Category: Army recruiting

They stopped my benefits because I was seen carrying a food parcel.

Dear readers I’m back and winter has definitely arrived. This morning was a tough one, it’s never easy seeing people leaving the Jobcentre in tears. The DWP might like to portray themselves as being saint-like, compassionate people but the reality is that they’re the complete opposite.

The weather was awful this morning, raining and cold, a terrible combination for anyone that is street homeless or living in a home that they can’t afford to heat. Most of the people that I speak to dread winter for this reason. What sort of society do we live in that makes people go hungry and to be cold. It’s sickening.

We handed all of the food parcels out and they were gone as soon as they arrived. I really hate the fact that theres a need for them in the first place.

As I was waiting for the food parcels to arrive I had a conversation with a woman who usually collects a food parcel from us. She’s had a really hard time with the DWP and it’s not getting easier.

I asked her how she was and she told me that her boyfriend has had his benefits stopped. I asked her why and she told me that someone had reported him because he was carrying a food parcel.

Her boyfriend is disabled and he does collect a food parcel from us, but how on earth is he supposed to take it home? He doesn’t have a car, he has no choice but to carry it even though it hurts him to do so.

The government and some members of the public expect disabled people to stay indoors at all times, if they go out they must be fit for work and if they’re claiming disability benefits then they must be stopped.

Society has become very cruel towards the most vulnerable. It really shouldn’t be like this.

And guess what.. Now he’s even more dependent upon food parcels because he has no income at all. This is the price that so many people living with an illness and or disability pay everyday.

As we were chatting she handed me an envelope, in it contained a Christmas card for me. I honestly nearly started to cry. Even though she and her partner are going through really tough times at the moment she took the time to buy me a Christmas card. I’m going to treasure it forever.

Gordon then spoke to a chap that has been sanctioned for thirteen weeks.

He’s not sure of the exact reason for his sanction, but what he does know is that he’s hungry and is in danger of loosing his home.

As Gordon handed him a leaflet and gave him some advice it was clear to see the desperation in his eyes. I don’t suppose that he ever thought that this would happen to him.

It wasn’t long until we spotted a woman leaving the Jobcentre in tears. I handed her a leaflet and she told me that she wanted to ‘get away from here now’ because she was so upset.

Whilst she was leaving she shouted towards the Jobcentre saying ‘They’re nothing but a load of w#####s in there’. While I don’t know the exact reason for her anger I can totally sympathise with her feelings.

No one should be made to feel like this, but the DWP don’t care. They just send a G4S security guard to ‘escort’ you out.

I then had a conversation with a chap that I’ve spoken to before. Last week he was really angry with himself because he thought that he was to blame for his situation. He isn’t and he now realises this.

Sadly he had arrived too late for a food parcel but I signposted him. I also gave him some money to help him put his electricity back on.

I’m so glad that I was able to help him but I know that it’s not enough and I do feel guilty for that.

It wasn’t long until another woman walked out of the Jobcentre crying. I handed her a copy of our survival guide but she was obviously in a rush to get away.

So two people crying and the DWP say that they care? Do they heck, they only care about themselves.

I had a conversation with a chap that’s working and was previously claiming Universal credit. His universal credit has been stopped because the DWP told him that he has earnt too much. Now he’ll have to reapply next month when his wages are lower. Its complete madness.

Whilst he reapplies he will still have to wait the standard waiting time. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

I noted that the DWP are still trying to flog their utopian self employment scheme to people.

If people sign up to become self employed they aren’t eligible for the minimum income floor for the first twelve months.

You might say that this is wonderful but heres the catch. As I’ve reported before after twelve months they have to reach the minimum income floor. If they don’t they won’t receive a penny from the DWP.

Guess what… The DWP don’t tell them this. Please readers, if you’re tempted to do this please do a lot of research first.

We then had a conversation with a woman that had to come outside to drink a carton of Ribena. As you will most likely already know, drinking and eating is forbidden in most Jobcentres.

