Suspended payments for 6 months because they were seen carrying a food parcel.

Dear readers it’s Thursday and blog day. Please may I start by thanking you all for your support for my blog and my campaign.

I’m still here writing and it’s all thanks to you all.

Today was freezing cold and the crowd was gathered awaiting out food parcels.

This week we had a very kind donation of four extra food parcels from a friend.

It’s a good job that we had these extra food parcels because they were all taken.

I’m going to list today’s conversations. Please note that everyone was given appropriate help, advice, signposting etc. I even went to Wilkinsons to buy some dog food for a dog who’s owner needed a food parcel.

Many people either forget that people struggling have pets and they need to eat. Others reckon that we shouldn’t have any pets, we aren’t deserving of anything.

A much loved pet can be a lifeline for their owner and no one should be criticised for owning one.

The first conversation that I had was with a man who told me that his payments have been suspended for six months. He is claiming the ESA element of Universal credit.

I asked why and he told me that he had been reported to the DWP because he was seen carrying one of our food parcels.

I advised him to appeal this decision and he told me that he’d been advised that he can’t.

Luckily I have contacts that will be able to help him, but regardless of that he shouldn’t be expected to go without any payments for 6 months.

It’s absolutely ridiculous and is so punishing. It’s hellish and shouldn’t be happening at all.

I spoke to a young man that had to walk miles from his home to get to the Jobcentre. He told me that if he’s lucky a bus driver will let him get on a bus for nothing, if they won’t he walks.

I signposted him and bought him some dog food for his dog.

I had a conversation with a woman regarding self employment and universal credit.

Gordon spoke to two people that were making new universal credit claims and needed documentation to do so.

I spoke to a man that’s in the process of being evicted from his home. We advised him to the best of our abilities and I signposted him as well.

I overheard a man shouting ‘B####d sanctions.

I then had a long conversation with a young 18yr old woman that was crying when she was leaving the Jobcentre.

Her advisor had told her that she’s not trying hard enough to find a job, her efforts are rubbish etc. You get the idea.

The truth is that she is trying her hardest to do everything properly but it is a struggle.

No one has shown her how to find a job, how to apply for one and no one has given her any decent career advice.

Her advisor hasn’t told her about further education nor have they told her about apprenticeships etc. They refuse to help whilst criticising her to the point of tears.

Luckili we were there and I sat down with her and gave her some advice, but equally as important compassion.

For heavens sake she’s only 18 years of age, she needs guidance and hasn’t got a good family network to support her.

I gave her a copy of our survival guide and asked her to phone me if she needed my help or even just a cuppa and a conversation.

The advisor that upset her to the point of tears should be ashamed of themselves, but they won’t be. An 18yr old claimant is an easy target for them isn’t it.

I spoke to a chap that had just failed his universal credit esa element medical assessment. He is appealing this but as usual the DWP have zero compassion.

He’s been told that he has to agree to look for work whilst his appeal is being processed. If he doesn’t agree to this they’ll stop his claim.

The DWP don’t recognise that having a disability can and does prevent a person from working. Persecuting them for this won’t cure their disability it’ll make things much worse for them. Many die, some take their own life.

It’s sickening that people are being treated in this manner, it’s not getting any better it’s becoming much worse.

I honestly don’t know how we’re going to survive another five years of this.

Please read, share, tweet, blog, email my blog. It’s so important that we get the truth out there.

We will be returning to Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre next week from 10am to 12 noon. Please come and say hello.

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a PayPal button at the top and side of my blog.

Thank you!

I’ve got £3 to last me for a week. Universal Credit strikes again

Wow I can’t believe that it’s Thursday again. It’s definitely a lot cooler out there so wrap up if your going out.

The cooler weather also highlights the inability for thousands of people to choose between heating and eating. Of course the government don’t want to rectify this, I’m convinced that they’re trying to kill us off.

Today was a mix of differing problems and as usual I will not be naming anyone. I hope that you understand why.

The first thing that I did today was to hand out the food parcels. We had six and within five minutes there was only one left.

The remaining food parcel was taken by a woman struggling to get by. She was claiming Universal Credit and unbeknownst to her the DWP had shut her claim down without telling her.

The DWP claim that she hadn’t signed her claimant commitment but she was adamant that she had done. This resulted in zero consultation with her and now she’s having to appeal this.

The DWP however have told her that she has to make a new claim for universal credit which means that she’s going to have to wait at least five weeks for her first payment.

She also has children and is understandably concerned about how she’s going to feed them.

Don’t expect any sympathy from the DWP though. They’ve got a cast iron weight instead of a heart.

It never get better hearing people’s DWP stories. But thank goodness we were there to help her. She’s going to appeal the DWPs decision.

I then had a conversation with a chap that I usually speak to every week. He told me that he had waited for over a hour for the bus to get to Ashton.

I can confirm that this is the norm in Tameside at the moment. Lots of our bus routes have been taken off and the ones that remain cost a lot more.

I’ve spoken to elderly and disabled people who have been housebound as a result of this. The bus used to stop right outside their houses and they can’t manage the walk to the nearest bus stop. It’s too far for them to walk etc.

If anyone from the Tameside area is reading this please join in with the Better Bus campaign.

I then spotted a woman leaving the Jobcentre. I offered her a leaflet and immediately she told me that she hates universal credit. I asked her why and she went into her pocket and got out some coins amounting to approximately £3. She said “This is all that I have until the end of next week. How on earth am I going to manage on this amount of money. ‘

Of course I advised her and signposted her to local organisations etc where she can get a food parcel from because we had ran out of them.

This is the reality of life whilst claiming Universal credit and its the same for thousands of people.

Far too many people have become accepting of this though. Many are resigned to their fate, they know that they’re going to be hungry and they think that no one cares about them.

Lots of us do care though, this shouldn’t be happening but we all to our best to help people.

We signposted quite a few people to CAB for advice and once again people having trouble with their council tax payments was mentioned. The poorest shouldn’t be made to bear the brunt of this.

We then spoke to a person that had recently been declared fit for work. They’ve got numerous disabilities and illnesses but don’t expect the DWP to care. They’re going to appeal this decision but in the meantime he was told by his DWP advisor that he’s no longer allowed to hand fit notes in.

Apparently the DWP know better than a doctor and a specialist doctor. They want everyone to look for none existent jobs despite the fact that many aren’t able to work.

As regular readers will know this is far from unusual but it never gets easier does it.

I advised a woman who’s son is being moved over from DLA to PIP.

We had a lovely conversation with a man who’s being sent on what feels like constant courses ran by and on behalf of the DWP. The latest course that they’ve been told to attend or be sanctioned is supposed to motivate people.

It’s a bit hard motivating people who are hungry and who’ve got the threat of being sanctioned hanging over their head. But hey every person that attends these courses are worth a fortune to the DWP. Not only does the DWP receive funding for these courses they also pay the providers quite a lot of money per person attending.

Wonderful isn’t it… Not. We can never forget that we’re just a number to them and we can and are exploited by the DWP at their whim.

We then had a conversation with a man that’s been having problems with his employer.

His employer is totally abusing the fact that there’s so many people looking for work. He pays people less than their long term staff. When people complain they tell them that they can walk, it doesn’t matter because they can fill the position straight away.

There’s far too many awful employers like this and it’s about time that something was done about this isn’t it.

Today we helped lots of people, provided support and gave out food parcels. We’ve been doing this for around six years now and it’s getting worse.

Please read and share my blog. Tweet it as well, email it to your local Tory MP.

I’d like to thank Gordon for all of his help today. I’d also like to thank you all for supporting the campaign and my blog.

This has become a full time job and every penny helps me to continue with both the campaign and the blog.

We’ll be returning next week and I’ll be blogging as usual.

On universal credit owes council tax and the bailiffs keep banging on my door. This weeks blog.

Dear readers it appears that winter is most definitely on the way. Today was very cold and wet a deadly combination for street homeless people and people that can’t afford to heat their home.

Sadly I also know what it feels like when the electric goes and you can’t top it up. Solidarity with all those in the same position, its not one bit enjoyable. Anyway I digress.

Today there was a lot of people waiting for the food parcels to arrive. Each and every one of these food parcels were needed and some of those collecting them hadn’t ate properly for a while.

It’s easy to fall between the cracks of society and not deemed important enough to help. Many don’t like to ask for help because they don’t feel that they’re deserving of it. Some are barred from local organisations for various different reasons. This makes life very hard for them. Others have had their allowed three foodbank vouchers and have been refused anymore. Can you imagine being in their position?

My first conversation was with a man that I’ve been talking to every week. He usually brings his dog when he collects his food parcel, his dog is lovely and he takes really good care of him. He told me that he’s hoping that his latest job application is successful and I gave him my best wishes. He deserves so much better than this.

After I handed out the food parcels a young woman asked me of she could speak to me privately. She told me that her health isn’t good at the moment and being homeless doesn’t help, telling me that later today she will be going to the walk in centre to hopefully get some medication. I gave her some money for a phone charger because her phone is her lifeline not only to the DWP but to her children and friends.

I really hope that she’s ok because she’s really not well at all.

Today we had various conversations about lots of different things, one matter kept popping up and that was council tax payments and visits from bailiffs.

I gave the best advice that I could but its awful when the person that you’re speaking to is crying because they’re scared. I was speaking to a lovely woman that told me she was absolutely terrified of the bailiffs banging on her door and windows.

It’s very easy for someone to fall into council tax arrears and a universal credit application was to blame in this case. Because of the long wait for her universal credit payment to be processed she fell into arrears with just about everything.

After her latest bailiff visit she went into the council offices to see if she could arrange a payment plan with her. Their answer was a flat no. No they wouldn’t help, no they wouldn’t stop the bailiffs from coming. Even though she was offering a reasonable repayment plan they denied her any assistance. They did however tell her to go to citizens advice and ‘they might’ be able to contact the council tax department.

This has not helped her one bit,she’s living in fear and she’s scared. I gave her some sound advice and told her that she can contact me if she needs to.

Although I am very aware of what the council can and can’t do in situations like this their refusal to help speaks volumes doesn’t it. So many people live in fear of bailiffs coming to their homes and sometimes barging in.

This shouldn’t be happening. The current council tax scheme is a punishing system. It .demands that people pay an unreasonable amount of money when they can’t afford it.

Council also costs more to implement than what local councils gain from it. It’s not working and this system needs to stop asap.

No one should be living in fear in their own homes, scared when the bailiffs come banging on doors and windows or barging their way into their home.

I’m also very aware of the laws surrounding council tax so please no comments saying that I don’t know how the system works. I know only too well how it works and I’ve been campaigning against it for years now.

I had a conversation with a lovely young man, he asked me what we were doing and I replied. He told me that he really didn’t know anything about politics but he’d like to learn more. We had a good chat and hopefully he will be more aware in the future.

This did raise my concern about the lack of public education regarding politics. It’s not taught as much in school as it should be and many people, like this young man aren’t as aware as they should be.

We need to educate those that aren’t aware by conversation but I believe that children should be given some political education whilst at school.

I then had a second conversation regarding council tax, and not long after another. I offered some advice and signposted to the best of my ability.

We then had a long conversation with a woman who’s homeless. She was worried because she needs to change her care of address but didn’t want to be thrown onto universal credit as a result.

To say shes scared and worried is an understatement. The words universal credit often cause people to panic. John was extremely helpful and helped this lovely woman whilst I was helping someone else. We did everything in our power to help her but thank you John.

I can’t thank the team enough today, the weather was awful but that didn’t prevent us from helping lots of people. We will be back again next week, please come and join us!

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Thank you to everyone that has done already.

Thank you to those that do support my blog, your help enables the campaign and the blog to continue.

There’s a paypal button at the top and side of this blog post if anyone would like to donate. Thank you so much.

Five year aniversary of blogging and the suffering continues.

Dear readers it’s been five years almost to the day since I started writing this blog although I’ve been campaigning for much longer.

A friend encouraged me to write it but I honestly didn’t think that anyone would read it. I was proved wrong though, it took off straight away.

Back then we were chosen to be a trial area for universal credit along with Oldham and Wigan.

Hardly anyone else was documenting the day to day cruelty that universal credit and the benefit reforms.Most likely because it wasn’t happening everywhere and lots of people weren’t aware of this

We were ignored and called liars and suchlike.

Myself and other groups continued to fight against it even though every door was being slammed in our faces. No one wanted to know.

Through perseverance and determination we continued, we weren’t letting this go. People were and are dying as a result and that was and is unacceptable.

DPAC have been consistently supportive and they’re amazing. The work that they have done and are doing is outstanding. I can’t thank them enough.

When I started this blog almost everyone that I spoke to outside Ashton Jobcentre was or had been sanctioned.

Pregnant women were being sanctioned for three years, suicides of people that we had spoken to were a constant worry. I’ve lost count of the people that we have lost.

It breaks my heart and I’ve always got them in my thoughts. Thanks to Black Triangle for their work collecting this info and publishing it.

At the the time the DWP were a law unto themselves, they still are. I’m certain that they were given orders to sanction as many people as possible (remember Sandra’s stars anyone?).

