Tag: government reform

I’ve got £3 to last me for a week. Universal Credit strikes again

Wow I can’t believe that it’s Thursday again. It’s definitely a lot cooler out there so wrap up if your going out.

The cooler weather also highlights the inability for thousands of people to choose between heating and eating. Of course the government don’t want to rectify this, I’m convinced that they’re trying to kill us off.

Today was a mix of differing problems and as usual I will not be naming anyone. I hope that you understand why.

The first thing that I did today was to hand out the food parcels. We had six and within five minutes there was only one left.

The remaining food parcel was taken by a woman struggling to get by. She was claiming Universal Credit and unbeknownst to her the DWP had shut her claim down without telling her.

The DWP claim that she hadn’t signed her claimant commitment but she was adamant that she had done. This resulted in zero consultation with her and now she’s having to appeal this.

The DWP however have told her that she has to make a new claim for universal credit which means that she’s going to have to wait at least five weeks for her first payment.

She also has children and is understandably concerned about how she’s going to feed them.

Don’t expect any sympathy from the DWP though. They’ve got a cast iron weight instead of a heart.

It never get better hearing people’s DWP stories. But thank goodness we were there to help her. She’s going to appeal the DWPs decision.

I then had a conversation with a chap that I usually speak to every week. He told me that he had waited for over a hour for the bus to get to Ashton.

I can confirm that this is the norm in Tameside at the moment. Lots of our bus routes have been taken off and the ones that remain cost a lot more.

I’ve spoken to elderly and disabled people who have been housebound as a result of this. The bus used to stop right outside their houses and they can’t manage the walk to the nearest bus stop. It’s too far for them to walk etc.

If anyone from the Tameside area is reading this please join in with the Better Bus campaign.

I then spotted a woman leaving the Jobcentre. I offered her a leaflet and immediately she told me that she hates universal credit. I asked her why and she went into her pocket and got out some coins amounting to approximately £3. She said “This is all that I have until the end of next week. How on earth am I going to manage on this amount of money. ‘

Of course I advised her and signposted her to local organisations etc where she can get a food parcel from because we had ran out of them.

This is the reality of life whilst claiming Universal credit and its the same for thousands of people.

Far too many people have become accepting of this though. Many are resigned to their fate, they know that they’re going to be hungry and they think that no one cares about them.

Lots of us do care though, this shouldn’t be happening but we all to our best to help people.

We signposted quite a few people to CAB for advice and once again people having trouble with their council tax payments was mentioned. The poorest shouldn’t be made to bear the brunt of this.

We then spoke to a person that had recently been declared fit for work. They’ve got numerous disabilities and illnesses but don’t expect the DWP to care. They’re going to appeal this decision but in the meantime he was told by his DWP advisor that he’s no longer allowed to hand fit notes in.

Apparently the DWP know better than a doctor and a specialist doctor. They want everyone to look for none existent jobs despite the fact that many aren’t able to work.

As regular readers will know this is far from unusual but it never gets easier does it.

I advised a woman who’s son is being moved over from DLA to PIP.

We had a lovely conversation with a man who’s being sent on what feels like constant courses ran by and on behalf of the DWP. The latest course that they’ve been told to attend or be sanctioned is supposed to motivate people.

It’s a bit hard motivating people who are hungry and who’ve got the threat of being sanctioned hanging over their head. But hey every person that attends these courses are worth a fortune to the DWP. Not only does the DWP receive funding for these courses they also pay the providers quite a lot of money per person attending.

Wonderful isn’t it… Not. We can never forget that we’re just a number to them and we can and are exploited by the DWP at their whim.

We then had a conversation with a man that’s been having problems with his employer.

His employer is totally abusing the fact that there’s so many people looking for work. He pays people less than their long term staff. When people complain they tell them that they can walk, it doesn’t matter because they can fill the position straight away.

There’s far too many awful employers like this and it’s about time that something was done about this isn’t it.

Today we helped lots of people, provided support and gave out food parcels. We’ve been doing this for around six years now and it’s getting worse.

Please read and share my blog. Tweet it as well, email it to your local Tory MP.

I’d like to thank Gordon for all of his help today. I’d also like to thank you all for supporting the campaign and my blog.

This has become a full time job and every penny helps me to continue with both the campaign and the blog.

We’ll be returning next week and I’ll be blogging as usual.

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DWP refuse to pay for DBS check but will pay over £200 for a course.

