Category: PIP

The truth about Covid 19 self employment and disability.

Dear readers, I hope that you are all safe and as well as you can be. Many of us are trying to self isolate which is hard when you don’t have enough money to do an online shop and even if you can afford to do this there’s no open delivery slots.
Nearly a million people have applied for universal credit in the past fortnight as a result of people loosing their jobs or having to give up their self employment as a because of the Covid 19 pandemic.
However thousands of people have had trouble obtaining the correct ID needed to apply for Universal Credit. As a result they were told to telephone the hotline and make an appointment with a Universal Credit advisor.
Thousands of people tried to follow their advice but were unable to contact an advisor because the telephone lines were too busy and thousands have given up trying to apply.
DWP Officials have said that they’re working “flat out” to help people get support, however what they say and do are often two different stories.
The reality is that new claimants are not feeling supported and have been left with little or no help.
The government have refused to scrap the five week wait for universal credit telling new claimants that they have to apply for a loan from the DWP to help them. It sounds good however these loans have to be paid back often dragging people into more hardship.
There was a warning on Wednesday that 20% of small businesses could fold in the next month due to the collapse in consumer demand, despite unprecedented government intervention to support jobs.
Yet the truth is that there is no support for self employed people having had to give up their self employment or put it on hold.
The governments response that they might be able to get a payment in June is inadequate and it hasn’t given them any security at all.
Having no income until June will have a devastating effect upon them, most will be hungry, many will be at risk of loosing their homes.
Being quarantined at home is awful for those of us unable to buy food and living in
fuel poverty. Every day is a struggle and more help needs to be given unconditionally.
Loans given by the government that have to be paid back to the DWP are unjust and cruel, most have paid into the system so that they could get help if they needed it. That’s how it used to work, it isn’t called social security for no reason. It used to provide security for those in need. Instead people are being made to pay back money that was rightfully theirs in the first place.
And its even worse for disabled people.
Many disabled people have been given very little information on the risks that they face or how they should mitigate those.
They can’t practice social distancing when you have care workers coming in and out of their houses.
Those living independently on direct payments haven’t been allocated any personal protective equipment or the funding to purchase it so are forced to go without, putting themselves and their carers at risk.
Most have no funding to offer sick pay, this results in a lack of income for their PAs
Which also puts themselves and their carers in an awful situation.
Within the new Coronavirus bill lies legislation that keeps disabled people living safely at home has now been removed.
The government has made changes to the Care Act 2014 which remove the legal duty on local authorities to provide care, except where not providing it would breach people’s human rights.
This could wipe out most of adult social care – with no guarantee it will ever be replaced.
Whilst people are saying that the Covid 19 outbreak has brought people together this isn’t happening for many disabled people. They’re being abandoned by the government with no care at all.
We all need to be talking about this and holding the government to account for their actions towards disabled people and the self employed.

Yesterday I took a walk around Ashton and spoke to some of the people that I’ve helped and are still helping.
Most are struggling, all of them are worried about catching Covid 19. I did what I could do to help, but I feel completely useless at the moment.
Little trips to the shops is our only option whilst trying to keep to the social distancing rules which are still being ignored by so many.
I understand that its hard to judge the distance correctly and supermarkets and shops have been really good at ensuring that people keep to the social distancing rules.
Please keep to the rules folks, whilst some people think that they’re invincible many of us aren’t. And don’t get me started on the conspiracy theorists posts. They can cause so much damage.
Above all else keep safe, feel free to email me if you want someone to talk to, because I am thinking of you all.

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

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.

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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.

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

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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