It’s Autumn and not warm anymore, but we soilder on. As usual we were stood outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre for our weekly Jobcentre demo. We give help, comfort and advice to anyone using the Jobcentre that needs it. I’m very proud of the team. We are all very dedicated and the weather doesn’t stop us. We know that to change the system you have to be persistent with your efforts. Shouting and screaming doesn’t always get you anywhere, but challenging the system from the bottom up is sometimes what’s essential. There’s more than one way of getting results. I’m sure I’m regarded by some as the bad smell that won’t go away. And no we aren’t going anywhere.
It started raining heavily amd whilst we were sheltering from the rain a young lady stopped and spoke to us. She is a parent who has tried through the help of evening classes to keep herself in lessons. She wants to become more educated. She wants a future but as we know this government aren’t making. This easy.
She was asked to attend a mandatory back to work interview even though her child is 4. She was told by her Jobcentre advisor that she wasn’t to bring her child to this interview. She would have to pay a childminder to look after her child. Because she is young and wasn’t aware that they can’t actually lawfully demand this she went ahead and paid a childminder. She paid the childminder £40 out of her meagre income herself.
She arrived at the Jobcentre amd even though her name was on the list at the reception desk and she was told to see her advisor, her advisor told her that they had changed her appointment. They failed to tell her this and understandably she was very annoyed and upset. The advisor even implied that the young girl had made a mistake even though she clearly hadn’t. Now she has to return next week. We advised her to bring her child. There are no laws against this and this is clearly discrimination.
The young girl also said that she felt like she was being bullied into going back to work. Her child is only 4 and as the law still stands she doesn’t have to return to work until her child is 5. She said she was scared because they had forced her friend back to work when her child was only 2.
Remember Jobcentre employees. There are NO rules or laws that state that a parent cannot bring their child to the Jobcentre. Neither are there any rules stating that a claimant has to pay for a childminder. One day a claimant could well take you to court, and you will be held responsible for this unlawful action in a court of law. Do you really want this?
We advised her and she went on her way.
Another woman stopped me outside the Jobcentre. They had just decided to sanction her unlawfully because she had unticked the box on her online universal credit form to say that she allowed the DWP access to her email account and her job search account.
It is totally lawful to do this. By law they cannot access both accounts without your permission due to data protection laws. As long as the claimant shows them her job search efforts then they have to agree to this.
This DWP officer obviously chose to ignore the law which is in the DWP handbook created by them. The lady is appealing. We advised her on how to do this. Incidentally this was the same DWP officer who had advised the other young lady. So wrong. Both vulnerable women but it seems that some DWP advisors have lost their compassion.
Another young lady told me her struggle against he Jobcentre. She has several serious health problems and was told by the Jobcentre that she can’t claim sickness benefits. They even went as far to ask her what medications she is on. I’m not aware of any fully qualified medical advisors working for the DWP.
I advised her on her best route to claiming the benefit she needs. She’s been without money now for 6 months. My heart went out to her.
A good news story! A young man who had appealed the Jobcentres decision that he shouldn’t claim ESA won his case! It was overturned straight away. I cannot advise people enough to do this. He’s a lovely man and he’s happy now. I’m happy for him.
Thank you very much for the donation of hats, gloves and scarfs. They are much needed and some have been taken. We will need more over the winter season.
Many thanks to the kind man who I call the chocolate man. I call him this because he runs over and donates some chocolate to the team. He then runs off. It is much appreciated in this cold weather and I was lacking in energy due to not eating earlier today. I like many only eat once a day now usually at nighttime.
Many thanks to CVAT Tameside for printing our leaflet. It’s been a life saver to many.
Please donate if you can to both keep this blog going, the work that I do going and to donate towards leaflets. I’m very busy campaigning and attending meetings concerning our campaign. It’s vital work though. My PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to my comrades and supporters I really do appreciate everything that you do.
Remember like I said a few years ago at a peoples assembly meeting. It’s not benefits or welfare it’s social security. This was adopted by Owen Jones and others. Please remember to call it by its original name.
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