Category: cost of living

First Cost Of Living Payments To Be Paid From 14th July


The DWP have recently announced that the first cost of living payment will be paid in July 2022.

This will be the first payment of £326 will be paid automatically from the 14th July 2022.

Please note that this will be paid from the 14th July and I expect that they’ll probably make these payments in batches.

Don’t worry if you don’t receive your payment on the 14th July because it will be sent to you.

The second instalment of £324 will be paid in the Autumn, bringing the total to £650 for eligible claimants.

As of publishing this the government has no plans to expand these payments in the cold winter months.

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PIP Mandatory Reconsideration Success Decrease Dramatically

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that can help with extra living costs if you have both a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability if you have difficulty doing everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition.

PIP can be applied for even if you’re working, have savings or are getting most other benefits.

A Mandatory Reconsideration is the first step of challenging a PIP decision. This involves asking the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to look at their decision again. A Mandatory Reconsideration has to be applied for within one month of the decision date (the date that is given on the decision letter).


Reports show that the latest PIP statistics give show that Mandatory Reconsiderations success rates have fallen for almost every single month since October of 2021.
The statistics go on to show that the success rates have dropped from 45% in October 2021 to just 26% in April of 2022.
When questioned the DWP have offered no explanation for this inexorable decline in Mandatory Reconsideration success rates.


In 2019 the DWP implemented a new system of contacting claimants who lodged a mandatory reconsideration in order to collect further evidence. As a result Mandatory Reconsideration success rates rose considerably.


Moving forward to 2022 the DWP are now struggling to cope with an 18% increase in new PIP claims.This has resulted in a 9% increase in requests for mandatory reconsiderations which in turn has caused significant stress on an already overwhelmed system.


There are various reasons as to what the cause is but one notable one is that the DWP appear to no longer take the time to contact claimants if they’ve failed an assessment therefore success rates have fallen back to their previous levels before 2019.

Invariably this has resulted in thousands of claimants becoming disheartened and forgoing applying for a Mandatory Reconsideration. If a claimant makes the decision to challenge the DWPs decision they often have to wait months before going through the ordeal of an appeal tribunal. This results in already vulnerable people in a distressed state unable to continue with their day to day activities that their PIP award enabled them to do.

People living with a disability or illness have long bared the brunt of the governments cruelty being neglected, ignored and often left to cope with relentless cuts to their benefit payments and help that most need to continue with their day to day activities.

The governments relentless targeting of the most vulnerable in society needs to stop but sadly its very likely that this won’t happen whilst the Tory government are still in power. Instead they prefer to have parties and sing on karaokes whilst thousands of people suffer as a result of their actions.

https://twitter.com/Debbie_abrahams/status/1542191173195816960?t=0apkY_BO5YZM-6FiDKydtA&s=19

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-yet-to-sign-claimant-deaths-legal-agreement-with-watchdog/

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I

f you would like to contribute towards keeping my blog and campaign going and can afford to there is a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

A huge thank you to everyone that supports my blog and campaign. Every penny makes a huge difference and enables me to continue with my work. I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do and its a huge struggle for me.

Thank you!

Council Tax Arrears Rise Dramatically

A recent report undertaken by Money Advice has uncovered that Council Tax arrears are rising dramatically and are expected to grow exponentially.

As detailed inthe report the total amount of arrears owing now stands at over £4.9 billion, this is an increase of £521 million (12%) on last year (2021).



With the ever increasing cost of living costs and energy bills it comes as no surprise that many are struggling to pay council tax.This has been happening for years and it shows no sign of improving.

The analysis conducted by Money Advice suggests that the problem is worsening showing that in the past 5 years the average CouncilTax bill in England has risen by 24%. At the same time arrears have risen profoundly by 74% over the same time period

This leaves an ever increasing amount of households that are struggling to afford their bills and everyday costs therefore falling deeper into arrears unable to meet the payments.

The truth is that the current system of collecting council tax isn’t working, it often costs local authorities more to implement than they actually are able to collect. Households are already struggling to pay and local councils are trying to cope with the deficit of payments whilst trying to keep essential services going as many rely upon council tax payments to provide such services.

The rules that govern council tax collection are approximately 30 years old and are no longer working for today’s financial climate. The whole council tax system needs to be changed for it to work fairly both for households and local authorities.

Money Advice suggests that the Government needs to urgently take a duel approach both for households and councils.

They suggest that:

The government increases and ring-fence funding for Council Tax Support to stop people falling behind enabling more people to get help paying.

Change and reform collection rules so that households are treated fairly and not met with intimidating behaviour from bailiff sent out to collect arrears. This creates distress and doesn’t actually work to help people pay, instead it increases debt due to having to pay bailiff costs as well.

In an ideal world there would be new, fair system created that is affordable and doesn’t cause increasing poverty and spiralling into further debt.

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You can find a full copy of the report here at https://t.co/WT2vQSzLhA

Please read and share this raises awareness and is vitally important.

If you like my content and would like to contribute towards keeping both the blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the side and top of this blog post.