It’s absolutely ridiculous, and it just adds to the punishing culture of the DWP. There are many reasons why people need to have a drink available at all times. But hey, the DWP obviously know more about this than us (NOT)

Today was awful really, we try to help people to the best of our abilities even though we know that it’s not enough.

The DWP is a monster that we have to conquer, and I’m confident that we will do this one day.

For anyone suffering because of the DWP and the government’s terrible austerity measures remember this. You are important, you are loved by so many of us. Keep going because you are important xxxxx.

A huge thank you my readers for enabling me to continue with my blog on this platform. I was so scared that I would loose my blog. The DWP would love that wouldn’t they.

Please read, share and tweet my blog. This makes a massive difference, people still need to know the reality of what’s happening to people under the DWPs cruel, heartless watch.

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of my blog. Thank you so much.

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.

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..

Roll out of new DWP computer system causes confusion and worry. Universal Credit destroys life’s.

Dear readers, it’s Thursday again so here’s this weeks blog. I hope that you are all ok, I do think about you all and wonder how you are coping. I wish that I had a magic wand to stop this madness, but there isn’t one and I shall continue campaigning against the government’s abhorrent treatment of the poor and disabled. I’ll also continue to document what I can also.

I’ll document today’s conversations, as usual, please note that everyone was signposted to relevant organisations, help advice and survival guides were handed out. We also gave food parcels to those in need.  Also, my words can’t express the intensity of the two hours that we are outside the Jobcentre. We have to deal with so many different issues and often at a fast pace.

Also a massive thank you to everyone for that came along to help today and helped, I appreciate the hard work that you do thank you all so much.

 

Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre is now introducing the new computer system, which also coincides with the next phase of the Universal Credit rollout which is well under way now. This is causing a lot of confusion, and because of this it also demands that claimants also provide proof of their identity again. Of course, the DWP system won’t take into account the fact that they have already done so. Most of the people that I spoke to today don’t have photo ID, and nor do they have the money to get this. Also, people’s circumstances change and they might not have access to the proof of ID that they had already shown. You’ll read of a few conversations that I had with people regarding this.

 

It always breaks my heart when I see vulnerable people forced into having to go into the Jobcentre in the attempt to get some help. Here is one such case, I’ll call her Mary.

Mary approached the Jobcentre struggling to walk whilst using two crutches. She is an older lady who is in constant pain. Her husband is working but they need to make a claim for some help because she can no longer work. In an ideal world, there would be a fact sheet that tells a person what they can claim, what ID they need and how to do it. There isn’t though, so she was sent home none the wiser. However, she was told that she needs to provide proof of ID. So now she has to go home and return.

So a disabled woman is forced to make an arduous journey to provide ID. Whilst I appreciate the need to prove who you are they could make it a bit easier.

 

A woman with children asked me for a food parcel. She’s now receiving her Universal Credit payments after a long wait, but out of her first payment she’s had to pay all of the bills that she owed, so she’s left with nothing. What can I say except that it’s unacceptable that people are put into this situation. Claiming Universal Credit has plunged her into the pits of poverty and I doubt that she will be able to climb out for a long time if ever.

 

I spoke to a lovely gentleman that told me that he had been declared fit for work when he obviously isn’t. He also told me that they were trying to move him over to Universal Credit. Just what he doesn’t need.

 

Not long after I spoke to a woman whom I shall name Sharon. Sharon was visibly distressed, and this reflected in our conversation. Sharon went on to tell me of her experience of Universal Credit saying “People don’t know what they are getting themselves into, they don’t know what they are entitled to either. I can’t cope with this system, it’s crippling me to the point that I don’t know how I can continue. I’m relying on food banks and the goodwill of friends but that won’t last forever.”

Sharon also went onto say that she felt that it was the last straw for her to be asked to bring in proof of her ID again, shes already done it before so why should she have to do it again was her point.

