It’s been debated by many including myself about the fairness concerning PIP telephone assessments. It’s extremely triggering and stressful to attend these ‘medical assessments’ in the first place but at least you could see the assessors in person which can make appeals easier.
It also is extremely difficult to attend a telephone ‘assessment’ for those that have phone anxiety and limited, if any access to a telephone to conduct a telephone assessment.
The government are still ignoring the fact that not everyone has a telephone and not everyone can use a telephone hence my worry that telephone assessments could be harder than face-to-face assessments.
As reported by Benefits And Work the latest quarterly PIP statistics suggest that almost 2,000 fewer new claimants a month are getting an award since assessments switched from face-to-face assessments to telephone assessments.
These statistics also report that record numbers of people are now applying for PIP, but less applicants in proportion than ever receives their PIP payment.
The figures show that the overall average success rate for new PIP claims since PIP was introduced is 55%.But this has averaged over the last six months that the the success rate for new claims is just 48.5% since telephone assessments have been introduced.
Compare this to the same six months in 2019-20, before telephone assessments started, the success rate was 52%.
This decrease may seem small to many but in reality it means that 5,950 disabled claimants who would have previously been awarded their PIP payments were refused when the telephone assessments were introduced in the last quarter.
Whilst it can’t be be conclusively proved that it is the telephone assessments that has caused this, indeed PIP award rates have been falling for a long while, I can say that having a telephone assessment is going to reduce claims being successful.
I can also say that the government never misses a chance to deny a person their rightful payments to enable them to survive.I can bet that the same Tory MP’s implementing these policies and decisions never miss a chance to claim a so called expense when they get the chance to do so. Whilst they see that it’s ok for them to claim for just about anything that they can do, they see a disabled persons quality of life as an expense too much for them to pay.
The cruelty that the government dishes out to the poorest and most vulnerable appears to be never-ending. My fear is that the same government is going to refuse people with Covid 19 and Long Covid their rightful disability payments. Myself and others will be watching this situation and reporting on it.
For anyone that is or has made a claim for PIP and has been refused, it is essential that you appeal against a refusal. I know that its a horrible, arduous process to undertake but its worth doing.
I still intend to start my podcasts asap. I totally lack confidence in this area though. I will start it asap though.
As for me it’s been a tough week. I received a phone call today telling me that my son’s memorial has been put in place and is now ready to view. Honestly having a child die, no matter what age is a pain unlike any other. He was my only son and he was dedicated to helping his family.
I have to keep reminding myself that it’s ok to grieve even when I feel that I shouldn’t. My son enjoyed the summer weather but not the hay fever that comes with it. His favourite thing to do was to help others and he’s missed by so many in his community.
Even though he’s no longer with us I will still be campaigning on behalf of my son, he was autistic and he also had to fight for his rightful payments.
A huge thank you to everyone that reads and supports my blog, I really couldn’t do this without you.
If anyone would like to donate towards the campaign and my blog a donate button is at the top and side of this blog post.
It appears that the DWP are back to their old tricks again. The pandemic isn’t even over yet they continue with their obvious discrimination against disabled people.
Theres nothing that the government and the DWP appear to enjoy more than target vulnerable people with impossible targets to meet and to basically make their lives ask difficult as possible.
You might remember that a recent court hearing that the DWP had been wrongly using the law in relation to PIP mobility based on mental health grounds. (Personal Independence Payments)
The DWP although not admitting any wrongdoing, they did say that this would result in an increase of approximately 14% of the PIP mobility component. You can bet that they didn’t like that.
Meanwhile the brilliant team over at Benefits And Work have looked at the figures for claimants that claim PIP for anxiety and depression, this being listed as being the most likely to be affected by the court ruling.
They discovered that immediately after the DWP started implementing the new ruling, the award rates for mobility for depression and anxiety rose quite dramatically rising from 14% to up to 25% .
As if by some cruel feat of magic, the PIP award rates started to fall again, resulting in an all time low which is now far greater than before the court ruling.
Once again the DWP had most likely thought that they could ignore the ruling, thinking that no one would notice their deception. After all it’s easy to target the most vulnerable and the people that will find it extremely hard to fight back.
It’s very easy for the DWP to do this though, indeed it’s taken them just over a year to achieve this gross injustice.
