Tag: fascist

Forced to travel miles to attend a DWP mandatory course. Five month wait for Universal Credit payment. The system isn’t working..

Good afternoon readers, this weeks demo was busy as usual. Sadly far too many people were walking in and out of the Jobcentre with their heads down, eyes to the ground. To be honest they looked worn out, fed up, depressed and a step away from giving up. it’s a cruel system that cares nothing for those forced to comply with it.

it’s no mistake that I use the words ‘comply’ and ‘forced’ because thats exactly what it is. Claimants have absolutely no choice but to comply with often unreasonable demands made from the DWP. They are forced to attend DWP regulated courses, attend the Jobcentre whenever it is demanded of them , wait more than the official five weeks for their first Universal Credit payment. They are forced into a life of poverty, many for the first time. It really is an inhumane system and it needs to stop now.

 

I shall list the differing problems that we addressed whilst speaking to people outside the Jobcentre, everyone that we spoke to were given advice, a survival guide, signposted and if needed a food parcel issued.

Sadly the food parcels were very popular and all were gone within five minutes. I arrived ten minutes early and there was already a queue. I also took a woman to the shop next to the Jobcentre to buy her some food because we had run out. it’s awful.

Universal credit payments (if you are lucky enough to receive one) are not enough to enable people to survive for a month. Most of the people that I speak to have deductions taken out of their payment for the loan that they have been forced to take  whilst awaiting for their claim to be processed. Add to this other DWP loan repayments, rent top up and other debts its nearly impossible to survive.

 

Roy spoke to a man that said he has just been rehoused into a flat. Although he’s very grateful to have a roof over his head, he told Roy that the flat is inhabitiable. Various problems with the state of the flat and a concrete floor that he can’t afford to carpet. Roy signposted him to a local organisation that might be able to help with this.

 

We spoke to a woman that had been told that she had been migrated over to Universal Credit without her knowledge. She’s worried how she will survive. Would it not be too much to ask that the DWP inform all claimants at least a few weeks before they are transferred over? Apparently it is.

 

I noticed a man walking in and out of the Jobcentre for what appeared to be every five minutes. He was obviously agitated and fed up and clearly didn’t want to talk. my heart went out to him, a man totally degraded and humiliated by a system that clearly cares nothing for him.

 

I spoke to a young woman leaving the Jobcentre with her partner and children, she looked frustrated, fed up and angry. I ran over to her and asked her if I could help her with anything.

She went on to say that she had been locked out out of her Universal Jobmatch account, she wasn’t certain if she had forgotten her password or if the system was at fault. Honestly it’s hard to tell at times because the system drives you to distraction.

She had visited the Jobcentre to find out if she could get any help with this, but was faced with a big unanimous no. No they couldn’t help, they wouldn’t help but nevermind here’s a telephone number, phone them up and then make an appointment with an advisor to get the code.

Yes you read that correctly. This is another case of DWP burocracy gone mad. Why oh why couldn’t she be given a quick and easy solution to this? An email or a telephone appointment? Nope that’s too easy, so she has left to attempt to make a lengthy telephone call, most likely be sent on a wild goose chase through different departments, wait a while for her appointment and then hopefully, and I say hopefully receive her login code.

Oh and by the way because she can’t access her account she also runs the risk of being sanctioned for not complying. The longer she is forced to wait for her code the higher the risk of this happening. It’s almost as if they want this to happen isn’t it…….

 

More people were walking into and out of the Jobcentre with their eyes to the ground. Not wanting to be noticed, not wanting to be there. They could of course be doing something more productive rather than being told things like they ‘must try harder to find work’ ‘Their efforts aren’t good enough” etc etc. You get the jist.

 

I spoke to an older woman that unofficially cares for her son. He’s 46 years old, had to finish work because of a heart condition which is aggravated by stress. Instead of being able to heal he’s forced to comply with a system that is extremely complicated.

She told me that he had been confused with the computer system because no one had taken the time to correctly explain the procedure of handing in fitnotes and uploading them online onto his journal. He incorrectly was in the belief that it would be enough to just upload them to his Universal credit account online, he didn’t realise because he hadn’t been instructed correctly.

As a result his payments were delayed and he waited five months for his first payment. Yes an unwell man was forced to wait five months. Luckily his mother had helped him but this has put a fair amount of stress on their relationship. “ I shouldn’t have had to look after him, I’m a pensioner, but if he didn’t have me he might not have survived”. Correct, this a terrible reality for thousands of people.

 

I spoke to a man as he was leaving the Jobcentre. He was clutching a piece of paper and was clearly stressed. I stopped him and asked if I could help.

Whilst attending his appointment he was informed that he had to attend an interview for a course in an area that is quite a distance away from his home, indeed it isn’t even in Tameside. Walking would take a few hours and public transport is both expensive and complicated, there’s no straight route there. The journey would entail a tram journey into Manchester then a tram journey back out of Manchester and THEN a long walk.

Whilst some reading this might be under the impression that this is reasonable it clearly isn’t. He doesn’t have the money upfront to pay for the tram journey. He might be able to get this refunded but he has to pay upfront first. I did advise him to ask for help from the Jobcentre regarding this.  However his words were heartbreaking. “They are expecting me to do this for four weeks. I don’t know how I will get there, how I will be able to get there that early in the morning it seems impossible. We don’t all have cars and I don’t know what to do, so I will have to accept a sanction because I can’t do it. I’ll try but it’s going to be very hard”.

Another case of unreasonable demands on a poverty stricken person. To be honest it makes me feel sick, they are setting vulnerable people up to fail and they know it. But hey, anything to lower the unemployment figures eh….