Sharon doesn’t deserve to be treated in this manner but there are thousands and thousands of Sharon’s out there. Universal Credit doesn’t help people, instead, it hinders them from being able to improve their lives.

When a person can’t find all the ID that’s required they won’t allow a person to receive their payments, even though they have already provided this Id. No proof of ID, no payments. It’s a good way for the DWP to knock people off the system, to lower the unemployment figures.

I also take issue with a system that’s also controlled by a computer system. Computers make mistakes, especially DWP computer systems. You can’t talk to a computer system nor can you rely on them to be fully accurate. This new system might have the ability to decide that a person isn’t fulfilling their job search requirements even if they are, not everyone has access to a computer etc. I’m extremely dubious about this, and to be honest I haven’t got a lot of faith in it.

 

I had a conversation with a man that claims universal credit and who also works for an agency on a zero hour contract. He told me that it’s extremely hard for him to cope, he has to constantly reapply for universal credit, thus waiting for around six weeks for a payment, only to be thrown off it again because he actually got paid. He’s also been asked to provide new ID and he was struggling to find some.

As Roy said ‘People don’t find work they find another form of slavery’.

 

I advised a man on how to claim ESA.

 

I spoke to a man that needed advice regarding an ESA tribunal for a friend.

 

Roy had a conversation with a man who was telling him his experience of his ESA assessment. Upon showing the assessor his medicines the assessor asked him if his doctor knew that he was taking these medicines. Of course, the doctor does, they prescribed them. Yep. Really.

 

Here’s Kevin’s situation, typical of many.

Kevin applied for universal credit because he was advised to.

Kevin was given an initial universal credit payment.

Kevin was informed that he now needed to claim ESA.

Kevin does this but now has to pay back the initial payment.

Kevin hasn’t received a penny since the 22nd of May.

Kevin is angry, upset and is hungry.

We advised Kevin and signposted him to local organisations that will help.

 

 

I had a conversation with a woman that I’ll name Janet.

Janet had to wait weeks for her first universal credit payment, she now owes rent and she has to pay the bedroom tax and a portion of her council tax.

Janet told me that she receives £100 a fortnight. Her housing association are demanding that she pays the rent that she’s owed at the rate of £50 a week. Yes £50 a week. The housing association don’t care that she will be struggling. She’s devastated.

Janet is 60 years old and will be living in abject poverty until she’s finally able to retire. Janet deserves better than this.

 

I spoke to a man that was unsure of what he could claim and how to do it. I advised hom upon this and signposted him to all relevant organisations.

 

Lastly, I spoke to a scared young man. I say scared because he walked away crying. He spoke only French and he went into the Jobcentre for advice, most likely he had been told to go there. The Jobcentre refused to use their translation service and he didn’t know what to do, so we advised him using google translate on our phones and we signposted him. Many thanks to my colleague for this help.

Why didn’t they use the translation service? Can you imagine how scared he must have been? My heart went out to him and to everyone else in the same situation.

 

So this all happened within two hours, we helped lots of people and we will continue to do so.

 

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Many thanks to everyone already supporting my blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My son doesn’t have enough money to survive. I’m over £300 worse off a month whilst working and on Universal credit.

Dear readers, I’m sorry about the lateness of this blog, yesterday was extremely busy and I returned home late, then had to go to parent’s evening that appeared to go on forever. Things have changed so much since my oldest children were at secondary school, it certainly felt more corporate than it used to and buzzwords were being flown around by the head teacher at great speed.

Anyway, I digress, it was a busy day outside Ashton Jobcentre. It started off very quietly but became very busy. So many people are suffering and it breaks my heart. I try to keep a brave face but it’s damn hard when you know that people are upset, hungry and haven’t got a clue what to do. They certainly aren’t in any position to be able to make things better either, their life’s are controlled by the DWP. Can you imagine having to live like this? I realize that many of my readers are in this position and fully understand what I’m talking about. It’s a culture of fear, the survival of the fittest but even the fittest become ill and many die as a result of the DWPs cruel regime.

