Tag: delay

Forced to travel miles to attend a DWP mandatory course. Five month wait for Universal Credit payment. The system isn’t working..

Good afternoon readers, this weeks demo was busy as usual. Sadly far too many people were walking in and out of the Jobcentre with their heads down, eyes to the ground. To be honest they looked worn out, fed up, depressed and a step away from giving up. it’s a cruel system that cares nothing for those forced to comply with it.

it’s no mistake that I use the words ‘comply’ and ‘forced’ because thats exactly what it is. Claimants have absolutely no choice but to comply with often unreasonable demands made from the DWP. They are forced to attend DWP regulated courses, attend the Jobcentre whenever it is demanded of them , wait more than the official five weeks for their first Universal Credit payment. They are forced into a life of poverty, many for the first time. It really is an inhumane system and it needs to stop now.

 

I shall list the differing problems that we addressed whilst speaking to people outside the Jobcentre, everyone that we spoke to were given advice, a survival guide, signposted and if needed a food parcel issued.

Sadly the food parcels were very popular and all were gone within five minutes. I arrived ten minutes early and there was already a queue. I also took a woman to the shop next to the Jobcentre to buy her some food because we had run out. it’s awful.

Universal credit payments (if you are lucky enough to receive one) are not enough to enable people to survive for a month. Most of the people that I speak to have deductions taken out of their payment for the loan that they have been forced to take  whilst awaiting for their claim to be processed. Add to this other DWP loan repayments, rent top up and other debts its nearly impossible to survive.

 

Roy spoke to a man that said he has just been rehoused into a flat. Although he’s very grateful to have a roof over his head, he told Roy that the flat is inhabitiable. Various problems with the state of the flat and a concrete floor that he can’t afford to carpet. Roy signposted him to a local organisation that might be able to help with this.

 

We spoke to a woman that had been told that she had been migrated over to Universal Credit without her knowledge. She’s worried how she will survive. Would it not be too much to ask that the DWP inform all claimants at least a few weeks before they are transferred over? Apparently it is.

 

I noticed a man walking in and out of the Jobcentre for what appeared to be every five minutes. He was obviously agitated and fed up and clearly didn’t want to talk. my heart went out to him, a man totally degraded and humiliated by a system that clearly cares nothing for him.

 

I spoke to a young woman leaving the Jobcentre with her partner and children, she looked frustrated, fed up and angry. I ran over to her and asked her if I could help her with anything.

She went on to say that she had been locked out out of her Universal Jobmatch account, she wasn’t certain if she had forgotten her password or if the system was at fault. Honestly it’s hard to tell at times because the system drives you to distraction.

She had visited the Jobcentre to find out if she could get any help with this, but was faced with a big unanimous no. No they couldn’t help, they wouldn’t help but nevermind here’s a telephone number, phone them up and then make an appointment with an advisor to get the code.

Yes you read that correctly. This is another case of DWP burocracy gone mad. Why oh why couldn’t she be given a quick and easy solution to this? An email or a telephone appointment? Nope that’s too easy, so she has left to attempt to make a lengthy telephone call, most likely be sent on a wild goose chase through different departments, wait a while for her appointment and then hopefully, and I say hopefully receive her login code.

Oh and by the way because she can’t access her account she also runs the risk of being sanctioned for not complying. The longer she is forced to wait for her code the higher the risk of this happening. It’s almost as if they want this to happen isn’t it…….

 

More people were walking into and out of the Jobcentre with their eyes to the ground. Not wanting to be noticed, not wanting to be there. They could of course be doing something more productive rather than being told things like they ‘must try harder to find work’ ‘Their efforts aren’t good enough” etc etc. You get the jist.

 

I spoke to an older woman that unofficially cares for her son. He’s 46 years old, had to finish work because of a heart condition which is aggravated by stress. Instead of being able to heal he’s forced to comply with a system that is extremely complicated.

She told me that he had been confused with the computer system because no one had taken the time to correctly explain the procedure of handing in fitnotes and uploading them online onto his journal. He incorrectly was in the belief that it would be enough to just upload them to his Universal credit account online, he didn’t realise because he hadn’t been instructed correctly.

As a result his payments were delayed and he waited five months for his first payment. Yes an unwell man was forced to wait five months. Luckily his mother had helped him but this has put a fair amount of stress on their relationship. “ I shouldn’t have had to look after him, I’m a pensioner, but if he didn’t have me he might not have survived”. Correct, this a terrible reality for thousands of people.

 

I spoke to a man as he was leaving the Jobcentre. He was clutching a piece of paper and was clearly stressed. I stopped him and asked if I could help.

Whilst attending his appointment he was informed that he had to attend an interview for a course in an area that is quite a distance away from his home, indeed it isn’t even in Tameside. Walking would take a few hours and public transport is both expensive and complicated, there’s no straight route there. The journey would entail a tram journey into Manchester then a tram journey back out of Manchester and THEN a long walk.

Whilst some reading this might be under the impression that this is reasonable it clearly isn’t. He doesn’t have the money upfront to pay for the tram journey. He might be able to get this refunded but he has to pay upfront first. I did advise him to ask for help from the Jobcentre regarding this.  However his words were heartbreaking. “They are expecting me to do this for four weeks. I don’t know how I will get there, how I will be able to get there that early in the morning it seems impossible. We don’t all have cars and I don’t know what to do, so I will have to accept a sanction because I can’t do it. I’ll try but it’s going to be very hard”.

