Two weeks away from being employed after volunteering… Told to stop volunteering there and start at a new place.. DWP hypocrisy at it’s best and worst.

Sorry this weeks blog is a bit late, all will be explained. I’ll start with the weather, sunny but chilly. There always seems to be a cold wind emanating from inside Ashton Jobcentre….

We were joined by our friend Kevin from DPAC, who had surprised me with a visit. I was over the moon, and so glad that he came along. There was only three of us there today because Roy wasn’t well. Get well soon Roy!!!

Anyway today was quite busy, some new faces and lots of differing problems, all of which could have been avoided if it wasn’t for the hypocrisy of the DWP and the cruel system that it operates. I’ll list the problems as usual, but everyone will remain anonymous due to the very real fear of DWP reprisals.

The first person that I spoke to was a man who had a chest infection. He told me that he was too scared of not attending his appointment because he didn’t want to be sanctioned again. I informed him that he is allowed to hand a sicknote in but he told me that it wasn’t worth the risk, and he had already had enough bother off the Jobcentre and he wanted a quiet life. So instead he forced himself to his appointment even though he wasn’t well enough to do so. Yes the DWP really do rule with fear.

I spoke to another man who told me that he hadn’t been told that he’s claim is being shifted over to Universal Credit, and had only just found out. I informed him of his legal rights, signposted him to where he can get further information so that he can empower himself. This is essential to prevent any wrongdoings by the DWP. He promised that he would be doing this and he was thankful that I had spoken to him, and he walked away less worried than he had arrived. it’s a mess and the DWP know it. They really need to start informing people correctly about the changes coming to them, and in plenty of time, not when it is nearly upon them like a thunder cloud.

I spoke to a lovely woman who I spoke to last week. I wish that I could say that she was in a better financial and emotional state but she isn’t. She’s afraid that she might loose her home and is also hungry. I gave her a food parcel and really urged her to contact local services that can and will help her. She also has my telephone number and knows that she can phone me at any time.

Some people think that it’s easy to signpost people, and that they should access the services offered straight away but it isn’t. When you’ve had a pretty c***p life, been treated badly and have nothing many people learn to trust only familiar faces. I totally understand this and will help her to build her confidence up so that she is able to do this. But in a decent world she wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place would she.

Then we had another regular heckler approach us, he appeared to be in a bad mood.  He approached Gordon and proceeded to tell us that all the problems that we are having in this country are caused by ‘all the foreigners being let in…. And foreign aid’’. Gordon tried to talk reasonably and kindly to him but he wasn’t having this, so proceeded to shout to us all that were all ‘talking rubbish’. He then walked off, looking dissatisfied that we hadn’t given him the response that he wanted, whatever that might have been.

They never give up do they, spouting their racist, ill informed lies. I had a day of it myself on twitter yesterday (Wednesday) when local elected Tories decided that they’d have a go at me and what seemed to be half the FLA tweeting me. This shows that we have a lot of work to be done in this area doesn’t it.

I spoke to a young man who is a carer for his grandmother. He just wanted someone to talk to, have a chat because seeing his grandmother become ill has upset him a lot. We had a good chat and I signposted him to local and national groups that he can join for support.

I spoke to a man who I regularly speak to, he has very limited vision and is registered blind. His partner is dyslexic and also struggles reading. Despite more than a few letters of support to the DWP and their advisor at the Jobcentre they are still being sent written letters for appointments etc, and are asked to respond to them. How hard is it for the DWP to recognise that they can’t SEE the writing, and can’t READ them correctly either. All appointments etc have to be made via a telephone call, but this rarely happens.

Honestly they set disabled people up to fail constantly and it’s a good job that people like myself and their friends can read the letters for them. Just STOP discriminating against them please DWP and treat them like the decent human beings that they are. It’s not hard is it.

I spoke to a woman who has been volunteering at a placement for a while now. Her placement were so impressed with her work that they have offered her employment, but she has to wait a fortnight to start her job. In the meanwhile she has to continue volunteering.

She was over the moon about this, because it hasn’t been easy for her and she told her advisor. Her advisor then told her that she had to finish her placement there, even though she is starting work in a fortnight and start somewhere else.

This means that she will loose her job offer, and she’s depending on this job, like she said to me ‘It’s a massive achievement and I thought that my life would change for the better’

What exactly is the DWP playing at? She’s found a job yet they are actively preventing her from starting her job. Complete madness, their slogan ‘Making work pay’ is total hypocrisy, it’s madness.  Honestly you couldn’t make it up.

I signposted her straight away and told her of what she can do to prevent this happening.

I spoke to a man in passing and he told me that the Jobcentre is ‘Bloody pathetic and that they should change their name’. Yep.

I spoke to a person who will remain totally anonymous. They suffer from several disabilities and illnesses and to say that their struggle to survive every day is an understatement.

They had failed their ESA medical because they were too ill to attend it. No one had told them that they could remake an appointment or appeal against this decision. Letters from the DWP now scare them, so much so that they can now  cause a panic attack, their ESA element has now been stopped and they are living on the bare minimum, just buying food and not paying bills.

They started to cry, and told me that they didn’t know what to do. This system is cruel, heartless especially to the disabled, and this makes me both upset and angry.

I did what was the DWP should have done in the first place, which is basically their job in the ‘good old days’. I told them that they can appeal, that they should appeal and informed them of all the local help available etc. I’m very confident that after a good long chat today that they are feeling a bit better and will start the process of appealing.

I asked a young man how things were going and his response was ‘They are f****g idiots’ pointing to the Jobcentre. Obviously something wasn’t right but he wouldn’t elaborate and to be honest I can’t blame him. He probably wanted to get away as fast as possible.

I spoke to an older couple who are both trying to navigate the system. They have read our survival guide and now keep a good filing system and a good, written record. The man looked at me and said ‘I really thought that they would find me a job, I was wrong’ They both deserve so much better treatment than this, everyone does.

I spoke to a woman who has been trying to get a HC1 form from the front desk for what she said ‘ages now’. They had previously refused to give her a form. Today, like magic she was given her form at last. She told us that it was because we were standing there, and it wasn’t the awful G4S guard this time.

Polite reminder to G4S… You are SECURITY GUARDS, employed to do that only, and you are not employed to take personal details or hand forms out to people. STOP IT you are actually breaking the law.

I spoke to a person who has now been waiting 9 weeks for their ‘Limited Capability Assesment’ as part of their Universal Credit claim. Despite having a recent ESA assement, being transferred to Universal Credit has made this assessment null and void. So now a disabled person has been waiting for 9 weeks to have an assessment by the same company that did the original ESA assessment.

Nine weeks living on a bare minimum income, which doesn’t provide for their disability needs. Nine weeks. I hate Universal Credit, it’s abhorrent that disabled, vulnerable people are treated in this manner. It’s almost as if they are trying to starve people into submission or death, and in many cases this has worked.

I advised them etc, but this system makes me feel sick. Theresa May you should be ashamed (but you aren’t). The system is serving you very well isn’t it. Remember that this won’t last forever.

After the demo, I went for a cuppa with Kevin who had travelled miles to be with us, then I collected my daughter from school. Sats are now finished yippee!!!!

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They make me feel like a criminal and I’m not. Welcome to Universal Credit.

Hi readers, I need to apologise. I’m extremely late in publishing the blog this week because I have only just returned home. We went for a cuppa after the demo to warm up and I then had a meeting. After that I had to collect my daughter from school etc. Thank you for your patience.

Today was freezing cold, the warm weather that we had last week has long gone. I do worry how this is affecting everyone who is either street homeless or unable to buy gas and electric. I suppose that we shouldn’t have got too confident with the very short warm spell.

It was extremely busy today, it never stopped. Nearly every person that I speak to is vulnerable in one way or another, many are disabled but constantly punished by this punitive system. The full Universal Credit roll out is having a very negative effect on people, especially disabled people whom are now forced to claim the disability element of Universal Credit.

The first person that I spoke to had recently been taken off ESA. The reason being that he didn’t attend an appointment because he didn’t receive it. For anyone that says that this does’t happen I can assure you that it does, and it happens a lot. However there is no excuse for the DWP not to ensure that every claimant receives their letter on time or at all, there really is NO viable excuse. Of course they deny that this happens but you only have to spend some time outside your local Jobcentre and ask people if it’s happened to them.

