Category: Teresa May

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.

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Man 65 and living on meagre savings. Too scared to claim universal credit.

Dear readers, we were extremely busy today and I left my phone at home. Typical of me these days but at least I’m lucky enough to have a mobile phone in the first place. So apologies to anyone that was trying to contact me.

We had good weather for a change which we really welcomed both it makes a nice change. We’ve been lucky so far with the weather.

The food parcels went almost immediately, a sad incitement of how the government treats the poorest and most vulnerable. They’re actually proud of the fact that we have foodbanks when in reality it’s shameful.

Most of the people that we spoke to today were having problems with their ESA or universal credit claim. I found it extremely concerning that most of the people that I spoke to didn’t know what benefit they were receiving. The systems far too complicated and most of them didn’t know how to use a computer. This almost always inevitably results in them getting a sanction and of course the DWP don’t give a stuff.

As usual I’ll list some of the conversations that we had with people. All of them were extremely vulnerable and shouldn’t have to be going through this.

As I was sat waiting for Gordon to arrive I had a conversation with a chap who was extremely confused. He had a stroke not long ago and as a result his short term memory isn’t good.

I engaged him in conversation and he asked if he could have a food parcel. I said yes of course he could and I asked him why did he need a food parcel. To say he’s confused is an understatement. He doesn’t know what benefit he was getting, he only knew that his payments had been stopped. After asking him some more questions it sounded like he had been claiming ESA and hadn’t attended one of the DWPs farcical medical examinations.

This is how the DWP and government treats the most vulnerable people in society, they don’t give a shit if they live or die. If they can’t make any money out of you they’ll bin you like yesterdays newspaper, which will most likely be a copy of the Metro newspaper their favourite propaganda tool.

Luckily I was there to help him and I advised him of what to do but I shouldn’t have to be there to help people should I. I’m meeting him next week to help him further. He also took a food parcel home with him.

It was then that I spoke to another disabled chap. Here is a brief outline of his situation, I’ll name him Bob.

Bob is claiming the disability related element of universal credit. Bob was due to go into hospital for a hip operation and he informed the DWP of this. Thinking that everything was ok he went ahead with the operation.

A few months later he received a letter in the post from the DWP. It informed him that he was going to have to undergo a telephone compliance interview. Bob didn’t have a clue why he was sent this letter but it worried him.

The day of the compliance interview arrived and the DWP asked him why he’d missed an appointment given to him whilst he was in hospital. They threatened him with a sanction but luckily he’d kept all the paperwork to prove that he was in hospital.

It gets worse for Bob.

Not long after the compliance interview Bobs mobile phone was stolen. He informed the DWP that he couldn’t receive calls etc on his mobile phone because it’d been stolen.

Any reasonable organisation would have taken note of this and would act accordingly but not the DWP. They sanctioned him for three months because he couldn’t answer phone calls etc because his phone had been stolen. You couldn’t make this up could you.

Bobs only just started to receive his payments again, he told me that he was scarred for life, that he’d never felt as low as he did for the three months he was sanctioned.

Bob could and should have appealed their decision but he didn’t know that he could do this, saying that he just accepted it and tried to struggle. He will be appealing any wrongful decision made by the DWP in the future.

It was then that I spoke to a lady I shall name Diane. Diane very proudly told me that she’d worked all of her adult life until she became ill and had to stop working and started to claim ESA.

Diane was then told that she needed to have an operation in the very near future so she informed the DWP. The DWP responded by stopping her ESA because she failed to attend a farcical DWP medical on the day of her operation.

Remember that Diane did inform the DWP that she was unable to attend the appointment but they stopped her ESA regardless. Luckily Diane knew that she could appeal this decision and she did. She appealed and then attended a tribunal and won.

Not content with this the DWP sent her another appointment for a farcical DWP medical examination. She attended and she failed. Diane appealed and went to her tribunal and won again.

Diane told me that the DWP treat her like scum, she knows that they hate her and she’s lost any confidence that she once had. No one should be treated in this manner but it happens to thousands of people everyday. As we were talking we spotted two of our local Tory councillors entering the Tameside One building. Diane recognised them and said that it’s their fault and their parties fault that she was being treated like this.