Another case of unreasonable demands on a poverty stricken person. To be honest it makes me feel sick, they are setting vulnerable people up to fail and they know it. But hey, anything to lower the unemployment figures eh….

 

This weeks problems are not unusual they are commonplace, this is replicated up and down the country and there is no doubt at all that thousands of people are being  forced to suffer needlessly. I say needlessly because there is no real excuse for treating people like this. The government have made a conscious decision to do so and in my eyes they’ve got blood on their hands.

 

Many thanks to everyone that came along to help. It’s been a very stressful week for myself and your support and solidarity has kept me going.

A huge thank you to my online friends and supporters, and also thank you to my friends in my local Labour Party, like I said its been a tough week and you ALL keep me going.

A massive thanks also to the readers of my blog and the supporters of my blog. I can’t thank you enough. Please read, share, rt and email my blog. We can’t allow this suffering to continue for much longer, it’s horrific.

 

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Bad landlords, bad communication, DWP intimidation. Universal credit strikes again.

Dear readers, its been a stressful week for myself however I don’t want to dwell on that, helping people today has ensured that I continue because helping people is the most important thing to me. Thank you to all my friends and colleagues for helping me and being a support.

 

Anyway, coming back to today. The weather was cooler and we had a return of the northern rain, it never fails to do it’s best and we were caught out by it as were the people that we were helping.

To make it very clear, we helped and signposted everyone that we spoke to, no one was left in the lurch and we handed six food parcels out to hungry people. Universal Credit and the process of claiming it makes people hungry and depressed and we need to continue to be a support to them, remember this can happen to anyone, no one is immune from this system unless you are rich or are of means.

Universal Credit engulfs a person’s life, controls it and makes a person feel as if they have no control over their life anymore. In effect they don’t because if they don’t do as they are told they will be sanctioned and the DWP can withdraw their payments at any given time whether it be a computer glitch, a transfer over to Universal Credit or a sanction. The threat is there and all too real.

 

As soon as I arrived this morning Roy was already there having a conversation with a lady that I hadn’t seen before. She told me that upon applying for Universal Credit she had been advised that there was no sickness element within the Universal Credit framework. Luckily she knew that this wasn’t the case so she appealed this decision and won. She stated that they were nothing but a ‘bunch of liars, and they push you from pillar to post’. To be honest, this isn’t unusual but it shouldn’t be happening at all.

Her main problem today concerned a bad private landlord. She wanted to know if she could complain, and where to complain. Luckily a colleague of mine, a local councillor friend had a contact and found out straight away.

Her list of complaints concerning her landlord was a long one and no one should have to live like that. However with the absence of social housing people have no choice to choose this option and rogue landlords know this and take full advantage of this.

Her list consists of, the landlord refusing to do repairs, no electricity in the kitchen, mail tampering due to a communal mail area, damp living conditions, an infestation of rats and mice and a landlord that can let themselves in her home at any time they like.

This is how thousands of people are forced to live, mix this with the uncertainty of tenure its a complete nightmare. She was given details of how to make an official complaint and who to contact.

 

I spoke to a man who had just been transferred over to Universal Credit. He told me that the whole process has been a complete nightmare and in his words ‘Bloody awful’

 

I spoke to a woman that had just been made redundant, she was very nervous, had never been through the process before and is scared of going hungry. We advised her, gave her a survival guide and let her know that we are here to help her.

 

I spoke to a man that had failed his ESA assessment and  as a result had been forced to claim Universal Credit. He didn’t know about his right to appeal, and he only has 12 months to wait until he receives his pension. Let’s get real. No  one will employ a disabled older person, but the DWP will still continue to pursue him. They should leave him alone and everyone else in his position. The level of disrespect that the government shows our older population is disgusting and there is no excuse for it. But they don’t care so they will continue,

 

I spoke briefly to an older bemused lady. It was her first time visiting the Jobcentre, she had never been through the system before and had worked all her life. She hasn’t a clue how to use a computer and she’s struggling to understand it all.  In the past she would have been enjoying her pension, now she’s being tormented by the DWP and made to jump through constant, moving hoops.

 

We had an interesting conversation with a woman that wanted to share her sons experience of claiming Universal Credit with us. Her son had been working abroad in a European country for a few years, a zero hour contract with no chance of a permanent hours being given. His job sadly ended so he returned home and applied for Universal Credit. He was turned down at first because he was told that he couldn’t apply if he had been working abroad. Luckily he knew his rights and appealed this decision and won.

Claiming Universal Credit is often complicated, conflicting advice given, and appealing against any decision is very important. Don’t just take the DWP’s word for it, appeal and complain, you have the legal right to do so.

 

I spoke to a man leaving the Jobcentre. He muttered that he was ok, but being met by 5 DWP members of staff at the front desk was very intimidating. They asked him for proof of appointment, but did it in a way that could have made him feel anxious if he was so inclined. There’s no need at all for so many staff to be ‘guarding’ the doors. Maybe they are guarding the building against us, but we’ve never caused them a problem and Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre likes to over react at times. Kudos to the advisors working there that may have thought this to be ridiculous also.

