The rush to throw sick or disabled people off ESA and force them onto Universal Credit goes on while the DWP talks bollocks about support…

Here’s ANOTHER example (I’ve posted two already this month) of a disabled person suddenly being thrown off Employment and Support Allowance and forced to claim Universal Credit – and left with no money while waiting weeks for the first Universal Credit payment to start.

I post this as yet more evidence that the government and DWP talk entirely fabricated tripe when they claim that sick or disabled people are/will be helped to move from disability benefits to Universal Credit.

The truth is that sick and disabled people are thrown off ESA and left to hang.

I recently spoke at length at Stockport jobcentre with Karen*, 59.

Karen had been receiving ESA, but was found fit for work at a recent work capability assessment.

Like absolutely everybody I speak to in this situation, Karen’s ESA claim was closed as soon as she was found fit for work.

This always happens. Always. There is no warning. There is no help, or even a gradual reduction of payments. The axe simply falls.

People receive a letter which tells them that they’re getting their last payment and that’s it. People who already had almost nothing are left with absolutely nothing.

It’s criminal.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard similar tales in the last couple of years.

Said Karen:

“You just feel numb at the end of it. Got to go and see the specialist now… and they’re just saying, “you’re not scoring enough points. You’re not ill… this is my second Universal Credit meeting again now… to sign on again.”

Like absolutely everybody I speak to in this situation, too, Karen was forced to apply for Universal Credit to try and get a few quid while she went through the months-long two-part process to appeal the DWP decision to find her fit for work.

She had to apply for Universal Credit. There is no other benefit available in many areas now. Sick and disabled people who are in absolute poverty and lose their ESA are forced to apply for Universal Credit.

People have no savings to fall back on while they wait (often for weeks and months) for the results of fit-for-work mandatory reconsiderations and appeals.

Karen was left without a penny while she waited the-at-least-five-weeks for her Universal Credit payments to start.

She had to apply for an advance loan on her Universal Credit to survive. That’s what happens when people have no money.

Repayments for that loan will be deducted from her future UC payments which means that she starts Universal Credit in debt.

A few facts:

1) Leaving sick or disabled people without a bean to live on in a northern winter should be a hanging offence.

2) The gulf between the support that the DWP purports or proposes to offer and actually offers is inevitably so wide that the two actually exist on different planets.

In its recent responses to Social Security Advisory Committee recommendations on managed migration from benefits such as ESA to Universal Credit, the DWP guffed on about plans to set up a fortnight’s run-on money for ESA claimants in Karen’s exact situation – for sick or disabled people whose ESA claims have been shut and who have to wait at least five weeks for their Universal Credit claims to start (see page 4 of this pdf).

If you believe that’ll happen, you’ll believe anything.

I’d also make the point that two weeks’ run-on money is hardly the last word in generosity.

A fortnight’s money will not cover the five and more weeks and months that people must wait for their first Universal Credit. Slow handclap for that one, Amber Rudd.

3) People who struggle to use computers continue to have problems with Universal Credit – a benefit which they must apply for and manage online.

Karen said that making her Universal Credit application was difficult, because she didn’t have a smartphone, or computer skills:

“I don’t have one of those phones [a smartphone]. I can’t afford to buy a phone. Then they expect you to go in and [use computers at the jobcentre]. I’m not a computer person which makes it even more difficult…”

As readers of the aforementioned DWP report will know (see pg 10) the Social Security Advisory Committee recently recommended that the DWP consider pre-populating parts of the online Universal Credit form to smooth the application process for people in Karen’s situation.

Needless to say, the DWP said No:

“…the Department believes it will be crucial that new claims are made to Universal Credit because we need to ensure data is as accurate and as up-to-date as possible when claimants move to Universal Credit…”

4) I’m calling it: the DWP and government want to force people to make new Universal Credit claims precisely because it knows that a lot of people won’t be able to.

Let’s look at this from a “politicians who want to appease a social-security-hating electorate” point of view.

One surefire way to cut the number of people on social security rolls is to make getting social security as difficult as possible.

This is an oldie, but most certainly a goodie if presenting yourself as tough on welfare is your bag.

Let us take a moment to remember the many American politicians and tough-on-the-poor mouthpieces who’ve claimed that harsh welfare programmes work, because welfare rolls drop when such programmes are introduced.