Diane’s correct of course but they don’t give a stuff, they deny anything like this is happening.

Meet Brian. Brian’s an older chap who was handing his latest fit note in. He told me that he’d recently finished a CPC course and had a letter stating that he had a job offer if he can show them his CPC qualification.

Guess what, the DWP are refusing to help him and he’s extremely frustrated about this. What Brian said next was quite poignant. “They do this because they have to justify their jobs, they have to justify their existence. Without people like me going into the Jobcentre they’d be out of a job themselves”

I noticed a man that I shall call Jack climbing the stairs to the Jobcentre and I asked him if he wanted one of our leaflets. He took one but he was angry, angry at the world, angry at himself because he feels like a failure. He told me that he’d been working for a local company and his employer was taking £50 a week off him supposedly for his tax payments.

Jacks payslips tell a different story though and basically he’s being ripped off. I asked him to contact GM Law centre because they’re interested in employment cases like these.

No wonder Jacks angry I’d be furious as well.

Last but not least we spotted an older chap walking towards us. I asked him if he needed a leaflet and he said that he didn’t know so I asked him why.

His problem is this, he’s 65 and living off his very meagre savings. I asked him why he hadn’t made an application for benefits and he told me that he was too scared. He knows how awful the system is and he doesn’t think that he’d be able to cope with it.

If this isn’t bad enough he’s recovering from cancer and has a big hernia that causes him a lot of pain. He lifted his top up and showed me the strapping round his lower waist that covers his hernia. “They’d declare me fit for work with this and the cancer, I’d rather struggle like this than have to go through that”.

The amount of people that make the same decision up and down the country is enormous. It’s a reliable bet that there’s thousands of people that take themselves off they system and try to live another way. Many of these people become homeless and find it hard to escape their circumstances. To them it’s less stressful than living on the street.

Other conversations that I had included questions about deposits for flats, not being able to eat whilst claiming universal credit and universal credit wants me to fail and how do I appeal DWP decisions etc.

The problems that occur whilst claiming universal credit appear to be never ending, once you get over one hurdle another appears and you have to climb another one.

Not one of the people that I speak to are ‘scroungers’ or ‘waste of spaces’. They’re lovely genuine people that are struggling due to no fault of their own. It angers me greatly when I see Tory mps and councillors laughing at us whenever anyone asks them questions on this subject. They think that it’ll go away if they ignore it and pretend that it isn’t happening. Most of them deny the very existence of our suffering and aren’t scared of saying so.

The only way that we can stop their cruelty is to use your vote and vote them out because if we don’t I honestly don’t know how much more of this cruelty we can endure.

Needless to say we will be returning next week. Please come and join us if you’re in the area it would be wonderful to see you.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. It’s very important that we tell people that this is happening.

Thank you to everyone that supports my blog, I really can’t thank you enough for all the support my readers have given me over this past fortnight.

For anyone wishing to do the same there’s a PayPal button at the top and side of my blog.

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..

They keep trying to trip us up at every step.

Dear readers it’s Thursday yet again and time to update the blog. I hope that you’re all ok and coping with what feels like a constant onslaught of cruelty from the Tory government.

It appears that Boris Johnson will most likely be our next prime minister so god help us all. We can guarantee that things will become worse under his rule.

If you’d have asked me years ago if I envisaged this country being in such a mess I would have replied no. Even if we get a new Labour prime minister it’s going to take years to sort out the Tory party mess. I’ll not even start on Brexit…

The weather was good today and even though there was just two of us for ages the mood was good, maybe the weather helped or discussing our plans for the Peterloo march to Manchester this year. When I get a link for this I’ll post it on my blog.

As usual our food parcels went straight away. They’re essential and really help people in a time of great need.