 

We spoke to an older lady that complained about the cost of public transport. She has no choice but to rely on buses for transport, she lives miles away at the top end of Stalybridge, is older and not in good health. She wasn’t one of the lucky few to have been given a bus pass through Andy Burnhams scheme, so she has to pay full price. When you have nothing, bus fare can mean the difference between eating and surviving or not doing so. Bus fare is essential, buses shouldn’t be expensive and they should be regulated by the local authority. In the meantime people are suffering and to be honest it’s simply not acceptable is it.

 

This all happened within two hours, we tackled lots of differing problems and helped with them also. We do a lot of work, and we all do this on a voluntary basis because we want to help, we can’t abide suffering of any kind and we want the system to change. Come and join us one week we would welcome you with open arms.

 

Please read, share, email and talk about this blog. Be a friend to someone because being lonely is awful, and poverty isolates you. Talking is important.

Many thanks to everyone that came along and helped, you keep me going. Thank you Lorraine for helping even though I know that you aren’t well.

A huge thank you to everyone that reads and supports my blog and my work. Thank you so much.

 

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Photo taken at a previous demo.

No internet, don’t know how to use a computer, risk being sanctioned. Non payment of Universal Credit on promised date and no reponse to communication efforts. DWP system fails again.

Dear readers and new readers welcome to this weeks update. It’s been a busy week and as you will read things really aren’t getting better. I’m sorry if reading this depresses you but its the reality of the situation. The government are literally killing people in both body and mind. Sounds extreme? Well yes, THEY are extreme in their behaviour to the poorest and most vulnerable.

I’d also like to thank everyone for reading my blog, sharing and supporting my work. You really don’t know how much this means to me so thank you again.

 

Today we were met with a variety of problems, ranging from Universal Credit, ESA and PIP, housing etc. This is always the case, but we help it’s what we do.

 

The first woman that I spoke to is trying to support her children on effectively a zero income. She was forced to claim Universal Credit for the first time and was told eight weeks ago that she would recieve a payment at the end of last week. She didn’t and she’s tried phoning the DWP, has left messages in her DWP online account but NO ONE has responded. She’s at her wit’s end, and she feels like she’s in limbo. To say she is feeling defeated is an understatement. She’s done everything right but the system doesn’t regard this. It also doesn’t take into account that she has children. she’s just another number on their computer generated list.

Taking human interaction away from a person making a claim was never going to work. A computer can’t sense the urgency of any situation and they make mistakes. You simply cannot provide people with the help and support that they need. I feel that this was done purposely to put people off from claiming the social security that they quite rightly deserve.

We had a long chat and I referred her to local organisations. She told me that she’s not ready for that yet, she feels that she’s letting people down. I hope to encourage her to do so. I gave her a couple of food parcels and a hug.

 

I spoke to a man that is struggling with the computer based system. He had never used a computer before trying to apply for Universal Credit in his life. He knows that he’s failing but feels powerless to change that. He also has no mobile phone and the DWP send appointments via mobile phone messages now.

Today he was attending his appointment and asking his advisor if his appointments can be sent to his partners telephone. I also advised him to stress the point that he has no computer access at home and is computer illiterate. They cannot continue to assume that everyone has access to a computer or has computer skills, it’s ridiculous. Trying to feed yourself is priority not trying to get a computer from places such as Brighthouse and become encompassed in a never ending circle of debt. We, as society need to bring this back up in conversation, it’s important. People are going hungry because they either haven’t got a computer device or the knowledge of how to use the internet.

If they don’t use the computer system the reality of being sanctioned is very high yet they offer NO help with computer skills. It’s almost as if they want the most disadvantaged to fail at the first hurdle isn’t it.

We spoke to a woman that has a great deal of knowledge about the DWP system. She worked as a councillor listening to and helping people in a nearby town. She told me that she saw a massive increase in the numbers of people needing her Council Long services. More and more people of both sexes are feeling suicidal, depressed and can’t cope. Thanks to her dedication and hard work she helped people forced to live in extreme poverty.

I can’t respect her and everyone else that does this very hard job enough. They work extremely hard and save life’s. Unfortunately the government likes to strip away funding from these services and getting an appointment to see a councillor usually results in a very long wait.

 

I spoke to a woman that was leaving the Jobcentre. She told me that she was sick and tired of being treated with disrespect, her words were ‘being treated like dirt’. She’s correct, no one should be treated like this, everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

 

I spoke to a man that had been told to upload his CV onto the DWP system. He has hardly and computer skills and his family have few also. I signposted him to where he can get help and also advised him to inform the DWP that he doesn’t have the computer skills required. Will the DWP listen? I doubt it, but he needs to do this.

 

I spoke to a WASPI lady that was struggling to understand that she won’t receive her pension until shes older. It’s hard for her to understand and she’s angry. Of course she is they literally  robbed these women of their pensions. I signposted her and gave advice.

 

An older man muttered to me as he was leaving that he felt like he had just left boot camp but not a nice one. Yep it feels like that.

 

I gave advice to a man starting on the Workprogramme in the next week. He went off to do some research as I suggested. People need to know their legal rights and obligations Knowledge is power.

 

I spoke to an older man struggling with the Universal Credit system. He had to give up work due to illness and he told us that he hasn’t got a clue what he’s doing and how to cope. We advised and signposted him.

 

We spoke to a man that has found employment after eight years of job searching. It’s manual work and he is very happy at this. But it took him eight years to find this work. Please don’t tell me that there are plenty of jobs available and it’s easy to find work. It isn’t.