Dear readers I’m extremely sorry for the delay in publishing my blog.

This weeks demo was extremely busy, as usual the food parcels were taken as soon as they arrived. I really wish that this wasn’t the case but it will be for the foreseeable future.

As usual I will list some of the conversations that I had today, identities won’t be revealed either.

As I arrived at the spot where I pick the food parcels up from I was greeted by a chap who I had a conversation with last week. He had followed my advice and as a result he managed to get hold of some much needed work boots etc.

I’m so happy that I can signpost people, remember we don’t leave anyone in the lurch we always do our best to help everyone.

Here’s a typical example of DWP logic it’s obvious to me that they don’t really want people to find good positive employment.

Jenny spotted us she was leaving the Jobcentre, she asked me if she could have a leaflet. As I handed her a leaflet she expressed her disgust of the whole DWP system. Here’s her story.

Jenny told us that she’s a qualified nurse and she would like to return to work. She asked the DWP if they would pay for a DBS check. You’d think that the DWP would agree to this because they apparently help people into work……

The DWPs answer was this, no they wouldn’t pay for a DBS check but they would pay over £200 for Jenny to attend a door persons job.

If course we advised that a future employer should pay for the check but as we know not all employers will do this.

As I’ve said before claimants are nothing but a number to be bought and sold at the DWPs whim. They profit from sending claimants to these often rubbish courses and until this stops they won’t stop.

I was then stopped by a woman who’s being forced to attend what seems to be endless pointless DWP courses. She told me about the latest course that she was forced to attend.

She told me that she was told to attend an effective job search course for people with arthritis. Telling me about her experience she said “I was stuck in a room with lots of other people. They tried to tell us that we shouldn’t let arthritis prevent us from finding work. Easier said than done when you’re in constant pain.”

If this wasn’t enough enough she was also told that she had to attend a job fair in Ashton as well. The DWP advised her that if she didn’t attend they would sanction her.

The word on the street later was that the job fair was rubbish. Potential employers telling people that they were either too old or unsuitable for the work that they were offering. This didn’t surprise me because I’m told the same every year that they hold this event.

A little later I had a conversation with chap that I’d had a conversation with a few weeks ago. He’s been waiting for over 3 months for his first universal credit payment. He told me that the DWP have informed him that he should receive his first universal credit payment on Saturday. Let’s hope that they do.

Last but not least we spoke to a woman who was very quick to tell us that she was over £600 worse off since claiming Universal credit. She’s gone from being able to being able to cope on the benefits system to not coping at all.

Her story is that she had previously been homeless and she had been rehoused to a three bedroom house. She only needed a two bedroom home but she couldn’t refuse the offer of this property. If she did they would refuse to help her.

As a result shes now forced to pay the bedroom tax and top up rent as well as the council tax supplement. She’s applied for a help with this but she keeps on being refused. She’s also asked to move to a smaller property but this is refused also because she owes rent.

It’s absolutely shocking that local housing providers refuse to help people find smaller properties because they owe rent. Of course they’re going to owe rent they need a smaller home so that they can pay back this debt.

The whole system is geared against the poorest people in society. At every turn they get the door slammed in their faces, are told that they’re not good enough and are used by companies employed by the DWP until they burn out, become ill or disabled and are then left with no support at all.

Poverty is isolating which helps the DWP to abuse these people in whatever way they see fit. Like I said earlier we’re a commodity and we’re bought and sold at the DWP and governments whim.

We spoke to lots of people yesterday and offered help, advice, signposting, food, support and solidarity. We will return next week to help even more people.

Please read and share this blog thank you. Tweet it, email it etc because everyone needs to know the truth behind the DWPs false advertisements claiming that universal credit is the best thing ever.

For everyone who supports my blog thank you so much.

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a PayPal button at the top and side of this blog.

Can’t afford food can’t cope thanks to universal credit.

Dear readers it’s Thursday again and I hope that WordPress doesn’t play up again today. Once again my apologies.

We were joined again by colleagues and friends from Stockport and Oldham and Ashton. Recently support for the demo has been very low so I really welcomed this. It gave me the hope that I needed to carry on with the demos. We are needed and I won’t be stopping them anytime soon.

