Category: Money saving tips

The Ugly Truth About UNIVERSAL CREDIT.

Dear readers its Thursday and most of us are on lockdown.

I did take a walk down to Ashton but I was unable to hand much out food wise because I have no spare cash, none at all but I did the best that I could do given the circumstances.

I realise that most of you are probably stressed and/ or worried about catching Covid 19 and are trying to keep away from people as much as possible, but its nearly impossible because we can’t afford to do one big shop for the week etc because universal credit prevents this.

Universal Credit is being touted at the moment as being the best thing ever, that it’ll help all self employed and previously employed people and that it will be of great benefit to them.

Claim universal credit and you’ll be ok!! But it’ll take at least five weeks to process and if you take a loan from us you have to pay it back.

The truth is that as of yesterday half a million people were attempting to apply for universal credit and many of them didn’t have the correct ID. They were then told to phone up the DWP using the universal credit hotline to make an appointment.

The truth is that the system couldn’t cope, too many people were calling and many have given up because they cant get through to speak to a DWP advisor who could hep them to proceed with their claim.

Universal credit is responsible for thousands of children and their parents being hungry and going without meals, adequate clothing.

It’s also responsible for many people becoming homeless. Many disabled people have given up with the system because its so stressful.

We must never, ever forget this cruelty bestowed to us by a cruel and uncaring government.

Another alternative was given to disabled people via Martin Lewis. He advised disabled people to apply for ESA not realising that its notoriously difficult to claim and most people are rejected upon applying so they have to appeal and then take it to a tribunal.

Thousands of people will now see and hopefully understand how complicated and heartless the DWP regime is.

Self employed people have been informed that they won’t get any help until the end of May. This will be far too late for most people.
Many will be close to loosing their homes.
Many will be hungry and the government doesn’t care one bit.

You see myself and other campaigners have been protesting and campaigning against this cruel, heartless system since its conception.

Many of us have been called scroungers, lazy, work shy and we must all get a job.

I suspect that some of these people will now be trying to struggle through the system as I type this, maybe they’ll realise how cruel the system is now.

Myself and other campaigners have lost count of how many people have died as a result of this sadistic, inhumane system. We’ve cried countless tears and mourned many losses.

We also worry about our children and young people because their struggle will be even harder than ours.

I’ve recorded so many awful situations in this blog, most of them heartbreaking, and now on top of this will be the deaths of people from Covid 19 struggling to cope at home after being told that they’re not a priority for help.

I really don’t recognise this country anymore, it used to be much better than this even during the hard times but I thank everyone thats campaigning for a better future.

Please can I ask you to take all of the Covid 19 Coronavirus information seriously. I know that it’s definitely not easy.

One day I hope that things will be better for us all.

Keep strong and I will continue to update my blog on a regular basis.

Please read, like, share, tweet and email my blog.

I campaign and blog with no budget at all and I’m not funded by anyone. If you would like to donate towards keeping the campaign and the blog going please click on the menu button at the top and there’s a donate button there.

A huge thank you to everyone that does support the campaign and blog. Thank you so much.

Emergency measures for prepaid energy meters now released.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-energy-industry-to-support-vulnerable-people-through-covid-19

Many thanks to everyone that pushed for this in Parliament. After being a complete pain they finally listened and measures have now been put into place.

A huge thanks to everyone that shared my blog post concerning this.

I’m also hoping to be able to make some bread for my neighbours that are really struggling to feed themselves and their families.

If anyone sees any plain flour please could send some my way. I have some yeast but I’d like to make them enough bread to keep going. Thank you so much.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

I run this blog and the campaign with a zero budget. For anyone wanting to donate there’s a donate button at the top of the page and the side.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog.

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.

Coronavirus sees DWP halt face-to-face sickness and disability benefit assessments – Mirror Online

Coronavirus sees DWP halt face-to-face sickness and disability benefit assessments – Mirror Online
— Read on www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/coronavirus-sees-dwp-halt-face-21698775.amp

Today the DWP has announced that it will be stopping all face to face medical assessments temporarily, I suspect that they will be reinstating them as soon as the crisis ends.

There is no mention of any stoppages regarding face to face appointments, job searching and sanctions. Nor have the DWP been clear in their advice to any benefit claimants.

It is not fair to expect any person be sanctioned whilst we are facing this crisis, nor is it fair to expect anyone to endure already being sanctioned through this crisis.

These are people with already compromised immune systems due to lack of adequate food, heat and they certainly cant afford to buy loo rolls or stock up on anything.Please keep donating to your local food bank because its going to be increasingly difficult for them to access food, toiletries, nappies and baby milk.

Whilst the focus is still on the over 70’s please remember that people with compromised immune systems, disabled people and people with Coronavirus will still be at home isolated.

Because the government isn’t testing the public we just don’t know how many people are actually ill with Coronavirus at home, or are forced into work because they can’t afford to not go into work.

Please look out for each other and check on your friends and neighbours.

More updates as they are released.

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I run this blog and the campaign on hardly anything, please donate if you can.

A huge thank you to everyone that supports the campaign and my blog.

DWP Coronavirus procedures. Important.

DWP Virus info 13/03/20

For people already claiming support

Special arrangements will be in place for people in receipt of benefits who cannot attend reassessments or jobcentre appointments because they are required to stay at home or are infected by coronavirus.

• Claimants who cannot attend a reassessment for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit will continue to receive their payments while their assessment is rearranged.

• People who need to claim ESA or Universal Credit because of coronavirus will not be required to produce a Fit Note.

• When claimants tell us in good time that they are staying at home or that they have been diagnosed with coronavirus, they will not be sanctioned. We will review their conditionality requirements in their claimant commitment, to ensure they are reasonable.

• Claimants who are staying at home as a result of coronavirus will have their mandatory work search and work availability requirements removed to account for a period of sickness.

For people who need to make a new claim for financial support

We understand people who are required to stay at home or are infected by coronavirus may need financial support.

• Those affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive an advance without physically attending a jobcentre.

• The seven waiting days for Employment and Support Allowance for new claimants suffering from coronavirus or required to stay at home will not apply, so it will be payable from day one.

Employees and self-employed people

To make sure people in work can take the necessary time off to stay at home if they are suffering from coronavirus or to prevent its spread, changes have been made to Statutory Sick Pay and how Universal Credit supports self-employed claimants.

• People who cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of their illness. We intend this measure to apply retrospectively from 13 March.

• Statutory Sick Pay will be payable to people who are staying at home on Government advice, not just those who are infected, this measure will apply from 13 March. Employers are urged to use their discretion about what evidence, if any, they ask for.

• If employees need to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home due to coronavirus, they will be able to get it from NHS 111 Online instead of having to get a Fit Note from their doctor. This is currently under development and will be made available soon.

• Self-employed claimants on Universal Credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus will not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected.

Please continue to wash hands etc. I realise that many of my readers have a very limited diet already so please check with local food banks etc as to what their procedures are. We will hopefully still be outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre next week.

Also please check with your local doctors surgery because most of them have now iniated their own emergency procedures.

Try not to panic you will get through this. If you need someone to talk to and any further help please email me.

Love to you all.

I will continue to update my blog with further details and information.

64 year old man told to apply for universal credit but not told how to. Digital systems don’t and will never work for everyone.

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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A massive thank you to everyone that does and has supported my blog it means the world to me.