I honestly thought like packing it all in last week, the amount of criticism that I receive sometimes can be all consuming and it’s hard to take my mind off it. I do these demos to help people and to protest against the inhumane treatment given to the poorest and most vulnerable in society. It’s a point of principle for me. I was always taught to treat people as I like to be treated, only the Tory party must be reading another guide book, the clearly don’t give a stuff and are willing to drag this country into down as far as it will go. For them it doesn’t matter because they can walk away from the mess they make.

David Cameron, Ian Duncan Smith, Esther Mcvey and Amber Rudd one day we will get justice. Karma or whatever you call it can be a t**t sometimes can’t it.

We offer help, advice, signposting, copies of our survival guide and friendship. If you need help you’ll get it without having to fill out forms and wait ages in a queue. And like I mentioned earlier food parcels but they normally leave as quickly as they arrive.

I really hate the fact that there is a need for them and I will always do everything in my power to protest about this. My health isn’t brilliant sometimes but it’s better than a lot of the people that I speak to and who read this blog.

We are having lots of success with our survival guide, people are reading it and following the instructions which is why we made it. We are seeing people whom we have spoken to in the past and handed a leaflet to going into the Jobcentre with a file of some sorts, all their paperwork and they record any calls from and to the DWP. They record our calls so if you can do this it’s really helpful. If you have a smartphone you can download a free app from either the play store or the App Store over on Iphones.

For those that say that we’re useless, do nothing and are troublemakers the proof is in the pudding. We actually do quite a lot like other groups do throughout the country. We should all be welcomed and not scorned.

The universal credit system isn’t fit for purpose as you know. I can give you an example from todays conversations.

Both myself and Gordon had a conversation with a man that had received two DWP appointments via text message for the same day. One appointment was this morning and the other was this afternoon.

Because he wasn’t sure which was the real appointment he arrived for the morning appointment only to be told that it was this afternoon. So he then had to hang around Ashton-under-Lyne town centre until it was time for his appointment.

If this gentleman had been in poor health or disabled he might not have been able to do this. It’s a system that’s failing everyone except the government. They won’t admit this though.

Let’s see if Amber Rudd actually gets round to cutting the at least five week wait for a first universal credit payment. I wouldn’t hold my breath though, they’re in no rush to do so because it saves them money. The cost for us however is high. Our health both physical and mental suffers greatly and it’s near impossible to climb out of poverty once entrapped in it.

For anyone doubting this, take it from me I know because like the people that I speak to I’m in the same position.

We spoke to a nice chap whom I’m going to name Tom. Tom is an older man trying his best to navigate this awful system. He didn’t have a good word to say about universal credit. He did however tell me how he felt about it.

‘It’s a system that keeps wanting to trip us up at every step. There’s no let up is there? I honestly can’t see an end to it and it makes me so annoyed.” He went on to say that he hated having to live like this, chasing jobs that aren’t real, trying to keep a computer system happy. ‘It’s just not fair is it”.

Damn right it isn’t fair.

We spoke to quite a few people that were making a new application for universal credit. We handed them a copy of our survival guide and we hope that this has made things a bit easier for them. My heart goes out to them.

Schools are now breaking up for the summer holidays and not having a penny to spend on food or trips out will affect even more children this summer. Having to say no all the time to a child’s request is also devastating for the parents. We hide it well, but every time we have to say no a little piece of us dies a little. This is how it affects me. I hate feeling like this as much as you do.

Without a doubt both children and their parents will be going hungry this summer. Some schools and voluntary organisations will be opening to feed children at lunch times. If you know of anywhere near where you live that is doing this please comment on my blog so that my readers can see it. Thanks.

I had a long conversation with a man whom like myself lives with hydrocephalus only a different kind. He suffers from black-outs and has to spend prolonged time in hospital whilst they treat him.

I asked this chap how he was getting along with the system and he told me that he’s making an application for universal credit and is hoping that the DWP take notice of his fit notes (sick notes). I gave him some info and a copy of our survival guide.

He’s going to find it near impossible to find a job that will take note of his disability and employ him. It’s ridiculous even to suggest it. I really hope that he’s ok.

