Tag: destitution

Five year aniversary of blogging and the suffering continues.

Dear readers it’s been five years almost to the day since I started writing this blog although I’ve been campaigning for much longer.

A friend encouraged me to write it but I honestly didn’t think that anyone would read it. I was proved wrong though, it took off straight away.

Back then we were chosen to be a trial area for universal credit along with Oldham and Wigan.

Hardly anyone else was documenting the day to day cruelty that universal credit and the benefit reforms.Most likely because it wasn’t happening everywhere and lots of people weren’t aware of this

We were ignored and called liars and suchlike.

Myself and other groups continued to fight against it even though every door was being slammed in our faces. No one wanted to know.

Through perseverance and determination we continued, we weren’t letting this go. People were and are dying as a result and that was and is unacceptable.

DPAC have been consistently supportive and they’re amazing. The work that they have done and are doing is outstanding. I can’t thank them enough.

When I started this blog almost everyone that I spoke to outside Ashton Jobcentre was or had been sanctioned.

Pregnant women were being sanctioned for three years, suicides of people that we had spoken to were a constant worry. I’ve lost count of the people that we have lost.

It breaks my heart and I’ve always got them in my thoughts. Thanks to Black Triangle for their work collecting this info and publishing it.

At the the time the DWP were a law unto themselves, they still are. I’m certain that they were given orders to sanction as many people as possible (remember Sandra’s stars anyone?).

I’m certain that they still have these targets but they’re not so open and brazen at displaying them. People are still being sanctioned and it’s abbhorant that this is continuing to happen. Being sanctioned can and does kill people.

The suffering continues and every week I’m told yet more awful stories from claimants about their experiences whilst on universal credit and other benefits.

Today a man told me that he’d been barred from the Jobcentre for loosing his temper when he was told that he’d been sanctioned.

When he was allowed back into the Jobcentre he had a G4S guard to escort him to his appointment and to take him out again.

The stress of this took its toll on him and he started to pull his hair out. He can’t believe how horrible this system is. Thanks to the DWP he’s mentally scarred for life.

The system hasn’t got better the DWP and government have become more devious, constantly putting unrealistic demands upon people that they know won’t be able to keep up with it.

We’ve handed hundreds of food parcels out because people were and are literally starving. I’ve watched a family open the tins of food and eat it because they were so hungry.

It’s hard to tell you what the worst thing that I’ve seen is. Everything about this system is awful. It persecutes children, women, men, women who should be receiving their pensions but were conned out of them. The DWP won’t leave anyone alone.

The fight continues though. The Labour Party have at last commited to stopping, scrapping universal credit. They’re going to replace it with a caring system and I know that they’re going to do this. The Labour Party have been working very hard on creating the new system for quite a while now.

But the changes won’t happen overnight and until they’ve been elected nothing will change its going to become a whole lot worse.

Every week we speak to disabled people who have been found fit for work. They aren’t fit for work though and we help them to start the appeal process.

We’ve handed out thousands of copies of of our survival guides. They’ve proved to be invaluable and have helped a lot of people. Thanks to Roy for your help with this.

The blog doesn’t end after I’ve published the blog on Thursdays though. It’s become a full time job. Myself or members of the team don’t get paid by anyone either. We do it because we care.

The fight continues week after week. We’ve had abuse from G4S, I’ve been spat on called a scrounger and worse.

The DWP have unsuccessfully tried to move us from outside the Jobcentre. We aren’t going anywhere, we aren’t stopping until the suffering ends.

Whilst the suffering continues we will continue. I made this commitment all those years ago.

I want to thank you all for reading and supporting the blog for these last five years. Its been a massive comfort to know that you all support this blog and the campaign.

I’ll end the blog here this week. I know that it’s a bit different than my usual blog style but I really wanted to thank everyone that’s helped along the way whether it’s on foot at the demos or online. Both are equally as important.

To everyone that does come and help though thank you so, so much. We’ve had a lot of physical support from Stockport Against Austerity and I can’t thank them enough as well as Gordon, Roy, Carol and everyone else who I’ve met along the way.

My local Labour Party and my MP Angela Rayner have also been hugely supportive even though I’ve been a pain sometimes.

Can I ask you to continue to read, share, tweet and email my blog. Thank you to those that already do.

