The DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) Independent Case Examiner also known as ICE has revealed that they are overwhelmed by a huge amount of complaints from claimants.
This was revealed when they responded to an MP’s written question recently in parliament.
ICE is an organisation used by the DWP to deal with claimant’s complaints against the DWP. This is the next step when a claimant has exhausted the DWP’s internal complaints procedure and is still not satisfied with the response given.
Complaints against the DWP can be for various reasons including and not excluding others;
A failure by the DWP to follow proper procedures
Excessive payment delays for benefits
Sub standard customer service given to claimants.
It’s also noted that there has been a 17% increase in the number of complaints made to ICE in the year 2021to March 2022.
In itself may not be seen as a huge increase, however it is an increase and should be dealt with in the utmost urgency
However the huge increase in complaints arises in the proportion of cases that ICE has agreed to look into. This has increased by an astonishing 68% in the last year.
This therefore means that ICE is receiving a huge increase in complaints where it believes that there is a case to answer than in previous years.
As a result of this increase there are now 1,249 cases waiting for an ICE investigator to be allocated. The average time for a complaint to be dealt with currently takes is 53 weeks,so in total this means that it takes over a year before an investigation begins.
Personally I don’t know any person making a complaint against the DWP that can afford to wait that long albeit for financial and other complaint reasons.
It takes a great deal of courage to make a complaint against the DWP and as a result many don’t make complaints when they should do.
The complaints procedure is complex and very stressful for everyone making a complaint against the DWP and as a result it can impact a person’s health and ability to manage their daily life’s.
It comes as no surprise that legal justice that claimants are entitled to is subject to long indefensible delays without question.
It’s also noted that the DWP can make a decision to apply cruel, harsh and often unwanted sanctions on the most vulnerable and in need of help whilst their real and valid complaints.
Once again it’s one rule for claimants and yet another for their oppressors.
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It doesn’t feel real does it, so many people are struggling to live with the bare minimum of essential things such as food, heating and clothing. This was echoed in a conversation that I had outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre today.
I’ll call him Bill, obviously I like to keep peoples names anonymous, its much better that way. It stops the DWP machine from interfering and possibly targeting him. Believe me this has happened in the past, I recorded it in a blog many years ago.
Bill lives on his own after being his mothers sole carer. Sadly his mother died and he now lives alone. Bill doesn’t have a lot, a mobile phone and a television that was gifted to him. Sadly its a smart tv so he can only access the bare minimum of channels.
You might ask why this matters, after all things like this apparently aren’t important. I, however believe that it is important because it gives a person some sense of normality, maybe a bit of enjoyment. When you’re excluded from what others class as normal it has a distinct affect on your mental wellbeing, thus making life that bit more difficult.
Bill doesn’t have access to the internet at home and relies upon his mobile phone for everything. Some say that this is a luxury but it isn’t. It’s a necessity and the DWP will sanction claimants that don’t have a phone and or access to the internet.
I took Bill for a cuppa, I sometimes do this because its a nice thing to do, something that so many won’t be able to do after April, it was then when he told me about his concerns. He’s quite rightly concerned about how he’s going to be able to pay his essential bills, not anything that you could class as a luxury. It’s the bare essentials that he needs to survive.
Bill also shared his health concerns with me and how difficult its become to get an appointment with a doctor and how hard it is for him to get his repeat prescription.
Whilst many doctors surgeries in the UK offer telephone consultations as well as face to face ones its become near impossible to do this because his surgery doesn’t offer an online service and nor do they send his repeat description digitally over to a chemist of his choice. Instead he’s left to struggle collecting his prescription up and handing it to a chemist to be processed.
We discussed the spring budget and how awful it is for unemployed and disabled people, also for people on a bare minimum wage.
The truth is that Sunak doesn’t care and it this was reflected in his spring statement.
Whilst we are faced with an energy cost crisis which will undoubtably plunge at least 10 million people into fuel poverty, leaving them without the means to heat their homes.
Sunak provided nothing to support low income households and people claiming any type of benefit or pension.
On the contrary Sunak has uprated benefits and pensions only by 3.1% which was last October’s inflation rate. This is not the 7% rate of inflation which will be the upcoming over the next few months. By doing this Sunak has directly made 9 million of the poorest and most vulnerable people approximately £500 poorer.
Neither can we forget the £1000 a year Sunak took from Universal Credit recipients in the autumn when he withdrew the £20 a week pandemic uplift. This left thousands of people distraught and struggling. So far Sunak has taken £1700 of the UK’s most vulnerable and poorest households, whilst not forgetting that disabled people didn’t even receive the £20 uplift.
