Tag: free speech

You’re not working enough hours, you need to tell your employer to give you more hours. You’ve got a week to do this. The DWP really hate so called under employed people.

Dear readers it’s Thursday again and luckily this week the weather was good. Yippee I thought, then I saw the already formed queue for the food parcels. I was also met by a German television film crew that had arranged to film us today.

You might ask why would a German television crew want to film us. The answer is this, they really can’t believe how the government is treating the poorest and most vulnerable, especially as the UK was previously known to them for being kind to people, and we had a good social security system. I can imagine that viewers will be shocked to see the truth.

As soon as the food parcels arrived they were taken by those needing one. They keep people going, help to prevent people from literally starving. I’ve no doubt that our advice, help, signposting and food parcels have saved life’s. Never underestimate the difference that you can make to a persons life by just being a friend.

I’ll list some of the conversations that I had with people today. As usual I wont use real names etc because of the very real repercussions from the DWP. This is a fear based upon facts. People are often targeted by the DWP for talking to people like ourselves.

I spoke to Ben. Ben is a young man and his situation is quite complex. Recently Ben had spent six days in prison and hadn’t realised that because of this and not being able to conduct a job search whilst in prison that his payments would be stopped.

As a result he’s now left with no money and has had to start again with his claim.

Most of the people that I speak to haven’t a clue what their legal rights are regarding the DWP. They also don’t know what they’re entitled to claim either and no DWP representative is in a rush to help with this either. Don’t fall for the lies spun by Amber Rudd, not one truthful word is uttered from her mean mouth.

Lets also not forget that government officials have sat on a report for eighteen months that said that universal credit was detrimental to claimants wellbeing. It also showed that people are worse off when claiming universal credit.

You might ask why they sat on this report for eighteen months and the answer is simple. The government wanted to continue with the roll out of universal credit regardless, knowingly ignoring the risk to the wellbeing of thousands and eventually millions of people. If the report had been disclosed then the rollout would have probably been halted. Simple really.

I spoke to an older man that is shocked that people are needing food parcels in 2019, stating that there shouldn’t be the need for them. He went on to say that he’s claiming universal credit and isn’t finding the process welcoming at all, saying that they (DWP staff) like to let you know that they’re in charge.

I asked a woman leaving the Jobcentre how it was going for her. Her reply was ‘It’s shit”.

I spoke to a man that spoke poor English. He had worked as a translator in Afghanistan and has lived in this country for a while. He didn’t understand that because his circumstances had changed he was now being made to apply for universal credit. He’s now been waiting seven weeks for a payment. He’s feeling upset, depressed and confused.

I spoke to Simon. Simon has been waiting for seven weeks for his first universal credit payment. He’s a fully qualified plumber and is looking for work as a plumber.

Simon told me that the only jobs available at the moment are jobs with agency’s that don’t pay a decent wage, have no reliable hours and he has to pay the agency £17 a week for them to send him any payments owed.

The DWPs answer was this… They sent him to B&Q to work for nothing for 16 hours a week. I’d love to know how much B&Q actually make out of working with the DWP. They’ve been doing it for years now. Everyone deserves a decent days pay for a days work.

I then spoke to Rob. Rob told me that he’s been sanctioned for not attending an appointment in February that he didn’t know about. He had checked his online account and any post arriving at his home. Rob wonders if his online account had been hacked or something. Theres a high possibility that the DWP didn’t even issue an appointment in the first place. Before anyone says it, yes I know that this happens all the time, I’ve been helping people regarding so called missing appointments for years. Please see earlier blogs.

I spoke to a woman with various illnesses and conditions. She uses a crutch to get around and really can’t cope with the DWP at the moment. Her situation is this.

Jenny moved into her partners home five months ago. Jenny informed the DWP eleven times via her online journal and face to face appointments that she had moved in with her partner. The DWP have now decided to stop her payments making her reliant upon her partner. To make matters worse the DWP are accusing her of committing benefit fraud when she had clearly told them.

I helped and advised her the best that I could. Now because of the inability of the DWP to do anything right she’s being punished. It’s easier to bully a disabled woman than to admit that they’re wrong isn’t it.

I spoke to a lovely chap thats trying to start his own business up making wooden jewellery. He’s happy at the moment but he won’t be after a year when he’s expected to meet the minimum income floor.

We then spoke to a chap thats already working part time doing a manual job. He likes his job however they’ve only offered him part time hours.

Today at his signing on appointment he was told that it’s his fault that he isn’t working more hours and he’s got a week to convince his employer to give him more hours. If he doesn’t then they’ll start asking him more to find more work.

It’s absolutely ridiculous to expect and employee to do this. If there were more hours at work he would be working them. This is what the DWP call being ‘Under employed’. The DWP are never happy with anyone even those working. It’s absolutely disgusting that people are being treated in this way, its sickening.

On days like this the words ‘By gods grace go I’ Meaning that I’m lucky at the moment, I’m not being harassed by the DWP at the moment but my time will come very soon and I’m dreading it.

Everyone that I spoke to today either was given a food parcel, given advice, signposting etc etc. No one left without receiving any help. We work hard to help people, because both we and I believe that EVERYONE is important, everyone deserves a decent quality of life, to be able to eat and keep warm should never be seen as a luxury. Everyone deserves a place to call home and to be safe. Sadly for thousands this isn’t the case.