There’s also a donate button at the top and side of this blog. Every penny donated ensures that the campaign and blog can continue. A massive thanks to those that have.

I’ll be back next week with my usual blog. Thank you for the five years of support and thanks to Mike for persuading me to start this blog.

Don’t worry I’ll be writing next weeks blog in my usual style.

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I’m so hungry I could faint.

Dear readers I hope that you are OK and surviving. It appears that surviving is all that we can do these days.

Even though it’s been busy in parliament our work never stops. Parliament is parogued but we aren’t. Let’s hope that there’s an end to all that madness soon.

We can guarantee that it’s going to be the poor and disabled that bear the brunt of any Brexit related decisions. The wealthy really don’t care because it won’t affect them, this really annoys me. I know that it’s to be expected though.

As usual the food parcels went as soon as they arrive. This is a terrible reflection of the government’s war against the poor. It really shouldn’t be like this after all there was no real reason for it.

The tory government would rather give their friends millions of pounds only to blame us for their mess. The price that we have paid is a very heavy one. Thousands upon thousands of people have either died or are suffering, many have become ill as a result.

I can suppose that you would have seen the fancy DWP adverts everywhere and especially in the Metro newspaper, saying that ‘work pays’ and ‘universal credit helps you into work. Despite being a down right lie I’ve spoken to many people who can prove this isn’t the case.

This morning I spoke to Ron. Ron has completed quite a few of the useless DWP courses. They didn’t help him to find work they delayed him in his quest to find a job.

Despite this Ron found a job, a well paid one. He could start within days but his new employer advised him that he would need to bring his own safety gear including proper strong work boots.

Not having any spare money he approached the DWP and asked if they could help him out with the cost of this. The DWP unsurprisingly said no, they wouldn’t do it.

Ron understandably worried then phoned up the DWP and he was told that they could help him and he should tell his advisor that they could.

Ron then spoke to his advisor who once again told him that they wouldn’t help him.

In the meantime Ron wasn’t able to start work, he lost the job but was told that he had to attend yet another pointless DWP course.

Ron’s experience isn’t uncommon though. This happens to lots of people. The DWP are actually preventing people from starting work.

Meanwhile people like Ron are forced into constantly attending the pointless courses and threatened with a sanction if they don’t attend.

The companies and organisations that provide these courses are paid very handsomely to do so as are the DWP.

Sadly we are all a commodity to be bought and sold at the governments whim.

I then spoke to Tom. Tom has been constantly appealing against ESA and PIP decisions. He has appealed these decisions and every time he’s won.

Tom has been waiting 18 months for the latest appeal and tribunal. He’s understandably angry telling me that he’s extremely frustrated but he won’t give up fighting against their decisions. Tom is an amazing man.

I then had a conversation with Debbie. Debbie hadn’t eaten for a while and she didn’t look well, telling me that she felt faint because she hasn’t eaten for a few days. She hasn’t been receiving her payments because her circumstances have changed and she’s street homeless.

I gave her something to eat, she was thankful but that’s only short term help. Because we had ran out of food parcels I advised her to go into the council offices and ask them for a food bank voucher.

It’s not acceptable for anyone to be suffering like this, I helped her out but tomorrow I won’t be there. I did advise that she visits a few local organisations for some more support. I really hope that she does this.

I spoke to two people that needed to open bank accounts to receive their universal credit payments. They’d previously used a friends bank account to do so. I advised them about what ID they would need and I wished them luck.

We spoke briefly to a man that had just found a job within a month of applying for universal credit. The experience has scarred him, telling me that he didn’t know how people survive on this system. He never wants to experience it again either.

The DWP also owe him money but I doubt if he’ll ever get it. Meanwhile he’s too tired of the whole system to chase it.

Today was quite a busy day but I had to leave 30 minutes early for the electrician to finish fitting my new boiler. I’ve waited about a year for a new one. It’s ridiculous isn’t it.

We had lots of conversations with people, thanks to Gordon for helping and thanks to Gary for the leaflets.

We will be back next week. Try not to forget us whilst the whole Brexit debacle continues. People are still suffering and its these people who will suffer greatly as a result of any decision made by the government.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Send a copy of it to your mp.

A massive thanks to everyone that does and has supported my blog.

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a PayPal button at the top and side of ti’s blog.

Your entitled to universal credit hang on no your not yes you are.

