Tag: esa

Government refuses to extend Universal Credit uplift.

This week Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey announced that the government has no plans to continue the £20 Universal Credit uplift, confirming that payments will be ending in late September.

Coffey also announced that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be contacting claimants so they are aware that their payments will change in late September whilst at the same time and they will be directed to budgeting advice.

The £20 a week uplift was increased for six months in March after charities and organisations had warned the government that it and would damage the mental health and physical health of those living in poverty.

The government’s answer to this is to announce that they’ve doubled the amount of work coaches and organisations that they work with, meanwhile totally ignoring the fact that the well being of thousands of people depends upon the £20 uplift.

Their plans obviously don’t include how to feed themselves and their families when their vital £20 is taken away from them. it might not be a lot of money to some, but it has enabled people to buy some food, get some glass and electric and to top up a mobile phone or internet if they have access to these.

Having a good internet connection is requested by the DWP and failure to have this can, and has ended with claimants being sanctioned.

The announcement to end the uplift payments was made after ignoring the advice of six former Conservative work and pension secretaries whom have requested that the Chancellor to make the £20 uplift permanent. They warned that if they failed to extend the uplift it would cause immense damage to living standards, health and the opportunity to improve their lives.

Indeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson whilst talking to the Commons Liaison Committee had requested to reconsider any plans to end the uplift and also said that higher skilled jobs are the best way forward.

Therese Coffey then announced that a collective decision was made to “shift the focus strongly into getting people into work” as the economy opens up. She also announced that this will ‘help’ when the country reaches step four of the Covid 19 road map and ‘more opportunities’ will be created for claimants.

Conservative MP Nigel Mills is quoted as saying “It sounds like this is a ‘dates not data’ decision, that we’ve just chosen to end this at the end of September and not going to review that based on any data at all.“’We’ll just kind of assume it will all be OK’ – that seems to be a pretty fair summary of what you’re saying: ‘We haven’t got any data yet that you don’t need this uplift, but we’re going to take it away regardless because that’s what we planned in the Budget’.”

Needless to say this is a terrible decision made by the government, fronted by Therese Coffey Work and Pensions Secretary. This decision has been made whilst ignoring the evidence given to her by charities, organisations and felt conservative Mp’s.

Not only will the refusal to extend the £20 uplift cause immense suffering and stress, they still fail to recognise that disabled people are struggling to get by and haven’t been included in any £20 uplift plans.

Along with the governments blatant discrimination against disabled people, the government is also still ploughing ahead to end lockdown and mask wearing whilst covid 19 cases and deaths are increasing.

Many disabled people have been housebound unable to go out for fear of infection and in many cases a lack of help. I’m very concerned that demands will be made of them to travel to assessments and DWP appointments when its obviously not safe to do so.

The government have blood on their hands for more than one reason.

Personally I’m going to continue to wear a mask and social distance for many reasons, one being that I’m still battling with Long Covid and other health conditions. Catching covid again, even though I’m fully vaccinated isn’t something that I want to go through again.

I’m also extremely worried about my children and grandchildren catching this new variant of Covid 19 also.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

How am I? Today is another migraine day for me, yippee. I hope that it passes asap.

I really hope that you are all ok. Lots of love to you all.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Every share etc makes a massive difference in the truth getting out there.

A huge thanks to everyone that has and does support my blog, it means the world to me.

If anyone would like to donate to keep my blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

Thank you and keep safe.

2,000 more PIP claimants a month refused PIP awards.

It’s been debated by many including myself about the fairness concerning PIP telephone assessments. It’s extremely triggering and stressful to attend these ‘medical assessments’ in the first place but at least you could see the assessors in person which can make appeals easier.

It also is extremely difficult to attend a telephone ‘assessment’ for those that have phone anxiety and limited, if any access to a telephone to conduct a telephone assessment.

The government are still ignoring the fact that not everyone has a telephone and not everyone can use a telephone hence my worry that telephone assessments could be harder than face-to-face assessments.

