Sharp rise in rejected claims for disability benefit

Labour raises alarm over number of people being turned down for personal independence payments.

This article titled “Sharp rise in rejected claims for disability benefit” was written by Rowena Mason Deputy political editor, for The Guardian on Sunday 16th April 2017 23.01 UTC

About 200,000 people face seeing their claims for a disability benefit to help with daily living and mobility refused this year, new figures obtained by Labour suggest.

Senior MPs have called on the government to explain an apparent spike in people being turned down for personal independence payment (PIP), which is a top-up benefit with two components related to the extra costs of daily living and limited mobility for disabled people.

Read more here:http://www.welfareweekly.com/sharp-rise-in-rejected-claims-for-disability-benefit/

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

 

Charities warn high number of young women working in low-paid and insecure jobs having ‘terrible impact’ on their wellbeing

Young women ‘significantly more likely’ to report symptoms of anxiety and depression than young men

Young women are “significantly more likely” to report they are suffering from anxiety or depression than their male counterparts, statistics have revealed, raising concerns that a high number of young women working in low-paid and insecure jobs is leading to a severe decline in mental health.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed worrying levels of mental illness in all young people, with one in five men and women aged 16-24 showing symptoms of anxiety and depression, an increase from 18 per cent in the period 2009 to 2010 to 21 per cent in 2013 to 2014.

Women stood out as being particularly affected, with the proportion of young women reporting anxiety and depression having climbed by four per cent within four years from 22 per cent in 2009 to 2010 to 26 per cent in 2013 to 2014. According to the latest statistics, one in four (25 per cent) young women reported such issues, compared with 15 per cent of young men.

read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/young-women-anxious-depression-mental-health-ons-young-womens-trust-a7683861.html

Disability rights have regressed in nine areas, says the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Disabled people’s rights have regressed in at least nine areas since the coalition government assumed power in 2010, according to a new report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The report concludes that disabled people are still being treated as “second-class citizens” and that rights have regressed in many areas of society, while in others progress has stalled.

read more here: http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/disability-rights-have-regressed-in-nine-areas-says-ehrc/

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