag, shes horrible’. It’s hard to disagree with that, isn’t it?

 

I had a brief conversation with a man who told me that he’d been sanctioned for eight months. Yes, eight months. His reason for missing his appointment was that he had to help his father move into a nursing home out of the area. He provided evidence of this, he appealed and they refused his appeal. So he went without money for eight months.

I advised him on what he should do, but you might ask how does someone survive for eight months with no income. To put it bluntly many don’t. Many die, most are hungry and many lose their homes.

Sanctions and universal credit are two of the main reasons why people become homeless, but many are forgetting about sanctions and their impact on people, just like they are forgetting about the two-child limit, the benefit cap, the bedroom tax and the council tax supplement. I often feel that I’m a lone voice when talking about these issues because some have forgotten about them, many have accepted it as the norm.

 

I then had a conversation with a Kurdish man who had been temporarily employed by an agency. He didn’t understand that he had to make a new claim for universal credit and would have to wait for around five weeks or more for his claim to be processed.

The system is too complicated, it makes you financially worse off, combine this with a limited understanding of the English language and you’re certain to fail. Can I say that I hate this government?

 

Last but not least, I spoke to a woman who I shall name Jenny.

Jenny has been sanctioned. Jenny has children.

Jenny has been sanctioned because she didn’t see the message on her universal credit account to attend an appointment.

Jenny doesn’t have a computer, Jenny doesn’t know how to use a computer. Jenny struggles to access the places where she can use a computer.

Jenny is being punished because she can’t understand the system because she has a disability and the DWP don’t care.

We advised Jenny but for her and people like her, their future is very bleak. It’s ok for local governments and organisations to provide internet access locally, but it’s completely useless for someone without a computer, who doesn’t know how to use a computer and can’t afford one also. We need a paper system, one that everyone understands and we should also be campaigning for this.

 

This all happened over two hours and we do this every week. We work hard helping people in cold and often with abuse from passers-by. I can’t thank everyone that comes along to help enough. You’re all amazing, you keep me going especially when I feel fed up like I do now. The work that we do is much needed and has become essential.

 

Thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog. I receive no funding for this and any donation however small will be most welcome and put to good use. Thank you to everyone that has supported my blog. Thank you.

We’ll be back next week and every week.

 

 

 

 

Failed PIP assessment, wrongfully forced onto universal credit, now £250 a month worse off. It’s getting worse.

What can I say except that today was dire, the weather was awful and it appears that winter has set in now.

Today we were joined by a new member, Glynn and also the gang from Rochdale and Stockport. This cheered me up immensely because last week I was very despondent and was wondering if I should continue with the campaign. It’s hard work, and I do have weeks like this. Anyway, blip over and onward I shall continue.

Just to make it clear we handed out five food parcels and offered help, advice, leaflets and signposting to everyone that we spoke to today. No one left without receiving any help. We also helped out with things such as bus fares and other issues.

 

I arrived at ten on the dot and was almost immediately met by Gordon and then Glynn. A few people were waiting for food parcels and I had a chat with a fella that’s trying to overcome several issues. I like our conversations and he’s looking a bit better, to be honest, I’d worry if I didn’t see him.

We unloaded the food parcels and settled into our morning.

 

I first noticed a young man walking out of the Jobcentre shouting ‘Universal credit is a ball ache and they are all a bunch of w*****s’. He didn’t stop to talk but I guessed that he was unhappy. He obviously isn’t feeling supported by the system like  Theresa May keeps spouting out the lie that everyone is supported. Absolute rubbish, its survival of the fittest nothing more.

 

A young man caught my eye, he was walking out of the Jobcentre wearing very thin clothing totally unsuitable for this weather. I asked him how things were going, he told me that he was only just coping.

He’s in receipt of universal credit and had to wait around five weeks for his first payment. In the meantime, he had to apply for loans from the DWP to pay his rent so he now has to pay that back out of his monthly payment.

He expressed his concern that whilst his repayments are £20 a month, he knows people that are having to pay back their loans at a much higher rate, and he wanted to know what there isn’t an official set repayment scheme that’s low enough to enable people to survive. He’s still reliant upon food parcels to survive because he has to contribute towards his rent.

He asked a good question, there should be a low, set payment programme in place and not a random one that makes it impossible to live. Maybe there is, but its rarely enforced not unusual for this farce of a system.

 

A man walked out of the Jobcentre and I asked him if he was ok, he looked at me and said ‘same old crap’ and walked off.

 

I then spoke to a fella whom I shall name Brian. Brians an older chap and has been thrust into this system by no fault of his own.

Brian is in receipt of a small private pension and was claiming JSA (Jobseekers allowance). He had £6 taken from his JSA because of his pension.

Brian was visited by a member of staff from a local housing association and was told by them that he had to immediately stop claiming JSA and make a claim for universal credit otherwise his rent wouldn’t be paid.

They were wrong. Brian could and should have stayed on JSA until the DWP transferred him, they should never have told him this. So thanks to their wrong advice Brian is now £250 a month worse off. He’s an older chap, he’s struggling and all because his landlord decided to get greedy and demand that he move onto universal credit.

Brians an older man who was brought up in another time, a time when you could trust people and were looked after. Brian isn’t to blame for this, the blame lies at the housing associations feet.

I’ve spoken about this before, one week we had about five or six people stop us and tell us that they had been told this also. I’ve also had neighbours knock on my door telling me the same thing, so I know it to be true.

We are taking further action on this though. They shouldn’t be lying to people like this, they are responsible for the suffering of people and we can’t allow this to go unchecked. This housing association recently merged with another organisation and have kicked all of the local councillors off their board and as a result appear to be doing whatever they want. Rumour has it that they aren’t good employers and they aren’t as supportive to tenants as they could be.

 

We were then introduced to another older man whom I shall name Terry.

Terry had worked all of his adult life until he became ill, he was proud of working and smiled when he spoke of his younger days. Terry is a lovely man that deserves much better than what he told us.

Terry had to go for his PIP assessment, he’s new to this and the system confuses him. They asked him the usual questions and he left the assessment thinking that he’d be ok.

