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.
A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog.
I receive no payment for any of the work that I do and every read, share makes a big difference
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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.
You can read the original report by Disability News Service here http://disabilitynewsservice.com
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.
If you are able to and would like to help me to continue to blog and help others theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Theres also a donate button on the top bar of this website.
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.
Thank you xx
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!
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that can help with extra living costs if you have both a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability if you have difficulty doing everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition.
PIP can be applied for even if you’re working, have savings or are getting most other benefits.
A Mandatory Reconsideration is the first step of challenging a PIP decision. This involves asking the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to look at their decision again. A Mandatory Reconsideration has to be applied for within one month of the decision date (the date that is given on the decision letter).
Reports show that the latest PIP statistics give show that Mandatory Reconsiderations success rates have fallen for almost every single month since October of 2021.
The statistics go on to show that the success rates have dropped from 45% in October 2021 to just 26% in April of 2022.
When questioned the DWP have offered no explanation for this inexorable decline in Mandatory Reconsideration success rates.
In 2019 the DWP implemented a new system of contacting claimants who lodged a mandatory reconsideration in order to collect further evidence. As a result Mandatory Reconsideration success rates rose considerably.
Moving forward to 2022 the DWP are now struggling to cope with an 18% increase in new PIP claims.This has resulted in a 9% increase in requests for mandatory reconsiderations which in turn has caused significant stress on an already overwhelmed system.
There are various reasons as to what the cause is but one notable one is that the DWP appear to no longer take the time to contact claimants if they’ve failed an assessment therefore success rates have fallen back to their previous levels before 2019.
Invariably this has resulted in thousands of claimants becoming disheartened and forgoing applying for a Mandatory Reconsideration. If a claimant makes the decision to challenge the DWPs decision they often have to wait months before going through the ordeal of an appeal tribunal. This results in already vulnerable people in a distressed state unable to continue with their day to day activities that their PIP award enabled them to do.
People living with a disability or illness have long bared the brunt of the governments cruelty being neglected, ignored and often left to cope with relentless cuts to their benefit payments and help that most need to continue with their day to day activities.
The governments relentless targeting of the most vulnerable in society needs to stop but sadly its very likely that this won’t happen whilst the Tory government are still in power. Instead they prefer to have parties and sing on karaokes whilst thousands of people suffer as a result of their actions.
Please read, share and tweet this blog post, every share helps massively to raise awareness which is vitally important.
f you would like to contribute towards keeping my blog and campaign going and can afford to there is a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that supports my blog and campaign. Every penny makes a huge difference and enables me to continue with my work. I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do and its a huge struggle for me.
New regulations have been issued to enable registered nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists to issue fit notes.
This will extend the categories of people that can issue fit notes.
New statutory instrument
The new regulations will commence from 1 July 2022.
These regulations being Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022 (SI.No.630/2022) amend the Social Security (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1976 and the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1985.
The new regulations also make amendments to sets of regulations which refer to medical evidence as having been signed by doctors or registered medical practitioners.
The explanatory memorandum to the regulations advises that –
‘Currently only doctors can certify fit notes. This is not reflective of modern ways of multi-disciplinary working in healthcare where alternative healthcare professionals (HCPs) such as nurses often lead a patient’s diagnosis and healthcare management.
Expanding certification to a wider group of HCPs will better enable relevant HCPs to undertake health and work conversations to issue and certify fit notes without having to refer patients to their doctors.’
Commenting on the regulations, DWP Minister Chloe Smith said today –
‘The extension of fit note certification is fantastic news for patients, making it easier for them to get the support and advice they need from the right place, ensuring where possible that they are able to remain in work.’
These latest fit note changes recognise the valuable role other professions play in helping manage people’s health, and I hope this will also help reduce unnecessary bureaucracy for doctors and general practice more widely.’
This is welcome news for people struggling to provide fit notes for the DWP which can be a struggle for many.
SI.No.630/2022 is available from legislation.gov.uk
Thanks to Rightsnet for providing this information.
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With much celebration yesterday evening the DWP announced that their plans to start migrating people from all legacy benefits to Universal Credit (UC) with a commencement date being May 9th. Their target completion date being December 2024. This will leave approximately 900,000 of households worse off whilst claiming UC.
