As to be expected the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) has taken full advantage of their new ‘way to work’ campaign and the return to normal service after lockdowns during the pandemic.
It is estimated that nearly 110,000 people claiming Universal Credit were sanctioned in May. This figure has more than doubled in six months . It’s also important to remember that this is despite the cost of living crisis whilst people are struggling more financially than they ever have done in recent times.
Sanction levels were however rising steadily through autumn and winter, but increased dramatically after the DWPs Way to Work was implemented was in February. Compared to 74,746 people that had been sanctioned in January rising to 93,479 March compared to 106,710 in April.
The governments ‘Way To Work’ programme forces every claimant eligible to apply for every job available rather than jobs suited to them because of work experience and qualifications.
Not only is this damaging emotionally and physically to each claimant forced to do this I fear it’s equally as frustrating for employers as well leaving them forced to trawl through job applicants that aren’t suitable for the jobs advertised, after all. Doesn’t every employer want applications from people that not only aren’t qualified for the work advertised? They’ll most likely be very unenthusiastic about applying for said jobs but are forced to do so or else face a DWP sanction.
Not only are the job vacancies are often not local to where they live, the DWP fails to take into account that public transport is expensive and not always available. The cost of travelling to work using their own transport being equally as such.
Basically if a claimant doesn’t follow the DWP’s orders for legitimate reasons and concerns they will undoubtably face being sanctioned.
Whilst implementing this new ‘Way To Work’ programme the government and DWP are totally failing to recognise that the UK is going through a cost of living and energy price crisis.
Claimants are already struggling to feed themselves and their families, which to be honest is near impossible as it is and to be faced with a sanction will undoubtedly leave them destitute without any hope for the future.
Can you imagine not being able to turn a light on in your house ,not able to cook any food, unable to use any electrical equipment that aid your day to day living such as powered wheelchairs, stairlifts, fridges and suchlike?
The DWP by continuing with their cruel sanctioning system and low benefit payments is knowingly forcing people to become destitute, left in the cold and dark, unable to travel anywhere to find work or access help.
It is inevitable that many people will fall under the radar for any assistance that may be available. There will be deaths, possibly many deaths without a care for their welfare from the government and of course the DWP.
It’s also important to remember that many claimants have been refused the cost of living payment due to being sanctioned with guidance to DWP employees telling them to refuse the payment to certain claimants if their benefits were stopped.
According to Dan Bloom from The Mirror, the DWP internal website said that people weren’t eligible if they had a “nil award” due to their earnings, however it made no mention of benefit sanctions, and said if people had a nil award due to rent or debts being deducted, they “might still be eligible”.
To put it clearly the decision is made by the DWP and often, as we have seen throughout the years, their own personal opinion and pressure put on them by their supervisors and managers.
I predict that thousands of people will have undoubtably missed out on the payment, without the strength or the knowledge that’s needed to appeal against DWP decisions such as these.
With Rishi Sunak announcing during his leadership campaign that he will be “much tougher” on the benefits system saying “if there are hours to do and there’s a job going people should have to take the job.” The future for people claiming Universal Credit and disability benefits looks even bleaker than before.
Anyone claiming benefits for whatever reason should not be bashed in such a manner especially during an election campaign.
They deserve kindness and respect after-all they’re fighting a battle that no politician will ever have to fight, without not knowing if they’ll be able to survive the next day never mind the next year.
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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I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do. To say it’s a struggle is a massive understatement.
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A huge thank you to everyone that has supported my blog and campaign in the past. I really couldn’t have got through the past two years without you.
The current price cap, which is set to rise in October, is £1,971 a year which was already a £693 rise (54%) from the previous cap six months earlier.
Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that in October it will increase to “in the region of £2,800”.
With this announcement comes the question of how people are going to be able to afford this extortionate price increase.
Already we are seeing thousands of people unable to use their gas and electric because they can’t afford it, no longer is they’re going to be a choice of heating or eating, they won’t be able to do either.
Whilst campaigners such as Martin Lewis are questioning the government as to how the public are going to cope, their words fall upon deaf ears and are ignored by the government that clearly appears not to care.
The truth is that we are dependant upon being able to heat our homes. It’s essential to have an electric supply to get by on a day to day basis, especially if disabled and have additional needs. Being forced to live in cold dark homes puts people at a very high risk of becoming ill or even dying.
It makes no difference how much you can budget and save when every penny is having to be spent on the ever increasing energy prices, although the likelihood is that bills won’t be paid because of a lack of ability to do do.
Not only will this affect the consumer it will also affect the energy suppliers that are dependant on their customers paying their bills to continue trading. I suspect that many more will be forced to shut therefore leaving both the consumer and the economy in a very precarious position.
The truth is that yet again the obscene energy price increases are yet another devestating choice that’s been made by the government. It’s pretty obvious that they don’t care how the average person will suffer and what a detrimental affect this will have to the public and to the economy.
It’s a ticking time bomb waiting to explode and something has to give before we start to see the serious ramifications of the ever increasing energy costs. I and others predict that thousands are at risk of becoming seriously ill or dying. We must do everything that we can do to prevent this from happening.
