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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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.
A huge thanks to everyone that subscribes, reads, and shares my blog posts. It’s extremely important to raise awareness and it helps so much!
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It’s also my 8 year anniversary for this blog, time has passed far too quickly!
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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New regulations have been issued to enable registered nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists to issue fit notes.
This will extend the categories of people that can issue fit notes. New statutory instrument
The new regulations will commence from 1 July 2022.
These regulations being Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022 (SI.No.630/2022) amend the Social Security (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1976 and the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1985.
The new regulations also make amendments to sets of regulations which refer to medical evidence as having been signed by doctors or registered medical practitioners.
The explanatory memorandum to the regulations advises that –
‘Currently only doctors can certify fit notes. This is not reflective of modern ways of multi-disciplinary working in healthcare where alternative healthcare professionals (HCPs) such as nurses often lead a patient’s diagnosis and healthcare management.
Expanding certification to a wider group of HCPs will better enable relevant HCPs to undertake health and work conversations to issue and certify fit notes without having to refer patients to their doctors.’
Commenting on the regulations, DWP Minister Chloe Smith said today –
‘The extension of fit note certification is fantastic news for patients, making it easier for them to get the support and advice they need from the right place, ensuring where possible that they are able to remain in work.’
These latest fit note changes recognise the valuable role other professions play in helping manage people’s health, and I hope this will also help reduce unnecessary bureaucracy for doctors and general practice more widely.’
This is welcome news for people struggling to provide fit notes for the DWP which can be a struggle for many.
SI.No.630/2022 is available from legislation.gov.uk
Thanks to Rightsnet for providing this information.
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No more. I’m fucking done. The horror stories I’ve heard over the years about people desperately trying to survive under this Tory government have angered me to the point of boiling over. My inbox is full, my Twitter feed is going crazy and my phone hasn’t stopped ringing.
I’ve heard many accounts of how people are already struggling to cope with the massive energy price rises, how the hell are they going to cope after the 1st of April?
Yesterday I heard the concerns of a young woman with a baby who is already struggling before the massive cost increase, already paying £40 for three days electric on a prepayment meter just to keep her electric on.
Another person who used to have a good job at Manchester Airport reduced to borrowing a tenner from a person they never met face to face to put their electric back on so the cheap food they bought won’t spoil.
A woman who thought she was £400 in credit actually owing £600.
Remember that this is before the April energy cost increases. So when does it stop?
When will more people stand up, come with me and my mates and march upon the corridors of power and say no?
Are we are NOT going to be letting the Tories bend us over and dry-fuck us into oblivion anymore?
You want me to be less activist? Fine. I will. When the government stops deliberately starving people of the basic necessities of life.
This is going to become much worse than anyone could have predicted, thousands of people will no doubt be either thinking of or taking their lives because they can’t afford to live and can’t find a way out of their situation.
I predict that they could be thousands of deaths caused by hypothermia and related illnesses. People can no longer afford to buy and run heated blankets. Nor do they have the money to buy warmer clothes.
Undoubtably there will be thousands of admissions to hospital because of malnutrition related illnesses and diseases. This is already happening, people are already dying from hunger thanks the cruel DWP regime. Already people can’t afford to cook meals. This is going to become a whole lot worse than it is now.
Homelessness levels will increase dramatically because people are going to be forced to make the choices of heating or eating and not being able to pay their rent or mortgage as well. It’s not a choice that should have to be made.
Can you imagine how heartbreaking it is to have to tell your children that they have to wear coats etc at home because it’s too expensive to heat their home? As you’re reading this a child and their parents will be cold and hungry due to no fault of their own.
Can you imagine being disabled or ill and being reliant upon have the heating on to help keep you alive only to find out that that you can’t anymore because it’s too expensive to heat their home?
To put it bluntly the government doesn’t care one bit, hell they aren’t even hiding their disdain of working class people. They don’t care if we live or die. Rishi Sunak could have done the right thing but instead he chose to force thousands into death, absolute poverty and starvation.
We should all be angry about this. This is the ultimate insult to the working class people of this country and we all need to challenge this in whatever way that we can.
Have you noticed that I’m angry? Everyone should be.
Not only will these price rises be extremely detrimental to the economy, which will most likely will take a massive dive as a result of people will no longer be able to go shopping for basics never-mind luxuries.