I spoke to a man who likes to come and have a chat with me. He’s a lovely man and we could well be the only people that he sees in the week that aren’t of an official capacity. He told me that he wasn’t well and had just been to see his doctor who has told him that he has a chest infection. I gave him my coffee to take his tablet.

He told me that he is now ready to seek further help and is excited about doing this. This is wonderful news, and for anyone thinking that it’s easy to get people to engage it isn’t. Life is difficult, situations are difficult and it’s hard to trust folk. I’m positive that the next time that I see him he will be much healthier.

I spoke to a person who is sofa surfing, they also like to come and have a chat with us. They are recieving help from other local organisations but they like to come and chat. We like that because it’s so important to do so. Sofa surfing is very common indeed but it shouldnt be so.

I am not an expert on homelessness, I leave that to the experts and other local organisations however I have been homeless in the past and do have a certain level of understanding and can relate to people in that position. Hearing a kind word really does make a massive difference.

We spoke to some people who are living in temporary accomodation. They are also liaising with other local organisations but like to come and have a chat. I really enjoy speaking to them also. They are now navigating the benefit system but luckily they have a nice advisor atm. I know who this advisor is but can’t name them. Thank you for being kind.

I spoke to a person who had travelled quite a distance to attend an appointment that had been given to them on the telephone. They arrived was told abruptly that there wasn’t an appointment and that they had to leave.

There really is no excuse for this, we all know that the DWP’s computer system is rubbish at best but please, confirm that the appointment is still happening. People often travel a long way and are nervous about attending. Sort it out DWP.

I spoke to a person who has been unemployed for two weeks and are making their first Universal Credit claim. They told me that ‘It’s bloody ridiculous, how do they expect us to wait at least five weeks? They told me that I can get a loan but I have to pay it back so I won’t be doing that, it will make things even worse. How do they get away with this?’

He is of course correct.

I spotted quite a few people wearing uniforms having to use the Jobcentre. Don’t forget that even if you are working once you are transferred over to Universal Credit you have to sign on and comply to strict rules especially if you work part time. They tell you that you are ‘under employed’ so therefore have to find more work, ignoring of course childcare obligations etc. The DWP needs to stop doing this as well. It doesn’t encourage anyone, it just makes matters even worse.

I spoke to a person who was also having to claim Universal Credit for the first time. They told me that they are finding it hard because they struggle to read. We advised them and referred them to where they can get further help.

I spoke to a young person who told me that they are struggling because they have aspergers. They are claiming the disability element of Universal Credit and are really  struggling to cope with the system. They have been warned that if they don’t make more effort then they will be sanctioned.

For gods sake, they are trying. They are doing their best. I referred them to a local organisation, but they told me that they might find this difficult. Like I said, not everyone is able to access everything, nothing is straightforward. I handed them a leaflet, advised them and also told them where they can get free help and information online. They told me that they can and will do this. I also offered to accompany them to appointment to ensure that they are treated correctly, so I shall see if they take me up on my offer.

I briefly spoke to a person who was at first walking past us. I went to hand them a leaflet and they told me that they are on Universal Credit and are having to live on £96 a month. Yes a month. Please don’t tell me that this doesn’t happen because it does happen. Universal Credit is cruel, and relentless in it’s persecution of the poor. They took a leaflet and advice on where to get further help. They had nothing good to say about the system and I can’t blame him. Nor have I.

Lastly I spoke to a person whom was reluctant to speak at first. There are a lot of misconceptions about what we actually do outside the Jobcentre, and also people are nervous of speaking to anyone. It really does make people feel like that.

I handed him a leaflet and they asked us what we were doing so I told them. They took the leaflet and thanked me, looked me in the eyes and said ‘They are treating me like a criminal in there. I’m not a criminal and I hate it’

The DWP system does make people feel like this, because everyone is treated as being guilty for their own poverty. It’s intrinsic to the system, it’s designed to do so.

People shouldn’t be treated like this, the government are criminals for treating people like this and I hate it.

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This week has been an extremely busy week. We filmed with Sky News a while ago, and I wrote a short article alongside this. Ever since it has gone a bit crazy but in a good way. It has reminded me of how many good people there are in this country, people who care. THANK YOU.

https://news.sky.com/story/line-18-universal-credit-claimants-say-it-is-like-like-hell-on-earth-11339306

Have a read, theres also links to the video on the article. When I receive an update on the young man in the video I will let you know.

 

For anyone that still is under the misconception that the contents of my blog are untrue, or that its easy for people having to use the Jobcentre, or that there are plenty of suitable jobs out there come and join us. Come and see what it’s really like. Life is certainly not easy for most people.

A massive thanks to the usual crew who turned up today and to everyone that came to any hello, I’m sorry that I didn’t have time to speak properly.

Also a massive shout out to my friends over at Disabled People Against Cuts, and fellow blogger Kate Belgrave. Kate I owe you a cuppa.

We handed out all of our food parcels, handed a lot of leaflets out and I’d like to think that we have made a difference in their lifes.

I also would like to think that we are helping to highlight and change this system, it’s hard work but we need to do this. Please use your vote in the upcoming local elections, this is very important. You are important.

 

Please read, share, tweet, reblog, email and talk about my blog and the contents of my blog. Send a copy to your MP, even if they are Tory.

 

We will return again next week, come and say hello we really do appreciate it. I just hope that the weather improves!!.

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Full Universal Credit roll out, man sat outside Jobcentre for over 2 hours in awful weather, rude staff member and rude passer by. Will it ever end?

I’m so sorry that the blog is once again late this week, Ive been extremley busy and fell behind due to being unwell late last week and not feeling well again until Tuesday this week. I shouldn’t complain because there are people far more worse off than myself as I know.

 

I was so glad that we didn’t have a repeat of the awful stormy, snowy weather last week. It was deadly for some and so far there could be an estimated 2,000 people that have died as a result of this very long cold spell this winter. Fuel prices have gone up, benefits cut or taken away, the benefit cap taking away money that would have been previously used for heating homes also taken away, the list is so long and I could go on for ever.

 

Last week, myself and others campaigned on Twitter for the DWP to issue an official statement for claimants to state that they didn’t have to attend their appointments at the Jobcentre because of the weather. They issued a statement at 6.30pm, which was far too late for many. Indeed I spoke to a man today that walked miles in the storm, cold and snow in thin clothing to attend his appointment. He hadn’t been informed that he didn’t have to attend, so in fear of being sanctioned he waited outside in the cold for over two hours. For gods sake he could have become ill or die from hypothermia. Where is the humanity? I know that some DWP staff members care, but some don’t and there lieth the problem. They need to improve their notification service and the DWP also needs to start responding to requests. Getting information from them is like getting water from a stone.

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Today was very cold again and we had been threatened with snow, I was not impressed with the thought of more snow but thankfully we were spared, instead we got sleet and rain. A total nightmare for our local homeless comunity.

 

As Gordon and myself were taking the food parcels out from the boot of his car I was approached by a young lad. He was visibly upset. He was carrying his worldly belongings in a large Ikea bag and a carrier bag. He started crying and told me that he had just become street homeless. My heart went out to him, he was very young, vulnerable and needed help urgently. I signposted him to the local housing office, he came back and then went to our local homeless organisation.

He had also gone inside the Jobcentre to ask for help, but instead they gave him the usual piece of paper with a number on it and told him to phone a number despite him telling them that he had no phone.

He was so lovely, at the start of his adult life and to him it must have felt like the end of the road. There is no real reliable safety net for young people like this man, the government relies on every young person to have a family that will support them and access to technology. This isn’t a reality though is is, many people have no family support etc and there is no safety net anymore. I really hope that he is ok tonight I’m very worried about him.

 

 

Today we had a visit from Sky News who are making a programme about DWP related issues, so things were even busier than usual. They appeared shocked at how busy we were today and the extremes of problems that we help people with. I’ve learnt to multi task very well, so have members of the team.

We had six food parcels and some lovely hot food cooked and brought to us by a friend off Facebook named Tina. This food was very welcome because many people haven’t ate nice hot food for a long time.

 

Ashton Under Lyne now has a full roll out of Universal Credit, so things will no doubt become much worse. I’ll keep you posted about this. I did try and raise awareness about this, but my voice isn’t loud at times but I try.