Make no mistake, the government are aware of this, but intend to do nothing to help either. They like the system, it serves them well. Creating poverty and suffering should be their moto and they mock us when they create positions such as ‘Minister for suicide’ etc. They cause the suffering and deaths, they are intent on continuing whilst also taking away funding from much needed services that could and do save life’s.

Please note that EVERYONE that we spoke to received the help and advice that they needed, everyone was handed a leaflet or two and no one left us unaided in some way.

 

I’ll list yesterdays conversations, its easier that way.

 

The food parcels went within 10 minutes, and I’m certain that there will be a bigger need for them as the winter weather draws in and more people are transferred over to Universal Credit.  It’s apparently going to be a bad winter, which in itself will bring it’s own problems such as warmth, clothing and shelter. People are hungry, many with children. What sort of a government do we live under that allows such things? A cruel, heartless corrupt government that cares nothing about human life except their own.

 

I said hello to a couple of men that I speak to every week, lovely men just trying to survive under difficult circumstances. They make my week, yet some would pass them by without a second thought because their poverty is apparent. Never judge anyone by their appearance, it’s wrong to do so.

 

I was then approached by a man that I spoke to last week, I mentioned his details in last weeks blog. He wanted to update me about his situation and he appeared to be a bit happier. He told me that he had contacted Greater Manchester Law Centre like I had advised and he was overjoyed with the help that they have and will be giving him. Saying that they couldn’t do enough to help him, and they’ve told him that they are hoping for a very positive outcome for his situation.

To put it simply, he’s been given hope, he felt that they cared, he feels valued and they will fight his corner for him and will go out of their way to do so. This my friends, makes all the difference and I’m hoping for some more good news from him next week.

Greater Manchester Law Centre you are simply brilliant and I can’t thank you enough for the hard work that you all do.

 

Not long afterwards I had a conversation with a politics graduate. She has been advised by the DWP to find a job stacking shelves. Whilst this is far from unusual, it does however reflect the lack of respect and understanding that the DWP have for education and real job searching. They haven’t got a clue, its all about punishing people. I mean how dare a graduate ask for help…. That’s how the DWP see it.

 

A polish man stopped me and asked for a leaflet. He’s been living and working in the UK for seven years, but has recently had an accident. His arm was in a sling and he was struggling with understanding the DWP system. This concerned me, because the DWP don’t have a good track record of being nice or honest  to people like this gentleman and I referred him to local services and the law centre for further help.

 

I then noticed an older lady walking out of the Jobcentre bemused, confused and more than a bit unhappy. I asked her if I could help and she told me her situation. She fits into the category of being a WASPI woman, who ideally should be retired but is unable to do so. She’s ill, disabled and is claiming ESA and has been placed in the support group. She had attended an appointment at the Jobcentre only to be told that she needs to find work. They lied to her, no she doesn’t, she’s in the support group. They also told her that they are going to be keeping an eye on her and want to see her again in six weeks.

Not only have they lied to her, they are now in effect bullying her. I explained her legal rights to her and informed her that she could really do with taking a witness in with her for this future meeting.

So the DWP are bullying an older lady. They don’t care, not one bit.

 

I handed a leaflet to a young woman with children. She claims Universal Credit but is struggling to cope. I advised her to the best of my ability.

 

I then had a conversation with an elderly lady, she appeared to be distressed so I asked her if I could help. She told me that her son is claiming Universal Credit, but she is also having to constantly help her son out with money and food.

She told me that out of her small pension she has to help him daily because after her son’s rent has been paid and the money has been deducted from his Universal Credit payment he’s left with almost anything and he doesn’t have enough money to survive.

She went on to say that people can’t survive like this, how are they expected to live? She’s also worried that she can’t keep on helping him because she can’t afford to. It’s plunging them both into poverty and their health is suffering.