Terry was wrong, in fact, he couldn’t be more wrong. He failed the examination on the basis that he hadn’t had a fit in his kitchen and he looked too smart.

Terry assured us that he wasn’t dressed too smart, he isn’t well off and was wearing the same clothes that he wears every day. And as for not fitting in the kitchen, that’s ridiculous. Like he says he can’t predict where and when he will have a fit. It’s ridiculous.

Terry is appealing this decision, he’s angry that he’s being treated in this manner. Terry is also an older man whose health is failing and is especially vulnerable.

The government doesn’t give a toss about Terry, they just want him off the unemployment statistics and will do so by any means possible, especially by employing people to lie like this.

 

I heard a conversation behind me so turned round to join in. Here’s a rundown of the conversation. I’ll name the person concerned Paul. Paul is also an older man.

Paul has always worked and is proud of this.

Paul became ill with diabetes and lost his leg and toes.

Paul feels like he’s always being scrutinised by the DWP. They keep sending him to medical assessments etc.

Paul hasn’t got a clue how the system works.

Paul is terrified of being moved onto universal credit.

Paul says it’s not fair and they shouldn’t be doing this to him. Paul is correct, but thankfully Paul now knows that we are thinking about him and he can chat to us whenever he wants to.

Paul is just another statistic and this makes me angry.

 

We all need to fight in our own way for people like the above if you’re not in a position similar to theirs you could be in the future. Say hello to your neighbour, to the stranger in the street. That can make a massive difference.

 

We spoke to lots of other people, and we helped lots of people.

We also helped a homeless man reach his next destination for a nights sleep. He speaks poor English but doesn’t have an address so therefore has no money. He was sent to another town to get a bed for the night, but what he clearly needs is a translator and support. I can’t imagine how scared he might be. He’s aware of local organisations but has to go where there’s a bed. What an awful life

 

This made us smile, someone left us a calling card. Thank you! We love it.

BTW if one of my readers left this sticker, please email me I wouldn’t mind some. Thanks.

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We don’t receive any funding for the work that we do, nor do I receive any funding for the blog etc. If anyone would like to donate there’s a button above and to the side. I would be very grateful, and a massive thank you to everyone that has supported my blog and also to everyone that reads and shares my blog. Thank you!!

In the past week, I’ve been on Granada Reports, Talk Radio, filmed with RT News and have been interviewed for a magazine. None of which are paid, but it’s important to get the word out there. The campaign certainly doesn’t finish on Thursday afternoons.

 

Sixty-year-old man proclaimed fit for work despite having a stroke. The DWP have destroyed me.

Dear readers, I found it particularly hard this week, not only because it was freezing cold but I think its one of those weeks when the enormity of the situation hits me like a brick. This happens every now and then because I’m all too aware of the situation, of our situation.

Anyway, enough about me, you probably aren’t here to hear about me. The weather was very cold and we were ill prepared for this sudden onslaught of winter weather. I had left my home after forgetting my telephone also. Not a good start to the day.

The Queue had already formed for the food parcels, all given to people either working and claiming Universal Credit or being shifted over to Universal Credit from another benefit. They had no choice but to take out a loan from the DWP which is now making their universal credit payments incredibly small, usually unmanageable.

It did appear to be a bit quieter than normal, but we also see this a lot. Some weeks are busier than others, but the problems are still life changing.

 

The first thing that I noticed upon arriving at the Jobcentre was the number of staff and security guards at the front desk. They may have put up a reflective screen to prevent us from seeing inside but I can still catch glimpses from the outside. It’s a tad excessive and is very intimidating upon walking into the building. There’s just no need for it. It’s simply to remind us of where we stand in the situation, an enemy, someone to take the pee out of, to abuse.

 

As Gordon passed me the food parcels I was handing them out to people, many of whom are hungry. When claiming universal credit it’s impossible to pay your bills and buy food, gas and electric at the same time. Food parcels keep people going, they keep people alive. Instead of condemning their use, the government actually love them. They take the problem out of their hands. As a nation, we should be constantly challenging the government about their use, many of us already are. Please join us in doing so.

 

I was stopped by a man walking out of the Jobcentre. Clutching a folded piece of paper he told me that he had been without money for months. He needed food and advice. We provided both happily.

 

A man then stopped me and told me his story. He had been released from prison not long ago and was told to go to the Jobcentre to claim universal credit. He did just that and he got an advance loan from them to tide him over. Out of that, he had to pay his rent and other expenses so now he’s left with nothing, yet despite struggling he’s very proud that he’s managing to stay on the straight and narrow “It’s almost as if they’re trying to send me back inside”. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

 

Another man stopped me and told me of his plight. He’s receiving his universal credit payments, he has to put towards his rent, he has to pay his bills, buy food etc. He’d taken an advance loan out whilst awaiting his universal credit payments which he now has to pay back at £30 a month. He also has to pay a debt that he was paying back whilst claiming his previous benefit at almost £30 a month, so he’s £60 down already.

Yes, people are expected to live like this because they just don’t care.

 

We then spoke to a young man desperately trying to make a good life for himself. He had lost his job and then subsequently lost his home and had become homeless. He’s not living on the street but instead was a sofa surfer until finding accommodation.

He honestly couldn’t try any harder than he is doing now. He dresses smart and is always looking for work, he would be a credit to any employer. However finding suitable employment is proving to be impossible because he’s got an unspent criminal conviction, that happened when he got when like he said ‘was having a bad patch’. His speciality of work is in finance.

Poor fella, trying his best and getting constant knockbacks. The only employment that he can find is fairly rubbish agency work. In reality, he’s most likely going to have to live like this until his conviction is spent, and he really does regret it. Magic wand anyone?

He told me that he feels so much pressure from the DWP and other organisations that it’s hard to stay focused at times but he wants to improve his life.

 

I spoke to an older man who told me quickly that the DWP have destroyed his life. He then walked off.

 

It was then when we noticed an older chap walking out from the Jobcentre clutching a piece of paper whilst looking confused. I asked him if we could help, he then told me his story.

