Tag: money

The truth about Covid 19 self employment and disability.

Dear readers, I hope that you are all safe and as well as you can be. Many of us are trying to self isolate which is hard when you don’t have enough money to do an online shop and even if you can afford to do this there’s no open delivery slots.
Nearly a million people have applied for universal credit in the past fortnight as a result of people loosing their jobs or having to give up their self employment as a because of the Covid 19 pandemic.
However thousands of people have had trouble obtaining the correct ID needed to apply for Universal Credit. As a result they were told to telephone the hotline and make an appointment with a Universal Credit advisor.
Thousands of people tried to follow their advice but were unable to contact an advisor because the telephone lines were too busy and thousands have given up trying to apply.
DWP Officials have said that they’re working “flat out” to help people get support, however what they say and do are often two different stories.
The reality is that new claimants are not feeling supported and have been left with little or no help.
The government have refused to scrap the five week wait for universal credit telling new claimants that they have to apply for a loan from the DWP to help them. It sounds good however these loans have to be paid back often dragging people into more hardship.
There was a warning on Wednesday that 20% of small businesses could fold in the next month due to the collapse in consumer demand, despite unprecedented government intervention to support jobs.
Yet the truth is that there is no support for self employed people having had to give up their self employment or put it on hold.
The governments response that they might be able to get a payment in June is inadequate and it hasn’t given them any security at all.
Having no income until June will have a devastating effect upon them, most will be hungry, many will be at risk of loosing their homes.
Being quarantined at home is awful for those of us unable to buy food and living in
fuel poverty. Every day is a struggle and more help needs to be given unconditionally.
Loans given by the government that have to be paid back to the DWP are unjust and cruel, most have paid into the system so that they could get help if they needed it. That’s how it used to work, it isn’t called social security for no reason. It used to provide security for those in need. Instead people are being made to pay back money that was rightfully theirs in the first place.
And its even worse for disabled people.
Many disabled people have been given very little information on the risks that they face or how they should mitigate those.
They can’t practice social distancing when you have care workers coming in and out of their houses.
Those living independently on direct payments haven’t been allocated any personal protective equipment or the funding to purchase it so are forced to go without, putting themselves and their carers at risk.
Most have no funding to offer sick pay, this results in a lack of income for their PAs
Which also puts themselves and their carers in an awful situation.
Within the new Coronavirus bill lies legislation that keeps disabled people living safely at home has now been removed.
The government has made changes to the Care Act 2014 which remove the legal duty on local authorities to provide care, except where not providing it would breach people’s human rights.
This could wipe out most of adult social care – with no guarantee it will ever be replaced.
Whilst people are saying that the Covid 19 outbreak has brought people together this isn’t happening for many disabled people. They’re being abandoned by the government with no care at all.
We all need to be talking about this and holding the government to account for their actions towards disabled people and the self employed.

Yesterday I took a walk around Ashton and spoke to some of the people that I’ve helped and are still helping.
Most are struggling, all of them are worried about catching Covid 19. I did what I could do to help, but I feel completely useless at the moment.
Little trips to the shops is our only option whilst trying to keep to the social distancing rules which are still being ignored by so many.
I understand that its hard to judge the distance correctly and supermarkets and shops have been really good at ensuring that people keep to the social distancing rules.
Please keep to the rules folks, whilst some people think that they’re invincible many of us aren’t. And don’t get me started on the conspiracy theorists posts. They can cause so much damage.
Above all else keep safe, feel free to email me if you want someone to talk to, because I am thinking of you all.

Please like, share, tweet and email my blog.

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

A huge thank you to everyone that supports and has supported my blog and campaign.

The Ugly Truth About UNIVERSAL CREDIT.

Dear readers its Thursday and most of us are on lockdown.

I did take a walk down to Ashton but I was unable to hand much out food wise because I have no spare cash, none at all but I did the best that I could do given the circumstances.

I realise that most of you are probably stressed and/ or worried about catching Covid 19 and are trying to keep away from people as much as possible, but its nearly impossible because we can’t afford to do one big shop for the week etc because universal credit prevents this.

