It appears that the DWP have extended their total disregard and lack of care to their Future Pension Center helpline.
DWP minister Laura Trott disclosed in a written answer to parliament that between the 27 January and 26 March 2023, 1,007,868 calls were made to the Future Pension Centre helpline.
Of these, 47,345 were answered.
18,006 calls were abandoned.
It also revealed that a massive 942,517 calls were cut-off by the DWP before the callers got through to an operative.
That means a shameful 94% of all calls were deliberately disconnected.
This once again proves that the DWP and the government are totally ‘incompetent’ and are totally failing those that are desperately in need.
Personally I think that it’s deliberate and not down to incompetence after all they save money because people give up trying to contact them. They like to save money especially off the backs of vulnerable people.
Their systems aren’t fit for purpose and this proves this to be the case.
Will the government invest in their call systems and make them fit for purpose?
Don’t hold your breath. It’s beneficial for them not to do so. Meanwhile vulnerable people will continue to get distressed whilst trying to contact the DWP and many will give up altogether.
This isn’t acceptable but don’t expect the government to care enough to do anything about it.
Many thanks to Benefits And Work for their original reporting of this.
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Earlier this month (May) the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) released their latest Universal Credit sanction statistics. The statistics reveal that 541,000 UC claimants were sanctioned in the year to January 2023.
The greatest majority of those (530,000) were shown to have been sanctioned for failing to attend or failing to participate in a mandatory interview.
However these figures represent a very small fall from the previous peak sanction rate and the number of claimants sanctioned is shown to be still more than double the figures pre-pandemic.
In January 2020 18,462 claimants were sanctioned.
In January 2023, the figure was 44,888.
However the non attendance of mandatory interviews are mostly for genuine issues such as not recieving a letter or notification of having to attend an interview, I’ve blogged about this many times.
Other reasons for non attendance can be Not being able to get to their nearest Jobcentre for their interview because of cost, illness and appointments clashing with childcare obligations.
It is then that the claimant is left to the discretion of their work coach as to if they’re sanctioned or not.
This is incredibly worrying especially because the DWP is now planning to give work coaches the power to decide who is capable of work. Please see my previous blogs for details about this.
Please note that as already blogged it is planned that medically unqualified work coaches could be given the responsibility of making life changing decisions on behalf of UC claimants.
Decisions such as if a disabled or ill claimant is in their opinion able to take part in work-related activities.
Based upon their decision they could be given the power to recommend sanctions and suchlike.
As a result of not being medically qualified such decisions will be based purely on opinion and not fact.
Upon being sanctioned a claimant can try to show their work coach good causes for not attending a planned meeting. They can also do this if their work coach decides that even though they’ve attended a meeting but have failed on their eyes to participate as well as expected.
This can be for many reasons such as their disability preventing them for doing so or illness.
However the work coaches decision is purely based upon their decision or mood so it’s clear that unfair sanction decisions can be sent to the decision maker leaving the claimants payments being sanctioned.
Sanction decision can be appealed and their is an appeal process. Whilst the majority of appeals are successful the whole process is very long and extremely stressful, leaving the claimant in great distress and under enormous financial pressure.
The whole benefit sanction process is heavily biased against claimants, the balance of power unfairly being in the hands of work coaches and decision makers.
Once a sanction has reached the end of the appeal process and a decision made in the claimant’s favour the damage has already been done and many claimants never fully recover both mentally and physically from this.
Sadly this won’t be changing for the better any time soon and it would be nieve to expect this.
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As I’ve previously mentioned under the proposed DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) the WCA (Work Capability Assessment) will be abolished by 2026.
To replace this it is to be replaced by one assessment which will be the PIP (Personal Independence Payment) assessment. This will decide if a claimant will be eligible for PIP and if they are also eligible for the new UC (Universal Credit) health element.
Rather unsurprisingly the DWP plans to employ unqualified UC work coaches to make these decisions rather than qualified health professionals.
It will be those unqualified UC work coaches that will decide whether a claimant must undertake work-related activities
I strongly suspect, as we have seen in the past that disabled claimants will be judged upon the mood and attitude of their work coach. If their work coach is ok and in a good mood they might be judged fairly. If not then they could be treated harshly.