As you might know the local elections are coming up very soon. Please use your vote and vote the Tories out. Use your vote wisely because the only way to stop this is to vote them out.

Please read, share, email and tweet my blog. For those that already do this thank you!

For everyone that supports the campaign and blog thank you very much. I’m a skint single parent just trying to do my best to change things and to help people.

I apologise for any quietness lately, due to my father dying I’ve been a bit distracted. I’ll be back to normal soon enough.

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My sons five in Jun, they’re going to move me over to Universal Credit. I’m scared.

Dear readers, once again I have to apologise for the blog being published late. My father died late last week and I’m still trying to get my head round it. Anyway, like I have said before it’s not about me is it.

The weather today was surprisingly good, the sun was shining and it was reasonably warm. We didn’t get hassled by any officials either an added bonus.

As usual the food parcels went straight away, one of the men that took one told me that I was the only person that he’s spoken to all week. Poverty is extremely isolating.

We gave everyone that we spoke to a copy of our survival guide, we  signposted people, advised people and spoke to almost everyone that passed us to go into the Jobcentre.

 

The first Person that I spoke to was a man that we see regularly because he needs a food parcel and general help from us. He told us of his experience in the Jobcentre this week.

Whist he was in the Jobcentre looking for work on one of the screens that they provide. According to him a security guard stood behind him and told him to leave the building because he’s a protester.

If his account is correct, the G4S security guard should not have done this. He isn’t a protester, he receives food parcels and advice from us. He will be making a complaint to both G4S and the DWP.

I spoke to a vulnerable disabled man, he told by a DWP advisor that he couldn’t claim both universal credit and PIP, so he hadn’t had any money for quite a while. He’s now in rent arrears etc. Luckily now he’s successfully applied for universal credit and PIP after being advised to do so by another advisor. Honestly you couldn’t make this up could you.

How on earth are claimants supposed to navigate the system when their advisors often don’t know what they’re doing? They aren’t are they, they want us to go away, disappear or die, it’d suit them because the employment levels will be lower.

The DWP regard every claimant as a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder eg, workfare positions with various companies and organisations or sent on rubbish courses that do nothing to improve a persons life.

The DWP and the organisations and companies profit highly from this whilst claimants are left with hardly anything and many are reliant upon food parcels and the kindness of friends. Atrocious isn’t it.

I spoke to a man that needed a food parcel. He told me that he had some problems whilst telephone the ESA department. The first time that he telephone them he waited for 45 minutes to get an answer only to be told that the computers were down and they couldn’t help.

The second time that he telephoned them he waited another 45 minutes until he got an answer. Whilst I appreciate that people often wait a lot longer than that but it’s totally off putting for the person telephoning. Maybe that’s part of the plan, make them wait a long time to put them off making a claim etc. Who knows but I know what I think, you’re probably thinking the same thing.

I then spoke to an older man that looked annoyed. He took a leaflet and I asked him if he was ok. His reply was that he was sick of being treated like crap. His story is this.

Having worked for all of his adult life, his last job was as a hob carrier and he had worked for the same company for 25 years. Unfortunately he contracted TB, and a few weeks later he had a bad fall and broke his arm badly. He now finds himself at the mercy of universal credit and he’s trying to understand the system but is confused at the same time.

Because he’s now claiming universal credit the DWP are keen on sending him to different courses, the latest one being a fork lift carrier course to teach him how to drive one etc. Although he’s looking forward to this he still has to run around trying to get proof of how much the bus fare will be to get to Oldham where the course is being held. It’s ridiculous.

Due to the wait for universal credit he’s now in arrears with his mortgage and is scared that he’s going to loose his house. He told me that he’s scared, that he might be loosing everything that he’s worked for. A sad reality for many in his position.

I spoke to a woman that was attending the Jobcentre with her two children. Her youngest son has just been diagnosed with Autism. The DWP have told her that as soon as her son is five in June they’ll be moving her onto universal credit. She told me how scared she is, that she’s worried about her children, will she be able to feed them adequately etc. Having children and claiming universal credit is scary.

I advised her and told her what she could claim for her son etc and she took a leaflet.

No one should be scared like this woman, but most of the people that I speak to are scared because their futures are unpredictable, they don’t know what sort of hell is around the corner waiting for them.

We spoke to a woman thats recovering from breast cancer and other illnesses as a result of the cancer and the treatment.

Her story is this, she suffers from extreme tiredness, she missed two phone calls from the DWP because she was asleep. She doesn’t choose to fall asleep, she tried to stay awake but she couldn’t do it.

As soon as she was able to she contacted the DWP and asked them if she would receive a payment this week. She was told that she will but she’ll have to repay the DWP back.

Unbelievable isn’t it. A woman who’s been extremely ill isn’t given any support or sympathy. Basically she’s been left to her own devices and she didn’t know what to do.

No one should be treated like this. A caring government would let her rest and make a good recovery, instead she’s neglected and shunned. Disgusting.

I spoke to a woman that noted that she’s always waiting ages for an answer when phoning the DWP. Quite rightly she said that not everyone has a mobile phone and the DWP should understand this. They don’t and they have no intention of being understanding, its not in their remit is it.

I spoke to a woman that needed a form printing for the DWP. The DWP refused to print it for her telling her to go elsewhere. Typical treatment by the DWP.