He’s 60 years of age, in poor health and is recovering from a stroke. He’s also prone to getting more strokes. He was claiming ESA but he was declared fit for work at Albert Bridge house. To be brutally honest he didn’t have a clue about what he had to.

This gentleman was brought up in what seems now was a totally different world. A world where people were respected, elders were acknowledged and also respected and everyone was looked after. Now, he’s left with nothing, computer-like sentences uttered by people that are supposed to help him but don’t.

Can you imagine feeling this lost? It must be a truly awful feeling. We advised him, signposted him and showed him compassion.

 

We spoke to a woman that has just found a job totally independent from the Jobcentre. We were so happy for her, her life will now begin again.

 

We advised a woman to go and see the local council about a housing benefit enquiry. Universal credit is making her so skint that she’s struggling to cope.

 

Not long afterwards we spoke to a young man who had been made homeless but had totally changed his life around all by himself. He told us that this was because of his strong personality, he knew that he had to survive. He had also never become involved with drugs or drink. Anyway, to cut a long story short, he’s totally inspirational. a credit to his family and I’ll never forget our conversation.

 

So here we have it, another week and more awful stories. We left half an hour early due to being freezing cold and ill-prepared (we were freezing) and I had ran out of electric so had to return home to ensure that my daughter wasn’t freezing cold. You know the score, this happens to many of my readers.

 

We helped and signposted everyone that we spoke to. We offered words of hope and comfort, we fed people and gave them hope and we will return next week to do the same thing.

 

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Many thanks to all my readers and supporters of my blog I thank  you all because you keep me going.

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I tried to kill myself last month, they’re going to stop my money, I don’t know what to do.

Dear readers it’s Thursday again, it comes around far too quickly. Today the weather was very cold and rainy, I’ll have to dig out my thermals for next week.

Today we were joined by members of Glossop Labour club, and a local councillor. Everyone got stuck right in and no one left without receiving help, advice, a copy of our leaflets and a food parcel if needed. We had our usual food parcels and the gang from Glossop brought up some extras. All went extremely quickly most likely because it’s the end of the month and most people are without money awaiting their universal credit payment next month.

It never gets any easier, seeing people struggle like they do, yet these people are the kindest people that you could ever meet. The government might want to take everything away from them but they can’t take away their kindness and understanding.

Jenny was the first person that I spoke to this week. She arrived with her boyfriend whom she doesn’t live with. She can’t tell the DWP that she has a boyfriend because they will accuse her of cohabiting when she isn’t. They’ve done this to her before and I know that this is fairly commonplace.

Jenny asked for a food parcel and started to talk to me. She told me that she had been in the hospital because she attempted to commit suicide.

She told me that ‘Enough is enough, I couldn’t attend my ESA assessment because my anxiety was high, I just couldn’t cope. I forgot that I had a medical assessment and I telephoned them as soon as I remembered. They didn’t issue a new appointment though, they just sent me a form to fill in and I was scared that they are going to stop my money. So I thought that I’d be better off dead because without my payments I can’t cope.’

Luckily she received medical help but is still living in fear that she won’t receive her payment. The reality is that she won’t either. From my experience, they usually offer a new appointment upon phoning them. If this is the case then I will help her to appeal this etc.

But ask yourself this. Why is this happening? Why are thousands upon thousands of disabled people forced to attend these farces of a medical assessment, when a doctors or consultants letter should be enough?

It’s all about punishing disabled people and unemployed people. The government see them all as an unwanted burden, they’d rather that we weren’t here at all. So they literally starve us into submission and set a cruel regime that purely punishes and degrades a person to such a level that they will agree to anything that the government asks them to do.

The DWP are their foot soldiers, doing their dirty work for them. Not happy with that the government then offer to fund to struggling charities that always come with a gagging order. Take, for example, their latest victim Citizens Advice which will now also be enabling the government to roll out the next phase of Universal Credit. They should be opposing it.

The government are cruel, callous and care not one bit about the heartache, struggle and deaths that they cause. Don’t forget this.

Bill then stopped to chat with me. He had recently failed his ESA medical and not knowing that he can appeal they shifted him onto universal credit.

There’s a problem though. Bill can’t use a computer, he’s dyslexic and has never used a computer in his life. He also doesn’t have a mobile phone, he can’t afford one. These are the essentials when making an application for universal credit, so he’s stuck at the first hurdle.

Bill also has heart and circulation problems, his health is poor hence his previous claim for ESA. But Bill is expected to continue down the universal credit path, which he could fail because the odds of him succeeding aren’t good.

I spoke to a homeless chap that had to go into the Jobcentre to collect a form. Simple enough you’d think. But no, he was told that he had to travel to Hyde Jobcentre to collect it. Think about it, he’s homeless, living in a tent and has no money so he has to walk.

I offered him some bus fare but he told me that he would walk, so walk he did. I hope that Hyde Jobcentre didn’t turn him away as well. It’s a long way to walk for anyone, especially someone that’s hungry and cold, and it was freezing today.

I also spoke to his representative from Shelter and he uttered his frustration that the work that needs to be done in the Greater Manchester area isn’t being authorised as quickly as it should be. Shelter and other organisations desperately want to house people before the winter sets in.

I spoke to Cath who was hoping to claim ESA. She has serious health problems but in my area the odds against this happening are high.

John stopped me for a chat. John is homeless but is receiving assistance from Shelter and a local organisation. He’s extremely confused as to what benefit he is receiving etc and without representation, it would be quite honestly a disaster. Thankfully he has assistance.

Having no idea of what benefit that a person is claiming is a massive problem. I have to try and describe a benefit in ways such as this, universal credit is the one that you have to go without money for at least five weeks’ etc. The system is so complex that they haven’t got a clue and it’s a massive problem that few have the time to address.

We then all gasped when we noticed a man with both legs heavily bandaged whilst using a wheelchair enter the Jobcentre. He was obviously there for an appointment because he was in there for a while.

This is about as bad as it gets. The government deliberately no notice of his disability and still demands that he attends the Jobcentre. He couldn’t even open the doors Gordon helped him.