 

This weeks problems are not unusual they are commonplace, this is replicated up and down the country and there is no doubt at all that thousands of people are being  forced to suffer needlessly. I say needlessly because there is no real excuse for treating people like this. The government have made a conscious decision to do so and in my eyes they’ve got blood on their hands.

 

Many thanks to everyone that came along to help. It’s been a very stressful week for myself and your support and solidarity has kept me going.

A huge thank you to my online friends and supporters, and also thank you to my friends in my local Labour Party, like I said its been a tough week and you ALL keep me going.

A massive thanks also to the readers of my blog and the supporters of my blog. I can’t thank you enough. Please read, share, rt and email my blog. We can’t allow this suffering to continue for much longer, it’s horrific.

 

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Sanctioned for a year for having a voluntary job. Working 25 hours and facing a possible sanction. Universal Credit strikes again.

Dear readers, today was busy, a morning filled with problems caused by the DWP’s inability to communicate with people correctly and their neglect of using any common sense and sympathy towards claimants. I hate using the word claimant, that in itself is degrading but its the most effective way of describing a persons situation.

We were met with a great variety of problems, ranging from Universal credit problems, JSA problems, housing problems etc etc. Thankfully we have a good knowledge of how to help, but its worth remembering that if someone has a problem created by the DWP they are likely, as a result of this to have more problems elsewhere. Everything snowballs onto them as a result and before they know it it feels like everything is out of their control. Many people then go  into hibernation because the reality of their situation is too hard to cope  with. I totally understand this feeling, I’ve been there and most likely will be there myself in the future.

Las week I recieved a complaint via Twitter, they expressed the opinion that they didn’t like how I describe people. I describe people in the way that I do because I like to keep their anonymity out of respect. Many are scared of repercussions from the DWP and I like to protect them as much as possible. Regular readers will of course understand this. I won’t apologise though and why should I?

Today we were joined by a local Labour Party councillor who joins us whenever he is able to. I’d like to say thank you because this support means so much to us. A massive thanks to Gordon, Roy and Chris for helping. I’d be lost without you all. It’s hard work, and anyone attending our demo will attest to that.

 

The first woman that I spoke to today stopped me as soon as I arrived and asked me for a leaflet. Of course I obliged and she went on to tell me her story. She claims Universal Credit and has done for a long while now.

When she was transferred over to Universal Credit she was already volunteering for a charity, a charity that she had chosen and she enjoyed her work there. I’m a great believer that all voluntary work should be voluntary and NOT enforced by the DWP.

She enjoyed it there and didn’t want to give up her position, however the DWP wern’t happy and enforced a year long sanction. Having no income she was then forced to volunteer for a position of their choosing and she is still there now. She told me that she now owes money as a result of this sanction because she got into debt trying to survive. She really didn’t know about her right to appal etc. So now she’s left to survive on £45 a month because she has to pay her debts off.

Really. How on earth can anyone be expected to survive on £45 a month. Tory party officials spend near enough that amount on a breakfast. But shes’s expected to survive on that amount for a month.

She told me she survives on the goodwill of friends and foodbanks. This is no quality of life, shes mearly existing and not living. This shouldn’t be happening but it is and we all should be outraged.

 

We spoke to a young man who had been through the care system and basically left to his own devices at the age of 17. Young people need guidance and support, not neglect. He told us that all he wanted was a permanent home and proper support. Sadly the government has stripped funding away from care leavers and many end up homeless as a result. It’s heartbreaking but his situation isn’t unusual.

 

We spoke to a man that lives in privately rented accomodation. He made the mistake of visiting family for a week and someone had informed his landlord that he had left the property. He arrived home and his locks had been changed with no notification. He’s trying to sort this out and has managed to get back inside the property.

 

I spoke to a man who was overjoyed with his food parcel. He told me that he could eat some decent food for a change. He was a joy to listen to. he’s trying to make a new start. No one should be denied access to decent food but they are. The government should be ashamed but they are the opposite and are very happy with people being forced to live off food from foodbanks. It takes the onus off themselves to feed people. Without foodbanks people would starve to death. We need to continue to oppose the very need and causes for foodbank usage.

 

I spoke to a working man. He claims Universal Credit and at the moment works 25 hours a week. Of  course the DWP regard this as not being enough and he is under employed by their standards. They really don’t take into account the lack of decent jobs with decent hours and not zero hour contract jobs. People need stability of income to pay rent, bills etc.

Today he went to sign a tenancy agreement for a new place to live, he thought that he would be finished in time for his signing on appointment but he wasn’t and he was 15 minutes late. he was told that he wouldn’t be seen and that he had to phone for another appointment. He tried phoning but to no avail, outside the Jobcentre. He then went back inside and asked for help again. Luckily he was given another appointment but he is still in limbo as to if he is going to be sanctioned because they never tell you straight away.

So he’s working, and in fear of a sanction. How on earth can this encourage people to work? It does the opposite and I hope that he doesn’t get sanctioned because he has a new tenancy to keep up.

 

I spoke to a man that told me that this was his first time signing on for 40 years and he could neither understand the system nor manage under it. They expect everyone to be able to work a computer, have access to a computer and to understand the complexities of the system. Most of the people that I speak to don’t and haven’t a clue how to manage. Of course the government are aware of this and are simply lying when they state that they need evidence of this so that they can change the system.

1. They already have knowledge

2. They don’t want to change the system because it works for them.

 

I spoke to a lady that came out of the Jobcentre crying. She had to travel miles on very unreliable public transport to attend her Jobcentre appointment. She got lost and was visibly upset, crying. She told me that she was late and was scared that she would be sanctioned. She had only recieved two Universal Credit payments so far and doesn’t wanted go without money again.