Dear readers this weeks blog is extremely late because WordPress has apparently got some problems and it wouldn’t upload my blog. I then followed their instructions which resulted in it being deleted. Never mind here’s my second attempt at uploading it.

Thursday was a mixed bag really lots of differing problems mostly because of the DWPs incompetence.

As I arrived there was a queue for the food parcels both at the drop off point and outside the Jobcentre. I had conversations with all of the people needing the food parcels and the common theme was that they’re fed up with the DWP messing them around. They also hate not being able to feed themselves off the meagre amount of money that they receive. It’s near impossible. Universal credit pushes people into poverty and there’s no escape from it.

My first conversation was with a woman who has four children and is struggling to feed both her children and herself. She told me that she regularly has to go without meals in order to feed her children and her health is now suffering, telling me that she’s always having to visit the doctors for aliments that she didn’t suffer from when she was working and better off financially.

Loosing her job and having to claim universal credit is the worst thing that has ever happened to her and her children she said. She’s also worrying about buying uniforms for her children saying that she can’t afford to buy them any new uniform but proudly told me that at at least she’s managed to buy them new shoes.

Can you imagine how humiliating this is for both her and her children? No doubt that thousands of others will be in the same situation and they too will be suffering in silence. Luckily I could signpost her for help but this is only short term help.

It was then that I had an interesting conversation with a woman struggling with making a claim for universal credit. Telling me that she’s tried three times and each time they gave me a different answer. Once they even gave her a payment date then denied her application.she doesn’t haven’t got a clue what will happen with my latest application. She asked if anyone working there (the DWP) have a clue what they’re doing? I answered saying that it depends on who you talk to, its much like playing a game of roulette.

Luckily I could signpost her and advise her and hopefully she will be successful this time. The stress of her situation is immense because she hasn’t got a clue where her next meal is coming from.

It was then that I had a conversation with an older lady that told me that she’s a registered carer. She’s finding it very hard to live off the meagre amount of money that she gets for doing this. As I handed her a copy of our survival guide she told me that the DWP have now decided to give her two payments a month instead of one a month which is messing up her rent payments. She’s tried to get her landlord to understand but they refuse they just want their rent.

Luckily I was able to advise and signpost her but it’s intolerable that someone who is saving the government thousands of pounds a week is being treated this way. Carer’s are invaluable and should be treated as such.

I then had a short conversation with a woman that wasn’t happy with being made to attend the Jobcentre twice a week. Not only is this extremely stressful for her but it’s also costing her a fortune in bus fares because she lives quite a distance away. Basically it’s costing het at least two meals a week.

This is exactly how they control us, they never allow anyone to have a rest or to think independently. They want everyone to be under their beck and call at all times even when ill.

Universal credit is cruel beyond belief, its been created to be like this. Both myself and many others want to see an end to this cruel system and a fairer one created.

We were joined by colleagues from Stockport Against Austerity but unfortunately we had to end the demo early because it started to rain very heavily. As we took shelter elsewhere we were still available to advise people and indeed we helped a woman to understand why her first universal credit payment would take so long.

I’m very glad to have helped so many people over the years and we will be back next week to do it again.

Please read, share, email, tweet my blog.

There’s also a donation button at the side and top of this blog.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and is supporting my blog. It means the world to me.

Homelessness, PIP assessment failures, terrible landlords and questionable work agencies. Another week outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

Dear readers, I can’t believe that it’s Thursday again. Time goes so quickly these days.

This weeks demo was very productive and we helped lots of people but we really do need more helpers. If you’re ever in the area please come and say hello.

It rained as usual today but only for the first hour of the demo. I was actually shocked to see the sun peeping out from behind a cloud.

My apologies if I’ve been quiet this week, I wasn’t feeling 100% but I think that now we might be seeing the end of the rain for a couple of days I should be ok.

Today’s demo went really quickly and we helped so many people with differing issues ranging from giving food parcels to someone who was in need of one to giving directions. It’s going to take people a long time to get used to the new Tameside One building.

I can’t thank Gordon enough for supporting me today, his help is invaluable and is really appreciated.

I shall list my conversations as usual. I won’t divulge a persons identity either so they don’t run the risk of being targeted by the DWP. I’ve seen this happen and the fear of this happening is very real.

I had requests for food parcels before the demo started from people who were in desperate need for food and a conversation. It’s heartbreaking to see peoples life’s spin totally out of their control, and not by their own doing.