Please read, share and tweet my blog posts, its essential to raise awareness and doing this really helps to do so.
I don’t receive any payments for the work that I do. If you can afford to and 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 shares and supports both my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t dp this without you.
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.
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.
Whilst we are all aware that food prices have increased dramatically over the past few years, how much is a question that I’ve been trying to answer myself. Most people that I help, including myself are struggling to feed ourselves and families. Going without three meals a day is a reality for so many. Buying enough food to make a complete, decent nutritious meal is near impossible.
To be honest I’m pretty useless at maths so you can imagine how engrossed `I was when I saw Jack Monroes tweets concerning this. Jack has been campaigning about food poverty for years, they’re not someone that’s jumped upon the bandwagon, not knowing what it’s like to go without food. Jack has experienced it also and even though their situation has improved Jack continues to help and inspire others.
Below are some tweets posted by Jack yesterday. Jack has been collecting food cost data for years now and the reality of exactly how much the price of food has increased is shocking.
In these tweets Jack reveals the true extent of food price increases and it’s not easy reading.
As you can see this is exactly why buying food has become so damn hard for so many. The price of living has increased dramatically however wages for many haven’t increased nor has social security (benefit) payments. For example the £20 top up payments has been taken away from people receiving Universal Credit. No financial help was offered to disabled people leaving them in a worse position than most.
Whilst we haven’t seen a price increase for luxury meal deals and suchlike, the cost of the very basic food products that literally keep people alive have increased dramatically. This is a true example of class division and hierarchy.
Meanwhile the government and their spokespeople continue to say that food prices have increased by 5% the reality is much different.
The knock off affects of these price rises will once again hit the poorest the hardest. Donations to foodbanks will decrease because the people donating food will no longer be able to afford to do so. The ramifications for both families and people are huge. The government is literally pricing people out of being able to buy food. This needs to be addressed urgently but I very much doubt that it will be.
A huge thank you to Jack Monroe for their hard work campaigning and for supplying this data. Also thanks for giving me permission to share it.
If your’e interested in getting involves with campaigning or need support I can’t recommend DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts0 enough. It’s a fantastic network run by real people experiencing the same difficulties that you might be experiencing.
You can find them both on Facebook and Twitter. If you live in the Greater Manchester area you can join Manchester DPAC here at https:\\manchesterdpac.com
How am I? I’m really struggling at the moment. This week I had to buy some electric and gas leaving me with no money to buy food. I do know that so many of you are also in the same position as I’m in. I hate being forced to live like this.
If you like my work and campaign and can afford to theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny makes a huge difference for both.
A made thank you to everyone that has supported and does support both my blog and campaign. I really could’t do this without you.
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.
Dear subscribers and guests it’s been a tough year for so many of us, I know it, I feel it.
This year was probably the worst one of my whole life. My son was tragically taken away from me mid pandemic. It hurts more than anything else that I’ve experienced.
Whilst we were abiding to the social distancing rules, the Tory government were busy partying and carrying on as if nothing had happened.
This was a case of we’ll do whatever we want sod the public. They don’t care about us. My son had to have a very reduced socially distanced funeral whilst they were enjoying life.
To be honest this is a perfect example of how they treat us. They never spare a thought for us so don’t expect them to either.
Christmas is a tough time for so many reasons wether it be for financial reasons or bereavement. I’m with you, I feel it.
I haven’t put a Christmas tree up this year. My daughter and I decided that it doesn’t feel right so we put some extra lights on his memorial table.
So much pressure is put on society to have the big tree, the decorations and lots of good food. The truth is that so many of us can’t afford to buy the big tree, pay for the electric to light the Christmas lights and affording a big meal with all the trimmings is near impossible.
Poverty doesn’t end at Christmas, if anything it’s amplified for reasons that I’ve already stated.
You do Christmas how you want to do it. Try and ignore the pressure to comply to what everyone expects. If you want to turn the TV off and read a book instead then do it.
If you want to spend Christmas day doing nothing then do it. Be kind to yourself.
I used to put so much pressure upon myself to get everything right for others to see. Loosing my son has made me realise that none of this really matters.
Like many of you I’m going to find Christmas tough, but I will get through it.
So many families are going to be going without the Christmas that they were used to. The pandemic has caused thousands of people to loose their jobs and it’s also resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.
Thousands of families and individuals are newly dependant upon foodbanks to keep them going. It’s not easy asking for help and the food isn’t the best. Hopefully one day it will get better.
How do you explain to your children that Father Christmas can’t come this year? It’s heartbreaking.
What we can do is be there for each other, talk to friends on social media, text or face to face (socially distanced of course).
We will get through this. Lots of love to you all.
Please read, share and tweet my blog. This makes a massive difference and it raises so much awareness.
A huge thank you to everyone that supports and has supported my blog this year. I really couldn’t do it without you.
I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and to say it’s tough is an understatement.
For anyone that would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.