They know that they can ignore court rulings because they’re accountable to no one. Knowing that this will result in the suffering of so many people they continue not caring and denying people their rightful payment awards.
Whilst the pandemic had opened up lots more access to online meetings and events, those without the internet cannot access help this way. Can you imagine being awarded such a meagre amount of money that leaves you unable to leave your home? Unable to pay or find internet access?
It’s cruelty beyond belief, and I don’t for one minute doubt that the DWP know exactly what they’re doing.
At a time when society should be helping each other the DWP decided to make disabled peoples lives even harder, which is no surprise and they will continue until they’re physically out of government.
What can we do to help each other? We can give help, advice and solidarity to anyone that we know that needs it. This makes a world of difference. I will continue to campaign against the ugly DWP machine and the government for as long as I am able to.
A huge thank you to Benefits And Work for all the hard work that they do. If you haven’t checked them out yet `I urge you to because they’re amazing!
Please read, share, tweet and email my blog posts. Every share really helps to raise awareness which in turn helps people. We need to get the truth out there.
A huge thank you to everyone that supports my blog and campaign. I’m slowly trying to get back to a new normal for me. Loosing my son has devastated me, but as a disabled person himself he would want me to continue to fight for fairness and equality for all.
I don’t receive any funding for either my blog and campaign. Theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that supports my work and a massive thank you to everyone that has supported me and shown me kindness throughout this awful time.
Dear readers and subscribers, you I get have realised that Ive been pretty much out of action this past week. I apologise for this, I feel awful about it and I hope that it doesn’t happen again.
Ive been struggling to get through this last rebound due to needing more meds and waiting for them to be processed.
I’ll be honest with you, I’m feeling pretty low at the moment. This past year has been a complete nightmare and so far it doesn’t appear to be easing.
My health is pretty rubbish at the moment, it takes me much longer to do tasks that I didn’t used to think about. My daughters more than fed up with me being ill and I do feel like I am to blame for this. Being a single parent is tough when you’re ill.
Yesterday I learnt that the support that I was getting will be ending next week. This was very difficult for me to process because I’m still needing help.
Ive noticed that many essential support networks and general support services locally are ending next week because apparently everything’s going back to normal.
It’s rather foolish to believe that because this latest lockdown is ending that Covid 19 has ended as well. So many people are still ill with it and are suffering from long covid.
It’s very neglectful of any support network to believe that this latest lockdown ending is the last lockdown that we are going to have.
Already the numbers of children that are infected with covid 19 are rising along with the schools re opening. Combine this with the majority of the population have only had one vaccination leaving others still waiting for their vaccination dates it arrive.
Not long ago Boris Johnson declared that we would ‘have to get used to people dying’. I for one can never get used to that. He should never have uttered those words.
To be honest the only things that have been keeping me going recently are this blog and your support. I need your support more than I ever have before.
I want to be better, maybe these latest meds will work. I don’t want to be in the position that I’m in now. It’s pretty dire tbh and I expect that thousands of other people are feeling the same as I am now.
If any organisations are reading this blog post, please reconsider stopping support just because the latest lockdown is ending. So may of us are, not by choice dependent upon this help.
I feel that Ive been totally honest with you, I needed to get this worry off my chest so to speak and I want people to realise how tough it is for long covid survivors.
One day, hopefully soon this nightmare will be over and I’ll be back to my normal self. It’s been so long since I’ve been there.
Please read, share and tweet my blog. I really want to get the reality of our situations out there for everyone to read.
For anyone that would like to donate to keep both my blog, myself and the campaign going theres a donate button at the top and bottom of this blog post.
I really need your support and I thank everyone that does and has supported my blog and campaign.
Dear readers and subscribers, you may have noticed that I’ve been quiet this week. My aim is to produce at least three blog posts a week. I want to provide more newsworthy content as well as my weekly blog which is personal to me.
I have failed to do this because once again I’ve rebounded. I’ve got yet another chest infection that has hit me extremely hard, not only physically but mentally.
I really thought that I’d beaten my long covid symptoms, and for the most part I have. What I didn’t count on was that I could get another chest infection which has made me feel so ill.
I felt the symptoms up to about 14 days ago, I get pains in my right lung which are hard to describe. I stupidly ignored these symptoms because I didn’t want to be ill again, I didn’t want to have to say that I’m ill again because I’m sure that everyone is fed up of me saying this.
