Tag: budgeting

DWP Wrongly Forces Universal Credit Claimants To Repay Entire Payments


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

Why Are The DWP doing this?

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

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

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

Why This Shouldn’t Be Happening

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



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



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

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


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

The DWPs Reaction

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



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


Conclusion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and to say it’s a struggle is an understatement. I’d really like to be able to continue writing and campaigning.

If you are able to and would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny makes a massive difference.

Thank you!

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

EHRC Breaks Promise To Investigate DWP Role In Deaths



As reported by Benefits And Work the EHRC (Equality And Human Rights Commission) has broken its promise to investigate the role that the DWP (Department of Work And Pensions)have played in the deaths of vulnerable claimants. This has left the DWP not needing to answer any questions as to the role that they played in their deaths

Instead the EHRC are now asking the DWP to create new policies in relation to claimants with mental health issues and learning difficulties. This will replace the promised investigation.

This is despite promises made by the EHRC in 2019 that they would start an   investigation into the deaths of vulnerable claimants.

The EHRC used the pandemic as an excuse to not start the investigation.



The Commission has now declared that it  only intends to enter into a Section 23 agreement under the Equality Act 2006. This will oblige the DWP “to commit to an action plan to meet the needs of customers with mental health impairments and learning disabilities.”

Keep in mind that the DWP are a much larger organisation that receive more funding  than the EHRC. 
This will no doubt result in the DWP will dragging their heels in creating so called policies that will be nothing more than good intentions that probably won’t be actioned upon.

Whilst I don’t have any details as to why the EHRC have changed their minds I can say that at best they’re very niave putting far too much trust in the DWP to do the right thing.

The DWP has an appalling track record of discrimination against vulnerable claimants, ignoring their basic human rights and making life extremely hard for them.

Despite my disappointment with the EHRC’s decision I’m not surprised. The DWP will do anything to avoid any actions taken against them making promises that they’ve got no intention of keeping whilst doing the bare minimum to comply.

Once again thanks go to Benefits And Work for their hard work and inspiring this article.

A huge thanks to everyone that likes, shares, reads and supports both my blog and campaign.

I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and it’s a struggle to say the least.

If you can afford to and would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

Thank you!

I’m sorry.

I have to apologise for the lack of a blog post this week. I woke up on Thursday morning feeling ill. This lasted a couple of days and today I woke up with a migraine.

I know that I should have published a blog this week but I wasn’t physically capable of doing so and I will catch up with my blog in the next few days.

As many of you will understand it’s virtually impossible to do much whilst having a migraine, theyre bloody awful.

I will be publishing a blog post about the cost of living crisis etc this week. Like you I’ve been very worried about how on earth I’ll manage once April arrives.

Lot’s of love and solidarity to you xx.

Where Are The Missing Long Covid PIP Claimants ?



As reported by Benefits And Work there are possibly thousands of missing Long Covid PIP claimants that appear to be missing from both the Office for National Statistics. They are also missing from the DWP latest published statistics.



New figures from the Office for National Statistics estimate that 506,000 people have now had Long Covid for over a year. This number is increasing every day yet they’re missing, nowhere to be found.



247,000 Long Covid sufferers say that their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities has been “limited a lot” as a result of Long Covid.



Yet according to the latest DWP statistics on Stat-Xplore record there are just 480 claims regarding Long Covid where it is the the main condition for claiming PIP. This figure has risen from 143 claims three months earlier.


However the success rate for PIP Long Covid claims has fallen from 76%, but is still high, at almost 60%.

A quarter of those who were successful in claiming PIP received the enhanced rate of both the daily living and the mobility components.



It appears that PIP claims for Long Covid do have a better than average chance of success. Despite this hundreds of thousands of people who could be making a PIP claim appear to not be doing so.


Long Covid is exhausting to live with and is likely to hinder any employment prospects. Living with Long Covid also increases everyday living costs.

The reality of having to make a choice between eating or heating, or not being able to afford either is something that Long Covid sufferers and others have to make daily.