I’m certain that they still have these targets but they’re not so open and brazen at displaying them. People are still being sanctioned and it’s abbhorant that this is continuing to happen. Being sanctioned can and does kill people.

The suffering continues and every week I’m told yet more awful stories from claimants about their experiences whilst on universal credit and other benefits.

Today a man told me that he’d been barred from the Jobcentre for loosing his temper when he was told that he’d been sanctioned.

When he was allowed back into the Jobcentre he had a G4S guard to escort him to his appointment and to take him out again.

The stress of this took its toll on him and he started to pull his hair out. He can’t believe how horrible this system is. Thanks to the DWP he’s mentally scarred for life.

The system hasn’t got better the DWP and government have become more devious, constantly putting unrealistic demands upon people that they know won’t be able to keep up with it.

We’ve handed hundreds of food parcels out because people were and are literally starving. I’ve watched a family open the tins of food and eat it because they were so hungry.

It’s hard to tell you what the worst thing that I’ve seen is. Everything about this system is awful. It persecutes children, women, men, women who should be receiving their pensions but were conned out of them. The DWP won’t leave anyone alone.

The fight continues though. The Labour Party have at last commited to stopping, scrapping universal credit. They’re going to replace it with a caring system and I know that they’re going to do this. The Labour Party have been working very hard on creating the new system for quite a while now.

But the changes won’t happen overnight and until they’ve been elected nothing will change its going to become a whole lot worse.

Every week we speak to disabled people who have been found fit for work. They aren’t fit for work though and we help them to start the appeal process.

We’ve handed out thousands of copies of of our survival guides. They’ve proved to be invaluable and have helped a lot of people. Thanks to Roy for your help with this.

The blog doesn’t end after I’ve published the blog on Thursdays though. It’s become a full time job. Myself or members of the team don’t get paid by anyone either. We do it because we care.

The fight continues week after week. We’ve had abuse from G4S, I’ve been spat on called a scrounger and worse.

The DWP have unsuccessfully tried to move us from outside the Jobcentre. We aren’t going anywhere, we aren’t stopping until the suffering ends.

Whilst the suffering continues we will continue. I made this commitment all those years ago.

I want to thank you all for reading and supporting the blog for these last five years. Its been a massive comfort to know that you all support this blog and the campaign.

I’ll end the blog here this week. I know that it’s a bit different than my usual blog style but I really wanted to thank everyone that’s helped along the way whether it’s on foot at the demos or online. Both are equally as important.

To everyone that does come and help though thank you so, so much. We’ve had a lot of physical support from Stockport Against Austerity and I can’t thank them enough as well as Gordon, Roy, Carol and everyone else who I’ve met along the way.

My local Labour Party and my MP Angela Rayner have also been hugely supportive even though I’ve been a pain sometimes.

Can I ask you to continue to read, share, tweet and email my blog. Thank you to those that already do.

There’s also a donate button at the top and side of this blog. Every penny donated ensures that the campaign and blog can continue. A massive thanks to those that have.

I’ll be back next week with my usual blog. Thank you for the five years of support and thanks to Mike for persuading me to start this blog.

Don’t worry I’ll be writing next weeks blog in my usual style.

I’m so hungry I could faint.

Dear readers I hope that you are OK and surviving. It appears that surviving is all that we can do these days.

Even though it’s been busy in parliament our work never stops. Parliament is parogued but we aren’t. Let’s hope that there’s an end to all that madness soon.

We can guarantee that it’s going to be the poor and disabled that bear the brunt of any Brexit related decisions. The wealthy really don’t care because it won’t affect them, this really annoys me. I know that it’s to be expected though.

As usual the food parcels went as soon as they arrive. This is a terrible reflection of the government’s war against the poor. It really shouldn’t be like this after all there was no real reason for it.

The tory government would rather give their friends millions of pounds only to blame us for their mess. The price that we have paid is a very heavy one. Thousands upon thousands of people have either died or are suffering, many have become ill as a result.

I can suppose that you would have seen the fancy DWP adverts everywhere and especially in the Metro newspaper, saying that ‘work pays’ and ‘universal credit helps you into work. Despite being a down right lie I’ve spoken to many people who can prove this isn’t the case.

This morning I spoke to Ron. Ron has completed quite a few of the useless DWP courses. They didn’t help him to find work they delayed him in his quest to find a job.

Despite this Ron found a job, a well paid one. He could start within days but his new employer advised him that he would need to bring his own safety gear including proper strong work boots.

Not having any spare money he approached the DWP and asked if they could help him out with the cost of this. The DWP unsurprisingly said no, they wouldn’t do it.

Ron understandably worried then phoned up the DWP and he was told that they could help him and he should tell his advisor that they could.

Ron then spoke to his advisor who once again told him that they wouldn’t help him.

In the meantime Ron wasn’t able to start work, he lost the job but was told that he had to attend yet another pointless DWP course.

Ron’s experience isn’t uncommon though. This happens to lots of people. The DWP are actually preventing people from starting work.

Meanwhile people like Ron are forced into constantly attending the pointless courses and threatened with a sanction if they don’t attend.

The companies and organisations that provide these courses are paid very handsomely to do so as are the DWP.

Sadly we are all a commodity to be bought and sold at the governments whim.

I then spoke to Tom. Tom has been constantly appealing against ESA and PIP decisions. He has appealed these decisions and every time he’s won.

Tom has been waiting 18 months for the latest appeal and tribunal. He’s understandably angry telling me that he’s extremely frustrated but he won’t give up fighting against their decisions. Tom is an amazing man.

I then had a conversation with Debbie. Debbie hadn’t eaten for a while and she didn’t look well, telling me that she felt faint because she hasn’t eaten for a few days. She hasn’t been receiving her payments because her circumstances have changed and she’s street homeless.

I gave her something to eat, she was thankful but that’s only short term help. Because we had ran out of food parcels I advised her to go into the council offices and ask them for a food bank voucher.

It’s not acceptable for anyone to be suffering like this, I helped her out but tomorrow I won’t be there. I did advise that she visits a few local organisations for some more support. I really hope that she does this.

I spoke to two people that needed to open bank accounts to receive their universal credit payments. They’d previously used a friends bank account to do so. I advised them about what ID they would need and I wished them luck.

We spoke briefly to a man that had just found a job within a month of applying for universal credit. The experience has scarred him, telling me that he didn’t know how people survive on this system. He never wants to experience it again either.

The DWP also owe him money but I doubt if he’ll ever get it. Meanwhile he’s too tired of the whole system to chase it.

Today was quite a busy day but I had to leave 30 minutes early for the electrician to finish fitting my new boiler. I’ve waited about a year for a new one. It’s ridiculous isn’t it.

We had lots of conversations with people, thanks to Gordon for helping and thanks to Gary for the leaflets.

We will be back next week. Try not to forget us whilst the whole Brexit debacle continues. People are still suffering and its these people who will suffer greatly as a result of any decision made by the government.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Send a copy of it to your mp.

A massive thanks to everyone that does and has supported my blog.

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a PayPal button at the top and side of ti’s blog.

Sanctioned whilst working. Apparently for not ‘committing enough’ to finding work.

Dear readers it’s Thursday again, I hope that you’re all ok and surviving this rotten system. I know that it’s hard but keep going because you are valued and are important.

Guess what folks, it was raining today and it was cold, it looks like autumn has arrived a tad early. This time last year we were experiencing a heatwave.

As usual I’ll list some of the conversations that I had today. It’s awful that we are being treated in this manner and I pray that one day it will stop. We deserve much better than this.

Today I read an article about a disabled man that had slit his throat because he was scared of claiming universal credit. You can bet that Amber Rudd won’t mention that upon questioning.

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/man-terrified-move-universal-credit-3206672

Back to today. We handed all the food parcels out as usual I just wish that there wasn’t a need for them. I know that I keep saying that but it really bothers me.

I met Jim as he was walking towards the Jobcentre after climbing the horridly steep steps. He looked frustrated but nevertheless he went inside for his appointment. I spoke to him as he left the building, he looked quite distressed and I asked him if he would like a leaflet. Jim told me that he hadn’t received his payment as usual because he had three addresses. Of course Jim doesn’t have three addresses but this was their reasoning for stopping his payments.

It honestly isn’t rocket science is it. Most people don’t have three addresses so this must be an error on the DWPs part. He will be appealing this decision, in the meantime Jim has no money.

I had a brief conversation with a young woman that appeared to be having an argument with someone on the telephone about a bank account so when she walked towards me I asked her if she was ok. She wasn’t ok, her bank account had been shut down and she needed to find another bank account that she can use. Luckily she managed to find one but this is one of the perils of everything being online. It can’t always be taken for granted that a person has a bank account even though most have. There is a distinct lack of understanding about this and as a result some people will be prevented from claiming because they don’t want to open an account.

I spotted Bill as he was walking towards the Jobcentre clutching a piece of paper. I asked him if he would like a copy of our leaflet and he said yes and that he was having a hell of a time with the DWP at the moment.

Bills situation is this, he’s working and has made a claim for universal credit. The DWP haven’t given him a date for when he might expect his first payment and so far to date he owes £600 in rent arrears. I did tell him that he can get a loan off the DWP whilst he waits but he didn’t want that saying that he’ll have to pay this back. Bill makes a very good point. Most universal credit claimants never actually receive the full amount which drags them deeper into poverty.

Both myself and Gordon then spoke to a woman as she was walking towards the Jobcentre. I handed her a leaflet and as I did so she told us that she is working but has been sanctioned apparently because she isn’t ‘committed enough’ to finding work. This is absolutely ludicrous, she’s more than committed because she’s already working. She then went on to tell me that upon asking what dates she wasn’t committed enough for, they still wouldn’t tell her. She is now appealing this decision, it’s appalling that shes being treated in this manner. If that wasn’t bad enough she’s got children to care for on next to no income. Never believe the DWP when they say that universal credit helps people to find work, it does the complete opposite.

I then spoke to Ron. Ron is having a horrible time at the moment, his monthly payment was stolen and he doesn’t have enough money to survive on. He told me that he was going to ask about applying for a loan.

We had lots of conversations today ranging from sanctions, housing problems, not knowing their national insurance number etc etc. I’m just glad that we were there to help them.

Please read and share my blog also tweet, rt and email it. This is just a small snapshot of what happens up and down the country everyday.

We will be back next week as usual.

Thank you to everyone that supports my blog and the work that we do. It does mean a lot and I couldn’t do it without you.

For anyone wishing to donate there is a button at the top and side of this blog. Thank you very much.

Man 65 and living on meagre savings. Too scared to claim universal credit.

Dear readers, we were extremely busy today and I left my phone at home. Typical of me these days but at least I’m lucky enough to have a mobile phone in the first place. So apologies to anyone that was trying to contact me.

We had good weather for a change which we really welcomed both it makes a nice change. We’ve been lucky so far with the weather.

The food parcels went almost immediately, a sad incitement of how the government treats the poorest and most vulnerable. They’re actually proud of the fact that we have foodbanks when in reality it’s shameful.

Most of the people that we spoke to today were having problems with their ESA or universal credit claim. I found it extremely concerning that most of the people that I spoke to didn’t know what benefit they were receiving. The systems far too complicated and most of them didn’t know how to use a computer. This almost always inevitably results in them getting a sanction and of course the DWP don’t give a stuff.

As usual I’ll list some of the conversations that we had with people. All of them were extremely vulnerable and shouldn’t have to be going through this.

As I was sat waiting for Gordon to arrive I had a conversation with a chap who was extremely confused. He had a stroke not long ago and as a result his short term memory isn’t good.

I engaged him in conversation and he asked if he could have a food parcel. I said yes of course he could and I asked him why did he need a food parcel. To say he’s confused is an understatement. He doesn’t know what benefit he was getting, he only knew that his payments had been stopped. After asking him some more questions it sounded like he had been claiming ESA and hadn’t attended one of the DWPs farcical medical examinations.

This is how the DWP and government treats the most vulnerable people in society, they don’t give a shit if they live or die. If they can’t make any money out of you they’ll bin you like yesterdays newspaper, which will most likely be a copy of the Metro newspaper their favourite propaganda tool.

Luckily I was there to help him and I advised him of what to do but I shouldn’t have to be there to help people should I. I’m meeting him next week to help him further. He also took a food parcel home with him.

It was then that I spoke to another disabled chap. Here is a brief outline of his situation, I’ll name him Bob.

Bob is claiming the disability related element of universal credit. Bob was due to go into hospital for a hip operation and he informed the DWP of this. Thinking that everything was ok he went ahead with the operation.

A few months later he received a letter in the post from the DWP. It informed him that he was going to have to undergo a telephone compliance interview. Bob didn’t have a clue why he was sent this letter but it worried him.

The day of the compliance interview arrived and the DWP asked him why he’d missed an appointment given to him whilst he was in hospital. They threatened him with a sanction but luckily he’d kept all the paperwork to prove that he was in hospital.

It gets worse for Bob.

Not long after the compliance interview Bobs mobile phone was stolen. He informed the DWP that he couldn’t receive calls etc on his mobile phone because it’d been stolen.

