Tag: age uk

The government needs to reverse all sanctions and reinstate ESA and PIP payments immediately due to the coronavirus Covid 19 outbreak.

Dear readers and supporters I hope that you are coping the best that you can during this very uncertain and worrying time.

It’s ok for the government to say self isolate when you have no food and many of the local food banks have shut their doors due to the coronavirus. They’re finding it hard to hand do their work because they can’t source any food to hand out and supermarkets have understandably put restrictions on purchases.

As I was waiting for Gordon to arrive with the food parcels I had a conversation with a man that I’ve spoken about before. He ran up to me saying ‘Thank God you’re here because everywhere else is shut’ I reassured him that I will do my best to help for as long as I can.

He told me about his struggles trying to get help, saying ‘It’s OK for organisations and councils to say phone us or email them. I don’t have the ability to do that. I’m sanctioned because I lost my mobile phone and I missed a text telling me to attend an appointment’

I asked him if he was coping and he told me that he wasn’t really. He’s been given an old mobile phone that doesn’t have good access to the Internet and anyway he can’t afford to buy any credit.

I asked him to register his new number with the DWP by going into the Jobcentre and to let them know that he hasn’t got any access to the Internet. I also asked him if he can also ask about his sanction to see if anything could be done to help him.

Sadly there are so many more people finding themselves in the same position as he is in. Many are also stuck in limbo awaiting decisions for ESA and PIP appeal and tribunal decisions. They too are struggling with little or no financial assistance and now find themselves feeling very vulnerable and left behind.

I’ve asked the DWP via Twitter if they can reverse all sanctions and reinstate all ESA and PIP payments immediately. Extremely vulnerable people need to have the means to survive. Sadly not enough people are taking this seriously maybe because its not happening to them.

Just ask yourself if you could cope in this time of crisis with no income at all. Sat in the cold with no access to help.

So we are left with a barely skeleton service given by local support organisations, food banks have had to shut, doctors surgeries are mainly only accepting telephone appointments, libraries have shut and thousands of people are very worried about how they were survive. They’re also very worried about catching coronavirus (Covid 19)

Schools are shutting their doors to all pupils except children of keyworkers and vulnerable children.

Whilst I agree with the closure of schools the government needs to be much clearer about the voucher system that they’re supposed to be putting into place.

It’s also extremely difficult to source food because selfish hoarders are stripping the shelves of most food products. The supermarkets are supposed to be implementing strict rules so let’s hope that this will help.

Please remember to follow full hygiene protocols, this is very important. Check on your friends amd neighbours to see if they’re OK.

I want all my readers to know that I’m here for you if you want to chat, feel free to email me or follow me on social media.

Together we can be stronger and we will get through this.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

I have a donate button at the top and side of this blog post for anyone who would like to donate.

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.

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.

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.

You’ve got to wait a month for another food parcel. Universal Credit is literally starving people.

Dear readers, it’s freezing cold out there and the wind chill certainly isn’t helping. Today I woke up to snow but it quickly melted and at the moment the sun is shining. We’ve had endless rain so it’s so good to see it.

As usual we handed out all the food parcels and we gave everyone help and advice to everyone that required it. We gave everyone a copy of our survival guide as well.

It was a strange morning, quiet at first, most likely because of the snow. Needless to say we still spoke to lots of people. Some needed help, others needed someone to talk to. You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t see anyone to speak to from week to week.

The first conversation that I had was with a woman struggling with her housing benefit and the council. She was patiently waiting for her son to arrive to give her support.

Asking for help sometimes takes a whole lot of courage and having to put your pride to one side can hurt like hell. The realisation that you need help can be very depressing. Most of the people that we speak to feel this pain. Please keep this in mind when you’re trying to persuade someone to accept help.

I had a conversation with a man that I’ve spoken to on quite a few occasions. He’s struggling with homelessness and is finding it hard to accept that he needs to accept help from the bed every night scheme.

Life is very complicated for many, and I hope that he does access this help. It’s not perfect by any means but it’s a roof, shelter and a warmer place to stay. Let’s hope that he changes his mind.

I had a chat with a man who was in need of a food parcel. He’s waiting for his universal credit claim to be processed.

Earlier this week he asked his local food bank if he could have another food parcel, they refused saying that he’d had his quota and has to wait another month to get another one.

I handed him a food parcel and a copy of our survival guide which has all the links for most of the local organisations that will offer him help.

Thanking me he said that he’s been forced to live off plain pasta with salt and pepper on it to give it some taste. Feeling very relieved that he now had some food he couldn’t thank us enough.

It beggers believe that people that are desperate for food are refused extra food parcels. Many food banks do let people take extra parcels but its important to remember that many don’t either.

Let’s not forget the medical implications for people trying to survive like this. Their bodies will be trying to survive on zero vitamins and very few nutrients.

How on earth can people be expected to live like this? They have to fulfil the requirements that the DWP pile on them with little or no energy.