The reason for the missing PIP claimants could be because of a distinct lack of information regarding claiming PIP for Long Covid sufferers. This is abhorrent. Everyone that is suffering from this disabling condition should be informed of their right to claim PIP to help with their everyday living costs.

Please read, share, tweet and email this blog post. Sharing makes a huge difference in raising awareness to the public.

A huge thank to Benefits And Work for providing this information. They’re amazing and work so hard.

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

For anyone that likes my blog and campaign and would like to donate towards keeping both going there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

Financially I’m struggling and every penny is appreciated. Thank you.

Long foodbank queues on Christmas Eve.

A friend of mine that volunteers at a foodbank has just sent me the below images. They asked if their anonymity is kept and of course I’m respecting this.

The photos were taken as they were arriving for their shift at the food bank. It wasn’t open for some time, but the queue was already massive, people arriving early to make sure that they’d get some food.

As you can see the queue consisted of People, all differing in their needs. What can’t be missed is the people using wheelchairs queueing for food parcels.on Christmas Eve.

Also in the queue are elderly people and families with children.

You don’t need me to tell you that this shouldn’t be happening , it’s heartbreaking.

You can always find the measure of a country by seeing how they look after the poor, young, elderly and disabled.

The conservative government is blatantly failing on this front. As a country we can’t be proud of this either.

Being proud of a country is about being proud of what it actually does right, and how it treats those in need. It’s not about waving flags and singing the national anthem.

We can however also look back on history and also be ashamed for the very same reasons. Ignoring the fact that the UK government is causing direct harm to people won’t make it go away.

Whilst the government has been focusing on ridiculous things like blue passports people are dying, thousands are becoming homeless and many are becoming ill from poverty related illnesses.

Meanwhile the public are bombarded with images of the royal family having a lovely Christmas, the people queuing at this foodbank and others won’t be able to celebrate.

Its simply not acceptable.

I messaged the volunteer that took the below images and this is what they said

It felt like a slap in the face for them too. It’s a reminder of their privilege. Because despite having their own difficulties they can sit in a warm house, with food, having just wrapped presents for their family.

They went on to say that it makes them angry and sad that this is happening, that they wished that they could do more to help. There’s more that many could do, so let’s do it.

Helping others doesn’t have to cost a penny. A kind word, saying hello in the street makes the world of difference to someone that lives alone and hasn’t spoken to anyone for a long time.

Being a friend costs nothing also, sharing what you no longer need doesn’t either. Of course I realise that many people have nothing to give to someone else.

Let’s spend the festive period and the coming year to be kind and thoughtful towards each other. We need to do this because the government won’t ever care about you.

Faces and building names covered out of respect for the people queuing.
No one should be forced to literally beg for food on Christmas Eve.

Please read, share, tweet and email this blog post. This makes a massive difference and it raises lots of awareness. Thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone that has and is supporting my blog and campaign. I really appreciate it and I couldn’t do this without your support.

If anyone would like to donate there’s a donat button at the top and side of this blog post.

£2 BILLION GIVEN TO PRIVATE COMPANIES FOR PIP AND ESA ASSESMENTS

Well who’d have guessed that the government would find £2 billion from their magic money pot to inflict even more cruelty to disabled and ill claimants.

Thanks to Benefits And Work who have uncovered the first details of the new assessment contracts for PIP, ESA and UC claimants.



These shiny new contracts will split the UK into five regions which will involve over £2.8 billion being given to the private sector over a period of five years. This is supposedly to allow the DWP to decide how these assessments will take place through telephone or face-to-face assessments.

I add that as usual this will be decided ignoring the actual physical and mental needs a claimant might have.


Under the new claimant Functional Assessment Services (FAS) system as it is titled, the UK will be divided into five regions from 1 August 2023:

Lot 1 – Northern England and Scotland 647,600,000

Lot 2 – Midlands and Wales 473,400,000

Lot 3 – South West England 338,000,000

Lot 4 – London, South East & East Anglia 396,800,000

Lot 5- Northern Ireland 105,100,000



In each region, a single company will be chosen to carry out all the PIP, ESA and UC assessments.

So basically money talks regardless of already vulnerable claimants needs. Whoever puts the best tender in wins the contract.

