Tag: DWP sanction

DWP Wrongly Forces Universal Credit Claimants To Repay Entire Payments


According to a recent report from Child Poverty Action Group CPAG) claimants are being forced to repay their full Universal Credit (UC) award despite being entitled to it.

Why Are The DWP doing this?

During the pandemic the DWP temporarily changed some of the evidence rules to complete UC claims.

As detailed in the report by CPAG in January 2021 the DWP started to look into the claims that were made during the pandemic.

Whilst doing this the DWP have been changing the entitlement decisions given to claimants declaring that many claims have been wrongfully awarded.

Why This Shouldn’t Be Happening

CPAG have expressed their concerns that the process of retrospectively deciding claimants were not entitled to UC and beginning recovery is unlawful.



In addition, the DWP is asking for evidence of entitlement via the online journal, even from claimants that are no longer getting UC and would have no reason to check their journal.



Some claimants only find out about the alleged overpayment when they receive a letter from DWP Debt Management.

They therefore miss the one month deadline for challenging a decision and often don’t know that they could make a late challenge if they have good cause.


Shockingly, this process is set to be ramped up dramatically.

The DWPs Reaction

The DWP are employing a team of 2,000 staff to look again at 2 million claims over the next five years including, but not limited to, claims made during the pandemic.



The thought that a government department that tramples on claimants’ rights in this way is to be given powers of search, seizure and arrest, as revealed in our last newsletter, is truly frightening.


Conclusion.

It’s very concerning that the government gives the DWP the authority to stamp on a person’s legal rights in this manner.

Not only are they able to stop a claimants payments without any notice they are also set to be given powers of search, seizure and arrest, as detailed in an earlier blog post.

DWP decisions such as these are life changing and literally leave people without the ability to eat, pay their rent and to keep warm.

Combined with this is the mental toll that this puts upon claimants leaving them in a state of distress not knowing where to get help.

Claimants deserve to be treated with respect and should be given the right to reply before any permanent decisions are made by the DWP.

Not only is it morally wrong to change decisions retrospectively, moving the goalposts when it suits the DWP is despicable and should be challenged at all times.

You can find the full copy of the report here https://cpag.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/briefing/demands-repay-impact-and-legality-dwp-reverification-uc-claims

Please read, share and tweet this article. Doing so raises awareness of the real issues that affect the working class of this country.

I don’t receive any payment for the work that I do and to say it’s a struggle is an understatement. I’d really like to be able to continue writing and campaigning.

If you are able to and would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Every penny makes a massive difference.

Thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog. I really appreciate it and I couldn’t have got through the last two years without you.

New Regulations For Fit Note Prescribers

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

Source Rightsnet

Thanks to Rightsnet for providing this information.

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Thank you!

I can’t afford to eat and heat. Back outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

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.

Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

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.

DWP Sanctions Set To Rise Dramatically.

Universal credit claimants are going to be introduced to the DWPs new ‘Way To Work’ scheme in the very near future. The conditions for this new job searching programme will be that claimants will only be allowed to look for work in their own field of expertise cut back to one month. After one month claimants will be forced to look for any kind of job. going to have the time they can look for any Jon including work that they’re not qualified to do.

The DWPs new scheme has been introduced because the government has decided to force half a million people into work of any kind by June. Rather conveniently ignoring the fact that employers won’t just allow anyone to do any job without the relevant qualifications and work experience.

The new Way To Work scheme will apply to people that are declared fit for work and are classed as ready to work.

Instead the blame will fall upon already stressed claimants who don’t comply with the new Way To Work regime. If they refuse to look for work that they aren’t qualified for they will face having their universal credit payments sanctioned. Claimants will be forced to adhere to the new terms and conditions upon making their first claim for universal credit.

Whilst the DWP are in the mood for harassing claimants they’re threatening to ramp up the threat of sanctions. Unsurprisingly at the same time they’re refusing to publish a report which they created in 2019 into the effectiveness of sanctions.
In true DWP fashion they’ve changed their mind about publishing the report because they regard it to be of a “sensitive nature”.
Regardless of wether they publish the report or not there is a hell of a lot of information out there, published by other organisations and agencies that prove that sanctioning claimants only has a detrimental effect upon claimants and their families.



Sanctioning claimants ensures that a person will dive even further into poverty, their health will get worse. Many are left without the ability to buy food, heat their homes and pay their rent. I’ve been writing about this for years now, if you scroll down you’ll see my posts.

Given that the number of UC claimants carrying sanctions has already rose tenfold between June and November 2021, it is extremely worrying about about how many more claimants will face sanctions and how will they cope combined with the massive cost of living crisis that is already forcing people to make the choice between eating, heating or neither.

The truth is this. Sanctioning people and taking away a persons only means of financial support is yet another way that the government and the DWP punish people for being poor, blaming them for their own poverty and ensuring that they’ll have to agree with anything that the DWP tells them to do.

Sanctions also ensure that a person that has been sanctioned won’t have the energy to fight back because they’re either scared of what can happen or are too hungry, tired and worried to think about anything else.

Sadly I suspect that the DWP could also sanction people that have failed to get employment with an employer outside of their field of expertise. Will they blame the innocent claimant for not getting the job? Judging from previous experience you can bet that they could well do this.

The new ‘Way to work’ scheme won’t be welcomed by many employers either. Jobs often require qualifications and experience, sending everyone to apply for all jobs could deter employers from advertising jobs with the DWP. It’ll result in a lot of extra work trying to find suitable prospective employees through masses of applications.

It’s the perfect Tory recipe to shut up the voices of the working class, making them too scared to do anything to upset their overseers (DWP).


This isn’t surprising though, its a tried and tested tory tactic, switching the blame for any financial mess that the government has created upon those that are the poorest. They choose to take the blame away from themselves especially when they’ve been behaving shockingly. It’s impossible to forget the newspaper headline quoting people claiming social security of being benefit scroungers and also the numerous poverty porn tv programmes on channel 5.

The stigma of being poor and forced to claim social security hasn’t gone away, it’s alive and kicking online in local Facebook groups and on the streets. We need to continue to call out Boris Johnson and his cronies for exactly what they are lying scum and they’ll never have the publics best interests at heart.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-sanctions-statistics-to-october-2021-experimental/benefit-sanctions-statistics-to-october-2021-experimental

I know how awful it is to be targeted by the DWP and a very judgemental and unhelpful DWP advisor, I know how worrying it is to be threatened with a benefit section. Thousands of people have suffered as a result of this unnecessary sanctioning system. Sanctions don’t help people to look for work and like I’ve stated above they have a very detrimental affect upon a persons wellbeing.

Solidarity with everyone forced to undergo the cruel DWP regime.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

A huge thank you to everyone that reads and shares my blog posts. It really makes a massive difference and it raises awareness which is desperately right now.

A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog and campaign.

If you would like to get some support and solidarity I thoroughly recommend going Disabled People Against The Cuts (DPAC). They are a national voluntary run organisation. Here’s the link to the Greater `Manchester branch https:\\manchesterdpac.com

How am I? To be honest I’m struggling at the moment like many of you are. Being forced to sit in a cold house isn’t my idea of living. I put the heating on for my daughter and that’s it, and its not all the time. I’m dreading the energy price increases in April.

I’m not paid by anyone to do the work that I do and I would like to be able to continue to do so.

If you can afford to donate to help keep this going theres a PayPal button at the top and side of this blog post.

A huge thank you to everyone that has r dos support my blog and campaign, I really couldn’t do it without you.