Now finally I can concentrate on getting my health in order

I wont go into detail but suffice to say I recently had my 3rd atos assessment, after being failed on my first though a combination the assessor lying several times and contradicting herself no less then 4 times on 1 page I appealed, which after 11 months of waiting was granted in 3 minutes by the court. My second was with the same assessor and I barely passed as again she was woefully inaccurate. So around comes my third assessment, this was with a completely different assessor and low and behold I received a letter a few weeks later placing int o the support group, So now finally I can concentrate on getting my health in order.

Bedridden stage 3 heart failure patient refused attendence allowance

Despite having had 3 heart attacks within two hours,spending 3 weeks in ICU and now having stage 3 heart failure I have just received the dreaded brown envelope stating that my appeal against the DWP’S refusal to give me attendance allowance (used to pay for a carer) has failed,This despite the fact that I am bed ridden and my wife looks after all my personal needs 24/7.


From the facebook page ‘Atos Mirtacles’ 31st July 2013

The truth is this though…………they have reduced my benefit from £100 a week to £17 a week!!!

After being moved to the Work Related Activity Group on 24/05/12, I appealed and today I attended my tribunal in front of a JP and a GP only to be told that due to my copy of the relevant documents not being sent to me they would not consider it today!!!! I contacted the necessary departments weeks ago after discovering that a set had been sent to my representative but none to me and apart from their obvious lack of interest they told me to “just turn up”!!!! So with the around trip of 42 miles I did!! I now have to wait for another date.
Over the last 13 years I have been assessed, treated, pensioned off by the NHS etc and at 60 years of age to arrive at this point because a “registered nurse” advises that “this person meets the criteria for having limited capability for work” and her Prognosis is “I advise that a return to work is unlikely in the longer term”
The truth is this though…………they have reduced my benefit from £100 a week to £17 a week!!!

That at the end of the day is what it is all about.”

From the facebook page “The Peoplevs the Government, DWP and ATOS, 31st July 2013

The Human Side of Housing Processes

Love, Belief and Balls

Steven was awake at 4am this morning, having a full scale meltdown. Crying. Trying to rip his duvet. Pleading for reassurance to the question – “Don’t want new Uxbridge house people keep all Steven Neary’s CDs”. It lasted until 5.30am.

The cat is out of the bag now. I’m struggling enough to contain my anxiety but now that Steven knows we’ve got to move soon, his anxiety has kicked in big time. The day before last, the doorbell went at 8.30 in the evening and it was the new tenants wanting to measure up for curtains. They were excited, full of questions and oblivious to the distress they were causing Steven. I sent them away but it was too late.

15 days to go.

When I sat in the housing benefit office 330 days ago and was delivered the bad news about them stopping my benefit, I never dreamed that…

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This is how we ‘Benefit Scroungers’ operate.

raided my pennies jar and scraped enough together to get some bread, milk and potatoes.Shamefully made my way to the local Co-op. feeling very down. Almost Jumped for joy when I found bread AND potatoes reduced to 50p and 70p respectively. Feebly handed over my fistful of small change and skulked off home. Such is the way we Benefit Scroungers operate David Cameron.

From the Facebook page ‘The People vs the Government, DWP and ATOS’, 30th July 2013

10 Things You Should Know About Universal Credit – PCS Factsheet

Birmingham Against The Cuts

10 things you should know about universal creditThe rollout of Universal Credit has been delayed again, so come October only 10 jobcentres will be processing Universal Credit claims and then only for single person claimants, the simplest category to face the biggest welfare reforms in decades at a time when advice centres are losing funding and closing. However, the plan is still to have this thing rolled out nationally by 2017, so here are 10 things you should know about Universal Credit, courtesy of the PCS Union.

