Tag: human rights

Had throat cancer? Can’t speak? We expect you to look for work.

Dear readers and supporters I hope that you are all well and surving the best that you can. I know that lots of you are suffering, but remember I’m here for you to talk to as we are all there for each other.

Yesterday was a rather busy morning but once again I had to finish early again. We ran out of leaflets, I’ll hopefully have this rectified for next week.

We spoke to lots of people and helped lots also. We were also thanked by members of the public both for the help that we had given them previously or for advice that we gave them yesterday.

The most common sentences that we heard yesterday were ‘They never told me that I could do that’ ‘Thank you’ It’s crap and a pile of shite’.

As usual we handed out our food parcels and gave everyone that we spoke to help, advice and signposting if needed. Of course the DWP should be doing this but they aren’t so we have to do it.

We do all this because we can’t stand injustice, we also hate the fact that so many of you are suffering and if we can alleviate this a little its the right thing to do.

As I arrived outside the Jobcentre I spotted a woman walking in and out of the Jobcentre and council offices which are next door.

I approached her and asked her if everything was OK and could I help her.

Her story is this. She’s a single parent and works part time because it’s the only work that she can find that fits around her children. She is claiming universal credit and is struggling to survive.

Whilst she was waiting for her universal credit to be processed she accumulated rent arrears that she’s offered to pay off by paying a bit extra rent every month. Her landlord refused and has started the process of evicting her and her children.

When I say that she’s doing everything to rectify her situation I mean it, she’s really trying but to no avail.

As a direct result of universal credit she’s going to loose her home, and you can bet that our local housing options will tell her that she’s made herself intentionally homeless.

No person in this situation wants to make themselves homeless but universal credit ensures that almost everyone finds themselves in rent arrears.

Does the government care? Not one bit. But many people in the same position as her voted for the Tory party in the general election. Shame on them

I had a conversation with a 65yr old man who was told to attend Ashton Jobcentre to see an advisor. Upon seeing his advisor he was then told that he had to travel to Hyde Jobcentre for another appointment.

He asked them if he could see someone at Ashton Jobcentre instead but they refused. So he had to travel to Hyde which isn’t exactly near Ashton.

This happened twice yesterday, also with a younger man that had been told that he had to attend Hyde Jobcentre at 2pm making him late to pick up his kids from school. He asked if he could have an earlier appointment but they refused saying that he had to attend.

The DWP were responsible for him being late collecting his kids from school. The DWP doesn’t regard children and childcare as being important, nor do they care a bit about a child’s safety.

It wasn’t much later when I had a conversation with an older woman who asked for a leaflet. She told me about her experience with the DWP when they phoned her up recently.

The whole experience was awful for her, she told me that they were literally shouting to her and they made her cry. She’s disabled and already suffered from anxiety. This experience made her ill with worry.

I then was stopped by a woman that gestured towards me, she wanted to ask what we were doing. She couldn’t speak because she has had throat cancer and lost her ability to speak.

Luckily I lip read myself quite a lot so it could understand what she was saying. Her story is this.

Because she can’t speak she can’t make phone calls, she also finds the whole process of being forced to look for work very stressful. She had been told that not being able to talk shouldn’t stop her from applying for work.

Her advisor had also told her that she had done something wrong but she denies this.and is trying to fight it.

Even though she found it hard to explain what she had done wrong it was very obvious that she shouldn’t be forced to go through this rigmarole. But she is. The DWP don’t give a toss about anyone or anything.

It’s blatantly obvious that no one should be suffering like these people are. It’s such a cruel, horrible system that is determined to make everyone suffer regardless of age, sex and disability. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

Needless to say we will be back next week to help people.

Thank you so much for all your support, when I say that it means the world to me it really does.

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog. The more people that reads it the better. Unbelievably there are still people out there that are denying that this is happening.

For anyone wanting to donate theres a PayPal button at the top and side of my blog. Thank you so much xx.

Disabled man told to apply for work at the same place he used to work.