I carried on as usual until last Sunday when my body told me that I couldn’t continue like I was doing. My sats dropped to a low level and just doing the most basic chores made me breathless and tired.
I admitted defeat and spoke to my doctor. They diagnosed another chest infection and advised me that I should really go to the hospital. Easier said than done though when you’re a single parent and your child is totally dependent upon you.
I explained my situation and I was prescribed anti antibiotics and more inhalers. My consultant has been notified and I’m waiting for an appointment to see him.
There’s no doubting that I was extremely foolish to ignore my symptoms, don’t ever do this. For anyone in a similar situation to me, please act upon your symptoms and get help. I can’t believe that I was so stupid.
I think the main reason as to why I ignored my new symptoms is because I had such a long run of better health. I wasn’t struggling as much and I was seriously considering the fact that I would be well very soon.
I wanted to hold onto that hope, to become normal once again, to be included in future plans and to have ambitions of achieving my goals.
My goals aren’t particularly hard to achieve for an able bodied person. I love walking, I used to walk miles everyday and I so wanted to walk to Hartshead Pike once again with my daughter. Maybe one day I’ll achieve this.
Luckily I think that my antibiotics have started to work and my sats are much better than they were. Not perfect, far from it but acceptable for both myself and my doctor and consultant.
I know that the Covid 19 virus has damaged my lungs, especially my right lung and I have to accept that I’m more vulnerable to getting chest infections, but it’s impossible for me to live in a covid free environment. My daughter returned to school and with that came the spread of viruses brought home through no fault of her own.
So yes I’m struggling, yes I’m fed up of complaining about my health but this week has certainly been a big challenge for me. I want to do more, to eat more healthily and to have a better lifestyle but it’s impossible when I’m dependent upon such a low income.
I’m not only worried about my physical health I’m worried about how on earth can I juggle things around to provide everything that I need to get healthy again. It’s bloody impossible but I’ll try my best to do this.
For now my goals are low. I would first like to once again achieve my goal of more blog content because I love to write and I love to hear from all of you, because you are important.
As for my health, I’m back to taking it a day at a time, hopefully achieving small goals along the way. I’m grateful to be alive, to have survived Covid19, and to still be here talking to all of you.
Please keep safe, wear a mask and don’t for one minute think that this virus has gone away. It hasn’t and we still need to be careful.
Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Every time that my blog is shared results in more people reading about the truth of our life’s, our struggles and how shitty life is for us at the moment.
I don’t get any funding for writing my blog and at the moment I’m really struggling financially. For anyone that would like to donate theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog piece.
Every penny enables me to continue to blog and it really helps my campaign. I want to be back to normal again I really do.
A huge thank you to everyone that shares and supports my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without your help. It would be impossible. Thank you all so much.
Most people that claim Universal Credit find themselves in debt through no fault of their own. The five week wait for a new claim to be processed ensures that they’re going to accrue debts.
At the time of writing the DWP can automatically take high level deductions from a persons universal credit payments personal allowance for court fine payments, council tax debts and suchlike.
The DWP has a blanket policy of always cutting benefit by the maximum amount possible which is given regardless of personal circumstances. This leaves already financially vulnerable people struggling to buy food and to pay bills.
Yesterday the High Court has today ruled that this policy and practice of taking high amounts of payments from a persons Universal Credit is unlawful.
In February 2020, Shelter launched a legal challenge on behalf of four people, all of whom had a history of rough sleeping and therefore are hugely impacted affected by deductions being taken out of their Universal Credit payments.
Shelter challenged the DWPs deductions policy and all decisions to apply the ‘maximum deduction rate’ to universal credit. They also challenged this for all court fine payments regardless of the claimant’s personal circumstances.
The DWPs policy of deducting the maximum amount of 30% from the Universal Credit standard allowance leaves claimants with as little as £51 per week to live on., that is unless they have more deductions taken from their payments for other debts such as DWP loans etc.
These payments ensure that claimants cant afford to heat and or eat, pay for transport to get themselves to appointments and to buy essential phone credit to fulfil their required Universal Credit job searches.
Shelter argued in court that the DWP’s deductions policy and approach to deductions unlawfully removes an important discretion prescribed by law. Regulation 4 of The Fines (Deductions from Income Support) Regulations 1992) provides the DWP discretion to deduct a minimum of 5% from peoples’ UC to pay back court fines (and a maximum of £108.35).