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Unison cleared to challenge employment tribunal fees

The union Unison has been given permission to seek a judicial review of the introduction of fees for workers seeking employment tribunals. People wanting to bring tribunals must now pay a fee for the first time since they were created in the 1960s. Under the rules, it will cost £160 or £250 to lodge a claim, with a further charge of either £230 or £950 if the case goes ahead.

The judicial review will take place in October.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The introduction of punitive fees for taking a claim to an employment tribunal would give the green light to unscrupulous employers to ride roughshod over already basic workers’ rights.” He added: “We believe that these fees are unfair and should be dropped.”

The higher charges will cover cases such as unfair dismissal, the lower ones issues such as unpaid invoices. HM Courts and Tribunals Service said it would refund people if the bid to abolish the charges succeeded.

Protection fears

Under changes that came into force on Monday, workers in the UK are now charged a fee to bring a claim, a fee if the claim is heard and a further charge if they want to appeal against the decision.

In the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the fees are £400 to lodge an appeal and another £1,200 for a full hearing. Costs are reduced in instances of multiple claims, where two or more people bring claims against the same employer. “The FSB hopes the introduction of fees will curb the number of speculative claims and help reduce the perceived risk of taking on staff” (Federation of Small Businesses)

Employers’ organisation the CBI welcomed the fees, saying they were a good way of “weeding out weak claims”. “Fear of the costs of fighting a tribunal – even when you are in the right – is a massive confidence killer. With firms and employees waiting over a year for a tribunal at the moment, something has to be done to speed things up,” the CBI added.

However, the Unite union said the measures would make British workers “some of the worst protected in the EU”. Another union, the GMB, staged a protest outside an employment tribunal in central London. Andy Prendergast of the GMB, said: “The imposition of such fees represents the latest in a number of attacks on employment rights by the government.” Those claimants unable to pay may apply to have the tribunal fees reduced or waived.

Justice Minister Helen Grant said: “It is not fair on the taxpayer to foot the entire £74m bill for people to escalate workplace disputes to a tribunal. “We want people, where they can afford to do so, to pay a contribution. “It is in everyone’s interest to avoid drawn out disputes which emotionally damage workers and financially damage businesses. That’s why we are encouraging quicker, simpler and cheaper alternatives like mediation.”

“What we are seeing today is injustice writ large as this worker-bashing government takes a sledgehammer to workers’ rights”Len McCluskey General secretary, Unite

‘Throwback to Victorian times’

The number of tribunal claims rose by 81% between 2001 and 2011, with the administrative costs being borne by taxpayers up until now. Chancellor George Osborne announced the plans in 2011. “We are ending the one-way bet against small businesses,” he said at the time. A spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses said: “For an employee, an employment tribunal can be seen as a ‘no cost’ option.” “The FSB hopes the introduction of fees will curb the number of speculative claims and help reduce the perceived risk of taking on staff.”

Unite estimated that this would affect 150,000 workers a year and pledged to pay the employment tribunal costs of its members. “What we are seeing today is injustice writ large as this worker-bashing government takes a sledgehammer to workers’ rights – this is a throwback to Victorian times,” Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said. “Seeking redress for unfair dismissal and discrimination and other injustices in the workplace is a fundamental human right – but now ministers are putting up insurmountable financial hurdles for working people in pursuit of justice.”

Some in Scotland welcomed the move. Eilidh Wiseman, a partner at law firm Dundas and Wilson, said: “I believe anything which helps reduce frivolous claims and speeds up the tribunal system will be welcomed by employers. “One of the effects of the new system should be a rise in the value of settlement offers for low-value claims. Offering £500 as an economic offer to settle is not likely to be attractive to a claimant who has paid £1,200 to bring a claim.”

There were 186,300 claims accepted by employment tribunals in the year to March 2012, according to the Ministry of Justice. Of those, 31% were for unfair dismissal, breach of contract and redundancy. Twenty-seven percent of the 186,300 claims were withdrawn or settled out of court – but employers in those cases still had to pay legal fees in preparing a defence. In 2011-12, the Employment Appeal Tribunal received 2,170 appeals.