As usual all the food parcels were taken straight away and I held one back for someone who had messaged me before the demo. We all should be angry about the need for food parcels but unfortunately it’s become normalised and accepted by many. Years of Tory rule will do that. Poverty is also now normalised and it’s become acceptable that we are treated like the dirt underneath someone’s shoe, there’s absolutely no accountability on the government’s part but they’re quick to hound a person to find work whilst their on their deathbed.

I’ll list the conversations that I had as usual and I won’t be divulging any names either.

The first conversation that I had this morning was with a man who’s been having a terrible time of it lately. Basically he’s not getting his payments because the DWP won’t accept that he no longer lives at a previous address.

He’s phoned them up, handed in evidence of his new address but they still aren’t listening. He’s now angry and quite rightly so. He needs to eat, pay his bills etc. Do the DWP care? Nope so he has to start phoning them again in the hope that he will be able to get his payment.

I wish that this was unusual but it isn’t. DWP department are notorious for not communicating with each other and for not knowing the correct procedures for things either. It’s much like winning the lottery when you get a good advisor either face to face or on the phone.

It was then that I spoke to Joanne, she’s a woman that I first spoke to a while ago and she was in need of out help again, saying that she’s been let down by every single service in the area and especially by the DWP.

If I had a magic wand and I could change things for her I would but I don’t and I can only advise her. If you’re reading this Joanne, don’t give up we care for you and one day it will get better for you.

I then spotted James as he was leaving the Jobcentre. He looked a tad confused and I handed him a leaflet.

James told me that since he started to claim universal credit he’s lost weight because he can no longer afford to eat regular meals. He’s also struggling to keep his accommodation going but one by one his appliances are breaking down and he can’t afford to either repair or replace them. Thanks to universal credit he hasn’t got much hope for the future.

The DWP declared James fit for work, he obviously isn’t but they don’t care. I advised him and myself and my colleague had a long conversation with him. From what James was saying he doesn’t really speak to many people so I hope that we made a difference to his day. I also signposted him for further help.

We then spotted Paul as he was leaving the Jobcentre, he was looking at our placards and agreeing with them especially the ‘stop universal credit’ one. We asked him if he needed any advice. Paul replied saying that universal credit is ‘terrible’ and it’s ruined his life.

Paul is given a payment of £509 a month out of that he’s got to pay his rent which is £340 a month. The rest of his payment is left to pay bills, food and gas and electric. To say that he’s struggling is an understatement.

Since making a claim for universal credit he’s struggling to cope because his income is so much lower than it used to be. We had a long conversation with him and advised him. I hope that we gave him some hope.

I then noticed Jim walking out of the building, I think that he had been visiting the local council offices.

Jim is an older chap and remembers when life was much easier. He’s been denied his DLA payments and he was visably upset. We had a long chat with him and hopefully he’s feeling better knowing that he is important and we are listening. As usual we advised him.

I then spoke to a chap who’s really struggling at the moment. Luckily he has a support worker that can fight his corner for him.

We then spotted Debbie leaving the council building. She walked right up to us, pointed at our placards and said that she agreed with everything that we were saying and doing.

Debbie’s daughter had nothing but problems with her universal credit payments over the Christmas period. Debbie said that the system is ‘disgusting’. Her daughter is now forced to work a full time job and she hardly sees her children. Debbie and another grandparent helps with the childcare because she can’t afford that either.

This is all causing immense stress for everyone concerned and she’s too scared to claim universal credit after her experience of it.

Essentially thousands of people are forced into taking zero hour contract jobs etc because they’re scared of the DWP and especially universal credit. This is a sad reality of employment these days. Thousands of employers exploit their employees to enable them to profit more. It needs to stop because we are worth so much more than this.

We left the demo today knowing that we had helped lots of people. Thank you so much to everyone who came to support us it really makes a massive difference.

We will be returning next week as usual.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

Theres a PayPal button at the top and side of this blog for anyone wanting to donate. Thank you so much xx.

Your entitled to universal credit hang on no your not yes you are.

Dear readers this weeks blog is extremely late because WordPress has apparently got some problems and it wouldn’t upload my blog. I then followed their instructions which resulted in it being deleted. Never mind here’s my second attempt at uploading it.

Thursday was a mixed bag really lots of differing problems mostly because of the DWPs incompetence.

As I arrived there was a queue for the food parcels both at the drop off point and outside the Jobcentre. I had conversations with all of the people needing the food parcels and the common theme was that they’re fed up with the DWP messing them around. They also hate not being able to feed themselves off the meagre amount of money that they receive. It’s near impossible. Universal credit pushes people into poverty and there’s no escape from it.