Mention at these times was and is rarely made of the fact that people in dire need are cut loose by tough social security programmes, because social security is made a lot harder to get. Call me paranoid, etc…

Back to Karen’s story.

As I say, Karen took out an advance loan on her Universal Credit claim to pay bills leading up to Christmas.

The DWP said that it would deduct repayments for this loan from Karen’s Universal Credit money when her claim began. Karen wasn’t actually sure if her full Universal Credit claim had started, because she was getting so little money.

Karen didn’t know where she was in the system. You hear that a lot as well. People have no idea what is going on, because the bureaucracy is so torturous.

“I just don’t get it… I got an advance loan just before December… I was told that I would have to pay £40 each payment when I got my money [when her Universal Credit claim begins]. That’s like £80 a month before I get anything… I’m trying to sort it out. I don’t really know. I’m not used to it…”

To cap things off, Karen had been called to another work capability assessment, even though she was still waiting for appeal results from her latest one.

Karen was travelling all over Stockport (on buses which cost £4 a day) between doctors and specialists to gather more medical information.

Her doctor insisted that Karen wasn’t fit to work. Her doctor gave her sick notes to give to the jobcentre to excuse her from jobsearch activities.

Karen said:

“I’ve got a sick note from my doctor because I’m waiting for a specialist now, but I know when I go on Tuesday [to the second work capability assessment] and go through it all again and then wait for a decision that they’re going to make… then they’re going to come back again no points scored it’s just like being bounced [from one place to another].

This “system” is a pig’s ear (yep – unfair to pigs).

I’ve said it several times already this month and I’ll say it again: I’m talking to person after person – all sick or disabled – at Stockport jobcentre whose ESA claims have been shut without warning and who have been left with nothing while they try to start new claims for Universal Credit.

People are being ground out.

The DWP, meanwhile, continues to puff out fantasy reports in which it asserts that it tailors support for sick or disabled people who struggle to move from benefits such as ESA to Universal Credit:

Says the DWP:

“We are committed to providing tailored support for all claimants, including those who have restricted access to technology. Each individual’s circumstances are different and therefore their barriers to work and the support needed must be tailored to these needs,” blah blah blah (pg 14)

Can I say at this point that I just love that phrase “tailored support.”

The DWP has been bandying that phrase about – claiming to offer “tailored support” to sick and disabled benefit claimants, while doing nothing of the kind – for years.

Readers of this site will know that the phrase “tailored support,” and variations on it, has historically been trotted out by DWP when it has launched its various assaults on unemployed sick or disabled people.

For example: we heard a lot about tailored support when the DWP cut specialist Disability Employment Advisors from jobcentres (from about 2014 to 2016).

The DWP would send me (and everyone) press statements which claimed that sick and disabled people with support needs were being provided with a “tailored” work coach service in lieu of DEAs.

The DWP made such claims – even as I sat in Kilburn jobcentre with disabled people whose benefit claims were erroneously closed by advisers who had no training in sickness or disability and who freely admitted that the DWP’s claims of a tailored service were rubbish.

Paragraphs from the DWP’s latest writings on managed migration to Universal Credit look very much like a cut and paste exercise from press statements and reports that the DWP has been sending out for years.

Etc, etc. You see my point. This “system” is an absolute pile and has been for ages. It’s even more dysfunctional than Brexit. More practice, I guess.

*Name changed

58 thoughts on “The rush to throw sick or disabled people off ESA and force them onto Universal Credit goes on while the DWP talks bollocks about support…

  1. You’re right, it is all designed to make it as difficult as possible (or downright impossible) for anyone to claim any State Benefits, regardless of who suffers, or dies, in the process. It’s criminal.

    • I totally agree, my husband passed away with cancer I had to pay it all I got no help, I was his carer he was mine they took all the money off me and sent me my p45 wtf, I am in a wheelchaiir with one hand out of commission it’s a total sham, shame on anyone who think this is acceptable sorry I want my back money.

  2. This terrifies me Kate, I attended a WCA on Friday and am waiting with trepidation for the outcome. The situation has caused a severe relapse in my mental health.

    I spent over two years working extremely hard in therapy to gain control over my depression and depersonalisation disorder and now both are returning, resulting in my hard earned coping techniques becoming useless.