I’ve asked if food banks could hand out vitamin tablets with their food parcels and I was told no, no they don’t.

It’s very worrying that with mortality rates increasing every year and I doubt that anyone that I’ve spoken to over the years will live as long as the generation before them. It’s very reminiscent of victorian times in more ways than one.

We had a conversation with a man that was being messed about by the DWP.

The DWP had forgotten to send out an important email for him and as a result he hadn’t been issued a payment. Having no credit on his phone meant that he couldn’t phone them either.

This resulted in a series of conversations with the DWP and lots of messing around all of which should have been prevented.

I just hope that he’s OK and that it’s now sorted out for him.

I asked a man how things were going for him and he said ‘crap’. Yep that just about sums things up doesn’t it.

We spoke to a woman that has been waiting for her universal credit claim to be processed. She’s been waiting five weeks now and she’s struggling.

I offered her some advice and I’m hoping that she gets her payment ASAP.

We spoke to a woman that was told by her advisor that £900 had been paid into her bank account only she certainly hasn’t received the money yet. Let’s hope that it’s with the bank and is being processed, otherwise that’s a whole new battle that she’ll have to fight.

We asked a man how he was and if everything was OK with his claim. He told us that its shit, it’s all shit but he has no choice but to go through this week in week out.

It’s very clear that universal credit isn’t fit for purpose. Most people aren’t given enough money to survive on. Combine this with a rise in council tax, the bedroom tax and repayments of DWP and its a hellish nightmare.

Many people, in fact most people become depressed not only because of the stress that the DWP piles on top of them, but also because of the lack of nutrients in their diets.

Once again I’m positive that this is going to have serious ramifications later on in life. I worry so much about everyone trying to survive this cruel and inhumane system.

We aren’t just a number to be thrown on the floor like yesterday’s paper. We are people with dreams, hopes, ambition and everything else that comes along with that.

Be kind to each other, help each other and be thoughtful of others. Everyone’s path in life might be different but that doesn’t make them a lesser person than you or I.

We will be returning again next week as usual.

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog.

If you can please donate. I run this campaign on a very low budget and the blog also. Every penny makes a difference.

Thank you to everyone that does and has supported the campaign and blog. It means the world to me.

Man died before he got his ESA tribunal decision to reinstate his ESA.

Dear readers today was a busy day there was a queue for food parcels and I was passed notes from people that couldn’t pick up a food parcel due to illness. It’s cold and flu season and it’s extra tough for people who rely on food parcels to survive.

We were busy today, surprisingly so and we spoke to many people with differing problems ranging from housing benefit, postal voting, universal credit and so on. Whilst we can’t change the world we can help people others.

The weather is cold and people were rushing around most likely so that they can get things over and done with quickly. However the DWP work at their own pace and people are governed by them.

Whilst we were chatting to folk I noticed people that were leaving the Jobcentre one of them was holding his neck. I asked him if he was OK and he said yes. Far to many of us accept being treated badly it becomes the new norm and the new ok.

I had a lovely conversation with an older man who wanted to know where the council offices were, this is a common conversation that we have with people because there’s a distinct lack of signage. I congratulated him for managing to climb the steep steps to the upper level, he told me that he didn’t know that there was a lift inside of the building.

He expressed his concerns with the steep steps and rightly said that they’re an accident waiting to happen.

I had a conversation with a chap who has recently become unemployed. He told me that he’s struggling to find jobs to apply for online and those that are available are often repeat ads for the same job usually a zero hour contract agency work. He’s going to keep looking though.

This is a problem that thousands of people that are looking for work. Many are aware that these jobs are unsuitable but they’re forced to apply for them or else be sanctioned.

We said hello to quite a few people and handed our leaflets to many.

We then had a conversation with a woman who has just lost her job because her employer left his company and has refused to pay his employees. The very worrying thing is that this man owns several children’s units in the area. Let’s hope that the children are OK.

We handed some more leaflets out and were joined by a colleague and I was very happy to see her.

I had a conversation with a disabled woman who’s finding it difficult keeping up with the universal credit system.

I then had a conversation with a chap that works for the council. We had a lovely conversation putting the world to rights.

I then asked a woman of she was OK and I handed her a leaflet. She replied saying that it’s a load of rubbish. We have heard this a lot.

I then had a conversation with a young chap who’s finding it hard to survive on his universal credit payment of £288 a month. This is what he’s left with after his rent has been paid.

We then said hello to a woman who we’ve spoken to before. She looked me in the eyes saying “Let me tell you what happened to a relative of mine. He was very ill but had been declared fit for work at his ESA medical assessment. He appealed this and it then went to tribunal. Sadly he died on the day the tribunal decided that he should get his ESA”.

I wish that this was unusual but it isnt. This happens a lot, disabled people are being denied their rightful payments every single day. They’re left to live in abject poverty struggling to survive.

The government and their henchmen might say that they care, that they treat people with respect but they don’t. We know that that they’re lying and we’ve got enough evidence to back up our claims.

