Under the cover of Queen Elizabeths death the DWP (Department of work and Pensions) have been busy inflicting cruelty upon claimants. They never miss a chance to show their hatred of social security recipients, especially when they think it’ll be overlooked.
Once again the government and the DWP have refused to listen to and consider any recommendations that would help claimants financially during the cost of living crisis. Apparently even ignoring the fact that the said recommendations were made by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee.
Details included in the recommendations made by MPs are that there be a pause in the way that the DWP take deductions from social security payments, for example when a claimant owes the DWP money for loans or overpayments and suchlike.
As reported by Benefits and Work the DWP’s excuse for ignoring this request is that it is apparently ‘not in the claimant’s best interest’ to do so, stating that if the debt recovery system would be to reintroduced after next April’s benefits uprating, claimants ‘may feel no better off as a result’.
The mind boggles, they aren’t even trying to come up with half decent excuses are they.
The truth is that it’s in the DWPs best interest to make claimants repay debts at a time that they cannot reasonably afford to do so, and it comes as no surprise that they will refuse to do do until their social security have been increased thus resulting in claimants no better off financially.
Debt repayments either made by the DWP or other organisations are unfair. They take monies away from claimants payments leaving them unable to pay for even the most basic things. The repayment rates are decided with absolutely no communication with the claimant, even if they appeal the repayment amount they are likely to be ignored.
The cruelty of this decision cannot be ignored. At a time when thousands of claimants working and not working are dependant upon food banks and unable to pay the cost of heating their homes, it is vital that this help is given now.
Thousands of claimants are facing a long, cold winter which will undoubtably result in illness or even death and still the government are refusing to acknowledge their suffering, after all it won’t affect them so it simply doesn’t matter.
With Liz Truss at the helm of the government we are facing a more extreme right wing government that seeks to punish claimants even more than they do already. It’s a scary thought and one we can’t ignore.
My apologies for the lack of blog update last week. with the news of Queen Elizabeths death it would have got buried underneath all of the other news leaving it likely to be ignored.
Thanks to Benefits and Work for bringing this to my attention. Keep up the good work!
A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares my blog updates, and also everyone that has helped me to keep this blog and campaign going. I don’t receive any payments for any of the work that I do and to say it’s a massive struggle is an understatement.
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.
I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do.
If you would like to help keep my blog and campaign going and can afford to, there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
In a recent report by Benefits and Work the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be giving their officers the power to mass-request bank data more efficiently to enable them to conduct more spot-checks to see if people are committing benefit fraud..
The new powers to be given will enable DWP officers to make arrests, execute warrants, conduct searches and seize evidence themselves instead of informing the police and involving them. This will allow the DWP to dish out civil fines similar to those issued by HMRC even if a case does not make it to court.
It is estimated that approximately two million claimants will face having supposed fraud cases dredged up and to be given fines for fraud even if they’re not convicted of a crime. New and existing claims could be flagged as being potentially suspicious over five years.
It is believed that Conservative ministers will be perceived to be appealing to their voter base because at the time of writing no timetable for these new laws has been made. It’s likely to take at least a year for these plans to commence. Many of these planned new powers will need an Act Of Parliament and is thought that if these plans are to commence they will be introduced from May 2023 at the earliest.
The proposed benefit fraud crackdown will have the potential to save the government £670m a year.
Giving DWP officers the power of arrest for supposed benefit fraud even if a case doesn’t make it to court has the potential to persecute innocent claimants is extremely worrying . For many years now I’ve assisted claimants in supposed benefit fraud meetings, the majority of which showed absolutely no evidence of fraud being committed.
I found these meetings to be yet another way for the DWP to intimidate and harass claimants and I have no doubt that if I hadn’t been able to represent these claimants they would have falsely been accused of fraud and would have faced their benefits being stopped or greatly reduced.
Given the fact that that benefit overpayments were estimated to be approximately £8.3bn in 2020/21 many of which were errors made by the DWP and not claimants, accusing them of fraud as a result of this would be totally wrong and immoral.