 

Here is another example of the stupidity of the DWP system and how they like to keep a claimant on their toes and under their control.

We spoke to an older chap who told us that he had only just started to claim benefits. His claim had gone through after a very long wait and this is an example of exactly what he has had to do this week.

He attended his signing on appointment on Monday, his FIRST one.

He was sent to a ‘careers advice’ course at the Jobcentre on Tuesday… These courses are generally pretty rubbish and if they had listened to him in the first place they would have known that he already had a profession, but just needs a job.

Thursday (today) he had to attend an appointment just to tell them what happened. For goodness sake, that could have been dealt with at his next signing on appointment. Give the chap time to breathe and to actually look for work.

He recieved a letter this morning (Thursday) telling him to attend an appointment, but the letter had two different appointment times on it… He had difficulty getting a correct answer as to when he should attend this appointment.

He said that getting an answer for this was hard, I can believe that. The system is broken, it just doesnt work, departments do not communicate with each other and nor are they making any effort to do so. As a result people are suffering, but hey, the government does not care one jot and nor should we expect them to.

 

I spoke to a man very briefly who told me that he receives his payments on a special payment card. Thats one to watch out for folks. He hadn’t recieved his usual payment and didn’t have a clue why. They gave him a telephone number that he couldn’t use due to having no phone. I signposted him to another local organisation because he needed extra help for some other issues also. Lovely men, just needing a helping hand.

 

A young woman said hello, then walked into the Jobcentre. Ten Minutes later she walked out and I asked her if she needed any help. She told me that she had recieved a letter to attend the Jobcentre today and she arrived at the time stated. She informed the front desk, and a member of staff  said to her very rudely “what makes you think that YOU have an appointment today” She answered “Because I have a letter” the member of staff then told her that she must return home to get the letter or they wouldn’t aknowledge that she had an appointment. She did just this, but was now late.

More DWP stupidity and a member of staff being pedantic and rude. This isn’t nice, and is bad practice. But thats the norm these days except for the odd nice member of staff.

 

 

We spoke to a lovely man and his wife. He had been in the army and was injured so as a result had to leave the army. His wife became his carer and this should have been allowed to continue, however it wasn’t. The DWP told her wrongly that she couldn’t be his carer anymore and that she had to claim Jobseekers Allowance. She was subsequently sanctioned three times as a result. Luckily they spent their time reading about their legal rights etc regarding their benefits and what they are entitled to. She is now her husbands carer again, but the stress of going through all that will never leave them. How dare the DWP do this to them,always arm yourself with the facts if faced with a situation like this. It’s so important to.

 

 

Our regaular heckler turned up again today, shouting at us and calling us all scroungers and scumbags whilst waving her umbrella at us all. She targeted John as usual. She was awful, and there is no need for this kind of behaviour. If she doesn’t like us then just walk past, but then again shes told us in the past that she hates all unemployed people, regardless of illness and disability. We shouldn’t have to put up with this. I informed her that I was phoning the police and she walked away rather quickly.

 

 

For the person that informed me that we have only been doing this for 3 1/2 months and ONLY hand out food parcels, I suggest that you read my blog correctly. In fact I found a video of us doing this from 2013. We work hard, I work very hard documenting all this and trying to raise awareness as well as writing about it. Please give us some more credit.

 

A massive thank you to everyone that arrived to help out today, it was lovely to see Roy, Keith and Ashley today as well as Gordon, John and Christine.

 

We handed out food parcels, warm food, some warm clothes donated by Ria, help, advice, survival guides, solidarity and have comforted people when they were feeling at their lowest. We need to stop and scrap this awful system because it’s failing EVERYONE.

 

 

Please read, share, email and talk about my blog. For all the readers and supporters of my blog and the campaign you literally keep me going, its extremely hard work.

This week I’ve attended meetings, had an article published in The Guardian (unpaid), spoke to people on the phone, had an article published in The Morning Star and have been interviewed by Sky News. This is all to raise awareness and I don’t get paid. We need to stop this barbaric system and soon.

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What’s the point in trying to stop them from sanctioning me? They do it anyway. A man defeated by the system.

I’m going to start this weeks blog by thanking all of my readers, supporters, followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook. Also I want to than all my activist friends for their support.

Today was absolutely freezing cold. Not only did I have to contend with walking the mile to school on what was effectively sheet ice, the wind chill was awful. I really don’t know how anyone that is street homeless survives in this weather. I only stood for nearly a couple of hours and I was chilled to the bone. The national and local severe weather emergency provision is unsatisfactory also. All different authorities use differing thermometers and rulings. Once the weather on their individual thermometers reaches above zero then there isn’t any provision.

They don’t keep in mind that their thermometers can be wrong, and people can and do still die on the streets in above zero temperatures. Today with the cold, and wind chill it’s much colder than they think. Ultimately it’s all about saving money though and denying responsibility. A national system needs to be introduced, where every local authority uses the same temperature measure, ideally the Met Office and take things like wind chill, feels like temperature and rain into account.

Anyway I have digressed from the demo, but it’s a subject that I’m passionate about. I speak to many street homeless folk and I can’t imagine the hell that they go through on a daily basis.

 

Anyway like I’ve said it was cold, so much so that we had to leave 20 minutes early. There was only three of us, and a couple of friends came to say hello, thank you! I’m always wary that I don’t want anyone to become ill. But I apologise anyway.

 

The first person that I spoke to today was a lady who told me that she was grieving. There had been a death in her family and she was trying to cope as well as keep up with the DWP regime. She had handed a sick note in, but unfortunately it had ran out so back on the treadmill she goes. I handed her a leaflet which she was thankful for.

 

I spoke to a lady who was new to the DWP system due to a relationship breakdown. She has two children, one still very young, but her advisor has given her an unreasonable job search time in her claimant commitment. I advised her and she will be taking this further. I gave her a survival guide which she was grateful for.

 

We spoke to an older man who’s son is claiming Universal Credit . His told us that his son is 50 years old and has a degree. He is looking for work and is doing his best. He told us that the DWP staff are ‘buggers’ who don’t help anyone but themselves. It must be awful seeing his son in this position and worrying about him also.

 

We spoke to a man who had won two tribunals to reinstate his JSA payments, but the DWP are still refusing to pay him. The DWP have given him all sorts of rubbish excuse that don’t amount to any substance at all, and they are ignoring the tribunals order to pay him his money. He will be appealing this though, he’s very knowledgeable and will hopefully be visiting the Law Centre in Manchester for further help.

 

I spoke to a few people that were walking out of the Jobcentre clutching colourful, glossy brochures. They informed me that they contain information about a health and wellbeing course at a local college. I will endeavour to get further details of these courses.

 

We spoke to an older man who looked very despondent. We asked him what the problem was and he told us that he was sick of that place (the Jobcentre). We handed him a leaflet and told him that it would help him, and hopefully prevent him from being sanctioned. He looked at the leaflet, looked at us and said “What’s the point? They do it anyway.” That, readers are the words of a defeated man. His pride has gone, and the system has ground him down as much as it can. This is what the system does to people, it takes a person’s spirit from them, I’ve seen it countless times and it sickens me.

 

I spoke to a lady who I speak to on a weekly basis. She’s so lovely and always has a smile for us despite having a hard time. She has had the flu, works for 12 hours a week and relies on the top up element of Universal Credit. Because she claims the top up element she still has to do a weekly job search which she keeps to stringently. Today her advisor told her that she hadn’t looked for work enough. Luckily for her she proved that she had done so. She was so close to wrongly having her top up wrongly sanctioned, and thanks to our advice she had the evidence. This is how easy it is to be sanctioned and it angers me.

 

We handed out 6 food parcels, all full to the top, handed out extra bread, handed out copies of our survival guides, gave comapssion, understanding and sympathy. All of those qualities the DWP are devoid of. I’m very sad to say that we had to leave early, 20 minutes early but we were really cold. I’m still cold. But we will return next week as usual and will be there for the full two hours.

Steve if you are reading this get well soon!

Thanks to my rocks Gordon and Roy for coming today. I’m very aware that it wasn’t easy for you so a massive thank you.

 

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They don’t want us to survive. Eviction proceedings. Universal Credit cruelty never ends.

Dear readers, I write this weeks blog with a heavy heart. I had some terrible news this morning but I’ll be ok and it’s not about me is it.