I reassured her and I hope that her advisor was sympathetic. She was lucky in the fact that she managed to speak to them even though they told her that she would be sent an appointment for June. Now she’s living in limbo, not knowing if she will receive a payment. That feeling is horrible and I really hope that she does.

 

I spoke to a man that had recently had a job interview. He had taken along a copy of his birth certificate, but this wasn’t good enough. They want an original copy before he can start employment.. He now has to pay for that and hope that the job will still be available to him.

 

We noticed a lot of older people forced to use the Jobcentre. This breaks my heart, it’s  an awful system and many can’t cope with the system.

 

We spoke to a representative of a woman who was late for her appointment due to her bus not turning up. This happens a lot, especially in the rural areas that Ashton Jobcentre now covers. It’s too far to walk so they have to rely on expensive unreliable buses. Jeremy Corbyn was right to talk about this, it’s an important issue for many of us.

 

I spoke to a man that had been disallowed his ESA. I explained the appeal process etc and handed him a survival guide. they don’t make it clear how to appeal any decision.

 

I spoke to a man claiming Universal Credit as a couple with a new baby. They are now in fear of being sanctioned because they hadn’t attended an appointment that they didn’t receive a letter for.  They have three children, a new baby and his partner is ill.

I advised him of what to do and how to appeal and signposted him. He must be under so much stress at the moment and he should not be going through this. In effect the DWP are very willing to take food out of new born babies mouths. Honestly if they stated outright that they were going to do this there would be outrage, but they do it slyly trying to demonise the family involved.

We have a government that have knowingly created a purposely complicated system that has been designed to put people off from claiming. The system is so complicated it baffles claimants, it also baffles officials from other organisations. But it’s designed to do so and whilst this system exists people will continue to suffer, and die in many cases and this isn’t acceptable. It’s never acceptable.

 

A massive thank you to everyone that supports, shares and talks about my work. Many thanks to my friends on social media, my friends in real life so speak and to everyone that listens. Carry on with the good work and thank you it is appreciated.

 

I just do my best, it’s hard and I struggle but we have to continue to fight the system.

Thank you.

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Vulnerable man constantly sanctioned, when will this Universal Credit hell end?

Hello readers, and an extra hello to all the new subscribers to my blog. I welcome you with open arms and I hope that you enjoy reading my blog. Enjoy is perhaps the wrong word to use because it can be very upsetting reading. But it’s essential reading, so many people don’t realise how awful the DWP and Universal Credit system is.

 

My apologies for last week, I wasn’t well but I’m on the mend now, thankfully. This week has been a very busy one and a big thank you to everyone that took the tome to watch my interview on Channel 4 news and my interview on Talk Radio also. I don’t do it for personal fame, far from it, I mean who wants to look at my ugly mug on the TV. I do it to raise awareness, and to hopefully one day get justice for each and every person that is suffering, has suffered or has died at the hands of this inhumane and brutal system.

I shall list todays happenings as I usually do. Everyone shall and will remain anonymous. This is important and I respect that. Also for anyone calling me a liar, my conversations are witnessed by others.

I would like to thank everyone that stopped to speak to me today. I realise that it takes a lot of courage to talk to a complete stranger anyway, especially when upset, angry and distressed. Thank you so much, you are all my heroes each and every one of you.

Everyone that myself and team members spoke to recieved help, advice, guidance, signposting, a copy of our survival guide and if needed a food parcel. No one leaves us empty handed.

 

The first person that I spoke to was a disabled man using a walking stick to walk. He looked stressed and didn’t say a lot but his words summed up the whole situation perfectly. He told me that Universal Credit is crap, that his life was ok before. Now he never knows when he’s getting a payment, if its a correct payment and will he be able to manage for the month. He told me that he’s now got rent arrears as a result, and he’s never had this in the past. he’s upset and fed up. Who can blame him.

 

I spoke to a person who has been waiting over 8 weeks for their first Universal Credit payment to be made. The stress has taken it’s toll and they are trying their best to cope. I can’t stress how hard it is to cope without anything for at least eight weeks. Even if they get a loan from the DWP this usually goes on bills, rent, gas and electric. Food becomes an afterthought. There is no excuse as to why Universal Claims have to take this long to be processed but they do. The government likes it this way. I will continue to challenge this as will others.

 

I spoke to an older woman who was struggling to walk with two crutches. She was also very out of breath and I was very worried about her. She told me that she was ok, but she clearly wasn’t.

Her situation is this. Dispite a very visible disability she was declared fit for work at her recent ESA medical. She has asked for a mandatory reconsideration and in the meantime is trying to survive. She enquired  about mortgage relief, and I had to give her the bad news that this doesn’t exist anymore. She owes council tax also and she had just been to the court buildings to try and sort that out.

Of course I advised her correctly and signposted her to relevant organisations etc. To see her struggling like that was awful, no humane government should make any person suffer this way.

 

A woman who was obviously distressed muttered something in the direction of the Jobcentre and rushed off. She obviously needed to get away from the building. Who can blame her.

 

I spoke to a man with a broken arm that has  a housing related problem. We had a good chat and I signposted him to a local organisation that can help. Armed with this knowledge he promised that he would do this.

 

We were stopped by a man who told us that all socialist policies are rubbish. Whilst he was giving us an earful, he was clutching a NHS medicine bag containing medicine dispensed at an NHS chemist. He obviously is taking full advantage of a socialist policy, free healthcare for all that need it. Very ironic I thought and we all had a chuckle at this.