Janet then had a chat with Roy. Janet has two children and after all the deductions to her benefits, she’s left with £50 a week to feed herself and her two children. Janet also has to pay £75 a month top up for her rent. Janet did apply for a DHP but has been refused because the council changing are the goalposts so to speak because the council are short of funding.

So the likelihood of Janet and her children becoming homeless are high. Janet also has complex needs that can’t be addressed in temporary accommodation. Her future is looking very bleak.

We did speak to many more people and offered them help and advice. I also offered to accompany someone to an ESA assessment and I’m also helping other people this week.

The campaign doesn’t stop when we leave. I work extremely hard on pushing the need to stop and scrap universal credit, and I also work hard raising awareness of all the issues that we encounter.

However, it does feel that both myself and other campaigners are on our own with this. We try extremely hard to raise awareness but the Labour Party are yet to make a concrete decision and are flip-flopping around indecisively whilst the rest of us are looking for their support.

We are awaiting a positive decision from the Labour party.

For anyone interested, I’m on Sky News tomorrow via Skpe at 15.45, 3.45pm talking about universal credit. It will be aired four hours later on YouTube. I’ll post a link under ‘media’ above.

Many thanks to everyone that supports my blog and our campaign. Please read, share, email my blog etc.

Huge thanks to my fellow campaigners, activists, bloggers, journalists etc for all the hard work that you do.

We will be back next week, but wearing thermals!

I write my blog on an extremely low budget and I’m not paid for this or the campaign work that I do. Any donation, no matter how small will help me to continue with my work and it really is appreciated. Thank you!

Roll out of new DWP computer system causes confusion and worry. Universal Credit destroys life’s.

Dear readers, it’s Thursday again so here’s this weeks blog. I hope that you are all ok, I do think about you all and wonder how you are coping. I wish that I had a magic wand to stop this madness, but there isn’t one and I shall continue campaigning against the government’s abhorrent treatment of the poor and disabled. I’ll also continue to document what I can also.

I’ll document today’s conversations, as usual, please note that everyone was signposted to relevant organisations, help advice and survival guides were handed out. We also gave food parcels to those in need.  Also, my words can’t express the intensity of the two hours that we are outside the Jobcentre. We have to deal with so many different issues and often at a fast pace.

Also a massive thank you to everyone for that came along to help today and helped, I appreciate the hard work that you do thank you all so much.

 

Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre is now introducing the new computer system, which also coincides with the next phase of the Universal Credit rollout which is well under way now. This is causing a lot of confusion, and because of this it also demands that claimants also provide proof of their identity again. Of course, the DWP system won’t take into account the fact that they have already done so. Most of the people that I spoke to today don’t have photo ID, and nor do they have the money to get this. Also, people’s circumstances change and they might not have access to the proof of ID that they had already shown. You’ll read of a few conversations that I had with people regarding this.

 

It always breaks my heart when I see vulnerable people forced into having to go into the Jobcentre in the attempt to get some help. Here is one such case, I’ll call her Mary.

Mary approached the Jobcentre struggling to walk whilst using two crutches. She is an older lady who is in constant pain. Her husband is working but they need to make a claim for some help because she can no longer work. In an ideal world, there would be a fact sheet that tells a person what they can claim, what ID they need and how to do it. There isn’t though, so she was sent home none the wiser. However, she was told that she needs to provide proof of ID. So now she has to go home and return.

So a disabled woman is forced to make an arduous journey to provide ID. Whilst I appreciate the need to prove who you are they could make it a bit easier.

 

A woman with children asked me for a food parcel. She’s now receiving her Universal Credit payments after a long wait, but out of her first payment she’s had to pay all of the bills that she owed, so she’s left with nothing. What can I say except that it’s unacceptable that people are put into this situation. Claiming Universal Credit has plunged her into the pits of poverty and I doubt that she will be able to climb out for a long time if ever.

 

I spoke to a lovely gentleman that told me that he had been declared fit for work when he obviously isn’t. He also told me that they were trying to move him over to Universal Credit. Just what he doesn’t need.

 

Not long after I spoke to a woman whom I shall name Sharon. Sharon was visibly distressed, and this reflected in our conversation. Sharon went on to tell me of her experience of Universal Credit saying “People don’t know what they are getting themselves into, they don’t know what they are entitled to either. I can’t cope with this system, it’s crippling me to the point that I don’t know how I can continue. I’m relying on food banks and the goodwill of friends but that won’t last forever.”

Sharon also went onto say that she felt that it was the last straw for her to be asked to bring in proof of her ID again, shes already done it before so why should she have to do it again was her point.

Sharon doesn’t deserve to be treated in this manner but there are thousands and thousands of Sharon’s out there. Universal Credit doesn’t help people, instead, it hinders them from being able to improve their lives.

When a person can’t find all the ID that’s required they won’t allow a person to receive their payments, even though they have already provided this Id. No proof of ID, no payments. It’s a good way for the DWP to knock people off the system, to lower the unemployment figures.

I also take issue with a system that’s also controlled by a computer system. Computers make mistakes, especially DWP computer systems. You can’t talk to a computer system nor can you rely on them to be fully accurate. This new system might have the ability to decide that a person isn’t fulfilling their job search requirements even if they are, not everyone has access to a computer etc. I’m extremely dubious about this, and to be honest I haven’t got a lot of faith in it.

 

I had a conversation with a man that claims universal credit and who also works for an agency on a zero hour contract. He told me that it’s extremely hard for him to cope, he has to constantly reapply for universal credit, thus waiting for around six weeks for a payment, only to be thrown off it again because he actually got paid. He’s also been asked to provide new ID and he was struggling to find some.

As Roy said ‘People don’t find work they find another form of slavery’.

 

I advised a man on how to claim ESA.

 

I spoke to a man that needed advice regarding an ESA tribunal for a friend.

 

Roy had a conversation with a man who was telling him his experience of his ESA assessment. Upon showing the assessor his medicines the assessor asked him if his doctor knew that he was taking these medicines. Of course, the doctor does, they prescribed them. Yep. Really.