As reported by Benefits And Work the latest quarterly PIP statistics suggest that almost 2,000 fewer new claimants a month are getting an award since assessments switched from face-to-face assessments to telephone assessments.

These statistics also report that record numbers of people are now applying for PIP, but less applicants in proportion than ever receives their PIP payment.

The figures show that the overall average success rate for new PIP claims since PIP was introduced is 55%.But this has averaged over the last six months that the the success rate for new claims is just 48.5% since telephone assessments have been introduced.

Compare this to the same six months in 2019-20, before telephone assessments started, the success rate was 52%.

This decrease may seem small to many but in reality it means that 5,950 disabled claimants who would have previously been awarded their PIP payments were refused when the telephone assessments were introduced in the last quarter.

Whilst it can’t be be conclusively proved that it is the telephone assessments that has caused this, indeed PIP award rates have been falling for a long while, I can say that having a telephone assessment is going to reduce claims being successful.

I can also say that the government never misses a chance to deny a person their rightful payments to enable them to survive.I can bet that the same Tory MP’s implementing these policies and decisions never miss a chance to claim a so called expense when they get the chance to do so. Whilst they see that it’s ok for them to claim for just about anything that they can do, they see a disabled persons quality of life as an expense too much for them to pay.

The cruelty that the government dishes out to the poorest and most vulnerable appears to be never-ending. My fear is that the same government is going to refuse people with Covid 19 and Long Covid their rightful disability payments. Myself and others will be watching this situation and reporting on it.

For anyone that is or has made a claim for PIP and has been refused, it is essential that you appeal against a refusal. I know that its a horrible, arduous process to undertake but its worth doing.

You can find Benefits And Work over at http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk

Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

UPDATE find my new podcast over on Spotify 😊 https://open.spotify.com/show/0RgibJjz5KPzEGkyArIrN1

I still intend to start my podcasts asap. I totally lack confidence in this area though. I will start it asap though.

As for me it’s been a tough week. I received a phone call today telling me that my son’s memorial has been put in place and is now ready to view. Honestly having a child die, no matter what age is a pain unlike any other. He was my only son and he was dedicated to helping his family.

I have to keep reminding myself that it’s ok to grieve even when I feel that I shouldn’t. My son enjoyed the summer weather but not the hay fever that comes with it. His favourite thing to do was to help others and he’s missed by so many in his community.

Even though he’s no longer with us I will still be campaigning on behalf of my son, he was autistic and he also had to fight for his rightful payments.

A huge thank you to everyone that reads and supports my blog, I really couldn’t do this without you.

If anyone would like to donate towards the campaign and my blog a donate button is at the top and side of this blog post.

PIP Mobility Awards Appear Manipulated.

Thousands of claimants claiming PIP for mental health conditions are missing out on PIP payments because their reports appear to be manipulated.

Research conducted by Benefits And Work has shown that although the award rates rose for a year they’ve now dropped down to their previous levels which have started to rise again.

This is appalling because award rates should not have been shown to fall, they should have continued to rise and staying at a higher level.

Benefits And Work have also looked at the award rates for all conditions that the DWP consider would be affected by mental health and surprise, surprise they’re the same.

According to the DWP’s own estimates regarding mental health conditions approximately 6% of the entire PIP caseload should have moved from no award of the mobility component to enhanced.

Indeed a further 6% should have been moved from no award to a standard award.

Also 2% of awards should have moved from standard mobility to enhanced mobility.

The increased award rates regarding mental health should have been immediate and also should have been sustained once it was implemented. This would have resulted hundreds of thousands of additional essential mobility awards in place by 2023.

As usual the DWP are reluctant to comment upon this despite Benefits And Work submitting Freedom Of Information requests and the DWP giving them the runaround.

Sadly the DWP will do anything to prevent people from receiving their essential payments. I have absolutely no doubt that they do this because they know that vulnerable people are less likely to fight back.

