As many of you will already know the dirty tricks used by the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) during Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Work Capability Assessments (WCA) have been a matter of conversation since they were first implemented.
Campaigners have also been campaigning against these assessments for years highlighting the way that they are conducted and the dirty tricks that the DWP use during these assessments.
Great concern about how these assessments are conducted was recently spoken about during a meeting with the Work and Pensions committee at Parliament.
Minister for disabled people Chloe Smith agreed to ‘urgently investigate’ the alleged dirty tricks used by PIP and WCA assessors during these assessments.
There are many examples that are used during the assessments including and exceeds:
Assessors dropping pens or items on the floor and asking claimants to pick them up knowing that they would struggle to do so.
Lifts broken so claimants have no choice but to climb stairs even if they’re unable to, because the fear of not attending the assessment is unbearable.
No access to water coolers in the assessment waiting areas, making claimants request a paper cup from the reception desk and a long walk to the nearest working cooler.
Years of experience taking people to these assessments has shown me how cruel and despicable these assessments are, they damage not only a claimants mental heath they damage their physical heath also.
The cruelty starts upon filling in the forms to apply for PIP and ESA payments. They include what seems like endless questions, many of them repeated about how their illness and/or disability affects their daily life and their ability to complete tasks.
Thousands of people that are entitled to claim PIP and ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) refuse to make claims them because of the cruel form filling and assessment process. Some give up altogether and fall under the radar for receiving financial help therefore putting their physical and mental health at risk.
However I don’t hold much hope that the ‘investigation’ will initiate and change to the current system. It serves the government well, as it saves the government well regardless of the risk to human life.
I’ve got no doubt that the DWP and government will continue with their never ending cruelty towards the disabled and ill. It’ll be business as usual and all please for change will be ignored.
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MPs have recently accused the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) of creating ‘two classes of Universal Credit (UC) claimants.
The accusations were made as a result of uncovering the fact that claimants who are forced to migrate to UC early will face financial loss, compared to those who make the decision to move over to UC later rather than being forced to migrate.
This financial hit will happen as a result of next April’s annual uprating.
ESA claimants who choose to migrate after the uprating will keep what is estimated to be around a 9% increase in their benefits.
Claimants who are forced to migrate before April will have any uprating payments deducted from their transitional protection. This will leave them in a much worse financial situation than claimants who migrate later.
Upon questioning, Therese Coffey DWP secretary of state was asked if she would accept that this decision would lead to inequality, Coffey dismissed the accusation saying “I am not anticipating we will have lots of managed migration by April.”
To put it bluntly she doesn’t care if a few thousand claimants are going to suffer financially and nor will she rectify it either.
As usual Therese Coffey cares only about herself and not the vulnerable people that she claims to care for. This proves once again that UC very rarely improves a claimants financial situation, but instead causes distress and harm.
Source Benefits And Work
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Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that can help with extra living costs if you have both a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability if you have difficulty doing everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition.
PIP can be applied for even if you’re working, have savings or are getting most other benefits.
A Mandatory Reconsideration is the first step of challenging a PIP decision. This involves asking the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to look at their decision again. A Mandatory Reconsideration has to be applied for within one month of the decision date (the date that is given on the decision letter).
Reports show that the latest PIP statistics give show that Mandatory Reconsiderations success rates have fallen for almost every single month since October of 2021.
The statistics go on to show that the success rates have dropped from 45% in October 2021 to just 26% in April of 2022.
When questioned the DWP have offered no explanation for this inexorable decline in Mandatory Reconsideration success rates.
In 2019 the DWP implemented a new system of contacting claimants who lodged a mandatory reconsideration in order to collect further evidence. As a result Mandatory Reconsideration success rates rose considerably.
Moving forward to 2022 the DWP are now struggling to cope with an 18% increase in new PIP claims.This has resulted in a 9% increase in requests for mandatory reconsiderations which in turn has caused significant stress on an already overwhelmed system.
There are various reasons as to what the cause is but one notable one is that the DWP appear to no longer take the time to contact claimants if they’ve failed an assessment therefore success rates have fallen back to their previous levels before 2019.