 

Here’s Kevin’s situation, typical of many.

Kevin applied for universal credit because he was advised to.

Kevin was given an initial universal credit payment.

Kevin was informed that he now needed to claim ESA.

Kevin does this but now has to pay back the initial payment.

Kevin hasn’t received a penny since the 22nd of May.

Kevin is angry, upset and is hungry.

We advised Kevin and signposted him to local organisations that will help.

 

 

I had a conversation with a woman that I’ll name Janet.

Janet had to wait weeks for her first universal credit payment, she now owes rent and she has to pay the bedroom tax and a portion of her council tax.

Janet told me that she receives £100 a fortnight. Her housing association are demanding that she pays the rent that she’s owed at the rate of £50 a week. Yes £50 a week. The housing association don’t care that she will be struggling. She’s devastated.

Janet is 60 years old and will be living in abject poverty until she’s finally able to retire. Janet deserves better than this.

 

I spoke to a man that was unsure of what he could claim and how to do it. I advised hom upon this and signposted him to all relevant organisations.

 

Lastly, I spoke to a scared young man. I say scared because he walked away crying. He spoke only French and he went into the Jobcentre for advice, most likely he had been told to go there. The Jobcentre refused to use their translation service and he didn’t know what to do, so we advised him using google translate on our phones and we signposted him. Many thanks to my colleague for this help.

Why didn’t they use the translation service? Can you imagine how scared he must have been? My heart went out to him and to everyone else in the same situation.

 

So this all happened within two hours, we helped lots of people and we will continue to do so.

 

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Many thanks to everyone already supporting my blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My son doesn’t have enough money to survive. I’m over £300 worse off a month whilst working and on Universal credit.

Dear readers, I’m sorry about the lateness of this blog, yesterday was extremely busy and I returned home late, then had to go to parent’s evening that appeared to go on forever. Things have changed so much since my oldest children were at secondary school, it certainly felt more corporate than it used to and buzzwords were being flown around by the head teacher at great speed.

Anyway, I digress, it was a busy day outside Ashton Jobcentre. It started off very quietly but became very busy. So many people are suffering and it breaks my heart. I try to keep a brave face but it’s damn hard when you know that people are upset, hungry and haven’t got a clue what to do. They certainly aren’t in any position to be able to make things better either, their life’s are controlled by the DWP. Can you imagine having to live like this? I realize that many of my readers are in this position and fully understand what I’m talking about. It’s a culture of fear, the survival of the fittest but even the fittest become ill and many die as a result of the DWPs cruel regime.

Make no mistake, the government are aware of this, but intend to do nothing to help either. They like the system, it serves them well. Creating poverty and suffering should be their moto and they mock us when they create positions such as ‘Minister for suicide’ etc. They cause the suffering and deaths, they are intent on continuing whilst also taking away funding from much needed services that could and do save life’s.

Please note that EVERYONE that we spoke to received the help and advice that they needed, everyone was handed a leaflet or two and no one left us unaided in some way.

 

I’ll list yesterdays conversations, its easier that way.

 

The food parcels went within 10 minutes, and I’m certain that there will be a bigger need for them as the winter weather draws in and more people are transferred over to Universal Credit.  It’s apparently going to be a bad winter, which in itself will bring it’s own problems such as warmth, clothing and shelter. People are hungry, many with children. What sort of a government do we live under that allows such things? A cruel, heartless corrupt government that cares nothing about human life except their own.

 

I said hello to a couple of men that I speak to every week, lovely men just trying to survive under difficult circumstances. They make my week, yet some would pass them by without a second thought because their poverty is apparent. Never judge anyone by their appearance, it’s wrong to do so.

 

I was then approached by a man that I spoke to last week, I mentioned his details in last weeks blog. He wanted to update me about his situation and he appeared to be a bit happier. He told me that he had contacted Greater Manchester Law Centre like I had advised and he was overjoyed with the help that they have and will be giving him. Saying that they couldn’t do enough to help him, and they’ve told him that they are hoping for a very positive outcome for his situation.

To put it simply, he’s been given hope, he felt that they cared, he feels valued and they will fight his corner for him and will go out of their way to do so. This my friends, makes all the difference and I’m hoping for some more good news from him next week.

Greater Manchester Law Centre you are simply brilliant and I can’t thank you enough for the hard work that you all do.

 

Not long afterwards I had a conversation with a politics graduate. She has been advised by the DWP to find a job stacking shelves. Whilst this is far from unusual, it does however reflect the lack of respect and understanding that the DWP have for education and real job searching. They haven’t got a clue, its all about punishing people. I mean how dare a graduate ask for help…. That’s how the DWP see it.

 

A polish man stopped me and asked for a leaflet. He’s been living and working in the UK for seven years, but has recently had an accident. His arm was in a sling and he was struggling with understanding the DWP system. This concerned me, because the DWP don’t have a good track record of being nice or honest  to people like this gentleman and I referred him to local services and the law centre for further help.

 

I then noticed an older lady walking out of the Jobcentre bemused, confused and more than a bit unhappy. I asked her if I could help and she told me her situation. She fits into the category of being a WASPI woman, who ideally should be retired but is unable to do so. She’s ill, disabled and is claiming ESA and has been placed in the support group. She had attended an appointment at the Jobcentre only to be told that she needs to find work. They lied to her, no she doesn’t, she’s in the support group. They also told her that they are going to be keeping an eye on her and want to see her again in six weeks.

Not only have they lied to her, they are now in effect bullying her. I explained her legal rights to her and informed her that she could really do with taking a witness in with her for this future meeting.

So the DWP are bullying an older lady. They don’t care, not one bit.

 

I handed a leaflet to a young woman with children. She claims Universal Credit but is struggling to cope. I advised her to the best of my ability.

 

I then had a conversation with an elderly lady, she appeared to be distressed so I asked her if I could help. She told me that her son is claiming Universal Credit, but she is also having to constantly help her son out with money and food.

