Tag: energy companies

DWP Refuses To Release Secret Survey Information

Here we go again.

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?’

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

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 join a protest? Join The Peoples Assembly over at http://https//thepeoplesassembly.org.uk

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.

Long foodbank queues on Christmas Eve.

A friend of mine that volunteers at a foodbank has just sent me the below images. They asked if their anonymity is kept and of course I’m respecting this.

The photos were taken as they were arriving for their shift at the food bank. It wasn’t open for some time, but the queue was already massive, people arriving early to make sure that they’d get some food.

As you can see the queue consisted of People, all differing in their needs. What can’t be missed is the people using wheelchairs queueing for food parcels.on Christmas Eve.

Also in the queue are elderly people and families with children.

You don’t need me to tell you that this shouldn’t be happening , it’s heartbreaking.

You can always find the measure of a country by seeing how they look after the poor, young, elderly and disabled.

The conservative government is blatantly failing on this front. As a country we can’t be proud of this either.

Being proud of a country is about being proud of what it actually does right, and how it treats those in need. It’s not about waving flags and singing the national anthem.

We can however also look back on history and also be ashamed for the very same reasons. Ignoring the fact that the UK government is causing direct harm to people won’t make it go away.

Whilst the government has been focusing on ridiculous things like blue passports people are dying, thousands are becoming homeless and many are becoming ill from poverty related illnesses.

Meanwhile the public are bombarded with images of the royal family having a lovely Christmas, the people queuing at this foodbank and others won’t be able to celebrate.

Its simply not acceptable.

I messaged the volunteer that took the below images and this is what they said

It felt like a slap in the face for them too. It’s a reminder of their privilege. Because despite having their own difficulties they can sit in a warm house, with food, having just wrapped presents for their family.

They went on to say that it makes them angry and sad that this is happening, that they wished that they could do more to help. There’s more that many could do, so let’s do it.

Helping others doesn’t have to cost a penny. A kind word, saying hello in the street makes the world of difference to someone that lives alone and hasn’t spoken to anyone for a long time.

Being a friend costs nothing also, sharing what you no longer need doesn’t either. Of course I realise that many people have nothing to give to someone else.

Let’s spend the festive period and the coming year to be kind and thoughtful towards each other. We need to do this because the government won’t ever care about you.

Faces and building names covered out of respect for the people queuing.
No one should be forced to literally beg for food on Christmas Eve.

Please read, share, tweet and email this blog post. This makes a massive difference and it raises lots of awareness. Thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone that has and is supporting my blog and campaign. I really appreciate it and I couldn’t do this without your support.

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Sanctions return for new style ESA and JSA and Universal Credit


As we quickly approach Christmas and a cold hungry winter once again the DWP are going to bring back the cruel sanction system.

They never miss a chance to make Christmas even more harder do they.


Sanctions relating to the claimant commitment had been suspended due to the pandemic.

It is very clear that the DWP are now back to business including sanctioning sick and disabled claimants.


According to Touch base the DWP are quoted as saying“This week a change was made to bring the obligations in new style JSA and ESA benefits in line with those in Universal Credit”

“This will mean that, as is the case for Universal Credit claimants, if someone in receipt of new style JSA and ESA fails to do what they have agreed to in their Claimant Commitment without good reason – such as having or caring for a child, or a change to a health condition – their payments may be reduced for a set period. This is known as a sanction.”

“All Claimant Commitments are tailored to a person’s personal circumstances and local jobs market, and claimants affected by this change are being informed of the introduction of the new process. Sanctions are only applied as a last resort when a claimant is not engaging with the commitment they have made. If someone disagrees with a decision they can ask for it to be looked at again.”

This is all rather scary as the government have now passed on the onus of sanctioning decisions to the Job Coaches and not a decision maker.

Sanctions aren’t always a last resort decision and I’m speaking from years of experience helping people to appeal sanction decisions. Also since when have the DWP taken children into consideration… They haven’t.

I’m sure that many of you reading this have had so called Job Coaches that take an obvious dislike you you. I’ve also experienced this and I know exactly what it’s like. It’s soul destroying.

I’ve experienced having a Job Coach that clearly hated me. She would find holes in everything that I did and tried to sanction me at every opportunity that came her way.

Luckily I was able to make a complaint about her which involved my local MP.

I changed Job Coaches but she would glare at me every time that I walked past her. I have mentioned this in a previous blog post.

My question is this… How many innocent people are going to be wrongfully sanctioned because of this very reason?

It’s also worrying that there could well be even more sanction targets (offloads). Therefore the need to reach these targets will cause the suffering and distress of thousands of people.