 

I spoke to a young man that has been given sanction after sanction for the same reason every time. His situation is a bit complicated, so hang on you’ll get it in the end. He was addicted to pescription drugs and is going through the rehab process. He had been sanctioned in November, March and June. He has been ill, and had missed an appointment and had explained this to his advisor. They told him that they understood and he was given another appointment. But he was still sanctioned.

He has appealed all these sanction decisions and he has won every time. However this hasn’t stopped the DWP from not understanding his situation and not listening to him. And anyway he should be on ESA. He wasn’t told that he was entitled to do this so now he’s been trying to cope with Universal Credit. It’s complicated I know, but it does make sense.

So now he’s sanctioned again. He asked his advisor how he is supposed to manage, they told him that he has to learn how to manage his money. Excuse me what money. You cant manage money that he hasn’t got. Yep he must have a magic money tree eh.

I advised him and referred him to our local MP. I’m confident that this will be sorted out now, but to make a vulnerable young man that is trying his best to become fit and well again, suffer like this is inexcusable. People need help not punishement. No just no. Stop doing this.

 

I spoke to a man who had to walk for two hours to reach Ashton Jobcentre. Yes two hours. He had no money for bus fares so had to walk, otherwise they would be sanctioned I’ve no doubt about that.

 

We spoke to a young couple that were being messed around by the DWP. We advised them etc. Awful.

 

I spoke to another disabled woman that was rushing for her appointment. The government doesn’t respect disability in any shape or form. Shame on them.

 

We noted quite a few pregnant women and new mums having to go into the Jobcentre. Enjoying a pregnancy or a new baby is near impossible these days.

 

I spoke to a man that told me how awful the new ‘find a job’ system is. His work coach hadn’t given him any warning that he was being transferred over to the new system so now he’s behind with his job search. They might sanction him for this, they might not. Who knows, it depends on the work coach. It wouldn’t have taken them two minutes to pre warn him would it. Thanks for that.. Not.

 

We spoke to two disabled women who had been switched over to Universal Credit before the judgement was made last week. Both are far worse off financially as a result. One of the women was told that her payments would stay the same. What a lie. The other lady had a pacemaker, is seriously ill and has had four heart attacks. As a result of her income being lowered, her internet has been cut off which is vital for her medical needs. She also has a heart monitor that sends readings directly to the hospital via the internet. She’s also waiting for a heart transplant.

I advised her, told her where to go to get good solid advice straight away. She shouldn’t be forced to live like this. It’s diabolical. Please can I have a magic wand for everyone in the same position as her. I want to make it better for her but I can only do my best.

I also informed her of the court judgement etc. I am up to date with everything.

 

This was a typical two hours outside the Jobcentre. Can you imagine how much suffering is going on throughout the country on a daily basis? It’s an unprecedented amount of needless suffering.

It doesn’t have to be this way, we realise this but many don’t. Many think that the poor and disabled should suffer because they are all scroungers. I can tell you that not one person that I’ve spoken to throughout the years is a scrounger and the only scroungers in this country are the multi national companies and millionaires that refuse to pay their taxes. This needs to change but you don’t need me to tell you that of course.

Thank you for reading my blog, thank you to everyone that came along to support us. We attend despite illness and bad weather because we know that people are needing help and advice.

Thank you to everyone that supports and has supported my blog.

As for me I’ll continue as usual and one day we might get justice but I won’t hold my breath.

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It’s not an illness if I can’t see it. Want to know what Universal Credit is like? Read this.

Dear readers, as you know I’ve been blogging for a few years now, maybe more than that but I’ve lost count. Days merge into months and quickly into years. I’m betting that most of you can relate to this.

Today has been extremely busy both outside the Jobcentre and the phone hasn’t stopped ringing and emails have been pouring in. People want to know what Universal Credit is really like, and also want to speak to people on Universal Credit. The reason for this is that the DWP has been taken to court via a test case and have been found guilty by the high court of acting unlawfully by denying claimants a lifetime  top up for severe disability. This is a fantastic achievement, however they are appealing this decision so watch this space.

Many of the people that I speak to weekly were previously awarded a lifetime top up but are now denied this. Thank you so much to everyone involved with this court case, its a landmark win and was vitally needed.

 

So for those reading this and wanting to know what life on Universal Credit is like, I can tell you before you read the report from today. It’s awful, dire, stressful, it controls your life and takes away any freedom that a person previously had. It’s discriminatory, doesn’t take illness and disability seriously and seriously holds a grudge against people with disabilities and single parents. Basically its become a tool to harass and hurt the poor. I don’t say this lightly, I speak from experience.

 

No real guidance is given and it’s much like being thrown into the lions den, people are scared and quite rightly so. The DWP basically hold them to ransom under the promise of a payment. Break the rules accidentally etc and they stop their payments which are a lifeline to them. Fail a farcical ESA and PIP medical and you are left with nothing, trying to scramble for help. It’s vile.

 

The first person that I spoke to this morning had failed her ESA medical. She’s disabled and is struggling to cope. She is appealing this decision and is waiting for an appointment to do so, but in the meantime she has no food and no gas and electricity. Not liking crowds she can’t just walk into places where she doesn’t feel certain of  but thankfully felt confident enough to speak to me.

I helped her, gave her a food parcel and sorted out her gas and electric. What sort of a world do we live in where disabled people are left to starve, literally.

 

I spoke very briefly to an Eastern European gentleman who looked stressed and busy. He didnt say much but he didnt need to, his face said it all. For those of the persuasion that believe that immigrants are ‘well off’ and ‘get everything’, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Come and spend some time with us and you’ll soon see this.