So a poor elderly woman is expected to provide for her son, yep. This is reality folks Universal Credit isn’t working.

 

I was then stopped by a man who was visibly  frustrated and hungry. He hasn’t had a Universal Credit payment system since July. We are now in October. He had been migrated over onto Universal Credit after failing his ESA medical. He told me that his health was declining and he has lost over one and a half stones in weight.

Yes he’s lost one and a half stones in weight. He’s also disabled.

He showed me his paperwork and the DWP are giving him the runaround. Why? Most likely because not one department communicates with another, they don’t communicate effectively with claimants and because they can do. So they’ve left a disabled man in this situation. I referred him to the law centre and other local services,  he promised that he would be contacting them.

 

Gordon then asked me to talk to a young lady, she looked frustrated so I asked her if I could help her. Here’s her situation.

She works part time, she’s been moved over to Universal Credit and is now £310 a month worse off than she was when she was previously claiming working tax credits. She also has children to look after, bills to pay etc.

When she approached the Jobcentre asking for help she was told that she shouldn’t complain because there are people more worse off than her. Yep you heard it right, she shouldn’t complain.

I believe that she should complain, because now both herself and her children are living in poverty, poverty caused by being forced to claim Universal credit. She was much better off whilst claiming working tax credits, and she can’t understand why the government have been allowed to take all this money off people and get away with it.

Once again this shows that work does not pay whilst claiming universal credit, the only thing that universal credit does do is create poverty, suffering and the deaths of thousands of people.

A message for the G4S security guard that is intent on continually staring at us in an intimidating manner whilst thinking that we can’t see you, we can. So stop it. We’ve made official complaints about you before and we will do this again.

A massive thank you to everyone that came along today I really do appreciate it.

 

So here we have it, another Thursday but this is replicated day in day out throughout the country. I do realize that we are further on with the rollout because we were a pilot area, but take note this is coming your way.

 

 

Please read, share, email and talk about my blog. Please support the work that we do, we really need it and for everyone that already does and has thank you so much.

Also please support my blog, I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do and it would be brilliant if I could continue with my work. Thank you.

 

Debt collection agencies contracted to collect so called Universal Credit debt. Woman forced to attend appointment four days after giving birth. Welcome to Universal Credit hell.

Dear readers, its Thursday gain and I have just returned home from our weekly demo/ advice session. I’m knackered because I’m still recovering from my hospital stay and I’ve just had my flu jab. Thank you all for your good wishes, they have really cheered me up.

Please can I point out that everyone that we spoke to was given the help and advice appropriate to their needs and everyone that needed a food parcel was given one. We handed out five. Yes five in the space of two hours. Also everyone that needed to be signposted were signposted. I remarked to Roy that I felt like a member of staff working at Citizens Advice and the like.

It was busy from the get go so I will list everything as usual and will try not to complicate things.

The first person was a young man who has asked us for help today. He looked worried and was clutching two pieces of paper. I asked him if he was ok, he looked at me and said that he didn’t have a clue what this was about. He didn’t understand it.

I asked him if he had taken a Universal Credit advance? Because this is what they have stated in the letter. He said that he had applied for one but he was forced to move out of the property that he was living in so he didn’t sign the acceptance letter.

So he applied for an advance but didn’t receive it because he didn’t sign the return form. He didn’t receive the money and can provide bank statements to prove this.

So it appears that the DWP have presumed from the application that he has recieved the money and are now employing a debt collection agency to collect this money from him.

None of this adds up. The amounts don’t add up, the dates don’t add up and he stated that he didn’t owe this money in the first place.

This is a fine example of how incompetent the whole Universal Credit system is. Not one department talks to another, and instead of contacting this man or the relevant DWP first they just sent out a threatening debt collection letter. Not only are most people forced to claim Universal Credit constantly worried and anxious many it appears might also be facing a letter from a debt collection agency.

