Activists ‘horrified’ by universal credit rules forcing sick claimants into work activity

“Very dangerous” rules are forcing severely-ill people applying for the government’s new universal credit to look for jobs and take part in training, even though their GPs have said they are not fit for work, “horrified” disabled activists have warned.

The rules – which have never been announced or publicised by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – apply to new universal credit claimants who are waiting for an assessment of their “fitness for work”.

read more here: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/activists-horrified-by-universal-credit-rules-forcing-sick-claimants-into-work-activity/

Another Universal Credit fiasco

This appeared on my Facebook feed today:

“I asked to join this group to find out if my experience with UC is normal, I would be grateful of any advice offered.
I was made redundant at the end of February I phoned the helpline and was told I would be entitled to UC I had an appointment come through and followed every single patronising, degrading judgemental rule in the UC book, I attended every appointment with my “work coach” who although pleasant enough robotically told me how wonderful UC is for the likes of me.
I applied for so many jobs I lost count and despite not spending the ridiculous 30 hours per week job searching I had at least an interview a week, I received a payment for April eventually but this did not include a rent payment, although I had paid my rent for March obviously my last wage packet wasn’t enough to cover April, I hadn’t been on any benefits before I lost my job.
My landlord was less than sympathetic and it was a case of pay your rent or you will be evicted, I phoned UC they blamed the landlord for not returning verification of the rent, the landlord blamed me for losing my job. after 6 weeks I found a job and notified UC I am now in full time employment, I still had not received a payment towards my rent although I had a notification I would have a rent payment sent to my landlord on May 9th, this was for roughly 3 weeks rent, apparently this is all I am entitled to, however this still hasn’t been paid, I phoned to ask why and they told me I havnt attended my interview at the job centre!!!!
I once again explained I am now working full time and no longer need UC but I owe 6 weeks rent and will soon be evicted from my home if I do not pay it.
I had to take out a high interest credit card to pay as much as the limit would allow which still doesn’t cover the amount I am now in arrears, I am paid weekly and am having to pay the majority of my wages to my landlord and so my other bills are slipping.
I have now been told I have to attend a gateway interview at the job centre, I explained I work from 7.30am – 5pm 5 days a week, however they have said if I do not attend this interview they will not pay the rent that is owed.
I really cannot express my complete contempt for these people who now expect me to take time off from my new job to have an interview for what?? to hold my rent payment to ransom is despicable behaviour, no rent payment for 10 weeks is disgusting, I am at a loss to work this out.

From the Facebook page “Universal Credit Survival”

Universal Credit roll-out leading to ‘a vicious cycle of debt and despair’

SNP MP calls for the roll-out of Universal Credit to be ‘halted now’, as mounting evidence shows the new benefit is causing significant hardship.

Universal Credit is pushing vulnerable claimants into “a vicious cycle of debt and despair”, says an MP who is calling for the roll-out of the Government’s flagship welfare reform to be halted with immediate effect.

SNP MP Stuart McDonald says Universal Credit, which is replacing a number of existing social security benefits with a single monthly payment, is forcing some people to turn to loan sharks and food banks to make ends meet.

The new benefit is in the process of being rolled-out across the country but has been beset with numerous delays and IT problems, and has faced heavy criticism over payment delays and an arbitrary six-week waiting period.

read more here: http://www.welfareweekly.com/universal-credit-roll-out-leading-to-a-vicious-cycle-of-debt-and-despair/

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

 

By abandoning ‘hardworking families’ to poverty, have the Tories finally gone too far?

From child tax cut restrictions to universal credit, the government has crossed its own red lines. Soon millions more children will go hungry

Exactly four years since Britain’s first wave of cuts came into force – and as this month’s new measures begin to take hold – we’re entering what we may call the next stage of austerity. Where, at first, particular sections of the poor and marginalised – the disabled, people with mental health problems and the unemployed – were targeted, now it’s free rein on anyone who’s struggling.

While the policies of April 2013 – the bedroom tax, for example, or the original benefit cap pilot – were sold by politicians as protecting “hardworking” families, the policies of April 2017 – from child tax credit restrictions to the impact of universal credit – cross even the line the Conservatives themselves have spent years creating. This is no longer a case of “tough love” against the coalition’s so-called shirkers but, on top of further cuts to out-of-work disabled people, it is the gutting of support for the low paid and their children.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the reduced aisle in supermarkets, 19p for spaghetti and 20p for chopped tomatoes,” says Cydney, 23, from Bournemouth. Six months ago, Cydney’s partner left her and their four-year-old boy, Oscar, and she’s since been struggling to afford regular meals. Cydney had a wage coming in – she worked part time in marketing for an insurance broker, as well as caring for Oscar – but 80% of it went on childcare alone. The rest had to stretch for all her bills: rent, utilities, phone, and council tax. Her £20 a week child benefit helped but barely made a dent. Often, after all her outlays, there’d only be £5 left for a whole week’s food shop.

To be able to feed her son, Cydney ate one or two meals a day: skipping breakfast, eating lunch at work, and then going without dinner. “I’d give Oscar baked beans on toast,” she says. “There were times I’d go to bed early because I was hungry.” With her mental health suffering and no way to pay the bills, Cydney’s only choice was to give up her job to move back in with her mum in Buckinghamshire.

Cydney’s is not a rare case of course, but rather a snapshot of reality for families all over the country. Research by the Young Women’s Trust last month found that half of young mums are now regularly skipping meals because they’re struggling to afford to feed their children. A quarter have had to use a food bank. This is even before this month’s benefit measures kick in. It is part of the same normalisation of hardship that means there are now 11 million people in this country who are not only living far below what the wider public view as “socially acceptable” living standards but who are on the precipice of what the Joseph Rowntree Foundation call “severe poverty”.

read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/13/cuts-hardworking-families-tories-child-tax-cut-universal-credit

‘Two-Child’ Benefits Limit Could Push 200,000 Children To Poverty, Charities Say

Major changes to the benefits system coming into force today will condemn hundreds of thousands more children to poverty, charities have warned.

 

The Children’s Society called on the Government to think again over imposing a new “two-child limit” on Universal Credit and child tax credit as the move will impact on three million children.

 

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) made a similar plea as it cited independent research forecasting that 200,000 children may be pushed into poverty by the changes.

The Children’s Society calculates that a nurse with three children, earning £23,000 a year, who becomes a single parent stands to lose £2,780 a year if he or she makes a claim for tax credits or universal credit under the move.

Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/two-child-benefits-limit-could-push-200000-children-to-poverty-charities-say_uk_58e5ecefe4b0fe4ce0884024