    • It’s bloody awful for people Jayne. Let me know how you get on. Did they give you any indication of when you’d hear back?

  3. I think that “…social-security-hating electorate” will soon, (well hopefully, you never know) as many of them will be blissfully unaware that they too will soon comprise part of that group they despise so much. Is there no limit to the self-hatred amongst the UK’s electorate?

    It beggars belief that people can be so stupid, especially when they are prepared to swallow the obvious lies of politicians, and the willful distortions that attempt to justify the ideology behind the decisions made in the UK, (and the left is as equally guilty as the right in this). Most of us will be aware that both the UK government use the increasing implementation of neo-liberal economic ideology throughout Europe, (indeed, the argument has been used by Lexiteers as justification for leaving the EU) as a justification for their particular ideology. Both distort what the reality is.

    For me it’s extremely worrying that the Labour Party remains virtually silent on the issue of Universal Credit and what it is doing to people in the UK. Their response is actually quite scandalous: we are being let down big time.

    The Tories are of course culpable for all the evil they impose, but Labour are complicit.

    • Indeed. Political opposition is a thing of the past – if it ever existed at all. All we have atm is a bunch of appeasers.

  4. Pingback: The rush to throw sick or disabled people off ESA and force them onto #UniversalCredit is on while the #DWP talks bollocks about support… | Kate Belgrave | Declaration Of Opinion

  5. Hello Kate,
    It handy for the reader to remember that it was the Labour Party that put this train wreck in-motion and it was them that developed the WAC to take one million of the sick in ten years.

    Regards: Peter Colton

    “Labour introduced the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) in 2008 with the ‘original purpose’ of stripping out of work benefits from over a third of sick and disabled people. Speaking to Parliament about the reforms in 2006, the Labour Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions John Hutton said: “I believe that if we take the measures that I have outlined … we can get 1 million people off incapacity benefit within a decade. In doing so, we could ultimately save up to £7 billion a year for taxpayers. That should be the scale of our ambition.”

    Whilst the tests were first introduced for new claimants only, in the 2008 budget (PDF para 4.5) Labour announced that all claimants on Incapacity Benefit would be re-assessed from April 2010. All Iain Duncan Smith did, after the Tory Party weren’t elected in May 2010, was to continue the work begun by Labour. ”

    The contract to carry out the shoddy tick-box style assessments was handed to the little known French IT firm Atos Origin, a company who had previously sponsored events at the Labour Party conference. Atos were tasked with dividing claimants on sickness or disability benefits into three groups – those unable to work who were placed in the Support Group, those who might be able to do some work at some point in the future – the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) – and those who the company judged ‘fit for work’.

    • Correction: It was the New Labour Party, not the Labour Party. It’s not just semantics or pedantry, New Labour was the brain-child of Blair & Mandelson, who effectively staged a silent coup and infiltrated Labour with Rightwing neoliberalism. That’s why we need the likes of McDonnell (& his public front man Corbyn) to keep the post – Blairites at bay and restore a Socialist Labour Party.

      • Labour introduced all this in the first place. Before that the system worked well enough one’s own GP advised the DWP end of. Personally I think GP’s became infiltrated with a certain religion & the system began to corrupt, instead of dealing with said corruption a convoluted route was taken to commit Democide on all Ill & disabled people. Please do not scream at me ‘racist’ or ‘right-wing’ I’m neither but I am ‘honour-wing’ and will tell you without a shadow of a doubt that Eastern culture & Western culture do not mix as it is expected of Eastern culture to be deceptive (clever); dishonest (disingenuous); wily (dishonourable); corrupt (thieves) ( ) = Western culture. In the West all that are in brackets are discouraged as a matter of shame, in the East, all not in brackets, is encouraged as a matter of pride. Cultures do not mix – ‘cultural diversity’ is a nonsense and a complete falsehood by definition if you mix one culture with another you eradicate two cultures. Democide is being visited upon our poor/sick/disabled and the question must be raised of why? and the answer comes back in the shape of supporting Islam and the followers of Islam bc they are docile under the boot of religion and will not challenge their masters – the completion of the Kalergi Plan in full.

  6. Earlier this month the DWP announced a halt to the “managed migration” of those on legacy benefits like ESA and income support onto universal credit—but did confirm that a small pilot programme of about 10,000 claimants would begin in July, as previously announced.