Invariably this has resulted in thousands of claimants becoming disheartened and forgoing applying for a Mandatory Reconsideration. If a claimant makes the decision to challenge the DWPs decision they often have to wait months before going through the ordeal of an appeal tribunal. This results in already vulnerable people in a distressed state unable to continue with their day to day activities that their PIP award enabled them to do.
People living with a disability or illness have long bared the brunt of the governments cruelty being neglected, ignored and often left to cope with relentless cuts to their benefit payments and help that most need to continue with their day to day activities.
The governments relentless targeting of the most vulnerable in society needs to stop but sadly its very likely that this won’t happen whilst the Tory government are still in power. Instead they prefer to have parties and sing on karaokes whilst thousands of people suffer as a result of their actions.
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f you would like to contribute towards keeping my blog and campaign going and can afford to there is a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that supports my blog and campaign. Every penny makes a huge difference and enables me to continue with my work. I don’t receive any payment for any of the work that I do and its a huge struggle for me.
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.
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.
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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.
UK doctors suffering from Long Covid have been denied PIP according to a recent report by The Guardian.
Long Covid can be very debilitating leaving sufferers unable to do the most basic tasks without some help and assistance.
The report describes how badly the doctors are being treated by the DWP.
For example a respiratory consultant has described how they were refused PIP (Personal Independent Payments) whilst having urinary incontinence, difficulty standing, preparing food, eating, washing, dressing or engaging with people face to face. They also stated that they can’t stand for more than 10 minutes, find it very difficult to prepare food.
They went on to say “I thought that I had illustrated quite clearly what my disability was.” “When I got the report back, I thought is this about me?’”
The article also reveals that the process of making a PIP claim was so hard and mentally exhausted that it worsened their symptoms leaving them feeling much worse than before making their claim.
Some describing that they’ve been forced to use almost all their savings on private treatments and have considering selling their home as a result of this process.
For example an infectious disease expert that developed Long Covid found that their claim was rejected in part because they can drive a car, the assessor stating in their report that they showed “significant physical function” and “substantial cognitive powers”.
According to the Office for National Statistics from May 1st 2022 an estimated two million people in the UK have reported having Long Covid and it also beggars the question how many people having Long Covid are being refused their PIP payments despite having these symptoms and worse.
For many years now the whole PIP testing system has been heavily criticised and is flawed against the person applying for it. Many give up and try to continue without it because the process is too arduous and painful. It is noted that approximately 70% of PIP claimants win their appeal if they choose to do so.
The whole process urgently needs a huge reform and claims need to be processed correctly and fairly whilst taking into account the true symptoms and difficulties that PIP claimants report. Many PIP claims are refused upon the basis of lies made by the assessors conducting PIP assessments.
Sadly whilst the Conservative government remains in power any changes to the system remain very unlikely.
A copy of the full Guardian report can be found here https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/jun/13/uk-doctors-long-covid-say-denied-financial-support
A copy of the Office of National Statistics report can be found here https://www.ons.gov.uk
If you are also finding it hard to claim PIP or/and ESA for Long Covid related illnesses please comment below or tweet your difficulties via this blog on Twitter or Facebook. Let’s get our voices heard!
Please read and share it helps massively to raise awareness .
I receive no payment for any of the work or campaigning that I do and it’s a huge struggle for myself like it is for you. If you can afford and would like to donate to enable me to continue with my work theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does help support my work. Every penny makes a massive difference and enables me to continue.
Being poor in winter has always been a costly time of year but this year we are reminded of how many more people find themselves in this position.
I’ve said it before and will say it again because the choice between heating or eating is one that thousands are having to make this year, many not having the finances to do either. As we are already faced with increased energy prices, the upcoming price rises in April will make it a cost too high for thousands.
Imagine being priced out of being able to have the necessities to keep warm and to cook food and suchlike. I envisage thousands more people living in houses without access to gas and electric, sitting around a burning candle wishing for money to put on the meter.
It’s very reminiscent of life in victorian England, the poor suffering more than ever whilst the government totally ignores the needs of its most vulnerable citizens. Whilst we don’t have physical workhouses we have digital ones that people have to comply with at all times or risk their social security being stopped. I can bet they’ve spoken about bringing back the old workhouses though.
To give some context to this over the past month its cost me £75 to keep my house warm and £70 to keep the electric on and to enable the heating to work. This is far more expensive than this time last year and I can’t afford to do it anymore. As we approach April it really will be a cost too high for me.