We had quite a few complaints about the new building, mostly about the lack of adequate signage, directions to lifts and the awful steps. I’m definitely going to address this with my local council and I hope that these problems will be sorted out.

Honestly it’s not rocket science to put signs up is it. People shouldn’t be left to guess where they should go. It’ll even put people off from attending appointments or requesting help.

Another complaint was that there isn’t any LED sign etc to tell people with hearing problems that their number has been called in the council part of the building. This needs rectifying asap.

This week was challenging, but very productive. I encouraged a woman to appeal her PIP decision and I’ve put support in place for her to do this.

I also had a conversation with a security guard employee whom I think actually employs people over at the college side of the building. I told him about the two wages in one month scenario and he is definitely interested in changing paydays so that any employees don’t suffer from this. Yes the DWP are still doing this.

We will be returning next week to help more people. We love doing this because it gives people hope as many of you will know. A massive thank you to everyone else that are also taking action like we are. You’re all amazing.

Get well messages for Roy, he’s not well at the moment and we’re missing him so much. Get well soon!!!

Thank you to Gordon for being an absolute superstar and my Twitter follower for coming and saying hello. You know who you are!! You made me smile so much!!

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog to other, even your local Tory MP or councillor. They need to know what the reality of this situation is even though they’ll either choose to deny it or will ignore it.

There’s also a donation button at the side and top of my blog for anyone wanting to donate. I am actively looking for a job and if anyone knows of a job suitable for me please let me know. Thank you so, so much.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog. You all give me the strength to carry on as do my wonderful friends. I really couldn’t do this without you all.

PIP assessment two weeks ago a compliance letter today. The harassment continues.

Dear readers, it’s Thursday again. I hope that you’re all ok and doing your best to survive the cruel DWP system.

Today was a busy day and we helped lots of people. The food parcels went straight away as usual, it’s awful that it is this is happening in the first place. The governments persecution of poor and disabled people is never ending isn’t it and there’s an endless pot of money available for it as well.

I’ll try to be as brief as possible and as usual I won’t divulge the identity of anyone that I spoke to today out of respect.

We spoke to lots of people with varied problems and concerns, not one of them told us that they liked the system and nor is it helping them either. Most of the people that I spoke to also expressed their concerns about how much more worse off they are now. Basically it’s extremely hard to manage and it’s even worse when it’s winter and they have to find extra money to heat their homes.

Most of the people that we spoke to had or have had confusion and problems with the system and this has resulted in them suffering financially which then also affected their heath and mental wellbeing. I truly believe that there are thousands of people now suffering with PTSD as a result of the pernicious DWP system, many people want to run and hide.

This brings me to a conversation that I had with a woman that has luckily now found a job. As I offered her a leaflet she expressed her concerns about the system and how vulnerable people are expected to cope. She herself found the computer application daunting and even she struggled with it and stressed that it would be near impossible for many people.

Later in the conversation she told me that she is a volunteer for The Samaritans and that she speaks to far more people that are worried about Universal Credit and PIP ESA assessments, in fact most of the people that she speaks to are concerned about this.

The reality is that more and more of us are questioning our own mortality and that of others, years ago it wouldn’t have really crossed our minds because we knew that we’d be ok and would get through any problems that we had.

The introduction of the new DWP system and the introduction of so called medical assessments has completely taken any hope away that they ever had and I’m not sure if we’ll ever be able to get over this.

We’re still having problems with the huge stairs to the Jobcentre, there isn’t enough signage to say that there’s a lift inside that people can use. I hope that this is rectified soon because disabled people are having to use the stairs leaving them exhausted.

Some of the conversations that we have with people can be very disheartening and concerning. I handed Liz a leaflet and I asked her if she was ok. She told me that she’d just had a tough time in the Jobcentre and I asked her why. Her situation is this;

Liz cares for her daughter who is disabled. Her daughter has to go into hospital for a sixteen hour operation, the date of the operation clashes with her next signing on appointment.

Liz asked if she could change the date of the appointment because she had to be at the hospital with her daughter.

Liz told me that she was treated awfully by her job coach and at first they denied this request so she had to plead her case, telling me that she was spoken to like rubbish and it was inferred that the Jobcentre appointment was more important.