Dear readers its Thursday again and it’s another cold, windy day. My thoughts are with everyone that are street homeless or are living in cold homes because they can’t afford to heat them. Fuel poverty is real and its only going to get worse.

You can bet that hypothermia related deaths will increase this year because so many more people are living in poverty, and it isn’t just elderly people either. Indeed this morning I topped up a young couples electric key for them because they’d ran out of electric. Life with pre payment machines is no fun at all. I’m talking from experience though because I’ve always had pre payment machines.

Winter with it’s dark mornings and dark evenings really takes it’s toll on many people so please be kind to each other, times are hard.

Like I said this morning started with being freezing cold but then a cold breeze became stronger and stronger so we had to finish early. I need to find some thermal clothes to wear.

Anyway, all the food parcels bar one were taken straight away. This week we were able to give people a packet of doughnuts with their food parcel. Doughnuts might not be nutritious but they do cheer people up, so does a packet of biscuits etc. Never underestimate the value of this type of food.

I bet you’re fed up of me writing that so many people are dressed in clothing not suited to the cold winter weather. This was the case today, so many people were walking in and out of the Jobcentre and council offices looking freezing cold.

Can I please have a magic wand to change this? I’ll be eternally grateful.

Noted today was the amount of young people going into the Jobcentre to make their first claim. Luckily I was able to give them a leaflet and some advice. Having to cope with the whole universal credit system can be so daunting and stressful for young people at the start of their adult life.

We spoke to a lovely man who has several disabilities, a brain condition,a completely knackered knee that he cant use for standing for any period of time and a back condition.

He explained that he was disgusted that he’s forced to attend the Jobcentre on a weekly basis even though he’s disabled and is handing in fit notes. Today his advisor told him that he needed to apply for a job at the very same factory that he was previously working at.

He had to end his employment because of his disabilities, the work is heavy going, on foot all of the time and moving heavy equipment etc around. At first he thought that they were joking but his advisor wasn’t and was deadly serious.

Obviously he was extremely frustrated at this, they’re setting him up to fail because they just don’t care. If they did care they wouldn’t be doing this to him in the first place, and you can bet that they’ll try to punish him if he doesn’t.

This is the side of the DWP that many people don’t see. They don’t understand that the DWP can, and often does behave like an abuser gaslighting its victim until they give up.

Don’t let them do this to you, appeal any decision that they make, you do have the right to do this.

I had a lovely conversation with a man that used to be street homeless in Manchester, hes now housed in a flat and is doing well. He told me that he used to be a solider in the army but once he left they ditched him and didn’t care about him one bit. I’ve heard this story so many times and it’s awful.

Luckily he eventually found support and he now helps other street homeless people. He told me how dangerous Manchester is for street homeless people and how concerned he is about this.

Gordon spoke to a man that had walked miles to the Jobcentre only for his appointment to last for the maximum of five minutes. I’m not wrong when I say that they do this to control people.

Last but not least we were told of the plight of someone having terminal cancer only for their claim for PIP to be rejected. They’ll be appealing this decision, but will they live long enough to see this through? I hope so, but no one in their position should have to go through this.

Sadly like I said earlier, we had to leave early but we spoke to lots of people, and helped many of these. We will be back next week as usual.

Please can I ask you a favour? Can you read, share, tweet and email my blog? I really need to get the word out there that the DWP system is cruel beyond belief.

Also I have a donate button at the side and the top of my blog. For anyone not able to see this my PayPal add is seercharlotte@gmail.com

I live on virtually nothing and every penny helps me to continue blogging and campaigning. Thank you to everyone that have done already.

I’m also in the process of writing a book based upon my blog. If you’re interested in this please email me via my blog.

Failed PIP assessments, homelessness, sanctions. Happy new year from the DWP.

Dear readers, I hope that you were able to celebrate Christmas and the new year, if not you’re not alone I wouldn’t have celebrated Christmas at all this year if it wasn’t for friends and I was in bed early on New Year’s Eve.