My first conversation was with a woman who has four children and is struggling to feed both her children and herself. She told me that she regularly has to go without meals in order to feed her children and her health is now suffering, telling me that she’s always having to visit the doctors for aliments that she didn’t suffer from when she was working and better off financially.

Loosing her job and having to claim universal credit is the worst thing that has ever happened to her and her children she said. She’s also worrying about buying uniforms for her children saying that she can’t afford to buy them any new uniform but proudly told me that at at least she’s managed to buy them new shoes.

Can you imagine how humiliating this is for both her and her children? No doubt that thousands of others will be in the same situation and they too will be suffering in silence. Luckily I could signpost her for help but this is only short term help.

It was then that I had an interesting conversation with a woman struggling with making a claim for universal credit. Telling me that she’s tried three times and each time they gave me a different answer. Once they even gave her a payment date then denied her application.she doesn’t haven’t got a clue what will happen with my latest application. She asked if anyone working there (the DWP) have a clue what they’re doing? I answered saying that it depends on who you talk to, its much like playing a game of roulette.

Luckily I could signpost her and advise her and hopefully she will be successful this time. The stress of her situation is immense because she hasn’t got a clue where her next meal is coming from.

It was then that I had a conversation with an older lady that told me that she’s a registered carer. She’s finding it very hard to live off the meagre amount of money that she gets for doing this. As I handed her a copy of our survival guide she told me that the DWP have now decided to give her two payments a month instead of one a month which is messing up her rent payments. She’s tried to get her landlord to understand but they refuse they just want their rent.

Luckily I was able to advise and signpost her but it’s intolerable that someone who is saving the government thousands of pounds a week is being treated this way. Carer’s are invaluable and should be treated as such.

I then had a short conversation with a woman that wasn’t happy with being made to attend the Jobcentre twice a week. Not only is this extremely stressful for her but it’s also costing her a fortune in bus fares because she lives quite a distance away. Basically it’s costing het at least two meals a week.

This is exactly how they control us, they never allow anyone to have a rest or to think independently. They want everyone to be under their beck and call at all times even when ill.

Universal credit is cruel beyond belief, its been created to be like this. Both myself and many others want to see an end to this cruel system and a fairer one created.

We were joined by colleagues from Stockport Against Austerity but unfortunately we had to end the demo early because it started to rain very heavily. As we took shelter elsewhere we were still available to advise people and indeed we helped a woman to understand why her first universal credit payment would take so long.

I’m very glad to have helped so many people over the years and we will be back next week to do it again.

Please read, share, email, tweet my blog.

There’s also a donation button at the side and top of this blog.

A huge thank you to everyone that has and is supporting my blog. It means the world to me.

Homelessness, PIP assessment failures, terrible landlords and questionable work agencies. Another week outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

Dear readers, I can’t believe that it’s Thursday again. Time goes so quickly these days.

This weeks demo was very productive and we helped lots of people but we really do need more helpers. If you’re ever in the area please come and say hello.

It rained as usual today but only for the first hour of the demo. I was actually shocked to see the sun peeping out from behind a cloud.

My apologies if I’ve been quiet this week, I wasn’t feeling 100% but I think that now we might be seeing the end of the rain for a couple of days I should be ok.

Today’s demo went really quickly and we helped so many people with differing issues ranging from giving food parcels to someone who was in need of one to giving directions. It’s going to take people a long time to get used to the new Tameside One building.

I can’t thank Gordon enough for supporting me today, his help is invaluable and is really appreciated.

I shall list my conversations as usual. I won’t divulge a persons identity either so they don’t run the risk of being targeted by the DWP. I’ve seen this happen and the fear of this happening is very real.

I had requests for food parcels before the demo started from people who were in desperate need for food and a conversation. It’s heartbreaking to see peoples life’s spin totally out of their control, and not by their own doing.

I spoke to a young woman today whom I’ve had conversations with in the past on many occasions. My heart goes out to her it really does.

When they say that bad luck comes in three’s she’s had triple this amount and more, it isn’t her oen doing either.

Various events in her life have resulted in her needing more help than can be offered locally thanks to government cuts.

I handed her a food parcel and had a long conversation with her. I really wish that I had a magic wand to help her. She’s such a lovely woman and I hate seeing her like this.

It was then that I had a conversation with a man whom I shall call Bill.