Call me old fashioned but the wellbeing and needs of individuals should always be put first. Instead they companies with no medical knowledge and experience to assess already vulnerable people.

They will be allowed to decide if a person disabled enough to claim their rightful payments regardless of having no medical knowledge of their needs.

Basically claimants life’s are once again in the hands of these so called assessors.


The total value of the contracts that will be given is £2 billion firstly to rise to £2.8 billion if the DWP chooses to extend the contract for an additional two years.

You can bet that they’ll choose to extend these contracts, afterall it’s beneficial for the government to extend them.

There’s always room for extending cruel systems such as this. What the government won’t tell you is that they want as many people as possible to be declared fit for work. It doesn’t matter of they’re fit or able enough to do so.



The Scottish government will be taking over PIP assessments itself in advance of August 2023.

There will be some claims that are already underway that will still be dealt with by private sector assessors.



The bid winners will be paid first for a ten month ‘implementation phase’. This will ensure they will have fully trained their staff and have acquired suitable premises. It also will give them the chance to implement their IT systems before going live.


As we already know the DWP never make any system uncomplicated though. To prove this the DWP will provide one IT system for PIP claimants and a separate system for ESA and UC claimants.

The DWP have already warned potential providers that changes might take place place throughout the life of the contract.

These changes may include alterations in the ‘channel mix’ as the DWP call it.

An example being “change in proportional requirements relating to virtual assessments and face to face assessments. They could for example change requirements such as 60% face-to-face to 20% assessments.


It is very clear that the DWP and not the assessment providers that will decide which proportion of claimants receive a telephone or face-to-face assessment.


This makes it clear that assessment providers will be working to meet targets for types of assessment. This will completely ignore the fact that some claimants are obliged to have an inappropriate method of assessment.

As you can see none of this will be beneficial for anyone that claims ESA,PIP and UC.

As these systems are target driven the assessors will be more concerned with meeting targets than the wellbeing of anyone being assessed.

I don’t have to tell you how much distress is caused by cruel systems like this especially if they’re target driven. Who remembers Sandra’s Stars?

We must remain vigilant because as we know from past experience the government will try to put in legislation and plans without our knowledge.

You can do this by sharing information online on your preferred social media provider, emailing mine and likewise blogs to people that might need informing

Manchester DPAC over at https:\\manchesterdpac.comhttps:\\manchesterdpac.com Also local branches of Unite Community over at join.unitetheunion.orghttp://join.unitetheunion.org.

Every share, tweet and conversation about these issues raises awareness which is extremely important.

Massive thanks given to Benefits And Work for making me aware of this happening. They do so much hard work to raise awareness.

Also thanks to a Twitter friend for alerting me to this. Thanks RooneyMusic!

Also if you live in the Greater Manchester area please join Manchester DPAC. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter

Please read, share and tweet my blog. Every share helps so much!

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

I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do. I’m struggling financially at the moment. As you know my son died and my daughter is struggling to cope with his death as am I.

If you would like to donate my PayPal ad is posted above, below and at the side of this blog post.

DWP agrees to waive hardship payment debts.

Please click on the below link from the Public Law Project.

If you are told to repay back hardship payment debts make sure that you challenge this.

It is your legal right to do so. If needed quote the below article and insist that the DWP use their discretion regarding payment of hardship payment debt.

Insist that these payments are causing distress and suffering, which they do for thousands of people.

This is also essential because the majority of claimants already have monies garnished from their payments for council tax debt and suchlike.

No one should be forced to live in extreme hardship such as this.

I expect that the DWP won’t like this so don’t expect them to suggest it to you.

https://publiclawproject.org.uk/latest/dwp-agrees-to-waive-hardship-payment-debts-after-successful-judicial-review/

Please like, share and tweet my blog. It’s very important to get the truth and the reality of our life’s out there.

I don’t get paid for anything that I do but I do want to continue to be able to continue to write my blog and continue with my campaign.

For anyone that would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

A huge thank you to everyone that and has supported my blog and campaign. This makes such a big difference.

No blog update this week. .

Dear readers and subscribers, I’m very sorry but there’s not going to be a blog post this week.