Sadly I fear the new year won’t bring us any good news, and I reckon that they’ll continue to squeeze the life out of us with any new policies that they implement.

As a campaigner I’m feeling burnt out, and the general election result has meant that we’ve got to continue to campaign for many years. I had a conversation today with a fellow campaigner and we agreed that we need more people to help because we’re really feeling the heavy burden on our shoulders. Having health problems really doesn’t help either.

 

Anyway, today we returned after the Christmas break, all the food parcels were taken straight away and we actually started the demo early for a change.

I wish that I could say that things were getting easier but they aren’t,  I haven’t spoken to a single person that isn’t struggling in one way or another. Some of these people are in dire situations but still voted for the Tories, turkeys voting for Christmas again.

Today we were joined by a comrade from Rochdale and a local councillor and as usual Gordon was here to help. I don’t know how I’d manage without his support. I digress though. Everyone that we spoke to were given help, advice and were signposted if needed. We also gave people a shoulder to cry on, which is needed when you’re going through the DWP system.

One thing that I did notice today was the amount of people rushing past, heads down attempting to not be seen by anyone.

Today I noticed that there has been a large increase in people being denied their PIP assessments.  Yes I do realise that this has always happened, I know this and I help people with their appeals, but it’s now got to a point that they’re point blank denying everyone their PIP benefit which is needed so much by those that claim it.

This got me thinking, the government are targeting disabled people extremely aggressively from every angle, everything that they do is monitored, their constantly under an evil spotlight from the DWP.

You might ask why doesn’t the government leave them alone? They never will because they’re an easy target, they know that many won’t fight back because they simply don’t have the energy to do so.

Whilst I’m writing about this I spoke to a man that had recently won his appeal to reinstate his PIP. The tribunal also decided that he should be given some back pay also which was 12 months worth of payments. Whilst being overjoyed at this, he knows that he’ll have to go through this again and again and then some more.

Not long after I spoke to this chap, I spoke to another man that had also failed his PIP assessment. Luckily I was able to help and advise him, to be honest he wouldn’t have known how to do this if we weren’t there to help him.

 

I was then stopped by a young couple that wanted to know what we were doing, I explained and they told me that they’ve been homeless for two days and they didn’t know what to do and where to turn.

I advised them of where to go to for help, and what services there is locally, but life really shouldn’t be like this. Young people shouldn’t have all their hopes and dreams crushed by this heartless, cruel government, in fact no one should.

As we were talking a woman shouted over to us “Universal Credit is a pile of shit”. She wasn’t wrong either.

Not long after this we had a conversation with a man who is homeless and had lost his Universal Credit number, without this he couldn’t log on to the system and therefore he would be sanctioned.

Trying to avert this disaster from happening he tried phoning the Universal Credit line, but that was no good because it was Christmas Day. Feeling frustrated he wrote a letter and was under the assumption that he could post it through the Jobcentres door, then he saw that the Jobcentre doesn’t have a letterbox, I mean if they can’t put a sign up telling people where the Jobcentre is then they’re seemingly incapable of anything else.

The DWP seemingly haven’t got the ability to think logically.

Not to be deterred by this he stuffed his letter between the door closings and by some kind of miracle it was picked up and passed over to the Jobcentre who then phoned him and sorted it out.

You can imagine how relieved he was, he was very lucky this time.

 

I was talking to a friend the other day about people arriving on time for their Jobcentre appointments that were made to wait way over their delegated appointment time.

This happened today to a woman that was made to wait an extra 15 minutes for her appointment. To say that her advisor was less than enthusiastic is an understatement. She handed her advisor her fit note and then asked him if she could hand over the extra medical information that she’s been asked to hand in. The  response was basically this. No I’m not going to take it off you now, hand it in next week., they really don’t care.

Obviously she was extremely frustrated at this and she’s now going to take this further. If  her advisor is reading this, sort it out please, it wasn’t her fault that you were running late.