Eventually her job coach agreed to changing the appointment date to wait for it…. The next day. No consideration was given for the fact that she’s going to be both physically and mentally exhausted.

It’s overwhelmingly obvious that the DWP don’t give a stuff, but we hope that the operation is a success. Their nothing but a bunch of heartless cowards.

Sanctions are still happening folks, I spoke to a young man that was midway through a long sanction. He had been ill with depression and he had given up on life. He hadn’t been told that he could appeal so I advised him that he could do so. He’s got another 18 weeks of his sanction left. Horrible isn’t it.

I had a conversation with a woman that I had recently taken to a PIP assessment. I thought that she had come to tell me about the decision about the assessment but no, it was further persecution from the DWP.

This morning she had received a letter stating that she has to attend a telephone compliance interview, failure to do this would ensure that her payments would be stopped straight away.

Whilst this is not unusual, I want to highlight this. The persecution of disabled people never ends and despite empty promises from Amber Rudd etc nothing really is changing. It’s hard enough being disabled combined with the worry that the DWP are going to stop your payments at any time is far too much for many to cope with.

Both myself and Gordon spoke to the family of an 87 year old woman’s family that are having problems trying to get a new bin for their mother. Basically what happened is this.

The family had arranged for the local council to have her bin collected from inside her garden and they bring it back to save her the job of collecting her bin. She’s unable to do this and this arrangement had worked well for ages.

This week however her bin wasn’t returned and it was promptly stolen so they went to the council offices to request a replacement. They were told that they wouldn’t be replacing the bin ad they’d have to pay for a new one.

I suggested that they contact their local MP who hopefully can rectify this.

Last but not least I spoke to a young man who us completely baffled by the system and had problems with both his DWP claim and his council tax. I advised him and signposted him and I really hope that he does get a resolution to this.

I can’t stress how important it is that we continue our work because it has proved to be essential. We often speak to people when they’re in a state of crisis and often shock and we will be returning next week to do the same.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Many thanks to my readers that already do this.

Please support my blog, I’m a skint single parent trying my best to help people. There’s a donation button at the top and side of this blog. Many thanks to my readers that have already done this. Thank you so much xxx.

It’s almost as if universal credit was created to destroy working class communities…

Every week for around five years I’ve stood outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre helping claimants, signposting them, providing food, support, providing survival guides, taking people to ESA and PIP medicals and tribunals.

The situation for claimants is certainly not getting any better, in fact its become much worse.

Nearly every person that I’ve spoken to throughout the years have had problems with the computer based universal system. Sometimes it crashes, won’t let them into their own account and it certainly isn’t accessible for all claimants.

Over the years I have spoken to people that are forced to use a computer, usually at the Jobcentre even though they can’t read or write or haven’t a clue how to use a computer. Just because someone is young certainly doesn’t mean that they’re able to use a computer but the DWP refuse to recognise that.

Today I spoke to an older lady, a WASPI lady that should have been receiving her pension but was instead conned out of it by the government and thrown on the scrap heap and forced to claim universal credit.

Because she doesn’t know how to use a computer it’ll be very hard for her to fulfil the requirements made upon claimants when claiming universal credit.

Today was her first appointment and she was inside the Jobcentre for around 3/4 of a hour. She came out flustered, confused and had gained a headache. She isn’t respected at all by the system and she asked me how on earth could she learn how to use a computer competently.

The DWP didn’t offer her any advice but I noted yesterday that the library downstairs is offering free computer courses so I signposted her there.

The DWP are quick to shirk away from any caring responsibilities towards claimants, occasionally you might get a nice job coach and that’s if you’re lucky. Instead the burden lies with local services with no links to the DWP.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a member of the library staff, I asked her how she found the new library and what was it like having to share the building with the DWP. Her answer was that it was ‘very interesting’ and they weren’t particularly enjoying it but that they have to put up with it.