Thousands of small businesses will be forced to shut because of the rising costs as well as some big businesses, forcing workers not already claiming Universal Credit to apply for the first time. This will undoubtably cause emotional and financial distress.
For a country to grow its government needs to invest in people, normal people not millionaires to grow the economy and the wellbeing of people. Instead they do the opposite, Sunak preferring to go for short term gains for his pals whilst deliberately ignoring the well-being of the public and the economy.
Rishi Sunak whilst eyeing up his next job at num 10 has got to be the worst Chancellor Of The Exchequer that we’ve ever had. His decisions are unbelievably cruel.
People will no longer be able to afford to donate to food-banks instead becoming reliant upon them themselves. This will cause the closure of the very places that keep people alive. People WILL DIE don’t ever forget this.
It’s already happening. The foodbank trollies in supermarkets are seeing fewer donations.
We really need to put pressure in the supermarkets to donate the food themselves and not rely upon already poor people to buy the food and then donate it.
We also have to remember the 186,000 people that have already died with Covid 19 mentioned on their death certificate. People are still dying and we must never forget this.
Remember that all this is a political choice made by millionaires designed to inflict cruelty upon the poorest and most vulnerable
It’s time to get angry, to take action and campaign for a much fairer society.
Please read, share, tweet and email this blog post. We have to raise as much awareness as possible and now is the perfect time to do it.
Want to chat to likeminded people and join a protest? Head over to https:manchesterdpac.com Theres lots that you can do and you will find solidarity.
I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do, and to say that it’s a struggle is an understatement. If you can afford to and you would like to donate to my campaign and blog theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
Massive thanks to everyone that does and has supported my campaign and blog. Without you I couldn’t do this.
Big thanks to my friend Lucy for being the inspiration for this article and for yesterdays tweets.
It feels strange to be writing this blog post this week because I’ve actually been able to return to my weekly demo and advice session outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.
The DWP and local council might have mistakenly thought that I had stopped doing the weekly demos. I haven’t and dependant on my health I’m back.
This week I decided to stand outside the old Jobcentre building that had been shut down and moved to the new swanky council building. The truth is they underestimated the demand for the Jobcentre and were forced to re open the old one as well.
The old building has had a bit of a makeover, Laurence Llewellyn Bowen has nothing on this transformation. The doors have been repainted, a new carpet put down and what looks like cattle pens with numbers on installed.
Obviously this transformation wasn’t made to make the people that use the Jobcentre feel at ease, I can bet it has the opposite effect.
This week I was on my own accompanied by my daughter and two lovely men filming for french tv. They’re making a programme about the UK’s benefit system and have interviewed the amazing Debbie Abrahams, myself and they’re going to interview the dark lord himself David Cameron.
I was asked many times about my opinion of him, I answered that he’s got the blood of thousands of vulnerable and disabled people on his hands. Along with Ian (I’ll hide in car boots) Duncan Smith there’s a special place in hell for them.
Back to the demo. I chose the old Jobcentre because it’s actually very busy full of people coming and going looking rather stressed whilst doing so.
It wasn’t long until I had a conversation with a man who wasn’t far from retirement age. He had been given an appointment to attend a ‘Working Well’ interview despite being disabled and unable to work.
The DWP with all their infinite knowledge sent him a text message without an address to go to. Basically he didn’t know where his appointment was.
He walked to a building down the road and was told that his appointment wasn’t there and he had to go back to the Jobcentre.
Back at the Jobcentre he was told that he had to get back to the other building and they’d changed the time of his appointment without informing him. Typical DWP communication failure once again. Call me cynical but I’m sure that they do this on purpose sometimes.
To say that this gentleman was distressed was an understatement. He said ” Why can’t they leave me alone? I can’t work and no one will employ me”.
It wasn’t long before I spoke to a young woman that is completely fed up with the DWP. She’s started her own photography business and she’s doing her best to promote it and to find work
The DWP won’t leave her alone though. Every two weeks she still has to attend a back to work interview and she can’t cancel the appointment even if she’s working.
The DWP once again making it very hard for anyone to succeed by themselves. Her business is called WJ Photography and I think she’s on Instagram and Ticktok.
As it became notably colder, probably because we had been standing there for a while we spoke to a man that looked like he was going to start crying at any time.
His story his hard, but sadly not unusual.
As is often the case he had been living in substandard social housing. His home was full of damp and unsuitable to live in.