 

This week was a hodge lodge of differing problems, all of which shouldn’t have happened in the first place. If you think that this is awful it’s going to get a whole lot worse. We can thank the people that voted for the Tories for this.

 

 

 

We’ll be back next week doing the same thing.

Please read, tweet, share, email my blog.

 

Also if you can please donate, I’m struggling at the moment and every penny helps. Thank you.

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.

On universal credit owes council tax and the bailiffs keep banging on my door. This weeks blog.

Dear readers it appears that winter is most definitely on the way. Today was very cold and wet a deadly combination for street homeless people and people that can’t afford to heat their home.

Sadly I also know what it feels like when the electric goes and you can’t top it up. Solidarity with all those in the same position, its not one bit enjoyable. Anyway I digress.

Today there was a lot of people waiting for the food parcels to arrive. Each and every one of these food parcels were needed and some of those collecting them hadn’t ate properly for a while.

It’s easy to fall between the cracks of society and not deemed important enough to help. Many don’t like to ask for help because they don’t feel that they’re deserving of it. Some are barred from local organisations for various different reasons. This makes life very hard for them. Others have had their allowed three foodbank vouchers and have been refused anymore. Can you imagine being in their position?

My first conversation was with a man that I’ve been talking to every week. He usually brings his dog when he collects his food parcel, his dog is lovely and he takes really good care of him. He told me that he’s hoping that his latest job application is successful and I gave him my best wishes. He deserves so much better than this.

After I handed out the food parcels a young woman asked me of she could speak to me privately. She told me that her health isn’t good at the moment and being homeless doesn’t help, telling me that later today she will be going to the walk in centre to hopefully get some medication. I gave her some money for a phone charger because her phone is her lifeline not only to the DWP but to her children and friends.

I really hope that she’s ok because she’s really not well at all.

Today we had various conversations about lots of different things, one matter kept popping up and that was council tax payments and visits from bailiffs.

I gave the best advice that I could but its awful when the person that you’re speaking to is crying because they’re scared. I was speaking to a lovely woman that told me she was absolutely terrified of the bailiffs banging on her door and windows.

It’s very easy for someone to fall into council tax arrears and a universal credit application was to blame in this case. Because of the long wait for her universal credit payment to be processed she fell into arrears with just about everything.

After her latest bailiff visit she went into the council offices to see if she could arrange a payment plan with her. Their answer was a flat no. No they wouldn’t help, no they wouldn’t stop the bailiffs from coming. Even though she was offering a reasonable repayment plan they denied her any assistance. They did however tell her to go to citizens advice and ‘they might’ be able to contact the council tax department.

This has not helped her one bit,she’s living in fear and she’s scared. I gave her some sound advice and told her that she can contact me if she needs to.

Although I am very aware of what the council can and can’t do in situations like this their refusal to help speaks volumes doesn’t it. So many people live in fear of bailiffs coming to their homes and sometimes barging in.

This shouldn’t be happening. The current council tax scheme is a punishing system. It .demands that people pay an unreasonable amount of money when they can’t afford it.

Council also costs more to implement than what local councils gain from it. It’s not working and this system needs to stop asap.

No one should be living in fear in their own homes, scared when the bailiffs come banging on doors and windows or barging their way into their home.

I’m also very aware of the laws surrounding council tax so please no comments saying that I don’t know how the system works. I know only too well how it works and I’ve been campaigning against it for years now.

I had a conversation with a lovely young man, he asked me what we were doing and I replied. He told me that he really didn’t know anything about politics but he’d like to learn more. We had a good chat and hopefully he will be more aware in the future.

This did raise my concern about the lack of public education regarding politics. It’s not taught as much in school as it should be and many people, like this young man aren’t as aware as they should be.

We need to educate those that aren’t aware by conversation but I believe that children should be given some political education whilst at school.

I then had a second conversation regarding council tax, and not long after another. I offered some advice and signposted to the best of my ability.

We then had a long conversation with a woman who’s homeless. She was worried because she needs to change her care of address but didn’t want to be thrown onto universal credit as a result.