Not only will thousands of claimants previously claiming legacy benefits be hit with lower payments they’re set to also face a benefit freeze leaving them in a much worse financial situation they are already in. They will also be faced with the distress of being forced to accept this whilst struggling financially to cover the basics.
The DWP claim that legacy claimants will be sent a ‘migration notice’ with a three-month deadline to make a claim for UC. If they don’t accept the migration notice or don’t receive it as is often the case with letters from the DWP their benefits will stop. This will undoubtably leave thousands of already vulnerable people not receiving any help to do so with the majority of people claiming legacy payments being disabled and ill people already struggling with day to day costs.
The DWP are quoted saying that legacy claimants will receive transition payments to ensure their income does not drop, however how many times have we heard the DWP make statements like this and don’t fulfil their promises.
As a direct result of this migration previous legacy benefit claimants payments will be effectively frozen every April with no end date given. This is because their transitional payments will abrade each year as UC rises with inflation whilst waiting for it to match up with what they’re being paid.
This is very concerning especially because 500,000 claimants forced to migrate claim ESA and are disabled and ill, causing extreme distress and worse with predictions being that they will face being much worse off financially.
We already know that UC is a cruel, harsh system that deliberately punishes the most vulnerable leaving thousands in extreme poverty and distress. UC benefits the government alone giving them the perfect opportunity to punish working class people for simply existing.
Whilst the government and the DWP are rubbing their hands in glee we must continue to support each other and campaign against the governments cruelty, it’s the only way that we will survive this.
Combined with the energy price crisis and the ever increasing cost of living I have no doubt that thousand will die as a result of this forced migration.
God help us all.
EDIT: FROM PAULA PETERS. Also will add the UC regs for legacy benefit support group claimants are not in place yet and still being discussed the white paper on work and disability is important to Keep an eye on.
Huge thanks to Dan Bloom over at The Mirror for being the inspiration for this piece and a Twitter follower rooneygmusic for sending me the info over last night.
Please like, share, tweet and email this blog post, todays blog is extremely important and I would really appreciate it if you could do this.
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Another massive thank you goes out to everyone that has supported and does support my blog and campaign I really couldn’t do this without you.
Here we go again.
The amazing people over at Benefits And Work have made a simple request asking if they can see a copy of the original, unaltered survey on the unmet needs of disabled people. It’s not a big request, it’s a simple one.
Sadly their denial can only mean that the DWP are desperate to hide the survey results. This could be because it shows that the needs of disabled people are not being met. To be honest it’s no secret that disabled people are suffering immensely.
Whilst gloating about their denial to release the results the DWP have also refused to say whether they will publish a separate survey that they have commissioned which focuses on claimants’ financial situations and what support they may need.
I can only surmise that the DWP know how important that this information is. Disabled claimants were struggling financially even before the current cost of living crisis began. I suspect that the survey results will be shockingly bad.
The cost of living crisis and the huge energy price hikes will massively increase a disabled persons outgoings, with the energy bill for a typical home set to rise £1,971 a year caused by the 54% rise in energy price cap. This already massive price increase is projected to increase even further in October, pushing thousands further into poverty.
Many disabled claimants don’t have the option of turning their heating and appliances off. Thousands need to keep their homes warmer because of health conditions or run medical equipment which will cause their energy costs to be higher than the average household.
To add salt into the wound council tax bills are increasing, water rates are rising and food bills are also inflating. This will leave many disabled people almost priced out of existence, with no way of being able to keep up with the ever increasing costs.
In an ideal world with a supportive DWP system which supported claimants they would want to release information about the inadequacy of the current social security system into the public domain. This would then help claimants and the DWP system to put pressure on politicians to increase the annual uplift and payments.They would also work alongside charities and experts to put pressure on the politicians that make the decisions.
Back to reality though, we all know that the DWP will always fight in every single way to prevent the truth of their cruel system to be revealed. They don’t care about claimants especially disabled claimants. Their priority will always be cutting costs and pushing harmful policies directed by the Conservative government.