Any reasonable organisation would have taken note of this and would act accordingly but not the DWP. They sanctioned him for three months because he couldn’t answer phone calls etc because his phone had been stolen. You couldn’t make this up could you.

Bobs only just started to receive his payments again, he told me that he was scarred for life, that he’d never felt as low as he did for the three months he was sanctioned.

Bob could and should have appealed their decision but he didn’t know that he could do this, saying that he just accepted it and tried to struggle. He will be appealing any wrongful decision made by the DWP in the future.

It was then that I spoke to a lady I shall name Diane. Diane very proudly told me that she’d worked all of her adult life until she became ill and had to stop working and started to claim ESA.

Diane was then told that she needed to have an operation in the very near future so she informed the DWP. The DWP responded by stopping her ESA because she failed to attend a farcical DWP medical on the day of her operation.

Remember that Diane did inform the DWP that she was unable to attend the appointment but they stopped her ESA regardless. Luckily Diane knew that she could appeal this decision and she did. She appealed and then attended a tribunal and won.

Not content with this the DWP sent her another appointment for a farcical DWP medical examination. She attended and she failed. Diane appealed and went to her tribunal and won again.

Diane told me that the DWP treat her like scum, she knows that they hate her and she’s lost any confidence that she once had. No one should be treated in this manner but it happens to thousands of people everyday. As we were talking we spotted two of our local Tory councillors entering the Tameside One building. Diane recognised them and said that it’s their fault and their parties fault that she was being treated like this.

Diane’s correct of course but they don’t give a stuff, they deny anything like this is happening.

Meet Brian. Brian’s an older chap who was handing his latest fit note in. He told me that he’d recently finished a CPC course and had a letter stating that he had a job offer if he can show them his CPC qualification.

Guess what, the DWP are refusing to help him and he’s extremely frustrated about this. What Brian said next was quite poignant. “They do this because they have to justify their jobs, they have to justify their existence. Without people like me going into the Jobcentre they’d be out of a job themselves”

I noticed a man that I shall call Jack climbing the stairs to the Jobcentre and I asked him if he wanted one of our leaflets. He took one but he was angry, angry at the world, angry at himself because he feels like a failure. He told me that he’d been working for a local company and his employer was taking £50 a week off him supposedly for his tax payments.

Jacks payslips tell a different story though and basically he’s being ripped off. I asked him to contact GM Law centre because they’re interested in employment cases like these.

No wonder Jacks angry I’d be furious as well.

Last but not least we spotted an older chap walking towards us. I asked him if he needed a leaflet and he said that he didn’t know so I asked him why.

His problem is this, he’s 65 and living off his very meagre savings. I asked him why he hadn’t made an application for benefits and he told me that he was too scared. He knows how awful the system is and he doesn’t think that he’d be able to cope with it.

If this isn’t bad enough he’s recovering from cancer and has a big hernia that causes him a lot of pain. He lifted his top up and showed me the strapping round his lower waist that covers his hernia. “They’d declare me fit for work with this and the cancer, I’d rather struggle like this than have to go through that”.

The amount of people that make the same decision up and down the country is enormous. It’s a reliable bet that there’s thousands of people that take themselves off they system and try to live another way. Many of these people become homeless and find it hard to escape their circumstances. To them it’s less stressful than living on the street.

Other conversations that I had included questions about deposits for flats, not being able to eat whilst claiming universal credit and universal credit wants me to fail and how do I appeal DWP decisions etc.

The problems that occur whilst claiming universal credit appear to be never ending, once you get over one hurdle another appears and you have to climb another one.

Not one of the people that I speak to are ‘scroungers’ or ‘waste of spaces’. They’re lovely genuine people that are struggling due to no fault of their own. It angers me greatly when I see Tory mps and councillors laughing at us whenever anyone asks them questions on this subject. They think that it’ll go away if they ignore it and pretend that it isn’t happening. Most of them deny the very existence of our suffering and aren’t scared of saying so.

The only way that we can stop their cruelty is to use your vote and vote them out because if we don’t I honestly don’t know how much more of this cruelty we can endure.

Needless to say we will be returning next week. Please come and join us if you’re in the area it would be wonderful to see you.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. It’s very important that we tell people that this is happening.

Thank you to everyone that supports my blog, I really can’t thank you enough for all the support my readers have given me over this past fortnight.

For anyone wishing to do the same there’s a PayPal button at the top and side of my blog.

I don’t know how long I’m sanctioned for. More tales from Ashton-under-Lyne Jobcentre.

Dear readers I’m sorry about the lack of a weekly blog last week. I’ve had a stressful time of late and everything caught up with me.

Today is the Unite Union Day of Action against universal credit and I hope that there’s lots of demos outside Jobcentres today.

We however did our regular demo between 10-12. We helped lots of people with varying problems from universal credit, sanctions, housing were discussed amongst other things. The truth is that people are suffering more than they have ever suffered before, universal credit lowers a persons income to an unmanageable meagre amount of money. Usually leaving people to exist rather than to live.

Just to be clear if you’re working and claiming universal credit you will be worse off financially and you’ll be told that you’re underemployed and made to look for more work.

I heard a Tory minister say this morning that more people are in employment than ever before. This is a downright lie. Most people that I speak to are forced to do zero hour contract agency work. If they’re lucky they might get a hour a weeks work.

Lets not forget that sanctions, workfare etc also alter the figures. Tories are notorious liars, never believe anything they say ever.

Here’s some examples of our conversations today.

Bill is an older chap, he’d been told that we would be outside the Jobcentre with food parcels and advice.

Bill really didn’t have a clue what to do, he’s very confused by the system. One thing that he does know is that he’s sanctioned and for a long time but he doesn’t know how long.

Bill struggles with any type of technology because he’s never had to use computers etc in the past. The DWP also struggle to understand that not everyone can use a computer or access one every day. To be fair anyone with a bit of common sense realises this.

Because Bill has been sanctioned he’s now unable to pay the top up for his rent anymore. He’s scared that he will loose his home and everything that he loves.

Bill wasn’t told that he was in rent arrears until a month into his sanction and his landlord will pursue eviction because he won’t be able to keep up with his rent top ups. It’s not the first time that he’s struggled with his rent.

How can Bill move forward with this in a positive way? He’s probably going to be living in poverty for the rest of his life.

I advised him to approach local organisations for help with this, we gave him a food parcel and I had a long chat with him.

Yes universal credit really does destroy life’s don’t believe the government propaganda.

It was then that we saw a young man whom I shall name Tom.

Tom was claiming the ESA element of universal credit until the DWP decided that he was fir for work when he isn’t.

Tom was very close to giving up with the whole system and we spoke to him about this and luckily we managed to change his mind.

We advised him that he needs to appeal this decision and he shouldn’t let them win. Fighting back against any DWP decision is the best revenge that you can have. I realise that it’s easier to say this thank it is to do it. The whole appeal and tribunal process is extremely stressful.

Gordon helped an older lady to get to the outside lift because the lift in the library wasn’t working. She’s scared of heights and can’t use a glass lift unless she’s with someone. She couldn’t use the steps either.

I spoke to a couple of people about compliance interviews via the telephone, both were worried and quite rightly so. Decisions made after the interview can totally change your life and not in a good way.

We asked a young man who was leaving the Jobcentre if he was ok, he replied that its shit. We also asked another man if he was ok and he said f@@k the lot of them.

Today was quite busy, lots of women and children having to go into the Jobcentre for appointments. I doubt that they’ll ever forget this experience because I remember queuing up at the Labour exchange with my dad when Thatcher made him unemployed.

We will be returning next week and we will be helping more people. We do it because we care. No one should be made to suffer like this.

Thank you to everyone that supports and reads my blog. Please read and share my blog, tweet it and email it. Thank you so much xxxx..

They keep trying to trip us up at every step.

Dear readers it’s Thursday yet again and time to update the blog. I hope that you’re all ok and coping with what feels like a constant onslaught of cruelty from the Tory government.

It appears that Boris Johnson will most likely be our next prime minister so god help us all. We can guarantee that things will become worse under his rule.

If you’d have asked me years ago if I envisaged this country being in such a mess I would have replied no. Even if we get a new Labour prime minister it’s going to take years to sort out the Tory party mess. I’ll not even start on Brexit…

The weather was good today and even though there was just two of us for ages the mood was good, maybe the weather helped or discussing our plans for the Peterloo march to Manchester this year. When I get a link for this I’ll post it on my blog.

As usual our food parcels went straight away. They’re essential and really help people in a time of great need.

I honestly thought like packing it all in last week, the amount of criticism that I receive sometimes can be all consuming and it’s hard to take my mind off it. I do these demos to help people and to protest against the inhumane treatment given to the poorest and most vulnerable in society. It’s a point of principle for me. I was always taught to treat people as I like to be treated, only the Tory party must be reading another guide book, the clearly don’t give a stuff and are willing to drag this country into down as far as it will go. For them it doesn’t matter because they can walk away from the mess they make.

David Cameron, Ian Duncan Smith, Esther Mcvey and Amber Rudd one day we will get justice. Karma or whatever you call it can be a t**t sometimes can’t it.

We offer help, advice, signposting, copies of our survival guide and friendship. If you need help you’ll get it without having to fill out forms and wait ages in a queue. And like I mentioned earlier food parcels but they normally leave as quickly as they arrive.

I really hate the fact that there is a need for them and I will always do everything in my power to protest about this. My health isn’t brilliant sometimes but it’s better than a lot of the people that I speak to and who read this blog.

We are having lots of success with our survival guide, people are reading it and following the instructions which is why we made it. We are seeing people whom we have spoken to in the past and handed a leaflet to going into the Jobcentre with a file of some sorts, all their paperwork and they record any calls from and to the DWP. They record our calls so if you can do this it’s really helpful. If you have a smartphone you can download a free app from either the play store or the App Store over on Iphones.

For those that say that we’re useless, do nothing and are troublemakers the proof is in the pudding. We actually do quite a lot like other groups do throughout the country. We should all be welcomed and not scorned.

The universal credit system isn’t fit for purpose as you know. I can give you an example from todays conversations.

Both myself and Gordon had a conversation with a man that had received two DWP appointments via text message for the same day. One appointment was this morning and the other was this afternoon.

Because he wasn’t sure which was the real appointment he arrived for the morning appointment only to be told that it was this afternoon. So he then had to hang around Ashton-under-Lyne town centre until it was time for his appointment.

If this gentleman had been in poor health or disabled he might not have been able to do this. It’s a system that’s failing everyone except the government. They won’t admit this though.

Let’s see if Amber Rudd actually gets round to cutting the at least five week wait for a first universal credit payment. I wouldn’t hold my breath though, they’re in no rush to do so because it saves them money. The cost for us however is high. Our health both physical and mental suffers greatly and it’s near impossible to climb out of poverty once entrapped in it.

For anyone doubting this, take it from me I know because like the people that I speak to I’m in the same position.

We spoke to a nice chap whom I’m going to name Tom. Tom is an older man trying his best to navigate this awful system. He didn’t have a good word to say about universal credit. He did however tell me how he felt about it.

‘It’s a system that keeps wanting to trip us up at every step. There’s no let up is there? I honestly can’t see an end to it and it makes me so annoyed.” He went on to say that he hated having to live like this, chasing jobs that aren’t real, trying to keep a computer system happy. ‘It’s just not fair is it”.

Damn right it isn’t fair.

We spoke to quite a few people that were making a new application for universal credit. We handed them a copy of our survival guide and we hope that this has made things a bit easier for them. My heart goes out to them.

Schools are now breaking up for the summer holidays and not having a penny to spend on food or trips out will affect even more children this summer. Having to say no all the time to a child’s request is also devastating for the parents. We hide it well, but every time we have to say no a little piece of us dies a little. This is how it affects me. I hate feeling like this as much as you do.

Without a doubt both children and their parents will be going hungry this summer. Some schools and voluntary organisations will be opening to feed children at lunch times. If you know of anywhere near where you live that is doing this please comment on my blog so that my readers can see it. Thanks.

I had a long conversation with a man whom like myself lives with hydrocephalus only a different kind. He suffers from black-outs and has to spend prolonged time in hospital whilst they treat him.

I asked this chap how he was getting along with the system and he told me that he’s making an application for universal credit and is hoping that the DWP take notice of his fit notes (sick notes). I gave him some info and a copy of our survival guide.

He’s going to find it near impossible to find a job that will take note of his disability and employ him. It’s ridiculous even to suggest it. I really hope that he’s ok.

We had quite a few complaints about the new building, mostly about the lack of adequate signage, directions to lifts and the awful steps. I’m definitely going to address this with my local council and I hope that these problems will be sorted out.

Honestly it’s not rocket science to put signs up is it. People shouldn’t be left to guess where they should go. It’ll even put people off from attending appointments or requesting help.

Another complaint was that there isn’t any LED sign etc to tell people with hearing problems that their number has been called in the council part of the building. This needs rectifying asap.

This week was challenging, but very productive. I encouraged a woman to appeal her PIP decision and I’ve put support in place for her to do this.

