Talked to two people about the above while leafleting with Stockport United Against Austerity at Stockport jobcentre today.
The first woman had just got a job as a careworker – but the jobcentre wouldn’t pay £60 for the fastrack CRB check she needed. With that fastrack CRB check, she could start work in about a fortnight. Without it – she wasn’t sure what would happen.
That £60 was a lot to her – “it’s about a week’s JSA,” she said. That kind of money is make or break for a lot of people. This woman was heading into the jobcentre to argue the toss again.
The second woman was in part-time work. She needed Personal Independence Payment for support because she had severe epilepsy. She was finding it impossible to get PIP, though. She’d had a lifetime Disability Living Allowance award, but government, of course, cancelled lifetime DLA awards and forced those DLA recipients to apply for PIP.
She made a PIP application – and had been waiting three months to find out whether or not she’d receive PIP. She was still waiting. The DWP had told her the wait would be longer. The stress of the wait and not having enough money was making her epilepsy worse. She’d had to cut her hours down, because her health was deteriorating badly.
So it goes at this end of austerity. Government likes to say that anyone who signs on is a loser and a wastrel by definition. In fact, government and the DWP play an active role in making sure that people who have nothing crash out entirely. It really does feel like that.