After what feels like weeks of endless sunshine we have had a bit of rain which was welcomed by most people. The mood outside the Jobcentre was low which is expected. I’ll list todays conversations as usual. Every person that we spoke to was offered help, advice, a copy of our survival guide and a food parcel if needed.

Over four years on and I can’t believe that I am actually still outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre like this. Instead of getting better it’s become worse.

Don’t be fooled by Esther McVey’s lies. Universal Credit isn’t running smoothly, people aren’t being transitioned from legacy benefits onto Universal Credit smoothly and people are not getting adequate support either. DWP staff are struggling to understand the system and some aren’t implementing policies correctly either.

The ultimate result is that people are suffering needlessly. It’s a cruel system created and implemented by a sadistic government that are hell bent on making the poor and disabled suffer as much as possible. I’m surprised that I can say that without swearing. #

 

I was stopped by a man almost as soon as I arrived. He needed a food parcel, he’s struggling so I had a good chat with him. He told me that he wasn’t well but hunger had driven him from his sick bed.

 

A woman rushed past with her head held down. She didn’t want to talk and it appeared as if she just wanted to get in the Jobcentre so that it’s over with. Totally understandable.

 

I spoke to a man that has had his ESA and PIP stopped because he had been declared fit for work. He isn’t fit for work, he’s in constant pain and is going into hospital soon to have another operation. He is appealing this decision and he took a food parcel. A lovely man who, due to no fault of his own became ill.

 

I said hello to a heavily pregnant woman, she took a copy of our survival guide and rushed into the Jobcentre. She can’t work now, but still the DWP continue harassing heavily pregnant women to find a job.

 

We spoke to a lady that had been sent out of the Jobcentre for being ten minutes early. She couldn’t believe it, she has only just started the process of claiming Universal Credit and told me that the whole process is ridiculous.

 

I spoke to a man that was very confused with as to what he should be claiming and his entitlements. For over the past week he told me he had been given conflicting advice from different people. I had a conversation with him, tried to explain things simply and guided him through the process.

 

We spoke to a lovely woman who has requested that her circumstances remain private. I can tell you that she was very upset, confused and felt unsupported. It never gets easy when you see someone break down in tears. Thankfully she will be supported now, and advice was given. Just talking to someone with compassion helps so much, it’s not hard and more people should do this. Let’s be kind to each other.

 

I spoke to a woman that is due to be evicted from her home due to debts caused by her wait for Universal Credit. As we were speaking a man that was standing behind me interrupted and said that this had also happened to him. She’s trying to get a delay with the eviction process, but soon she will be homeless. Shes an older woman with health problems. I am worried about her, I have signposted her and will be attending court with her if possible.

Eviction due to Universal Credit rent arrears isn’t unusual sadly. It’s silently happening to a lot of people but it appears to be going under the radar at the moment. Our homeless population is growing massively as a result and I hate this government for their policies regarding this. It needs to stop.

 

I asked a man that I regularly speak to how he was feeling today and if he was coping ok. He said “Well I’m not dead yet”. That, my friends just about sums it up doesn’t it.

 

I spoke to an older man that told us joyously that he has at last found a job at a local mill as a spinner, his trade when he was younger. He told me that he had been forced to claim Universal Credit for four months and that those four months were the worst four months of his life. We wished him the best of luck with his new job, and I personally can’t thank the mill for employing him. He will be happy now and that means everything.

 

I had a long conversation with a man  trying to explain what Universal Credit is, how she should make a claim, what the process is, discussed the waiting time and explained about the loans that are offered whilst waiting for a claim to be processed and how they have to be paid back. No one had taken the time to explain this in length to him, in detail etc. It’s a complicated process and it’s not something that can be rushed. People need to know the details, but sadly they don’t do they. Instead everything is rushed with little explanation or care.

 

I’m sorry the blog is short, but we spoke to many different people today all with varying problems all of which were urgent in their own right. Not one person that we spoke to is having an easy time, all were stressed and most were unhappy and felt lost.

This governments cruelty appears to be never ending.  The government are very quick to invent new ways of making the poor and disabled people suffer.  In their eyes they don’t matter at all. They matter to me though. I care about each and every person that I speak to and I will continue to oppose the governments cruelty against them.

I will return next week to help more people. Be kind to each other, encourage conversation because this really does matter more than you think.

 

Please read, share rt, email my blog. I do my best to do this but I do need help to do so. Many don’t realise that I’m a skint single mum that just wants to help others, its as simple as that. I also want to change things, to end the cruelty and to raise awareness. It’s not easy, especially on days like today but I will continue the good fight hoping that one day we will win.

 

Many thanks to everyone that does and has  supported my blog. You really do make a difference, thank you.

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Universal Credit isn’t fit for purpose, but it inflicts endless suffering upon innocent, vulnerable people. This weeks blog.

Dear readers, I’m sorry for the delay in writing this weeks blog and publishing it. A missing bus and daughter duties are to blame. Here it is and I hope that you enjoy it. Enjoy is the wrong word to use I know because its damn depressing but imagine how depressed people are when trying to cope with this system.

Before I list everything that happened today, I have to mention something. Hardly any of the people that we speak to are what you would describe as being ‘fit and well’, none are scroungers and most are desperately trying their best to manage despite living in desperate poverty.

New clothes, nights out, trips to the cinema are a thing of the past and having a meal in a restaurant can only be dreamed of. We handed out five food parcels in the space of half an hour, all to people that are desperate, are awaiting Universal Credit payments and are also struggling to cope whilst living on Universal Credit. So please don’t message me saying that they are ‘trying it on’ are ‘scroungers’ and aren’t worthy of sympathy. What has happened to them can and does happen to anyone.

 

The first man that I spoke to looked confused and distressed. This was his first time attending the Jobcentre. He is a manual labourer  and has had to take time off work because he had been attacked quite badly. He told me that he couldn’t believe how difficult that it is to get any help from the Jobcentre and he’s waiting for his first Universal Credit payment. He’s been waiting for two weeks so has got a long wait still and he hopes to have found more work by then.

This man needs time to recover and recuperate, but the government won’t allow this. Get to work is their mantra, despite what your circumstances are and your ability to do so.

 

 

I spoke to two homeless chaps that I generally speak to every week. They are lovely chaps but are struggling at the moment. They need more intensive help but it just isn’t available at the moment, the government cut the funding so we now have thousands of people like these chaps walking the streets. It’s awful. In reality it would work out cheaper in the long run if the government actually funded this help because emergency housing, visits to a&e all amount up. It’s cruel.

 

I spoke to another homeless man who is living in a tent out of the immediate area. He’s claiming Universal credit and is struggling. He proudly told me that he has been clean for a long while now and is trying to improve his life. He has had news that he might be in with a chance of getting a flat to live in so everything crossed for him.

 

Roy and Gordon spoke to a young woman who is forced to live in unsuitable accommodation. She has no choice but to stay there either because of the shortage in social housing.

 

I spoke to an older man, he’s lost his job and is now faced with the challenge of trying to fathom out the Universal Credit system. He told me that the last time that he was unemployed was in the 1980’s and things were very different then. He went on to say that back then he was given help, guidance, and was shown how to do things. He actually had help to find a job. Now, he said you are just left on your own without a clue in the world, trying to cope with a massively complex system and having to go for weeks without a payment. “They want you to die don’t they”. He isn’t wrong there is he.

 

 

I spoke to a woman that has been mandated to attend one of their so called ‘miracle’ courses. To attend this course they have to provide proof of ID, the ID being a passport, driving licence, birth certificate or a household bill. Now I’m very aware that this has been going on for years but this is DWP bureaucracy gone mad. No one that isn’t forced to attend these courses actually wants to be there, no one wants to sneak in either. Proof of their benefit entitlement from the DWP or a letter from them should be enough. It’s another expensive hurdle to cross, and it can be an expensive one also.

 

We helped an older lady out with her Council Tax court summons. She had received a letter saying that she had to attend court for non payment even when she had already paid over half the bill. A member of our team E, took her over to the council offices where she spoke to an officer. They quashed the court order, quashed the court costs and gave her a better payment plan than she had already agreed to. Who says that we do nothing……  Needless to say she was very happy now that she doesn’t have the threat of court hanging over her head anymore.