I fully expect the government and the DWP sleep soundly at night because they believe that they’re doing the right thing by denying vulnerable people with the means to live a decent life even though its cruel and inhumane.

Thousands of people have lost their lives whilst fighting cruel decisions made by the DWP regarding their payments, I reported upon this last week.

Everyone deserves to live a good life and they should be given the support that they need to have a good quality of life. I will continue to fight for this alongside DPAC and other organisations.

PIP is Personal Independence Payments.

DWP is the Department Of Work And Pensions.

Source Benefits And Work, check them out they’re amazing.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

As for myself, its been a tough week for many reasons, one being that I’ve undertaken the task of sorting out old photos of my son when he was little. Its so sad looking at the photos knowing that when I took them I thought that he would outlive me.

I hope that you are all ok and surviving the best that you can do. it’s such a tough time for so many of us for many differing reasons.

Lots of love and hugs to you all, I couldn’t do this without you.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Each share raises awareness and helps others to cope in such hard times.

Once again a huge thank you so much for everyone that supports my blog and campaign, I really couldn’t do this without you.

If you would like to donate to keep my blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. If you’d like to buy me a coffee I’d really appreciate it. Thank you xx.

Disabled people excluded and marginalised during pandemic new report finds.

Research led by Inclusion London reveals that the COVID-19 crisis has impacted thousands of disabled people.

As reported by Disability News Service who have seen a draft version of an interim report based on the research titled Abandoned, Forgotten and Ignored.

The report conducted by Inclusion London is based upon more than 300 online survey responses from across England including a small number of people living in Scotland and Wales.

The report concludes that “Despite the government’s rhetoric about protecting and supporting Disabled people, the reality is that they have been treated less fairly and discriminated against across all areas of their lives.”

The report also warns that many disabled people most affected by the pandemic will not have had access to its online survey resulting in the findings of the report likely to represent only “the tip of the iceberg” due to lack of access to the internet for many disabled people.

Inclusion London have reported that disabled people have been suffering from increasing levels official isolation, mental distress, lack of decent if any care and support during the pandemic, also finding that there has been difficulty for many to access food and also difficulties accessing healthcare such as prescriptions and suchlike.

The report discloses that the actions of central government, local authorities and service-providers have continued to fail exclude and marginalise disabled people which in turn has resulted in discrimination.

It also finds that disabled people in high-risk groups have been unable to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE), and have also had had their vital care packages cut and important social care assessments delayed.

Indeed it reports that a quarter of the people that have responded that receive direct payments for their care were left unaided to cope with staff issues and sourcing their own PPE.

One disabled person responding said of their experience “My care agency are not getting adequate PPE, and they are so short-staffed at present that I’ve been lucky to get a shower once a month (and cannot have a strip wash at all due to them sending male care workers to me eight times out of 10 instead of female), and am not getting one in three of my daily care calls.”

More than three-fifths of people that responded to the survey said they had struggled to access food, medicine, and other necessities.

Respondents described how supermarkets had refused to make reasonable adjustments for them when they tried to shop in-store and how they were unable to order home deliveries.

Many have not received the support they vitally need to prepare meals for themselves also, this resulting in being forced to spend more money on food by having to shop in more expensive stores or having to order their meals online.

More than a third of those surveyed spoke of increasing levels of mental distress during the pandemic.

One respondent saying that they had been inside their home for three-and-a-half weeks without going out resulting in them feeling that they were losing their mind, going on to say that have a pre-existing mental health condition, and it is causing a big relapse.“I feel trapped and controlled and claustrophobic.

This had left them too scared to leave the house because if they get sick that they knew that, as someone with pre-existing conditions the doctors will leave them to die in favour of someone who has a better chance of surviving.

Several people that responded to the survey also said they had been asked to agree to having ‘do not attempt resuscitation’ orders placed in their medical records. Others told they would not be admitted to hospital if they fell ill or would be denied life-saving emergency treatment.

