DWP deliberately blind to the failures of its cruel sanctions regime

Letters: The DWP‘s cruel benefit sanctions regime is leaving vulnerable people without the means to support themselves. So why isn’t anyone listening?

If you commit a crime, no criminal court in the UK is allowed to make you go hungry as a punishment. But if you’re late for an appointment at the Jobcentre, they can remove all your income and leave you unable to feed yourself or your family for weeks at a time.

Britain’s Welfare System is badly broken. There are thousands upon thousand of recorded narratives of the severe damage sanctions do to our fellow citizens in the UK.

read more here: http://www.welfareweekly.com/dwp-deliberately-blind-to-the-failures-of-its-cruel-sanctions-regime/

 

Dad DIES 10 months after Job Centre bosses told his doctor not to write any more sick notes

The DWP wrote to James Harrison’s doctor behind his back and declared him fit for work 10 months before he died

A seriously ill dad died just 10 months after Department for Work and Pensions bosses advised his GP not to write any more sick notes for him.

James Harrison had been declared “fit for work” and should not get medical certificates, the letter said.

read more here:http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/dwp-told-dying-dads-gp-9529945?ICID=FB_mirror_main

‘Absurd’ DWP accused over refusal to publish PIP statistics

Ministers have been accused of “absurdity and obfuscation” after refusing to explain why they do not publish statistics showing the number of assessments carried out on disabled people applying for their new disability benefit.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) publishes extensive data about the work capability assessment, which tests eligibility for the out-of-work disability benefit employment and support allowance (ESA).

Read more here: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/absurd-dwp-accused-over-refusal-to-publish-pip-statistics/

“I had to get my local MP to intervene due to DWP staff laughing at me down the phone when I was requesting letters etc in braille.

……..”I would have my benefits delayed, not weeks but months to be processed and in the mean-time I had nothing to live on. I ran up debts for my utility bills and council tax etc and this confounded bedroom tax for a box room smaller than my toilet. When they were finally sorted I was sanctioned. Why? For spending too much time at the cancer units and not enough time looking for a job. Sanction after sanction after sanction.”………

This is an extract from a letter published on Welfare Weekly.

Read the rest of it here: http://www.welfareweekly.com/letters-iain-duncan-smith-made-my-life-not-worth-living/

Tax credit error costs families with disabled children £4,400 a year

(I hope someone takes the DWP to court over this – Argotina)

‘Gap in data feed’ led to thousands of families missing up to £20,000 – but payments will only be backdated to April

Thousands of families with disabled children have lost out on up to £4,400 a year in tax credits after an administrative blunder by the authorities.

The error in processing their claims meant an estimated 28,000 families whose children qualified for disability living allowance (DLA) during 2011-14 missed out on an additional tax credit premium of between £60 and £84 a week.

The government revealed in the autumn statement this week that it had set aside £360m over six years to ensure these families receive child disability tax credits in future. However, the payments will be backdated only to April, meaning individual families may have lost out on entitlements totalling up to £20,000 over the past five years.

The non-payment of the tax credit premiums appears to have been a result of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failing to inform HMRC about families’ eligibility for the award over a three-year period.

The charity Contact a Family called for a compensation fund to be set up to help the families, saying it was not their fault that they lost out on what collectively amounted to tens of millions of pounds in entitlements.

“One thing is certain: this isn’t the fault of families. When you tick a box on a government form indicating you are in receipt of tax credits you reasonably expect it’s there for a reason – and there’s a process in place that allows government departments to share this information,” said the charity’s head of policy and public affairs, Una Summerson.

Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/25/huge-rise-in-hospital-beds-in-england-taken-up-by-people-with-malnutrition

Crewe couple’s nightmare with disability claim red tape

DWP apologise to Andy Halden as he struggled to cope financially

A Crewe couple have been left struggling to pay the bills after changes to disability entitlements denied them access to essential payments.

Andy Halden was employed by the Highways Agency until poor health prevented him from working. As his physical and mental well-being deteriorated, he became registered as disabled.

In March this year the government stopped adults claiming DLA (Disability Living Allowance), and claimants were required to apply for a benefit called PIP (Personal Independence Payment).

PIP is  provided to help with costs associated with long-term ill-health or disability, for adults between the ages of 16 and 64.

When Andy was assessed to determine whether he was entitled to the new payment, he was declined. That left him struggling financially and increased his anxiety.

He said: “I was devastated. My physical state wasn’t good, but the stress that I suffered following that decision was unbearable. Some days I struggle to get around the house, and I have fallen down the stairs recently. The assessment just didn’t make sense. One day I was registered disabled receiving DLA, the next I was supposedly okay and not entitled to anything.”

Andy’s partner, Lisa, is employed as his care provider. When the PIP payment was declined, the carer’s allowance was also stopped, heaping further pressure on the household.

Lisa said: “I provide 35 hours of care for Andy each week. Losing that allowance made it almost impossible to balance the books. We appealed to the Department for Work and Pensions about the decision, and in July a tribunal ruled that Andy was entitled to the payments. We got this in writing.

“But the saga went on and on. Every week we get another letter but no payments. We received some money for the arrears, but the regular weekly entitlement never started. The carer’s allowance is also still stopped. I was on the phone every single day to the PIP department, but I got the same message each time. They told me it was being looked at.”

read more here: http://www.crewechronicle.co.uk/news/crewe-south-cheshire-news/crewe-couples-nightmare-disability-claim-11952402#ICID=sharebar_facebook

DWP issued guidance that made suicides more likely, then ‘lied’ to cover its tracks

The government has secretly made major changes to guidance given to “fitness for work” benefits assessors that has put the lives of thousands of disabled claimants at risk… and then “lied” about what it had done.

The changes appear to show ministers made a calculation last year that it was worth risking the loss of some lives in order to cut benefits spending and force more disabled people into their discredited back-to-work programmes.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) could now face legal action over its decision to bring in the changes without seeking approval from parliament.

read more here: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-issued-guidance-that-made-suicides-more-likely-then-lied-to-cover-its-tracks/