I also find this to be very intimidating. Many of my readers will already realise that most Universal Credit claimants are already in debt and letters like this could send a vulnerable person over the edge.

But do the DWP care? No, not one bit. Does the government care? No not a bit, infact they encourage this kind of treatment. They like to punish the most vulnerable for their poverty or disability, and I can tell you that this man has had a hard time of it already. Thank god we were there.

One question though, and its a rhetorical one. What the hell are the DWP doing employing a debt collection agency? And how much is that costing the tax payer, usually the poor tax payer at that? This man is still claiming Universal Credit and they could have contacted him but they didn’t.

We advised him and I phoned my local MPs office (Angela Rayner) and he is seeing a member of her staff tomorrow. We can only do so much and we are on the street, Angela’s staff will get to the bottom of this and find some answers for him. He is of a honest character and had no reason to lie about anything.

Anyway I’m disgusted. Unemployed people are often seen as the underclass, not deserving of anything and there is little sympathy for their situation. To echo this we were heckled by two people, possibly a third because I wasn’t sure of what they said.

Because we were stood outside a Jobcentre, helping people we were called scroungers and the like. For all of those working for the right wing media reading this, give yourself a tap on the back. It worked, your divide and conquer techniques worked. People like myself and those that help me are left to deal with the mess that you created. Be thankful that it wasn’t you… But it could be one day….

A man looking rather angry walked in and out of the Jobcentre on numerous occasions. We could see the frustration in his face and it was obvious that he didn’t want to talk to anyone, maybe he will next week. Just think what on earth could be making him feel this angry. They are the problem not him.

I spoke to a woman that was struggling to understand what was happening to her. English is her second language and Universal Credit is very complicated. How on earth is she supposed to understand it?

She showed me her letter of entitlement, she will be recieving £317 a month. Take rent top ups, gas, electric and other expenses out of that and she is left with very little to live on. Of course the government believe that this is acceptable because they are in the opinion that we are to blame for our own poverty. Meanwhile they couldn’t live off that amount of money, it probably wouldn’t last them half a day. We know how they like to live the high life at our expense.

Ryan the lovely young man came to say hello to us, I hugged him so tight and gave him all of your best wishes. He’s doing ok and he wants to say thank you for your best wishes. We had a good chat.

I spoke to a man that was working and claiming Universal Credit. He told me that he was working so classes himself as not claiming anything even though he is. The mind boggles. I handed him a leaflet anyway and wished him well.

I spoke to a young man that claims Universal credit and has been sanctioned. He told me that he had been arrested so couldn’t attend his signing on appointment. The DWP in their infinite wisdom decided that this isn’t a good enough excuse to miss your signing on appointment. Maybe the police should have marched him to the Jobcentre to sign on….. But they’ve got better things to do like solve crimes.

It’s not my place to judge him about his arrest but I can judge the DWPs decision as being completely unreasonable. What’s new eh….

I spoke to a young woman that is claiming Universal Credit. She told me that she’s never struggled as much in her life, that she’s never been as worse off as she is now. She can’t afford to buy presents for her children for birthdays and Christmas. She went on to say that shes reduced to tears, that she’s hungry and can’t see her way out. I had a long chat with her, handed her a food parcel and signposted her to relevant places.

I challenge anyone that believes that Universal Credit is a good thing, come and join us one week and look at this woman, look into her eyes, look how thin she is and then tell me that it’s a good thing.

I spoke to a young woman who arrived at the Jobcentre with her mother and newborn baby. Her baby is four days old, yes four days old. She was forced to attend an appointment so that she could hand her babies birth certificate to an andvisor so that she can claim the money for her baby. The DWP had refused to allow her mother to hand it in because they demanded her signature. She was struggling to walk, it had been a difficult birth. It’s obscene.