One person responding said: “I can’t access the government scheme for support because apparently I’m not disabled enough.“However I’m disabled enough to get suggested to sign DNR [Do Not Resuscitate], and inferred I’d be left to die if hospitalised.”

Inclusion London concluded the report by warning that there will be a much higher demand for advice and support from disabled people after the lockdown is lifted. This leaves many organisations needing to increase their funding to provide these essential services.

Its a terrible indictment upon the government that disabled people have had to resort to legal action because of the discrimination that they have faced from the government.

This report has reinforced the view that the government and society looks upon disabled people as a burden on the state and are second class citizens.

It is very disturbing however not surprising that disabled people have been treated in this manner throughout the pandemic. The government clearly regards them as unimportant and not deserving of any quality of life, which to be honest is very clear to see. We cannot allow this inhumane treatment of the most vulnerable in society to continue.

Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com

For sources of information and support during the coronavirus crisis, visit the DNS advice and information page18 June 2020 over at http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Sources http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Inclusion London https://inclusionlondon.org.uk

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Every share really makes a difference to get the truth out there, which is extremely important at the moment.

I receive no payment for any of the work that I do, I’m trying to improve my content and to increase the amount of blogs that I publish each week.

Along with the death of my son I’m finding things really difficult at the moment.

For anyone that would like to donate to keep both my blog and campaign going theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog.

A huge thank you to everyone that does and has supported my blog and campaign, it really does mean the world to me and it keeps me going.

Face to face assessments to return for PIP and WCA claimants.

Last month the DWP minister Justin Tomlinson informed the Commons Work and Pensions committee in parliament that face to face ‘interviews’ are set to return although he stated that some telephone and video assessments will still continue.

There has been no concern from Tomlinson about the safety of vulnerable claimants and the fact that there is still a pandemic and most people forced to attend these ‘assessments’ are indeed vulnerable and are still having to shield.

Tomlinson however claimed rather confusingly that they had ‘Lost all of their health professionals’ because they apparently have gone to work for the test and trace system instead.

It isn’t clear yet how the system is going to return to normality when, as he said the health professionals that were employed have now left. Maybe Tomlinson will pay them even more money to do this, therefore tempting them away from their current employment. Who knows, I expect we will find out sooner rather than later.

It does however take a particularly cruel mindset to conduct these ‘assessments’ and to declare vulnerable people fit for work when they clearly aren’t.

Tomlinson went on to say that the work capability assessments (WCA) will begin shortly and PIP (Personal Independent Payment) ‘assessments’ will follow a few weeks later although they will keep video and telephone assessments. Tomlinson wasn’t clear in what capacity this will be, clarity isn’t his or the Tory party’s strong point.

As I write this I expect many people will have had their much dreaded letter from the DWP regarding their assessment, thus causing distress and panic for already vulnerable people.

Whilst the Covid 19 vaccination programme is going well there are people that are unable to have the vaccinations for health reasons. The Covid 19 strain from India has now started to take a hold in the UK, putting thousands at risk.

I urge Tomlinson and the government to rethink their assessment strategy and to put the health and well-being of disabled and vulnerable people first.

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Once again thanks to Benefits and Work for their hard work in researching this and publishing this information. You can find them over at http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk

WCA is the Work Capability Assessment and PIP is Personal Independence Payments.

I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do and for my campaign.

Please help me to continue to do this, there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog.

A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares and tweets my blog. It makes a massive difference and it helps to raise awareness.

PIP AWARDS FALL TO ALL TIME LOW.

It appears that the DWP are back to their old tricks again. The pandemic isn’t even over yet they continue with their obvious discrimination against disabled people.

Theres nothing that the government and the DWP appear to enjoy more than target vulnerable people with impossible targets to meet and to basically make their lives ask difficult as possible.