Claiming Universal Credit is already difficult and demeaning punishing claimants for being guilty before being found to be innocent. To allow DWP officers these powers would add to the pressure that claimants already feel whilst not knowing if their benefit advisor will report them for potential fraud which could result in their payments being reduced or stopped.
I suspect that the real reasoning behind these new proposed powers is yet another way for the government to save money whilst putting the well-being of the poorest and most vulnerable at risk.
Many thanks to Benefits and Work for once again being the inspiration for this article.
Are you interested in joining a group of likeminded people for solidarity and maybe some campaigning? You can’t go wrong if you join Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC). They have lots of local branches that you can join.
It’s another week and yet more questions as to why the government still haven’t released the Universal Credit WCA statistics. Their refusal to release these statistics can only lead me to believe that they’re trying to hide them most probably because the stats are pretty dire.
This isn’t unusual for the government and the DWP they’ve got a long track record of denial and refusal.
It appears that the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) aren’t impressed with their refusal to release these stats either so they’re demanding to know why the pass and fail rates for the WCA for universal credit are still secret, despite it being nine years after the benefit was introduced.
The question is becoming ever more important because approximately 1.7 million ESA claimants are due to be forcibly transferred to UC by the end of 2024 loosing their legacy benefits and the security that comes with this.
The question is this why have the figures for claimants that have been found to be capable of work or to have limited capability for work (LCW) or for work-related activity (LCWRA) been published for ESA since 2010 and not these important statistics?
What exactly are the government trying to hide?
Unsurprisingly the same figures have never been published for UC since the benefit was introduced.
IN 2017 the government promised that the UC WCA statistics would be available for viewing. Rather predictably they haven’t been provided and there is no indications that they ever will be.
The amazing team over at Disability News Service have been pursuing the DWP over its lack of transparency for some time and eventually resorted to having to approach the OSR for help. As a result the OSR have now written to the DWP asking why the figures have not been published.
My bet is that they’ll ignore their request as well.
The main reason as to why these figures are so important is because Universal Credit claimants could be more likely to be assessed incorrectly and placed in the wrong LCW or LCWRA groups for UC. Therefore theres no guarantee that they’ll be placed in the same groups as they were when claiming ESA despite the fact that the tests are virtually identical.
More transparency and clarity needs to be urgently given regarding this issue especially as thousands of already vulnerable people will be quite rightly concerned when they are forcibly moved onto UC.
Universal Credit is a cruel heartless machine that targets the most vulnerable. These figures are needed to help and protect those that will be forced to claim it.
A huge thank you to the gang over at Benefits And Work for publishing this information and keeping us informed.
Are you interested in joining a group of likeminded people for solidarity and maybe some campaigning? You can’t go wrong if you join Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC). They have lots of local branches that you can join.
Please read, share, tweet and email my blog, every share etc helps massively to raise awareness and to inform people what’s really happening to real people.
Huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my campaign and blog I couldn’t do this without your support and solidarity.
If you would like to donate and can afford to theres a donate button at the side and top of this blog post. I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and it makes a massive difference and enables me to continue with both.
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 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.
It comes as no surprise to hear that the DWP are up to their old tricks again. Thanks to Benefits And Work for uncovering the details of a secret survey that is being carried out by the DWP. Rather than being a positive thing the DWP have decided to use this opportunity to further blame claimants for living in poverty. Whilst not putting the blame where it should go which would be the DWP and the government.
According to Benefits And Work the survey is being carried out by one of the UK’s leading polling companies on behalf of the DWP under the pretence of helping the DWP to better understand people’s financial situation and what support they may need. The online survey asks a number of questions about claimants being in debt and kind of debts claimants have. It also questions what effect these debts have had on them and their daily lives.
This is the question that stands out from the rest. ‘What types of help or support, if any, would be most useful in helping you manage your finances?’ And to the unknowing bystander it looks fairly reasonable except it isn’t.