Sunak then announced that he is raising the threshold at which National Insurance contributions begin to be paid. Remember, most benefit recipients do not pay NI as their incomes are too low. Neither do pensioners. So once again they do not benefit from this at all.
Sunak also announced that he’s cutting the fuel duty whilst ignoring the fact that the poorest benefit recipients do not own a car, so they don’t benefit one bit from this. Neither do they pay income tax, so will not benefit from the 1p cut in 2024.
Theres also no information given as to how and will the poorest benefit from the £500m Sunak has given local councils.
To put it bluntly Sunak’s statement was aimed at fellow Tory MPs whose support he wants in a future leadership election if he is to take part, but this is a cruel and heartless way of doing it. He’s basically stamping his feet upon the poorest with his only concern being himself.
This is to be expected though because Sunak is a millionaire and has no understanding of what life is really like for the majority of people in the Uk, and nor does he care to learn and sympathise with them. He’s a typical Tory, selfish and as shallow as they come, after all they’re never going to care and they don’t want to.
I shall be returning to the Jobcentre next week, health permitting.
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I don’t receive any payment for my work from any organisations, and I like many of you are reliant upon food parcels etc. To say it’s a struggle is an understatement.
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Dear subscribers and guests it’s been a tough year for so many of us, I know it, I feel it.
This year was probably the worst one of my whole life. My son was tragically taken away from me mid pandemic. It hurts more than anything else that I’ve experienced.
Whilst we were abiding to the social distancing rules, the Tory government were busy partying and carrying on as if nothing had happened.
This was a case of we’ll do whatever we want sod the public. They don’t care about us. My son had to have a very reduced socially distanced funeral whilst they were enjoying life.
To be honest this is a perfect example of how they treat us. They never spare a thought for us so don’t expect them to either.
Christmas is a tough time for so many reasons wether it be for financial reasons or bereavement. I’m with you, I feel it.
I haven’t put a Christmas tree up this year. My daughter and I decided that it doesn’t feel right so we put some extra lights on his memorial table.
So much pressure is put on society to have the big tree, the decorations and lots of good food. The truth is that so many of us can’t afford to buy the big tree, pay for the electric to light the Christmas lights and affording a big meal with all the trimmings is near impossible.
Poverty doesn’t end at Christmas, if anything it’s amplified for reasons that I’ve already stated.
You do Christmas how you want to do it. Try and ignore the pressure to comply to what everyone expects. If you want to turn the TV off and read a book instead then do it.
If you want to spend Christmas day doing nothing then do it. Be kind to yourself.
I used to put so much pressure upon myself to get everything right for others to see. Loosing my son has made me realise that none of this really matters.
Like many of you I’m going to find Christmas tough, but I will get through it.
So many families are going to be going without the Christmas that they were used to. The pandemic has caused thousands of people to loose their jobs and it’s also resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.
Thousands of families and individuals are newly dependant upon foodbanks to keep them going. It’s not easy asking for help and the food isn’t the best. Hopefully one day it will get better.
How do you explain to your children that Father Christmas can’t come this year? It’s heartbreaking.
What we can do is be there for each other, talk to friends on social media, text or face to face (socially distanced of course).
We will get through this. Lots of love to you all.
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A huge thank you to everyone that supports and has supported my blog this year. I really couldn’t do it without you.
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Research led by Inclusion London reveals that the COVID-19 crisis has impacted thousands of disabled people.
As reported by Disability News Service who have seen a draft version of an interim report based on the research titled Abandoned, Forgotten and Ignored.
The report conducted by Inclusion London is based upon more than 300 online survey responses from across England including a small number of people living in Scotland and Wales.
The report concludes that “Despite the government’s rhetoric about protecting and supporting Disabled people, the reality is that they have been treated less fairly and discriminated against across all areas of their lives.”
The report also warns that many disabled people most affected by the pandemic will not have had access to its online survey resulting in the findings of the report likely to represent only “the tip of the iceberg” due to lack of access to the internet for many disabled people.
Inclusion London have reported that disabled people have been suffering from increasing levels official isolation, mental distress, lack of decent if any care and support during the pandemic, also finding that there has been difficulty for many to access food and also difficulties accessing healthcare such as prescriptions and suchlike.
The report discloses that the actions of central government, local authorities and service-providers have continued to fail exclude and marginalise disabled people which in turn has resulted in discrimination.