We spoke to a woman who had waited for 13 weeks for her universal credit claim to be processed. She had been working for a local travel company that had gone bust, ceased trading. She was owed £1000 by her ex employer and the DWP wanted her to get the monies owed straight away. That might be easy to say but her previous employer is refusing to pay her so she’s taking them to the small claims court to try and recover the monies owed to her.

Thankfully she’s now receiving her universal credit payments but it’s left her stressed and in debt.

I spoke to an older man that told me in his opinion the people that designed universal credit should be forced to claim it for a long period of time. They should suffer like he is he said.

This all happened in the space of two hours folks, this will also be happening up and down the country as I type this. Please be a friend to someone it could be the difference between life and death.

Many thanks to Roy and Gordon for all of their help today.

Many thanks to all my readers and supporters of this campaign both online and in person.

Please read, share and talk about my blog because whilst Brexit is still the main topic of conversation people are still suffering and dying.

There is also a donation button at the side and top of this blog. I’m a skint single parent just trying to do my best to help people. Every penny counts thank you!!!

 

 

£220 a month to live on with children to feed. Universal credit literally starves people into submission.

Dear readers. Today was another interesting morning outside the new Jobcentre.

As soon as I arrived I was immediately met by yet another person from the council. That’s three different people in three weeks, they must be desperate to get rid of us.

To put it bluntly we’ve been doing these protests for over five years now. Not one council official or employee has ever approached us with offers of ‘help’ or suggestions of how we should do things. No concern was ever shown for the claimants that we’re helping except concern and help from local councillors and two MPS that have helped us.

Now I’m being met by differing officials all of whom are offering me the same thing. A room inside the council building on a Thursday at the same time as the demos. Although one of these people actually suggested a different day.

Whilst I’m interested in some of the suggestions that they’ve made they can’t and won’t whitewash us away because the DWP now share the same building as the council. They should have thought about this when the plans were being drawn up.

The employees that have been sent out to talk to us appear to have no idea that we are a high profile campaign and have a very large support base, and anyway I’m used to having to be able to stand my ground.

In simple terms I won’t be bought off.

Ok back to today. Once again because an official decided that they wanted to speak to me again I was taken away from being able to help people. I’m not sure that this is their intention, but wether it is or not I’m getting rather annoyed with it. At least members of the team were able to hand the food parcels out. Next week I refuse to be distracted by anyone.

All the food parcels were handed out within 20 minutes and everyone that needed help was signposted and/or helped.

As well as helping people we’re also there to protest against the inhumanity of universal credit. Quite simply it isn’t fit for purpose and people are dying as a result.

We spoke to many people and had some very interesting conversations with people. Here’s a run down of the conversations that we had today.

We spoke to a woman who told us about her experience of the DWP. Her story is this.

Last year she had an advisor that wasn’t being nice to her (sadly that’s not unusual), so she asked if she could change her advisor and requested to be treated with some dignity. Her request was denied and her advisor sent for two security guards to escort her from the building.

Yep a simple request denied and a vulnerable person treated as though they’re a criminal. Don’t fall for the rubbish that comes out of Amber Rudds mouth. Jobcentres are generally hostile environments.

I spoke to a man who is now relying on food banks and our food parcels to survive. He’s worked all of his adult life until now because his health isn’t good.

I like to chat with him because we’re most likely the only people that he sees and has a good chat with. When I looked at him I could see that he’s so fed up of the system because he’s just about surviving.

I then had a chat with a lovely woman and her friend. She told me that she’s always worked until now because she’s been ill and is now unable to work. She started to claim universal credit in September and every month she has to chase up the rent element of her universal credit. Every month the DWP underpays her.

As well as having to chase up payments she’s also stuck in the cycle of repaying back the loan that she was forced to take when she applied for universal credit and on top of this she has to pay back an overpayment from her previous tax credit claim.

She’s broke, is fed up and told me that both herself and her younger children are having to survive on £220 a month and that’s before she’s bought her gas and electric for the week.

Could you survive on this? Would it make you feel eager to find a job even though you might be unable to. I know that having to survive on such a low amount of money certainly doesn’t incentivise you into finding work. Instead it makes you hungry, driven by hunger and finding food takes over every other single thought in your head.

This is why so many give up, why many people die early and why some disabilities become worse.

As I type this around 3.7 million children are living in absolute poverty in the uk. That’s 3.7 million children that are hungry, that need the basics of life. much like this woman and her children. Why the government is being allowed to get away with this is beyond me, but hey the news will be taken over by Brexit.

Most of the people that I speak to couldn’t care less about Brexit because they’re hungry. That’s the most important thing for them. The reality is that not many of these children and their parents will ever be taken out of the circle of poverty that they’re now stuck in.

I asked the lady how was she surviving. She told me that it’s the kindness of friends that’s keeping her going. A sad reality for many.

I spoke to a woman needing some advice for their friend who’s now having to go through the whole ESA and PIP application system. It’s a nightmare and made as such to stop people from making a claim.

I spoke to a woman who had always worked until she became ill and had to have half of her bowel removed. If that wasn’t bad enough shes also broke her arm.

I asked her what would she like to do with her life in the future. She told me that she’d like to return to work but doubts if she would be able to for a long time.