The list of survey answer options includes:
Help with working out what money they have left to spend each/day/week/month.Advice on how to manage spending so they don’t run out of money Advice on how to reduce their spending Advice on how to reduce their debts
What is missing completely are the very reasons why claimants are in debt in the first place. No mention is given as to the the real reasons why a person might find themselves forced into poverty and are then unable to live a debt free life.
As it stands the amount of social security payments are way below the rate of inflation and haven’t been increased as such, ignoring the facts that food and energy costs have already increased. Energy costs are also set to increase again in April. This will leave claimants unable to make a choice between heating and eating because they’ll be unable to do either. at a rate
The 5 week waiting time for Universal Credit claims to be processed immediately throws claimants into debt. Some can argue that claimants can apply for a loan to cover this whilst ignoring the fact that it doesn’t cover it and the loan has to be paid back. According to the DWP this loan has to go towards paying your rent costs which results in having no money for heating or eating.
It’s also pretty fair to say that hardly any claimants receive their full payment amounts due to the DWP and related organisations garnishing payments for debts such as social security debts, council tax and television licence debts and other related debts. It’s extremely hard, near impossible for claimants to reduce the amount of money garnished each week or month leaving them with much reduced payments in the first place.
There is also no option for questioning the extremely long delays for PIP assessments and WCAs. These long waiting periods throw disabled people into a never ending circle of debt and distress. They are entitled to these payments which go towards them being able to cover the hidden costs that disabled people face every day. Instead the government would rather not help them and instead choose to make their lives as difficult as possible.
With the absence of these answers the survey will no doubt give results saying that claimants who are in debt need to be able to manage their money more resulting them to be referred for budgeting advice. It’s impossible to budget more when claimants aren’t receiving enough social security payments to help them to survive. A caring government would rise payments in line with inflation because it’s the right thing to do.
As it stands this survey will allow the DWP to make the assertion some claimants are unable to eat or heat because they are failing to budget correctly, therefore fuelling the DWP and governments rhetoric that claimants are to blame for their own poverty.
This is very concerning because going off the DWPs track record they’ll share this survey as quickly as possible, after all theres nothing they like more than to punish claimants for reasons that are out of their control.
Benefits And Work have made a Freedom of Information request to find out when and if this report is going to be published.
A huge thank you to everyone that likes, shares, supports and reads my blog. I really couldn’t do this without you xxx.
This Monday coming is the anniversary of my son’s death, the night that he took his last breaths leaving a gaping hole where he once was. I miss him everyday and to be honest I’m still wondering how I’ve coped with his loss for this past year.
I’m hoping to be able to visit his memorial (funds allowing) and to (if I’m ready) to scatter some of his ashes at Hartshead Pike one of his favourite places.
Whilst they were unable to find a cause of death we can still remember him. He will always be in our hearts and memories until we meet again.
Solidarity to love to the Ukraine and Palestine.
I don’t receive any payments for any of the work that I do, nor do I receive any payments for my campaign.
If you would like to donate to keep both going and can afford to do so there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
As reported by Benefits And Work there are possibly thousands of missing Long Covid PIP claimants that appear to be missing from both the Office for National Statistics. They are also missing from the DWP latest published statistics.
New figures from the Office for National Statistics estimate that 506,000 people have now had Long Covid for over a year. This number is increasing every day yet they’re missing, nowhere to be found.
247,000 Long Covid sufferers say that their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities has been “limited a lot” as a result of Long Covid.
Yet according to the latest DWP statistics on Stat-Xplore record there are just 480 claims regarding Long Covid where it is the the main condition for claiming PIP. This figure has risen from 143 claims three months earlier.
However the success rate for PIP Long Covid claims has fallen from 76%, but is still high, at almost 60%.
A quarter of those who were successful in claiming PIP received the enhanced rate of both the daily living and the mobility components.
It appears that PIP claims for Long Covid do have a better than average chance of success. Despite this hundreds of thousands of people who could be making a PIP claim appear to not be doing so.
Long Covid is exhausting to live with and is likely to hinder any employment prospects. Living with Long Covid also increases everyday living costs.