You might remember that a recent court hearing that the DWP had been wrongly using the law in relation to PIP mobility based on mental health grounds. (Personal Independence Payments)

The DWP although not admitting any wrongdoing, they did say that this would result in an increase of approximately 14% of the PIP mobility component. You can bet that they didn’t like that.

Meanwhile the brilliant team over at Benefits And Work have looked at the figures for claimants that claim PIP for anxiety and depression, this being listed as being the most likely to be affected by the court ruling.

They discovered that immediately after the DWP started implementing the new ruling, the award rates for mobility for depression and anxiety rose quite dramatically rising from 14% to up to 25% .

As if by some cruel feat of magic, the PIP award rates started to fall again, resulting in an all time low which is now far greater than before the court ruling.

Once again the DWP had most likely thought that they could ignore the ruling, thinking that no one would notice their deception. After all it’s easy to target the most vulnerable and the people that will find it extremely hard to fight back.

It’s very easy for the DWP to do this though, indeed it’s taken them just over a year to achieve this gross injustice.

They know that they can ignore court rulings because they’re accountable to no one. Knowing that this will result in the suffering of so many people they continue not caring and denying people their rightful payment awards.

Whilst the pandemic had opened up lots more access to online meetings and events, those without the internet cannot access help this way. Can you imagine being awarded such a meagre amount of money that leaves you unable to leave your home? Unable to pay or find internet access?

It’s cruelty beyond belief, and I don’t for one minute doubt that the DWP know exactly what they’re doing.

At a time when society should be helping each other the DWP decided to make disabled peoples lives even harder, which is no surprise and they will continue until they’re physically out of government.

What can we do to help each other? We can give help, advice and solidarity to anyone that we know that needs it. This makes a world of difference. I will continue to campaign against the ugly DWP machine and the government for as long as I am able to.

A huge thank you to Benefits And Work for all the hard work that they do. If you haven’t checked them out yet `I urge you to because they’re amazing!

https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/about-us

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog posts. Every share really helps to raise awareness which in turn helps people. We need to get the truth out there.

A huge thank you to everyone that supports my blog and campaign. I’m slowly trying to get back to a new normal for me. Loosing my son has devastated me, but as a disabled person himself he would want me to continue to fight for fairness and equality for all.

I don’t receive any funding for either my blog and campaign. Theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.

A huge thank you to everyone that supports my work and a massive thank you to everyone that has supported me and shown me kindness throughout this awful time.

Let the bodies pile high says Johnson

Yesterday was quite a busy day for Dominic Cummings the former chief aide whilst he gave evidence in a seven hour hearing regarding the governments handling of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Cummings particulally took aim at Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock, depicting the chaos and failing of the government’s handling of the Covid 19 crisis, saying that the failure, incompetence at the top of government stating that Covid 19 had killed thousands that didn’t need to die.

Whilst many people had already realised that Prime Minister Johnson anti lockdown, ignored scientists advice and failed to introduce lockdowns in adequate time. This is the same prime minister that openly said that he didn’t care about people dying, saying ‘Let the bodies pile high’.

For myself and others it comes as no shock. Johnson and his ilk have no sympathy or care for working class people, even less sympathy is given to disabled and elderly people, you can see this in their policies and their attitude.

What people need to realise is that Johnson and co come from and live in a totally different world than most people. They come from a place of great privilege and they like to flaunt this whenever possible.

Their handling of the pandemic is a good example of this. for example whilst thousands of people were dying, Carrie Symonds, Johnsons girlfriend was shown to be more concerned about her dog than the pandemic and the death toll. Symonds also saw this as a perfect opportunity to try and find her friends jobs within the government.

Johnson knew exactly what he was doing though, he was warned by officials that a lockdown was needed but failed to act, taking him a further ten days to agree to a lockdown.

There was no plan for the government to use in the event of a pandemic, despite many in government believing that there was. This has undoubtedly has resulted in thousands of deaths. Ironically a plan had been created by the Labour Party which would have undoubtably helped thousands of people and would have prevented thousands of deaths.