 

We spoke to a landlord that is worried about his tenants rent payments. His tenant has been switched over to Universal Credit and they aren’t recieving any rent for them now.

Sadly this is what happens under the Universal Credit system. Whilst awaiting a first payment you can’t receive housing benefit. This is causing mass homelessness, huge rent arrears and decent, caring landlords are suffering. This needs to change as a matter of urgency. No one deserves to loose their home because of the governments incompetance in looking after the most vulnerable.

 

This is only a snapshot of what happens on Thursday mornings, we are very busy. Can you imagine how many people around the country are suffering on a daily basis? it beggars belief. Please support this campaign and others like it. People need urgent help.

Our food parcels were taken in a matter of minutes, this is heartbreaking. All foodbanks are struggling and children are going hungry. It’s not acceptable.

 

Please support, share rt, share and email my blog. It’s important to share the real stories and the reality of the situation. Thank you to everyone that already does. You are my heroes.

We will be back again next week to do some more.

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Sanctioned for a year for having a voluntary job. Working 25 hours and facing a possible sanction. Universal Credit strikes again.

Dear readers, today was busy, a morning filled with problems caused by the DWP’s inability to communicate with people correctly and their neglect of using any common sense and sympathy towards claimants. I hate using the word claimant, that in itself is degrading but its the most effective way of describing a persons situation.

We were met with a great variety of problems, ranging from Universal credit problems, JSA problems, housing problems etc etc. Thankfully we have a good knowledge of how to help, but its worth remembering that if someone has a problem created by the DWP they are likely, as a result of this to have more problems elsewhere. Everything snowballs onto them as a result and before they know it it feels like everything is out of their control. Many people then go  into hibernation because the reality of their situation is too hard to cope  with. I totally understand this feeling, I’ve been there and most likely will be there myself in the future.

Las week I recieved a complaint via Twitter, they expressed the opinion that they didn’t like how I describe people. I describe people in the way that I do because I like to keep their anonymity out of respect. Many are scared of repercussions from the DWP and I like to protect them as much as possible. Regular readers will of course understand this. I won’t apologise though and why should I?

Today we were joined by a local Labour Party councillor who joins us whenever he is able to. I’d like to say thank you because this support means so much to us. A massive thanks to Gordon, Roy and Chris for helping. I’d be lost without you all. It’s hard work, and anyone attending our demo will attest to that.

 

The first woman that I spoke to today stopped me as soon as I arrived and asked me for a leaflet. Of course I obliged and she went on to tell me her story. She claims Universal Credit and has done for a long while now.

When she was transferred over to Universal Credit she was already volunteering for a charity, a charity that she had chosen and she enjoyed her work there. I’m a great believer that all voluntary work should be voluntary and NOT enforced by the DWP.

She enjoyed it there and didn’t want to give up her position, however the DWP wern’t happy and enforced a year long sanction. Having no income she was then forced to volunteer for a position of their choosing and she is still there now. She told me that she now owes money as a result of this sanction because she got into debt trying to survive. She really didn’t know about her right to appal etc. So now she’s left to survive on £45 a month because she has to pay her debts off.

Really. How on earth can anyone be expected to survive on £45 a month. Tory party officials spend near enough that amount on a breakfast. But shes’s expected to survive on that amount for a month.

She told me she survives on the goodwill of friends and foodbanks. This is no quality of life, shes mearly existing and not living. This shouldn’t be happening but it is and we all should be outraged.

 

We spoke to a young man who had been through the care system and basically left to his own devices at the age of 17. Young people need guidance and support, not neglect. He told us that all he wanted was a permanent home and proper support. Sadly the government has stripped funding away from care leavers and many end up homeless as a result. It’s heartbreaking but his situation isn’t unusual.

 

We spoke to a man that lives in privately rented accomodation. He made the mistake of visiting family for a week and someone had informed his landlord that he had left the property. He arrived home and his locks had been changed with no notification. He’s trying to sort this out and has managed to get back inside the property.

 

I spoke to a man who was overjoyed with his food parcel. He told me that he could eat some decent food for a change. He was a joy to listen to. he’s trying to make a new start. No one should be denied access to decent food but they are. The government should be ashamed but they are the opposite and are very happy with people being forced to live off food from foodbanks. It takes the onus off themselves to feed people. Without foodbanks people would starve to death. We need to continue to oppose the very need and causes for foodbank usage.

 

I spoke to a working man. He claims Universal Credit and at the moment works 25 hours a week. Of  course the DWP regard this as not being enough and he is under employed by their standards. They really don’t take into account the lack of decent jobs with decent hours and not zero hour contract jobs. People need stability of income to pay rent, bills etc.

Today he went to sign a tenancy agreement for a new place to live, he thought that he would be finished in time for his signing on appointment but he wasn’t and he was 15 minutes late. he was told that he wouldn’t be seen and that he had to phone for another appointment. He tried phoning but to no avail, outside the Jobcentre. He then went back inside and asked for help again. Luckily he was given another appointment but he is still in limbo as to if he is going to be sanctioned because they never tell you straight away.

So he’s working, and in fear of a sanction. How on earth can this encourage people to work? It does the opposite and I hope that he doesn’t get sanctioned because he has a new tenancy to keep up.

