Any help on this one appreciated:
On the topic of compliance and Income Support – I’m speaking atm with a woman aged 31 who has a five-year-old and a six-month-old (we met at the South Chadderton foodbank on Monday). She said that she’s been called in every three months to her jobcentre for a “workforce interview” – sounded like some sort of work related activity type interview from her description. She’d been sanctioned (had her benefit total reduced) for missing interviews that she didn’t realise were taking place. She was at the foodbank getting a food parcel and nappies for the baby, because, needless to say, she’d run out of money. She was having social fund repayment money deducted from her benefits as well. Total shambles, to say the least.
My question – how often are people who are in receipt of Income Support with a child under the age of a year now required to attend workforce or work-related activities? Gave this question a google, but I don’t know that I’m further ahead. This woman said she was getting a lot of letters about attending with all kinds of dates on them and calls changing dates, and everything was in the usual mess.
I was also wondering (again) how low the DWP was permitted to cut a benefits income, particularly for people with such young children. Readers of this site will know that I’ve asked the DWP about this before. The woman in this post today and another man who I spoke to at South Chadderton foodbank on Monday both said that they were having money deducted from their benefits for social fund loan repayments that never seemed to get smaller, or end (I hear this a lot – people feel they’re paying social fund loans off for years). They couldn’t afford the deductions. They also said that the DWP had told them they must put any requests for a repayment reduction in writing. Not so long ago, you could call the DWP up to ask the department to reduce loan repayment amounts if people were really struggling. I’ve done that for people myself. Now, in the Oldham neck of the woods at least, people are told they must write in. Good luck with that, etc.
Anyway. I am so glad the great and the good on the political scene have decided that austerity is over. I can only suppose the memo on that hasn’t reached the DWP yet. I’m sure that will happen in good time.
If you can shed any light on any of this, but prefer not to leave a comment below, feel free to drop me a line here.