Johnson also described Covid 19 as ‘the swine flu’ and stated that he was going to get Chris Whitty to inject him with Covid 19 live on television to prove that its nothing to be scared of.

Mark Sedwill the then Cabinet Secretary suggested that people should have Covid 19 parties like chicken pox parties, believing that herd immunity would then be reached by September. Meanwhile the government were drawing on a whiteboard asking who they can’t save with no regard for their safety nor regard for them at all.

Its very clear that the government doesn’t care and never will care. We only have to look at the way that the government treats disabled and working class people. Their policies have resulted in the deaths thousands before the pandemic and not one care has been given about this either.

It is completely normal for the government to treat people like this, we mean nothing to them. If they can’t make any use of us financially through exploitation such as their Workfare schemes, they punish people by making it extremely hard to claim benefits such as Universal Credit, ESA and PIP.

Such cruelty will continue for as long as they’re able to do so, with no effective opposition at the moment I can see such cruelty continuing for a long time to come.

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

I would like to thank you all for your patience, especially after my son’s death. I’m trying to get back to normal, whatever my new normal is now.

I’m aiming to get at least one blog post published every week, hopefully improving the quality of them along the way.

I also receive no funding for my blog or my campaign. Every penny counts and it will help a great deal.

A huge thank you to everyone that shares and supports my blog and campaign. It means the world to me and has kept me going during such dark times.

I’ve had enough. My long Covid nightmare continues.

Dear readers and subscribers, you I get have realised that Ive been pretty much out of action this past week. I apologise for this, I feel awful about it and I hope that it doesn’t happen again.

Ive been struggling to get through this last rebound due to needing more meds and waiting for them to be processed.

I’ll be honest with you, I’m feeling pretty low at the moment. This past year has been a complete nightmare and so far it doesn’t appear to be easing.

My health is pretty rubbish at the moment, it takes me much longer to do tasks that I didn’t used to think about. My daughters more than fed up with me being ill and I do feel like I am to blame for this. Being a single parent is tough when you’re ill.

Yesterday I learnt that the support that I was getting will be ending next week. This was very difficult for me to process because I’m still needing help.

Ive noticed that many essential support networks and general support services locally are ending next week because apparently everything’s going back to normal.

It’s rather foolish to believe that because this latest lockdown is ending that Covid 19 has ended as well. So many people are still ill with it and are suffering from long covid.

It’s very neglectful of any support network to believe that this latest lockdown ending is the last lockdown that we are going to have.

Already the numbers of children that are infected with covid 19 are rising along with the schools re opening. Combine this with the majority of the population have only had one vaccination leaving others still waiting for their vaccination dates it arrive.

Not long ago Boris Johnson declared that we would ‘have to get used to people dying’. I for one can never get used to that. He should never have uttered those words.

To be honest the only things that have been keeping me going recently are this blog and your support. I need your support more than I ever have before.

I want to be better, maybe these latest meds will work. I don’t want to be in the position that I’m in now. It’s pretty dire tbh and I expect that thousands of other people are feeling the same as I am now.

If any organisations are reading this blog post, please reconsider stopping support just because the latest lockdown is ending. So may of us are, not by choice dependent upon this help.

I feel that Ive been totally honest with you, I needed to get this worry off my chest so to speak and I want people to realise how tough it is for long covid survivors.

One day, hopefully soon this nightmare will be over and I’ll be back to my normal self. It’s been so long since I’ve been there.

Please read, share and tweet my blog. I really want to get the reality of our situations out there for everyone to read.

For anyone that would like to donate to keep both my blog, myself and the campaign going theres a donate button at the top and bottom of this blog post.

I really need your support and I thank everyone that does and has supported my blog and campaign.

Thank you.

I’m struggling……

Dear readers and subscribers, you may have noticed that I’ve been quiet this week. My aim is to produce at least three blog posts a week. I want to provide more newsworthy content as well as my weekly blog which is personal to me.