 

I spoke to a man that told me that this was his first time signing on for 40 years and he could neither understand the system nor manage under it. They expect everyone to be able to work a computer, have access to a computer and to understand the complexities of the system. Most of the people that I speak to don’t and haven’t a clue how to manage. Of course the government are aware of this and are simply lying when they state that they need evidence of this so that they can change the system.

1. They already have knowledge

2. They don’t want to change the system because it works for them.

 

I spoke to a lady that came out of the Jobcentre crying. She had to travel miles on very unreliable public transport to attend her Jobcentre appointment. She got lost and was visibly upset, crying. She told me that she was late and was scared that she would be sanctioned. She had only recieved two Universal Credit payments so far and doesn’t wanted go without money again.

I reassured her and I hope that her advisor was sympathetic. She was lucky in the fact that she managed to speak to them even though they told her that she would be sent an appointment for June. Now she’s living in limbo, not knowing if she will receive a payment. That feeling is horrible and I really hope that she does.

 

I spoke to a man that had recently had a job interview. He had taken along a copy of his birth certificate, but this wasn’t good enough. They want an original copy before he can start employment.. He now has to pay for that and hope that the job will still be available to him.

 

We noticed a lot of older people forced to use the Jobcentre. This breaks my heart, it’s  an awful system and many can’t cope with the system.

 

We spoke to a representative of a woman who was late for her appointment due to her bus not turning up. This happens a lot, especially in the rural areas that Ashton Jobcentre now covers. It’s too far to walk so they have to rely on expensive unreliable buses. Jeremy Corbyn was right to talk about this, it’s an important issue for many of us.

 

I spoke to a man that had been disallowed his ESA. I explained the appeal process etc and handed him a survival guide. they don’t make it clear how to appeal any decision.

 

I spoke to a man claiming Universal Credit as a couple with a new baby. They are now in fear of being sanctioned because they hadn’t attended an appointment that they didn’t receive a letter for.  They have three children, a new baby and his partner is ill.

I advised him of what to do and how to appeal and signposted him. He must be under so much stress at the moment and he should not be going through this. In effect the DWP are very willing to take food out of new born babies mouths. Honestly if they stated outright that they were going to do this there would be outrage, but they do it slyly trying to demonise the family involved.

We have a government that have knowingly created a purposely complicated system that has been designed to put people off from claiming. The system is so complicated it baffles claimants, it also baffles officials from other organisations. But it’s designed to do so and whilst this system exists people will continue to suffer, and die in many cases and this isn’t acceptable. It’s never acceptable.

 

A massive thank you to everyone that supports, shares and talks about my work. Many thanks to my friends on social media, my friends in real life so speak and to everyone that listens. Carry on with the good work and thank you it is appreciated.

 

I just do my best, it’s hard and I struggle but we have to continue to fight the system.

Thank you.

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Three months without a Universal Credit payment. Astounding DWP bureaucracy setting people up to fail. Universal Credit isn’t working.

Dear readers, I must apologise. I have a virus and I haven’t been well all week so I apologise in my slow response to responding to you, hopefully I will be feeling much better soon.

Today we were met by lots of people with many differing problems, mostly caused by the inane and ridiculous bureaucracy system that the DWP operates. Not one department within the DWP communicates effectively with each other (if at all) and it causes endless hurdles that people have to jump through to receive the help that they need and deserve. Personally I believe that it’s a total reflection of the state of the government at present and their disdain for the poor and disabled. They have created a system that is designed to be purposely difficult to navigate. They just don’t want to help them, but are very quick to help themselves.

I’ll list the conversations that I had with people today, it makes things much less complicated. All the people that I spoke to will remain anonymous due to the very real fear of repercussions from the DWP. This does happen, I’ve seen it.

We were very busy today, so please read to the end if you can. Everyone that we spoke to were given advice, help, a survival guide and a food parcel if needed. We handed out five today. There is a massive need for help but organisations such as Citizens Advice and Welfare Rights are extremely busy and to put it bluntly have no money. It’s shocking.

 

The first person that I spoke to was a young man who was visibly distressed. He told me that he had applied to claim for Universal Credit three months ago, but due to seemingly constant problems he has been waiting for three months for his first payment. That’s three months without a payment, three months without a rent payment and he is now at risk of being evicted.

You see, lots of people don’t understand that whilst awaiting for a Universal Credit claim to be processed you cannot claim Housing Benefit because it is paid as a part of Universal Credit. Personally I believe this to be wrong, it should be paid as soon as a claim is made and approved just like it used to be, and it should be paid directly to the landlord. It doesn’t make sense to do it any other way, unless of course the main aim of the people that designed this system was to increase homelessness, increase poverty and to ensure that people become ill.

In their fluffy, perfect worlds they have families that might help. Most of the people that myself and others talk to don’t. And we don’t live in an ideal world either do we.

 

I spoke to an older man that has had his ESA (Employment Support Allowance) stopped due to a failed medical assessment. The assessors appear to be on a roll at the moment, nearly everyone that I speak to that has had a medical assessment either for ESA or PIP (Personal Independence Payment) has failed and they are having to go through the appeal process. This causes a great deal of stress to anyone having to endure this. For gods sake, if they have been diagnosed as being disabled by consultants and doctors then they have already been assessed. This whole process has been purely created to prevent vulnerable people from receiving the help that they need.

 

I had a long discussion with another older man whom has been awarded a lower level of PIP than he previously received after a medical assessment. He is appealing but he was obviously distressed and needed to talk. Like I said previously this is happening far too often.