I spoke to a young woman today whom I’ve had conversations with in the past on many occasions. My heart goes out to her it really does.

When they say that bad luck comes in three’s she’s had triple this amount and more, it isn’t her oen doing either.

Various events in her life have resulted in her needing more help than can be offered locally thanks to government cuts.

I handed her a food parcel and had a long conversation with her. I really wish that I had a magic wand to help her. She’s such a lovely woman and I hate seeing her like this.

It was then that I had a conversation with a man whom I shall call Bill.

Bill has been working for a job agency grabbing working whenever her can. However the agency that he’s working for is refusing to give him a job reference for another job that he’s looking for nor have they been paying him his full wage. The agency is also refusing to give him wage slips.

Call me cynical but I can smell a rat when I hear stories like this. This job agency are exploiting Bill, making him work long hours for little or no pay and refuse to give him a wage slip because they’re most likely committing fraud in some way.

Bill is also trapped into working for them because he can’t get another job without a reference from this employer.

Stories like this make me furious and I signposted him to Greater Manchester Law Centre for help.

Being trapped on universal credit is bad enough but combine this with an agency that are refusing to give him wage slips and his full wage is really making his life hell.

More needs to be done to outlaw these awful job agencies and to abolish zero hour contracts. People are really suffering as a result of them, and he wasn’t the first person that I spoke to today that found themselves in the same position.

I hope Bill is ok, he was a lovely chap that really deserves much more than to be treated like this.

I had a quick conversation with a woman who is in the process off appealing a PIP decision. She’s doing everything that she can to appeal this decision.

I had a conversation with a young man who had recently lost his temporary accommodation so he’s now moving between various night shelters. Call me old fashioned but I believe that everyone deserves a place to call home. Criminalising homeless people just makes things much worse. The government should be on trial for treating people like this, for taking funding away from necessary services.

Meanwhile it looks like Boris Johnson is going to become our next prime minister. God help us.

I had a conversation with a young man that is newly homeless and has found a job. His problem is that he needed some bus fare to get to his new job, of course the DWP refused to help him even though he claims universal credit and the DWP are claiming that universal credit helps people into work.

What a load of rubbish, if they actually did want this they’d give this man his bus fare and ensure that every single person upon finding work is given a fully contracted job not an unstable zero hour contract job with a dodgy agency that refuses to pay them.

Who cares though? We do, my readers do but the government don’t give a toss.

It was then that I spoke to a lovely young woman. Her story was very similar to Bills.

She’s working for a job agency getting work whenever she can and she’s also looking for a secure job. She has children to care for.

She asked her agency if she could have a reference to send to a future employer. They point blank refused saying that they didn’t have to. Her wages have also been sparodic. Not ideal when shes got children to look after.

Thinking that the DWP would help her she asked them for help but was refused so I signposted her to Greater Manchester Law Centre where they can hopefully help her.

This highlighted how bad many of these agencies are. At the moment they’re running roughshod over very vulnerable people with absolutely no governmental opposition from the Tory Party. Like John Mcdonall and Jeremy Corbyn say, these agencies and zero hour contracts need to be abolished.

I then had a conversation with a woman who has been battling a dodgy landlord for years. She told me about her substandard accommodation, leaking roofs, damp riddled walls etc.

It’s awful that she’s having to go through this. It’s had a detrimental effect on both her physical and mental health.

It’s much like the days of old from before Ken Loach made Cathy Come Home and Shirley Baker took a set of photographs that spurred the organisation Shelter to be formed.

It’s like stepping back in time, in my eyes right back to the mid 19th century onwards.

Whilst there’s a Tory government there’s suffering, the two go hand in hand and now we’ve most likely got Boris as our future prime minister.

Things aren’t going to get better until we vote them out and I can’t wait for that day.

A special mention goes out to members of DPAC that have collected thousands of copies of the Metro newspaper and gave them back to the Metro and the DWP.

The governments propaganda campaign has failed miserably through this campaign

Also the thousands upon thousands of people that have been forced onto universal credit that know the reality of this awful system.

Making work pay, don’t make me laugh. It’s the opposite and they know it.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. It’s really important that we get information like this out there for the world to see.

We will be back next week to help people.

There’s also a donate button at the top and side of this blog for anyone interested in donating. I’m a skint single parent struggling like everyone else is. Every penny does help.