The DWP’s blanket policy removes this discretion by setting a fixed maximum deduction of 30% and doesn’t allow claimants to request a lower deduction even in exceptional circumstances where they’re facing hardship.
The DWP’s defence of this policy is that in theory Universal Credit claimants can return to the magistrates’ court to request a direct repayment plan.
In reality this is impracticable. Most claimants aren’t aware that they can do this and the DWP aren’t exactly helpful if a person wants to do this.
The deductions regime is an effective means of repayment of debts, however as it stands the high level of repayments pushes a claimant even further into debt and poverty because repayments aren’t set at a reasonable level, taking into account a claimants financial circumstances.
Shelters case was heard at the High Court before Mr Justice Kerr via a remote hearing on 12 and 13 January 2021. Shelter’s claim was also heard together with a second claim brought by Hackney Community Law Centre acting on behalf of a disabled UC claimant.
The court found that DWP’s deductions policy is unlawful because it ‘fetters discretion’: i.e. it prevents decision makers from taking a UC claimant’s personal circumstances into account when setting the deduction rate.
The court ruled that by setting a fixed rate for deductions from UC for fines, and the DWP’s inflexible approach in making decisions on these cases, removes the discretion provided for in the relevant legislation. This is unlawful.
Responding to the DWP’s defence of an ‘alternative route’ through the magistrates’ court, Mr Justice Kerr states:
‘The deductions regime is paternalistic: the debtor cannot be left to pay off court fines voluntarily; they must be made to do so, for their sake and society’s. The Secretary of State’s passivity leaves unperformed the duty upon her to make that happen in appropriate cases.’
The High Court ruled that the DWP’s policy and practice in its present form was not lawful. The judge ordered that the relevant section in the deductions policy relating to fines be amended to reflect the judgment.
This judgment means that the DWP will have to change the deductions policy and their guidance must include discretion for DWP decision makers.
This will mean that Universal Credit claimants will be able ask the DWP to lower the amount deducted for court fine payments if they are struggling financially to pay them.
In reality nothing is changing regarding this legal decision yet because the DWP are as usual appealing the courts decision, but I will keep you posted about this.
This ruling has the opportunity to change Universal Credit claimants financial situations for the better, but you can bet that the DWP will drag this out for as long as possible.
My apologies for the lateness of this weeks blog. Yesterday was so busy for myself and my daughter and I’m once again unwell again.
I will endeavour to do my best to not let this happen again.
I’m so fed up with being unwell, not only does it impact me health wise it impacts my relationship with my children and it hits me hard financially.
I am doing my best to get well again because I hate feeling like this.
Please take care, keep safe and be kind to yourselves.
Please read, share and tweet my blog. Every time that you do this helps the truth to get out there which is extremely important.
A huge thank you to everyone that supports both my blog and campaign.
For anyone that would like to donate toward my blog and campaign theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every donation makes a huge difference and enables me to continue with both my blog and campaign.
Once again Thursday has crept up again so quickly and I hope that you’re all as ok as you can be.
Health wise I had a couple of bad long covid days most likely brought on by sorting my house out after being ill for so long. I am trying to do it in stages but it got the better of me this week.
Anyway enough about me. This past year has been a huge struggle for so many of us. We are still having it choose between eating and heating and more and more of us are dependent upon food parcels..
The need for food banks is growing every day. More and more people are being pushed into a never ending spiral of poverty, and they might not ever be able to get out of this situation.
Living in poverty isn’t exactly living, its about existing, trying to struggle through each day whilst hoping that the next day is better for them.
This week I’ve spoken to some of the people that I’ve been helping for a long time now. When we first met almost all of them had that spark of hope that they’d find a job and wouldn’t be dependent upon social security for long.
Sadly this didn’t happen. Being dependent upon a system that was created to systematically take away any self esteem that you might have isn’t easy, nor is it conducive to a good healthy life. Hence why I say that this isn’t living, its existing.
For me the word living implies that there still is some joy, being able to eat healthier and not having to make the choice between eating or heating.
Ive lost count of the amount of times that I’ve bought people some prepaid gas and electric, handed out food parcels and when we ran out of them taking a person shopping to help them get through a very difficult time.