I asked her if the DWP are treating her well and she told me that they weren’t because they don’t treat anyone well, saying that the whole system is awful and needs to be replaced. Of course she’s correct.

She’s also repaying her DWP loan back and a previous tax credit debt. I advised her and signposted her for help with these matters.

I spoke to a young man who’s being continually sent on the pointless DWP courses that they like to send people on. So far he’s been sent to a few of these courses.

It’s pointless he told me. They send me miles away and they’re supposed to reimbursement for my transport costs. I’ve asked for my fares to be paid this week and the company that I was sent to have refused to repay him.

This poor chap survives on £55 a week, out of this he has to get gas, electric, food pay the council tax supplement etc. He told me that he won’t be able to buy as much food as he would like to.

£55 a week is the cost of a breakfast and a few drinks to some Tory politicians. It’s absolutely disgraceful that we are supposed to survive on such low amounts of money.

This all happened within two hours outside one Jobcentre. People are suffering like never before but Brexit is taking over the news.

How long are we expected to survive like this? I’m certain that they want to kill us off slowly, because that’s exactly what it feels like.

We will be back next week, please come and join us we really need your support at the moment. If you can’t join us then please support us online. Thank you!!

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Help your neighbour and be a friend to others. So many people are suffering in silence, too proud to ask for help.

I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do or for the blog. I can’t stand injustice, unfairness and suffering and this is why I do what I do. I’m a skint single parent just trying to make a difference.

For anyone wishing to donate there’s buttons at the top and side of this blog.

They want to move us. Sanctioned for two months I’m going to lose my home.

Dear readers, its Thursday again at least it wasn’t raining this week. Today’s demo was a tad different and I’ll explain below.

All of the food parcels were handed out to people that really need them, it’s heartbreaking to see new faces waiting for us to arrive with them, and it’s going to become much, much worse.

We also signposted everyone that needed help.

Universal credit and Brexit are going to cause the perfect storm for the DWP. They’ll be more people for them to persecute, and we all know how much they like to do that don’t we.

As I arrived at our new spot a policeman cross council worker was waiting for me. He was polite and told us that he had been told to tell us that we have to move to another proposed spot…. ROUND THE CORNER WHERE NO ONE CAN SEE US.

Not only is that proposal ridiculous it will prevent us from helping people. We are now in negotiations with this chap. I’ve made it very clear that I’m not interested in going round the corner.

Having to deal with these negotiations took me away from helping people, now that did upset me and I will endeavour not to let anyone down next week.

For a start we aren’t trouble causers, we help people. Nor are we a dirty little secret that has to be hidden away out of sight and sound of anyone.

I was expecting this, so I’m not one bit surprised, like I’ve said before it’s going to be like starting all over again and we need your support. If anyone would like to join us one week to show solidarity we would welcome you with open arms.

Anyway back to the important stuff.

The mood of the claimants wasn’t good today, everyone that we spoke to seemed either depressed and annoyed usually a mixture of both.

I spoke to Sam when he was walking out of the Jobcentre. He took a leaflet and asked for my help. Sams story is this.

Sam has substance abuse issues and he’s trying his best to get clean.

Sam had just had a spell in hospital, he was released yesterday and he showed me his hospital wristband.

Sam was moved onto universal credit and he struggled to keep with the DWPS demands. The DWP don’t give a toss that he’s trying to recover from addiction and that this can take a long time.

Sam is now waiting for his eviction letter from his landlord. He’s being evicted because he couldn’t keep up with the rent payments due to the long wait for his universal credit claim to be processed.

Sam will soon be street homeless and will be classed as making himself intentionally homeless by the local authority even though he didn’t choose to be moved onto universal credit and he couldn’t borrow any money from family etc.

As a result the local authority could wash their hands of him, they might not and I hope to god that he gets some support because being street homeless would be awful for him.

I then spoke to David. Davids story is this.

David had been laid off in January so he made a claim for universal credit.

David was paid a Christmas bonus that he wasn’t expecting to receive just after he had made his application for universal credit.

The DWP saw this as a wage and stopped his claim for universal credit.

Sam spent all of the Christmas bonus money on vet fees for his dog that had to be put to sleep.

Sam then had to start the application process all over again.

Sam has been without money from December to February.

He’s worried that he’s going to become homeless and that he’s going to loose everything that he has.

The DWP don’t care though because they’re paid not to care. As it stands Sam will become yet another statistic, not a name, not a person but a number.

I then spoke to Jim. Jims story is this.

Jims working now but he had been unemployed for a period of 14 months not long ago. He was made redundant from his job of 30 years.

Jim told me that he was treated terribly, spoken to like dirt and was mandated to undergo workfare (work for nothing) at a local Barnados charity shop.

Jim worked long hours there, and when it was time for him to finish his time there he was told to not put this experience on his CV. Baffled by this response he ignored them and put it on his CV.

He told me that he thought that all this was a sick game that they’re playing with everyone. ‘They know that there’s no jobs, but they keep sending people on these crap courses which degrade us. They just like people like me to suffer’

That’s the truth of it isn’t it.

Jim told me that it was the worst experience of his life and that he never wanted to go through it again, stating that no one deserves to be treated with such disrespect.

Luckily Jim now has a job, he wanted to have a chat with us to tell us about how he felt, how he was treated because it still affects him now, saying that the whole experience had scared him for life.