    It would appear that the claimants cited in your blog piece were migrated onto Universal Credit before the halt was announced. If this is not the case, then please let me know and I will bring your blog piece to the attention of the DWP shadow ministers in the Labour party, as well as members of the UN’s CRPD.

    Thanking you in advance for your reply.

  7. Further to my previous comment, I brought your article to the attention of Dr. Frances Ryan, disability columnist for the Guardian, and she replied on Twitter as follows: Sue Jones also blogged about this issue today: Universal Credit is an unmitigated catastrophe for ill and disabled people – Politics and Insights

    I will probably bring your article to the attention of Labour’s DWP shadow ministers.

    • Hi Samuel,

      Yes, there are two methods atm I see the DWP using to push people to make that switch from ESA to UC.

      – One is the work capability assessment process – people on ESA are found fit for work and have their ESA stopped. They have to apply for Universal Credit if they are in a UC area even if they have appealed the ftw decision. I dealt with another case in one of the West London early rollout UC boroughs recently. Exactly the scenario described above and in that case the person’s housing benefit was stopped when the ESA was stopped as well.

      – The second is that people are told to apply for Universal Credit when they have a so-called change in circumstances, such as (this is from the money advice site):

      – employment status, such as starting a new job, or increasing or decreasing your hours
      – family circumstances, such as new baby, child starting school, or partner moving in or out
      – housing, such as moving to a new local authority area.

      although there is a lot of confusion there. It seems that some people we’ve spoken with at Stockport have had their ESA claims shut down for fairly spurious “change of circumstances” reasons.

      The point people keep making is that they have no say in any of this – the ESA claim goes and it’s UC or nothing. Once you’ve signed on for UC, uou can’t go back to ESA even if you win your fit for work appeal.

    • I do wish these commentators would get it right, Universal Credit isn’t just an unmitigated disaster for sick and disabled people, it’s a catastrophe for ANYONE who is on it, regardless of whether or not they are able-bodied.

      • Yes, I agree, but I have written how it affects other groups also. My writing about disabled people’s experiences specifically – and the article mentions the impact on other groups also – does not mean I think disabled and ill people are the only group suffering harm under UC. I have written articles about the impact of in-work conditionality, and focused on people in low paid or part time work, for example. Curiously, disabled people didn’t tell me it wasn’t just that group that were being hammered. You’re the third person to complain about the title without checking all of the content

        All the best ‘this commentator’

        • Apologies if I caused you any offence, but I was not particularly referring to you. I am not a regular reader of your blog, and only read that one post, which did not refer specifically to the unemployed. However, it’s so often that I do see the sick and disabled mentioned, and perhaps unwittingly, other groups are missed out.

          The way I see it is that there is a danger that it will somehow be construed that it is wrong to put the sick and disabled in the same category as the unemployed, but that it’s perfectly justified that the unemployed are subject to ‘special treatment’. I appreciate that this is almost certainly not what most commentators mean, but there are those, e.g. the government and the right-wing press. and a sizeable proportion of their audience will seize on such statements and view them as a vindication of the demonisation of the unemployed.

          I’m personally very careful to ensure that when I write or say anything about claimants that I am very specific about who I mean, and list the groups affected so that there can be no doubt. I make sure that I make reference to all the groups affected at least once, even when I’m writing about one group in particular. Pedantic? Maybe, but my experience tells me that sometimes we need to be.

          As a secondary concern, I’m also wary of seeing people who are sick and disabled categorised by their health or disability rather than categorised as humans with an illness or a disability. I know it’s a subtle difference, and some would perhaps suggest that it’s mere semantics, but I believe that in these kinds of situations that the semantics are vital to an understanding of what is happening, and in the absence of any sustained campaign to have UC abolished, that constant re-iteration of all the groups affected needs to be repeated lest someone forget that all those affected are humans first and foremost. The designers and administrators are certainly very well aware of the words used, and the current anti-claimant rhetoric.

          And whilst my cynicism may be misplaced, I know that we are living in times where we are seeing various minority groups dehumanised, and as a result there has grown a tendency to unconsciously demonise other minority groups other than one’s own, (seeing it as, maybe only subconsciously somehow more deserving – which is of course is how it is supposed to be under the toxic propaganda) and whilst I would hope that the groups affected by UC would show solidarity with others so affected I cannot take for granted that this is the case. Much as I’d hope that intersectionality was second nature, my experience tells me that it is far from being the case.

