Tag: DWP survey

WCA To Be Abolished But It’s Not Good News. Universal Credit Sanctions Set To become Harsher.

It was announced in yesterdays budget that the WCA (Work Capability Assessment) is likely to be abolished however details of conditionality agreements, sanctions and other conditionality details have nit been revealed yet.

Theres also been rumours of the introduction of automated sanctions possibly implemented by bots for UC (Universal Credit) claimants

With the abolition of the WCA the small protection from conditionality that exists for those who are placed in the support group has been removed but the question is how soon they can enact this and is it a done deal?

From my knowledge this can’t happen without it first being in the white paper which it already is but this then has to go through parliament as a bill and then become an act so none of this is a done deal and it’s uncertain that they’ll have time to do this before a future general election.



If all of the above is successful and the WCA is abolished there are no details as to how the DWP will make decisions upon who will qualify for extra payments because they’re unable to return to work because of illness and disability.



Theres also the question of will the LCWRA (Universal Credit Work Related Activity) continue to stay or will they remove this as well in the future?

Theres also no details given as to who or what will decide if you should be subject to sanctions if you can’t look for work because your condition prevents you from looking for work and attend meetings.



As well as abolishing the WCA, the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) is allegedly already planning to ‘strengthen’ UC sanctions, with rumours of using possible Bots and specially trained staff to do so. These measures could automate the issuing of sanctions notices.

If these rumours are correct, this could mean that sanctions which are already at a record level high could well increase even more when DWP bots possibly send out sanction notices. Sanction notices are notorious for arriving late leaving the claimant with no idea why they haven’t received their payments.

Not to forget that bots aren’t programmed to ask for and look for reasons as to why a claimant has allegedly missed an appointment and they certainly don’t take into account a persons ability to attend meetings.


Whilst any changes to the WCA are very likely to take years to introduce and there is time to challenge these decisions, changes to sanctions could well be introduced rapidly and without warning.

Another question that needs answering is will these changes apply to existing claims? If so this will most likely take a long time to transition. So don’t panic nothing is going to suddenly change if you are currently in support group / LCWRA.



So when will these changes happen?

They will be rolled out geographically for new claims first from 2026/27 to 2029. Only then would existing claimants begin to be affected. There will be some transitional protection for claimants who have LCWRA but do not get any element of PIP.

The degree of change in our proposals will require primary legislation, which we would aim to take forward in a new Parliament when parliamentary time allows. These reforms would then be rolled out, to new claims only, on a staged, geographical basis from no earlier than 2026/27

Below is a government link to their proposals in their white paper.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transforming-support-the-health-and-disability-white-paper

I’ve tried to be concise and to word things simply, I don’t want anyone to panic and think that these changes are going to happen soon because they aren’t and theres time to oppose these proposals and protest against them.

Regarding Universal Credit claimants they’re most likely to bear the brunt of this much sooner and we still need to continue to support them and campaign against the extremely harsh treatment being thrown at them.

It’s no surprise that the government has yet again chosen to target the most vulnerable and I can see no end to their cruelty. We need to support each other in these cruelest of times.

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300% Increase In Disallowed PIP Awards

According to Tom Pursglove DWP Minister For Disabled People, 42,000 claimants lost their PIP Personal Independence Payments) awards in 2021 because they allegedly failed to return their AR1 PIP review forms.

This has caused an astonishing unexplained increase of almost 300% in just two years.



Theres a strong probability that many of the claimants that have been disallowed their payments have indeed returned them in time and the inept and archaic DWP system could be either losing them or taking far too long to record that they have been received.


Not to forget that some claimants may have failed to return the review form because the distress that completing these forms can cause triggering physical or mental health conditions.



As I reported a couple of weeks ago the tragic death of Laura Winham who’s disability benefit was stopped without any welfare checks by the DWP and other organisations after she failed to return her PIP claim form after being told that she needed to transfer from DLA to PIP.

Please note that all agencies involved were aware that she had a severe mental illness and needed support to do so.



According to Pursglove, claimants with serious mental health or cognitive conditions or who are vulnerable in other ways should have their files ‘watermarked’ to show they need additional support. Clearly this isn’t happening in all cases.

According to DWP policy claimants such as these should not have their PIP stopped because of a failure to return a form.

Are the DWP ignoring their own policies and procedures?Unsurprisingly this appears to be the case doesn’t it.

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DWP Found guilty Of Lying And Withholding Advice From Claimant

It has been reported that in February 2023 a high court found that the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) guilty of lying to a claimant concerning their legal rights and also guilty of keeping vital legal guidance secret in order to recover an overpayment of £8,000 from a claimant.

This overpayment was also found to be a result of mistakes made by the DWP leaving the claimant not at fault.



This resulted in the court preventing the DWP from taking the overpayment back from the mother of two disabled children. In doing so it has been revealed that possibly thousands more claimants may have been lied to in the same manner.

The claimant had made her appeal on the grounds that the DWP had kept secret its detailed policy which advises that in this situation overpayments should be waived.

Upon hearing this the judge in this case found that this secrecy was unlawful.




It was revealed that the DWP repeatedly lied to the claimant by telling her that she had no right to ask them to consider waiving the debt of which the judge found this to be ‘manifestly unlawful’.

Evidence showed in the trial also revealed that in the year to March 2021 a total of 337,000 universal credit claimants were asked to repay overpayments that were caused by errors made by the DWP.

The total value of those overpayments was £228 million.



Unsurprisingly the DWP claimed that only 47 claimants asked for their overpayments to be waived in the whole of 2020 and just 7 of those requests were granted.

The judge saying that “If the claimant’s experience of twice having her request for waiver rebuffed without consideration is not unique to her, the number of requests in fact made may exceed the number recorded ”


The truth is that thousands of claimants might have requested a waiver and been ignored or even denied by the DWP.

At the same time thousands more might not have been aware that they even had the right to ask for one.

This case shows that the DWP continues to harass and financially withdraw monies from extremely vulnerable people brazenly most likely not expecting to be challenged.

It also has to be acknowledged that the claimant in this case was extremely brave for taking the DWP to court. It’s a very difficult thing to do and her doing so has possibly helped thousands of other claimants in similar situations.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.

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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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Important News For Bus Fares Outside Of London

DWP Secret Survey To Blame Claimants For Living In Poverty.

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.

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Solidarity and support to Disabled People Against The Cuts. You can join them here at https:manchesterdpac.com

Many thanks to Benefits And work for highlighting this story and for all of the hard work that they do to help others.

For last weeks report Thousands Cold And Hungry This Winter. Also my previous report about increased benefit sanctions DWP Sanctions Set To Rise Dramatically.

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.

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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.

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