Council tax is a massive worry that is constantly looming upon most of the people that I speak to including myself. The supposedly ‘small’ amount that they have to pay, which isn’t small is often unpayable. Eating and rent has to be a priority. I do still campaign against the council tax supplement and the whole council tax system but no one is talking about it anymore. It’s been accepted that the poor should pay a large chunk of their meagre income towards this and it shouldn’t be accepted it needs to be fought.

 

We noted an older man struggling to walk into the Jobcentre, he didn’t want to talk but it broke my heart seeing this. Many older people will have the worry of the DWP hanging over them until their death. Horrible.

 

I spoke to a 57 year old woman that suffers from several illnesses, all debilitating. She struggled to attend the Jobcentre and I handed her a leaflet. She told me that she had been given little advice except that she should claim PIP. I agreed and I advised her further. She told me that she was glad that I was there to speak to, because now her path is much clearer.

 

I spoke to a woman who has only just started to receive her Universal Credit payments. She told me that she now has to survive on £200 a month which equates to £50 a week for a four week month, even less in a five week month.

That’s £50 a week or less. Out of that food has to be bought, gas and electricity to be paid, council tax to be paid, the bedroom to be paid and any other system.

So don’t tell me that the people that I speak to have it easy, they don’t. They are living in poverty with no hope, and no future that they can see. Universal Credit is working ok for the government though. It’s systematically making sure that the poorest and most vulnerable people in society suffer, it encourages them to give up and lowers the unemployment figures.

Oh and Esther Mcvey can stuff her lies where the sun doesn’t shine. We all knew that she was lying, she knew that she was lying and yet she still continues to smirk at us all.

 

I spoke to a man struggling with the online system of Universal Credit. “It baffles me he said, I know how to use a computer but this is beyond ridiculous” Yep! it is.

 

I spoke to a woman that had been refused to accompany her friend into the Jobcentre. Her friend is vulnerable and really needed her support. Come on Ashton Jobcentre, do I need to tell you the rules about allowing a person to be accompanied again? How many times do I have to repeat myself…. A person is allowed to be accompanied. There I said it again.

 

So here it is, all this happened in less than two hours. We worked hard and many thanks to Roy and Gordon. The amount of suffering is unprecedented and even though I often regard myself to be extremely wise to the system, I’m still often shocked. The government needs to stop this, the system needs to be challenged more and unemployed people are important. They are trying to survive an inhumane system and they are all heroes in my eyes.

 

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Please read, share, RT, email my blog. I do my best and as a single parent running this campaign can be challenging at times. but we must continue to fight against this terrible system because people are dying and it needs to stop.

 

Older man who has had two strokes and two heart attacks declared fit for work. Stop your ESA claim and apply for Universal Credit to receive housing benefit, even though they don’t have to by law. Welcome to hell.

Dear readers, today has been very upsetting and stressful, not only for the people that I have spoken to but for myself also. I’m absolutely furious on their behalf. You see I cannot stand any kind of injustice and it’s been pretty dire today. But it’s not about me and I realise that.

The weather was very hot for a change and the smoke coming from the moorland fire has decreased thankfully. I can’t praise our firefighters enough. You might have seen me mention this on the Victoria Derbyshire programme yesterday.

Anyway, enough about me. After reading this I’m certain that you will be both furious and upset. I’m sorry but this is what it’s like and I can’t apologise for this. I’m not a fan of sugar coating reality, especially when people are suffering.

 

The first person that I spoke to today was a man struggling with his gas and electricity meter. He lives in a privately rented flat, his meters are outside his flat and they’ve been damaged. This is a common occurrence with this block of flats, and having no joy with the landlord he telephoned his energy supplier. They in turn informed him that it’s his landlords responsibility and he was on his way to speak to his landlord again. I hope that he manages to get it sorted out.

 

I spoke to a man who had been considering committing suicide the previous weekend. He has contact with the mental health team and takes medication, but sometimes this isn’t enough. The government has deprived NHS mental health services of funding and they can no longer provide many of the services that they used to provide. He told me  that being alive is pointless and what’s the point in continuing. Thankfully we had a long chat and he changed his mind. He knows that he can phone me if he needs someone to talk to.

 

I spoke to an older man who honestly looked like he should be retired already. He was reluctant to speak at first, but thankfully he did. He told me that he had worked all his life, and due to no fault of his own has found himself to be unemployed and claiming Universal Credit. He has went on to say that he has had two strokes and two heart attacks. After having a Universal Credit medical assessment they declared him fit for work. I informed him that he can and should appeal this decision, but to be honest he looked completely done in, not able to cope with the system and extremely fed up.

Seeing him walk away so despondent upset both my colleagues and myself. A man with his health conditions should be allowed to retire. I’m a great advocate of lowering the retirement age for all to sixty if they should wish to retire. Many of the older people that I speak to are worn out and need to be given that option. Instead they are made to complete endless job searches and attend pointless courses. It’s sickening. Lets treat our older generation with some decency and respect please.

 

I spoke to a young man that has already been waiting three weeks for his Universal Credit payments to be processed. Of course they had demanded a copy of his birth certificate and luckily this had been paid for (not by the DWP). I believe that the DWP should pay for a copy of a birth certificate if they require one, but they don’t and this leaves many, many people in a desperate situation.

 

I spoke to a young man that was obviously distressed. He told me that he has an active claim for ESA and is due his payment next week. He is NOT claiming Universal Credit, he is receiving JSA alongside this. His circumstances have not changed since applying for ESA.

He went to the local council offices to make a claim for Housing Benefit only to be told that he can’t claim it and that he has to take himself off ESA and onto Universal credit. I have a problem with this. The DWP have stopped transferring  people that are already claiming ESA onto Universal Credit, the rules have been changed, but it appears that someone working for the local authority isn’t aware of this ruling change or some kind of decision has been made locally to encourage everyone to claim Universal Credit locally.

Incidentally, as you will read later he wasn’t the only person to tell me that this has happened to them. I have approached the housing benefit department for an answer to this,  and I also have informed by local MPS office expressing my concerns. I will update if there is a response from the local Housing Benefit department. My local MPs office are also very concerned. Thank goodness we have very good MPs in our area.

 

I spoke to a newly unemployed woman. She told me that her husband is older than herself (64) have both been made homeless and her partner wasn’t  in the best of health when this occurred.

They had both worked all of their adult lives’ and I say this because it really doesn’t matter if you have. The government will still treat you with disdain and disgust and no one will receive any better treatment.

They were previously privately renting a house, as many do due to the shortage of social housing. Upon being told to evict the premises by bailiffs they did as they were told, they attended our local housing options office to declare their homeless status. They were both given a quick assessment to find out if they were entitled to any emergency housing. They were told that they weren’t and they were both ‘fit for the streets’. Yes that is the exact words that were used.

Resigned to their fate, they did just that and lived on the streets, walking for twelve hours a day. This had a very detrimental effect on her partners health and a growth on his leg burst causing an infection. They rushed to A&E, were treated and then contacted Housing Options of their change of circumstances.

Luckily they were then housed and were given temporary accommodation. She had to fight for this, because at first she was told that they would only help her partner. I can’t imagine how scared she must have been. But she fought her corner and won.

This is how easy anyone can become homeless. Losing a job, a private landlord selling up. It can happen to ANYONE. Luckily, and I don’t say luckily easily because it’s been extremely stressful for them both, they are both doing much better now. As they are now awaiting their first Universal Credit payment I handed them a food parcel and informed them of all the local organisations that can help them.

This country is really screwed up isn’t it. Local authorities with a very limited money to spend on emergency housing are setting the bar so high that it’s very hard for people to be housed in emergency accommodation.  The government should be condemned for their reduction in funding and also for the decision that anyone should be forced to live like this, let alone a near elderly man.

Roy spoke to a 61 year old woman that has had her work hours reduced from 16 1/2 hours. Her son has also recently finished college and her income has been greatly reduced. She’s looking for more work hours but is finding it impossible. I cannot forgive the government for increasing the womens retirement age.

She told us that the government are heartless and that she can fully understand why people want to kill themselves.

 

I then spoke to another young man that has an active claim for ESA. He has also been told by the local housing benefit department that he has to stop his claim for ESA and claim Universal Credit in order to receive Housing benefit.  I was furious, not only is this incorrect he suffers from mental health issues and has been told by his doctor that he cannot work. I offered advice etc and signposted him. So now he is worried about loosing his home on top of being ill already, and awful combination.