Bill has been working for a job agency grabbing working whenever her can. However the agency that he’s working for is refusing to give him a job reference for another job that he’s looking for nor have they been paying him his full wage. The agency is also refusing to give him wage slips.

Call me cynical but I can smell a rat when I hear stories like this. This job agency are exploiting Bill, making him work long hours for little or no pay and refuse to give him a wage slip because they’re most likely committing fraud in some way.

Bill is also trapped into working for them because he can’t get another job without a reference from this employer.

Stories like this make me furious and I signposted him to Greater Manchester Law Centre for help.

Being trapped on universal credit is bad enough but combine this with an agency that are refusing to give him wage slips and his full wage is really making his life hell.

More needs to be done to outlaw these awful job agencies and to abolish zero hour contracts. People are really suffering as a result of them, and he wasn’t the first person that I spoke to today that found themselves in the same position.

I hope Bill is ok, he was a lovely chap that really deserves much more than to be treated like this.

I had a quick conversation with a woman who is in the process off appealing a PIP decision. She’s doing everything that she can to appeal this decision.

I had a conversation with a young man who had recently lost his temporary accommodation so he’s now moving between various night shelters. Call me old fashioned but I believe that everyone deserves a place to call home. Criminalising homeless people just makes things much worse. The government should be on trial for treating people like this, for taking funding away from necessary services.

Meanwhile it looks like Boris Johnson is going to become our next prime minister. God help us.

I had a conversation with a young man that is newly homeless and has found a job. His problem is that he needed some bus fare to get to his new job, of course the DWP refused to help him even though he claims universal credit and the DWP are claiming that universal credit helps people into work.

What a load of rubbish, if they actually did want this they’d give this man his bus fare and ensure that every single person upon finding work is given a fully contracted job not an unstable zero hour contract job with a dodgy agency that refuses to pay them.

Who cares though? We do, my readers do but the government don’t give a toss.

It was then that I spoke to a lovely young woman. Her story was very similar to Bills.

She’s working for a job agency getting work whenever she can and she’s also looking for a secure job. She has children to care for.

She asked her agency if she could have a reference to send to a future employer. They point blank refused saying that they didn’t have to. Her wages have also been sparodic. Not ideal when shes got children to look after.

Thinking that the DWP would help her she asked them for help but was refused so I signposted her to Greater Manchester Law Centre where they can hopefully help her.

This highlighted how bad many of these agencies are. At the moment they’re running roughshod over very vulnerable people with absolutely no governmental opposition from the Tory Party. Like John Mcdonall and Jeremy Corbyn say, these agencies and zero hour contracts need to be abolished.

I then had a conversation with a woman who has been battling a dodgy landlord for years. She told me about her substandard accommodation, leaking roofs, damp riddled walls etc.

It’s awful that she’s having to go through this. It’s had a detrimental effect on both her physical and mental health.

It’s much like the days of old from before Ken Loach made Cathy Come Home and Shirley Baker took a set of photographs that spurred the organisation Shelter to be formed.

It’s like stepping back in time, in my eyes right back to the mid 19th century onwards.

Whilst there’s a Tory government there’s suffering, the two go hand in hand and now we’ve most likely got Boris as our future prime minister.

Things aren’t going to get better until we vote them out and I can’t wait for that day.

A special mention goes out to members of DPAC that have collected thousands of copies of the Metro newspaper and gave them back to the Metro and the DWP.

The governments propaganda campaign has failed miserably through this campaign

Also the thousands upon thousands of people that have been forced onto universal credit that know the reality of this awful system.

Making work pay, don’t make me laugh. It’s the opposite and they know it.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. It’s really important that we get information like this out there for the world to see.

We will be back next week to help people.

There’s also a donate button at the top and side of this blog for anyone interested in donating. I’m a skint single parent struggling like everyone else is. Every penny does help.

A massive thanks to everyone that does already support my blog. Thank you ❤️.

Universal Credit guarantees poverty, hunger, debt, homelessness and despair.

Dear readers, its Thursday again and for a change it’s a lovely warm and sunny day. This gives many of us a huge sense of relief because we won’t have to put any heating on.

Today was a busy but quiet day. I know that this doesn’t make any sense to you, but its a bit difficult to explain.

When I arrived at the Jobcentre there was already a queue for the food parcels, amd Gordon had already arrived and was unloading the car.