I also had a conversation with a security guard employee whom I think actually employs people over at the college side of the building. I told him about the two wages in one month scenario and he is definitely interested in changing paydays so that any employees don’t suffer from this. Yes the DWP are still doing this.

We will be returning next week to help more people. We love doing this because it gives people hope as many of you will know. A massive thank you to everyone else that are also taking action like we are. You’re all amazing.

Get well messages for Roy, he’s not well at the moment and we’re missing him so much. Get well soon!!!

Thank you to Gordon for being an absolute superstar and my Twitter follower for coming and saying hello. You know who you are!! You made me smile so much!!

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog to other, even your local Tory MP or councillor. They need to know what the reality of this situation is even though they’ll either choose to deny it or will ignore it.

There’s also a donation button at the side and top of my blog for anyone wanting to donate. I am actively looking for a job and if anyone knows of a job suitable for me please let me know. Thank you so, so much.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog. You all give me the strength to carry on as do my wonderful friends. I really couldn’t do this without you all.

PIP assessment two weeks ago a compliance letter today. The harassment continues.

Dear readers, it’s Thursday again. I hope that you’re all ok and doing your best to survive the cruel DWP system.

Today was a busy day and we helped lots of people. The food parcels went straight away as usual, it’s awful that it is this is happening in the first place. The governments persecution of poor and disabled people is never ending isn’t it and there’s an endless pot of money available for it as well.

I’ll try to be as brief as possible and as usual I won’t divulge the identity of anyone that I spoke to today out of respect.

We spoke to lots of people with varied problems and concerns, not one of them told us that they liked the system and nor is it helping them either. Most of the people that I spoke to also expressed their concerns about how much more worse off they are now. Basically it’s extremely hard to manage and it’s even worse when it’s winter and they have to find extra money to heat their homes.

Most of the people that we spoke to had or have had confusion and problems with the system and this has resulted in them suffering financially which then also affected their heath and mental wellbeing. I truly believe that there are thousands of people now suffering with PTSD as a result of the pernicious DWP system, many people want to run and hide.

This brings me to a conversation that I had with a woman that has luckily now found a job. As I offered her a leaflet she expressed her concerns about the system and how vulnerable people are expected to cope. She herself found the computer application daunting and even she struggled with it and stressed that it would be near impossible for many people.

Later in the conversation she told me that she is a volunteer for The Samaritans and that she speaks to far more people that are worried about Universal Credit and PIP ESA assessments, in fact most of the people that she speaks to are concerned about this.

The reality is that more and more of us are questioning our own mortality and that of others, years ago it wouldn’t have really crossed our minds because we knew that we’d be ok and would get through any problems that we had.

The introduction of the new DWP system and the introduction of so called medical assessments has completely taken any hope away that they ever had and I’m not sure if we’ll ever be able to get over this.

We’re still having problems with the huge stairs to the Jobcentre, there isn’t enough signage to say that there’s a lift inside that people can use. I hope that this is rectified soon because disabled people are having to use the stairs leaving them exhausted.

Some of the conversations that we have with people can be very disheartening and concerning. I handed Liz a leaflet and I asked her if she was ok. She told me that she’d just had a tough time in the Jobcentre and I asked her why. Her situation is this;

Liz cares for her daughter who is disabled. Her daughter has to go into hospital for a sixteen hour operation, the date of the operation clashes with her next signing on appointment.

Liz asked if she could change the date of the appointment because she had to be at the hospital with her daughter.

Liz told me that she was treated awfully by her job coach and at first they denied this request so she had to plead her case, telling me that she was spoken to like rubbish and it was inferred that the Jobcentre appointment was more important.

Eventually her job coach agreed to changing the appointment date to wait for it…. The next day. No consideration was given for the fact that she’s going to be both physically and mentally exhausted.

It’s overwhelmingly obvious that the DWP don’t give a stuff, but we hope that the operation is a success. Their nothing but a bunch of heartless cowards.

Sanctions are still happening folks, I spoke to a young man that was midway through a long sanction. He had been ill with depression and he had given up on life. He hadn’t been told that he could appeal so I advised him that he could do so. He’s got another 18 weeks of his sanction left. Horrible isn’t it.

I had a conversation with a woman that I had recently taken to a PIP assessment. I thought that she had come to tell me about the decision about the assessment but no, it was further persecution from the DWP.

This morning she had received a letter stating that she has to attend a telephone compliance interview, failure to do this would ensure that her payments would be stopped straight away.

Whilst this is not unusual, I want to highlight this. The persecution of disabled people never ends and despite empty promises from Amber Rudd etc nothing really is changing. It’s hard enough being disabled combined with the worry that the DWP are going to stop your payments at any time is far too much for many to cope with.

Both myself and Gordon spoke to the family of an 87 year old woman’s family that are having problems trying to get a new bin for their mother. Basically what happened is this.

The family had arranged for the local council to have her bin collected from inside her garden and they bring it back to save her the job of collecting her bin. She’s unable to do this and this arrangement had worked well for ages.

This week however her bin wasn’t returned and it was promptly stolen so they went to the council offices to request a replacement. They were told that they wouldn’t be replacing the bin ad they’d have to pay for a new one.

I suggested that they contact their local MP who hopefully can rectify this.

Last but not least I spoke to a young man who us completely baffled by the system and had problems with both his DWP claim and his council tax. I advised him and signposted him and I really hope that he does get a resolution to this.

I can’t stress how important it is that we continue our work because it has proved to be essential. We often speak to people when they’re in a state of crisis and often shock and we will be returning next week to do the same.

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

Please support my blog, I’m a skint single parent trying my best to help people. There’s a donation button at the top and side of this blog. Many thanks to my readers that have already done this. Thank you so much xxx.

It’s almost as if universal credit was created to destroy working class communities…

Every week for around five years I’ve stood outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre helping claimants, signposting them, providing food, support, providing survival guides, taking people to ESA and PIP medicals and tribunals.

The situation for claimants is certainly not getting any better, in fact its become much worse.

Nearly every person that I’ve spoken to throughout the years have had problems with the computer based universal system. Sometimes it crashes, won’t let them into their own account and it certainly isn’t accessible for all claimants.

Over the years I have spoken to people that are forced to use a computer, usually at the Jobcentre even though they can’t read or write or haven’t a clue how to use a computer. Just because someone is young certainly doesn’t mean that they’re able to use a computer but the DWP refuse to recognise that.

Today I spoke to an older lady, a WASPI lady that should have been receiving her pension but was instead conned out of it by the government and thrown on the scrap heap and forced to claim universal credit.

Because she doesn’t know how to use a computer it’ll be very hard for her to fulfil the requirements made upon claimants when claiming universal credit.

Today was her first appointment and she was inside the Jobcentre for around 3/4 of a hour. She came out flustered, confused and had gained a headache. She isn’t respected at all by the system and she asked me how on earth could she learn how to use a computer competently.

The DWP didn’t offer her any advice but I noted yesterday that the library downstairs is offering free computer courses so I signposted her there.

The DWP are quick to shirk away from any caring responsibilities towards claimants, occasionally you might get a nice job coach and that’s if you’re lucky. Instead the burden lies with local services with no links to the DWP.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a member of the library staff, I asked her how she found the new library and what was it like having to share the building with the DWP. Her answer was that it was ‘very interesting’ and they weren’t particularly enjoying it but that they have to put up with it.

I also asked her if it had increased their workload and if anything had changed. Her reply was that they’re doing their best to keep up with demand but there’s so many people requesting help that it’s hard for them to keep up. The demand for their computer courses is high and we felt like the DWP could do more to help.

Also noted was that the library has become much busier, some come into the library and stay for hours, to keep warm or cool and that it was a good job that there is a security guard to help out when needed.

Having to share the building with the DWP has certainly increased their workload ad not always in a good way. I admire librarians I really do, they work so hard and they also love their work. Thank you.

Today I spoke to at least three people with disabilities that were being forced to migrate onto universal credit because of changes in their circumstances. They’re all finding it extremely hard but most people just accept that they’ll have no money for at least five weeks.

Many people are just accepting that this is the way it is and they’ll have to go hungry, sell their possessions etc in a bid to survive. Many people become ill as a result of universal credit and the whole process, indeed many people have been diagnosed with PTSD as a result.

One thing is certain, the DWP and the government are the only winners here.

I also spoke to people wanting to improve their situation but are denied this. They have to do whatever the DWP says or else. They’d rather we all worked for nothing on a workfare scheme rather than get a paid job because the DWP and the company involved both benefit financially from this.

Meanwhile the claimant that would rather be looking for work or studying is used for free labour and end up in more poverty as a result. It’s sickening.

The right wing media plays a big part in influencing a persons opinion of benefit claimants. It tells them that they’re lazy, work-shy, scroungers that want something for nothing. I’ve even had someone tell me that they want all unemployed people to be shipped off to another country.

It’s ironic that many of the people making these comments are now having to claim universal credit isn’t it. But I doubt that it’s changed their opinion of others.

Today we handed out all of our food parcels and I hate that there’s the need for them. That need wont be going for many years yet. We spoke to lots of people and offered help and advice, signposting and a copy of our survival guide. Very aptly named because it is the survival of the fittest.

I really wish that I didn’t have to be there doing this but it’s much needed just as much as it was five years ago. We do our best and thats all we can do.

We will be returning next week outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre from 10-12. Please come and join us because we really need your support.

A huge thank you to Gordon for coming along today, he’s an absolute superstar.

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog.

Please support my blog if you can I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to make the world a better place. I’m being moved over to universal credit next week and to be honest I’m dreading it.

A huge thank you to all my readers and to everyone that has supported my blog. You all keep me going.

Sanctioned woman with four children. How will this encourage her to find work Amber Rudd?

Dear readers, a miracle occurred today! It wasn’t raining! This was fantastic because we’re a tad fed up with the constant rain.

It was quiet busy today and we handed out almost all of our survival guides and distributed our food parcels to people needing them. It’s an absolute travesty that they’re needed in the first place, but it’s only going to get worse, and I hate saying that.

Yesterday evening I spoke at a local NEU meeting about universal credit, poverty, children and young people. It was an excellent meeting I just hope that I didn’t depress them too much.

The sad reality is that for the poorest life in the UK is extremely hard, gruelling and punishing and it’s no surprise that the mortality levels keep on rising.

The effects of living in poverty will become all apparent in the future when the children and young people reach adulthood. Poverty really does take a toll both physically and mentally even if you don’t realise at the time and often surface later on in life.

Today I spoke to lots of people, most of them were disabled and struggling to cope. I saw tears, frustration, anger and people that are very close to giving up. What right does the government have to treat vulnerable people in this way? It won’t be stopping anytime soon either.

As usual I won’t be revealing a persons real name. Everyone that I spoke to received help, advice, food, signposting and solidarity. It’s extremely vital that we are able to continue our important work.

The first person that I spoke to had arrived at the Jobcentre with his bicycle and he wasn’t allowed to take his bike inside with him whilst he attended his appointment so we offered to look after it for him. He’s a lovely chap just trying his best to cope in a very difficult world.

It was then that I spotted a woman leaving the Jobcentre with her partner. She was visibly upset so I walked over and asked her if I could help her. This is her situation.

Janet is a mother of four children, she suffers from memory loss which she says it getting much worse. She forgot to attend a meeting at the Jobcentre because of her memory loss but when she saw that she should have attended a meeting she dashed down to the Jobcentre with her partner.

Janet was then met with the words ‘We’re going to sanction you because you didn’t attend a meeting’. She tried to tell them that she’s not well and suffers from memory loss and she said that they weren’t interested, she was going to be sanctioned and she was told to leave.

Janet should be receiving lots more support than she is at present. She hadn’t been advised about anything regarding her disabilities and nor did they care. I then advised her about what to do, I also advised her partner about what he can do to help her regarding this situation. I also signposted them to their local MP for help, I really hope that they’ve telephoned their office.

We also gave them a food parcel and stood with her whilst she was crying wondering how on earth she would manage to look after her children, because she’s not going to be able to buy them any food etc. She feels like a failure to them and everyone.

I hope that my words of support helped her and showed her that we do care and she is loved.

Sanctions appear to have gone under the radar until this week, indeed I’ve been campaigning against them for years as have others. I tell people that sanctions kill people, some have called me an extremist for saying this but it’s far from extreme isn’t it.

We need to continue to put pressure on the government, and remind them that they need to stop withdrawing the means of survival from vulnerable claimants. They shouldn’t be the ones to decide if a person lives or dies.

It was then that I spotter ‘Irene’ walking towards the Jobcentre with her friend.

Irene has been waiting since May for a decision about her claim for universal credit. She’s trying to survive on her sons pension. Her son died a few years ago.

Most of this pension money is spent on paying her rent, and she’s left with about £15 a month to live on.

So far Irene has been sent to three different Jobcentres by the DWP and not one of them have helped her so far, meanwhile her friend is buying her food etc.

For various reasons Irene isn’t able to use a computer, both herself and her friend had already told the DWP this and it was noted, but it didn’t stop a DWP telephone advisor from telling her to “GET A GRIP AND USE A COMPUTER”.