She told me that out of her small pension she has to help him daily because after her son’s rent has been paid and the money has been deducted from his Universal Credit payment he’s left with almost anything and he doesn’t have enough money to survive.

She went on to say that people can’t survive like this, how are they expected to live? She’s also worried that she can’t keep on helping him because she can’t afford to. It’s plunging them both into poverty and their health is suffering.

So a poor elderly woman is expected to provide for her son, yep. This is reality folks Universal Credit isn’t working.

 

I was then stopped by a man who was visibly  frustrated and hungry. He hasn’t had a Universal Credit payment system since July. We are now in October. He had been migrated over onto Universal Credit after failing his ESA medical. He told me that his health was declining and he has lost over one and a half stones in weight.

Yes he’s lost one and a half stones in weight. He’s also disabled.

He showed me his paperwork and the DWP are giving him the runaround. Why? Most likely because not one department communicates with another, they don’t communicate effectively with claimants and because they can do. So they’ve left a disabled man in this situation. I referred him to the law centre and other local services,  he promised that he would be contacting them.

 

Gordon then asked me to talk to a young lady, she looked frustrated so I asked her if I could help her. Here’s her situation.

She works part time, she’s been moved over to Universal Credit and is now £310 a month worse off than she was when she was previously claiming working tax credits. She also has children to look after, bills to pay etc.

When she approached the Jobcentre asking for help she was told that she shouldn’t complain because there are people more worse off than her. Yep you heard it right, she shouldn’t complain.

I believe that she should complain, because now both herself and her children are living in poverty, poverty caused by being forced to claim Universal credit. She was much better off whilst claiming working tax credits, and she can’t understand why the government have been allowed to take all this money off people and get away with it.

Once again this shows that work does not pay whilst claiming universal credit, the only thing that universal credit does do is create poverty, suffering and the deaths of thousands of people.

A message for the G4S security guard that is intent on continually staring at us in an intimidating manner whilst thinking that we can’t see you, we can. So stop it. We’ve made official complaints about you before and we will do this again.

A massive thank you to everyone that came along today I really do appreciate it.

 

So here we have it, another Thursday but this is replicated day in day out throughout the country. I do realize that we are further on with the rollout because we were a pilot area, but take note this is coming your way.

 

 

Please read, share, email and talk about my blog. Please support the work that we do, we really need it and for everyone that already does and has thank you so much.

Also please support my blog, I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do and it would be brilliant if I could continue with my work. Thank you.

 

John McDonell reveals that Labour will scrap Universal Credit.

Good news folks, the Labour Party are very close to committing to our stop and scrap universal credit stance.

This has taken many years of campaigning and lobbying by campaigners including myself. For too long they had stuck to the ‘let’s fix it’ viewpoint.

John McDonnell

John McDonnell agrees that the ‘reforms haven’t worked’The Shadow Chancellor said he had been listening to the experiences of those on the combined benefit system and that it was beyond saving.

The shadow chancellor stated “I have been listening to people over the last few weeks about the roll-out in their particular areas, I’ve been looking at what the Government has said about how they are seeking to reform it. The reforms haven’t worked.
“I think we’re at that stage now that it’s not sustainable any more.
“It’s not a system that can work. It’s not a system that’s providing the safety net that people expect when they need support.
“I think we are moving to a position now where it is just not sustainable. It will have to go.

So what happens now? We continue to put pressure on the Labour Party to commit to this. We need the Labour Party to fully commit to this and before any general election is announced.

However, this has given us a glimmer of hope, maybe a light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn’t prevent the suffering that people are having to endure on a daily basis caused by Universal Credit, nor will it stop, for the time being, the poverty that we are forced to live in. But it does give us hope and adds a bit of strength to our campaign to stop and scrap Universal Credit.

Unite the union have also announced their stop Universal Credit stance also, adding further fuel to our campaign but we also need other trade unions to also agree to this also.

Good news indeed now let’s ensure that the Labour Party fully commit to stop and scrap Universal Credit.

Sanctioned for being sacked, refusal to help, no disability adviser at Ashton Jobcentre. Universal Credit isn’t working.

Dear readers, Thursday seems to arrive very quickly. Today was cooler with a bit of rain and I think that we all felt the difference. Many thanks to everyone that sent their best wishes to us all this morning via Facebook and Twitter. Believe me, we need it, numbers are low these days and your kind thoughts make all the difference.

I’ll list the cases that we came across today like I usually do, please note that everyone was handed a food parcel if needed, copies of our survival guide and the leaflet from Unite Community. I also checked that everyone was ok and if needing signposting we signposted them.

 

I arrived five minutes early and there was already a queue for the food parcels. I had a chat with everyone asking how they were and if there had been any updates with their situations. Sadly no one has a magic wand and local organisations help but the specialised services that they need are either struggling for resources or have shut down. We all do our best but it feels that it isn’t good enough.

 

The first person that I spoke to was a young man, he had waited for almost three months for his first Universal Credit payment. Nothing like the five weeks advertised. Reasons for this vary and usually, it’s the fault of one DWP department not communicating with another or information going missing or a combination of all of the above.

The system isn’t working, their computer system is rubbish and can’t handle it and staff aren’t trained adequately. It can’t be fixed because it’s full of flaws, ever tried to collect water with a sieve? It’s not dissimilar.

As the man walked off he said to me “The government are bastards, they really are. But you are all amazing god bless you” He isn’t wrong though.

Anyway because of the DWP’s failings a young man had to wait much longer than they should have had to wait. This could have had catastrophic consequences. The government has no sympathy so there’s no point in asking for their help they won’t listen.

 

The next case is a very good example of how unhelpful and rude the DWP can be. Honestly, they could do with learning some basic manners etc.

An older lady walked out of the Jobcentre looking perplexed and confused. We asked her what was wrong and could we help. I handed her a leaflet and as I did so she explained her situation.

Her son who is disabled is claiming Universal Credit but the disability element. He had to fill in and return a form regarding a DWP medical. He lost the return envelope so she went into the Jobcentre to ask for one.

A simple request you’d have thought. The security guards told her that she couldn’t have an envelope, they refused to send it as well and told her that she needed to phone up a number on the form.