Perverting the course of justice: Once a crime, now government policy

Mike Sivier's blog

David Cameron and Chris Grayling have been messing with the justice system again. This time, according to The Telegraph, they are planning to make it “tougher” for judicial reviews to be brought to court, to stop the process being “abused” by pressure groups and campaigners.

There’s a lot of Telegraph-speak in that first paragraph, as the Tory-supporting newspaper was working desperately to make governmental perversion of justice acceptable. What this actually means is that Cameron wants to make it impossible for organisations that are capable of mounting legal opposition to unreasonable Conservative/Coalition policies ever to do so.

The only people able to seek judicial reviews of government policy would be individuals who are directly affected – and the government is hoping that these mostly poor people would be unable to afford the cost, thanks to changes in Legal Aid that mean it could not be claimed for…

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The main cost is the effect this move has had on my wife.

An Open Letter To Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle

Dear Mr. Stephenson,

As you are very much aware, I have been affected by the Bedroom Tax since April, despite the Coalition claims that disabled people like myself would be unaffected.  You are also very much aware of how much I despise this ridiculous and unfair tax on those least well off in society or, remembering that two thirds of those affected include a disabled member of the family, those who are already struggling with mental or physical difficulties.

This past weekend, thanks to the very kind assistance (aided by a small amount of cajoling from myself) of my landlord, Accent Foundation, my wife and I have moved into a one bedroom flat and out of the reach of the Bedroom Tax.  Naturally, I would think that you would call this a ‘success’, right?

You could not be further from the truth.

Despite the fact that both the Coalition government of which you are a member and Pendle Borough Council being the ones that forced my wife and I into this move, we received no assistance from either during this move.  Nothing.

Moving is never cost free.  It doesn’t matter if you get help from family and friends (which we thankfully did and I am extremely grateful to them), there are still things that need to be paid.

Getting a plumber to connect up the gas cooker, getting new curtain rails and hooks, new curtains for different sized windows, buying cleaning products and the time it takes to clean in both properties.  The stress and, for me, agony of trying to do little things to help with this.  The costs of moving gas and electricity and water (which, whilst transferred quite easily is now costing me more than before), including paying off a small debt on the gas meter that came from the previous tenants.  The damage to items during the move which will need to be replaced in the future.  The cost of petrol to go to and fro between the properties – thank goodness that they are reasonably close together.  Removal costs for the heavy items, which can be ludicrously expensive.

Covering these costs could have very easily pushed me into the arms of a doorstep loans company which would have seen me in a huge amount of debt.  As it is I got lucky and was able to get a loan from a Credit Union.  Whilst that is infinitely better than a company like Wonga, I am still now in debt because of this move.

When you add up the increased costs and the loan, I begin to wonder whether I would have been better to stay where we were.

But the main cost, the one that’s becoming increasingly hard to bear, is the effect this move has had on my wife.  Have you any idea how hard it is to sit and watch your wife sink further and further into depression and anxiety because of a move that should never have been forced onto us and, despite my anger towards this government, a move that I ultimately blame myself for?

I wonder how you would feel if it was your wife that has been in tears on many of the nights we’ve spent here, or that you watch helplessly as she struggles herself to deal with her moods.

The human cost of this bedroom tax – and don’t ever try to tell me that it is anything other than a tax – is incalculable.  These are people, like myself, who should be concentrating on their health, not having to fight an ill thought and cruel out policy like this.  Sadly, I can assure you that my wife and I are not the only ones struggling with the aftermath of a bedroom tax move, and this will only rise further as evictions rise and arrears increase.

I may be classed as being out of the bedroom tax but I assure you, we’re still feeling the effects of it and will do for a very long time, and I will continue to campaign as much as I can to not only raise awareness of this but to fight until you, or the government that follows you, does the right thing and scraps the Bedroom Tax.

Wayne Blackburn.