To say shes scared and worried is an understatement. The words universal credit often cause people to panic. John was extremely helpful and helped this lovely woman whilst I was helping someone else. We did everything in our power to help her but thank you John.

I can’t thank the team enough today, the weather was awful but that didn’t prevent us from helping lots of people. We will be back again next week, please come and join us!

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Thank you to everyone that has done already.

Thank you to those that do support my blog, your help enables the campaign and the blog to continue.

There’s a paypal button at the top and side of this blog post if anyone would like to donate. Thank you so much.

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.

Sanctioned whilst working. Apparently for not ‘committing enough’ to finding work.

Dear readers it’s Thursday again, I hope that you’re all ok and surviving this rotten system. I know that it’s hard but keep going because you are valued and are important.

Guess what folks, it was raining today and it was cold, it looks like autumn has arrived a tad early. This time last year we were experiencing a heatwave.

As usual I’ll list some of the conversations that I had today. It’s awful that we are being treated in this manner and I pray that one day it will stop. We deserve much better than this.

Today I read an article about a disabled man that had slit his throat because he was scared of claiming universal credit. You can bet that Amber Rudd won’t mention that upon questioning.

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/man-terrified-move-universal-credit-3206672

Back to today. We handed all the food parcels out as usual I just wish that there wasn’t a need for them. I know that I keep saying that but it really bothers me.

I met Jim as he was walking towards the Jobcentre after climbing the horridly steep steps. He looked frustrated but nevertheless he went inside for his appointment. I spoke to him as he left the building, he looked quite distressed and I asked him if he would like a leaflet. Jim told me that he hadn’t received his payment as usual because he had three addresses. Of course Jim doesn’t have three addresses but this was their reasoning for stopping his payments.

It honestly isn’t rocket science is it. Most people don’t have three addresses so this must be an error on the DWPs part. He will be appealing this decision, in the meantime Jim has no money.

I had a brief conversation with a young woman that appeared to be having an argument with someone on the telephone about a bank account so when she walked towards me I asked her if she was ok. She wasn’t ok, her bank account had been shut down and she needed to find another bank account that she can use. Luckily she managed to find one but this is one of the perils of everything being online. It can’t always be taken for granted that a person has a bank account even though most have. There is a distinct lack of understanding about this and as a result some people will be prevented from claiming because they don’t want to open an account.

I spotted Bill as he was walking towards the Jobcentre clutching a piece of paper. I asked him if he would like a copy of our leaflet and he said yes and that he was having a hell of a time with the DWP at the moment.

Bills situation is this, he’s working and has made a claim for universal credit. The DWP haven’t given him a date for when he might expect his first payment and so far to date he owes £600 in rent arrears. I did tell him that he can get a loan off the DWP whilst he waits but he didn’t want that saying that he’ll have to pay this back. Bill makes a very good point. Most universal credit claimants never actually receive the full amount which drags them deeper into poverty.

Both myself and Gordon then spoke to a woman as she was walking towards the Jobcentre. I handed her a leaflet and as I did so she told us that she is working but has been sanctioned apparently because she isn’t ‘committed enough’ to finding work. This is absolutely ludicrous, she’s more than committed because she’s already working. She then went on to tell me that upon asking what dates she wasn’t committed enough for, they still wouldn’t tell her. She is now appealing this decision, it’s appalling that shes being treated in this manner. If that wasn’t bad enough she’s got children to care for on next to no income. Never believe the DWP when they say that universal credit helps people to find work, it does the complete opposite.

I then spoke to Ron. Ron is having a horrible time at the moment, his monthly payment was stolen and he doesn’t have enough money to survive on. He told me that he was going to ask about applying for a loan.

We had lots of conversations today ranging from sanctions, housing problems, not knowing their national insurance number etc etc. I’m just glad that we were there to help them.

Please read and share my blog also tweet, rt and email it. This is just a small snapshot of what happens up and down the country everyday.

We will be back next week as usual.

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