I have reported this back to my local MP and attempted to contact the local council. As stated earlier I’m still awaiting a response.

 

I then took a telephone call from a man that is quite knowledgeable on DWP related matters. He went into Ashton Jobcentre and asked them to fax his fit note to  the relevant ESA department. His request was denied and he was told that Ashton Jobcentre is part of a pilot scheme that is refusing to fax fit notes.

I shall endeavour to find out if this is correct, but if it’s true or he has been lied to I’m furious. How are disabled and ill claimants expected to find a fax machine? Needless to say this angered me.

 

I spoke to an older lady that is really struggling on the Universal Credit system. She told me her story and I have signposted her to speak to her local councillors. They will help her, they are a fab, proactive group in Mossley and I’m certain that they will help her.

 

There you have it folks, just two hours of one day. We spoke to many extremely vulnerable people all of which have been subjected to obstructions placed in their way at every step, all of which are punitive and designed to put a person, regardless of disability, age, sex and  nationality from claiming their rightful social security payments.

We live in a country that is ran by a government that despises the poor and vulnerable. They discriminate against them at every given opportunity and constantly are inventing new ways of doing this. Please join us in the fight to STOP this discrimination and the system that also is responsible for this, because honestly I haven’t got a clue how much more people can take.

A massive thank you to everyone that came along and gave up their free time to help.

 

 

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Today we handed out five food parcels, offered countless advice and made a difference to people’s lives’. I wish that we didn’t need to be there, but today proved that we do need to carry on and I will continue to document it.

We should never forget the cruelty that the government has inflicted upon those in the most need.

 

Thank you to everyone that reads, supports and shares my blog. I really do appreciate this and I don’t have enough time to thank everyone personally. Here’s a massive THANK YOU. Both you and my colleagues keep  me going. It can be very stressful and knowing that you support both myself and the campaign means a lot to me.

Vulnerable man constantly sanctioned, when will this Universal Credit hell end?

Hello readers, and an extra hello to all the new subscribers to my blog. I welcome you with open arms and I hope that you enjoy reading my blog. Enjoy is perhaps the wrong word to use because it can be very upsetting reading. But it’s essential reading, so many people don’t realise how awful the DWP and Universal Credit system is.

 

My apologies for last week, I wasn’t well but I’m on the mend now, thankfully. This week has been a very busy one and a big thank you to everyone that took the tome to watch my interview on Channel 4 news and my interview on Talk Radio also. I don’t do it for personal fame, far from it, I mean who wants to look at my ugly mug on the TV. I do it to raise awareness, and to hopefully one day get justice for each and every person that is suffering, has suffered or has died at the hands of this inhumane and brutal system.

I shall list todays happenings as I usually do. Everyone shall and will remain anonymous. This is important and I respect that. Also for anyone calling me a liar, my conversations are witnessed by others.

I would like to thank everyone that stopped to speak to me today. I realise that it takes a lot of courage to talk to a complete stranger anyway, especially when upset, angry and distressed. Thank you so much, you are all my heroes each and every one of you.

Everyone that myself and team members spoke to recieved help, advice, guidance, signposting, a copy of our survival guide and if needed a food parcel. No one leaves us empty handed.

 

The first person that I spoke to was a disabled man using a walking stick to walk. He looked stressed and didn’t say a lot but his words summed up the whole situation perfectly. He told me that Universal Credit is crap, that his life was ok before. Now he never knows when he’s getting a payment, if its a correct payment and will he be able to manage for the month. He told me that he’s now got rent arrears as a result, and he’s never had this in the past. he’s upset and fed up. Who can blame him.

 

I spoke to a person who has been waiting over 8 weeks for their first Universal Credit payment to be made. The stress has taken it’s toll and they are trying their best to cope. I can’t stress how hard it is to cope without anything for at least eight weeks. Even if they get a loan from the DWP this usually goes on bills, rent, gas and electric. Food becomes an afterthought. There is no excuse as to why Universal Claims have to take this long to be processed but they do. The government likes it this way. I will continue to challenge this as will others.

 

I spoke to an older woman who was struggling to walk with two crutches. She was also very out of breath and I was very worried about her. She told me that she was ok, but she clearly wasn’t.

Her situation is this. Dispite a very visible disability she was declared fit for work at her recent ESA medical. She has asked for a mandatory reconsideration and in the meantime is trying to survive. She enquired  about mortgage relief, and I had to give her the bad news that this doesn’t exist anymore. She owes council tax also and she had just been to the court buildings to try and sort that out.

Of course I advised her correctly and signposted her to relevant organisations etc. To see her struggling like that was awful, no humane government should make any person suffer this way.

 

A woman who was obviously distressed muttered something in the direction of the Jobcentre and rushed off. She obviously needed to get away from the building. Who can blame her.

 

I spoke to a man with a broken arm that has  a housing related problem. We had a good chat and I signposted him to a local organisation that can help. Armed with this knowledge he promised that he would do this.

 

We were stopped by a man who told us that all socialist policies are rubbish. Whilst he was giving us an earful, he was clutching a NHS medicine bag containing medicine dispensed at an NHS chemist. He obviously is taking full advantage of a socialist policy, free healthcare for all that need it. Very ironic I thought and we all had a chuckle at this.

 

I spoke to a young man that has been given sanction after sanction for the same reason every time. His situation is a bit complicated, so hang on you’ll get it in the end. He was addicted to pescription drugs and is going through the rehab process. He had been sanctioned in November, March and June. He has been ill, and had missed an appointment and had explained this to his advisor. They told him that they understood and he was given another appointment. But he was still sanctioned.

He has appealed all these sanction decisions and he has won every time. However this hasn’t stopped the DWP from not understanding his situation and not listening to him. And anyway he should be on ESA. He wasn’t told that he was entitled to do this so now he’s been trying to cope with Universal Credit. It’s complicated I know, but it does make sense.

So now he’s sanctioned again. He asked his advisor how he is supposed to manage, they told him that he has to learn how to manage his money. Excuse me what money. You cant manage money that he hasn’t got. Yep he must have a magic money tree eh.

I advised him and referred him to our local MP. I’m confident that this will be sorted out now, but to make a vulnerable young man that is trying his best to become fit and well again, suffer like this is inexcusable. People need help not punishement. No just no. Stop doing this.

 

I spoke to a man who had to walk for two hours to reach Ashton Jobcentre. Yes two hours. He had no money for bus fares so had to walk, otherwise they would be sanctioned I’ve no doubt about that.

 

We spoke to a young couple that were being messed around by the DWP. We advised them etc. Awful.

 

I spoke to another disabled woman that was rushing for her appointment. The government doesn’t respect disability in any shape or form. Shame on them.

 

We noted quite a few pregnant women and new mums having to go into the Jobcentre. Enjoying a pregnancy or a new baby is near impossible these days.

 

I spoke to a man that told me how awful the new ‘find a job’ system is. His work coach hadn’t given him any warning that he was being transferred over to the new system so now he’s behind with his job search. They might sanction him for this, they might not. Who knows, it depends on the work coach. It wouldn’t have taken them two minutes to pre warn him would it. Thanks for that.. Not.

 

We spoke to two disabled women who had been switched over to Universal Credit before the judgement was made last week. Both are far worse off financially as a result. One of the women was told that her payments would stay the same. What a lie. The other lady had a pacemaker, is seriously ill and has had four heart attacks. As a result of her income being lowered, her internet has been cut off which is vital for her medical needs. She also has a heart monitor that sends readings directly to the hospital via the internet. She’s also waiting for a heart transplant.

I advised her, told her where to go to get good solid advice straight away. She shouldn’t be forced to live like this. It’s diabolical. Please can I have a magic wand for everyone in the same position as her. I want to make it better for her but I can only do my best.

I also informed her of the court judgement etc. I am up to date with everything.

 

This was a typical two hours outside the Jobcentre. Can you imagine how much suffering is going on throughout the country on a daily basis? It’s an unprecedented amount of needless suffering.

It doesn’t have to be this way, we realise this but many don’t. Many think that the poor and disabled should suffer because they are all scroungers. I can tell you that not one person that I’ve spoken to throughout the years is a scrounger and the only scroungers in this country are the multi national companies and millionaires that refuse to pay their taxes. This needs to change but you don’t need me to tell you that of course.