Universal Credit is being touted at the moment as being the best thing ever, that it’ll help all self employed and previously employed people and that it will be of great benefit to them.

Claim universal credit and you’ll be ok!! But it’ll take at least five weeks to process and if you take a loan from us you have to pay it back.

The truth is that as of yesterday half a million people were attempting to apply for universal credit and many of them didn’t have the correct ID. They were then told to phone up the DWP using the universal credit hotline to make an appointment.

The truth is that the system couldn’t cope, too many people were calling and many have given up because they cant get through to speak to a DWP advisor who could hep them to proceed with their claim.

Universal credit is responsible for thousands of children and their parents being hungry and going without meals, adequate clothing.

It’s also responsible for many people becoming homeless. Many disabled people have given up with the system because its so stressful.

We must never, ever forget this cruelty bestowed to us by a cruel and uncaring government.

Another alternative was given to disabled people via Martin Lewis. He advised disabled people to apply for ESA not realising that its notoriously difficult to claim and most people are rejected upon applying so they have to appeal and then take it to a tribunal.

Thousands of people will now see and hopefully understand how complicated and heartless the DWP regime is.

Self employed people have been informed that they won’t get any help until the end of May. This will be far too late for most people.
Many will be close to loosing their homes.
Many will be hungry and the government doesn’t care one bit.

You see myself and other campaigners have been protesting and campaigning against this cruel, heartless system since its conception.

Many of us have been called scroungers, lazy, work shy and we must all get a job.

I suspect that some of these people will now be trying to struggle through the system as I type this, maybe they’ll realise how cruel the system is now.

Myself and other campaigners have lost count of how many people have died as a result of this sadistic, inhumane system. We’ve cried countless tears and mourned many losses.

We also worry about our children and young people because their struggle will be even harder than ours.

I’ve recorded so many awful situations in this blog, most of them heartbreaking, and now on top of this will be the deaths of people from Covid 19 struggling to cope at home after being told that they’re not a priority for help.

I really don’t recognise this country anymore, it used to be much better than this even during the hard times but I thank everyone thats campaigning for a better future.

Please can I ask you to take all of the Covid 19 Coronavirus information seriously. I know that it’s definitely not easy.

One day I hope that things will be better for us all.

Keep strong and I will continue to update my blog on a regular basis.

Please read, like, share, tweet and email my blog.

I campaign and blog with no budget at all and I’m not funded by anyone. If you would like to donate towards keeping the campaign and the blog going please click on the menu button at the top and there’s a donate button there.

A huge thank you to everyone that does support the campaign and blog. Thank you so much.

Prepaid energy top up and Coronavirus. How do you top up your prepaid energy meters? IMPORTANT.

Dear readers I’ve been chasing down all the major energy companies on Twitter and asking them what their emergency provisions are for people unable to go to a shop to top up an energy card or key.

It’s a very important issue because so many of us, myself included are stuck on prepaid meters. If we don’t top up we get cut off and then what are we supposed to do?

Are we expected to just put up with being cut off from everything or is there help out there?

So to find out I started tweeting the major energy companies straight away. It was extremely eye opening to see that so many people didn’t even think about this being a problem. On the other hand many people were concerned and have shared my tweets.

So far these are the responses, the response from British Gas has to be the worst. The best response so far has to be from Bulb Energy. EDF came second in both response time and gave a decent answer to my question.

Listed below are all the responses that I’ve had so far. If I get anymore responses I shall add them to this blog post.

EDF

Hi Charlotte, thanks for getting in touch. The current advice from Public Health England for people who are self-isolating is to ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out tasks such as getting groceries, medications or other shopping. These tasks would include the topping up of non-smart prepay energy meters. In circumstances where this is not possible, we have existing measures in place to make sure ]supply will continue in the short term. We are able to preload keys and cards with credit that can be collected by a customer or someone that is helping them from a local shop or alternatively can be delivered in the post. Any credit provided will be collected back at a suitable rate agreed with the customer. We also operate a friendly non disconnection policy on most meters, this means that if a customer runs out of credit after certain hours the electricity will not go off until 9am the next day. The operates between the hours of Monday to Friday 6pm to 9am, Saturday from 6pm, anytime on a Sunday, until 9am Monday, anytime on a bank holiday, until 9am the next day. Many thanks