I also asked her if it had increased their workload and if anything had changed. Her reply was that they’re doing their best to keep up with demand but there’s so many people requesting help that it’s hard for them to keep up. The demand for their computer courses is high and we felt like the DWP could do more to help.

Also noted was that the library has become much busier, some come into the library and stay for hours, to keep warm or cool and that it was a good job that there is a security guard to help out when needed.

Having to share the building with the DWP has certainly increased their workload ad not always in a good way. I admire librarians I really do, they work so hard and they also love their work. Thank you.

Today I spoke to at least three people with disabilities that were being forced to migrate onto universal credit because of changes in their circumstances. They’re all finding it extremely hard but most people just accept that they’ll have no money for at least five weeks.

Many people are just accepting that this is the way it is and they’ll have to go hungry, sell their possessions etc in a bid to survive. Many people become ill as a result of universal credit and the whole process, indeed many people have been diagnosed with PTSD as a result.

One thing is certain, the DWP and the government are the only winners here.

I also spoke to people wanting to improve their situation but are denied this. They have to do whatever the DWP says or else. They’d rather we all worked for nothing on a workfare scheme rather than get a paid job because the DWP and the company involved both benefit financially from this.

Meanwhile the claimant that would rather be looking for work or studying is used for free labour and end up in more poverty as a result. It’s sickening.

The right wing media plays a big part in influencing a persons opinion of benefit claimants. It tells them that they’re lazy, work-shy, scroungers that want something for nothing. I’ve even had someone tell me that they want all unemployed people to be shipped off to another country.

It’s ironic that many of the people making these comments are now having to claim universal credit isn’t it. But I doubt that it’s changed their opinion of others.

Today we handed out all of our food parcels and I hate that there’s the need for them. That need wont be going for many years yet. We spoke to lots of people and offered help and advice, signposting and a copy of our survival guide. Very aptly named because it is the survival of the fittest.

I really wish that I didn’t have to be there doing this but it’s much needed just as much as it was five years ago. We do our best and thats all we can do.

We will be returning next week outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre from 10-12. Please come and join us because we really need your support.

A huge thank you to Gordon for coming along today, he’s an absolute superstar.

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog.

Please support my blog if you can I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to make the world a better place. I’m being moved over to universal credit next week and to be honest I’m dreading it.

A huge thank you to all my readers and to everyone that has supported my blog. You all keep me going.

Sanctioned woman with four children. How will this encourage her to find work Amber Rudd?

Dear readers, a miracle occurred today! It wasn’t raining! This was fantastic because we’re a tad fed up with the constant rain.

It was quiet busy today and we handed out almost all of our survival guides and distributed our food parcels to people needing them. It’s an absolute travesty that they’re needed in the first place, but it’s only going to get worse, and I hate saying that.

Yesterday evening I spoke at a local NEU meeting about universal credit, poverty, children and young people. It was an excellent meeting I just hope that I didn’t depress them too much.

The sad reality is that for the poorest life in the UK is extremely hard, gruelling and punishing and it’s no surprise that the mortality levels keep on rising.

The effects of living in poverty will become all apparent in the future when the children and young people reach adulthood. Poverty really does take a toll both physically and mentally even if you don’t realise at the time and often surface later on in life.

Today I spoke to lots of people, most of them were disabled and struggling to cope. I saw tears, frustration, anger and people that are very close to giving up. What right does the government have to treat vulnerable people in this way? It won’t be stopping anytime soon either.

As usual I won’t be revealing a persons real name. Everyone that I spoke to received help, advice, food, signposting and solidarity. It’s extremely vital that we are able to continue our important work.

The first person that I spoke to had arrived at the Jobcentre with his bicycle and he wasn’t allowed to take his bike inside with him whilst he attended his appointment so we offered to look after it for him. He’s a lovely chap just trying his best to cope in a very difficult world.

It was then that I spotted a woman leaving the Jobcentre with her partner. She was visibly upset so I walked over and asked her if I could help her. This is her situation.

Janet is a mother of four children, she suffers from memory loss which she says it getting much worse. She forgot to attend a meeting at the Jobcentre because of her memory loss but when she saw that she should have attended a meeting she dashed down to the Jobcentre with her partner.