Basically their quality of life will therefore be dependent upon an unqualified DWP work coach.
At a recent debate at parliament Labour MP Karen Buck asked Tom Pursglove (who is the present DWP minister for disabled people) several questions about how the proposed abolition of the WCA will work in practice.
Buck asked Pursglove if there would be a substantial risk test which would be similar to the one already used in WCA assessments.
At the time of writing the WCA rules say that Claimants do not have to undertake work-related activities if there is a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if you did so.
Needless to say thousands of appeals against WCA decisions have been successful on the basis that there would be a substantial risk to either the claimant or those around them.
Of course the DWP aren’t going to let this continue. How dare disabled people win their appeals and receive the payments that they’re entitled to.
Under the new proposed system the legal safeguards will no longer exist and all decisions will be made by unqualified work coaches, most of which might not have any or very little knowledge of physical or mental health issues. These issues if ignored will put claimants at risk.
Basically unqualified DWP work coaches will have sole power to make these life changing decisions.
God help us.
Buck asked Pursglove if there are any plans to introduce a mandatory reconsideration and appeal route against these decisions made by work coaches.
Pursglove’s answer was to totally ignored the question No surprise there.
He went on to make outlandish claims that work coaches would adopt a tailored approach that will allow work coaches to build a relationship with Claimants which will determine if any work related activities that Claimants can or can’t do.
I struggle to believe that this will actually happen given the fast staff turnover due to the stressful conditions that they work under. Not to forget work coaches having to take sick leave or indeed leave their jobs altogether.
So basically, cutting away the word salad from Pursglove as I’ve said above, decisions will be based upon attitudes and beliefs of any work coach, without any legal safeguards to prevent dangerous or clearly prejudiced decisions.
But Pursglove didn’t finish there. He went on to say that Claimants might be asked to volunteer in the first place building it up to mandatory placements with requirements added at a pace to suit individual claimants.
So voluntary work is now supposed to cure a claimant of all disabilities and illnesses? It’s not the first time that they’ve claimed this.
So going off Purseglove’s statements work coaches will decide the pace at which a claimant must increase their level of activity. As said above this will happen without any protection in place for claimants who are struggling to keep up therefore putting them at risk of being sanctioned.
When questioned about an appeal process, Pursglove would not answer, saying only that the DWP “will take time to carefully consider how best to implement these changes” and “ensure it provides the taxpayer with value for money and is accessible and effective in delivering for our service users.”
So if there won’t be any legal tests to decide who is or isn’t capable of work based upon the opinions of a work coach how can any decisions be challenged via a social security appeal tribunal?
Buck also asked “whether a benefit sanction that reduced a Claimants UC standard allowance to zero would remove a claimants entitlement to their entitlement to the Health Element of UC”
Pursglove’s initial response seemed positive stating ‘Entitlement to the new UC health element will only end when the functional impact of a person’s health condition improves and they are no longer eligible for PIP or as claimants earn more money resulting in their UC claim tapered away making them financially better off in work’
However this changed when he went on to say that ‘ As we develop our reform proposals we will consider how some interactions with the UC system will be reflected in the reformed system’
In my opinion this suggests that the DWP have not yet worked out many things about the new system, as is often the case.
Sadly this is par for the course for the government and the DWP. They’re always in a big rush to implement more draconian ideas upon the most vulnerable that they forget to actually make important decisions within their plans.
Whether this is done purposely or not is up to debate but I suspect they do.
I’ll keep my eye on this so expect more blogs upon this important subject.
Huge thanks to Benefits and Work for their hard work and original source of information about this subject..
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It’s been revealed in the publication of a government white paper and a subsequent report by John Pring from Disability News Forum that job coaches with no academic qualifications could be tasked with making life changing decisions as to whether a disabled person must carry out work related activities as part of their DWP commitments.
This is dependent upon whether the government goes ahead with its plans to scrap the “fitness for work” test.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has told Disability News Service (DNS) that there are no minimum academic qualifications required to undertake the role of a work coach in a Jobcentre.