A man walked past and shouted that he agrees with everything that we’re doing and to keep up the good work.

We then spoke to an older man who had been claiming Severe Disability Payments. Basically he’s in poor health and certainly isn’t fit for work.

All was going ok until he asked for his PIP payments to be increased due to needing a mobility scooter to get around.

They refused, sent him for a medical assessment and his Severe Disability Payments were also stopped.

He’s now been without money for 13 weeks.

A very vulnerable disabled man has been without any money for 13 weeks.

We signposted and helped him as much as we possibly could, but it left me feeling sick in my stomach. Before anyone says that thousands of people are suffering just like this man is, I already know this. I speak to people in this position all the time.

Some days I get upset, but I’m human with a heart and compassion something that the DWP don’t have.

This happened within 2 hours, hopefully I won’t be distracted next week as I was today. Can you imagine how many people are suffering at the hands of the DWP?

Thousands upon thousands are, thousands are homeless, hungry and scared because of universal credit. It’s not acceptable to treat people like this.

Please spare them a thought.

We will be returning next week.

Photograph taken at the old Jobcentre.

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I’ve lost everything because of universal credit.

Wow, what a palaver it was last week, an extremely bad bout of rain and the hassle from the new Tameside One staff and security. It’s mind boggling that they wanted to move us when all we are doing is helping people, feeding people and signposting them.

I was expecting a repeat of last weeks performance today, but it didn’t happen, however I’ve heard from a reliable source that they’re trying to find a way of getting rid of us, to move us on.

So here’s the deal. We help people, feed people, give people advice and have literally saved life’s.

We’re extremely peaceful, so much so that we’ve gained the respect of the local police force mainly because we help vulnerable people and prevent people from taking other options to feed themselves. Why? Because we feed them. Simple.

How anyone can take offence to this is beyond me, we do important community work.

If they do try to go down the injunction route I’ll let you know, and it will be reported in the press.

I was dreading today, not because of the hassle but because of storm Gareth. It’s here, it’s very windy and the rain has been torrential. It’s no fun standing outside in that.

We were lucky today because the rain actually stopped for most of the time so we didn’t get too wet. Imagine how awful it is for homeless people in this weather.

Luckily the locals are now aware of where we actually are so it was a lot less hectic than last week.

We handed the food parcels out and as usual there was a bit of a queue for them but they were glad to see us, as were we glad to see them. I like to know that they’re ok because they’re vulnerable people and need support.

Jenny walked towards me, she looked upset and in shock. She told me that she’s failed her PIP assessment and she doesn’t know how she’s going to survive. I advised her and gave her a food parcel, but I don’t have a magic wand even though I wish that I did.

People with disabilities are horrendously targeted at by the government. I have a theory that they want them to die. What other reason would there be for being as cruel as they are. After all they’re vulnerable people who cannot work due to disabilities.

Their doctors and consultants have diagnosed them and have informed them that they’re not fit enough to work but a physiotherapist who’s paid a large sum of money can diagnose them as being fit for work.

Their disabilities have suddenly been magicked away by the gods of Atos and Maximus.

Personally I believe that these assessors should all be made to pay for the damage that they’ve done, the people they’ve destroyed and the deaths they’ve caused. I also believe that these assessments should be stopped. We need to stop this downright persecution of the disabled community.

I then noticed Tom walking towards the Jobcentre, he was struggling up the steps. As he approached the Jobcentre I asked him if he’d like one of our leaflets, he said yes he did.

I helped and advised him and I also signposted him. He looked so downtrodden and depressed. This is exactly what the government wants though.

I then spoke to Sally. As I handed Sally a leaflet she told me that she’s lost everything because of universal credit. She struggles to eat, she’s sold anything of any value and she can’t afford to heat her home.

This is the reality of life whilst claiming universal credit. My heart went out to her, my god I want the government to pay for what they’ve done to people.

I then spoke to June. June cares for her husband who has brain cancer. He’s not going to get better but he recently failed his PIP assessment.

Yes folks because he can move he failed his PIP examination. They forget about the excruciating pain that he’s in, the side effects of the medication that he’s taken which render him unable to do most tasks. Disgusting.

When a person is seriously ill like this, they don’t want to be worrying about the DWP, they shouldn’t have this stress forced upon them. Many go to their graves worrying about the DWP and having no money, food etc etc.

Seriously this is about as cruel as it gets. We’ll soon have mass paupers graves again because we can’t afford funerals or burials.

Rhona and Sheila then arrived. Rhona had travelled all the way from London to help us. Thank you so much for doing this, you helped so many people today!!

I then spotted Jane walking to the Jobcentre, Jane told me that she’s failed her PIP assessment and she didn’t know what to do. I helped and advised her and also signposted her. Heartbreaking stuff.

I spotted Keith because he was hanging around the area outside the Jobcentre with his friend, he told me that he’s been sanctioned because he didn’t attend a group session arranged by the DWP. Keith will appeal this decision though because he had a good reason as to why he couldn’t attend.

A man walked out of the Jobcentre and shouted ‘Twats’ as he was leaving.

People can be critical at others who shout or get aggressive when the DWP treats them badly. Remember they’re probably upset because they’ve lost everything, they’re upset and are vulnerable. Instead of criticising they need to find out the reason why they’re upset.