 

We spoke to a man who was leaving the Jobcentre. He looked in pain and he was wearing a very large, full back brace. I asked him if he was ok, and he told me that he wans’t. He had broken his vertebrae in three places and had also shattered his wrist in an accident. The DWP hadn’t told him that he can and should be claiming the disability element of Univeral Credit, and that they should in theory be going ‘easier’ on him. Of course readers will know that theory is very different from reality isn’t it. We gave him some valuable advice, handed him a survival guide and wished him well.

We know that he should be taking time to recover but the DWP are very reluctant to do so. It’s almost as if they hate the disabled……

 

I spoke to a man woman who is on Universal Credit. She has to pay back repayments for her loans that she took out whilst waiting for her Universal Credit to be processed. They have informed her that they are going to have to pay back 200 a month. Thats a very excessive amount, and she has asked them to lower the payments. So far they are refusing so I’ve referred her to further help. My local MP’s office will be very busy this week. She also needed a food parcel because she can’t afford to buy food.

 

I spoke to a young woman who had been refused a fitnote by her doctor, the same Doctors surgery that the person that I mentioned in the blog last week. i’ve Informed them of what to do to obtain a fitnote, but will also be taking further action against this myself and involving my local MP. This young woman can’t work, she relies on strong medication and gets extremely drowsy. She has several disabilities, all of which are recognised.Her doctor told her that she can ‘find a job that’s suitable’. Yep, right, course she can. No person with a disability should be discriminated against like this, especially by a doctor.

 

I spent some time reminiscing with a man, remembering the good old times when things used to be better. We both longed for a return of those days.

 

We advised a lady to send a letter to the DWP via the post office and to obtain a receipt. It’s vital that you always get proof of postage at all times, because letters are always mysteriously lost.

 

I spoke to a woman that had spent yesterday and today being messed around by different DWP departments. all she wanted was a fax to be sent from one department to another, but of course they can’t do this quickly and efficiently.

 

I spoke to a lady that I havent seen in a long while. She had previously gone through aa spate of malicious sanctioning by the DWP. She had won her cases, but it’’s started again. Armed with previous knowledge shes fighting again. She’ll win, but in the meantime shes pregnant, with children and no money. Her mum is now having to help her out again, and she has little herself.

 

I spoke to a young woman that appeared to be upset. She suffers from a disability but it isn’t visible. Her advisor is having none of it and had told her ‘if they can’t see it then it’s not an illness’. Now we know thats downright discrimination and with advice shes taking this further. It will take a lot of strength for her to do so though. The DWP can sometimes say what they want, not all are like this but many are, answerable only to the government that condones such incidences we haven’t got much hope have we.

Thanks to the three nice advisors that are currently working at Ashton Jobcentre, it’s a pity that not all are like you.

 

So here it is folks, this all happened in less than two hours. Food parcels were handed out, advice given and solidarity. I wish that I could do more but I don’t have the means to. Once again I’m going to say that we need some kind of support from a left wing polictical party officially, we need it. It’s hard work, the people I speak to are desperate but there’s never been a greater need.

 

Many thanks to everyone that helped out today, you are all amazing. My apologies to my local MPS office because I’ve referred a few people over, but I shouldnt have to in the first place.

We also had a minutes silence for all the Grenfell victims, their families and the community. I hope that one day they get the justice that they deserve.

As for myself, I’ll just keep plodding on like I do. I do my best, I can’t be everywhere and I live on a very low budget so please be patient.

Thanks for reading, solidarity.

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DWP advisor, I take tablets and I can work so you can too. Doctors refusing to issue sicknotes after recieving a letter from the DWP. This weeks blog.

Dear readers, today didn’t start too well. I had been unwell all night so ended up being awake for most of it listening to podcasts, but no fear I arrived at our weekly demo as usual. For anyone disputing my dedication to the cause I’d like to dispute their claims. As well as helping people, we raise awareness and I work very hard on this, its near enough a full time job.

Anyway enough about me, let’s talk about the important stuff, the people that are suffering at the hands of a cruel, uncaring government. For those thinking that the government actually does care, you are sadly mistaken. Years of experience tells me that they don’t have a caring bone in their bodies. It’s simply about persecuting the poor in as many ways as is possible.  Below are a few examples.

 

The first man that I spoke to is a victim of agency work and Universal Credit. Universal Credit really doesn’t work for anyone, especially people in temporary employment, it does the opposite. It places them in a state of perpetual poverty, depending on food parcels and the kindness of local organisations and friends. To say that it helps people back into work is a massive lie and of course the government knows this.

I had a conversation with him as I do most weeks, and I find it very worrying seeing him loosing weight. I handed him a food parcel but I will be helping him more also.

 

I spoke to an older man who told me that he had never been unemployed, he had always worked he told me. Sadly he has been made redundant and he can’t find a job. Not many employers will employ older people and no matter how many of these farcical courses that the DWP will put him on won’t change this fact.

As I chatted to him, it came to light that he hadn’t been advised about much, including his job search etc, so I advised him and handed him a survival guide. He thanked me because I had most likely saved him a lot of hassle. The system is extremely complicated and people are expected just to know what to do. Of course that’s impossible and anyone tackling the system will tell you this. I know of a couple of good advisors inside the Jobcentre and it was obvious that he didn’t have one of them.

 

I spoke to another older man who had arrived ten minutes early, only to be turned away and told to return in five minutes. Now it was early and the Jobcentre wasn’t busy, far from it. It’s an exercise in keeping people on their toes and enabling them to feel demoralised, and it’s working isn’t it.

 

A man walked out of the Jobcentre saying that they are ‘horrible in there’. Yep.