I’m not alone though, thousands are in the same position as I am, struggling to get by, having sleepless nights worrying about how on earth they’re going to provide warmth and electricity for their children.
Make no mistake whilst we are struggling to get by the Tory government is virtually laughing at us, placing the blame for our poverty, for our disabilities and for our low wages firmly on our feet saying that it’s all our fault.
The government talk about aspiration yet they give us nothing to aspire to, it’s hard to do so when you’re hungry and cold.
The reality is that we have a government that was born more privileged thank you or I, they attended private schools and had the best education and healthcare than the average person will ever have. They don’t know or care to know about how life is like for the working class. They’ll never care about us or even think about us after all we are just a number to them, a commodity that can be bought and sold at their whim. When we aren’t of any use to them they discard us like yesterdays newspaper making life extremely hard, subjecting the most vulnerable to countless medical assessments and compliance meetings.
Life shouldn’t be like this, We need to continue protesting, reminding the tory government that they have no right to be treating us like this.
I apologise for this weeks blog, I’m ranting I know but it’s how I feel and it needs to be said.
A huge thank you to everyone that likes, shares, reads and tweets my blog. Every share makes a massive difference and it raises awareness.
I receive no funding for my blog and campaign. If you would like to donate and can afford to theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Thank you!]
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.
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.
If anyone would like to donate there’s a donat button at the top and side of this blog post.
The DWP are rather unsurprisingly refusing Benefits and Works request to see a copy of a report undertaken that looks at 120 claimants’ experiences of receiving PIP, ESA and Universal Credit.
Benefits And Work have now appealed to the Information Commissioner but this process could take many months which gives the DWP chance to find more reasons not to release the contents of the report.
The DWP have also declined to let the work and pensions committee see a copy of the report, even under conditions of complete confidentiality which leaves many to ask why this is happening and what are they trying to hide.
Benefits And Work have however viewed documents which show that either the report interviewees were knowingly misled about the research being published. It could be the case that the Secretary of state was being dishonest when she told MPs “Publication decisions are always taken upon completion of research.”
Rather interestingly Disability News Service have been contacted by a whistleblower that told them that they had been shown the first draft of the report and the DWP had ordered the authors to reduce the number of references to “unmet needs” and to delete some of its analysis.
So even the diluted final version of the report is apparently too scandalous to see the light of day.
The government have also recently published a Green Paper in order to consult on ‘how the welfare system can better meet the needs of disabled people and people with health conditions now and in the future’.
It’s debatable if they will actually take note of the needs of disabled people and to treat them fairly. They haven’t so far and I’m not expecting them to either.
It is also rumoured that the government might propose to reduce financial support to some disabled claimants in their forthcoming white paper. Taking this into account it makes sense for them that they don’t want evidence published that shows that there is already a high level of unmet needs.
Watch this space I will report on any future updates concerning this.
From years of past experience we know that the DWP don’t put the needs of disabled people first or even anywhere. Their target is to force people into work regardless of them actually being able to do so.
In the past I’ve seen disabled people forced onto Universal Credit by deception and then forced onto DWP courses with the aim of getting them ‘ready’ for work.
Remember that claimants are still forced to undertake unpaid ‘voluntary’ work which is unfair to say the least and can cause distress too many.
We can’t let the government and the DWP get away with ignoring report requests and also implementing rules that are at best cruel.
We need to remember that the government and the DWP are masters of deception and we must continue to see past their lies. There’s more of us than there are of them and I alongside others will continue to hold them accountable for their actions.
If you live in the Greater Manchester area and would like to get involved please join Manchester DPAC over at https:\\manchesterdpac.com You will find likeminded people and you will be given opportunities to join in activities.
Unite Community is a trade union organisation specifically created for people that aren’t working. It’s well worth joining however there is a small payment to join. You can find them over at https:\\join.unitetheunion.org
A huge thank you to Benefits And Work for sharing this information and for the hard work that they do.
My sincere apologies for the delay with this weeks blog post. I was unwell due to a migraine and was unable to concentrate on much.
How am I? Not brilliant to be honest. One of my dearest friends recently died and I’m mentally preparing for his funeral.