I was told that my son had died on Friday and I’m trying to deal with it and organise his funeral etc.

I will be writing a new blog post as soon as I’m able.

There is a crowdfunding page relating to this on both my Facebook and Twitter account.

Thank you , solidarity Charlotte.

Remembering all women. International Women’s Day.

“Happy International Women’s day!
Today I’m thinking about all the women who are suffering as a result of the government’s austerity measures.

Women unable to leave abusive relationships because there isn’t a women’s refuge that they can escape to.

Remembering all the women that have died as a result of domestic violence and the governments austerity measures, we’ll never forget you.

We love you.

Women struggling to survive the discrimitory universal credit system.

Disabled women who are struggling to survive because their ESA and/ or PIP has been taken away from them.

To all the 1950s women unable to claim their rightful pensions.

Homeless women stuck in flea ridden, unsafe temporary accommodation, one day things will get better for you.

Please have them in your thoughts, the battle for equality is far from over.”

Please read, share and tweet my blog. This makes a huge difference and it helps to get the truth out there.

I don’t receive any funding for both my campaign and blog. If you would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. It really means the worl to me and your help makes a massive difference.

Merry Christmas one and all.

Dear readers I write this blog on Christmas Day, a day when people are expected to celebrate and be happy.

Sadly because of the government’s cruel Universal Credit system and the torturous PIP and ESA DWP ‘medical’ assessments thousands of people won’t be able to celebrate, cook a Christmas dinner and exchange gifts.

This year is tougher than normal because we are still in the middle of a pandemic that the government is trying it’s best to ignore.

Today the UK’s official Covid death toll has surpassed 70,000 on as 570 more people died today.

Let that sink in 570 people have died from Covid 19 on Christmas day. Also a total of 70,000 people have died as a result of Covid 19.

Meanwhile the government continues to ignore this, they just don’t want to know and they certainly don’t want to help.

70,000 families will be grieving as will their friends. But hey let’s ignore them and continue to put the public at risk.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the government actually tool some positive action, set an example to the rest of the world and protected people. This won’t happen though.

It appears that the government is in some sick competition with America about how many people will die from Covid 19.

Then we have the thousands of people now unemployed as a result of the pandemic. Now facing the inhumane universal Credit system, many can’t understand how they’re expected to survive on so little money.

Thousands of people won’t be able to give anyone presents this year, heat their home and have a Christmas dinner.

This year the queues for food banks and suchlike places have more than doubled. Families are queuing for hot meals in city centres and children and their parents are hungry because they don’t have the money to survive on.

How sickening it is that I have to use the world surviving… People shouldn’t be surviving they should be able to live, be happy and have enough money to be able to feed themselves and their children.

I want to be positive I really do but it’s extremely hard to find the good in all of this. We shouldn’t be celebrating the fact that food banks are opening and organisations and charities are working extremely hard to find food to give to hungry people.

Theres a reason why the government likes foodbanks. If given the opportunity one of their Tory MPs will see this as a photo opportunity.

Foodbanks save the government thousands of pounds every year. They also take the responsibility of feeding people away from them and moves it to the foodbanks and organisations to do this.

No wonder Tories smile so much at the thought of another foodbank opening.

Basically what I’m saying is yes please support your local foodbank but please remind the government of their duty of care towards the people of this country.

Normally we would see the government’s opposition making a speech or statement about the terrible neglect of the poorest and most vulnerable of this country. This year it’s virtually silent.

Sir Kier Starmer quite rightly made a speech about Brexit, but he failed to address the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable of this country.

As a result thousands of people are feeling neglected and unimportant and totally pissed off with the political system in general.

So what do we do now? We support each other in whatever way that we are able to.

A friendly word, a smile can sometimes be enough.

We have to be there for each other because this damned government will never never care.

A huge thank you to everyone that reads and supports my campaign and blog. Your kind words and support have kept me going throughout my own covid 19 nightmare.

Sadly I’ve got pleurisy again, thanks to long covid. Hopefully I’ll be better soon.

For anyone that would like to donate towards my campaign and blog there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Thank you!

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.