BRITISH GAS

Hi Charlotte, customers may have enough emergency credit to last while they’re self-isolating at home. If they think they will run out, they should contact us to discuss their circumstances. We will work with them to find a solution. Thanks, Charlie

BULB

Hi Charlotte – This is a valid concern, we’ve advised prepay members to top up extra. If that’s not possible due to self-isolation or other potential issues we have a supply of keys/cards preloaded with credit. This is a new situation for us so our policy may evolve with time – M

Hi Lou – The preloaded key/card system comes with credit and is intended to help those who can’t have others top up for them. We’re following latest government policy and advice to ensure our own actions are up to date with developments – M

CENTRICA

Hi, you may have enough credit to last you while your self-isolating at home. If you think you’ll run out of credit, contact us to discuss your circumstances and we’ll work with you to find a solution. Thanks, Leanne

Hi Charlotte, we’ll continue to ensure customers get the help and support they need. If you think you’ll run out of credit, contact us to discuss your circumstances and we’ll work with you to find a solution.

E-ON

SCOTTISH POWER.

Coronavirus sees DWP halt face-to-face sickness and disability benefit assessments – Mirror Online

Coronavirus sees DWP halt face-to-face sickness and disability benefit assessments – Mirror Online
— Read on www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/coronavirus-sees-dwp-halt-face-21698775.amp

Today the DWP has announced that it will be stopping all face to face medical assessments temporarily, I suspect that they will be reinstating them as soon as the crisis ends.

There is no mention of any stoppages regarding face to face appointments, job searching and sanctions. Nor have the DWP been clear in their advice to any benefit claimants.

It is not fair to expect any person be sanctioned whilst we are facing this crisis, nor is it fair to expect anyone to endure already being sanctioned through this crisis.

These are people with already compromised immune systems due to lack of adequate food, heat and they certainly cant afford to buy loo rolls or stock up on anything.Please keep donating to your local food bank because its going to be increasingly difficult for them to access food, toiletries, nappies and baby milk.

Whilst the focus is still on the over 70’s please remember that people with compromised immune systems, disabled people and people with Coronavirus will still be at home isolated.

Because the government isn’t testing the public we just don’t know how many people are actually ill with Coronavirus at home, or are forced into work because they can’t afford to not go into work.

Please look out for each other and check on your friends and neighbours.

More updates as they are released.

Please like, share, tweet, email my blog.

I run this blog and the campaign on hardly anything, please donate if you can.

A huge thank you to everyone that supports the campaign and my blog.

Sanctioned for six weeks because they didn’t have a mobile phone.

Dear readers I cant believe it we’ve got sunshine even though its freezing cold. My thoughts go out to everyone that is street homeless or can’t afford to heat their homes. I’ve been there, I know exactly what it feels like.

This week was busy and we had lots of conversations with people coming in and out of the Jobcentre. No one wants to be there in the first place and so many people struggle to make their appointments for various reasons. Just because someone looks ok doesn’t mean that they are and I hate the fact that so many people forget or brush aside hidden disabilities.

As usual our food parcels went almost straight away and we signposted everyone that we spoke to. Some just wanted a chat, we are often the only friendly face that they see from week to week.

The main reasons for people needing our food parcels are usually universal credit and sanctions. Universal Credit is cruel beyond belief, most people don’t have enough money to live off for the month, it’s even worse if you owe the DWP money from their loans but money is also taken out for other debts.

It’s very hard to claim any type of social security benefit and not be in debt. Because we have so little money we are good at budgeting for our necessities.

Before I had even reached the Jobcentre this week I had spoken to a man that needed a food parcel because he’s also helping another couple of people with food and shelter. He’s left with hardly any food for himself, but he’s an amazingly kind heart. The poorest are often the most generous often to the detriment of their own health.

For anyone thats reading this and are struggling, I hear you. I know exactly how it feels and how much damage it does to your mental and physical health. Keep on being strong, one day it will get better, we can help each other.