After a few years of struggling to get the housing association to take action they finally attempted to fix it. This left him without electricity and sleeping at his son’s place on the floor.
He explained the situation to the DWP who were totally unsympathetic telling him that he still had to look for work online for 35 hours a week.
He’s been looking for work since 2018 and can’t find a job, this isn’t without trying because he’s tried damned hard.
I then had a conversation with a chap that I used to speak to on a regular basis outside the Jobcentre. He told me that he was stressed because his mobile phone and internet are due to be cut off because he can’t afford to pay the bill.
Being aware that he needs to search for work online and has to have a working phone number for the DWP to contact him on has resulted in him feeling extremely stressed.
He told me that he’s found an old sim card that’ll work for the DWP to phone him on but he’s worried about his job searching.
I advised him to use the internet at the library or Ikea, but life shouldn’t be like this for a person who’s 60 years of age.
The universal credit system was created to punish people for being poor and for being disabled, never ever forget that.
I really hope that they’re ok , telling them that I’d be back again next week if they want some advice or someone to talk to. After all kindness costs nothing and it makes a massive difference to a person’s day.
I’ll be returning again next week and I’ll be publishing a blog post tomorrow about the new Jobcentre closures.
I need your help though. I need people to share this blog post and my others as much as possible. I want to continue to report about the impact that DWP decisions have on people and how this is still happening.
It would be amazing if I could be joined by some other like-minded people. It’s a big ask I know but it’s essential that we can remind the DWP that we are still here and we are still reporting on their misdoings.
If anyone could donate towards buying someone a cuppa etc I’d be eternally grateful. It’s winter and it’s cold here. A nice hot cuppa keeps the morale going.
If anyone would like to donate towards the campaign and my blog there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
I’m intending to continue with the weekly demos which are dependant on my health. I’ve still got long covid and a lung that’s not functioning as it should be. Thanks covid.
If I have to cancel a week it’ll be for health reasons only. Apologies in advance.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. These past two years have been extremely challenging for us all and I really do appreciate it.
Being poor in winter has always been a costly time of year but this year we are reminded of how many more people find themselves in this position.
I’ve said it before and will say it again because the choice between heating or eating is one that thousands are having to make this year, many not having the finances to do either. As we are already faced with increased energy prices, the upcoming price rises in April will make it a cost too high for thousands.
Imagine being priced out of being able to have the necessities to keep warm and to cook food and suchlike. I envisage thousands more people living in houses without access to gas and electric, sitting around a burning candle wishing for money to put on the meter.
It’s very reminiscent of life in victorian England, the poor suffering more than ever whilst the government totally ignores the needs of its most vulnerable citizens. Whilst we don’t have physical workhouses we have digital ones that people have to comply with at all times or risk their social security being stopped. I can bet they’ve spoken about bringing back the old workhouses though.
To give some context to this over the past month its cost me £75 to keep my house warm and £70 to keep the electric on and to enable the heating to work. This is far more expensive than this time last year and I can’t afford to do it anymore. As we approach April it really will be a cost too high for me.
I’m not alone though, thousands are in the same position as I am, struggling to get by, having sleepless nights worrying about how on earth they’re going to provide warmth and electricity for their children.
Make no mistake whilst we are struggling to get by the Tory government is virtually laughing at us, placing the blame for our poverty, for our disabilities and for our low wages firmly on our feet saying that it’s all our fault.
The government talk about aspiration yet they give us nothing to aspire to, it’s hard to do so when you’re hungry and cold.
The reality is that we have a government that was born more privileged thank you or I, they attended private schools and had the best education and healthcare than the average person will ever have. They don’t know or care to know about how life is like for the working class. They’ll never care about us or even think about us after all we are just a number to them, a commodity that can be bought and sold at their whim. When we aren’t of any use to them they discard us like yesterdays newspaper making life extremely hard, subjecting the most vulnerable to countless medical assessments and compliance meetings.
Life shouldn’t be like this, We need to continue protesting, reminding the tory government that they have no right to be treating us like this.
I apologise for this weeks blog, I’m ranting I know but it’s how I feel and it needs to be said.
A huge thank you to everyone that likes, shares, reads and tweets my blog. Every share makes a massive difference and it raises awareness.
I receive no funding for my blog and campaign. If you would like to donate and can afford to theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Thank you!]