Marske woman was ‘deeply in debt’ after benefits cut before her death – inquest

Sarah Louise Wood was living on jobseeker’s allowance :: Her death was found to be drug-related

A “bubbly” young woman was found dead in her flat after suffering severe money problems following being taken off benefits.

An inquest into the death of Sarah Louise Wood heard how she had taken loans at a “phenomenal” rate of interest as her money worries piled up.

The body of Ms Wood, 30, a known drug user from Marske, was found on May 28.

In a statement read out at Teesside Coroner’s Court, her mum Janice English said she was aware her daughter had used heroin.

Ms Wood also suffered from epilepsy and bipolar disorder, and had been diagnosed with COPD at a young age.

Her mum told the hearing her daughter was “deeply in debt” and had “stopped opening her letters” because she was “sick of bad news”.

“She had been taken off her benefits and was only on jobseekers’ allowance,” Ms English added.

“She would frequently get loans where the interest rate was phenomenal. She presented as bubbly and full of fun.”

read more here: http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/marske-woman-deeply-debt-after-13455772?ref=BNTMedia&utm_medium=facebook

 

I dropped out of society to save my sanity: My Wigan Pier Story

As part of our Road to Wigan Pier 2017 project, 80 years on from the publication of George Orwell’s essay, rough sleeper, Raymond Slater explains how sleeping rough saved his sanity
Raymond Slater, 55, has been homeless for the last 15 years and is currently living in Manchester. After struggling to manage on benefits, he dropped out of the system to ‘save his dignity’. As he tells Claire Donnelly, he has never been happier.

I spent years trying to find work, going to interviews, signing on and it was a constant stress. I was living with the worry of not having any money, paying the bills, fear of losing my flat and it was just a horrible way to live.

The system tells you all the time that it’s your fault, that you aren’t doing enough but there just weren’t any jobs there. I’d done stuff like security or working in supermarkets in the past and I was applying for up to three jobs a day but there wasn’t anything.

You can’t get a job if they’re not there.

I was trying to run a house on £50 a week and it’s hard. So I decided to leave it all behind. I got on a bus and got out of there. Now I don’t even sign on. I’ve got a bike and my rucksack and I can find places to eat and get washed.

read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/dropped-out-society-save-sanity-10782292

 

Unconnected and out of work: the vicious circle of having no internet

Jobseekers must spend up to 35 hours a week on online applications, or risk losing benefits. When you can’t afford a computer, this is no mean feat

….In Wigan, Lisa Wright, 47, a former factory worker who has been unemployed for three years after the food processing plant she worked for closed, is doing a mandatory six-month community work programme. Alongside 30 hours of community service each week, she has to put in 10 hours on Universal Jobmatch.

“I can only get to a computer in Wigan library on Thursday evenings, Fridays and Saturday mornings,” she said. “There’s sometimes a queue so you can hang around for up to an hour. That’s the only time I can check my emails, which means if I get sent a reply to a job application on Monday I don’t see it for days. It feels like you’re constantly doing things wrong and struggling just to keep up. I met a kid last week doing 200 hours’ community service for robbing a shop. I’m doing 780 hours’ community service and my only crime is being unemployed.”….

read more here: https://amp.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/09/unconnected-and-out-of-work-the-vicious-circle-of-having-no-internet

 

Universal Jobmatch Down Down Down

As people are already commenting Universal Jobmatch is not working, has not worked since yesterday, and is not matching the Job. Feel free to comment further. I can think of a few things to start with, hard to log in, hard to use, sanctions not to mention, weren’t there some kind of fraudulent jobs… […]

via Universal Jobmatch Down Down Down…. — Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Jobseekers forced onto the streets under cruel Tory benefit sanctions regime

Tough rules which see claimants punished for missing just one job centre appointment are inconsistent and have become a postcode lottery, the Public Accounts Committee found

Jobseekers have been forced onto the streets under the Tories ’ cruel benefit sanctions regime, a devastating report has warned.

Tough rules which see claimants punished for missing just one job centre appointment are inconsistent and have become a postcode lottery, the Public Accounts Committee found.

 Sanctions “have increased in severity in recent years and can have serious consequences”, say MPs as they urge officials to launch a review.