I directed a man that needed advice concerning employment law to the Law Centre. So many people have awful employers, kudos to the good employers out there you are appreciated.

We had a long conversation with an older chap that we’ve spoke to before outside the Jobcentre and he told us how he was getting on.

Sadly he’s having a tough time of it again because he doesn’t know how to use a computer. He’s trying to get some help to fill out his universal credit application form again.

He had tried to explain this to the DWP when he had tried to apply for universal credit previously. Their answer was to send him to the library, the library couldn’t help him because they didn’t have enough staff so he returned to the Jobcentre.

Understandably he returned to the Jobcentre and was very frustrated with their lack of understanding of his situation. Their answer was to make him leave the Jobcentre because he was arguing with a DWP employee.

For gods sake, if they had actually helped him in the first place he wouldn’t have done this. Empathy isn’t a quality that the DWP has, but I don’t need to tell you that because you already know this.

It was then that I spoke to a man that has been sanctioned for not attending an appointment. He had explained to his advisor that he no longer had a mobile phone because he had lost it and asked if they could send him a letter as an alternative to a text message.

The DWP ignored this and sent him a text notifying him of his next appointment. Of course he missed his appointment so now he’s having to cope living off hardship payments, most of which has to go towards paying his family member for food etc whilst he lives with them.

This system is so unfair and unjust, they knew that he wouldn’t see the text but sent it anyway. I remember the good old days when they used to give you your next appointment time face to face, and they used to write it on an appointment card.

Back then the DWP wasn’t a place of hatred and discrimination.

Whilst I write about discrimination, we then spoke to a man that had apparently been cured of all his disabilities and had been declared fit to work by the gods of the DWP.

Obviously he was both angry and frustrated and we did our best to help him and signpost him to where he can get help.

This was just an average morning outside the Jobcentre, so many people are suffering and we can’t see an end to it. We can never, ever forget the cruelty inflicted upon us by this Tory government.

We must continue to fight against their cruelty in whatever way that you can.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog, the more people that read it the better. It’s an absolute scandals that we are being treated like this, the cruelty is off the scale.

A huge thanks to everyone that supports the campaign and my blog. I really do run both on an extremely low budget, if I had a budget to start with. For anyone wanting to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of the blog. Every penny helps me to continue with this important work.

A massive thank you to everyone that does support my blog and campaign. Thank you so much xxx.

I’m also looking for a printer so that I can print copies of our survival guide myself. My small home printer isn’t suitable because we go through so many leaflets etc. If anyone sees one that’s suitable please can you let me know. Thanks.

Food parcels and rain.

Dear readers, today was an absolute disaster.

I noticed upon waking that it was raining, but then again its always raining in Manchester (well Ashton Under Lyne) but what’s a few miles matter. It was raining as usual.

I stupidly thought that the rain might have died down by the time that I had walked to Ashton, but it hadn’t not one bit and I was soaking wet through.

As a result of this terrible weather I had to cancel todays demo. If we had a shelter to stand under I think that we would have given it a go for about a hour, but the rain was coming from all directions.

I did meet people who were waiting for food parcels, they told me that everyone was trying to find shelter from the rain. The most popular places being a local church that does hot meals today and the library.

However I did have chance to have a chat with everyone waiting, this weather is awful for them. They go from place to place all day trying to keep warm.

Despite this you’ll never meet a kinder group of people. If they had a last penny to give they would do. As it is today I helped one chap out with his electric before Gordon arrived with the food parcels.

As I type this I can see the clouds clearing, not that this matters much. It’s still cold and people are still struggling.

My thoughts go out to everyone trying to keep dry and warm this winter. So many people are constantly cold, and not all of them are street homeless. It’s no wonder that mortality rates are rising rapidly.

My thoughts also go out to everyone struggling with flooding. I couldn’t imagine how awful it must be to loose everything like they have. Some of them are asking Boris Johnson to care and to visit them. He doesn’t and he won’t because he doesn’t give a stuff.

Kudos to Jeremy Corbyn for visiting these people today, hes the only one that would have changed things for the better. We’ve lost any chance of that now.