      • The commentators that annoy me are those who pop up on telly, news pundits & politicians alike, who keep saying things like “Universal Credit is basically a good idea but…”, or that “it makes sense to consolidate Benefits into one monthly payment, no one disagrees with that….” , “no one disagrees with the principles of Universal Credit but…”.
        Well I DO bloody well disagree! It’s a very bad idea. It makes NO sense. Scrap it.

        • Yes, I find them particularly odious too. I don’t think anyone on the actual receiving end of UC thinks anything positive about it, (unless they are a little weird) and I find it arrogant to say the least that those who cannot possibly have the first inkling what it’s like to be on the receiving end expressing such utter ‘Simon Says’ crap. It’s the ‘chattering classes’ at their most awful.

          Kate has suggested before that perhaps the people who should be asked are the last people whose opinions are considered worthy of serious consideration.

          I was chatting to a friend earlier today about it and we agreed that UC is a deliberate clusterfuck in so many ways in terms of the way it is implemented and administered, but the one aspect that the architects ensured they got exactly right was the sanctions regime, and they have more or less succeeded in making that pretty damn well watertight.

  8. Pingback: Universal Credit is an unmitigated catastrophe for ill and disabled people – Politics and Insights

  9. This happened to me. I went from Support Group to heres your P45. Get a job where you can leave your wheelchair on premises. I cant sit upright for long periods even in my wheelchair. I use crutches for short walks. After being on sick benefit for 26 years due to becoming disabled with Chronic Pain from a car accident. I wasn’t able to sign on at job centre no access for parking nearby and I can’t walk far. I was advised not to apply for UC. I put in appeal but got turned down. I then applied to tribunal. Was reinstated to low rate ESA 73.10 after about 8 weeks while waiting for hearing. My daughter bought food and paid my monthly utility bills for me for the 8 weeks. When I received information that DWP were relying on to justify taking me off their arguements were unbelievable. I won my case and back in support group but I know I will have to go through it all again. It caused me so much stress. I had to keep visiting my Dr for fit notes and back on antidepressants and I had to have counselling as I was suicidal. I had adjusted my life to cope with the pain and my physical limitations which initially took me years after the accident. It puts extra pressure on NHS so there is no savings to the government. I was able to pay back my daughter when they paid me back to the date I was taken off. I am 60 and feel humilated and a waste of space to this government. I did not choose this life. I returned to work a year after my accident and I could not cope with the pain and walking difficulties so my Dr at the time, signed me off permanent under the old Invalidity benefit.
    My sister who has Lupus has also been through the same.

    • I feel for you Debbie, it’s just wrong that people are being subjected to this unnecessary suffering. Coincidentally, my sister has Lupus too (among other things) but fortunately for her she is Retired so doesn’t have to go through any dealings with the DWP or Atos/Maximus, but she is getting no joy out of the NHS, waiting months for appointments and being passed from pillar to post, referred to one specialist after another, and not getting any definitive help or effective treatment. The NHS and the DWP are both in a mess under this awful Tory government. You just have to keep going I suppose, hang on in there and hopefully things will improve if/when we get a decent government in power. Best of luck to you.

    • Hmm. Not to sure I like the idea of it all being handed to local authorities and charities. None too sure about Demos either, look like another group of well meaning do-gooders who possibly have some kind of moralistic agenda too. The very fact that they seem to accept the DWP’s own propaganda that they are able to help people with minor difficulties immediately makes them somewhat suspect. The notion that the DWP helps anyone into work is a barefaced lie that even a someone who is blind would see.

      However, once again the DWP’s robot response was all that is to be expected; pure rhetoric.

      • I know what you mean, it’s a bit iffy, and not sure how far Demos is to be trusted or what their motives/agenda is. The NHS to be involved in helping people back to work sounds highly suspicious and is probably unworkable given the state it’s in already. But maybe they’re just thinking out of the box to widen the discussion of how society /State approaches unemployment, I dunno.