 

I spoke to a woman who had been late handing their sicknote in because of their illness. No concessions are made so her payments stopped immediately. She has now handed a new sicknote in and has to wait for her payments to be reinstated. They don’t take illness into account apparently, and there’s no lienance at all. The government are quite happy making an ill person hungry. Luckily we handed a food parcel over to her so she could eat.

 

We spoke to a lovely man who has a long term injury. He had failed his ESA medical and had tried to put in a mandatory reconsideration, which as usual was refused. He didnt have the energy to appeal but after a chat he’s now going to do so. We also advised him to claim PIP.  He hadn’t been told that he could do this.

 

A man walked past and said ‘I like what you are doing’ And another walked past and whispered in my ear that ‘You are doing a good job’. Thank you! We try!

 

I spoke to a disabled, homeless man, he is getting help from other organisations but he wanted to chat. His issues are complex, but he’s hoping to get housed soon once he’s paid his rent arrears off. There’s no escape from debt these days for anyone.

I can’t imagine how awful it must be to be disabled and homeless. He told me of his time on the streets of Manchester, trying to survive. No one should be forced to live like this rent arrears or not. This cruel system forces people to become in debt withy almost everyone.

 

I spoke to a couple living in temporary accomodation locally. They are grateful for it, but it’s still hard for them. The rent for the temporary accomodation is £310 a week. Luckily they don’t have to pay this but it’s a struggle living there because their flat is upstairs and they have to carry their pram up and down the stairs all the time.

 

I spoke to a man who had lost his case at an employment tribunal. I do think that his loosing the case is unfair, but he accessed legal advice too late. Poor fella is upset about this as would I be. Believe me there are some dodgy employers out there, but I am aware also that there are many good ones also.

 

I spoke to a man who had previously been working a 60 hour week but had lost his job. Luckily he had found employment  but his contract is only 15 hours a week, so now he is at the mercy of Universal Credit. He really didn’t know where to start, and he hadn’t been advised about much. We helped him etc. He thanked us.

Why on earth can’t the large companies employ more people on a full time basis? Tax reasons most likely. I remember the good old days of guaranteed, contracted full time work and I wish that we still had that.

 

I spoke to a young man who told me that if it wasn’t for his young daughter he would have taken his own life by now. He told me that he struggles to cope with the system and I totally agree. The system is cruel, relentless and made him feel so bad that he no longer wanted to be here anymore. Thank goodness he is.

 

I referred a woman to see our local MP. The DWP are giving her the run around and she has tried other organisations. It appears that the DWP havent a clue what they are doing sometimes, well a lot of the time. I hope that she seeks advice.

 

We spoke to a man who is educucated to degree level. He is now disabled with a condition that won’t be getting any better and he can’t find any employment anymore.  He’s a broken man, not knowing where to turn, so we helped him. It’s a shame that the government refuses to isn’t it.

 

We spoke to an older man who had been sanctioned for a month for being late. This was his first time being late, and he wasn’t given a chance. Typical. I asked him how he managed and he told me that he had to rely on family members, and thank god he has them he said.

 

I spoke to a woman that is waiting for her Universal Credit claim to be processed. Shes very worried about her council tax so I advised her etc. Everyone that I speak to is worried about something. it shouldnt be this way.

 

We spoke to an older chap who is two years away from recieving his pension. He went to his doctor and asked for a sick note because he needed one for his claim. His GP refused to issue a sicknote upon advice from the DWP.  So now he’s left at the mercy of the DWP

Now I know that most GPs will ignore these requests from the DWP, but some won’t. I find it abhorrent that some do take advice from the DWP rather than their patient. Of course the government allows this but it shouldnt be doing it in the first place. They have a duty of care towards their patent not the DWP. Sort it out, your patients WILL be suffering as a result. Massive respect to the many GPS that ignore these letters.

 

Today was busy, even though it started slow. We were joined by a journalist from a french online newspaper, so it will be interesting to read her write up. She was very nice though, thank you for coming along.

 

It was also lovely to see more people turn up to help today. I realise that everyone has their own commitments, but I want to thank you for the sacrifice that you have all made today to help others.

Massive thanks to my friends for helping me out with my daughter today and last week. She had a fantastic time.

Today we handed out food parcels, survival guides, help, advice, compassion, solidarity and signposting. I found it hard today, but hopefully I’m feeling better next week. Keep strong everyone, one day we might have a better future and I pray for that.

 

I also want to pay my respects to our friend Steve who recently passed away, and who’s funeral I attended on Tuesday. Steve worked for Welfare rights, but also had helped to set up many organisations to help people. He was an amazing chap who taught me much of what I know. We miss you Steve.

 

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I want to die, I can’t carry on being treated like this. The DWP is cruel,unfit for use and punishes people for their own poverty.

Dear readers, once again I have to apologise for the lateness of this weeks blog. I’ve had an extremely busy week and today was no different. Thank you for your patience.

Today was Unite Community Unions national day of action, but the publicity surrounding this wasn’t that good so we didn’t have a higher than usual turnout, and anyway we do this every week.

Unite Community have now changed their slogan to stop Universal Credit, which is half a step forward towards what most major campaigners against Universal Credit are asking.

We would like a commitment from both the trades unions and the Labour Party to stop, scrap and to form a fair benefit system like the one that we used to have.

I am happy with this move forward but the whole situation is very frustrating, more so for the people that are being discriminated against on a daily basis. Sanctioned people with homes just aren’t big news to some, especially the media but they are to us. So thanks Unite Community.

Today started off fairly slow, and like I have said before I never know what to expect. We were joined today by Jack a local Labour Party Councillor and we really appreciated this act of solidarity. Please come again.

