From Kate Belgrave’s blog:
Keeping a record of these things:
Yesterday morning, I made two calls to the DWP’s Debt Management “helpline” – the 0345 850 0293 number that people who receive benefits, including Universal Credit, must use to sort out problems with debt money that the DWP deducts from people’s Universal Credit payments.
I had to call twice yesterday (I didn’t have all the information that DWP Debt Management required the first time around. Unfortunately, I had to make the first call to find that out). I was on hold for more than 20 minutes both times to that 0345 850 0293 DWP Debt Management helpline, as you can see in the image below. I also called the line on Friday and was on hold for more than ten minutes, before I had to hang up to deal with something else.
As far as I can tell, this number has a charge. (I have a phone contract which covers those charges – that’s why I make calls for people who don’t). I hope this is one of the numbers that David Gauke has decided will be free soon. All helplines lines should have been free in the first place (I’d ask the DWP’s press office where things are at on all of these lines, but their answer to all my questions these days is to submit an FOI. So I have).
People who ring the DWP Debt Management helpline only ring that number because they have a debt problem and are in serious financial hardship. They can least afford extra charges for phone calls:
read more here: http://www.katebelgrave.com/2017/10/total-of-40-minutes-and-more-on-hold-to-the-dwps-universal-credit-debt-management-line/
THE grieving family of a former coal miner who took his own life after being investigated by benefit fraud officers believe he would still be here if he had been told him how much money he needed to repay.
James ‘Jimmy’ Ballentine overdosed on prescription drugs on the day of his twin grandsons’ fourth birthday earlier this year – leaving beside him a suicide note to loved ones which read: “Sorry son you will have to bury me…forgive me leaving you with my debt, cannot take it anymore.”
The proud 60-year-old had months earlier learned he had over-claimed benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after receiving a letter from the Fraud Investigation Team.
Son Dale Ballentine, 34, told The Northern Echo that while making a new benefits claim late last year he declared he had savings of £7,000.
The father-of-two, who suffered from depression and other mental health issues including schizophrenia, was told he had been over-claiming for a decade as there was a means-tested £6,000 savings cap.
It is understood Mr Ballentine made efforts to find out how much money he owed but was unable to get an answer.
Dale, 34, said: “This is the whole point of our grievance – is if they told him up front (what he owed) I really believed he would have paid it, that would be the end of it and he would still be here.”
read more here: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/05/24/grandfather-took-his-own-life-because-dwp-said-hed-been-overpaid-but-wouldnt-reveal-the-amount/
DWP admits staff have a target to uphold 80% of ‘mandatory reconsiderations’ (ie reject appeals) and achieved 87.5%
>DWP Response to a Freedom of Information request:
The key measures which are used by the Department for Work and Pensions to monitor Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) performance are:
a) 90% to be cleared within target.
b) 80% of the original decisions are to be upheld.
The performance measures for April 2016 – March 2017 are:
% MR Cleared within target = 70.2%
% MR Original Decision Upheld = 87.5% <
See the DWP’s original response here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/402400/response/978248/attach/html/2/FOI%201740%20response.pdf.html
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been declared a gold-standard employer of disabled people under its own much-criticised scheme, despite being found guilty of “grave or systematic violations” of the UN disability convention.
Read more here: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dwp-declared-a-leading-disability-confident-employer-despite-un-rights-violations/
“Basic flaw rests in the idea that we can “personalise” benefits for millions of people. There are just too many moving parts; and in a system with millions of iterations, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. “ Following the advice of many people on this Blog, I have been looking at what the […]
via Universal Credit Cock-ups: the Computer Industry Speaks. — Ipswich Unemployed Action.
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.
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
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 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/
(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