She had no idea which number to phone. We informed her that they should have helped her with this so she went back into the Jobcentre.

They still refused uttering words similar to “Don’t listen to them they know nowt”. Actually, we know a damn sight more than they do because at least we were helping her.

Their only help was to thrust a piece of paper into her hands saying ‘Phone this number’. She tried but it was a Welsh telephone number, no use in England.

We then persuaded her to go to the local branch of CAB. (Yes they are in my bad books atm but they can help with this). Pat took her, where she did get the help and advice that she was needing. The correct telephone number to get a new envelope.

Absolutely ridiculous. They could have helped but refused and were ill-mannered in the process. There’s no need for it none at all. And anyway security guards should not be advising people, only people employed by the DWP are allowed to by law.

 

I spoke to a middle-aged man who spoke poor English. He told me that he used to have a good life, he had always worked until one day he had a stroke. This has left him with memory problems and he can no longer use his left arm.

Anyway, he was told to claim Universal Credit which he is doing but he wasn’t told that he could claim the disability element. I wasn’t surprised though, they don’t like informing people correctly. I told him what to do and he was grateful that we had helped him.

His message is this “This has completely changed my life, my life is awful now. I sometimes don’t want to wake up. This can happen to anyone”

 

I spoke to a homeless man that said that he was being harassed to find a job. He lives in temporary accommodation, the rent is very high and until he finds permanent accommodation he’s in no place to do so. If he did he would end up back on the streets again. Do the DWP care? Not one jot, they’ve all got nice homes to go home to.

He went on to tell me that the battle to keep on top of things regarding the DWP is unbelievable, overwhelming and he’s just managing to keep it together. The government should be ashamed, but I feel that they would wear it as a badge of honour under their ‘making work pay’ banner. Only it doesn’t.

 

We spoke to a young man that has been informed that he can no longer see his designated disability advisor because there isn’t one anymore. You heard it right, apparently, there is no longer a disability advisor at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre anymore. So what’s going to happen when the full rollout occurs, when everyone is migrated over? That’s a lot of disabled people that are going to go without the help they require.

So the DWP no longer believe that disabled people should see a disability advisor. You heard it here.

 

The next case is another case where the DWP appear to be devoid of any compassion or common sense. I’ll call her Joan to make it easier, that’s obviously not her real name.

Joan is a single parent to a child aged approximately five. Janes daughter has been diagnosed with autism and struggles with busy, noisy environments with lights etc.

Joan has been told that she has to claim Universal Credit and she has to wait at least five weeks for her first payment. In the meantime, Joan has been told that she has to find a job to see her through the waiting period.

Hang on. She’s the carer of a disabled child and as such should be making a claim relevant to that and they should have advised her as such. But they didn’t.

She can’t work, she can’t leave her child on her own, nor can she leave a child anywhere that doesn’t have the specialised facilities etc that her daughter needs. But she’s told that she has to work.

Furious, and as a parent of an autistic child I can fully understand and sympathise with her situation. I advised her correctly and informed her of her legal rights being that of a parent of a disabled child. This folks is how the DWP regard people with a disability. They don’t regard them at all, they expect everyone to work regardless of their ability to do so. This needs to change and fast, but the likelihood of it changing at the moment is zero.

 

Last but not least I spoke to a lovely lady, another single parent struggling with the Universal Credit system. I’ll call her Anne, it makes it easier. That isn’t her real name of course.

Anne is a single parent, she had lost her job due to a fall out with her ex-boss that was also her friend, so her friend fired her, awful in itself.

Anne had been sanctioned for four months, yes four months for losing her job. Yes, they even do this when there are children involved.

Anne has now been told that they have suspended her claim but never thought to tell her this until she went to the bank to find that her payment hadn’t been made. She phoned the DWP up to find out why and they told her that she hadn’t provided all the evidence of her previous childcare costs.

But she had done. She had done exactly what had been asked to do but they now wanted more information. So that’s what she was doing today, handing in further proof of previous childcare costs.

Anne told me that Universal Credit is the worst thing ever, she hasn’t got enough money to live on and she wishes that it hadn’t been invented. I agree with her.

So Anne worked and this is the thanks that she gets. This is how they treat people, with no respect, nothing except hatred.  We will NEVER forget, nor will we forgive either.

 

This all happened within two hours, this is replicated at almost every Jobcentre throughout the country. Unemployed and disabled people do not deserve to be treated in this manner, in my eyes it’s horrific and it needs to stop.

Many thanks to everyone that turned up to help today it means the world to me.

Thanks also to Johnathon Reynolds a local MP for coming and saying hello. He didn’t have to but he did and it means a lot also.

 

Please support our work in whatever way that you can, we need to continue this work it’s hard but it needs to be done.  We will be back next week, regardless of health problems, Whilst there is a need and I’m able I will be there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rent arrears caused by transferring to Universal Credit. A disaster waiting to happen.

Well, what can I say about today except that it wasn’t a good morning. Universal Credit is causing people to have numerous problems, all of which I have documented previously.

Today, however, was a day almost all taken up by people in rent arrears due to being transferred onto Universal Credit. If I tell you that it’s a disaster waiting to happen it would be an understatement. When the final phase of the Universal Credit roll-out takes place next year we are definitely going to see homelessness on an unprecedented scale. This will not be helped by unscrupulous landlords and housing associations that are far from understanding it’s very worrying indeed. We are talking about disabled people, ill people, families with children.

My question is where will they go? Who will be able to help them? Who’s going to pay for their temporary accommodation which will be hard to get anyway because they will be judged as making themselves homeless due to not being able to pay their rent.

It’s diabolical that anyone is put into this situation in the first place, everyone deserves a decent home to live in, but it appears that the government doesn’t agree. They see us as being a drain on society, useless and in some cases, they wish that we didn’t exist. But we do, and we need to demand that the government stops the final roll out and that a future government scraps it.

Rant over I’ll list some of today’s cases as usual. Please note that EVERYONE that we spoke to received help and advice and when needed a food parcel. No one leaves empty-handed. We do this independently also and aren’t linked to any big group although we do support many and talk to them.

