Tag: DWP cruelty

DWP And Other Agencies Implicated After Claimants Body Left Undiscovered


In May 2021 the body of Laura Winham was discovered after her family had visited her to inform her about the death of her father. They discovered her body after looking through her letterbox because there was no answer.

The police were called and found her mummified and skeletal body when they forced entry into her flat. They also discovered unopened bills from creditors and markings made on her calendar which stopped in November 2017.

One of her last notes read “I need help”.


Laura Winham had schizophrenia and had previously been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and as a result of her condition her family were no longer able to have contact with her as she believed that they were trying to harm her.


However the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) failed to make any checks on Laura before they cut off her payments. She subsequently died and was left undiscovered in her flat for more than three years, a pre-inquest hearing has been told.


The DWP contacted Laura in 2016 to inform her that her benefits was being transferred and therefore she had to apply for PIP or her DLA (Disability Living Payments) would cease.

Laura failed to respond to the DWP and after after several written reminders had been sent her DLA was stopped. No wellness check was made or any attempt to enquire about her situation was made despite Laura having a recorded severe mental illness. Nor did they check on her ability to take part in the transfer process either.


It is noted that although the DWP were far from the only agency that had let Laura down they are a very large and well resourced agency. They can make no excuse for stopping a very vulnerable claimants. money because they were unable and possibly unwilling to safely manage a simple transfer process.


Laura’s inquest is being held in April, please keep her and others in your thoughts.

You’d have thought that the DWP would have learnt how to deal with situations like this from previous incidents but they very clearly haven’t. Maybe it’s best to ignore their usual press statement which is usually ‘Lessons will be learnt’.

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DWP Independent Case Examiner Overwhelmed By Complaints

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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Benefit Deductions Causing Financial Hardship

Deductions from benefit payments is causing financial hardship pushing people into poverty and resulting in food bank reliance and inability to pay for everyday living costs.

A survey conducted by the Trussell Trust reveals that nearly half of those being referred to its food banks are experiencing deductions being taken from their benefit payments despite the government saying that they’ve twice cut the amount that can be deducted.

The government states “We recognise people are struggling with rising prices which why we are protecting millions of the most vulnerable families with at least £1,200 of support.” Whilst at the same time failing to address the reality that being repayment amounts are still too high proving that the ‘support’ being offered by the government being not nearly enough.

Once again making statements that portray themselves as the next saviour, whilst at the same time pushing policies and failing to address already existing policies that cause hardship.

The survey goes on to reveal that almost half of respondents reported deductions from their benefits to recover overpayments, sanctions or arrears, with the amounts already deducted from monthly payments before they arrived in the recipient’s account.

To put it in layman’s terms very few people manage to receive their full payment allowances and are drastically reduced before reaching them.

Meanwhile MPs on the parliamentary Work and Pensions Select Committee have said this practice needed to be paused during the cost of living crisis, as it was during the pandemic.

Thousands were already struggling to put food on the table each day before the cost of living crisis which has undoubtably made their situations much worse.

This is worsened by having to repay the advance payment loan whilst waiting for a universal credit claim to be processed. This debt on its own can cripple a person financially. Many would agree that the advance payments shouldn’t come in the form of loan to be repaid.

In July, the Work and Pensions Committee of MPs said the repayments, taken from more than 2 million claimants, were pushing the most vulnerable into destitution.

Sir Stephen Timms, Labour MP for East Ham and committee chair, said: “We think the problems are sufficiently acute now that they should be suspended again, it’s clearly not working.

“There was a university research report which made the point that the social security system is acting not so much as a safety net but more as a debt collector at the moment.” 

In a statement, a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson said: “We have reduced the maximum amount that can be deducted from a Universal Credit award twice in recent years. 

“We’ve also doubled the time period over which they can be repaid and claimants can contact DWP to discuss deductions if they are experiencing financial hardship.”

In conclusion the cost of living crisis and resulting job losses has left many reliant upon credit card borrowing which has reached it’s highest level in 18 years. Combined with benefit loan deductions has created a tsunami of debt and poverty which will undoubtably put pressure upon already struggling food banks and organisations.

Not forgetting that this will also cause irreparable damage to the economy resulting in increased inflation levels and an increase in the everyday cost of living.

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I’d like to wish all readers and subscribers a happy new year and I hope you enjoyed the festive period in whatever way you chose to. Here’s to another year of campaigning and blogging, love and solidarity to you all.

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Important News For Bus Fares Outside Of London

Universal Credit Cruelty Highlighted Again

TRIGGER WARNING. Contains mention of suicide and trauma.

A collection of stories that highlight the amount of cruelty that UC (Universal Credit) claimants are forced to endure has been recently published by Disability News Service (DNS). Sadly these stories won’t be a surprise for UC claimants

One such story article describes the death of a disabled woman who was left traumatized by the overbearing daily demands made by the UC system.