I’ll list todays incidents as usual. It’s easier that way.

The first person that I spoke to was a lady who appeared to leave the Jobcentre in a distressed state. I asked her if she was ok, and would she like to talk. She told me that she wanted some advice from a person on the front desk but was treated in a very discourteous manner, so much so that it upset her greatly. She told me that she was sick of being treated in this manner by the DWP and that she wanted to die. What’s the point in carrying on she said, when I’m worthless in their eyes.

They really shouldn’t treat people like this, but they do because they can and as long as they can nothing will be done about this. I had a long chat with her and I hope that she is ok. I did signpost her to a local organisation that can help her should she wish to access it.

I spoke to a man who’s father had just died. He was struggling to sort everything out and dealing with the DWP was something that he could have done without. We had a nice chat and I handed him our survival guide.

I spoke to a man who struggles to read, so therefore the system is geared against him. He is managing at the moment but really struggles with using computers and his job search. He told me that he had worked for most of his adult life.

I offered him a copy of our survival guide but he told me that he couldn’t read it, so I read it to him. I think that he was surprised that someone would do this for him, let alone a stranger. We had a good chat and he walked away empowered, knowing his legal rights and obligations, and also having been advised what help is out there to assist him with his disability.

We spoke to a man who had lost his job in a local factory recently, so is now awaiting his first Universal Credit payment to arrive. This will of course take some time, and he told us that he was surviving on loans and the kindness of his family.

No one should have to wait as long as it takes to process a claim for Universal Credit, there’s absolutely no need for this long wait. I’m certain that the waiting period has been created to ensure a persons suffering. I mean how dare they ask for help!?

I spoke to an older lady who told me that she was 63. She was quite rightly frustrated that she had to claim Universal Credit. Whilst struggling for breath she told me that she was finding it hard to cope and that no one had told her that she could claim the disability element of Universal Credit before. We had a nice chat and I handed her our survival guide and advised her.

We spoke to a man whom I have mentioned before on my blog. He has had issues with his former employer so I had advised him to contact the law centre. He did just that and he has now been given some extremely good advice and is much more optimistic about his situation. Thank you so much to everyone at  Greater Manchester Law Centre!

I spoke to a young man who had no idea that he was going to be transferred over to Universal Credit on the day of his usual signing on appointment. Because of this he had no time to prepare for this.

How hard would it be for his advisor to pre warn him? They know that we are undergoing full roll out, so please give the people that you see some prior warning and advice please.

I spoke to a man who had worked for the same company for 20 years. He became unemployed so he made an application for Universal Credit. He did everything correctly and attended his first appointment as requested, bearing in mind that he had to travel miles to reach the Jobcentre and it cost a small fortune on the bus. His advisor didn’t inform him of any future appointments and he was waiting for a letter to arrive to confirm an appointment.

Guess what…. The letter didn’t arrive, of course he didn’t attend the appointment which was only two days after his initial appointment. Yes two days. His advisor should have notified him of this appointment either at the initial appointment or by telephone or text. As a result he was sanctioned before he had actually received his first payment.

Madness, complete DWP beaurcratic madness, of course aimed to make a vulnerable person fall at the first obstacle. Sort it out DWP. You are destroying people’s life’s. Of course they know this but I thought that I’d remind them.

My question is this… How much more suffering will already vulnerable people have to endure before they get any decent representation? All they want is for an official body to say officially that they care, that your suffering shouldn’t be happening and we will do all that we can to change this Dickensian system.

Too many people are suffering and dying as a result, and every now and then the media are interested but we need constant support. I really hope that my readers can understand where I’m coming from. In my eyes everyone is important, and no one should be suffering like they are. Maybe I’m being unreasonable.

Here’s the leaflet issued by Unite Community. Anyone affected by Universal Credit can also contact me. Your voices are important and should be heard.

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A massive thank you to everyone that came along and helped today, also a big thanks to Roy for collecting the food parcels and for being a big support to me this week. I can’t thank you and Chris enough.

Please share my blog as widely as possible, I ask this as a favour our voices need to become louder.

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Two weeks away from being employed after volunteering… Told to stop volunteering there and start at a new place.. DWP hypocrisy at it’s best and worst.

Sorry this weeks blog is a bit late, all will be explained. I’ll start with the weather, sunny but chilly. There always seems to be a cold wind emanating from inside Ashton Jobcentre….

We were joined by our friend Kevin from DPAC, who had surprised me with a visit. I was over the moon, and so glad that he came along. There was only three of us there today because Roy wasn’t well. Get well soon Roy!!!

Anyway today was quite busy, some new faces and lots of differing problems, all of which could have been avoided if it wasn’t for the hypocrisy of the DWP and the cruel system that it operates. I’ll list the problems as usual, but everyone will remain anonymous due to the very real fear of DWP reprisals.

The first person that I spoke to was a man who had a chest infection. He told me that he was too scared of not attending his appointment because he didn’t want to be sanctioned again. I informed him that he is allowed to hand a sicknote in but he told me that it wasn’t worth the risk, and he had already had enough bother off the Jobcentre and he wanted a quiet life. So instead he forced himself to his appointment even though he wasn’t well enough to do so. Yes the DWP really do rule with fear.

I spoke to another man who told me that he hadn’t been told that he’s claim is being shifted over to Universal Credit, and had only just found out. I informed him of his legal rights, signposted him to where he can get further information so that he can empower himself. This is essential to prevent any wrongdoings by the DWP. He promised that he would be doing this and he was thankful that I had spoken to him, and he walked away less worried than he had arrived. it’s a mess and the DWP know it. They really need to start informing people correctly about the changes coming to them, and in plenty of time, not when it is nearly upon them like a thunder cloud.