Everyone that I spoke to today was hungry, fed up and wanted things to change. No one wants to live like this. It’s exiating not living, and it’s cruel and demanding. I wish that I had a magic wand to change this system and devise a replacement that’s fair for everyone.

I’ll list the conversations that I had this morning. Real names etc won’t be divulged either.

I spotted Chris as he was walking away from the Jobcentre, clutching a piece of paper in his hands. The same piece of paper that’s handed out to everyone that makes an enquiry.

Chris is a young man, very thin and pale. He was wearing thin clothing and looked downtrodden. I asked Chris if I could help him.

To break the Ice I handed him one of our leaflets, he looked at me and said ‘It’s not f#####g fair you know.’ I asked him what had happened. Chris told me that had an appointment early this morning but he was unwell and couldn’t leave his home until he felt better.

Chris had no money except the money that I gave him to buy a bit of food and a brew. He didn’t have any phone credit so he had walked to the Jobcentre to speak to someone.

Chris was told that he couldn’t have another appointment and that he had to wait for two weeks for his next Jobcentre appointment.

Chris was visibly upset, he knows that the reality of him being sanctioned are high and he didn’t know what to do.

I gave him some advice and told him that I’m there for him if he needs any help at all and he left a little happier than he was earlier.

I don’t need to tell you that even the threat of being sanctioned is enough to push people into a downward spiral of depression and panic. Many give up altogether, many never get over it. Sanctions traumatise people beyond belief

Sanctions need to be abolished because they do kill people.

I spoke to a young woman who was making her first claim. We advised her, gave her copies of our survival guide and leaflet. She appeared to be more confident when she walked away.

It was then that we were heckled at from a car that was passing by. Not one of us could decipher what they said, but they drove off feeling rather happy with themselves.

I then spoke to a young man how’s being made redundant after working at the same company for seven years. He’s never claimed any type of benefit before so I advised him, handed him our leaflets and had a nice chat with him.

June is an older lady trying her best to navigate the awful universal credit system.

June doesn’t know how to use a computer. Her son tries his best to help her fill in her job searches etc every week..

To make things worse June also has another problem with the universal credit system. Every month since she started to claim. Universal credit the computer system blocks her payment. Every month June has to telephone the DWP waiting over a hour and a half to speak to the right person.

The reason for this is that the system says that June had previously claimed incapacity benefit. June doesn’t even know what that is nevermind claimed it. So every month she has to fight to get her rightful payments.

No one should have to go through this. June suffers from various ailments and helps to look after her disabled daughter.

June feels like totally giving up. Luckily we were there to provide some support and advice.

I hate universal credit.

Meet John. John has had his wallet stolen. John is also very thin, looks unwell and was wearing unsuitable clothes. John has no money.

Thinking that the DWP would show some comlassion for his situation, he went to the Jobcentre for some advice. He was told that they wouldn’t help him, basically they didn’t care.

My heart went out to him. In the good old days people in his situation were able to get a crisis loan to see them through to their next payment day. This used to work well, and I’ve had a few crisis loans in the past.

We helped and advised John, I wish that we could do more but we can’t.

I spoke to another man who has also been made redundant. We advised him about what to do etc.

Meet Jenny, a young woman who works as a teaching assistant.. Jenny has children but has been forced to claim universal credit due to a relationship breakdown.

Needless to say, Jenny is struggling. She’s got a mortgage to pay, children to feed and to say that she’s unhappy with the system is an understatement.

Basically Jenny is being punished by the cruel universal credit system even though she’s working. Only a cruel Tory could devise such a cruel and heartless system.

I spoke to another woman thats struggling with the universal credit system. Please remember that not everyone can use a computer. Many find it hard.

I advised a woman who’s caring for her disabled daughter.

I spoke to another woman struggling on universal credit even though she works. She’s also finding it hard to pay her mortgage payments.

I spoke to a young man who’s making his first application for universal credit.

I spoke to another man who’d just been made redundant.

We also spoke to a couple who are experienced in fighting the system. They’ve self taught themselves and know their stuff. Well done to them. Having confidence or the appearance of confidence really does help. Advisors don’t see them as easy targets and are less likely to target them.

Yet again we helped lots of people, provided food, advice and comparison to people. We’ll be returning next week to do the same.

Many thanks to everyone that came to the demo today.

Massive thanks to everyone that reads and shares my blog. Also massive thanks to everyone who supports my blog.

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.