Committee chairwoman, Labour MP, Meg Hillier said: “Benefit sanctions have been used as a blunt instrument by Government. “Sanctions and exemptions are being applied inconsistently, with little understanding of why.”

Jobseekers can be slapped with sanctions which can see their handouts withdrawn for a variety of “offences”. They include turning down positions, missing appointments and failing to look for work.

A typical sanction lasts four weeks and means a Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant loses around £300. The benefit is worth up to £73.10 a week.

The Department for Work and Pensions imposed 400,000 sanctions on benefit claimants in 2015, the most recent statistic available.

read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/jobseekers-forced-onto-streets-under-9858386

Teenager desperately seeking work took his own life after being ‘belittled’ by Jobcentre staff : Daily Mirror. — DWPExamination.

David Brown, 18 was under ‘immense pressure’ from the Department of Work and Pensions who were going to stop benefits unless he did more to find work as welder. A football fan who desperately wanted a job took his own life after being ‘belittled’ by Job Centre staff, his inquest heard. David Brown, 18, seeking […]

via Teenager desperately seeking work took his own life after being ‘belittled’ by Jobcentre staff : Daily Mirror. — DWPExamination.

Just About Managing? Tens of thousands of us are sinking.

This was posted on Mumsnet:

“Last week, I reached crisis point.

It feels like this has been looming since I was sanctioned in 2013. Following my sanction, I struggled with depression and agoraphobia brought on by anxiety. I started overeating and put on weight. It’s been a long road back to work and full health – I now work part-time, but my income is not always enough to pay my bills. Bit by bit, I have been sliding into debt.

Then a delayed benefit payment due to a computer error led to bank charges, which put me overdrawn. When it came to going shopping I had no money for food. With no opportunity to get help from family I turned to my housing association. I was given a voucher for the local foodbank, but it didn’t open for a few days so I had to wait. That afternoon, my electric ran out so I sat there in the dark, feeling very alone, with no food to eat, and memories of my sanction filling my mind.

I was sanctioned for not looking for work. Fair punishment you might think, but the reason I wasn’t job hunting was because I was doing a two-week training course in a neighbouring town, leaving home at 7am and returning home at 7pm. I had been instructed not to jobsearch or sign on during that time, but later another adviser disagreed. I lost my £71 a week Jobseekers Allowance for four weeks.

I went without electricity, heating and food for most of the sanction. It climaxed on Christmas day. I spent it watching happy families walk past my window, while I sat silently, dealing with diarrhoea and waiting for it to get dark so I could try to sleep. It wasn’t until I received a Christmas card from a relative with £20 in it that I was able to eat and buy electric for the meter.

Less than two weeks later, I was told by the same Jobcentre adviser that I needed to learn a ‘work ethic’ – something clearly not demonstrated by my 20-year work history. She put me on mandatory work activity – workfare – which meant working full-time for free for four weeks in order to receive my benefits. Effectively, I was being punished for being sanctioned. I didn’t argue with her. Instead I went home, emptied the bathroom cabinet of the various pills I had stored away and tried to end my life. Less than a year before I had been earning £35k at a university in London.

The papers are filled with news about so-called JAMs. These six million families who are ‘just about managing’ will no doubt be hoping that the government will fulfil its promise to make their lives better. But there is another group of families who have lost that hope.

In the run-up to the Autumn Statement, the papers were filled with news about so-called JAMs. These six million families who are ‘just about managing’ will no doubt be hoping that the government will fulfil its promise to make their lives better. But there is another group of families who have lost that hope. They are the ones who have been on the receiving end of harsh cuts to their income, through austere welfare cuts. Most of them also work but live in fear that the government will make their lives even harder.

I am not alone in receiving a sanction. Since the Conservatives were elected in 2010 until June this year around three million individuals have received eight million sanctions. Some may have been able to overturn the decision, but more wouldn’t. The 3m figure doesn’t include family members – mostly children – who are also affected by sanctions. For children living in sanctioned households, schools and foodbanks have become a lifeline, with teachers reportedly using money meant for education to buy food and clothing.

read more here: http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/guest_posts/2792299-Guest-post-I-had-to-use-a-foodbank-so-many-people-arent-just-about-managing