 

I spoke to a man that I have spoken to previously. He had lost his job and was awaiting his first Universal Credit payment, however the DWP saw fit to not pay him his payment and instead they deducted the money that he should have received as holiday. Instead of being treated as capital, they treated it as a wage so now he has been left with no money and not able to pay his rent. Maybe this is correct, but it’s wrong. They had been informed about the payment of holiday pay and he was informed that he would receive a payment today.

Upon waking this morning he tried phoning the Universal Credit hotline up, but he was constantly cut off so he mistakenly believed that the Jobcentre staff would help him. He has no money, his landlord had already telephoned him asking for his rent and the Jobcentre told him that they wouldn’t help and that he had to phone them.

He had already tried, he was cut off and he wanted some help. But no, that’s not available anymore. Can you imagine the frustration that he must have felt. Not helping someone in their hour of need is certainly not empowering them to find work, it’s actually preventing a person from concentrating on anything else that day apart from survival.

 

We spoke to two Poundworld employees soon to loose their jobs. They had no idea of what to do, what to claim and how to do it. Neither of them are computer literate either. I  helped them the best that I could and explained what needed to be done.

My heart sank thinking about the hurdles that they will now have to go through. These are the same ladies that I used to chat to when shopping there. They always had a smile for me and enjoyed their job. I’m not going into the complexities of why Poundworld is shutting, but what I do know is that thousands of people are now being forced to battle a system that doesn’t want to help them and that’s scary.

 

I spoke to a lovely lady who was very aware of how the DWP system works, shes researched herself and has now found employment after gaining a qualification. She told me how hard it is to survive and she lives on her own. She went on to say she can’t imagine how hard it is for a single parent with children, or a couple to survive.

We had a very interesting discussion about how women with children resort to crimes such as shoplifting to survive (I’ve mentioned this in an earlier blog). Most eventually end up in court and it escalates to such an extent that they can loose everything. Their home, children, hopes and dreams. These are decent people trying to survive, trying to provide for their children.

Even if a parent doesn’t resort to crime it leaves them with the inability to pay for the basics such as food, clothing and bus fares to school if needed. Fines are issued to the parents of children that have over an amount of unauthorised amount of days off school. They can’t afford to pay the fine and are at risk of being imprisoned.

It makes me feel sick that this is even happening but it is. Survival is the name of the game for many. Children are suffering, but this government cares not one bit about this. Privately run care homes for children are opening and they in turn charge local councils a small fortune for their services. I worked in one in the past and the owner was doing extremely well out of it. This does need to be investigated more.

 

I spoke to a man that I have spoken to previously. He had left his partner, stopped his claim for carers allowance and had made a new claim for Universal Credit. The DWP were aware that he had stopped his claim for Carers Allowance, but due to a mistake made by them had wrongly deducted the Carers Allowance element from his payment. This has left him with very little money, he needs to pay his rent and he was worried.

He phoned the Universal Credit hotline up and has been told that they are investigating and he should receive his money back. Imagine this though, imagine that instead of enquiring as to what had happened he went into a state of panic, couldn’t handle complaining and tried to hide from the problem? Thousands of people do, they are tired and are sick of fighting. Many give up altogether and quite frankly mistakes like this shouldn’t be happening but they are.

Universal Credit isn’t working, its not really designed to, and I’m sick of having to say this. It needs stopping, scrapping and replaced with a fair, uncomplicated system. It’s not rocket science is it.

 

I spoke to a man that had previously thought that he was having a bit of good luck for a change. He found a job but his celebrations were short lived. He told me that the working conditions were ‘prehistoric’. He had been forced to work in a very dangerous environment with no health and safety rules being enforced. It was extremely hard manual labour, and dangerous at that. He stuck it out for a week but was afraid for his physical safety so he left. He’s now unemployed again, but told me that he’s thankful to be alive.

Employment laws really shouldn’t be flouted, but they often are. Labour is often underpaid and not respected. With high levels of unemployment unscrupulous employers can just employ more and more people to replace the employees that have left. It’s wrong, but it happens and one day a serious workplace accident will take place.

 

We spoke to a man trying to dispute his claimant commitment. The DWP are trying to force him into taking an unreasonable Claimant Commitment. They don’t want to take into account his disabilities. He is pursuing this though and our survival guide will help him with this.

 

The whole DWP system is rotten to the core. There’s no care involved anymore, and everyone is just an expendable number, even DWP employees. It’s a culture of fear and created to be thus.

Can you imagine how awful it is for thousands and thousands of people up and down the country on a daily basis? We are only outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre for two hours and in those two hours we encountered this high amount of problems, mostly caused by an overcomplicated system that doesn’t communicate with different departments that is failing the very people that it claims to help. It’s sickening.

 

Please read, share, tweet and fb my blog, email it also. I do my best and it’s hard work but one day we will have justice. No one deserves to be treated like this, no one.

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They don’t want us to survive. Eviction proceedings. Universal Credit cruelty never ends.

Dear readers, I write this weeks blog with a heavy heart. I had some terrible news this morning but I’ll be ok and it’s not about me is it.

After what feels like weeks of endless sunshine we have had a bit of rain which was welcomed by most people. The mood outside the Jobcentre was low which is expected. I’ll list todays conversations as usual. Every person that we spoke to was offered help, advice, a copy of our survival guide and a food parcel if needed.