I spoke to a lovely woman who I spoke to last week. I wish that I could say that she was in a better financial and emotional state but she isn’t. She’s afraid that she might loose her home and is also hungry. I gave her a food parcel and really urged her to contact local services that can and will help her. She also has my telephone number and knows that she can phone me at any time.

Some people think that it’s easy to signpost people, and that they should access the services offered straight away but it isn’t. When you’ve had a pretty c***p life, been treated badly and have nothing many people learn to trust only familiar faces. I totally understand this and will help her to build her confidence up so that she is able to do this. But in a decent world she wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place would she.

Then we had another regular heckler approach us, he appeared to be in a bad mood.  He approached Gordon and proceeded to tell us that all the problems that we are having in this country are caused by ‘all the foreigners being let in…. And foreign aid’’. Gordon tried to talk reasonably and kindly to him but he wasn’t having this, so proceeded to shout to us all that were all ‘talking rubbish’. He then walked off, looking dissatisfied that we hadn’t given him the response that he wanted, whatever that might have been.

They never give up do they, spouting their racist, ill informed lies. I had a day of it myself on twitter yesterday (Wednesday) when local elected Tories decided that they’d have a go at me and what seemed to be half the FLA tweeting me. This shows that we have a lot of work to be done in this area doesn’t it.

I spoke to a young man who is a carer for his grandmother. He just wanted someone to talk to, have a chat because seeing his grandmother become ill has upset him a lot. We had a good chat and I signposted him to local and national groups that he can join for support.

I spoke to a man who I regularly speak to, he has very limited vision and is registered blind. His partner is dyslexic and also struggles reading. Despite more than a few letters of support to the DWP and their advisor at the Jobcentre they are still being sent written letters for appointments etc, and are asked to respond to them. How hard is it for the DWP to recognise that they can’t SEE the writing, and can’t READ them correctly either. All appointments etc have to be made via a telephone call, but this rarely happens.

Honestly they set disabled people up to fail constantly and it’s a good job that people like myself and their friends can read the letters for them. Just STOP discriminating against them please DWP and treat them like the decent human beings that they are. It’s not hard is it.

I spoke to a woman who has been volunteering at a placement for a while now. Her placement were so impressed with her work that they have offered her employment, but she has to wait a fortnight to start her job. In the meanwhile she has to continue volunteering.

She was over the moon about this, because it hasn’t been easy for her and she told her advisor. Her advisor then told her that she had to finish her placement there, even though she is starting work in a fortnight and start somewhere else.

This means that she will loose her job offer, and she’s depending on this job, like she said to me ‘It’s a massive achievement and I thought that my life would change for the better’

What exactly is the DWP playing at? She’s found a job yet they are actively preventing her from starting her job. Complete madness, their slogan ‘Making work pay’ is total hypocrisy, it’s madness.  Honestly you couldn’t make it up.

I signposted her straight away and told her of what she can do to prevent this happening.

I spoke to a man in passing and he told me that the Jobcentre is ‘Bloody pathetic and that they should change their name’. Yep.

I spoke to a person who will remain totally anonymous. They suffer from several disabilities and illnesses and to say that their struggle to survive every day is an understatement.

They had failed their ESA medical because they were too ill to attend it. No one had told them that they could remake an appointment or appeal against this decision. Letters from the DWP now scare them, so much so that they can now  cause a panic attack, their ESA element has now been stopped and they are living on the bare minimum, just buying food and not paying bills.

They started to cry, and told me that they didn’t know what to do. This system is cruel, heartless especially to the disabled, and this makes me both upset and angry.

I did what was the DWP should have done in the first place, which is basically their job in the ‘good old days’. I told them that they can appeal, that they should appeal and informed them of all the local help available etc. I’m very confident that after a good long chat today that they are feeling a bit better and will start the process of appealing.

I asked a young man how things were going and his response was ‘They are f****g idiots’ pointing to the Jobcentre. Obviously something wasn’t right but he wouldn’t elaborate and to be honest I can’t blame him. He probably wanted to get away as fast as possible.

I spoke to an older couple who are both trying to navigate the system. They have read our survival guide and now keep a good filing system and a good, written record. The man looked at me and said ‘I really thought that they would find me a job, I was wrong’ They both deserve so much better treatment than this, everyone does.

I spoke to a woman who has been trying to get a HC1 form from the front desk for what she said ‘ages now’. They had previously refused to give her a form. Today, like magic she was given her form at last. She told us that it was because we were standing there, and it wasn’t the awful G4S guard this time.

Polite reminder to G4S… You are SECURITY GUARDS, employed to do that only, and you are not employed to take personal details or hand forms out to people. STOP IT you are actually breaking the law.

I spoke to a person who has now been waiting 9 weeks for their ‘Limited Capability Assesment’ as part of their Universal Credit claim. Despite having a recent ESA assement, being transferred to Universal Credit has made this assessment null and void. So now a disabled person has been waiting for 9 weeks to have an assessment by the same company that did the original ESA assessment.

Nine weeks living on a bare minimum income, which doesn’t provide for their disability needs. Nine weeks. I hate Universal Credit, it’s abhorrent that disabled, vulnerable people are treated in this manner. It’s almost as if they are trying to starve people into submission or death, and in many cases this has worked.

I advised them etc, but this system makes me feel sick. Theresa May you should be ashamed (but you aren’t). The system is serving you very well isn’t it. Remember that this won’t last forever.

After the demo, I went for a cuppa with Kevin who had travelled miles to be with us, then I collected my daughter from school. Sats are now finished yippee!!!!

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