It has also been revealed that it will be these work coaches who will be given the task of deciding if disabled claimants in receipt of universal credit are able to carry out tasks such as attending training courses or work-related interviews.
According to new DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) plans existing PIP (Personal Independence Payments) claimants may lose their right to be in the support group.
Under these new plans they could also lose their LCWRA ( Limited capability for work and work related activity) status and be transferred to the universal credit health element.
Once there they may be required to carry out work-related activities, as early as 2026.
The government also announced plans in March to axe the work capability assessment (WCA).
Under the new proposed plans, claimants who get any element of PIP and who claim UC will automatically be eligible for an additional health element.
Sounds good doesn’t it…..
Shockingly at the time of writing the new system won’t automatically recognize any claimant as being unable to carry out any work-related activities.
Claimants might find themselves forced to undergo voluntary and mandatory work-related requirements by an appointed work coach.
Once there they could be subject to benefit sanctions if they don’t meet the mandatory requirements as set by their work coach.
At the time of the new plans announcement the government made a statement that current claimants would not begin being transferred to the new system until 2029 at the earliest.
Apparently only new claimants were said to be affected initially, with the system being rolled out by geographical area between 2026 and 2029.
Despite this announcement evidence given to the commons work and pensions committee by the DWP contradicted the above claim.
Conservative MP Nigel Mills asked: “What happens if I get a called for a new PIP assessment every couple of years and I get one of those in 2027? Does that drop me into the new rules or do I stay under the old ones?”
A senior DWP official responded:
“With the way we will roll this out, we start from 2026 with new claims only, but we will do it in a geographical, staged way. It would depend which area you were in in 2027. Yes, some people might come in under the new rules, and that means they would automatically get your UC health payment and would automatically get the support.”
As an ever increasing proportion of England and Wales will be moved to the UC health element beginning in 2026.
This suggests that thousands of existing PIP claimants when subjected to a review of their award will find themselves being forced onto the UC health element earlier than 2029.
So once again the DWP are lying.
However this does give us time to start campaigning against the new proposals but this needs to start now.
We need to prevent the DWPs plans to subject existing claimants to the attention of work coaches with targets to meet even though they deny this.
The government and their hench people will never stop persecuting disabled and poor people for their very existence.
Many have the view that they deserve to be persecuted like this. They’ll never change their opinions but we can fight them all the way.
Huge thanks to everyone that reads and shares my blog posts. This makes a massive difference in making people aware of matters such as this.
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It has recently been revealed by Benefits And Work that PIP (Personal Independence Payments) appeal figures have risen by 119% in 2022, this is compared to the same quarter in 2021.
The rate of UC (Universal Credit) appeals has also risen by 28% the latest official figures show.
The number of cases that were dealt increased by only 18% in the same time period compared to figures from 2021.
Figures show that there were 63,000 outstanding cases by the end of September 2021 which adds to an annual increase of 96%.
The average wait time for an appeal averaged at 31 weeks. This shows that it is 8 weeks down from 2021 figures , but is likely to increase over the coming quarters as the backlog rises inexorably.
The success rate for PIP appeals remains unchanged at 68%. This shows that the vast majority of those who appeal are correct in their decision to appeal however the wait time for appeals to be heard continues to rise.
For UC claimants it is revealed that the appeal success rates are now at 49% which is an increase of 7% on the previous year.
DLA (Disability Living Allowance) success rates are now at 61% which is down 6%.
Meanwhile ESA (Employment and Support Allowance success rates are now 53%, down on the previous year at 1%
Appealing against any DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) decision is always daunting and extremely stressful. Not only is the appeal process hard to navigate, the waiting times for appeals and tribunals to be heard is increasing.
The success rate shows that those making the decision to appeal have made the right decision in doing so.
Sadly many people that are entitled to appeal fail to do so because they can’t afford to wait a long time for their appeal to be heard and also can’t cope with the stress involved, many having no support network to rely upon.
I don’t need to tell you that the downright discrimination and hatred given to disabled and unemployed people is totally unfair and discriminatory.
This cruelty combined with the increasing cost of living and energy prices is making life extremely difficult for those that are most in need of financial help.