Over four years on and I can’t believe that I am actually still outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre like this. Instead of getting better it’s become worse.

Don’t be fooled by Esther McVey’s lies. Universal Credit isn’t running smoothly, people aren’t being transitioned from legacy benefits onto Universal Credit smoothly and people are not getting adequate support either. DWP staff are struggling to understand the system and some aren’t implementing policies correctly either.

The ultimate result is that people are suffering needlessly. It’s a cruel system created and implemented by a sadistic government that are hell bent on making the poor and disabled suffer as much as possible. I’m surprised that I can say that without swearing. #

 

I was stopped by a man almost as soon as I arrived. He needed a food parcel, he’s struggling so I had a good chat with him. He told me that he wasn’t well but hunger had driven him from his sick bed.

 

A woman rushed past with her head held down. She didn’t want to talk and it appeared as if she just wanted to get in the Jobcentre so that it’s over with. Totally understandable.

 

I spoke to a man that has had his ESA and PIP stopped because he had been declared fit for work. He isn’t fit for work, he’s in constant pain and is going into hospital soon to have another operation. He is appealing this decision and he took a food parcel. A lovely man who, due to no fault of his own became ill.

 

I said hello to a heavily pregnant woman, she took a copy of our survival guide and rushed into the Jobcentre. She can’t work now, but still the DWP continue harassing heavily pregnant women to find a job.

 

We spoke to a lady that had been sent out of the Jobcentre for being ten minutes early. She couldn’t believe it, she has only just started the process of claiming Universal Credit and told me that the whole process is ridiculous.

 

I spoke to a man that was very confused with as to what he should be claiming and his entitlements. For over the past week he told me he had been given conflicting advice from different people. I had a conversation with him, tried to explain things simply and guided him through the process.

 

We spoke to a lovely woman who has requested that her circumstances remain private. I can tell you that she was very upset, confused and felt unsupported. It never gets easy when you see someone break down in tears. Thankfully she will be supported now, and advice was given. Just talking to someone with compassion helps so much, it’s not hard and more people should do this. Let’s be kind to each other.

 

I spoke to a woman that is due to be evicted from her home due to debts caused by her wait for Universal Credit. As we were speaking a man that was standing behind me interrupted and said that this had also happened to him. She’s trying to get a delay with the eviction process, but soon she will be homeless. Shes an older woman with health problems. I am worried about her, I have signposted her and will be attending court with her if possible.

Eviction due to Universal Credit rent arrears isn’t unusual sadly. It’s silently happening to a lot of people but it appears to be going under the radar at the moment. Our homeless population is growing massively as a result and I hate this government for their policies regarding this. It needs to stop.

 

I asked a man that I regularly speak to how he was feeling today and if he was coping ok. He said “Well I’m not dead yet”. That, my friends just about sums it up doesn’t it.

 

I spoke to an older man that told us joyously that he has at last found a job at a local mill as a spinner, his trade when he was younger. He told me that he had been forced to claim Universal Credit for four months and that those four months were the worst four months of his life. We wished him the best of luck with his new job, and I personally can’t thank the mill for employing him. He will be happy now and that means everything.

 

I had a long conversation with a man  trying to explain what Universal Credit is, how she should make a claim, what the process is, discussed the waiting time and explained about the loans that are offered whilst waiting for a claim to be processed and how they have to be paid back. No one had taken the time to explain this in length to him, in detail etc. It’s a complicated process and it’s not something that can be rushed. People need to know the details, but sadly they don’t do they. Instead everything is rushed with little explanation or care.

 

I’m sorry the blog is short, but we spoke to many different people today all with varying problems all of which were urgent in their own right. Not one person that we spoke to is having an easy time, all were stressed and most were unhappy and felt lost.

This governments cruelty appears to be never ending.  The government are very quick to invent new ways of making the poor and disabled people suffer.  In their eyes they don’t matter at all. They matter to me though. I care about each and every person that I speak to and I will continue to oppose the governments cruelty against them.

I will return next week to help more people. Be kind to each other, encourage conversation because this really does matter more than you think.

 

Please read, share rt, email my blog. I do my best to do this but I do need help to do so. Many don’t realise that I’m a skint single mum that just wants to help others, its as simple as that. I also want to change things, to end the cruelty and to raise awareness. It’s not easy, especially on days like today but I will continue the good fight hoping that one day we will win.

 

Many thanks to everyone that does and has  supported my blog. You really do make a difference, thank you.

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Universal Credit isn’t fit for purpose, but it inflicts endless suffering upon innocent, vulnerable people. This weeks blog.

Dear readers, I’m sorry for the delay in writing this weeks blog and publishing it. A missing bus and daughter duties are to blame. Here it is and I hope that you enjoy it. Enjoy is the wrong word to use I know because its damn depressing but imagine how depressed people are when trying to cope with this system.

Before I list everything that happened today, I have to mention something. Hardly any of the people that we speak to are what you would describe as being ‘fit and well’, none are scroungers and most are desperately trying their best to manage despite living in desperate poverty.

New clothes, nights out, trips to the cinema are a thing of the past and having a meal in a restaurant can only be dreamed of. We handed out five food parcels in the space of half an hour, all to people that are desperate, are awaiting Universal Credit payments and are also struggling to cope whilst living on Universal Credit. So please don’t message me saying that they are ‘trying it on’ are ‘scroungers’ and aren’t worthy of sympathy. What has happened to them can and does happen to anyone.