 

I spoke to a man that looked worn out, fed up and hungry. I asked him if he needed any help and he responded yes, he needed some advice and he also wanted to rant. Understandable I thought.

His situation is this. He’s been transferred over to Universal Credit and this has caused him numerous problems, amongst them hunger and the threat of eviction.

Whilst a person is waiting for a Universal Credit claim to be processed you aren’t allowed to claim housing benefit because it’s all part and parcel of the Universal Credit claim. The waiting times are long, officially its supposed to take five weeks, but its often longer than that. In the time that it takes to process nearly everyone generates rent arrears. These rent arrears can, and often do lead to their eviction from their home unless they have an understanding private landlord or housing association. This man doesn’t, his housing association is being far from understanding and have already threatened him with eviction.

He’s tried to contact the DWP concerning his claim but was left waiting on the phone for two hours, it took over two hours for someone to answer. Many have waited longer than this. How on earth is this acceptable from a government organisation? It isn’t but they do what they like.

He went on to say that the government have shafted him. He’s worked for nearly all of his working age life and this is how they treat him. There are no thanks for his contributions and any monies that are due to him are withheld for as long as the government sees fit.

So here we have an older man, tired, hungry, frustrated and worried. He isn’t a number on a computer screen, he is a person with feelings and needs neither of which are respected by the government or the DWP.

 

I then spoke to another older gentleman, he had started a conversation with Gordon but I interjected and asked him if he was ok. He wasn’t.

He told me that he was having world war three with the DWP. He also has been transferred over to Universal Credit. He’s awaiting his first payment and has been waiting for some time. As a result, he now owes rent and his landlord has decided to take him to court to evict him. Luckily he has some knowledge of the procedure and he has contacted the courts himself and has had the possession order suspended until November.

I advised him to contact the law centre in Manchester to get advice and hopefully some representation. I advise everyone to do this, they have some spaces available for housing problems for next week. Their telephone number is 0161 769 2244. If you can get there please do. They know their stuff better than most and a solicitor that specialises with housing-related problems will help you.

He’s an older man, unwell at that and his wife is unwell also. If they become homeless then it’s going to be disastrous for their health and well being. I’m worried about them so will be popping round to visit them in the next few days.

If he hadn’t had the knowledge that he could have the possession order suspended then he and his wife would have been made homeless in a matter of weeks. The housing association concerned like to do this as quickly as possible. Shame on them, and this won’t be the end of it. Watch this space.

 

I then spoke to a man whose wife had been sanctioned since May for not attending an appointment that she didn’t know about. Yes, folks, she didn’t receive any notification of the appointment and it’s the case of the missing letter AGAIN.

Anyway, they sanctioned her, but not just her they sanctioned the whole family, her husband and children as well. They didn’t know that they could appeal nor did they know that it was wrong of the DWP to do this either.

So a family with children have all been sanctioned since May. That’s a long time to go without food etc, isn’t it?

He visited Citizens Advice who thankfully put him right, and he then went into the Jobcentre for his appointment. He told his advisor that they shouldn’t have sanctioned the whole family and also that they should have told him of their right to appeal.

The advisor apparently shrugged their shoulders and said ‘Well, that’s the way that it is’ only it isn’t. He informed the advisor of his legal rights regarding payments for himself and his children. They then decided that they would be making a payment to him. Yippee, you might think, but nope. Most of that payment will now have to go towards the rent that they owe. So they will be left with next to nothing.

Oh and they weren’t aware that they could appeal the sanction and his wife is now still sanctioned for 146 days which will put them into even more hardship.

I advised them of where to go for help and who to ask for help, but this system is hellish. It needs to be stopped.

 

I then spoke to a man who had originally just gone into the Jobcentre to hand in a fit note. It didn’t go to plan though. Straightway he was stopped by a person at the front desk and told that he had to use the new digital system that they are transferring most people over to. He was told to go over to a computer to log in with a username and password. Well, he didn’t have a clue what this was about but he was told to continue trying.

As time went on he became more frustrated and he asked the person on the front desk again what to do, his usual username and password didn’t work… It was then that another member of staff shouted over that he hasn’t been enrolled onto the system yet…..  Unbelievable but kudos to the staff member that pointed this out and went on to help him. It’s not hard to check if a person has been enrolled in a system or not, so check next time, please.

 

We then spoke to a young man that had just undergone a PIP medical assessment. He told us that the assessment made him ill, that he wasn’t allowed to talk during the assessment except to answer questions.

Luckily he had someone with him but his treatment was appalling. Now how he has the worry of finding out if he will be awarded his PIP entitlement. No one should have to go through these cruel, demeaning assessments. A doctors letter should be enough.

Now he has to wait. Combine this with anxiety and depression and imagine how he must be feeling. He told me that the assessment made him ill, it nearly hospitialised him he said.

 

Comments made about the DWP today were as follows;

They talk to me like I’m an idiot.

They talk to me like I’m a five-year-old child.

They treat us like crap.

They treat us like we are something on the bottom of their shoes.

 

How about the DWP staff started to talk to people with some respect eh.. Then they would get respect back. Call me old fashioned but it’s the way to do things. For those that do this, thank you, you could possibly be preventing another death by doing so.

 

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We will be back next week, as usual, please come and say hi or send us your support. We do need it and appreciate it. It’s hard hitting but it’s reality folks and this is what the government is doing to people.

Many thanks to everyone that came along to support us and help. I’ve been feeling a bit despondent of late and seeing you all really cheers me up and keeps me going. By the way, you are making a difference. A big difference.

 

Please read, share, email and talk about my blog. Even email it to your local Tory MP.

A massive thank you to everyone that supports my blog. Like I say we run independently, and it’s not easy. I’ve got meetings next week to try and clarify a few things regarding the eviction notices and the housing association processes above, this will be positive though and the Law Centre is amazing.

I sit at home and often ask myself when will this end? My answer is this, it won’t until we vote this government out. PLEASE register to vote and USE your vote. It’s never been as important to do so.