This is what really annoys me, angers me and and at the same time upsets me. No one should be forced to live like this, to survive from day to day with no hope. The Universal Credit and ESA and PIP systems were all created to make people suffer, to make people be grateful for every crumb of hope given to them.
No one should be forced to endure the awful ESA and PIP medical assessments. Not only are they extremely damaging to a persons mental and physical help, they are also conducted by a so called medical representative that often hasn’t got a clue about how hard life is for the claimant. They also really don’t care about how damaging their false reports can be for the person being assessed.
There’s no excuse for such cruelty. The government chose to do this because they don’t care about us, working class and disabled people. There’s also little point in appealing to them for help because they often refuse to.
As I write this blog the gap between the have’s and have nots is widening hugely every day. Self isolating when you have the financial means to do so is much easier than when you haven’t.
Worrying about how you can feed your children and how to keep warm and safe is what’s worrying most of us.
I’m concerned about everyone forced to make the horrible decision between heating and eating, trying to make clothing last because they can’t buy anymore, walking in shoes that have holes in the bottom of them.
This is the reality for so many of us and we do need to talk about it more than we do. This is exactly why I started to write this blog and also why I started campaigning against this cruel, heartless system.
We can get through this though. Never, ever forget that you are important and you are loved. I’m always here if you want to talk.
Please read, share and tweet my blog. Every time that this is done raises awareness for so many. There are still people out there that don’t realise how cruel the system is.
A huge thank you to everyone that supports my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without you and I can’t thank you enough.
I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do and to say its a struggle at times is an understatement.
If you would like to donate to keep the blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
The pandemic has hit the poorest extremely hard both health wise and financially pushing the financially insecure into a seemingly never ending spiral into worsening poverty. Financial and social inequality highlights health inequalities which prevents people from living with both security and dignity that they deserve.
From the 2008 global financial crash, which was followed by the ten years of cuts that followed this fortified proved beyond all doubt that there is a strong link between peoples health and their social circumstances.
In February 2020, the Marmot review reported the impact of the public health crisis in great detail. It reported that life expectancy in the UK had stopped improving for the first time in 100 years.
The government’s responses to Covid 19 pandemic highlights and continues to exacerbate this cruel injustice.
Thousands of people are still being forced to work whilst have Covid 19 symptoms because they can’t financially afford to take time off work.We must not blame someone who continues to work, despite having symptoms of covid-19, because of financial difficulties.
The blame lies at the feet of the government who are still excluding so many by not recognising their financial worries.
Without adequate financial and practical support for self-isolation, not everyone can afford to do this. Their needs are still not being met proving that being better off financially Wealth can be the best shielding strategy from the pandemic.
More than a million people who have applied for Universal Credit since March 2020. Many have waited months for their payments to start which barely covers basic necessities. Leaving them in a much worse financial state.
The government is still continuing to not commit to extending the £20 weekly uplift which is extremely worrying for millions of people that are reliant upon these payments.
The government has failed to keep people safe during the pandemic which has in turn affected the economy. This has resulted in the UK having one of the highest Covid 19 mortality rates in the world, coupled wit one of the biggest economic recessions amongst the G7 nations.
The government fails to understand that both physical health and economic wellbeing are intertwined.
Instead of prioritising the welfare of the public, the government prioritised schemes such as the ‘Eat Out To Help Out which failed to help the economy but also resulted in the ill health and deaths of so many.are impeccably encapsulated by the £849 million “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme.
As a result of countless governments cuts and benefit reforms the UK now the weakest safety nets in its own post-war history, yet public support for an improved welfare system is, according to The Guardian newspaper the highest for twenty years.
The government needs to give people greater social protection and to give people the means to live healthy and dignified lives.Those that need to self isolate should be given the financial means to do so.
It’s a terrible indictment of the governments attitude that millions of people are now forced to rely upon food parcels and making the choice wether to eat or heat.
Will the government answer our calls for this to happen? I doubt they will but we should never stop reminding them of this need.
Please read, share and tweet my blog and my articles. It’s extremely important that we continue to get the truth out there which os important for so many.
I don’t receive any funding for both my blog and campaign. If anyone would like to donate to enable me to continue with both there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign.
I really couldn’t do this without your support and you have all helped me to get through this tough time in my life.