It’s supposed to be the festive season isn’t it? The time of year when we’re all expected to drop everything, forget all of our problems and celebrate Christmas.
Christmas won’t be coming to thousands of people throughout the country though will it. Presents won’t be bought, toys won’t be wrapped, food won’t be bought, homes won’t be heated and time won’t be spent with family.
For those that reckon that I’m exaggerating then think again because I’m not. This is the cold, hard reality of life whilst claiming universal credit. The DWP shows absolutely no sympathy, the government even less so. They’ve got hearts made out of stone.
Whilst I’m writing this blog someone thats working and claiming Universal credit will come to the stark realisation that because their employer has been kind and paid them early for Christmas, they won’t be receiving a universal Credit top up payment in January.. Why? Because universal credit doesn’t take into account a four week month or an employer simply being kind.
Today’s weather echoed the atmosphere emanating from the DWP, it was freezing cold much like their souls, although I often wonder if they have one but that’s another subject. The cold weather did nothing to encourage people, and yes this does matter a lot.
As I approached the Jobcentre I was approached by a woman who I speak to regularly. Despite being skint she told me that she was doing well in her efforts to get better, it was nice seeing her smile.
We then took the food parcels out of the car. All five of them didn’t have chance to touch the ground. They were taken straight away and I offered some chocolate out that had been donated to me from a friend.
To be honest the food parcels went at a record speed which shocked me even though I shouldn’t be shocked. This happens a lot, too often and it shouldn’t be happening
A man that’s receiving help from the law centre in Manchester stopped me to tell me about his latest bad treatment from the DWP.
He claims universal credit and had been told by the DWP that he has to transfer over to the new system for his universal credit claim. H did just that, provided all of his ID etc and reckoned that he’d be ok.
He thought wrong, and he was told that it’d take five weeks to process…. Remember he’s already claiming universal credit and therefore shouldn’t have to go without money for five weeks. Not happy with this he visited our local citizens advice center. Luckily they managed to sort it out and he’ll now receive a payment in two weeks.
Complete madness. No Christmas for him, absolutely nothing to look forward to. His claim should have automatically transferred over but it didn’t. Someone or something decided that his claim would be different. Universal credit doesn’t work and this is a perfect example of why it doesn’t.
I briefly spoke to a gent and I offered him a leaflet. He told me that he had thought that being on universal credit would be a short term thing only it hasn’t been and he’s fed up. Totally understandable.
I spoke to a woman that told me that she won be getting her first universal credit payment until next week. Out of that shes got to pay all of her bills etc and she reckons that she’ll be left with nothing.
If this carries on we’ll look back at Christmas and believe that its only for rich people, for people with money much like a private club. I despise the government for this.
Ii spoke to a woman that had failed her PIP assessment so had started the appeal process.
I then walked over to a young chap who was desperately trying to get through to the DWP on the phone. Yes he was stood outside the Jobcentre doing this because they no longer have telephones that claimants can use, nor do they make telephone calls on behalf of a claimant.
He was frustrated and understandably so, despite having no money he was forced to listen to that flaming Vivaldi music.
His story is this. He went through a relationship breakdown and had found himself homeless. Luckily he’s got a bed ever night through the Andy Burnham scheme, but he’s still homeless and trying to sort out his money.
He said to me frustratingly that he had worked all of his adult life, had paid his national insurance and had also been in the army for four years. He doesn’t understand why the DWP wont help him when he’s paid into the system.
Of course he’s correct, they should be helping him but they don’t, infact they don’t care less about him and everyone like him.
It was then when I was asked to help a woman that I’ve spoken to on a regular basis. She was stood in the corner of the Jobcentre entrance with her head in her hands crying. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that her money had been stopped because someone had told the DWP that she’s moved house. She hasn’t of course, shes still living in her home albeit a cold home.
It really pisses me off that some people have seemingly nothing better to do than to report other people to the DWP and effectively ruin their life’s. I’m sure that some people get a kick out of it but I don’t. It’s cruel and as a result she’s without an income to feed herself and to keep warm.
Don’t forget it’s almost Christmas although like I said earlier thousands won’t be celebrating it so lets not forget them at this time of year, and every other day of the year. People are dying and until this stops I won’t stop either.
I cant thank the team enough for coming along today, I bet they’re all still defrosting.
Please come and join us for our special Christmas demo next week. We’ll be handing out special Christmas food parcels, laying a wreath, making speeches and releasing doves in memory of everyone thats died as a result if the governments cruel austerity regime.
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