As you will realise Christmas is quickly approaching and we must be aware that so many of us aren’t going to be able to celebrate Christmas for either financial or other reasons. It’s a distressing time for many and we must keep that in mind.
A huge thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog and campaign. You have all kept me going when I was at my lowest especially when my son died. I’m amongst the many that won’t be celebrating Christmas this year.
For anyone that 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!
DWP SET TO INTRODUCE NEW TAILORING UP APPROACH FOR DISABLED PEOPLE.
The DWP aren’t known for their sympathy towards disabled claimants so it comes as no surprise that they’re now experimenting with a “Tailoring Up” approach to sanctions for disabled claimants.
Their new “Tailoring up” approach will now allow job coaches to make activities such as training or work experience either voluntary or mandatory, entirely at the discretion of the coach.
You might think that this is a good thing but sadly I fear it isn’t. The DWP aren’t doing any type of monitoring of this new programme therefore the risk of disabled people being discriminated against is high.
This will put disabled people in a terrible situation, leaving them at the hands of a Job Coach that might be sceptical of a persons disability such as mental health issues and other invisible and visible disabilities,
This will leave them at a very high risk of being sanctioned at the whim of a job Advisor based upon their personal opinion. After all theres no monitoring of this scheme leaving Job Coaches apparently answerable to no one.
Also being introduced as part of this scheme is for disabled claimants to attend meetings with job coaches will be a mandatory activity under the scheme. This is being piloted in sixteen areas but we all know what that means.
From years of experience with the DWP and they’re so called pilot schemes I fear that this will be the start of the rollout of this new scheme.
As soon as I hear more about this I will publish it in future blog posts.
It goes without saying but it is very important that you keep a good record of all communications going to the DWP and from them. Having a good paper trail helps enormously to overturn sanction decisions, as does involving a local MP if of course they aren’t a supporter of the whole sanctioning system.
Also very handy for support if anyone is sanctioned are local law Centres, online groups such as Benefits And Work, DPAC and Citizens Advice if you can access them.
DWP GETS BILLIONS FOR FORCED MOVE TO UC AND ONLINE CLAIMS
It also appears that theres always a big pot of money for the DWP to cause more suffering and distress.
The DWP has been given £2.6 billion between now and 2025 for “digital activity to support the delivery of benefits and transform how customers interact with the welfare system.”
They haven’t released any further details of what this transformation will be and what it will entail either. From past experience it’s likely to be spent upon moving as much as possible online, which in itself will cause many problems for claimants.
In the quest to make disabled people now claiming legacy benefits the DWP are set to recieve over half a billion pounds to “support the transition of legacy claimants onto UC” which as it stands will apparently be completed by March 2025.
However DWP will be focusing trying to make disabled people to move “voluntary” from legacy benefits such as ESA onto UC throughout the rest of this year and 2022. This will probably entail putting a lot of pressure onto disabled people to move their claims over, also possibly lying to disabled claimants to force them to move over to Universal Credit.
Unsurprisingly from 2023 onwards the DWP and government will be focusing on forcing the remainder of legacy benefits claimants onto UC, most likely by any means possible.
I know that this is easy for me to say but if you are told that you have to move your claim over to Universal Credit under the guise of it ‘being better’ for you stand your ground and refuse. In absolutely no way would this be beneficial for you at the moment.
No matter how much glitter Job Coaches and the DWP try to throw on the shite that is Universal Credit it will not make it shine.
The DWP are becoming more brazen with their obvious hatred of disabled and poor people. We must try to hold them accountable at every single opportunity that we are given.
You can do this by commenting and calling them out online, helping others and joining campaigns like mine and DPAC and Manchester DPAC over at https:\\manchesterdpac.com Also local branches of Unite Community join.unitetheunion.org
Please read, share and email my blog to help raise as much awareness as possible. Remember there are more of us than there are of them and sharing online helps enormously to raise awareness.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without you.
It’s been a horrible year for me, my son died and both myself and my daughter have been ill quite a lot. I’m recovering from Long Covid and another bout of pneumonia. My daughter recently caught Covid and she’s now ill with tonsillitis.
This has left me struggling more than usual which is a complete nightmare as you can probably understand.
For anyone that would like to donate either to my blog or my campaign there is a donate button at the top and side if this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my work. I don’t receive any payment for my work and I’m really grateful to you xx.