 

The first man that I spoke to looked confused and distressed. This was his first time attending the Jobcentre. He is a manual labourer  and has had to take time off work because he had been attacked quite badly. He told me that he couldn’t believe how difficult that it is to get any help from the Jobcentre and he’s waiting for his first Universal Credit payment. He’s been waiting for two weeks so has got a long wait still and he hopes to have found more work by then.

This man needs time to recover and recuperate, but the government won’t allow this. Get to work is their mantra, despite what your circumstances are and your ability to do so.

 

 

I spoke to two homeless chaps that I generally speak to every week. They are lovely chaps but are struggling at the moment. They need more intensive help but it just isn’t available at the moment, the government cut the funding so we now have thousands of people like these chaps walking the streets. It’s awful. In reality it would work out cheaper in the long run if the government actually funded this help because emergency housing, visits to a&e all amount up. It’s cruel.

 

I spoke to another homeless man who is living in a tent out of the immediate area. He’s claiming Universal credit and is struggling. He proudly told me that he has been clean for a long while now and is trying to improve his life. He has had news that he might be in with a chance of getting a flat to live in so everything crossed for him.

 

Roy and Gordon spoke to a young woman who is forced to live in unsuitable accommodation. She has no choice but to stay there either because of the shortage in social housing.

 

I spoke to an older man, he’s lost his job and is now faced with the challenge of trying to fathom out the Universal Credit system. He told me that the last time that he was unemployed was in the 1980’s and things were very different then. He went on to say that back then he was given help, guidance, and was shown how to do things. He actually had help to find a job. Now, he said you are just left on your own without a clue in the world, trying to cope with a massively complex system and having to go for weeks without a payment. “They want you to die don’t they”. He isn’t wrong there is he.

 

 

I spoke to a woman that has been mandated to attend one of their so called ‘miracle’ courses. To attend this course they have to provide proof of ID, the ID being a passport, driving licence, birth certificate or a household bill. Now I’m very aware that this has been going on for years but this is DWP bureaucracy gone mad. No one that isn’t forced to attend these courses actually wants to be there, no one wants to sneak in either. Proof of their benefit entitlement from the DWP or a letter from them should be enough. It’s another expensive hurdle to cross, and it can be an expensive one also.

 

We helped an older lady out with her Council Tax court summons. She had received a letter saying that she had to attend court for non payment even when she had already paid over half the bill. A member of our team E, took her over to the council offices where she spoke to an officer. They quashed the court order, quashed the court costs and gave her a better payment plan than she had already agreed to. Who says that we do nothing……  Needless to say she was very happy now that she doesn’t have the threat of court hanging over her head anymore.

Council tax is a massive worry that is constantly looming upon most of the people that I speak to including myself. The supposedly ‘small’ amount that they have to pay, which isn’t small is often unpayable. Eating and rent has to be a priority. I do still campaign against the council tax supplement and the whole council tax system but no one is talking about it anymore. It’s been accepted that the poor should pay a large chunk of their meagre income towards this and it shouldn’t be accepted it needs to be fought.

 

We noted an older man struggling to walk into the Jobcentre, he didn’t want to talk but it broke my heart seeing this. Many older people will have the worry of the DWP hanging over them until their death. Horrible.

 

I spoke to a 57 year old woman that suffers from several illnesses, all debilitating. She struggled to attend the Jobcentre and I handed her a leaflet. She told me that she had been given little advice except that she should claim PIP. I agreed and I advised her further. She told me that she was glad that I was there to speak to, because now her path is much clearer.

 

I spoke to a woman who has only just started to receive her Universal Credit payments. She told me that she now has to survive on £200 a month which equates to £50 a week for a four week month, even less in a five week month.

That’s £50 a week or less. Out of that food has to be bought, gas and electricity to be paid, council tax to be paid, the bedroom to be paid and any other system.

So don’t tell me that the people that I speak to have it easy, they don’t. They are living in poverty with no hope, and no future that they can see. Universal Credit is working ok for the government though. It’s systematically making sure that the poorest and most vulnerable people in society suffer, it encourages them to give up and lowers the unemployment figures.

Oh and Esther Mcvey can stuff her lies where the sun doesn’t shine. We all knew that she was lying, she knew that she was lying and yet she still continues to smirk at us all.

 

I spoke to a man struggling with the online system of Universal Credit. “It baffles me he said, I know how to use a computer but this is beyond ridiculous” Yep! it is.

 

I spoke to a woman that had been refused to accompany her friend into the Jobcentre. Her friend is vulnerable and really needed her support. Come on Ashton Jobcentre, do I need to tell you the rules about allowing a person to be accompanied again? How many times do I have to repeat myself…. A person is allowed to be accompanied. There I said it again.

 

So here it is, all this happened in less than two hours. We worked hard and many thanks to Roy and Gordon. The amount of suffering is unprecedented and even though I often regard myself to be extremely wise to the system, I’m still often shocked. The government needs to stop this, the system needs to be challenged more and unemployed people are important. They are trying to survive an inhumane system and they are all heroes in my eyes.

 

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Please read, share, RT, email my blog. I do my best and as a single parent running this campaign can be challenging at times. but we must continue to fight against this terrible system because people are dying and it needs to stop.