In an ideal world this wouldn’t be happening at all but there won’t be any positive changes made to the system whilst there’s a Tory government in power.
The conservative party is doing what they do best, punishing the most vulnerable and poor for their very existence, they need to be stopped and soon before more people suffer and die as a result of their actions.
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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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In a report recently published by Disability News Service the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) have admitted repeatedly breaching the equality act by failing to follow guidelines by repeatedly ignoring a man’s disability requirements.
In the report it states that a legal document describes how a disabled man from east London had been ignored on multiple occasions by DWP staff both on their helplines and in Jobcentres.
However the DWP has now been forced to admit that they have repeatedly discriminating against him by ignoring his needs.
The truth is that thousands of disabled people are being discriminated against on a daily basis. Claimants disability and communication requirements are often ignored. Indeed I have encountered this many times whilst helping disabled people with their claims.
One such claim that I helped with being a man registered as blind being sent paper letters despite the fact that he couldn’t read them and the DWP being informed about this. Sadly this is one account of many.
This blatant discrimination can cause great distress and anxiety with many disabled peoples claims either being sanctioned or closed because they can’t respond as required.
The truth is the Universal Credit system has more flaws than a fishing net has holes, rules are broken all the time with the DWP not being held accountable for their actions and no recompense given to claimants.
In many cases requests to DWP staff to take disability into account are blatantly ignored proving that whilst the government declared that Universal Credit is tailored to fit each claimant and easier to claim is also a lie.
In the original report by Disability News Service it states that for more than two years this man and his carers requested on multiple occasions that the DWP communicate with him by phone. They ignored this and continued to communicate through his online Universal Credit journal.
After many requests DWP staff failed to put important markers on his universal credit account to show other DWP employees that he was a vulnerable claimant and that reasonable adjustments needed to be made for him.
Upon applying for Universal credit he was told incorrectly that he could only apply for Universal Credit digitally and not by telephone. This left him unable to apply himself and had to seek help from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Requests for support were ignored or refused.
Despite making multiple attempts to complain about how poorly he was treated, most of them were ignored and not investigated.
The report by Disability News Service went on to say that the DWP admitted liability in a county court discrimination case taken by the gentleman concerned and he is seeking compensation up to £25,000 in damages for their failure to acknowledge his disability and the impact that this treatment has had on him. and although George is seeking up to £25,000 in damages, the department is disputing the amount it should pay in compensation for its failures and the impact they have had on him.
Despite this court case I’m certain that the DWP will continue to discriminate against disabled people and many will continue to undergo the same treatment as this gentleman, driving many to live in distress.
The truth is that the DWP don’t care and won’t ever care. The governments remit is to take as many people off social security as possible despite disability and vulnerability .
Good luck everybody and seek help and advice before making a Universal Credit claim this can make the world of difference and can help to alleviate distress and anxiety.
Dear readers and subscribers I desperately need your help!!
I started blogging over 8 years ago and have done so on a weekly basis, sometimes more. I don’t receive any payment for the work that `I do or the help that I freely give to others.
The reality is that my web hosting fees are due on Tuesday and I can’t afford to pay for them. I’ve thought of everything but I just can’t do it, so this weeks blog might be the last one for a long while because of my financial situation.
This is very upsetting for me because I blog to help others and to inform people of the DWPs awful treatment towards disabled people, unemployed people and people working and claiming social security.
I really don’t want to say goodbye and I can’t change web host either. This one suits me well and it does everything that I need it to easily and without stress.
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I wouldn’t ask but I’ve exhausted all other options.
My hosting bill comes to a total of £109 and it has to be paid by Tuesday.
If I can’t afford to renew my fees I’ll blog again before Tuesday then I don’t know when after this.
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!
Thanks also to my subscribers!
I don’t receive any payment for my work and as many of you know it’s a struggle.
If you can afford to and would like to donate to keep this blog and campaign going there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
The fees to keep this website going are approaching quickly and I’ve no idea how I’m going to pay them. Every penny will help me to continue to blog and help people.
I really don’t want to leave this blog platform as it does everything that I need and is easy for me to use.
It’s also my 8 year anniversary for this blog, time has passed far too quickly!