Thank you for reading my blog, thank you to everyone that came along to support us. We attend despite illness and bad weather because we know that people are needing help and advice.

Thank you to everyone that supports and has supported my blog.

As for me I’ll continue as usual and one day we might get justice but I won’t hold my breath.

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It’s not an illness if I can’t see it. Want to know what Universal Credit is like? Read this.

Dear readers, as you know I’ve been blogging for a few years now, maybe more than that but I’ve lost count. Days merge into months and quickly into years. I’m betting that most of you can relate to this.

Today has been extremely busy both outside the Jobcentre and the phone hasn’t stopped ringing and emails have been pouring in. People want to know what Universal Credit is really like, and also want to speak to people on Universal Credit. The reason for this is that the DWP has been taken to court via a test case and have been found guilty by the high court of acting unlawfully by denying claimants a lifetime  top up for severe disability. This is a fantastic achievement, however they are appealing this decision so watch this space.

Many of the people that I speak to weekly were previously awarded a lifetime top up but are now denied this. Thank you so much to everyone involved with this court case, its a landmark win and was vitally needed.

 

So for those reading this and wanting to know what life on Universal Credit is like, I can tell you before you read the report from today. It’s awful, dire, stressful, it controls your life and takes away any freedom that a person previously had. It’s discriminatory, doesn’t take illness and disability seriously and seriously holds a grudge against people with disabilities and single parents. Basically its become a tool to harass and hurt the poor. I don’t say this lightly, I speak from experience.

 

No real guidance is given and it’s much like being thrown into the lions den, people are scared and quite rightly so. The DWP basically hold them to ransom under the promise of a payment. Break the rules accidentally etc and they stop their payments which are a lifeline to them. Fail a farcical ESA and PIP medical and you are left with nothing, trying to scramble for help. It’s vile.

 

The first person that I spoke to this morning had failed her ESA medical. She’s disabled and is struggling to cope. She is appealing this decision and is waiting for an appointment to do so, but in the meantime she has no food and no gas and electricity. Not liking crowds she can’t just walk into places where she doesn’t feel certain of  but thankfully felt confident enough to speak to me.

I helped her, gave her a food parcel and sorted out her gas and electric. What sort of a world do we live in where disabled people are left to starve, literally.

 

I spoke very briefly to an Eastern European gentleman who looked stressed and busy. He didnt say much but he didnt need to, his face said it all. For those of the persuasion that believe that immigrants are ‘well off’ and ‘get everything’, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Come and spend some time with us and you’ll soon see this.

 

We spoke to a man who was leaving the Jobcentre. He looked in pain and he was wearing a very large, full back brace. I asked him if he was ok, and he told me that he wans’t. He had broken his vertebrae in three places and had also shattered his wrist in an accident. The DWP hadn’t told him that he can and should be claiming the disability element of Univeral Credit, and that they should in theory be going ‘easier’ on him. Of course readers will know that theory is very different from reality isn’t it. We gave him some valuable advice, handed him a survival guide and wished him well.

We know that he should be taking time to recover but the DWP are very reluctant to do so. It’s almost as if they hate the disabled……

 

I spoke to a man woman who is on Universal Credit. She has to pay back repayments for her loans that she took out whilst waiting for her Universal Credit to be processed. They have informed her that they are going to have to pay back 200 a month. Thats a very excessive amount, and she has asked them to lower the payments. So far they are refusing so I’ve referred her to further help. My local MP’s office will be very busy this week. She also needed a food parcel because she can’t afford to buy food.

 

I spoke to a young woman who had been refused a fitnote by her doctor, the same Doctors surgery that the person that I mentioned in the blog last week. i’ve Informed them of what to do to obtain a fitnote, but will also be taking further action against this myself and involving my local MP. This young woman can’t work, she relies on strong medication and gets extremely drowsy. She has several disabilities, all of which are recognised.Her doctor told her that she can ‘find a job that’s suitable’. Yep, right, course she can. No person with a disability should be discriminated against like this, especially by a doctor.

 

I spent some time reminiscing with a man, remembering the good old times when things used to be better. We both longed for a return of those days.

 

We advised a lady to send a letter to the DWP via the post office and to obtain a receipt. It’s vital that you always get proof of postage at all times, because letters are always mysteriously lost.

 

I spoke to a woman that had spent yesterday and today being messed around by different DWP departments. all she wanted was a fax to be sent from one department to another, but of course they can’t do this quickly and efficiently.

 

I spoke to a lady that I havent seen in a long while. She had previously gone through aa spate of malicious sanctioning by the DWP. She had won her cases, but it’’s started again. Armed with previous knowledge shes fighting again. She’ll win, but in the meantime shes pregnant, with children and no money. Her mum is now having to help her out again, and she has little herself.

 

I spoke to a young woman that appeared to be upset. She suffers from a disability but it isn’t visible. Her advisor is having none of it and had told her ‘if they can’t see it then it’s not an illness’. Now we know thats downright discrimination and with advice shes taking this further. It will take a lot of strength for her to do so though. The DWP can sometimes say what they want, not all are like this but many are, answerable only to the government that condones such incidences we haven’t got much hope have we.

Thanks to the three nice advisors that are currently working at Ashton Jobcentre, it’s a pity that not all are like you.

 

So here it is folks, this all happened in less than two hours. Food parcels were handed out, advice given and solidarity. I wish that I could do more but I don’t have the means to. Once again I’m going to say that we need some kind of support from a left wing polictical party officially, we need it. It’s hard work, the people I speak to are desperate but there’s never been a greater need.

 

Many thanks to everyone that helped out today, you are all amazing. My apologies to my local MPS office because I’ve referred a few people over, but I shouldnt have to in the first place.

We also had a minutes silence for all the Grenfell victims, their families and the community. I hope that one day they get the justice that they deserve.

As for myself, I’ll just keep plodding on like I do. I do my best, I can’t be everywhere and I live on a very low budget so please be patient.

Thanks for reading, solidarity.

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Should women be encouraged to make ‘more effort’, or should the media leave women alone?

As my readers will know, occasionally I like to write an extra blog as well as my usual weekly blog, and I thought that you also might like to read something a bit different.

Today I’m going to write about an issue that’s caused quite a discussion on my Facebook page today.

This year we are celebrating the 100 year anniversary of some women getting the vote. I say some because it took many more years for working class women and men to get the right to vote.

Whilst remembering this we are also appreciating the struggle that those mostly working class women went through to achieve the vote. Arrests, hunger strikes, force feeding, sexual assaults and insults such as ‘Women wouldn’t know what to do with the vote if they got it’ were meted out to women on a daily basis.

After achieving the right to vote, women proved their doubters wrong and have since become a force to be reckoned with. We are in many respects on the road to achieving equality, and this is reflected somewhat in society.

Women are no longer looked down upon because they want to be a doctor, study at university etc. And until recently there was some kind of optimism  in the air. As a young woman I felt confident enough to realise that I could achieve anything that I wanted to if I worked hard at it.

This was also reflected in the media to an extent, although the usual sexism lurked and reared it’s ugly head, but it was easily ignored and dismissed.

Today’s young women I fear are facing what appears to be an onslaught via television, and social media  of what it  expects young women to look like and also  what they should aim for. It’s everywhere, and this also affects young men.

Outside influences aren’t new however, but as the use of technology increases, the influence of these outlets does also.

Upon waking this morning I turned the television on only to be greeted by a discussion titled ‘Should women make more effort’, and of course there was no mention of if a man should make more effort. The conclusion, as far as I could see from the two guests was that women should wear make up to improve their looks, and the presenters opinion that it’s ok not to wear make up was drowned out by all.

Programmes such as Love Island are heavily promoted both on television and other media outlets, indeed nearly a full episode of Good Morning Britain, and an episode of Loose Women featured discussions about this. although the latter was more opinion based. Instead of important news stories that the public would like to be informed about, they  were treated to an indoctrination into the world of Love Island and what women should look like.

The contestants I suspect were cruelly  chosen specifically for their looks and not their intelligence. Boob jobs, hair extensions and false tans appear to be the norm. A recent clip taken from the programme compounded my suspicions which confirmed the above.  A discussion  that took place concerning brexit was both I feel embarrassing for contestants and the public, this has been shared widely. Whilst some found their conversation amusing, I can’t help but to feel desperately sad.