Theres plenty of evidence to support this, people have and will continue to take their own lives as a result of unfair DWP decisions, and now with the cost of living crisis and energy price increases this isn’t going to end, and will probably worsen.
More pressure is needed to beput upon the government and the DWP is desperately needed, especially as we are facing the huge cost of living crisis that many will not survive.
Benefits And Work are challenging both refusals and will hopefully get the results that are needed.
As my friend Rick Burgess says ‘400,000 disabled people across England have been stripped of the right to free insulation, and almost 300,000 are being excluded from the warm home discount. Can you say Democide?’
A huge thank you to Benefits And work for the inspiration for this article, they do amazing work.
Thanks to Rick Burgess for his quote over on Twitter.
Want to join a protest? Join The Peoples Assembly over at http://https//thepeoplesassembly.org.uk
Want to chat to likeminded people for solidarity and maybe some activism? Head over to https:manchesterdpac.com Theres lots that you can do there that doesn’t always mean attending a physical protest. Online support and campaigning is desperately needed.
Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. An online presence is needed and getting truth out there is vitally important.
I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do and like many of you are I’m struggling financially.
If you can afford it and would like to donate to keep both the blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
Huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports both my blog and campaign. This last year has been truly awful for me and my family. My son dying really was truly awful and I wouldn’t have got through this without your support, I wouldn’t have got through it 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.
The DWP is effectively trying to block essential and possibly life-saving university research. This research undertaken by Glasgow University with it’s purpose is to find out whether there is a link between benefits sanctions, ill health and suicide.
The research involves Glasgow University linking anonymised DWP data with NHS records. This could and most likely reveal that people that have been sanctioned have been prescribed antidepressants and people that already have existing conditions have resulted in their health declining. The research will also reveal the figures for those attempting to take their own life and sadly for those that have taken their own life.
When Glasgow University informed the DWP that they were starting their research in 2019 the DWP suggested that they would support the project. However since the project began the DWP have continually placed barriers up to try and stop this research to continue.
This comes as no shock to campaigners like myself. The DWP know how badly sanctioning people affects both their physical and mental health..
The DWP have spent years giving excuses to Glasgow University demanding that the research needed tighter security which they complied with. After these measures were put in place the DWP moved the goal post again insisting that Glasgow University must apply for permission to do the research all over again.
This has caused huge delays for the project. Professor Nick Bailey stated that the research should have been completed in 2020, but it has yet to start.
The chair of the Commons work and pensions committee, Stephen Timms told the Guardian “This emerging pattern of obstruction suggests that a culture of secrecy is entrenched in DWP. It must wake up to the harm that it is doing and commit to a new spirit of openness.”
There’s little doubt that the government will either delay or prevent any project that reveals the reality of how people suffer when they’ve been sanctioned.
It will continue to be the case until politicians stop ignoring the immense suffering of thousands of people. Although there are some politicians that don’t ignore this such as Debbie Abrahams who regularly speaks and campaigns against the cruelty of the DWP and their policies.
Ignoring the suffering of thousands of people will result in thousands more deaths. What is needed is for the opposition to start actively opposing the government on DWP related issues.
This isn’t likely to happen in the near future and MPs like Debbie Abrahams are loan voices in parliament trying extremely hard to change things. In the absence of this sadly DWP related issues and problems are going to get worse.
What is needed is for the opposition instead of concentrating about the ‘world of work’ they need to also concentrate and campaign on behalf of those unable to work.
Something has to happen and soon. With energy bills set to rise again in April and people already struggling I fear that thousands will die as a result of being cold and hungry.
It’s impossible to budget money when you have none in the first place
The conservative government has blood on their hands and they’ll never be able to wash it away.
A massive thank you to everyone that subscribes, reads and shares my articles. This makes a massive difference and it raises awareness.
This week was the first aniversary of my sons death. I’ve found it very hard to cope with but I’m still here.
Thank you to Benefits And Work for uncovering this story and for the hard work that they do.
I don’t receive any payment for my work and to say it’s a struggle is massive understatement. I’m reliant upon donations to continue to blog and campaign.
If anyone would like to donate and can afford to there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that has helped me. You’ve literally kept this going and I’m eternally grateful.