Of course this upset Irene and she just didn’t know what to do.

I advised her to telephone her local MPs office and ask them for their help. She really needs their support because MPs are really good at this, well our local MPs are and I appreciate that we’re lucky.

Irene was so thankful for the help, she’s so fed up with being messed around by the system. Lets hope that she gets some good news soon.

We then spoke to a man that has been waiting since May for a decision from a DWP decision maker. He told us that the DWP owed him money and this is probably why they’re taking their time in responding.

He’s probably correct. The DWP are extremely quick at taking money away from people but extremely slow at repaying money back that they owe.

Remember Amber Rudd telling everyone that universal credit is wonderful for everyone that has been in prison? Tell this to Dave, he can’t get a job because of his criminal record and can’t afford to become self employed either.

Amber Rudd you’re a liar and you know it don’t you.

It was then that we had a conversation with Gill and her partner. Gill is disabled and has fibromyalgia and other health problems.

Gill and her partner were forced to make a claim for universal credit which took ten weeks to be processed. Yes ten weeks, she’s disabled for heavens sake.

Gill recently failed a DWP medical assessment and is in the process of appealing.

Gill and her partner are now in debt with everyone and is forced to attend the Jobcentre for ‘meetings’. Are they going to magically cure her? I doubt it but they will make her even more unwell.

Quite understandably they’re extremely frustrated and depressed. This government really hates people with disabilities.

I had a short conversation with a woman about her council tax and how much of a struggle it is to pay it. I can totally relate to this.

Just before we left Gordon asked a young man if he needed any help. He told us that he was ok but they (the DWP) really hate him in there (the Jobcentre).

To be fair the DWP don’t like any of us do they.

We will be returning next week as usual, but we really need more support and we would love more people to join us. There’s only two of us now and I was going to organise our yearly anniversary demo, but there’s not much point if no ones going to be there.

I really hate to have to ask and I apologise for doing so.

Please read, share, tweet, email and talk about my blog.

Help a stranger, become a friend and understand that this could well happen to you. Most of my readers do realise this.

I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help others. I’m also going to be moved onto universal credit in the near future.

A massive thanks to all my readers and to everyone for supporting my blog. It means the world to me and the people that we help.

Sanctioned woman with four children. How will this encourage her to find work Amber Rudd?

Dear readers, a miracle occurred today! It wasn’t raining! This was fantastic because we’re a tad fed up with the constant rain.

It was quiet busy today and we handed out almost all of our survival guides and distributed our food parcels to people needing them. It’s an absolute travesty that they’re needed in the first place, but it’s only going to get worse, and I hate saying that.

Yesterday evening I spoke at a local NEU meeting about universal credit, poverty, children and young people. It was an excellent meeting I just hope that I didn’t depress them too much.

The sad reality is that for the poorest life in the UK is extremely hard, gruelling and punishing and it’s no surprise that the mortality levels keep on rising.

The effects of living in poverty will become all apparent in the future when the children and young people reach adulthood. Poverty really does take a toll both physically and mentally even if you don’t realise at the time and often surface later on in life.

Today I spoke to lots of people, most of them were disabled and struggling to cope. I saw tears, frustration, anger and people that are very close to giving up. What right does the government have to treat vulnerable people in this way? It won’t be stopping anytime soon either.

As usual I won’t be revealing a persons real name. Everyone that I spoke to received help, advice, food, signposting and solidarity. It’s extremely vital that we are able to continue our important work.

The first person that I spoke to had arrived at the Jobcentre with his bicycle and he wasn’t allowed to take his bike inside with him whilst he attended his appointment so we offered to look after it for him. He’s a lovely chap just trying his best to cope in a very difficult world.

It was then that I spotted a woman leaving the Jobcentre with her partner. She was visibly upset so I walked over and asked her if I could help her. This is her situation.

Janet is a mother of four children, she suffers from memory loss which she says it getting much worse. She forgot to attend a meeting at the Jobcentre because of her memory loss but when she saw that she should have attended a meeting she dashed down to the Jobcentre with her partner.

Janet was then met with the words ‘We’re going to sanction you because you didn’t attend a meeting’. She tried to tell them that she’s not well and suffers from memory loss and she said that they weren’t interested, she was going to be sanctioned and she was told to leave.

Janet should be receiving lots more support than she is at present. She hadn’t been advised about anything regarding her disabilities and nor did they care. I then advised her about what to do, I also advised her partner about what he can do to help her regarding this situation. I also signposted them to their local MP for help, I really hope that they’ve telephoned their office.

We also gave them a food parcel and stood with her whilst she was crying wondering how on earth she would manage to look after her children, because she’s not going to be able to buy them any food etc. She feels like a failure to them and everyone.

I hope that my words of support helped her and showed her that we do care and she is loved.

Sanctions appear to have gone under the radar until this week, indeed I’ve been campaigning against them for years as have others. I tell people that sanctions kill people, some have called me an extremist for saying this but it’s far from extreme isn’t it.

We need to continue to put pressure on the government, and remind them that they need to stop withdrawing the means of survival from vulnerable claimants. They shouldn’t be the ones to decide if a person lives or dies.

It was then that I spotter ‘Irene’ walking towards the Jobcentre with her friend.

Irene has been waiting since May for a decision about her claim for universal credit. She’s trying to survive on her sons pension. Her son died a few years ago.

Most of this pension money is spent on paying her rent, and she’s left with about £15 a month to live on.

So far Irene has been sent to three different Jobcentres by the DWP and not one of them have helped her so far, meanwhile her friend is buying her food etc.

For various reasons Irene isn’t able to use a computer, both herself and her friend had already told the DWP this and it was noted, but it didn’t stop a DWP telephone advisor from telling her to “GET A GRIP AND USE A COMPUTER”.

Of course this upset Irene and she just didn’t know what to do.

I advised her to telephone her local MPs office and ask them for their help. She really needs their support because MPs are really good at this, well our local MPs are and I appreciate that we’re lucky.

Irene was so thankful for the help, she’s so fed up with being messed around by the system. Lets hope that she gets some good news soon.

We then spoke to a man that has been waiting since May for a decision from a DWP decision maker. He told us that the DWP owed him money and this is probably why they’re taking their time in responding.

He’s probably correct. The DWP are extremely quick at taking money away from people but extremely slow at repaying money back that they owe.

Remember Amber Rudd telling everyone that universal credit is wonderful for everyone that has been in prison? Tell this to Dave, he can’t get a job because of his criminal record and can’t afford to become self employed either.

Amber Rudd you’re a liar and you know it don’t you.

It was then that we had a conversation with Gill and her partner. Gill is disabled and has fibromyalgia and other health problems.

Gill and her partner were forced to make a claim for universal credit which took ten weeks to be processed. Yes ten weeks, she’s disabled for heavens sake.

Gill recently failed a DWP medical assessment and is in the process of appealing.

Gill and her partner are now in debt with everyone and is forced to attend the Jobcentre for ‘meetings’. Are they going to magically cure her? I doubt it but they will make her even more unwell.

Quite understandably they’re extremely frustrated and depressed. This government really hates people with disabilities.

I had a short conversation with a woman about her council tax and how much of a struggle it is to pay it. I can totally relate to this.

Just before we left Gordon asked a young man if he needed any help. He told us that he was ok but they (the DWP) really hate him in there (the Jobcentre).

To be fair the DWP don’t like any of us do they.

We will be returning next week as usual, but we really need more support and we would love more people to join us. There’s only two of us now and I was going to organise our yearly anniversary demo, but there’s not much point if no ones going to be there.

I really hate to have to ask and I apologise for doing so.

Please read, share, tweet, email and talk about my blog.

Help a stranger, become a friend and understand that this could well happen to you. Most of my readers do realise this.

I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help others. I’m also going to be moved onto universal credit in the near future.

A massive thanks to all my readers and to everyone for supporting my blog. It means the world to me and the people that we help.

Homelessness, PIP assessment failures, terrible landlords and questionable work agencies. Another week outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

Dear readers, I can’t believe that it’s Thursday again. Time goes so quickly these days.

This weeks demo was very productive and we helped lots of people but we really do need more helpers. If you’re ever in the area please come and say hello.

It rained as usual today but only for the first hour of the demo. I was actually shocked to see the sun peeping out from behind a cloud.

My apologies if I’ve been quiet this week, I wasn’t feeling 100% but I think that now we might be seeing the end of the rain for a couple of days I should be ok.

Today’s demo went really quickly and we helped so many people with differing issues ranging from giving food parcels to someone who was in need of one to giving directions. It’s going to take people a long time to get used to the new Tameside One building.

I can’t thank Gordon enough for supporting me today, his help is invaluable and is really appreciated.

I shall list my conversations as usual. I won’t divulge a persons identity either so they don’t run the risk of being targeted by the DWP. I’ve seen this happen and the fear of this happening is very real.

I had requests for food parcels before the demo started from people who were in desperate need for food and a conversation. It’s heartbreaking to see peoples life’s spin totally out of their control, and not by their own doing.

I spoke to a young woman today whom I’ve had conversations with in the past on many occasions. My heart goes out to her it really does.

When they say that bad luck comes in three’s she’s had triple this amount and more, it isn’t her oen doing either.

Various events in her life have resulted in her needing more help than can be offered locally thanks to government cuts.

I handed her a food parcel and had a long conversation with her. I really wish that I had a magic wand to help her. She’s such a lovely woman and I hate seeing her like this.

It was then that I had a conversation with a man whom I shall call Bill.

Bill has been working for a job agency grabbing working whenever her can. However the agency that he’s working for is refusing to give him a job reference for another job that he’s looking for nor have they been paying him his full wage. The agency is also refusing to give him wage slips.

Call me cynical but I can smell a rat when I hear stories like this. This job agency are exploiting Bill, making him work long hours for little or no pay and refuse to give him a wage slip because they’re most likely committing fraud in some way.

Bill is also trapped into working for them because he can’t get another job without a reference from this employer.

Stories like this make me furious and I signposted him to Greater Manchester Law Centre for help.

Being trapped on universal credit is bad enough but combine this with an agency that are refusing to give him wage slips and his full wage is really making his life hell.

More needs to be done to outlaw these awful job agencies and to abolish zero hour contracts. People are really suffering as a result of them, and he wasn’t the first person that I spoke to today that found themselves in the same position.

I hope Bill is ok, he was a lovely chap that really deserves much more than to be treated like this.

I had a quick conversation with a woman who is in the process off appealing a PIP decision. She’s doing everything that she can to appeal this decision.

I had a conversation with a young man who had recently lost his temporary accommodation so he’s now moving between various night shelters. Call me old fashioned but I believe that everyone deserves a place to call home. Criminalising homeless people just makes things much worse. The government should be on trial for treating people like this, for taking funding away from necessary services.

Meanwhile it looks like Boris Johnson is going to become our next prime minister. God help us.

I had a conversation with a young man that is newly homeless and has found a job. His problem is that he needed some bus fare to get to his new job, of course the DWP refused to help him even though he claims universal credit and the DWP are claiming that universal credit helps people into work.

What a load of rubbish, if they actually did want this they’d give this man his bus fare and ensure that every single person upon finding work is given a fully contracted job not an unstable zero hour contract job with a dodgy agency that refuses to pay them.

Who cares though? We do, my readers do but the government don’t give a toss.

It was then that I spoke to a lovely young woman. Her story was very similar to Bills.

She’s working for a job agency getting work whenever she can and she’s also looking for a secure job. She has children to care for.

She asked her agency if she could have a reference to send to a future employer. They point blank refused saying that they didn’t have to. Her wages have also been sparodic. Not ideal when shes got children to look after.

Thinking that the DWP would help her she asked them for help but was refused so I signposted her to Greater Manchester Law Centre where they can hopefully help her.

This highlighted how bad many of these agencies are. At the moment they’re running roughshod over very vulnerable people with absolutely no governmental opposition from the Tory Party. Like John Mcdonall and Jeremy Corbyn say, these agencies and zero hour contracts need to be abolished.

I then had a conversation with a woman who has been battling a dodgy landlord for years. She told me about her substandard accommodation, leaking roofs, damp riddled walls etc.

It’s awful that she’s having to go through this. It’s had a detrimental effect on both her physical and mental health.

It’s much like the days of old from before Ken Loach made Cathy Come Home and Shirley Baker took a set of photographs that spurred the organisation Shelter to be formed.

It’s like stepping back in time, in my eyes right back to the mid 19th century onwards.

Whilst there’s a Tory government there’s suffering, the two go hand in hand and now we’ve most likely got Boris as our future prime minister.

Things aren’t going to get better until we vote them out and I can’t wait for that day.

A special mention goes out to members of DPAC that have collected thousands of copies of the Metro newspaper and gave them back to the Metro and the DWP.

The governments propaganda campaign has failed miserably through this campaign

Also the thousands upon thousands of people that have been forced onto universal credit that know the reality of this awful system.

Making work pay, don’t make me laugh. It’s the opposite and they know it.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. It’s really important that we get information like this out there for the world to see.

We will be back next week to help people.

There’s also a donate button at the top and side of this blog for anyone interested in donating. I’m a skint single parent struggling like everyone else is. Every penny does help.