Basically the whole sanctioning process could well be ramped up a whole lot more..

Opinion isn’t fact and there are many valid reasons why a claimant has not been able to to fulfill their claimant commitment.

Illness, lack of money for essentials such as no money to top up mobile phones or to have access to the internet at home.

Access to libraries is fast becoming a rarity these days. The DWP demands that claimants have access to the internet at all times.

Essentialy if an Job Coach decides in their opinion that a claimant hasn’t done enough then they’ll sanction them.

Remember once again opinion isn’t always fact and this is a very dangerous precept to use.

The whole sanction system should be abolished. There’s absolutely no reason why a person should have their very basics for survival to be snatched off them by the click of a button. Which is based upon the opinion of a Job Coach. Remember opinion isn’t always fact.

Whilst we are still in the midst of a pandemic the government and the DWP have now returned to normal. Don’t expect them to care because they obviously don’t.

Keep a good written and digital record (if you can) of everything that you’ve done to fulfill your claimant commitment.

If you’ve been ill or suchlike also try to keep a record of whatever you can to prove that you’ve been ill.

It’s important that you do all this because sanctioning you will be a whole lot harder if you keep a good record of everything.

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

If you are in the Greater Manchester area please have a look and even join in with Greater Manchester DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) activities. You can find them here at https:\\manchesterdpac.com

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog posts. It helps enormously to get the truth out there.

How am I? I’m ok apart from catching a sickness bug yesterday hence my blog being late. My apologies.

A huge thank you to everyone that has supported my campaign and blog. I really couldn’t have done it without you.

I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do. If anyone would like to donate there is a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

DWP agrees to waive hardship payment debts.

Please click on the below link from the Public Law Project.

If you are told to repay back hardship payment debts make sure that you challenge this.

It is your legal right to do so. If needed quote the below article and insist that the DWP use their discretion regarding payment of hardship payment debt.

Insist that these payments are causing distress and suffering, which they do for thousands of people.

This is also essential because the majority of claimants already have monies garnished from their payments for council tax debt and suchlike.

No one should be forced to live in extreme hardship such as this.

I expect that the DWP won’t like this so don’t expect them to suggest it to you.

https://publiclawproject.org.uk/latest/dwp-agrees-to-waive-hardship-payment-debts-after-successful-judicial-review/

Please like, share and tweet my blog. It’s very important to get the truth and the reality of our life’s out there.

I don’t get paid for anything that I do but I do want to continue to be able to continue to write my blog and continue with my campaign.

For anyone that would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

A huge thank you to everyone that and has supported my blog and campaign. This makes such a big difference.

Covid 19. What happens to the survivors and the families of those that have died?

Dear readers and subscribers it appears to be Thursday once again. I hope that you are all ok and as well as you can be.I’ve had a pretty busy week having a telephone consultation with my respitory consultant, blood tests and talking to my GP.

For covid survivors I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a doctor that listens to me and echoes mine and my consultants concerns. This is a rarity though.

Why is this a rarity you might ask, everyone should be treated this way. The sad reality is that they aren’t.Helping a patient with Covid 19 is extremely hard because they’re dealing with the unknown. Covid also presents itself differently with each and every person that catches it.

There isn’t any real ‘normal’ symptoms with Covid 19 because of this.For me, covid hit my lungs pretty hard, most likely because I already had mild asthma.

Covid likes to find a person’s weak point and attack there.

For other people they can get more neurological symptoms and not the classic symptoms. For them getting help is extremely hard.

Like my doctor said, so many doctors haven’t got a clue about how to deal with it unless they’ve had the time to research it themselves. I can imagine that finding the time to do this would be hard for them.

This leaves us with a massive problem though. Thousands of people with long covid symptoms are being ignored,some are being told that there’s nothing that can be done for them when that’s not true.

I was both unlucky and lucky enough to be admitted into hospital and this fast tracked me to the follow up care that I need. This is why I consider myself lucky in this respect.

But still thousands of people that are suffering with delibatating symptoms are being ignored, left on their own with no support at all.

Every covid survivor deserves to be listened to and to have their symptoms investigated. It’s vital that this happens. The fact that it isn’t happening is a complete travesty.

Then we have the families of loved ones that have died from Covid 19.They’re not being listened to at all.

The government is so far refusing to meet with them to discuss their needs and concerns.

Why the government refuse to meet them is unknown as of yet, but I do believe that they’re avoiding any contact with the public but my be is that they don’t want anyone challenging their extremely bad decisions

.Also add into the mix the farcical second lockdown. This lockdown won’t be successful because schools are still open etc. Unbelievable isn’t it.