I spotted two familiar faces standing outside the Jobcentre, they looked confused and slightly annoyed. I asked them what the problem was and they then told me.

‘My money’s been stopped because I’ve had to change my bank account, I’m not going to be able to survive this week because it’s going to take them ages to sort it out’

‘I might keel over and die, that lot don’t give a shit’

We had a good chat and I signposted him. His key worker is going to phone the DWP up for him. Rhona also helped him. Thank you so much!!

We spoke to a lovely couple who are appealing a failed ESA assessment. They asked if we knew how long that it’ll take for the appeal to be processed and they were shocked when I replied that it could be longer than a year.

Luckily they’re seeking advice from our local CAB office, but they thanked us for our leaflets and said that it was very useful.

Myself Dave and Rhona had a brief conversation with a man who was waiting for his universal credit claim to be processed.

Jim had been caring for his mum for 15 years, his mum had sadly died so he had to start claiming universal credit.

Jim had walked miles in the rain to get a food bank voucher from the council offices. He was freezing cold and wet through. I advised him and told him that there’s a brilliant food bank in Mossley.

I also advised him and Rhona helped him out.

This all happened within two hours, so many vulnerable people aren’t getting any support, most have to go without meals, many are without a home.

Quite frankly this government makes me feel sick with rage. No one should be treated like this, there’s no excuse. But hey the Tories hate poor disabled people because they see us as a burden. We are anything but that.

Thank you so much everyone for turning up and helping today. I was amazed at how many people, local councillors included turned up to show their support. Jan even brought us some chocolates. It means so much to me, having their support.

It goes without saying that the DWP weren’t impressed by our presence neither was the manager of the building. If they’re reading this then know that we are peaceful and we didn’t obstruct any area nor did we harass anyone.

Our demo was witnessed by others and it’s peaceful as always.

Safe journey home Rhona thank you so much!!

We’ll be back next week.

Please like, share and tweet my blog.

Many thanks to those that subscribe, read and share my blog. Thank you to all the other campaigners also fighting for change either online or on foot.

I’m a single parent just trying to do my best to help others. I don’t get paid for anything that I do. There’s a donate button at the side and the top, every penny helps!

A massive thanks to everyone that came along today to help and to everyone that supports my blog. Thank you!!

My baby died and they won’t help with the funeral costs.

Dear readers, yes its Thursday again, this week was the last week that we’re going to be stood outside the old Ashton Jobcentre. Don’t fear though my friends, we’re moving to where the new Jobcentre will be which is the new Tameside One building where some of the local council will be based, the library and Welfare Rights. Because the Jobcentre is inside the new building and up a floor we can only stand outside on the ground floor where the public entrance is. Ah well, you win some and you loose some.

I wonder if the market manager will be reporting me to Interpol again for standing near Ashton market, that was extremely funny.

Today was a tad slow probably because the Jobcentre is closing tomorrow ready for the move to the new building. This didn’t stop the need for food parcels and need for help and advice.

As I arrived at the Jobcentre Roy was waiting for me with a few people that needed food parcels. I must note that I was on time but I had to get a coffee because it’s chilly again up north. I’ll list some of the conversations as I usually do, and I’ll use pseudo names to respect a persons privacy.

 

I spotted Dave as he was running into the Jobcentre, he hurriedly told me that he’d been sanctioned but he didn’t know why. He also hadn’t received any letter etc to confirm this. Needless to say that this is pretty standard, the DWP send most letters out second class and they don’t rush to post them either. I gave him some advice and handed him a food parcel upon his exit.

 

Jim stopped to chat to me as he was leaving the Jobcentre. Jims story is this, he had a heart attack a few weeks ago and he’s attempting to make a claim for universal credit whilst he can’t work. He wasn’t sure how long that it would take for him to receive a payment so I told him. Jim was surprised that it would take at. Least five weeks and he now hopes that he’ll be back in work before then. Nice one DWP, don’t you have any idea of how serious a heart attack can be? Callous is one of the words that I like to use for incidents like this.

 

I spoke to a young man who attends a local organisation called ‘Roots to work’. Roots to work sound very much like a work programme place where attendance is mandatory or else expect a sanction. I prefer to call them hell holes or sweat shops of struggle, pain, embarrassment and struggle. I’m sure that they’ll disagree with my opinion, but having experienced these places myself I know what I saw and experienced.

One day not long ago some DWP representatives marched into Roots To Work and informed him that he wouldn’t be able to claim ESA for much longer and he’s going to be transferred over to universal credit in the near future.

This is correct but they didn’t inform him that he would be eligible to claim the disability element of universal credit, so I informed him of this. What a surprise the DWP being selective in what they say to people. Their very presence set him into a state of panic.

 

I then spoke to Gill, a young woman who visibly looked upset. I asked Gill if I could help her. Her reply was ‘My baby died three months ago, I had only just made a claim for universal credit just before my little boy died.’

Gill then told me that her baby’s funeral had been performed by the local council council and she had had to pay for this themselves. She’s now struggling to get the DWP to reimburse her some of this money.

My heart went out to her, she had been ill advised, felt alone in the world and was now trying to get a receipt for the funeral to satisfy the DWP. I signposted her to my local MP for help with this.