Last but not least. A person leaving the Jobcentre stopped me and asked to speak to me. This isn’t unusual by the way. They told me that they had witnessed a what looked like an elderly woman attend her appointment nearby. She was struggling to walk, and to be fair the first person that she spoke to was nice to her.

She struggled with the aide of others to attend her next appointment with another advisor, this time her treatment wasn’t as good. Questions were asked of her and lots of them.

“What’s wrong with you” she replied “I have heart failure”.

”Do you know WHY you have heart failure”………….

The questions continued, but my source was asked to leave the building so they didn’t hear them. Judging by her inability to do anything, standing was a struggle,it’s clear that she shouldn’t have been there.

As for asking her why she has heart failure…. Are DWP employees now medically trained? She’s got heart failure and clearly shouldn’t be there but is forced to be. There is not a job available that would suit her and no one would employ her because she has heart failure. JUST LEAVE HER ALONE.

Folks, this is a good example of how Universal Credit isn’t working for everyone. When claiming the ESA element of Universal Credit you still have to attend Jobcentre appointments. It’s obscene, and a very good reason why Universal Credit needs to be stopped and scrapped. it’s inhumane.

Just to be clear once again she was interviewed for a universal credit claim not ESA, but the element that replaces ESA.

Many thanks to everyone that came and helped today.

Many thanks to my readers and supporters of my blog, please like, share and RT my blog.

For anyone wishing to donate, there are donation buttons above and at the side. I do this off my own back and I’m not part of any big organisation. Every penny helps, thank you.

Forced to travel miles to attend a DWP mandatory course. Five month wait for Universal Credit payment. The system isn’t working..

Good afternoon readers, this weeks demo was busy as usual. Sadly far too many people were walking in and out of the Jobcentre with their heads down, eyes to the ground. To be honest they looked worn out, fed up, depressed and a step away from giving up. it’s a cruel system that cares nothing for those forced to comply with it.

it’s no mistake that I use the words ‘comply’ and ‘forced’ because thats exactly what it is. Claimants have absolutely no choice but to comply with often unreasonable demands made from the DWP. They are forced to attend DWP regulated courses, attend the Jobcentre whenever it is demanded of them , wait more than the official five weeks for their first Universal Credit payment. They are forced into a life of poverty, many for the first time. It really is an inhumane system and it needs to stop now.

 

I shall list the differing problems that we addressed whilst speaking to people outside the Jobcentre, everyone that we spoke to were given advice, a survival guide, signposted and if needed a food parcel issued.

Sadly the food parcels were very popular and all were gone within five minutes. I arrived ten minutes early and there was already a queue. I also took a woman to the shop next to the Jobcentre to buy her some food because we had run out. it’s awful.

Universal credit payments (if you are lucky enough to receive one) are not enough to enable people to survive for a month. Most of the people that I speak to have deductions taken out of their payment for the loan that they have been forced to take  whilst awaiting for their claim to be processed. Add to this other DWP loan repayments, rent top up and other debts its nearly impossible to survive.

 

Roy spoke to a man that said he has just been rehoused into a flat. Although he’s very grateful to have a roof over his head, he told Roy that the flat is inhabitiable. Various problems with the state of the flat and a concrete floor that he can’t afford to carpet. Roy signposted him to a local organisation that might be able to help with this.

 

We spoke to a woman that had been told that she had been migrated over to Universal Credit without her knowledge. She’s worried how she will survive. Would it not be too much to ask that the DWP inform all claimants at least a few weeks before they are transferred over? Apparently it is.

 

I noticed a man walking in and out of the Jobcentre for what appeared to be every five minutes. He was obviously agitated and fed up and clearly didn’t want to talk. my heart went out to him, a man totally degraded and humiliated by a system that clearly cares nothing for him.

 

I spoke to a young woman leaving the Jobcentre with her partner and children, she looked frustrated, fed up and angry. I ran over to her and asked her if I could help her with anything.