A massive thanks to everyone that does already support my blog. Thank you ❤️.

The bedroom tax strikes again. Yet more tales from the Jobcentre.

Dear readers, as expected the weather was rotten, raining and windy. The temperature more like what we usually expect in winter. As a result we stayed for a hour and still helped lots of people. Also I was feeling pretty rubbish. My apologies again.

Because the weather was bad, we didn’t expect there to be as much demand for our food parcels. Sometimes people like to stay indoors so not to get wet, but I was wrong. There was a queue for the food parcels and we didn’t have enough to give to everyone, but we muddled through and everyone was ok.

It’s very hard to gauge what to expect, not one week is the same. People are continuing to suffer at the hands of the government and their persecutor of the poor the DWP.

I spotted a woman walking towards us, she was a new face and in need of our help.

As I handed her a food parcel and a copy of our survival guide I asked her if I could help her in any way. She replied saying that she was sick and tired of the bedroom tax,. She has to pay the bedroom tax for two spare bedrooms, and before anyone says that she should just move out, she can’t. As a result of the bedroom tax she has accrued debts with her landlord and just about everyone that she knows.

So she’s now dependent upon food banks and local support networks. She told me of how she likes to help others even though they may not thank her for it, saying ‘We’re all in the same boat so we should look out for each other’

That’s not easy when you have nothing though, and you don’t see any Tory MP offering to help anyone do you.

I helped her to the best of my abilities and I hope that shes ok.

It was then when I started a conversation with a young man, a new face that had come to see us on the advice of his friends. His story is this;

He is newly unemployed and is street homeless,.

He has just made an application for universal credit.

He wants to work but can’t find a job that would cover the expense of staying in supported housing or a hostel. The rent payable per person in these places are very high, therefore most people can only find work when they eventually find permanent accommodation.

Basically at the moment his priority is getting a bed for the night, but he will still have to fulfil his obligations with the DWP.

I signposted him to all relevant local organisations that can help him.

I then handed a leaflet to a young man and I asked him if he needed any help. His answer was that he’ll be struggling for the next two weeks until he hopefully receives his first universal credit payment.

I then spoke to an older man nearing pensionable age. He’s really suffered because of the horrendous DWP system that one minute tells him that he’s entitled to payments, and the next minute tells him that he isn’t entitled to anything.

I asked him how he’s been coping, he told me that he’s survived by doing odd jobs for people every now and then.

He told me that he was concerned about his data being shared by the DWP. This is a relevant worry because they do pass our information on to their ‘pals’.

As we continued with our conversation he told me that he had received a letter saying that he can apply for his pension early. I encouraged him to do this because it’s the only way out of this awful situation.

Things aren’t improving folks, its getting much worse. People aren’t able to afford to buy food etc because of the bedroom tax, the council tax supplement and debts. More and more people are dependent upon food banks and friends for help.

To be in any of the situations above is scary. Most of the people that I’ve spoken to throughout the years had never thought that they’d be in this situation and once there it’s devastated them.

We honestly can’t allow this to continue, far too many people are dying. We all need to challenge the government more in any way that you’re able.

The thought of Boris Johnson as the next prime minister is indeed a worrying thought. But if he does become our next prime minister we must constantly challenge him. We’ll certainly be the laughing stock of the rest of the world.

Thankfully Esther Mcvey has been ruled out of the equation. Her being prime minister would be absolutely horrific.

We’ll be returning next week and hopefully the weather will be better.

Many thanks to Gordon for helping me today.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

A massive thank you to everyone that reads and supports my blog.

I’m a skint single parent struggling like everyone else and I speak from experience as well as having conversations with others.

For anyone wishing to donate there is a paypal link at the top of the blog and at the side. Thank you!!

Surviving on £30 a week with children. Universal Credit strikes again.

Dear readers, my apologies once again for this weeks blog being late. I woke with a migraine and I’m struggling through it. Anyway enough about me, I hope that your ok.

Thankfully it wasn’t raining today which made a pleasant surprise because rain was forecast. The rain clouds are looming so it’ll be here soon.

Today was quiet, most likely because of the school holidays, but regardless we managed to help lots of people which is the main thing.

As usual there was a queue for the food parcels and I had a long chat with the young woman that I mentioned in last weeks blog. She’s surviving and was able to smile this week. She’s also been able to eat some good meals. She’s also staying at a friends home and they’re taking good care of her.

All the food parcels went as soon as they arrived which says a lot about this awful benefits system that isn’t really a benefit for many if anyone. Having to fight for every penny that you’re entitled to is no fun at all.

After talking to the people that took the food parcels, we then had a conversation with a woman that we’ve spoken to before. Her story is this. She’s received a letter telling her that her PIP assessment is next week and at her home. I asked her if she had anyone to be with her whilst the PIP examination was taking place. She told me that she didn’t so I volunteered to do this.

It’s important to get help with these assessments if that’s possible. This woman is really confused about the whole system, indeed she thought that it was an examination that she had to pass as do so many people.

We advised her and I promised her that I would be there for her, hopefully we managed to reassure her.

It was then that we had a long conversation with a confused and anxious man outside the Jobcentre. I walked over, handed him a copy of our survival guide and asked him if we could help.

This is his story. He went to the cash machine to collect his payment and saw that it wasn’t there, his payment was supposed to have been paid today but it wasn’, and this is why he was at the Jobcentre to try to find out why.

Some might say ‘Why didn’t he phone the DWP to resolve this?’ He couldn’t because he doesn’t have any credit on his mobile phone. I really wish that people would realise that many of of us can’t afford to buy phone credit.

I advised him to ask his advisor when he went in for his appointment and he did just that. Upon leaving the Jobcentre he told me that they said that they don’t guarantee that a payment will arrive on a specific day or date because ‘It depends on the month’.

So they accept that not all months have the same amount of weeks etc but they still don’t recognise the fact that a person claiming universal credit and working can receive two wages in one month. They stop their payments because apparently they’ve earnt ‘too much’ and aren’t entitled to their universal credit.

It’s one rule for them and one for us as usual.

Hopefully he will receive his payment tomorrow as promised but I wouldn’t hold my breath would you?

Roy then spoke to a man that’s claiming the sickness element of universal credit. The DWP have told him that he now has to look for work for 20 hours a week despite his disability. Of course he shouldn’t have to do this. But the DWP do exactly what they want and get away with it.

I then walked over to a young woman that was attending the Jobcentre with her children. I asked her how she was and if she needed any help. To say that she’s stressed was an understatement. I’ll name her Jill.

Jill is a single parent with children, she has no close family members to ask for help. So far Jill has been waiting 5 weeks for her first universal credit payment.

Jill and her children are trying to survive on £30 child benefit, loans from the DWP that she’ll have to repay and food parcels from local food banks and organisations.

The DWP have told Jill that she might get a payment next week, and apparently that makes it all ok. Eerrmm no it doesn’t.

Can you imagine how difficult and soul destroying this is for Jill? Having to literally beg for food and help whilst trying to be positive for her children. It’s horrific and certainly shouldn’t be happening.

We then noted an official from the ‘Job Gym” walking into the Jobcentre. The very name of this organisation is ridiculous isn’t it. There isn’t enough work out there for people and no amount of ‘working out’ at this ‘Job Gym’ can fix this.

By the way I despise these organisations that work on behalf of the DWP, and I find the names of these organisations to often be ridiculous. There isn’t enough decent work out there, not work that can sustain a family. The only work available is usually zero hour contract work for agencies.

I then spoke to a young man that had been sanctioned for not attending an DWP appointment because he was in prison on the day of the appointment. He then had to make a new claim, but the DWP told him that his sanction had been carried over to this new claim and he wouldn’t be able to access any money for a while.

Luckily he managed to overturn the sanction, so now he has to wait at least 5 weeks for his universal credit claim to be processed.

The whole 5 week wait for a universal credit claim to be processed is ridiculous, and it could be made much shorter if the government wanted to.

The government doesn’t want to help working class people though, they just want to continue to punish them for being alive and breathing. There’s an endless pot of money available to further their campaign of hatred towards the working class isn’t there. It’s despicable and cruel. We’ll never, ever forget this nor will our children.

This all happened within two hours outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre this morning, can you imagine how awful it is for everyone attending every Jobcentre throughout the country?

Many thanks to Gordon and Roy for helping today, they’re amazing people.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog, also subscribe to my blog so that you’ll receive notifications every time that I update the blog.

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

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny does count. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people and to campaign against this terrible system and government. I also help people outside of this blog and the demo, and every penny does count. Thank you xx.

Surviving on £30 a week with children. Universal Credit strikes again.

Dear readers, my apologies once again for this weeks blog being late. I woke with a migraine and I’m struggling through it. Anyway enough about me, I hope that your ok.

Thankfully it wasn’t raining today which made a pleasant surprise because rain was forecast. The rain clouds are looming so it’ll be here soon.

Today was quiet, most likely because of the school holidays, but regardless we managed to help lots of people which is the main thing.

As usual there was a queue for the food parcels and I had a long chat with the young woman that I mentioned in last weeks blog. She’s surviving and was able to smile this week. She’s also been able to eat some good meals. She’s also staying at a friends home and they’re taking good care of her.

All the food parcels went as soon as they arrived which says a lot about this awful benefits system that isn’t really a benefit for many if anyone. Having to fight for every penny that you’re entitled to is no fun at all.

After talking to the people that took the food parcels, we then had a conversation with a woman that we’ve spoken to before. Her story is this. She’s received a letter telling her that her PIP assessment is next week and at her home. I asked her if she had anyone to be with her whilst the PIP examination was taking place. She told me that she didn’t so I volunteered to do this.

It’s important to get help with these assessments if that’s possible. This woman is really confused about the whole system, indeed she thought that it was an examination that she had to pass as do so many people.

We advised her and I promised her that I would be there for her, hopefully we managed to reassure her.

It was then that we had a long conversation with a confused and anxious man outside the Jobcentre. I walked over, handed him a copy of our survival guide and asked him if we could help.

This is his story. He went to the cash machine to collect his payment and saw that it wasn’t there, his payment was supposed to have been paid today but it wasn’, and this is why he was at the Jobcentre to try to find out why.

Some might say ‘Why didn’t he phone the DWP to resolve this?’ He couldn’t because he doesn’t have any credit on his mobile phone. I really wish that people would realise that many of of us can’t afford to buy phone credit.

I advised him to ask his advisor when he went in for his appointment and he did just that. Upon leaving the Jobcentre he told me that they said that they don’t guarantee that a payment will arrive on a specific day or date because ‘It depends on the month’.

So they accept that not all months have the same amount of weeks etc but they still don’t recognise the fact that a person claiming universal credit and working can receive two wages in one month. They stop their payments because apparently they’ve earnt ‘too much’ and aren’t entitled to their universal credit.

It’s one rule for them and one for us as usual.

Hopefully he will receive his payment tomorrow as promised but I wouldn’t hold my breath would you?

Roy then spoke to a man that’s claiming the sickness element of universal credit. The DWP have told him that he now has to look for work for 20 hours a week despite his disability. Of course he shouldn’t have to do this. But the DWP do exactly what they want and get away with it.

I then walked over to a young woman that was attending the Jobcentre with her children. I asked her how she was and if she needed any help. To say that she’s stressed was an understatement. I’ll name her Jill.

Jill is a single parent with children, she has no close family members to ask for help. So far Jill has been waiting 5 weeks for her first universal credit payment.

Jill and her children are trying to survive on £30 child benefit, loans from the DWP that she’ll have to repay and food parcels from local food banks and organisations.

The DWP have told Jill that she might get a payment next week, and apparently that makes it all ok. Eerrmm no it doesn’t.

Can you imagine how difficult and soul destroying this is for Jill? Having to literally beg for food and help whilst trying to be positive for her children. It’s horrific and certainly shouldn’t be happening.

We then noted an official from the ‘Job Gym” walking into the Jobcentre. The very name of this organisation is ridiculous isn’t it. There isn’t enough work out there for people and no amount of ‘working out’ at this ‘Job Gym’ can fix this.

By the way I despise these organisations that work on behalf of the DWP, and I find the names of these organisations to often be ridiculous. There isn’t enough decent work out there, not work that can sustain a family. The only work available is usually zero hour contract work for agencies.

I then spoke to a young man that had been sanctioned for not attending an DWP appointment because he was in prison on the day of the appointment. He then had to make a new claim, but the DWP told him that his sanction had been carried over to this new claim and he wouldn’t be able to access any money for a while.

Luckily he managed to overturn the sanction, so now he has to wait at least 5 weeks for his universal credit claim to be processed.

The whole 5 week wait for a universal credit claim to be processed is ridiculous, and it could be made much shorter if the government wanted to.

The government doesn’t want to help working class people though, they just want to continue to punish them for being alive and breathing. There’s an endless pot of money available to further their campaign of hatred towards the working class isn’t there. It’s despicable and cruel. We’ll never, ever forget this nor will our children.

This all happened within two hours outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre this morning, can you imagine how awful it is for everyone attending every Jobcentre throughout the country?

