Dear readers it’s Thursday again. We had to finish this week’s demo early because it was freezing cold and I’ve got a poorly daughter at home.
As usual we handed out all except one of the food parcels before the demo started, I took the remaining one upstairs to outside the Jobcentre and it was taken within half a hour.
Everyone that we spoke to today were as usual offered help, advice, signposting and solidarity. We never leave anyone in need without any help.
I noticed that it was quieter than normal early on in Ashton Under Lyne Town centre. Maybe people were avoiding crowded places because of the coronavirus. Who knows but we have a lot of vulnerable people living in the area.
Sometimes people forget that everyone dependant upon food parcels will be vulnerable to any virus or bug going round because they aren’t eating a good diet with vitamins and minerals, they’re reliant upon whatever they can get to eat. Please keep this in mind, but it’s also not helpful to over react to this latest flu virus.
Do what’s right for you and your loved ones.
We spoke to quite a few people this morning and the DWP never fail to astound me with their incompetence and total lack of common sense.
Whilst some employees might have these qualities the majority don’t and the system certainly doesn’t.
Let’s take this man’s story as an example. He’s 64 years of age and in poor health. He suffers from multiple health conditions and was forced by this to end his employment.
Because he had never claimed any type of benefit before he didn’t have a clue about what to do, even when they gave him the usual telephone number to phone to start his claim.
Not having a clue about what benefit he should claim he couldn’t cope with the phone call. He didn’t know what department he needed etc so he gave up.
We spotted him as he was returning to the Jobcentre clutching a pile of papers looking bewildered. We advised him and he went into the Jobcentre a bit more confidently.
Luckily he left with a written application form, he must have spoken to someone that had an understanding of his situation. But if we hadn’t been there and he hadn’t spoken to someone that understood him the outcome could have been very different.
I honestly don’t know anyone that would employ a 64 year old man with health problems. They wouldn’t, he shouldn’t be having to go through this rigmarole in the first place. Shame on this government for persecuting disabled people and just about everyone else they come into contact with. After all they treat their staff with contempt as well.
We then spoke to a young man that had won an esa under universal credit appeal. The DWP owe him money for the time that he had been waiting for the appeal to go through.
He won the appeal in October and the DWP still have coughed up his money, telling him that he has to go through a ‘cooling off period’. That’s something that I’ve never heard of before. It’s ridiculous.
We advised him and told him to chase this up ASAP. They owe him the money so they should pay it back to him, it’d be a different story if he owed them money wouldn’t it.
I spoke to a woman that had travelled quite a distance to get to the Jobcentre. She was told to attend an interview but it was cancelled and they didn’t let her know, not by text, letter or her online journal either.
Needless to say she wasn’t happy because it cost her quite a bit of money to travel to the Jobcentre because bus fares aren’t cheap. It isn’t unreasonable for her to have been informed about her appointment change is it? But the DWP don’t do reasonable often.
I had a few conversations with people about how they were coping etc, none of it good. One woman told me that she now accepts that this is how the DWP will treat her so she will have to put up with it.
I did tell her that she shouldn’t accept being treated badly off anyone even the DWP. I informed her that she can make complaints about this if she wanted to.
The trouble is that most people are too scared to complain. If you as much as raise your voice or answer back you find yourself being escorted out of the building or having to have future appointments behind a glass screen.
The abusers aren’t the Jobcentre users, I hate the word claimant. The abuser is the DWP but they gaslight innocent people into thinking that they’re undeserving and unworthy of being treated with respect.
We then left because my daughter was at home poorly and the wind started to get stronger and it was freezing cold.
We will be returning next week though. Please come and say hi if you’re in the area.
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