She went on to say that she had been locked out out of her Universal Jobmatch account, she wasn’t certain if she had forgotten her password or if the system was at fault. Honestly it’s hard to tell at times because the system drives you to distraction.

She had visited the Jobcentre to find out if she could get any help with this, but was faced with a big unanimous no. No they couldn’t help, they wouldn’t help but nevermind here’s a telephone number, phone them up and then make an appointment with an advisor to get the code.

Yes you read that correctly. This is another case of DWP burocracy gone mad. Why oh why couldn’t she be given a quick and easy solution to this? An email or a telephone appointment? Nope that’s too easy, so she has left to attempt to make a lengthy telephone call, most likely be sent on a wild goose chase through different departments, wait a while for her appointment and then hopefully, and I say hopefully receive her login code.

Oh and by the way because she can’t access her account she also runs the risk of being sanctioned for not complying. The longer she is forced to wait for her code the higher the risk of this happening. It’s almost as if they want this to happen isn’t it…….

 

More people were walking into and out of the Jobcentre with their eyes to the ground. Not wanting to be noticed, not wanting to be there. They could of course be doing something more productive rather than being told things like they ‘must try harder to find work’ ‘Their efforts aren’t good enough” etc etc. You get the jist.

 

I spoke to an older woman that unofficially cares for her son. He’s 46 years old, had to finish work because of a heart condition which is aggravated by stress. Instead of being able to heal he’s forced to comply with a system that is extremely complicated.

She told me that he had been confused with the computer system because no one had taken the time to correctly explain the procedure of handing in fitnotes and uploading them online onto his journal. He incorrectly was in the belief that it would be enough to just upload them to his Universal credit account online, he didn’t realise because he hadn’t been instructed correctly.

As a result his payments were delayed and he waited five months for his first payment. Yes an unwell man was forced to wait five months. Luckily his mother had helped him but this has put a fair amount of stress on their relationship. “ I shouldn’t have had to look after him, I’m a pensioner, but if he didn’t have me he might not have survived”. Correct, this a terrible reality for thousands of people.

 

I spoke to a man as he was leaving the Jobcentre. He was clutching a piece of paper and was clearly stressed. I stopped him and asked if I could help.

Whilst attending his appointment he was informed that he had to attend an interview for a course in an area that is quite a distance away from his home, indeed it isn’t even in Tameside. Walking would take a few hours and public transport is both expensive and complicated, there’s no straight route there. The journey would entail a tram journey into Manchester then a tram journey back out of Manchester and THEN a long walk.

Whilst some reading this might be under the impression that this is reasonable it clearly isn’t. He doesn’t have the money upfront to pay for the tram journey. He might be able to get this refunded but he has to pay upfront first. I did advise him to ask for help from the Jobcentre regarding this.  However his words were heartbreaking. “They are expecting me to do this for four weeks. I don’t know how I will get there, how I will be able to get there that early in the morning it seems impossible. We don’t all have cars and I don’t know what to do, so I will have to accept a sanction because I can’t do it. I’ll try but it’s going to be very hard”.

Another case of unreasonable demands on a poverty stricken person. To be honest it makes me feel sick, they are setting vulnerable people up to fail and they know it. But hey, anything to lower the unemployment figures eh….

 

This weeks problems are not unusual they are commonplace, this is replicated up and down the country and there is no doubt at all that thousands of people are being  forced to suffer needlessly. I say needlessly because there is no real excuse for treating people like this. The government have made a conscious decision to do so and in my eyes they’ve got blood on their hands.

 

Many thanks to everyone that came along to help. It’s been a very stressful week for myself and your support and solidarity has kept me going.

A huge thank you to my online friends and supporters, and also thank you to my friends in my local Labour Party, like I said its been a tough week and you ALL keep me going.

A massive thanks also to the readers of my blog and the supporters of my blog. I can’t thank you enough. Please read, share, rt and email my blog. We can’t allow this suffering to continue for much longer, it’s horrific.

 

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