The reality of having to make a choice between eating or heating, or not being able to afford either is something that Long Covid sufferers and others have to make daily.
The reason for the missing PIP claimants could be because of a distinct lack of information regarding claiming PIP for Long Covid sufferers. This is abhorrent. Everyone that is suffering from this disabling condition should be informed of their right to claim PIP to help with their everyday living costs.
Please read, share, tweet and email this blog post. Sharing makes a huge difference in raising awareness to the public.
A huge thank to Benefits And Work for providing this information. They’re amazing and work so hard.
A huge thank you to everyone that supports my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without you and your support.
For anyone that likes my blog and campaign and would like to donate towards keeping both going there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
Financially I’m struggling and every penny is appreciated. Thank you.
As reported by the amazing team over at Benefits And Work a coroner has issued a Prevention of Future Deaths (PFD) report after the DWP forced a severely ill claimant to leave hospital to make a claim, without giving him the option him to do so electronically.
Terence Talbot, who had Bipolar Affective Disorder, was at the time being detained at hospital under the Mental Health Act because he had suffered a rare reaction to the medication he had been prescribed. This reaction had made him very vulnerable to infection and ultimately resulted in his death.
According to Benefits And Work the DWP had refused to let Mr Talbot make a claim for benefits electronically which he was entitled to do and instead insisted that he had to make the claim in person.
As a result of having to leave the hospital to make his claim Mr Talbot died in hospital.
The Coroner said in her report that the health professionals that cared for Mr Talbot had never experienced such an ill patient being forced to make a claim in person.
She went on to say “I heard from all the doctors and a senior nurse in this case who have a considerable experience across a range of specialties and across several different NHS Trusts. They have never experienced nor heard of a case where a severely ill inpatient was required by the Department of Work and Pensions to leave hospital to attend its offices in person to make a claim for welfare benefits.”
The secretary of state for Work and Pensions has until 28 January to tell the Coroner how the DWP will make sure that nothing like this happens again.
Don’t depend on this changing anything though. The DWP has a very long record of making promises that they have no intention of keeping. It isn’t important to them, nor is the welfare of claimants important as well. Sadly I expect that they won’t ‘learn’ from Mr Talbots death, instead they’ll file it away to be forgotten.
For a long time now the government has regarded claimants as stock, ready to be used and neglected at their whim. Once a claimant isn’t able to be of use for the DWP and government they more or less wipe their hands of them, making life extremely hard forcing them to complete impossible tasks.
This then results in deaths such as Mr Talbots and thousands more like him.
Sue Jones over on Twitter explains it perfectly.
I’d like to say that this isn’t true but it is. They regard people with disabilities and illnesses with such disdain and hate that many find it impossible to continue. Many refuse to make a claim for benefits because they’re too scared of doing so. Indeed, many of the people that I help and have helped have been in this position. Judged by society for being disabled or ill and then treated with cruelty by the DWP.
There is a desperate need for change in how the DWP and society views people that claim benefits and also how they treat people with disabilities. This won’t happen whilst the Conservative government is in power, but we can continue to put pressure upon them by sharing campaigns and blogs like mine. It makes a massive difference.
My thoughts and prayers go to Mr Talbot, his family and everyone that has died as a result of cruel decisions made by the DWP and their representatives.
How am I? Struggling this week as usual. Like so many of you I’ve had to make the choice between heating and eating. Truth be told like you I can’t afford to do either but I have to make sure my daughters wellbeing comes first.
If you are interested in getting involved with campaigning or need support I can’t recommend DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) enough. It’s a fantastic network run by real people experiencing the same difficulties as you might be. You can find them on their Facebook page and Twitter.
If you like my work and campaign and can afford to would like to donate to keep both my blog and campaign going there is a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny makes a huge difference for both. I have to pay my internet bill tomorrow and I’m really struggling to do so.
Thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. You have all kept me going through the extremely bad past year. We are all still struggling with my sons death, he leaves a massive hole in our hearts that can’t be filled.