I have failed to do this because once again I’ve rebounded. I’ve got yet another chest infection that has hit me extremely hard, not only physically but mentally.

I really thought that I’d beaten my long covid symptoms, and for the most part I have. What I didn’t count on was that I could get another chest infection which has made me feel so ill.

I felt the symptoms up to about 14 days ago, I get pains in my right lung which are hard to describe. I stupidly ignored these symptoms because I didn’t want to be ill again, I didn’t want to have to say that I’m ill again because I’m sure that everyone is fed up of me saying this.

I carried on as usual until last Sunday when my body told me that I couldn’t continue like I was doing. My sats dropped to a low level and just doing the most basic chores made me breathless and tired.

I admitted defeat and spoke to my doctor. They diagnosed another chest infection and advised me that I should really go to the hospital. Easier said than done though when you’re a single parent and your child is totally dependent upon you.

I explained my situation and I was prescribed anti antibiotics and more inhalers. My consultant has been notified and I’m waiting for an appointment to see him.

There’s no doubting that I was extremely foolish to ignore my symptoms, don’t ever do this. For anyone in a similar situation to me, please act upon your symptoms and get help. I can’t believe that I was so stupid.

I think the main reason as to why I ignored my new symptoms is because I had such a long run of better health. I wasn’t struggling as much and I was seriously considering the fact that I would be well very soon.

I wanted to hold onto that hope, to become normal once again, to be included in future plans and to have ambitions of achieving my goals.

My goals aren’t particularly hard to achieve for an able bodied person. I love walking, I used to walk miles everyday and I so wanted to walk to Hartshead Pike once again with my daughter. Maybe one day I’ll achieve this.

Luckily I think that my antibiotics have started to work and my sats are much better than they were. Not perfect, far from it but acceptable for both myself and my doctor and consultant.

I know that the Covid 19 virus has damaged my lungs, especially my right lung and I have to accept that I’m more vulnerable to getting chest infections, but it’s impossible for me to live in a covid free environment. My daughter returned to school and with that came the spread of viruses brought home through no fault of her own.

So yes I’m struggling, yes I’m fed up of complaining about my health but this week has certainly been a big challenge for me. I want to do more, to eat more healthily and to have a better lifestyle but it’s impossible when I’m dependent upon such a low income.

I’m not only worried about my physical health I’m worried about how on earth can I juggle things around to provide everything that I need to get healthy again. It’s bloody impossible but I’ll try my best to do this.

For now my goals are low. I would first like to once again achieve my goal of more blog content because I love to write and I love to hear from all of you, because you are important.

As for my health, I’m back to taking it a day at a time, hopefully achieving small goals along the way. I’m grateful to be alive, to have survived Covid19, and to still be here talking to all of you.

Please keep safe, wear a mask and don’t for one minute think that this virus has gone away. It hasn’t and we still need to be careful.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Every time that my blog is shared results in more people reading about the truth of our life’s, our struggles and how shitty life is for us at the moment.

I don’t get any funding for writing my blog and at the moment I’m really struggling financially. For anyone that would like to donate theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog piece.

Every penny enables me to continue to blog and it really helps my campaign. I want to be back to normal again I really do.

A huge thank you to everyone that shares and supports my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without your help. It would be impossible. Thank you all so much.

High Court rules that taking high amounts of payments from Universal Credit payments unlawful.

Most people that claim Universal Credit find themselves in debt through no fault of their own. The five week wait for a new claim to be processed ensures that they’re going to accrue debts.

At the time of writing the DWP can automatically take high level deductions from a persons universal credit payments personal allowance for court fine payments, council tax debts and suchlike.

The DWP has a blanket policy of always cutting benefit by the maximum amount possible which is given regardless of personal circumstances. This leaves already financially vulnerable people struggling to buy food and to pay bills.

