Tag: decision making

New DWP Boss Mel Stride Happy With Universal Credit Sanction Rates.


The new DWP minister Mel Stride recently announced that he is happy with the levels of UC (Universal Credit) sanction rates.

Upon taking his new job as secretary of state for work and pensions (DWP), Mel Stride, quickly proved that he will not be making any changes in any harshness inflicted upon the most vulnerable at the hands of the DWP.



Upon answering MP’s questions on the 31 October 2022, Stride made it very clear that he’s happy hat the level of UC sanctions is now double the rate it was before the pandemic.


Stride went on to say “People are sanctioned only if they fail to attend appointments without good reason, and fail to meet the requirements that they have agreed to meet.”




However stride failed to offer any acknowledgement nevermind explanation as to why claimants are now twice as likely to break claimant commitment agreements than they were two years ago.



Upon questioning Stride ignored yet another request to publish a DWP report on the effectiveness of sanctions.

As previously reported in an earlier blog his predecessor also refused to do so.



Stride also claimed there “is a long tail” of 2.5 million long-term sick claimants who want to return to work and that it will be “a prime focus” for the DWP to “support them back into the workplace.”



It’s no coincidence that this figure is exceedingly similar to the total number of claimants that are long-term sick, the majority of whom are not able to work because their condition makes it impossible.



It appears that like his predecessors Stride is either mistaken or believes that every long-term sick person could be moved into work.



Whatever happens there appears to be no plans to treat claimants better, I suspect it will become worse.

A new DWP minister certainly doesn’t bring any changes for the better and until there’s a change of government I very much doubt that there will be.

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Less Than 4 In 10 Claims For PIP Successful

At last the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) have published the statistics for PIP (Personal Independence Payments) for the time period from August 2017 to July 2022.

Revealed in the report is that just 39% of PIP claims in England and Wales have resulted in successfully receiving an award.

Also included are the statistics for all planned award reviews for the same time period.

These figures reveal that the possibility of being awarded a higher amount once it has been reviewed are only 18%, however the chances of being financially worse off are much higher at 32%.

It’s clear to see that for both new claims and reviews all details and evidence should be acted upon accurately taking both into account.

The evidence proves otherwise and often claimants are at the whim of an assessor or reviewer that may not take available evidence and details into account.

Not only is the application process stressful, the appeal process is even more so, taking into account the lengthy time period to take an appeal to tribunal which results in many applicants giving up with their appeal.

However once taken to an appeal tribunal there’s a much higher possibility that it will result in a favourable outcome.

It’s always worth taking a case to appeal and then tribunal, but with the process being stressful and lengthy many don’t do so therefore resulting in the DWP to benefit financially.

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Claimants Forced To Migrate To Universal Credit Early Will Face Financial Loss

MPs have recently accused the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) of creating ‘two classes of Universal Credit (UC) claimants.

The accusations were made as a result of uncovering the fact that claimants who are forced to migrate to UC early will face financial loss, compared to those who make the decision to move over to UC later rather than being forced to migrate.

This financial hit will happen as a result of next April’s annual uprating.

ESA claimants who choose to migrate after the uprating will keep what is estimated to be around a 9% increase in their benefits.  

Claimants who are forced to migrate before April will have any uprating payments deducted from their transitional protection. This will leave them in a much worse financial situation than claimants who migrate later.

Upon questioning, Therese Coffey DWP secretary of state was asked if she would accept that this decision would lead to inequality, Coffey dismissed the accusation saying “I am not anticipating we will have lots of managed migration by April.”

To put it bluntly she doesn’t care if a few thousand claimants are going to suffer financially and nor will she rectify it either.

As usual Therese Coffey cares only about herself and not the vulnerable people that she claims to care for. This proves once again that UC very rarely improves a claimants financial situation, but instead causes distress and harm.

Source Benefits And Work

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First Cost Of Living Payments To Be Paid From 14th July


The DWP have recently announced that the first cost of living payment will be paid in July 2022.

This will be the first payment of £326 will be paid automatically from the 14th July 2022.

Please note that this will be paid from the 14th July and I expect that they’ll probably make these payments in batches.

Don’t worry if you don’t receive your payment on the 14th July because it will be sent to you.

The second instalment of £324 will be paid in the Autumn, bringing the total to £650 for eligible claimants.

As of publishing this the government has no plans to expand these payments in the cold winter months.

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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.

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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.