All I can say to my readers is Keep going, don’t let the DWP or the government and its hostile environment win. In order to keep going we need to support each other, help each other and be kind to each other.

Remember kindness is something the government will never understand. They don’t know the meaning of the word, except when they’re letting their pals off from paying their taxes.

We must keep reminding the government and the DWP of how bad their policies are and how they’re responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. I hope that one day we will be able to hold each and every one of them responsible for their actions.

Never fear, we will be returning next week, the DWP can’t get rid of us this easily. Please come and say hi if you’re in the area.

Please read, share, tweet, email my blog. Believe it or not there’s still quite a few people that are in complete denial that this is happening.

If you can please donate to my blog. I run this campaign on an extremely low budget, often relying upon friends for help. I don’t receive any funding either.

A huge thank you to everyone that has supported the campaign so far. I can’t thank you enough.

PIP appeal failures, redundancies, homelessness and universal credit. This weeks blog.

Dear readers, I’m so sorry that I didn’t blog last week, my daughter had a baby last week and I had to be with her. Both mum and baby are doing well now thankfully, it got a tad scary at one point.

Anyway its that time of year when it’s continuously cold and depressing, its hard to see an end to it. Winter is also a very expensive time of year as well, heating, warm meals, clothing etc all costs money and it’s very hard to keep up with this.

Please keep in mind those who can’t afford to heat their homes and cook their meals. None of us can take this for granted remember most of us are one payslip away from this ourselves.

Today I had some really interesting conversations with the people that were waiting for their food parcels to arrive. Even though most of them are hungry, cold and have just started to access local services that will help them, their concerns were for other people.

Most of them told me that they were trying to help others that are in a worse position than themselves, they know the score, they realise that asking for help can be a very hard thing to do.

We spoke about the people that I knew in common who are no longer with us, they died as a result of the government’s cruel policies. It’s heartbreaking to realise that so many people have died.

As I handed out the food parcels I was asked if I had any milk. I replied that I didn’t and I only had a pound to my name. I did give this to a man who was in greater need of milk than myself. He was so happy that he could have a hot cuppa at home, believe me this makes such a difference to a persons life.

Today we spoke to many people, all of which were struggling in one way or another. I felt so frustrated that we had ran out of food parcels and couldn’t offer anyone else one. No one will go without next week.

We spoke to an older man that had been made redundant two weeks ago. He’s started the process of claiming universal credit, but he’s confident that he will find another job. He’s an engineer and I really do hope that he finds a new job.

We had a short conversation with a man that had told us previously that he had a job interview. Sadly he didn’t get the job and his hope for a better future has been diminished for now. Knock backs like this are awful and can really set a person back.

We had a conversation with a man that has previously told us that he’s having a hard time with the universal credit system. We asked him how it was going and he replied saying “Terrible especially now that the Tory party are in power again”

He isn’t wrong though, we’ve got at least another five years of this cruelty and we’ve lost any chance of stopping the governments cruelty.

We had a lovely conversation with a man that we’ve been talking to for years. He can’t read or write so is finding job searching very difficult as you can imagine. This week he had some good news though. He has a job interview and he’s looking forward to it.

I really hope that he does get this job not only. For his wellbeing but for his confidence also. Good luck to everyone out there that have job interviews in the coming week and month.

We had several conversations with other people all of who are finding life hard at the moment and their struggles are always on my mind. When I don’t see someone that I regularly see then I worry like I’m sure that you would, but I also hope that they’ve reached the end of their struggles and have happier times ahead.

We are doing something right though, a local organisation asked us for some leaflets to hand to their clients. Our survival guides have been a massive success and I’m so thankful for them.

We will be returning again next week to help more people. Please can I ask you to read, share, tweet, email my blog? The more people that read it the better because believe it or not there are people that don’t believe that this cruelty is happening.

If you can please donate it helps me so much to continue with this campaign and to continue to blog. For anyone wishing to do so there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog.

A massive thank you to everyone that has supported my campaign and the blog. Solidarity, one day we will have a better world to live in.