Enough is enough how much more of this cruelty are we expected to take?

We then had a conversation with a woman who told us that she’s had two strokes. As a result of her strokes she now has a very poor memory but don’t expect the DWP to care. She told me that they had read out her claimant commitment to her and asked her if she could remember that. She then told me that she said no, I probably couldn’t but she’ll try.

You see the DWP never fail in making vulnerable people’s life much harder. They say that they don’t and they help people. I’m certain that some of them believe this but its definitely not true.

The facts certainly back up our claims, the mortality levels, foodbank usage, also back up our evidence.

You see when DWP staff say that they’re ‘Just following orders’ doesn’t wash anymore. Some DWP employees find the time to try and troll blogs like mine. They feel threatened by our version of reality because its true.

One day we will get justice for each and every person who has suffered and or died as a result of actions taken by the DWP.

Like I said today was a busy day and we will be returning next week to help yet more people.

Please read, tweet, share, email my blog. Thank you so much to those of you that do this already.

For anyone wishing to support our work and the blog there’s a PayPal link at the top and side of this blog.

A huge thank you to those that have done already xx.

Had throat cancer? Can’t speak? We expect you to look for work.

Dear readers and supporters I hope that you are all well and surving the best that you can. I know that lots of you are suffering, but remember I’m here for you to talk to as we are all there for each other.

Yesterday was a rather busy morning but once again I had to finish early again. We ran out of leaflets, I’ll hopefully have this rectified for next week.

We spoke to lots of people and helped lots also. We were also thanked by members of the public both for the help that we had given them previously or for advice that we gave them yesterday.

The most common sentences that we heard yesterday were ‘They never told me that I could do that’ ‘Thank you’ It’s crap and a pile of shite’.

As usual we handed out our food parcels and gave everyone that we spoke to help, advice and signposting if needed. Of course the DWP should be doing this but they aren’t so we have to do it.

We do all this because we can’t stand injustice, we also hate the fact that so many of you are suffering and if we can alleviate this a little its the right thing to do.

As I arrived outside the Jobcentre I spotted a woman walking in and out of the Jobcentre and council offices which are next door.

I approached her and asked her if everything was OK and could I help her.

Her story is this. She’s a single parent and works part time because it’s the only work that she can find that fits around her children. She is claiming universal credit and is struggling to survive.

Whilst she was waiting for her universal credit to be processed she accumulated rent arrears that she’s offered to pay off by paying a bit extra rent every month. Her landlord refused and has started the process of evicting her and her children.

When I say that she’s doing everything to rectify her situation I mean it, she’s really trying but to no avail.

As a direct result of universal credit she’s going to loose her home, and you can bet that our local housing options will tell her that she’s made herself intentionally homeless.

No person in this situation wants to make themselves homeless but universal credit ensures that almost everyone finds themselves in rent arrears.

Does the government care? Not one bit. But many people in the same position as her voted for the Tory party in the general election. Shame on them

I had a conversation with a 65yr old man who was told to attend Ashton Jobcentre to see an advisor. Upon seeing his advisor he was then told that he had to travel to Hyde Jobcentre for another appointment.

He asked them if he could see someone at Ashton Jobcentre instead but they refused. So he had to travel to Hyde which isn’t exactly near Ashton.

This happened twice yesterday, also with a younger man that had been told that he had to attend Hyde Jobcentre at 2pm making him late to pick up his kids from school. He asked if he could have an earlier appointment but they refused saying that he had to attend.

The DWP were responsible for him being late collecting his kids from school. The DWP doesn’t regard children and childcare as being important, nor do they care a bit about a child’s safety.

It wasn’t much later when I had a conversation with an older woman who asked for a leaflet. She told me about her experience with the DWP when they phoned her up recently.

The whole experience was awful for her, she told me that they were literally shouting to her and they made her cry. She’s disabled and already suffered from anxiety. This experience made her ill with worry.

I then was stopped by a woman that gestured towards me, she wanted to ask what we were doing. She couldn’t speak because she has had throat cancer and lost her ability to speak.

Luckily I lip read myself quite a lot so it could understand what she was saying. Her story is this.

Because she can’t speak she can’t make phone calls, she also finds the whole process of being forced to look for work very stressful. She had been told that not being able to talk shouldn’t stop her from applying for work.

Her advisor had also told her that she had done something wrong but she denies this.and is trying to fight it.

Even though she found it hard to explain what she had done wrong it was very obvious that she shouldn’t be forced to go through this rigmarole. But she is. The DWP don’t give a toss about anyone or anything.

It’s blatantly obvious that no one should be suffering like these people are. It’s such a cruel, horrible system that is determined to make everyone suffer regardless of age, sex and disability. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

Needless to say we will be back next week to help people.

Thank you so much for all your support, when I say that it means the world to me it really does.

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog. The more people that reads it the better. Unbelievably there are still people out there that are denying that this is happening.

For anyone wanting to donate theres a PayPal button at the top and side of my blog. Thank you so much xx.