I work hard and I don’t receive any payments at all leaving me struggling for everyday costs and basics. Every penny makes such a huge difference and also helps to me to continue with my work.

DWP Wrongly Forces Universal Credit Claimants To Repay Entire Payments


According to a recent report from Child Poverty Action Group CPAG) claimants are being forced to repay their full Universal Credit (UC) award despite being entitled to it.

Why Are The DWP doing this?

During the pandemic the DWP temporarily changed some of the evidence rules to complete UC claims.

As detailed in the report by CPAG in January 2021 the DWP started to look into the claims that were made during the pandemic.

Whilst doing this the DWP have been changing the entitlement decisions given to claimants declaring that many claims have been wrongfully awarded.

Why This Shouldn’t Be Happening

CPAG have expressed their concerns that the process of retrospectively deciding claimants were not entitled to UC and beginning recovery is unlawful.



In addition, the DWP is asking for evidence of entitlement via the online journal, even from claimants that are no longer getting UC and would have no reason to check their journal.



Some claimants only find out about the alleged overpayment when they receive a letter from DWP Debt Management.

They therefore miss the one month deadline for challenging a decision and often don’t know that they could make a late challenge if they have good cause.


Shockingly, this process is set to be ramped up dramatically.

The DWPs Reaction

The DWP are employing a team of 2,000 staff to look again at 2 million claims over the next five years including, but not limited to, claims made during the pandemic.



The thought that a government department that tramples on claimants’ rights in this way is to be given powers of search, seizure and arrest, as revealed in our last newsletter, is truly frightening.


Conclusion.

It’s very concerning that the government gives the DWP the authority to stamp on a person’s legal rights in this manner.

Not only are they able to stop a claimants payments without any notice they are also set to be given powers of search, seizure and arrest, as detailed in an earlier blog post.

DWP decisions such as these are life changing and literally leave people without the ability to eat, pay their rent and to keep warm.

Combined with this is the mental toll that this puts upon claimants leaving them in a state of distress not knowing where to get help.

Claimants deserve to be treated with respect and should be given the right to reply before any permanent decisions are made by the DWP.

Not only is it morally wrong to change decisions retrospectively, moving the goalposts when it suits the DWP is despicable and should be challenged at all times.

You can find the full copy of the report here https://cpag.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/briefing/demands-repay-impact-and-legality-dwp-reverification-uc-claims

Please read, share and tweet this article. Doing so raises awareness of the real issues that affect the working class of this country.

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Thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog. I really appreciate it and I couldn’t have got through the last two years without you.

UK Food Prices Set To Rise Again This Summer

Food prices are predicted to increase by 15% in the UK this summer. This is the highest level in more than 20 years. This is predicted to rise alongside inflation which could last until the middle of next year, according to a report by The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD)

This is a result of the ever increasing prices of meat, cereal, dairy, fruit and vegetable products caused by the rise in costs of wheat prices as a result of the war in Ukraine.

The Ukraine is a big supplier of wheat to the UK, combined with sanctions imposed upon Russia will undoubtably cause a hike in prices and also a probable wheat shortage. Also predicted by the grocery trade body IGD.com is a rise in costs of food items caused by production lockdowns in China and export bans on food products such as palm oil from Indonesia and wheat from India.

What does this mean?

Food costs are going to rise dramatically again making it extremely difficult for low income households to be able to afford to buy much needed food essentials. According to a survey undertaken by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) there has been an increase in the number of people spending less on food and household essentials which has risen from 36% to 41%.

This figure is set to rise again in the Autumn when as predicted by The Bank of England inflation is predicted to reach to 11%, which is the highest since the 1970s.

Rising energy costs

Households are still struggling to cope with the rise in energy costs with government payments set to be sent out to household in July. This scheme is not without its faults though leaving some low income households and disabled people exempt from this scheme.

After the second payments given by the government in October there are so far no plans to extend this to the winter and beyond, leaving many forced to live in cold homes unable to cook food.

A recent survey also carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that 52% of low income households are being forced to use less gas and electricity because they can no longer afford the cost. This in turn will also affect a households ability to cook meals.

Why does this matter?

Low income households are already burdened with an ever increasing cost of living that they can no longer afford to keep up with. Already overwhelmed with these costs and the lack of affordable food this will undoubtably cause mental distress and illness as a result of not being able to provide the basics for themselves and their families.

The lack of financial support from the government in helping the public with these costs is sadly lacking. In work and out of work benefits such as universal credit, working tax credits, ESA and PIP have failed to rise with inflation leaving households with a huge financial deficit.

The poorest can no longer be expected to bear the brunt of these ever increasing costs. Permanent financial help from the government needs to be offered before winter, if not thousands will undoubtedly become ill or worse as a result of living in cold homes unable to provide food for themselves and their families.

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Please read, share and tweet this article it helps massively to raise awareness about the real issues facing working class people in the UK.

I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do, and like yourselves I’m struggling to be able to cope with the increasing costs of everything.

If you can afford to and would like to donate to keep my blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny makes a massive difference and it really helps.

A huge thank you to everyone that’s helped to support my blog and campaign I really couldn’t do this without you. Thank you.