Upon applying for UC the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions)were told of the mental distress that the system was causing which in turn led to suicidal thoughts and an overwhelming fear of the DWP and the universal credit system.

Despite their knowledge of this the DWP continued to harass her.

Tragically she took her own life four days after being told she would need to attend a face-to-face meeting with a DWP work coach.

Another example describes how disabled claimant Philip Manion struggled enormously when he saw his UC payments cut from £1,260 to £500 due to a mistake made by the DWP.



Philip tried to attend a meeting to rectify this mistake but instead he was taken out of the Jobcentre by seven security guards. Their reasoning for this was because he found he was unable to log into his online journal from his mobile phone.

To add even more insult to injury he was then recorded as having failed to attend the meeting, despite attending and all of his UC payments were stopped.

Disability News Service went on to describe how former nurse Shirley Rudolph spent 10 years caring for her husband and was placed in the limited capability for work category due to suffering from generalized anxiety disorder.



Rudolph’s husband died in July and she subsequently informed her work coach that she wouldn’t be unable to attend their scheduled meeting because she was making arrangements for her husband’s funeral.



Rather unsurprisingly her work coach wasn’t sympathetic and moved her appointment to the following week. At the same time they sent Rudolph a job application to complete immediately.



As a result of the distress and the pressure Rudolph was forced to undergo she chose to end her universal credit claim and is now surviving on her NHS pension alone forcing her to struggle immensely.



Although horrible this comes as no surprise to many disabled UC claimants that find themselves hounded by the cruel UC system that deliberately targets disabled claimants forcing them to unfairly comply with rules that they are unable to achieve.

It goes without saying that no one should be forced to live like this disabled and non disabled, but sadly I can’t see this stopping for the foreseeable future.

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Universal Credit Call Centre Application Process Not Fit For Purpose

As I’ve reported many times in previous blogs the distinct lack of care, compassion and understanding causes great distress for many applicants and claimants. This distress starts upon applying for Universal Credit and other benefits.



As reported by Benefits and Work the appalling lack of care, concern and service given by DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) from call centres will undoubtably result in life-threatening destitution for some claimants. This will escalate to even higher levels when the forced migration from legacy benefits to UC begins.

There are many problems that occur upon applying for Universal Credit online, those of which can and will put a distinct amount of pressure upon already distressed claimants.

Claimants who are being forced to migrate have 3 months to complete the process if they’re able to complete this complicated and time consuming procedure.


Claimants who desperately need an extension of time to make their UC claim can result in losing all their legacy benefits if they are unable to get through to the Universal Credit Migration Notice helpline on the phone.




The DWPs response to this is “If you cannot claim Universal Credit by the deadline date given on your letter, you should contact the Universal Credit Migration Notice helpline as soon as possible.

“We can only give you more time to make a claim if you have a good reason. You must request this before the deadline date on your letter.”



If only it was this easy. Hundreds of Benefit and Work readers have told the team of their horrendous difficulties when trying to contact the existing DWP helplines quoting;


“Have been calling all week various times and after over and hour some days hour half given up but my deadline day is today really is terrible situation.”


“I have been cut off 4 times after being put on hold for about 25 mins each time trying to ask for an extension to my pip review as I can’t get an appointment with the cab to help me fill it in until after the deadline”


Many claimants that apply for or will be migrated to Universal Credit have health issues and disabilities that make completing the process very challenging forcing many to try and get a much needed time extension.

However the DWP call centre systems as they stand aren’t fit for purpose, they simply can’t and won’t be able to cope with an ever increasing need of people to use them. For these systems to be made fit for purpose will require a huge injection of new resources combined with increased staffing and a huge investment being made into the facilities offered.

Combined with the already frightening cost of living crisis it’s like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. People don’t have the resources both financial and emotionally to cope with this system, it’s cruel beyond belief.

Will this much needed investment be made? Will the DWP start treating people with the care and compassion that they deserve?

I very much doubt it.

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Autumn Budget Benefit Increases.

DWP Hide Details Of Forced Transition To Universal Credit Pilot From MPs

The DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) have once again been found to have covered up data from a forced transition pilot which took place in Harrogate.

Not only have they tried to hide this information from the public they’ve also hidden the details from MPs.

In a report by Benefits and Work it has been revealed that there is evidence of the DWP covering up not only the details of the forced pilot which took place in Harrogate, but also details of their incompetence.

This relates to the forced transition from legacy benefits to UC (Universal Credit). The social security advisory committee (SSAC) has been reported saying to MPs that there is a need for external scrutiny of the worrying process this month.



Steve McCabe MP for Birmingham Selly Oak has disclosed that copies of the Harrogate forced transition pilot report on the Harrogate pilot has been placed in the House of Commons library, after being entirely redacted with the exception of the words ‘Moved to Universal Credit’ and ‘User research’.