We’ve also as a result of this got the real possibility of a lockdown over the Christmas period. To be honest I don’t mind this because we need to get this virus under control but so many people will suffer as a result of this possible decision.

Basically the government has done what it does best… Mess everything up, ignore the public and walk away.

This leaves the public to do the best that they can with very few resources if any.We are facing very bleak times and are going to do this with little or no Government help and it’s extremely worrying.

We have thousands of people that will be facing destitution in the coming months and they need help and representation.

We then have the terrible decision to remove Jeremy Corbyn from his position. They then allowed him to return but without the whip.

This is exactly what we don’t need at the moment. Jeremy deserves to be given the whip etc back.

The labour party should be united to fight the Tories against their terrible decisions that they’re making about the pandemic etc.

Instead it’s divided the party and members are leaving. Would it be too much to ask for some real united opposition?Can they please stop this witch hunt and focus on the government’s faults instead?

I urge them to think about this.

Thousands of people have died as a result of contracting covid and their families need help and support.

Thousands of people are ill with Covid and they need support.Thousands of people suffering from long covid need support.

They all need this support to come from the government’s opposition.We need this now.

I’m eight months into my long covid battle and it’s been awful. I’m trying to keep strong and fight back but it’s hard at times.

I don’t think that I could have done it without the help and support from my online friends

.For those without this online support it can and is a very dark and lonely place to be. Please spare a thought for them.

I’m going to end it there because I have to go and collect my meds.
Please keep safe you are important and I do care about you all.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.
I don’t get any funding for anything that you do.

Having covid has put an enormous strain on my finances.

For anyone that would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog.

Thank you to everyone that reads and supports my blog and campaign.

Prepaid energy top up and Coronavirus. How do you top up your prepaid energy meters? IMPORTANT.

Dear readers I’ve been chasing down all the major energy companies on Twitter and asking them what their emergency provisions are for people unable to go to a shop to top up an energy card or key.

It’s a very important issue because so many of us, myself included are stuck on prepaid meters. If we don’t top up we get cut off and then what are we supposed to do?

Are we expected to just put up with being cut off from everything or is there help out there?

So to find out I started tweeting the major energy companies straight away. It was extremely eye opening to see that so many people didn’t even think about this being a problem. On the other hand many people were concerned and have shared my tweets.

So far these are the responses, the response from British Gas has to be the worst. The best response so far has to be from Bulb Energy. EDF came second in both response time and gave a decent answer to my question.

Listed below are all the responses that I’ve had so far. If I get anymore responses I shall add them to this blog post.

EDF

Hi Charlotte, thanks for getting in touch. The current advice from Public Health England for people who are self-isolating is to ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out tasks such as getting groceries, medications or other shopping. These tasks would include the topping up of non-smart prepay energy meters. In circumstances where this is not possible, we have existing measures in place to make sure ]supply will continue in the short term. We are able to preload keys and cards with credit that can be collected by a customer or someone that is helping them from a local shop or alternatively can be delivered in the post. Any credit provided will be collected back at a suitable rate agreed with the customer. We also operate a friendly non disconnection policy on most meters, this means that if a customer runs out of credit after certain hours the electricity will not go off until 9am the next day. The operates between the hours of Monday to Friday 6pm to 9am, Saturday from 6pm, anytime on a Sunday, until 9am Monday, anytime on a bank holiday, until 9am the next day. Many thanks

BRITISH GAS

Hi Charlotte, customers may have enough emergency credit to last while they’re self-isolating at home. If they think they will run out, they should contact us to discuss their circumstances. We will work with them to find a solution. Thanks, Charlie

BULB

Hi Charlotte – This is a valid concern, we’ve advised prepay members to top up extra. If that’s not possible due to self-isolation or other potential issues we have a supply of keys/cards preloaded with credit. This is a new situation for us so our policy may evolve with time – M

Hi Lou – The preloaded key/card system comes with credit and is intended to help those who can’t have others top up for them. We’re following latest government policy and advice to ensure our own actions are up to date with developments – M

CENTRICA

Hi, you may have enough credit to last you while your self-isolating at home. If you think you’ll run out of credit, contact us to discuss your circumstances and we’ll work with you to find a solution. Thanks, Leanne

Hi Charlotte, we’ll continue to ensure customers get the help and support they need. If you think you’ll run out of credit, contact us to discuss your circumstances and we’ll work with you to find a solution.

E-ON

SCOTTISH POWER.