Janet was then met with the words ‘We’re going to sanction you because you didn’t attend a meeting’. She tried to tell them that she’s not well and suffers from memory loss and she said that they weren’t interested, she was going to be sanctioned and she was told to leave.

Janet should be receiving lots more support than she is at present. She hadn’t been advised about anything regarding her disabilities and nor did they care. I then advised her about what to do, I also advised her partner about what he can do to help her regarding this situation. I also signposted them to their local MP for help, I really hope that they’ve telephoned their office.

We also gave them a food parcel and stood with her whilst she was crying wondering how on earth she would manage to look after her children, because she’s not going to be able to buy them any food etc. She feels like a failure to them and everyone.

I hope that my words of support helped her and showed her that we do care and she is loved.

Sanctions appear to have gone under the radar until this week, indeed I’ve been campaigning against them for years as have others. I tell people that sanctions kill people, some have called me an extremist for saying this but it’s far from extreme isn’t it.

We need to continue to put pressure on the government, and remind them that they need to stop withdrawing the means of survival from vulnerable claimants. They shouldn’t be the ones to decide if a person lives or dies.

It was then that I spotter ‘Irene’ walking towards the Jobcentre with her friend.

Irene has been waiting since May for a decision about her claim for universal credit. She’s trying to survive on her sons pension. Her son died a few years ago.

Most of this pension money is spent on paying her rent, and she’s left with about £15 a month to live on.

So far Irene has been sent to three different Jobcentres by the DWP and not one of them have helped her so far, meanwhile her friend is buying her food etc.

For various reasons Irene isn’t able to use a computer, both herself and her friend had already told the DWP this and it was noted, but it didn’t stop a DWP telephone advisor from telling her to “GET A GRIP AND USE A COMPUTER”.

Of course this upset Irene and she just didn’t know what to do.

I advised her to telephone her local MPs office and ask them for their help. She really needs their support because MPs are really good at this, well our local MPs are and I appreciate that we’re lucky.

Irene was so thankful for the help, she’s so fed up with being messed around by the system. Lets hope that she gets some good news soon.

We then spoke to a man that has been waiting since May for a decision from a DWP decision maker. He told us that the DWP owed him money and this is probably why they’re taking their time in responding.

He’s probably correct. The DWP are extremely quick at taking money away from people but extremely slow at repaying money back that they owe.

Remember Amber Rudd telling everyone that universal credit is wonderful for everyone that has been in prison? Tell this to Dave, he can’t get a job because of his criminal record and can’t afford to become self employed either.

Amber Rudd you’re a liar and you know it don’t you.

It was then that we had a conversation with Gill and her partner. Gill is disabled and has fibromyalgia and other health problems.

Gill and her partner were forced to make a claim for universal credit which took ten weeks to be processed. Yes ten weeks, she’s disabled for heavens sake.

Gill recently failed a DWP medical assessment and is in the process of appealing.

Gill and her partner are now in debt with everyone and is forced to attend the Jobcentre for ‘meetings’. Are they going to magically cure her? I doubt it but they will make her even more unwell.

Quite understandably they’re extremely frustrated and depressed. This government really hates people with disabilities.

I had a short conversation with a woman about her council tax and how much of a struggle it is to pay it. I can totally relate to this.

Just before we left Gordon asked a young man if he needed any help. He told us that he was ok but they (the DWP) really hate him in there (the Jobcentre).

To be fair the DWP don’t like any of us do they.

We will be returning next week as usual, but we really need more support and we would love more people to join us. There’s only two of us now and I was going to organise our yearly anniversary demo, but there’s not much point if no ones going to be there.

I really hate to have to ask and I apologise for doing so.

Please read, share, tweet, email and talk about my blog.

Help a stranger, become a friend and understand that this could well happen to you. Most of my readers do realise this.

I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help others. I’m also going to be moved onto universal credit in the near future.

A massive thanks to all my readers and to everyone for supporting my blog. It means the world to me and the people that we help.