A massive thanks to everyone that does already support my blog. Thank you ❤️.

30 week pregnant woman told to look for work and new Jobcentre debacles.

Dear readers,

Today was the first day of protesting outside the new Jobcentre. Access to this Jobcentre is either up the stairs pictured below or in a small lift in the library pictured below.

Basically you’re stuffed if you’re claustrophobic and unable to climb stairs as well. Will the DWP be understanding of this… Time will tell.

We arrived as normal at 10am outside the new Jobcentre. It was pouring down with rain which didn’t help things either.

The minute that we arrived the police arrived, they must have been waiting for us. At first they were quite happy for us to stand outside the Jobcentre in the plaza area because it had been deemed a public place, however a member of the local authority decided differently. We were told that we had to stand in the area near the steps downstairs.

Flaming ridiculous. Of course that the Jobcentre don’t want us there so they’ve probably had words with someone, you know how these things go. Despite this’ll we will be back outside the Jobcentre next week.

We help people, hand food parcels out and support people… All things that the DWP should do. Whilst we were there local councillors who were standing with us weren’t impressed with us being moved. Believe me we will be back.

Today was hectic because the weather was awful and we’re trying to get used to our new spot.

There’s no signage up for the Jobcentre or the library either, its a fancy glass building and I like the library but there does need to be signs outside also.

Another matter of concern that was brought to me by a member of the public was that there’s no privacy near the computers and DWP staff were milling round the library and looking at what people were doing.

Lovely. A library is supposed to be a place of sanctuary.

We directed lots of people to the Jobcentre because they didn’t know where it was because of the lack of signage and we still spoke to people and handed food parcels out to those needing one.

I spoke to a heavily pregnant woman whos 30 weeks pregnant. Shes just made a claim for universal credit and has been told that she has to make a new cv and look for work.

What planet exactly do these DWP advisors live on? No one will employ a woman thats pregnant even more so heavily pregnant. The DWPs attitude towards pregnant women makes me feel sick.

Throughout the demo I was concerned and still are concerned about access to the Jobcentre for disabled people that can’t use lifts or stairs. What’s going to happen to them if they can’t attend their appointment? This needs addressing ASAP.

Because the weather was awful, the rain didn’t stop and we were freezing cold we left a bit early. I’m so sorry but we were freezing and wet through.

We handed out all of our food parcels and helped people. Next week we will help even more.

Massive thanks to everyone that turned up to help in this dreadful weather. I really do appreciate it thank you so much.

Thanks to everyone who reads wnd shares my blog, thank you so much ❤️.

Also thanks to everyone that supports my blog and the campaign. Thank you so much. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people and to raise awareness of the suffering of others.

64 year old woman with multiple health condition fails universal credit medical assessment. Living in substandard accommodation. How are people supposed to survive this?

Dear readers, its Thursday yet again. The sun was shining for us today, what a welcome surprise. It was lovely to see. No joy was found from the DWP though, there’s a surprise.

I’ll be listing everything that happened today as usual. No real names will be divulged either. Today we handed out six food parcels and helped lots of people who would have otherwise been left, stranded without help by a system that doesn’t care about them.

Those of you that have been through the system or know people that have will already know that the DWPs flagship universal credit system is cruel, heartless and punishing. It discriminates against everyone but particularly women, children, single parents and people with disabilities.

Universal credit is obscenely complicated and hard to navigate, often DWP advisors don’t know the rules either. Not one department communicates with another even though universal credit is computer driven by default. You’d honestly think that the designers of it would have thought about people that are unable to use computers or don’t have any access to the internet at home. They also didn’t take into account the fact that libraries are shutting their doors or reducing the hours that they’re open because they can’t afford to stay open.

Universal credit is a system that rarely works well for anyone, but it was designed to do this, to reduce the unemployment levels by any means possible. If that means that a person takes themselves off the system because they can’t cope then so be it. No one will try and stop them either. Above the door of every Jobcentre a sign saying ‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here’ because that’s exactly what people do.

 

The first thing that I noticed today was the queue of women waiting for food parcels. It goes without saying that there shouldn’t be a need for us to hand food parcels out but there is, and will be for as long as this rotten government is in power.

