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!

6 thoughts on “Suspended payments for 6 months because they were seen carrying a food parcel.”

    1. Trev is right, you can’t be sanctioned for carrying a food parcel regardless of whether you are disabled or not. Sanctions are supposed to be specifically for breaking ‘conditionality’ rules of JSA/ESA WRAG group and UC equivalents, and have nothing whatsoever to do with false claims of benefits.

      If a vindictive neighbour, or possibly a worker at the Jobcentre who spotted this man receiving and carrying a food parcel from you, reported this man as potentially claiming disability benefits falsely then that complaint should be referred to the fraud office of the DWP and be out of the Job Centre’s hands.
      Depending on the evidence presented to the FO, they may, or may not, decide to proceed with a paper-based and/or covert investigation. Such investigations (even paper based ones) are time-consuming and expensive, so any ‘evidence’ initially put forward has to be pretty damn convincing, which is why most reports, verbal or written, of supposed ‘wrongdoing’ end up falling at the first hurdle.
      If a paper-based investigation uncovers anomalies then a letter is sent to the claimant for an ‘interview under caution’ with an advocate (anyone from a friend to a solicitor) which must be taped and usually held in a private room at their local Job Centre and conducted by the fraud officers themselves and NOT the Job Centre staff.
      9 times out of ten there is a perfectly innocent explanation for such anomalies so nothing else happens.
      But if the anomalies cannot be adequately explained then a full investigation is launched, during which benefits may be, and often are, suspended. If this further investigation fails to uncover fraud, then benefits are reinstated and back-dated, otherwise the claimant will be fined or prosecuted.
      However, if a covert investigation is launched then benefits are NOT suspended whilst the investigating fraud officers collect evidence.
      Only if enough evidence can be collated will the FO proceed further, otherwise the investigation is dropped with the investigated claimant being none the wiser. If it does proceed then the same happens as above: letter sent out, taped interview, etc.
      Either way, benefits can only be suspended after an ‘interview under caution’ if the claimant is being investigated for fraud.

      I know this because a relative of mine was a fraud officer for 30 years; initially with the DHSS, then the DSS and finally with the DWP until they retired 5 years ago. I got him to double-check the rules with ex-colleagues he’s still in contact with.

      His conclusion is that 1 of 2 things has happened here. The general public often confuse sanctions with suspensions because they both end up depriving the claimant of money to live off, but they are different with different rules.
      Either this man has already been interviewed under caution (there’s no mistaking that!), had his benefits suspended due to further investigation and has been selective with the truth he’s imparted to you.
      OR, his Job Centre has well over-stepped the mark by sanctioning him as described, in which case the Job Centre is guilty of maladministration in public office; a very serious offence.
      Assuming the latter is the case (no investigation would be launched purely on the strength of carrying home a food parcel) then this man must put in for Mandatory Reconsideration, and also a formal complaint to the Job Centre Manager. Once he has placed an official complaint he can see his MP about it after the General Election. With his MP’s help he can then complain to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. If the complaint is upheld, then heads will roll at this Job centre, and possibly up to regional head office level.
      Unfortunately, this is a time/energy consuming process which is why few bother, especially those who have been sanctioned and are more concerned about were their next meal is coming from; which is precisely what the DWP, via such awful job centres as your one, are relying on!
      However, all it takes is one person to be severely reprimanded/sacked to make the rest behave reasonably.

      Here’s the link my relative gave me for the Ombudsman in question.

      https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/

      Perhaps one of your contacts could help this man (or someone else in a similar situation) to start really bringing that Job Centre under some heavy-weight scrutiny. Just the threat of it alone might start to mollify their behaviour to begin with. Obviously, check that the man with the sanction for committing the heinous ‘crime’ of carrying a food parcel is 100% telling the truth first.
      If he is, then that Job Centre will be hauled over the coals, but ONLY if this case is bought to the attention of the appropriate ombudsman via an MP. My relative nearly choked on his tea when I told him about it; he was that gobsmacked by the petty-mindedness, not to mention the illegality of it all.
      Yes Illegal, because the Job Centre has no jurisdiction whatsoever to apply a ‘sanction’ to what should be a fraud case if they actually believe him to be claiming benefits falsely. They can report suspicions but are not allowed to act upon them, as benefit fraud is potentially a criminal offence, not a civil one, and totally different rules apply. If that’s what the JC has done, then the JC should be hoisted by their own petard.

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  1. That’s ridiculous, they can’t sanction someone for receiving a food parcel! Regarding pet food, my local foodbank where I volunteer are appealing for cat food at the moment as they have completely run out and are desperate for it, so if anyone in the Kirklees area of West Yorkshire reads this and are able to donate cat food or anything else it would be greatly appreciated:

    https://www.thewelcomecentre.org/

    Like

      1. Oh I see, so it’s a disability issue, if you’re able to carry a bag of food you are fit to work. Still ridiculous. I’m not disabled but I struggle to carry shopping home, and can’t afford to use buses, I feel shattered when I get in, but it doesn’t mean that I’m fit enough to do manual labour 8 – 10 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week. It’s enough for me just doing part time voluntary work at the foodbank, which is hard work in itself at busy times of the year, plus it’s a 40 min. walk to get there and I’m nearly 60.

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      2. And just how are they to get their bag of food home? If they can’t afford to buy the food, they can’t afford to get a taxi to take it home, can they? Or do they just starve?

        Liked by 1 person

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