Yesterday the High Court has today ruled that this policy and practice of taking high amounts of payments from a persons Universal Credit is unlawful.

In February 2020, Shelter launched a legal challenge on behalf of four people, all of whom had a history of rough sleeping and therefore are hugely impacted affected by deductions being taken out of their Universal Credit payments.

Shelter challenged the DWPs deductions policy and all decisions to apply the ‘maximum deduction rate’ to universal credit. They also challenged this for all court fine payments regardless of the claimant’s personal circumstances.

The DWPs policy of deducting the maximum amount of 30% from the Universal Credit standard allowance leaves claimants with as little as £51 per week to live on., that is unless they have more deductions taken from their payments for other debts such as DWP loans etc.

These payments ensure that claimants cant afford to heat and or eat, pay for transport to get themselves to appointments and to buy essential phone credit to fulfil their required Universal Credit job searches.

Shelter argued in court that the DWP’s deductions policy and approach to deductions unlawfully removes an important discretion prescribed by law.  Regulation 4 of The Fines (Deductions from Income Support) Regulations 1992) provides the DWP discretion to deduct a minimum of 5% from peoples’ UC to pay back court fines (and a maximum of £108.35).

The DWP’s blanket policy removes this discretion by setting a fixed maximum deduction of 30% and doesn’t allow claimants to request a lower deduction even in exceptional circumstances where they’re facing hardship.

The DWP’s defence of this policy is that in theory Universal Credit claimants can return to the magistrates’ court to request a direct repayment plan.

In reality this is impracticable. Most claimants aren’t aware that they can do this and the DWP aren’t exactly helpful if a person wants to do this.

The deductions regime is an effective means of repayment of debts, however as it stands the high level of repayments pushes a claimant even further into debt and poverty because repayments aren’t set at a reasonable level, taking into account a claimants financial circumstances.

Shelters case was heard at the High Court before Mr Justice Kerr via a remote hearing on 12 and 13 January 2021. Shelter’s claim was also heard together with a second claim brought by Hackney Community Law Centre acting on behalf of a disabled UC claimant.

The court found that DWP’s deductions policy is unlawful because it ‘fetters discretion’: i.e. it prevents decision makers from taking a UC claimant’s personal circumstances into account when setting the deduction rate.

The court ruled that by setting a fixed rate for deductions from UC for fines, and the DWP’s inflexible approach in making decisions on these cases, removes the discretion provided for in the relevant legislation. This is unlawful.

Responding to the DWP’s defence of an ‘alternative route’ through the magistrates’ court, Mr Justice Kerr states:

‘The deductions regime is paternalistic: the debtor cannot be left to pay off court fines voluntarily; they must be made to do so, for their sake and society’s.  The Secretary of State’s passivity leaves unperformed the duty upon her to make that happen in appropriate cases.’

The High Court ruled that the DWP’s policy and practice in its present form was not lawful. The judge ordered that the relevant section in the deductions policy relating to fines be amended to reflect the judgment.

This judgment means that the DWP will have to change the deductions policy and their guidance must include discretion for DWP decision makers.

This will mean that Universal Credit claimants will be able ask the DWP to lower the amount deducted for court fine payments if they are struggling financially to pay them.

In reality nothing is changing regarding this legal decision yet because the DWP are as usual appealing the courts decision, but I will keep you posted about this.

This ruling has the opportunity to change Universal Credit claimants financial situations for the better, but you can bet that the DWP will drag this out for as long as possible.

My apologies for the lateness of this weeks blog. Yesterday was so busy for myself and my daughter and I’m once again unwell again.

I will endeavour to do my best to not let this happen again.

I’m so fed up with being unwell, not only does it impact me health wise it impacts my relationship with my children and it hits me hard financially.

I am doing my best to get well again because I hate feeling like this.

Please take care, keep safe and be kind to yourselves.

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A huge thank you to everyone that supports both my blog and campaign.

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Sources Shelter.