As I was handing the food parcels out a young man stormed out of the Jobcentre. I asked him what was wrong and he shouted ‘It’s a pile of shit in there, they don’t give a shit do they’ I agreed with him and handed him a leaflet.

 

Meet Tom. Tom had successfully made an application for universal credit a couple of months ago, thats good you might think. Well, no because it appears that whoever processed his application didn’t quite do everything correctly.

Upon applying for universal credit a claimant is expected to provide ID and proof of tenancy etc at their first meeting, because as you know rent etc is all rolled into one payment every month. Here’s where Tom encountered his first problem. I say first because he’s bound to have more problems as time progresses.

Tom looked confused as he handed me a form that he had just been given by his advisor. As I looked at it he told me that he had already provided them with the ID and proof that they needed. Here’s the letter in all it’s glory.

 

In this letter he’s asked about every single detail of his tenancy, including gas and electricity check certificates and energy performance certificates. Tom has no idea what those are, his landlord didn’t issue him with these. The DWP need to remember that not all landlords actually do this.

Other questions included are ‘Are you up to date with your rent payments? If yes, provide evidence of this.’

‘Would your landlord accept less rent at times if you could not afford to pay the full rent?’

‘Will your landlord accept a lower rent if universal credit does not meet your full rent liability?’

‘Would your landlord take you to court to evict you if you failed to pay the rent?’

‘Would your landlord take legal action to recover rent arrears?’

These questions are totally ridiculous. Landlords rarely if ever lower a persons rent payment to suit the DWP, and of course a landlord will take action to evict a tenant for non payment of rent. It’s ridiculous to think otherwise, and very arrogant of the DWP to suggest that a landlord should back down to the demands of the DWP.

Honestly, the above form looks like something thats been typed out at home in a hurry. There’s absolutely nothing official on this form, no DWP logo either. It’s all very strange.

Tom quite rightly noted that they should have asked for this information when he first made his claim, he’s already received his first payment. He’d already paid his rent with this. Honestly you couldn’t make this up.

To make matters worse he had to make a new appointment just to hand in this form, if he doesn’t attend he’ll get sanctioned.

I asked him if he had moved house and he told me that he hadn’t, his was living at the same address when he made his claim for universal credit.

Luckily I was able to walk him through the questions and signposted him if he needs further help. Poor fella, he was so confused. He thanked me and he walked away hopefully less confused.

 

Tom looks after his sister who is computer illiterate, his sister struggles to get out and depends on Tom to do most tasks for him. Tom attended the Jobcentre a few weeks ago to hand his sisters fit note in. He was told quite bluntly at the reception desk that he couldn’t do this and he had to post it. So Tom posted it using an envelope that they gave him.

Today Tom attended the Jobcentre once more to hand his sisters fit note in. This time they accepted it but asked him where the previous fit note was. He told them that he’d posted it because he’d been told to. Unbelievable isn’t it.

Tom was understandably a bit fed up, saying this system is bloody ridiculous isn’t it.

 

I spoke to a woman struggling to pay the bedroom tax, a man that was sent away fro being ten minutes early and a woman who told me that she claims universal credit and PIP and its bloody awful.

I also spoke to an older woman that cares for her son who’s autistic. He had failed his latest ESA medical because apparently he ‘looked ok’. Obviously the DWP don’t recognised hidden disabilities, they’ve got quite a bad track record of this.

I spoke to a young man that has taken himself off the system because he couldn’t cope with it. I asked him how he managed from day to day, he told me that he tries his best but is dependent upon relatives. He hopes to get a job in the near future.

 

We spoke to a self employed plasterer, he quite loudly told us that universal credit has ruined many of his friends and colleagues. Universal credit made it impossible for them to continue with their trade. He was understandably angry, but angry at the government for doing this to them.

 

I spoke to Bill, bill has been sanctioned because his daughter had been taken into hospital and he missed his signing on appointment. He did telephone the Jobcentre and communicated this through his online journal, he’s even provided evidence of the hospital stay. But the gods of the DWP have decided that he’d be sanctioned so he was.

I told him that he could appeal the sanction decision and he told me that his advisor hadn’t told him that he could appeal. Thankfully hes now going to appeal this and hopefully he’ll win his appeal. He wouldn’t have known to do this if we weren’t there to inform him.

 

Meet Pat. Pat is 64 years of age and has numerous medical conditions, some quite serious. Pat hasn’t been able to work for years because of this. Pat also claims universal credit.