The total redaction tells us one thing, the DWP doesn’t want to let MPs know the details of the pilot and what happened. It goes without saying that they don’t want the public to know these details either.



MP Steve McCabe also gave details concerning a constituent who was left in a very bad both physically and mentally leaving the constituent in distress. The DWP reported that she failed to respond correctly to a migration notice despite already being told that she didn’t have a computer at home.

He went on to say that she attempted to phone the DWP but could’t find anyone to speak to. She also sent a letter by recorded delivery at her expense which the department ‘thought’ that they didn’t receive it. This left her without any payments for many weeks.






Benefits and Work went on to report that Charlotte Pickles, a member of SSAC (Social Security Advisory Committee), told MPs that the SSAC believed that some kind of external scrutiny of the ‘scary’ migration process is needed which will then supposedly give people forced to transition confidence that the process will be fair.



She went on to say ‘we are all very aware that for some groups, in particular, UC is quite a scary proposition. If you are sitting on a legacy benefit or you are a tax credit claimant, you possibly, likely, in certain groups, are very nervous and possibly reluctant to make that move to UC.”

After all who can blame them. The DWP are concealing important details not only from MPs but the public as well. The evidence from the Harrogate trial should be provided in an open and transparent way and any failings dealt with before expanding forced migration to Universal Credit.

Concealing evidence such as this will result in a failure of responsibility from the DWP and will undoubtably result in suffering and distress for those forced to move to Universal Credit.

At the time of writing the DWP are still hiding these details and I can’t see them doing so either.





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Please read and share this report, its essential that we continue to get information like this out in the public domain. A huge thank you to everyone that already does or has done this.

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If you would like to donate towards this and can afford to do so theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

I also have a Kofi account but I’m struggling to find out how to post a link to it on here. I can however provide details about this upon request.

Vodaphone Announce New Social Broadband Tariff And Free Broadband For Small Businesses.

Vodafone Group PLC has announced a new social broadband tariff for households giving them connectivity for £12 a month. They will also give small businesses free broadband for a year as part of their new cost-of-living package.

The new Vodafone Essentials Broadband deal will be available to anyone in receipt of Jobseekers’ Allowance, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

As part of their new cost of living package they will be also offering small business owners and any new or existing customers that are eligible to upgrade free business broadband for 12 months on a 24-month plan.

Vodafone have based these new packages on research that shows that people are reliant upon connectivity to help them cope better with the cost of living crisis..

These new packages will also enable people to connect to the internet which is essential for people claiming Universal Credit and job searching.

Having access to the internet has become an essential part of daily life and life without internet access can be very difficult.

Vodaphone Chief Executive Ahmed Essam says “The rising cost of living is putting a million families at risk of falling on the wrong side of the digital divide,”

He goes on to say “We must not allow this to happen. So as part of our everyone.connected programme, today we are launching Vodafone Essentials Broadband at just £12 a month, the cheapest on the market, and 12 months free broadband for small businesses.

“Vodafone is the only network provider to offer social tariffs across fixed and mobile, meaning eligible customers can access mobile and broadband connectivity for 72 pence a day.

“These new tariffs complement Voxi for Now and the 750,000 free sims we’ve donated so far as part of our everyone.connected programme.

“We’re on track to meet our commitment to donate a million connections by the end of this year and will continue to put the cause at the heart of our business until the problem no longer exists.”

Original source Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

Vodaphone Announce New Social Broadband Tariff And Free Broadband For Small Businesses.

Vodafone Group PLC has announced a new social broadband tariff for households giving them connectivity for £12 a month. They will also give small businesses free broadband for a year as part of their new cost-of-living package.

The new Vodafone Essentials Broadband deal will be available to anyone in receipt of Jobseekers’ Allowance, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

As part of their new cost of living package they will be also offering small business owners and any new or existing customers that are eligible to upgrade free business broadband for 12 months on a 24-month plan.

Vodafone have based these new packages on research that shows that people are reliant upon connectivity to help them cope better with the cost of living crisis..

These new packages will also enable people to connect to the internet which is essential for people claiming Universal Credit and job searching.

Having access to the internet has become an essential part of daily life and life without internet access can be very difficult.

Vodaphone Chief Executive Ahmed Essam says “The rising cost of living is putting a million families at risk of falling on the wrong side of the digital divide,”

He goes on to say “We must not allow this to happen. So as part of our everyone.connected programme, today we are launching Vodafone Essentials Broadband at just £12 a month, the cheapest on the market, and 12 months free broadband for small businesses.

“Vodafone is the only network provider to offer social tariffs across fixed and mobile, meaning eligible customers can access mobile and broadband connectivity for 72 pence a day.

“These new tariffs complement Voxi for Now and the 750,000 free sims we’ve donated so far as part of our everyone.connected programme.

“We’re on track to meet our commitment to donate a million connections by the end of this year and will continue to put the cause at the heart of our business until the problem no longer exists.”

Original source Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent