Category: Army recruiting

Prepaid energy top up and Coronavirus. How do you top up your prepaid energy meters? IMPORTANT.

Dear readers I’ve been chasing down all the major energy companies on Twitter and asking them what their emergency provisions are for people unable to go to a shop to top up an energy card or key.

It’s a very important issue because so many of us, myself included are stuck on prepaid meters. If we don’t top up we get cut off and then what are we supposed to do?

Are we expected to just put up with being cut off from everything or is there help out there?

So to find out I started tweeting the major energy companies straight away. It was extremely eye opening to see that so many people didn’t even think about this being a problem. On the other hand many people were concerned and have shared my tweets.

So far these are the responses, the response from British Gas has to be the worst. The best response so far has to be from Bulb Energy. EDF came second in both response time and gave a decent answer to my question.

Listed below are all the responses that I’ve had so far. If I get anymore responses I shall add them to this blog post.

EDF

Hi Charlotte, thanks for getting in touch. The current advice from Public Health England for people who are self-isolating is to ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out tasks such as getting groceries, medications or other shopping. These tasks would include the topping up of non-smart prepay energy meters. In circumstances where this is not possible, we have existing measures in place to make sure ]supply will continue in the short term. We are able to preload keys and cards with credit that can be collected by a customer or someone that is helping them from a local shop or alternatively can be delivered in the post. Any credit provided will be collected back at a suitable rate agreed with the customer. We also operate a friendly non disconnection policy on most meters, this means that if a customer runs out of credit after certain hours the electricity will not go off until 9am the next day. The operates between the hours of Monday to Friday 6pm to 9am, Saturday from 6pm, anytime on a Sunday, until 9am Monday, anytime on a bank holiday, until 9am the next day. Many thanks

BRITISH GAS

Hi Charlotte, customers may have enough emergency credit to last while they’re self-isolating at home. If they think they will run out, they should contact us to discuss their circumstances. We will work with them to find a solution. Thanks, Charlie

BULB

Hi Charlotte – This is a valid concern, we’ve advised prepay members to top up extra. If that’s not possible due to self-isolation or other potential issues we have a supply of keys/cards preloaded with credit. This is a new situation for us so our policy may evolve with time – M

Hi Lou – The preloaded key/card system comes with credit and is intended to help those who can’t have others top up for them. We’re following latest government policy and advice to ensure our own actions are up to date with developments – M

CENTRICA

Hi, you may have enough credit to last you while your self-isolating at home. If you think you’ll run out of credit, contact us to discuss your circumstances and we’ll work with you to find a solution. Thanks, Leanne

Hi Charlotte, we’ll continue to ensure customers get the help and support they need. If you think you’ll run out of credit, contact us to discuss your circumstances and we’ll work with you to find a solution.

E-ON

SCOTTISH POWER.

All DWP face to face interviews cancelled as of this morning.

Well at least it appears that the DWP have at last seen sense and have cancelled face to face appointments this morning.

If you are unsure or the DWP hasn’t messaged you yet please contact them to confirm this. It’s always good to double check.

If you have still been asked to attend your appointment please let me know.

Now let’s see if sanctions are lifted.

I’ll keep you updated as further news comes to light.

My apologies comments are blocked for now.

Dear readers I do everything that I can to ensure that my blog is a safe space for you to use, read and comment.

This week the DWP have taken it upon themselves to attempt to troll my blog, call me a liar and are telling people that Jobcentres are wonderful places and work will cure us of all ills.

I won’t tolerate their bullying anywhere so comments are blocked for now until they calm the hell down.

I hope that you understand my reasons for doing this.

If anyone would like to comment please email me at seercharlotte@gmail.com and I can add your comment to this blog piece.

Peace and much love to you all.

Disabled man told to apply for work at the same place he used to work.

Dear readers its Thursday again and it’s another cold, windy day. My thoughts are with everyone that are street homeless or are living in cold homes because they can’t afford to heat them. Fuel poverty is real and its only going to get worse.

You can bet that hypothermia related deaths will increase this year because so many more people are living in poverty, and it isn’t just elderly people either. Indeed this morning I topped up a young couples electric key for them because they’d ran out of electric. Life with pre payment machines is no fun at all. I’m talking from experience though because I’ve always had pre payment machines.

Winter with it’s dark mornings and dark evenings really takes it’s toll on many people so please be kind to each other, times are hard.

Like I said this morning started with being freezing cold but then a cold breeze became stronger and stronger so we had to finish early. I need to find some thermal clothes to wear.

Anyway, all the food parcels bar one were taken straight away. This week we were able to give people a packet of doughnuts with their food parcel. Doughnuts might not be nutritious but they do cheer people up, so does a packet of biscuits etc. Never underestimate the value of this type of food.

I bet you’re fed up of me writing that so many people are dressed in clothing not suited to the cold winter weather. This was the case today, so many people were walking in and out of the Jobcentre and council offices looking freezing cold.

Can I please have a magic wand to change this? I’ll be eternally grateful.

Noted today was the amount of young people going into the Jobcentre to make their first claim. Luckily I was able to give them a leaflet and some advice. Having to cope with the whole universal credit system can be so daunting and stressful for young people at the start of their adult life.

We spoke to a lovely man who has several disabilities, a brain condition,a completely knackered knee that he cant use for standing for any period of time and a back condition.

He explained that he was disgusted that he’s forced to attend the Jobcentre on a weekly basis even though he’s disabled and is handing in fit notes. Today his advisor told him that he needed to apply for a job at the very same factory that he was previously working at.

He had to end his employment because of his disabilities, the work is heavy going, on foot all of the time and moving heavy equipment etc around. At first he thought that they were joking but his advisor wasn’t and was deadly serious.

Obviously he was extremely frustrated at this, they’re setting him up to fail because they just don’t care. If they did care they wouldn’t be doing this to him in the first place, and you can bet that they’ll try to punish him if he doesn’t.

This is the side of the DWP that many people don’t see. They don’t understand that the DWP can, and often does behave like an abuser gaslighting its victim until they give up.

Don’t let them do this to you, appeal any decision that they make, you do have the right to do this.

I had a lovely conversation with a man that used to be street homeless in Manchester, hes now housed in a flat and is doing well. He told me that he used to be a solider in the army but once he left they ditched him and didn’t care about him one bit. I’ve heard this story so many times and it’s awful.

Luckily he eventually found support and he now helps other street homeless people. He told me how dangerous Manchester is for street homeless people and how concerned he is about this.

Gordon spoke to a man that had walked miles to the Jobcentre only for his appointment to last for the maximum of five minutes. I’m not wrong when I say that they do this to control people.

Last but not least we were told of the plight of someone having terminal cancer only for their claim for PIP to be rejected. They’ll be appealing this decision, but will they live long enough to see this through? I hope so, but no one in their position should have to go through this.

Sadly like I said earlier, we had to leave early but we spoke to lots of people, and helped many of these. We will be back next week as usual.

Please can I ask you a favour? Can you read, share, tweet and email my blog? I really need to get the word out there that the DWP system is cruel beyond belief.

Also I have a donate button at the side and the top of my blog. For anyone not able to see this my PayPal add is seercharlotte@gmail.com

I live on virtually nothing and every penny helps me to continue blogging and campaigning. Thank you to everyone that have done already.

I’m also in the process of writing a book based upon my blog. If you’re interested in this please email me via my blog.

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..