Pat recently attended a universal credit medical assessment, she failed this and was told that she’s now fit for work.

So the DWP gods have performed another miracle haven’t they.

Pat is determined to appeal this decision, so she informed her advisor of this. Her advisor then told her that she now needs to provide medical proof if she wants to appeal.

Pat has now had to pay £15 for a letter from her doctor. This is completely ridiculous, she’s already shown evidence of her medical conditions.

To make matters much worse Pat lives in a home riddled with damp and her landlord is reluctant to deal with it. She told me that she doesn’t know how much more she can continue like this, its becoming all too much for her.

Remember pat is 64 years of age, she shouldn’t be treated like this and she honestly didn’t expect this.

I did everything that I could to help her and signpost her. It’s absolutely heartbreaking when you speak to someone thats suffering as much as this. For gods sake we’re supposed to respect our elders. The DWP respects no one not even their staff.

 

I spoke to a middle aged man who’s in the process of being evicted. He told me that the move over to universal credit has caused this.n

We spoke to a young man that was prevented from attending an appointment with a friend, ten minutes later another man was prevented from entering the Jobcentre with his partner. He wanted to help her but he was turned away. The law states that a claimant is allowed support when attending an appointment but hey, the DWP employees at the front desk of Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre appear to totally disregard this.

 

Today’s conversations all happened within two hours on a Thursday afternoon. Universal credit doesn’t work, its very design dictates this.

We need to stop and scrap universal credit and replace it with a much fairer system that actually cares for people.

 

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

Thank you to everyone that turned up to help today, I really appreciate this.

 

Massive thanks to everyone that supports my blog. Without you I honestly don’t know what I’d do. Your support means everything especially when times are hard. As a skint single parent I can relate to everyone that I speak to.

Keep safe, we’ll be back next week as usual.

 

 

£213 a month to live on, and also have to top up rent payments with that. People are struggling to survive on universal credit.

Dear readers, today was grim and the weather didn’t help anyone, let alone the people forced to use the Jobcentre. Yet again we encountered numerous people with all sorts of problems ranging from universal credit, ESA and PIP, housing problems etc.

We handed out all of our food parcels, most were taken by single parents with children and working families. They rely on foodbanks to survive, it really shouldn’t be like this.

Thanks to Gordon for joining me and also Jack. Your help is invaluable and it’s appreciated by everyone.

As usual I won’t divulge the names of anyone that I spoke to this morning. The DWP snoop everywhere and I don’t want anyone that I spoke to being targeted by the DWP. This does happen, but not on my blog. I value everyone that I speak to unlike the DWP.

 

John walked out of the Jobcentre clutching the usual list of phone numbers that they hand out to everyone. I handed him a leaflet and asked him if he needed any help. John told me that he was ok, but thats only because he’s living with a relative that can feed and look after him whilst he’s waiting for his universal credit claim to be processed, saying that the alternative is to horrible to think about.

 

I then spoke to Gemma. Gemma has struggled almost all of her life, she’s 19 years old and to be honest isn’t enjoying anything about her life at the moment. In her short lifetime she’s been homeless twice and has been rehoused not long ago.

Gemma is claiming universal credit and is finding it almost impossible to manage. She receives in total £513 a month total to live on after paying her rent payment. Out of this she has to pay back her rent arrears that she keeps accruing because she’s finding it hard to pay her full rent. She also got into rent arrears whilst she was waiting for her universal credit claim to be processed, “What are you supposed to do, just pay your rent with the loan that they give you? It was impossible for me to pay my full rent because I needed food to eat, and gas and electric to buy. I’ve got no one to borrow money from, and that’d have to be paid back as well.

To make the situation worse Gemma also has to repay her universal credit loan back at £100 a month. There’s absolutely no regulation concerning the repayment of loan debts. No set amounts that people have to pay back, sometimes I think that they pick a number out of thin air and decide thats how much they should pay back. It’s ludicrous

Basically after all of her above debts are paid back Gemmas left with £213 a month to survive on. She’s got to buy gas, electric, food and transport costs. She’s a broken woman at 19 years old. Huddled up in the cold, Gemma muttered “It’s almost as if they’re trying to destroy me. I’m 19 years old and I’m worn out because of the stress and worry. There’s a good chance that I’ll become homeless again, and I’m doing my best. Universal credit is destroying me. They look at me (DWP staff) as if I’m stupid, like I’m something on the bottom of their shoe. They don’t want to help me”

Gemmas 19 years old, at the start of her life and should be enjoying life. Instead she’s worn out, depressed and feels like giving up. This, my friends is what universal credit does to people. It eats you up, totally consumes you until eventually you give up. That’s exactly what its designed to do.