I asked Gill how she was coping and were the DWP treating her well. Her reply was that she’s struggling to cope and the DWP haven’t shown her any sympathy for the death of her baby. She’s still got to search for a job.

I helped and advised her the best that I could. I gave her a hug and told her that I’m here for her whenever she needs someone. I also signposted her to local organisations that might be able to help her.

The memory of seeing her stood there in tears clutching her baby’s baby bag will never leave me. No one that have lost their child should be treated like this should they.

 

I then spoke to Mandy. Mandy is a young woman at the start of her adult life and should be enjoying it. Instead Mandy is battling the universal credit system and at the moment she’s loosing this battle.

Mandy’s story is this. When Mandy made a claim for universal credit she signed her new claimant commitment in front of her advisor as is required. Mandy was then surprised to see that her claim for universal credit had been denied because she hadn’t signed the claimant commitment which she had signed. You really couldn’t make this up could you.

Mandy then tried to appeal their decision but was told that they weren’t allowing this and she had to make another claim for universal credit, so she now has to go through the whole process again.

How much of this shit are we expected to put up with? A whole lot more when everyone else is moved onto universal credit and the system can’t cope. Wonderful… Not.

 

 

I then spoke to Jenny who is her sons registered appointee. Jenny receives al of her sons DWP letters and attends all of his DWP appointments with him. Jenny wanted to drop off some information on behalf of her son but was refused, she was obviously distressed so we set to task to sort this out.

I gave Jenny the telephone number for Ashton Jobcentre and she phoned them up from outside the Jobcentre, they then allowed her to drop off the required documentation. If I hadn’t done this then her son would have been most likely been sanctioned.

Honestly this shouldn’t be happening. To be told by a DWP representative at the front desk that she wasn’t allowed in to drop the documentation off and that she wasn’t his appointee either. Not only was this information incorrect, it caused her to become distressed and angry. If they had looked at her sons records correctly they would have seen that she is his appointee.

DWP stop doing this. It’s not that hard to correctly check a persons details and to be respectful to a person is it. Sometimes I think that I’m speaking a foreign language that they don’t understand.

 

I then spoke to the PCS rep for Ashton Jobcentre, he had no problem speaking to me and we discussed several things. Unlike his predecessor he wanted to listen etc. If you’re reading this thank you.

 

Today was tough but we do this every week. I’ve been standing outside Ashton Jobcentre for five years now, my comrades have been helping for three years. In a strange sort of way I’ll miss the old building. We’ve shared tears, hugs, and advice. We’ve also had plenty of laughs and have had some memorable demos there. Goodbye old building, DWP we’ll see you at the new building.

A massive thank you to all my supporters, readers and my campaigners. You all mean the world to me.

Thank you to everyone that came along and helped this week, thank you so much.

I’m a single parent just trying my best to help people and right the wrongs of the DWP. I receive absolutely no funding for the work that I do. There’s a donation button at the side and the top of my blog for anyone who would like to donate. Thank you!

 

 

64 year old woman with multiple health condition fails universal credit medical assessment. Living in substandard accommodation. How are people supposed to survive this?

Dear readers, its Thursday yet again. The sun was shining for us today, what a welcome surprise. It was lovely to see. No joy was found from the DWP though, there’s a surprise.

I’ll be listing everything that happened today as usual. No real names will be divulged either. Today we handed out six food parcels and helped lots of people who would have otherwise been left, stranded without help by a system that doesn’t care about them.

Those of you that have been through the system or know people that have will already know that the DWPs flagship universal credit system is cruel, heartless and punishing. It discriminates against everyone but particularly women, children, single parents and people with disabilities.

Universal credit is obscenely complicated and hard to navigate, often DWP advisors don’t know the rules either. Not one department communicates with another even though universal credit is computer driven by default. You’d honestly think that the designers of it would have thought about people that are unable to use computers or don’t have any access to the internet at home. They also didn’t take into account the fact that libraries are shutting their doors or reducing the hours that they’re open because they can’t afford to stay open.

Universal credit is a system that rarely works well for anyone, but it was designed to do this, to reduce the unemployment levels by any means possible. If that means that a person takes themselves off the system because they can’t cope then so be it. No one will try and stop them either. Above the door of every Jobcentre a sign saying ‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here’ because that’s exactly what people do.

 

The first thing that I noticed today was the queue of women waiting for food parcels. It goes without saying that there shouldn’t be a need for us to hand food parcels out but there is, and will be for as long as this rotten government is in power.

As I was handing the food parcels out a young man stormed out of the Jobcentre. I asked him what was wrong and he shouted ‘It’s a pile of shit in there, they don’t give a shit do they’ I agreed with him and handed him a leaflet.

 

Meet Tom. Tom had successfully made an application for universal credit a couple of months ago, thats good you might think. Well, no because it appears that whoever processed his application didn’t quite do everything correctly.

Upon applying for universal credit a claimant is expected to provide ID and proof of tenancy etc at their first meeting, because as you know rent etc is all rolled into one payment every month. Here’s where Tom encountered his first problem. I say first because he’s bound to have more problems as time progresses.

Tom looked confused as he handed me a form that he had just been given by his advisor. As I looked at it he told me that he had already provided them with the ID and proof that they needed. Here’s the letter in all it’s glory.

 

In this letter he’s asked about every single detail of his tenancy, including gas and electricity check certificates and energy performance certificates. Tom has no idea what those are, his landlord didn’t issue him with these. The DWP need to remember that not all landlords actually do this.