Many thanks to Gordon and Roy for helping today, they’re amazing people.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog, also subscribe to my blog so that you’ll receive notifications every time that I update the blog.

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

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny does count. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people and to campaign against this terrible system and government. I also help people outside of this blog and the demo, and every penny does count. Thank you xx.

Aged 65 and hounded to find work. Universal Credit cares nothing about age or ability to work.

Dear readers, it’s Thursday again and here’s my latest blog update. Thankfully the weather was good today, indeed very warm for a change. We spoke to lots of people and helped lots also.

We do vital work, helping people when they’re upset, stressed and dealt with unfairly by the DWP. Claiming universal credit is a difficult and arduous process, hard for many, impossible for some as they don’t know how to or don’t have a computer.

For those saying that they should go to a library thats easier said than done. Many libraries have shut and some libraries reduced to a small mobile library that visits occasionally and don’t have computer or internet access.

For those that say that they can do their job searching on a phone, a lot of people don’t have smart phones, many have pawned them for money for food or bills and many don’t know how to use them. Life isn’t as simple as some make it out to be. Most of you already realise this of course.

Universal credit is a complicated system that’s designed to make people fail. It doesn’t benefit those that are working and claiming universal credit either. If you are seen to earn ‘too much’ then they’ll automatically end your claim. This happens all the time to people that have received two wages in one month because of the number of days in the month or if you’ve managed to get some overtime.

This week is the start of Amber Rudds universal credit publicity campaign in the Metro newspaper. The facts that she’s stating in these ads are untrue and based upon old data. They’ll be running this advertisement campaign for nine weeks, so there’s plenty of time to bin these newspapers when you see them.

This is why it’s very important to share my blog and other blogs like mine. We need to get the truth out there to the public. Whilst we can’t afford to pay 250 thousand to do this like the Tory party have, we do have social media and word of mouth. We are much more effective than they are using these methods because the Tories haven’t got a clue how to relate to real life people.

Everyone that we spoke to today were signposted for help, given advice immediately and given a food parcel if needed. The food parcels went as soon as we arrived with them, there’s a huge need for them because many people are surviving by visiting various foodbanks during the week and accessing any free cooked food facilities.

It shouldn’t be like this, but it is and we will be there to help them as long as there is a need.

I spoke to a man as I was handing him a food parcel, he told me that he’s been told that he’s missed two PIP appointments even though he didn’t receive any letters regarding this. He collects his post from the local post office so he definitely hasn’t received them.

As a result he’s now having to survive by using foodbanks and our food parcels.

I had a quick chat with a woman who was carrying her seven week old baby. Call me old fashioned but I don’t believe that anyone with such a young baby should be hounded by the DWP. Children benefit hugely from being with their parents, and if the government allowed this then they’d save millions of pounds. But it’s not about saving money is it, it’s about making people suffer, and that includes children.

I had a conversation with a young woman who is claiming universal credit and is working. She told me that because she had done some overtime the previous month, the universal credit system and automatically stopped her claim because it decided that she had earnt ‘too much’.

This has left her not knowing how she will survive, pay her rent and other bills. Despite Amber Rudds claims no one benefits from claiming universal credit especially working people.

Sadly this woman will never be able to satisfy the universal credit system, nor will anyone that I’ve spoken to today and over the years. It’s an abusive, gaslighting system that wears a person down until they’ve had enough.

It wasn’t long after that I had a conversation with a very vulnerable man and his carer. I’ve seen him having to go into the Jobcentre every week. A government with an ounce of compassion wouldn’t make him or anyone like him sign on. He should be able to enjoy his life instead of worrying all the time.

I then had a conversation with an older man.He quite rightly pointed out that nobody would employ him at his age, and he doesn’t like being harassed by the DWP to find work. He told me that she’s worked since leaving school and has never seen a system like it.

His situation doesn’t end there though, because he’s claiming universal credit he still has to pay the bedroom tax and the council tax supplement. To say that he’s struggling is an understatement, he doesn’t know how much more that he can take.

Roy briefly spoke to a young woman. Her situation is this, her private landlord is selling the house that she’s renting and she’s being forced to move home. When she moves home this will trigger a change of circumstances and she’ll be moved onto universal credit. To say that she’s scared of this happening is an understatement.

Luckily Roy provided some reassuring words and advice. I really hope that she’ll be ok.

I then spoke to an older lady, she told me that she was 65 and had worked for 50 years. She missed out on getting her pension and she’s not entitled to it until March.

During this conversation she told me that she didn’t receive any notification that this would happen to her and she certainly didn’t receive any letters telling her this. She’s doing her best to survive and is a member of the Back To 60 campaign, an important campaign which is overshadowed by the WASPI campaign. Please folks support them both.

Being harassed at 65 years of age by the DWP to find work is not only insulting it’s downright wrong. No one will employ her, it’s hard enough being a young person and finding work how on earth can they expect her to magic up employment that will satisfy the DWP. It’s scandalous and needs to be reported more often.

It was then that we all had a conversation with a chap who’s just returned from living in a different area of the country. He was already claiming universal credit and thought that it would be simple for the DWP to transfer his claim to his present address.

Sadly the DWP don’t believe in doing anything simply though, the system is rigged to make people suffer. He described how he’s now living a ‘nightmare’ and he’s sick of waiting for his commitment appointment with a DWP worker.

Universal credit shouldn’t be complicated after all it was advertised as being simple and easy to use. The reality is that its the most complicated system that many have seen and at times impossible to deal with. Don’t believe the DWP lies and spin.

It was then that I spoke to a young man thats going through a complete nightmare. His situation is this.

He was born in a different country because his mother had gone on holiday and had her baby unexpectedly there. His mother is a British citizen and was born in the Uk as were her parents, grandparents etc etc.

The home office contacted him and told him that he’s no longer a British Citizen, even though his parents are British, and nor is his young child. They informed him that he has to hand their passports in. To say that he’s scared is an understatement, this is his country, his parents country. He works in the UK, paid tax and insurance but now he’s been told that he’s not welcome because he happened to be born unexpectedly in a different country.

Sadly this isn’t uncommon, cases like this happen a lot but are often unreported. No one should have to go through this, but the government doesn’t care.

Luckily we were there to help him and to signpost him. The Windrush scandal isn’t over, they were just warming up. I’m certain that hundreds of people have been forced to leave the UK and to move to a country where they have no connections etc.

It’s scandalous that this is happening in the first place.

I’ll leave this blog with a statement from UN rapporteur Philip Alston, taken from his report that was released this week.

“It might seem to some observers that the department of work and pensions has been tasked with designing a digital and sanitised version of the early 19th century workhouse, made infamous by Charles Dickens”

“Thomas Hobbes observed long ago, such an approach condemns the least well-off to lives that are solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. As the British social contract evaporates, Hobbes prediction risks becoming the new reality.”

I can’t thank Roy and Gordon enough for supporting me today and helping so many people today. We are all doing this on a voluntary basis, because we can see the need and need to address it.

We shall return next week as usual.

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog. For anyone wishing to donate towards keeping my blog going and the campaign there’s a button at the top of this blog and at the side.

You didn’t use the correct words so we didn’t process your request. Universal credit is torturous don’t believe the DWPs propaganda.

Dear readers I hope that you’re all well. This week we had sunshine which was extremely welcome and a nice change from the rain that we appear to have had since the move to the new building.

Today was quite a busy day, lots of people needing help, lots of conversations were had and lots of people were helped.

We handed out lots of leaflets and food parcels to those in need of them we’ve been doing this for around five years, ever since the introduction of universal credit in Tameside. Ashton Under Lyne was chosen to be a trial area so we’ve had a pretty shit time of it.

I was greeted at the Jobcentre by a man that has finally received his first universal credit payment. After paying back his debt for the loans that he had to take out when waiting for his universal credit to be processed he’s left with £231 to live on for the month. His monthly repayments are £86.67, how on earth is anyone supposed to survive on this? The answer is that they can’t. People often apply for loans from loan sharks etc to get them through the month and end up having to use most of their monthly allowance to pay them back.

This isn’t a fair system, nor is it a caring system. It’s designed to punish those that are in need the most. Don’t believe the propaganda from the DWP, the truth is far worse than some people realise.

We need a fair system, one that doesn’t punish a person for being poor. We need a system that enables people to thrive, to care for people.

I had a conversation with a chap that we’ve been talking to every week. He’s a lovely man and always has a smile on his face despite his circumstances.

He told me that he was being hounded via text message by the DWP. They were sending him text messages everyday telling him to phone them up regarding his universal credit claim. When he received a text message from them last week he phoned them and dealt with the matter.

The DWP not content with this have decided to send him text messages everyday asking him to phone them up. Of course this worried him so he telephoned them every time he received a message and every time he was otolaryngologists that they’d sent him the messages by mistake.

Can you imagine how this could send someone over the edge? It can and it does. The DWP need to stop harassing people but of course they won’t because I believe that some of them get a kick out of it.

I spoke to a man wanting to appeal his ESA medical assessment decision. Luckily he’s getting help from Welfare Rights, but no one should ever have to attend these awful assessments.

I then had a conversation with a man that was struggling with paying his council tax. He told me that they (the council) don’t care that he’s struggling they just want his money. Council tax and the council tax supplement is cruel to many, it’s unaffordable to most of the people that I speak to. I really hate this tax along with the bedroom tax. They push people into even more poverty, the bedroom tax is responsible for making thousands of people homeless.

We spoke to a man that was struggling to get his national insurance number from the Jobcentre. He had found some agency work but needed his national insurance number but the Jobcentre said no. Luckily I was able to phone our MPs office (Angela Rayner) on his behalf and they helped him with this, so thank you so much.

Of course this shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but the DWP aren’t renowned for their helpfulness are they.

I then spoke to a woman that was struggling with her claim. She had been advised to telephone the DWP to correct things. She did this and was informed that everything would be ok because she had phoned them. Of course the DWP lied. She asked her advisor why her complaint hadn’t been listened to because she had ‘used the wrong words’.

This is absolutely ridiculous, how on earth was she supposed to know what words to use. It’s obscene that they used this as an excuse not to help her.

We had at least five conversations with people that were focused on how awful the government is, how ‘shit’ the DWP system is, how awful a particular local conservative councillor is.

This is a complete turnaround from even a few months ago. Locally people are frustrated and angry with the government. To be honest judging from todays conversations it wont be long before they reach breaking point, after all there’s only so much abuse that a person can take until they reach breaking point.

We need a Labour government and soon. This has to change, and will change one day. I have to have hope in that to keep me going.

Please read, share rt email my blog if you can.

Many thanks to everyone that reads and supports my blog. Thank you so, so much it means the world. We will be back next week to do the same.

I’m a skint single parent trying to make our world a better place. For anyone wishing to donate there’s a donation button at the side and top of this blog.

I’ll be dead by the time they stop my sickness money. The stark reality of universal credit.

Dear readers, once again I’m sorry for the delay. It’s been a tough month for me so far and I hope that it gets better.

Today’s weather was awful, raining and cold, I even had to go into the market and buy myself a knitted hat. You can bet that many people claiming universal credit are freezing today. Let’s hope that we get some warmer weather soon.

I was met at the food parcel pick up point by two of the people that we help regularly with food parcels. They like to help us with carrying the food parcels which is really kind of them and I also love to see them.

As I approached the Job Centre there was a queue of people waiting for a food parcel, so they were all gone as soon as they arrived.

We are the 5th richest country in the world yet we have thousands and thousands of people are reliant upon food parcels to survive. The money certainly doesn’t trickle down to the poorest does it. It stays it the top.

I had a chat with the regulars all of whom are managing to maintain their accommodation and keep their tenancies and have done for quite a while now. They’re doing so well and I’m extremely proud of them. This is no mean feat believe me, but they’re trying so hard despite the DWP not providing them with enough money to survive on.

They told me that a local organisation is shut for a few weeks for renovation. This has given them some concerns because these organisations keep them going. Anyway, I did my best to cheer them up. Life’s hard when you’re skint.

I spoke to a woman who was rushing to get out of the rain, as I handed her a leaflet she expressed her concerns about her future move onto universal credit. She hasn’t got a clue how she’ll survive. I just hope that our leaflet and words of encouragement help her.

I spoke to a chap thats struggling to cope with life in general. He’s homeless and had to leave a local hostel because someone stole some of his belongings. He’s now got a flat but others are taking advantage of him and his good nature. Luckily his friend has taken him under his wing and will now be doing his best to help him.

It’s a sad reality that many leave hostels etc because they don’t feel safe, preferring life on the street. Without adequate funding etc it’s hard for these organisations to address this.

I spoke to a man that told me that he’s only received one universal credit payment in three months.

He told me that his universal credit payments were being paid into his friends bank account but his friend had died. He then informed the DWP that his friend had died and he informed the DWP that he had a new bank account to put his payments into. Unfortunately the DWP seem to have lost this information so he hasn’t been receiving his payments. I really hope that they sort this out for him asap.

We then spoke to a man suffering from mouth cancer. He hasn’t got a clue what benefit he’s claiming, what he’s entitled to. He was totally confused and shouldn’t have to be going through this in the first place.