Our young people  are influenced by programmes and discussions such as these, and many are suffering as a result. Body confidence is very important when growing up and many, not all are of the belief that what they look like to the public matters more than education. God help any young person that decides to be an individual and create their own look.

Very young girls are requesting make overs, false tans and nails, instead of concentrating on play, education and their ambitions for the future. Individuality and confidence building should be encouraged but it’s becoming increasingly hard to shy away from these media outlets.

A part of me often wonders if programmes such as these were created as a distraction for our young people.

We are now living in a country that has more poverty than we have ever had since the 1930’s. Many families are relying on food banks to survive. Educational opportunities due to new curriculums and a distinct lack of funding in education  are becoming more scarce. The ambitions that my generation had as young people are becoming extremely hard to achieve, if not impossible at times. And the pressure to pass exams is immense.

Instead of the outrage that should be being shown both by parents, young people and the media we are seeing a mass acceptance of the worsening opportunities that they have. Many just accept matters and say that it is the way that it is now.

Call me old fashioned, but I believe in ambition, individuality and self confidence. The media rhetoric surrounding women concerns me.

Are we stepping back to a time when women weren’t seen as important and merely something pretty to look at? Or are we going to encourage our young people to fight for and fulfil their ambitions despite the many obstacles in front of them.

It’s time to put the mobile phones down and avoid watching programmes such as these. We owe this to them, let’s show them another way.

DWP advisor, I take tablets and I can work so you can too. Doctors refusing to issue sicknotes after recieving a letter from the DWP. This weeks blog.

Dear readers, today didn’t start too well. I had been unwell all night so ended up being awake for most of it listening to podcasts, but no fear I arrived at our weekly demo as usual. For anyone disputing my dedication to the cause I’d like to dispute their claims. As well as helping people, we raise awareness and I work very hard on this, its near enough a full time job.

Anyway enough about me, let’s talk about the important stuff, the people that are suffering at the hands of a cruel, uncaring government. For those thinking that the government actually does care, you are sadly mistaken. Years of experience tells me that they don’t have a caring bone in their bodies. It’s simply about persecuting the poor in as many ways as is possible.  Below are a few examples.

 

The first man that I spoke to is a victim of agency work and Universal Credit. Universal Credit really doesn’t work for anyone, especially people in temporary employment, it does the opposite. It places them in a state of perpetual poverty, depending on food parcels and the kindness of local organisations and friends. To say that it helps people back into work is a massive lie and of course the government knows this.

I had a conversation with him as I do most weeks, and I find it very worrying seeing him loosing weight. I handed him a food parcel but I will be helping him more also.

 

I spoke to an older man who told me that he had never been unemployed, he had always worked he told me. Sadly he has been made redundant and he can’t find a job. Not many employers will employ older people and no matter how many of these farcical courses that the DWP will put him on won’t change this fact.

As I chatted to him, it came to light that he hadn’t been advised about much, including his job search etc, so I advised him and handed him a survival guide. He thanked me because I had most likely saved him a lot of hassle. The system is extremely complicated and people are expected just to know what to do. Of course that’s impossible and anyone tackling the system will tell you this. I know of a couple of good advisors inside the Jobcentre and it was obvious that he didn’t have one of them.

 

I spoke to another older man who had arrived ten minutes early, only to be turned away and told to return in five minutes. Now it was early and the Jobcentre wasn’t busy, far from it. It’s an exercise in keeping people on their toes and enabling them to feel demoralised, and it’s working isn’t it.

 

A man walked out of the Jobcentre saying that they are ‘horrible in there’. Yep.

 

I spoke to a woman who had been late handing their sicknote in because of their illness. No concessions are made so her payments stopped immediately. She has now handed a new sicknote in and has to wait for her payments to be reinstated. They don’t take illness into account apparently, and there’s no lienance at all. The government are quite happy making an ill person hungry. Luckily we handed a food parcel over to her so she could eat.

 

We spoke to a lovely man who has a long term injury. He had failed his ESA medical and had tried to put in a mandatory reconsideration, which as usual was refused. He didnt have the energy to appeal but after a chat he’s now going to do so. We also advised him to claim PIP.  He hadn’t been told that he could do this.

 

A man walked past and said ‘I like what you are doing’ And another walked past and whispered in my ear that ‘You are doing a good job’. Thank you! We try!

 

I spoke to a disabled, homeless man, he is getting help from other organisations but he wanted to chat. His issues are complex, but he’s hoping to get housed soon once he’s paid his rent arrears off. There’s no escape from debt these days for anyone.

I can’t imagine how awful it must be to be disabled and homeless. He told me of his time on the streets of Manchester, trying to survive. No one should be forced to live like this rent arrears or not. This cruel system forces people to become in debt withy almost everyone.

 

I spoke to a couple living in temporary accomodation locally. They are grateful for it, but it’s still hard for them. The rent for the temporary accomodation is £310 a week. Luckily they don’t have to pay this but it’s a struggle living there because their flat is upstairs and they have to carry their pram up and down the stairs all the time.

 

I spoke to a man who had lost his case at an employment tribunal. I do think that his loosing the case is unfair, but he accessed legal advice too late. Poor fella is upset about this as would I be. Believe me there are some dodgy employers out there, but I am aware also that there are many good ones also.

 

I spoke to a man who had previously been working a 60 hour week but had lost his job. Luckily he had found employment  but his contract is only 15 hours a week, so now he is at the mercy of Universal Credit. He really didn’t know where to start, and he hadn’t been advised about much. We helped him etc. He thanked us.

Why on earth can’t the large companies employ more people on a full time basis? Tax reasons most likely. I remember the good old days of guaranteed, contracted full time work and I wish that we still had that.

 

I spoke to a young man who told me that if it wasn’t for his young daughter he would have taken his own life by now. He told me that he struggles to cope with the system and I totally agree. The system is cruel, relentless and made him feel so bad that he no longer wanted to be here anymore. Thank goodness he is.

 

I referred a woman to see our local MP. The DWP are giving her the run around and she has tried other organisations. It appears that the DWP havent a clue what they are doing sometimes, well a lot of the time. I hope that she seeks advice.

 

We spoke to a man who is educucated to degree level. He is now disabled with a condition that won’t be getting any better and he can’t find any employment anymore.  He’s a broken man, not knowing where to turn, so we helped him. It’s a shame that the government refuses to isn’t it.

 

We spoke to an older man who had been sanctioned for a month for being late. This was his first time being late, and he wasn’t given a chance. Typical. I asked him how he managed and he told me that he had to rely on family members, and thank god he has them he said.

 

I spoke to a woman that is waiting for her Universal Credit claim to be processed. Shes very worried about her council tax so I advised her etc. Everyone that I speak to is worried about something. it shouldnt be this way.

 

We spoke to an older chap who is two years away from recieving his pension. He went to his doctor and asked for a sick note because he needed one for his claim. His GP refused to issue a sicknote upon advice from the DWP.  So now he’s left at the mercy of the DWP

Now I know that most GPs will ignore these requests from the DWP, but some won’t. I find it abhorrent that some do take advice from the DWP rather than their patient. Of course the government allows this but it shouldnt be doing it in the first place. They have a duty of care towards their patent not the DWP. Sort it out, your patients WILL be suffering as a result. Massive respect to the many GPS that ignore these letters.

 

Today was busy, even though it started slow. We were joined by a journalist from a french online newspaper, so it will be interesting to read her write up. She was very nice though, thank you for coming along.

 

It was also lovely to see more people turn up to help today. I realise that everyone has their own commitments, but I want to thank you for the sacrifice that you have all made today to help others.

Massive thanks to my friends for helping me out with my daughter today and last week. She had a fantastic time.

Today we handed out food parcels, survival guides, help, advice, compassion, solidarity and signposting. I found it hard today, but hopefully I’m feeling better next week. Keep strong everyone, one day we might have a better future and I pray for that.

 

I also want to pay my respects to our friend Steve who recently passed away, and who’s funeral I attended on Tuesday. Steve worked for Welfare rights, but also had helped to set up many organisations to help people. He was an amazing chap who taught me much of what I know. We miss you Steve.

 

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