 

Sarah is a single parent and is also having a difficult time. She’s claiming universal credit and to say she’s struggling is an understatement. Here’s her story.

Sarah was instructed to attend an appointment, which she was ready to do but unfortunately one of her parents suddenly fell ill and was rushed into hospital by ambulance. Sarah was with her relative when this happened and from the ambulance she telephoned the DWP to try and rearrange her appointment. The person that she spoke to said that this wouldn’t be a problem, and they’d phone her later with another appointment.

Only the DWP phoned the wrong number. Not the one that’s registered online, an old number that isn’t used anymore, and Sarah had already informed them about this.

Sarah also couldn’t remember her 16 pin log in details. How on earth is anyone supposed to remember this, its impossible. Even if people write it down its easy for it to get lost. If they put it in their mobile phone (if they have one) and the phone breaks, then the numbers missing.

Sarah phoned the DWP to tell them that she’d forgotten her PIN number. The DWP then told her that she had to go online to get the number. Sarah couldn’t access her online account because she didn’t have her pin. Basically they gave her an impossible task to complete.

Upon attending her next DWP appointment she was told that the DWP were deducting her universal credit payment by £200 but don’t worry, we’ll give you a LOAN for £150 that you have to pay back. Are the DWP getting their ideas from illegal money lenders or something? This is atrocious.

Basically Sarah was fined £200 for missing a phone call that she never received because they phoned the wrong number, and for loosing her PIN number. You really couldn’t make this shit up could you.

Sarah is also in rent arrears now because she was unable to pay her full rent because she was sanctioned. She now has to top up her rent payments and repay two DWP loans back.

Don’t forget Sarah is a single parent with a very young child, she didn’t have any food in her cupboards and didn’t know what to do. Luckily I gave her a food parcel and advised her on what to do. Hopefully she will access local services and she will appeal her sanction.

It’s despicable that people are treated in this manner, not only are the parents suffering but their children are too. The DWP just don’t care. It’s no coincidence that more and more children are being put into the care system is it. Many parents can no longer provide food, heating, clothing etc for their children and it’s not their fault. The blame lies purely at the governments feet.

 

I asked an older man how was he coping with universal credit. He looked at me and said ‘Just about. Now I’ve got to pay my council tax”

 

I spoke to a young woman working a zero hour contract at a local cake factory. When she started her job she was told that if she worked hard she might get a contracted job. She worked hard but never got the contract. Now she has no job security at all.

 

Gordon spoke to an older woman aged 62 who’s claiming universal credit, she’s struggling but then again nearly everyone claiming universal credit are aren’t they.

 

We then had a conversation Brian with an older man, he claims ESA and was told to phone an 0845 number recently. He wasn’t very clear about why he was told to phone this number up. He’s confused because the system is extremely confusing.

Brian has a contract phone and his phone bill per monthly is £15 a month. Brian tried phoning this number numerous times, each time he was placed on hold for great lengths of time. When he received his bill it was £54.

Of course he was angry, he shouldn’t have cost him  this much, all calls to the DWP should be free, but many still aren’t.

Brian was angry, frustrated and echoed concerns for those without a mobile phone contract saying ‘How the hell are they going to pay that? They’ll never get any help if they don’t have a phone will they’ He realises the systems rotten, and wondered why the government are allowed to do this ‘It’s criminal’ he said, and he’s not wrong.

 

Jack, a local councillor  represented a claimant whilst they had an appointment, this helps a great deal and I can’t recommend this enough. More should do this if they’re able to.

 

We left todays demo cold and a bit downhearted, but knowing that we’ve helped people makes everything worthwhile.

 

Please read, share and tweet my blog, also subscribe to it, it’ll save you from having to look for it every week.

There’s also a donate button at the top of this blog and at the side. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people, through my blog I’ve managed to reach thousands upon thousands of people. As a result of this and other campaigns, more and more people are aware of the cruelty of universal credit and the heartless state of our government.

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