We told him to get all of his paperwork together and to got to Citizens Advice for a full benefit check.

How on earth are vulnerable people supposed to survive on a system that actively works against the persons trying to survive on it.

A man as ill as he is shouldn’t have to battle a system such as this, he’s already battling cancer for gods sake. I’m certain that the government want us dead or to disappear. They see us as being worthless of having no value at all, therefore they regard our life’s as such.

I then spoke to a man that had worked all of his life. He told me that this new system baffles and confuses him. He told me that he didn’t have a clue of what benefit he was claiming.

Luckily I was able to help and advise him. My thought was that if we weren’t there what would he have done? It’s both a scary and depressing thought isn’t it.

We then spoke to a woman that walked out of work. She had worked as a support worker and was being forced to work 60 hours a week. She told me that her working conditions were so bad that she had no choice but to leave.

Support workers should be valued not abused. I really hate hearing stories like this, yet there are those that will make as much money as possible from the support worker and their client as possible.

She told me that the DWP keep sending her on ‘stupid courses’ that in her words won’t help her to find a job. She went on to say that she knows how to find a job and these courses are distracting her from doing this.

I spoke briefly to an older man as he was leaving the Jobcentre. I handed him a leaflet and asked him if he was ok. He told me that he was ill, and would most likely be dead before they (the DWP) stop his sickness benefits.

Why on earth should a man so ill be forced to attend Jobcentre appointments? Apparently we’re supposed to live in a ‘civilised’ society. There’s nothing civilised about forcing extremely ill person to attend DWP appointments.

I then spoke to a man claiming universal credit thats been forced to live on £175 a month due loan repayments, council tax and other expenses. Do the maths, thats certainly not enough to survive on is it, yet the Tories reckon that everyone’s better off on universal credit.

I then spoke to two women leaving the Jobcentre. They each took a leaflet and expressed their concerns about being moved onto universal credit in the near future.

I did my best to advise them both and they thanked me.

It worries me that so many people are suffering because of universal credit. I should say most people on universal credit are suffering. Many are hungry, stressed and struggling to get by. Working and not working they’re all in the same boat, struggling to make ends meet, struggling to eat, keep their accommodation and even their children.

More and more children are living in poverty, more than we have known in modern times. It’s no wonder that the amount of children being taken into the care of the local authority because their parents can’t afford to feed their children or maintain a home, indeed keeping a tenancy is too much for many parents.

It has been reported in the news this week that the mothers of newborn babies are abandoning their newborn babies in hospital because they can’t afford to look after them.

This is all happening in a country that used to be looked up to by others as one that looked after the poorest. It certainly isn’t now.

Unfortunately the weather was awful again today so we had to finish early. Hopefully we will have better weather next week.

Thanks to Gordon for helping today you’re a star.

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Refused a food parcel because they’ve had 3 this year.

Dear readers it’s Thursday and it’s blog day. Unfortunately we had to end the demo early because the rain was torrential, however now that I’m home the rain has stopped and the suns shining for a minute. Sod’s law isn’t it.

Whilst I was waiting for Roy and Gordon to drop off the food parcels I was stopped by a man standing behind the bench that I was sitting on. He looked awful, in the midst of addiction and the pain on his face was startling.

He asked me if I’d like to buy an x box game which I declined but told him that he could have a food parcel in a minute. I’m not here to judge him or to question where he got the x box games from, however I am there to at least give him some food and to signpost him which I did.

The sad reality is that incidents like this are common up and down the country. Being street homeless is no fun and it’s made worse if you have an addiction.

The governments answer to this was to restrict funding to rehab places and organisations that they’ve been forced to shut, which in turn puts a lot of pressure upon any remaining services.

Because of this, this chap and many like him fall between the cracks when they’re the ones in most need of support and help. I really hope that he approached the local organisations that I signposted him to.

A similar incident happened the other day whilst I was walking my dog on a field close to my home. A man was sitting in the bushes under a tree, out of the way. He stopped me because he saw my dog and we had a lovely conversation about dogs. I asked him about his situation but he was vague about it, but he did tell me that he was street homeless.

I signposted him to local organisations, which to be fair they most likely already know of him, but because he’s in the midst of addiction he could well be falling in between the cracks or he might have refused help etc.

Once again it’s not for me to judge, but I did signpost him and I gave him some food from my home. I really hope that he’s gone to a local organisation that will help him.

Back to today. Because it was raining we were only able to do a hour but we helped quite a few people within that hour. We also signposted everyone that we spoke to and handed them a food parcel if they needed one.

I had a conversation with a man that I shall call Bill. Bill is currently claiming ESA, although he seemed confused as to what benefit he was claiming. Bills story is this, he’s lost his wallet with his money and bank cards in, he’s also lost his ID and hasn’t got any money at all.

Bill told me that he’s due his payment on Monday and by then he should have his bank card etc and will be able to access his money. In the meantime he’s got no electric and no food.

Bill approached a food bank local to him and asked them if he could have a food parcel. He was refused because he’d already had three. He then panicked and luckily he was told about us.

This made me think. How many people are refused a food parcel after having three? I do know that many food banks use their discretion and give more than three, but this ruling is absolutely terrible. Considering that a claim for universal credit often takes more than five weeks, and appeals regarding ESA and PIP decisions take much longer, saying that three food parcels is enough is obscene.

I do know that many food banks do hand out more than three food parcels, and thank you. You’re saving life’s, helping people to survive an horrific situation.

I then spoke to a young woman, she didn’t need a food parcel but she told me that universal credit is the worst thing thats ever been invented.

She told me how difficult it is for her to manage on universal credit, saying that she tries to budget but she doesn’t have any money to budget with. She’s stressed out, trying to manage on a system that’s totally inadequate for both her and her young sons needs.

We briefly spoke to two young men and we asked them if they’d like a leaflet and a food parcel. They said yes to both and I asked them how they were coping. Their reply was “It’s shit”. Yes it is isn’t it.

We briefly spoke to a woman that needed one of our leaflets for her daughter. She didn’t say why, but hopefully her daughter will get the help that she needs.

I then spoke to a woman that is struggling on universal credit. She has three children and worries about how shes going to feed them. I handed her a leaflet and told her that we are here for her whenever she needs any help.

It was then that the rain got much worse and we had to leave, dashing for shelter to a local coffee shop.

I don’t need to tell you that life shouldn’t be like this. No one should be homeless and living on the streets regardless of addiction or not. Parents shouldn’t have to worry about how they’re going to feed their children and there shouldn’t be a need for food banks.

Please readers, use your vote in the local elections and vote against your local Tory candidate. The less of them that have any power the better. It’s the only way to try and put an end to this cruelty.

I’m so sorry that the blog is short and we left early. The weather was awful and I’m still not 100% over that rotten virus. But we helped lots of people and thats the main thing isn’t it.

Lots of thanks to Roy and Gordon for coming today and bringing the food parcels. Thanks also to all of my blog readers and supporters.

homeless teen Ryan

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Man threatened with eviction by landlord because his rent is a week late due to ESA payment delay.

Dear readers, its Thursday again and blog day. Today’s demo was very productive and many conversations were had and help given even though there was just two of us there today.

We really would like it if more people could join us but I also realise that many can’t for a wide range of reasons. It’s very hard to get the publics support for campaigns like mine because poverty isn’t pretty, poverty is depressing and harsh. It also reminds people that they could too be in the same position at any given moment. It’s a tough one I know but campaigners countrywide would love more support either face to face or online.

I’m still battling a virus and we still haven’t got a date for my dads funeral and I’m still grieving, so please be patient with me I am doing my best in limited circumstances.

Anyway enough about me onto todays demo and conversations. Please note that we gave help, advice and signposting to everyone that needed it, survival guides were handed out and lots of people were helped.

We do this all on a purely voluntary level and we aren’t funded by anyone. We just can’t abide injustice and the causes of poverty and discrimination, too many people are suffering, too many people are dying.

How many more deaths will it take before the public rise up against the causes? My guess is never, the it’s alright Jack attitude runs through our society preventing many from rising up against anything. This was highlighted today by a conversation that I had with a lovely chap this morning. His attitude towards universal credit was that it’s awful but it’s ok and we should just put up with it because everyone is in the same boat so to speak. We need to change this way of thinking and asap.

This morning there was a large queue for food parcels, indeed I had already had phone calls requesting one. As soon as we arrived with the food parcels they left with the people needing them. I’ve found that a lot of people in my area survive on food parcels being given at different places and free or reduced price meals given at various places.

Life shouldn’t be like this should it, surviving on food parcels and scraps of food. But it is, and the fault lies solely at the feet of the Tory Party. I will never, ever forgive them for this, I’ve never forgiven Thatcher either but that’s another story.

After the food parcels were handed out we had conversations with everyone that received one and checked to see if there’s any progress in their situation or if they need any more help and advice. We never let anyone leave without this.

I spoke to an older man that had been promised that he would receive his first universal credit payment in April, he had waited until this week to see if he actually got his payment and surprise surprise he didn’t.

He phoned up the relevant department and asked them where his payment was. The DWPs reply was cold and uncaring. No apology was made and he was told that he shouldn’t have been told this and he’ll just have to wait like everyone else.

His comment to me was “What am I supposed to do now? How am I supposed to survive now? They just don’t care do they”. Damn right they don’t.

I spoke to a man that was struggling trying to find access to the internet and was forced to just use the Jobcentres computers. I advised him to use the library’s free internet and computers, and also the free WiFi as Ikea etc. He was happy to know this and thanked me.

I briefly spoke to a woman that has very limited eyesight due to cataracts. she told me that she’s struggling with the new building because of the lack of signage etc. Lets hope that this is rectified soon.

We then spoke to a man whom I shall call Bob. This is his story, it might sound familiar to you.

Bob was due his ESA payment on the 16th of April but due to a doctors mistake Bob didn’t receive his payment. Bob enquired as to why he didn’t receive his payment and he was told to hand in another sick note, which he did.

Because of the above Bob was a week late paying his rent, his landlord is already threatening to ‘throw him out’ of his home even though legally he can’t do this. This obviously upset Bob because he had been street homeless for many years and he doesn’t want to have to go through that again. We advised him to the best of our abilities and signposted him.

Bob went on to tell us that his brother had previously won his ESA appeal, even though he had lung cancer and shouldn’t have been made to undergo one of these fake medical assessments. I call them fake because they more or less fail everyone and most people have to appeal this decision.

Bob went on to tell us that his brother recently died in February. He wasn’t even allowed to spend his last days peacefully because he had the DWP asking him to go for medical assessments.

Shame on each and every one of these highly paid so called medical professionals that fail obviously ill and disabled people. One day justice will come knocking at your doors and we’ll be waiting.

I then spoke to a man that said that because everyone’s being treated badly it’s ok because we’re all in the same boat so to speak. My answer was that it’s not ok, it’ll never be ok and it should never be accepted.

We spoke to a man that was given a 166 day sanction because he had attended a work trial organised by the DWP at the same time as his signing on appointment. He had informed his advisor etc, claimed bus fares etc to attend this work trial but he was still sanctioned for apparently not telling his advisor when he did.

You really couldn’t make up this could you. It’s downright persecution of the poorest because many feel that they cant fight back.

We signposted him to our local MPs office who will be able to help him with this.

We spoke to a man that told us that he had just signed off because he’d found himself a full time job, a rarity these days. We congratulated him and his smile said it all.

As he was leaving he said that he’d never sign up for that (universal credit) again. Can you blame him, I don’t. Many people choose to take themselves off the system because they can’t cope with it. Many of these people are street homeless struggling to survive.

There is a direct connection to street homelessness and universal credit and this needs to be reported more widely.

I briefly spoke to an older woman whom I shall name Joan as she was walking into the Jobcentre. She told me that she hates it in the Jobcentre because they always make her feel like shes done something wrong.

Joan has been sanctioned because she was in hospital and missed her signing on appointment. She has never been told the length of her sanction and wasn’t told that she can appeal this also.

We advised her, and signposted her to our local MPs office who will treat her with dignity and respect and hopefully overturn the sanction for her.

My heart goes out to each and every person that has been sanctioned, failed ridiculous so called medical assessment, has an awful landlord, cant manage on universal credit, can’t feed themselves or their children. It’s a long list isn’t it and I could go on for forever but you get the idea.

This state sanctioned abuse of the poor and disabled needs to stop and soon. Far too many people are dying, too many people are suffering.

I just wish that more people would realise that this could happen to them at any given time. Society needs to be more compassionate towards each other. It’s not a crime to be poor, but it is a crime to abuse those that are poor.

This all happened in less than two hours, and it was a quiet morning. Can you imagine how awful it is across the country? It’s much worse than the public and some politicians realise.

Please read, share, email and tweet my blog. It’s so important to get the word out there.

Many thanks to Roy for helping me this morning. I really appreciate this, I just wish that more people would join us.

I’m struggling at the moment, financially and physically. I know that this will pass, but each and every share of this blog helps thank you. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to raise awareness and to correct the wrongs of the DWP.

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. Thank

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.