It also finds that disabled people in high-risk groups have been unable to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE), and have also had had their vital care packages cut and important social care assessments delayed.
Indeed it reports that a quarter of the people that have responded that receive direct payments for their care were left unaided to cope with staff issues and sourcing their own PPE.
One disabled person responding said of their experience “My care agency are not getting adequate PPE, and they are so short-staffed at present that I’ve been lucky to get a shower once a month (and cannot have a strip wash at all due to them sending male care workers to me eight times out of 10 instead of female), and am not getting one in three of my daily care calls.”
More than three-fifths of people that responded to the survey said they had struggled to access food, medicine, and other necessities.
Respondents described how supermarkets had refused to make reasonable adjustments for them when they tried to shop in-store and how they were unable to order home deliveries.
Many have not received the support they vitally need to prepare meals for themselves also, this resulting in being forced to spend more money on food by having to shop in more expensive stores or having to order their meals online.
More than a third of those surveyed spoke of increasing levels of mental distress during the pandemic.
One respondent saying that they had been inside their home for three-and-a-half weeks without going out resulting in them feeling that they were losing their mind, going on to say that have a pre-existing mental health condition, and it is causing a big relapse.“I feel trapped and controlled and claustrophobic.
This had left them too scared to leave the house because if they get sick that they knew that, as someone with pre-existing conditions the doctors will leave them to die in favour of someone who has a better chance of surviving.
Several people that responded to the survey also said they had been asked to agree to having ‘do not attempt resuscitation’ orders placed in their medical records. Others told they would not be admitted to hospital if they fell ill or would be denied life-saving emergency treatment.
One person responding said: “I can’t access the government scheme for support because apparently I’m not disabled enough.“However I’m disabled enough to get suggested to sign DNR [Do Not Resuscitate], and inferred I’d be left to die if hospitalised.”
Inclusion London concluded the report by warning that there will be a much higher demand for advice and support from disabled people after the lockdown is lifted. This leaves many organisations needing to increase their funding to provide these essential services.
Its a terrible indictment upon the government that disabled people have had to resort to legal action because of the discrimination that they have faced from the government.
This report has reinforced the view that the government and society looks upon disabled people as a burden on the state and are second class citizens.
It is very disturbing however not surprising that disabled people have been treated in this manner throughout the pandemic. The government clearly regards them as unimportant and not deserving of any quality of life, which to be honest is very clear to see. We cannot allow this inhumane treatment of the most vulnerable in society to continue.
Last month the DWP minister Justin Tomlinson informed the Commons Work and Pensions committee in parliament that face to face ‘interviews’ are set to return although he stated that some telephone and video assessments will still continue.
There has been no concern from Tomlinson about the safety of vulnerable claimants and the fact that there is still a pandemic and most people forced to attend these ‘assessments’ are indeed vulnerable and are still having to shield.
Tomlinson however claimed rather confusingly that they had ‘Lost all of their health professionals’ because they apparently have gone to work for the test and trace system instead.
It isn’t clear yet how the system is going to return to normality when, as he said the health professionals that were employed have now left. Maybe Tomlinson will pay them even more money to do this, therefore tempting them away from their current employment. Who knows, I expect we will find out sooner rather than later.
It does however take a particularly cruel mindset to conduct these ‘assessments’ and to declare vulnerable people fit for work when they clearly aren’t.
Tomlinson went on to say that the work capability assessments (WCA) will begin shortly and PIP (Personal Independent Payment) ‘assessments’ will follow a few weeks later although they will keep video and telephone assessments. Tomlinson wasn’t clear in what capacity this will be, clarity isn’t his or the Tory party’s strong point.
As I write this I expect many people will have had their much dreaded letter from the DWP regarding their assessment, thus causing distress and panic for already vulnerable people.
Whilst the Covid 19 vaccination programme is going well there are people that are unable to have the vaccinations for health reasons. The Covid 19 strain from India has now started to take a hold in the UK, putting thousands at risk.
I urge Tomlinson and the government to rethink their assessment strategy and to put the health and well-being of disabled and vulnerable people first.
Once again thanks to Benefits and Work for their hard work in researching this and publishing this information. You can find them over at http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk
WCA is the Work Capability Assessment and PIP is Personal Independence Payments.
I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do and for my campaign.
Please help me to continue to do this, there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog.
A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares and tweets my blog. It makes a massive difference and it helps to raise awareness.
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.
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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.