Other questions included are ‘Are you up to date with your rent payments? If yes, provide evidence of this.’

‘Would your landlord accept less rent at times if you could not afford to pay the full rent?’

‘Will your landlord accept a lower rent if universal credit does not meet your full rent liability?’

‘Would your landlord take you to court to evict you if you failed to pay the rent?’

‘Would your landlord take legal action to recover rent arrears?’

These questions are totally ridiculous. Landlords rarely if ever lower a persons rent payment to suit the DWP, and of course a landlord will take action to evict a tenant for non payment of rent. It’s ridiculous to think otherwise, and very arrogant of the DWP to suggest that a landlord should back down to the demands of the DWP.

Honestly, the above form looks like something thats been typed out at home in a hurry. There’s absolutely nothing official on this form, no DWP logo either. It’s all very strange.

Tom quite rightly noted that they should have asked for this information when he first made his claim, he’s already received his first payment. He’d already paid his rent with this. Honestly you couldn’t make this up.

To make matters worse he had to make a new appointment just to hand in this form, if he doesn’t attend he’ll get sanctioned.

I asked him if he had moved house and he told me that he hadn’t, his was living at the same address when he made his claim for universal credit.

Luckily I was able to walk him through the questions and signposted him if he needs further help. Poor fella, he was so confused. He thanked me and he walked away hopefully less confused.

 

Tom looks after his sister who is computer illiterate, his sister struggles to get out and depends on Tom to do most tasks for him. Tom attended the Jobcentre a few weeks ago to hand his sisters fit note in. He was told quite bluntly at the reception desk that he couldn’t do this and he had to post it. So Tom posted it using an envelope that they gave him.

Today Tom attended the Jobcentre once more to hand his sisters fit note in. This time they accepted it but asked him where the previous fit note was. He told them that he’d posted it because he’d been told to. Unbelievable isn’t it.

Tom was understandably a bit fed up, saying this system is bloody ridiculous isn’t it.

 

I spoke to a woman struggling to pay the bedroom tax, a man that was sent away fro being ten minutes early and a woman who told me that she claims universal credit and PIP and its bloody awful.

I also spoke to an older woman that cares for her son who’s autistic. He had failed his latest ESA medical because apparently he ‘looked ok’. Obviously the DWP don’t recognised hidden disabilities, they’ve got quite a bad track record of this.

I spoke to a young man that has taken himself off the system because he couldn’t cope with it. I asked him how he managed from day to day, he told me that he tries his best but is dependent upon relatives. He hopes to get a job in the near future.

 

We spoke to a self employed plasterer, he quite loudly told us that universal credit has ruined many of his friends and colleagues. Universal credit made it impossible for them to continue with their trade. He was understandably angry, but angry at the government for doing this to them.

 

I spoke to Bill, bill has been sanctioned because his daughter had been taken into hospital and he missed his signing on appointment. He did telephone the Jobcentre and communicated this through his online journal, he’s even provided evidence of the hospital stay. But the gods of the DWP have decided that he’d be sanctioned so he was.

I told him that he could appeal the sanction decision and he told me that his advisor hadn’t told him that he could appeal. Thankfully hes now going to appeal this and hopefully he’ll win his appeal. He wouldn’t have known to do this if we weren’t there to inform him.

 

Meet Pat. Pat is 64 years of age and has numerous medical conditions, some quite serious. Pat hasn’t been able to work for years because of this. Pat also claims universal credit.

Pat recently attended a universal credit medical assessment, she failed this and was told that she’s now fit for work.

So the DWP gods have performed another miracle haven’t they.

Pat is determined to appeal this decision, so she informed her advisor of this. Her advisor then told her that she now needs to provide medical proof if she wants to appeal.

Pat has now had to pay £15 for a letter from her doctor. This is completely ridiculous, she’s already shown evidence of her medical conditions.

To make matters much worse Pat lives in a home riddled with damp and her landlord is reluctant to deal with it. She told me that she doesn’t know how much more she can continue like this, its becoming all too much for her.

Remember pat is 64 years of age, she shouldn’t be treated like this and she honestly didn’t expect this.

I did everything that I could to help her and signpost her. It’s absolutely heartbreaking when you speak to someone thats suffering as much as this. For gods sake we’re supposed to respect our elders. The DWP respects no one not even their staff.

 

I spoke to a middle aged man who’s in the process of being evicted. He told me that the move over to universal credit has caused this.n

We spoke to a young man that was prevented from attending an appointment with a friend, ten minutes later another man was prevented from entering the Jobcentre with his partner. He wanted to help her but he was turned away. The law states that a claimant is allowed support when attending an appointment but hey, the DWP employees at the front desk of Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre appear to totally disregard this.

 

Today’s conversations all happened within two hours on a Thursday afternoon. Universal credit doesn’t work, its very design dictates this.

We need to stop and scrap universal credit and replace it with a much fairer system that actually cares for people.

 

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

Thank you to everyone that turned up to help today, I really appreciate this.

 

Massive thanks to everyone that supports my blog. Without you I honestly don’t know what I’d do. Your support means everything especially when times are hard. As a skint single parent I can relate to everyone that I speak to.

Keep safe, we’ll be back next week as usual.