        • Well, unemployment could be abolished entirely if there was a will. It didn’t exist in the German Democratic Republic, simply because everyone had a job, and indeed, the labour shortage was so acute that women were encouraged into the workforce, and still ‘Gastarbeiter’ from places like Vietnam were required. This led to a much greater level of equality, and even now, nearly 30 years after reunification there is still a marked disparity in the levels of inequality in the former west and east of Germany. Pay disparity in the former west stands at 23% and in the former east at 8%.

          Not for a moment suggesting that the place was any kind of paradise, (it wasn’t) but an awful lot of babies got thrown out upon reunification under capitalism.

          The NHS role has always been that of mending broken workers so that they can be restored to being productive workers who can again be exploited profitably.

          Whatever way the conundrum is looked at it seems to me that one of the obvious elephants in the room is that of UBI, is being completely ignored) With a little care, to ensure that it isn’t implemented as a libertarian, (in the American sense) scheme to liberate the state/society of all further responsibility towards the individual where the obligation is simply the provision of a fixed cash sum where the recipient has to then finance everything from.

          I don’t think that Demos actually has anything to contribute on this actually, and I can’t see how their proposal would lead to better outcomes. It still seems far too preoccupied with the notion that ‘discipline and punish’ should be at the core, and that unemployment is somehow the result of personal failing. All what they are suggesting would achieve, I suspect, would be an even more complex situation, and one perhaps even more shrouded in mystery than the present system.

    • You and me remember the 80s Trev… How many times did Thatcher and crew change the way that unemployment figures were calculated. At times is seemed to be almost every other month, (I doubt it was that frequent) but it was definitely changed quite a few times.

      No real surprises that it stands as four times the official level. I’m unemployed, but I’m not claiming at the moment, so I don’t count in the figures.

      And anyway, this is the Tories we are talking about, everything they say is a lie, and even when it isn’t, it’s complete bollocks.

      • Yeah they do talk utter bollocks and lie through their teeth, but someone needs to call them out on this. It would be nice if the MSM, or Heaven forbid the Opposition, would refute their bullshit, because there are swathes of the electorate who swallow this guff hook, line, and sinker. But don’t expect to hear it on Newsnight any time soon.

        • THe Opposition would have needed to have acted a long time ago in order to have established any kind of balance in the minds of those swathes of the electorate who treat MSM bullshit as gospel. I fear that even if the Opposition did say something they’d do it is such a defensive and cack-handed manner that at best all it would achieve would be a sense of cognitive dissonance in the minds of the Tories useful idiots, and in that situation so they’d tend to hold to the ideas that had already been sown. And of course that would reinforced by screaming MSM headlines distorting even the mildest of criticisms so that they appear to advocate a ‘soft option’ on claimants. Instead of perhaps explaining the need for greater humanity in the system, the Opposition then becomes tongue-tied and fluffs the issue. It’s ridiculous, and I think that remaining silent is what is seen as the safe option. It’s sad when it comes down to it that issues are evaluated according to whether they are vote losers or not instead of solid principles and solidarity.

          • Labour seem to be beyond caring how they appear to the electorate. Diane Abbott and her car-crash interviews. Corbyn and his blind indifference to anyone else’s opinion, in or out of the Labour Party. They look like losers in waiting.

  10. Claimants are now being required to ‘ring’ in claims this is purely to hide DWP complete & utter incompetence ergo no paper trail to prove said incompetence; claimants must be advised never to ‘ring’ always write. Work Coaches have no GMC No. ergo are not registered GP’s even on the rare occasion there is a GP, say on a Tribunal panel, said GP may have a GMC No. but is without licence to practise ergo if said GP is not proactive in declaring unlicensed status this is a criminal act. That said Work Coaches are not GP’s and therefore not privileged to a claimants strictly private & confidential medical conditions and even if they were GP’s it is the claimants decision whether his/her medical info is released. Claimants should all be advised NEVER to release their medical info with anyone but their own GP & not give permission for this info to be shared. Claimants should also be aware to ensure that any documentation is marked ‘FOR DWP EYES ONLY’ thus ensuring that gov cannot distance contract out to ATOS etc and thus deny claimant their rightful claim to benefit. If one does not agree to dance with the devil then his dance card will not get filled

      • Send response to Belfast (if that’s still the address on the brown envelope) & to department required in letter (as long as it’s DWP not distance contractor) and make sure it is ‘Signed For’ post.

  11. In the end though, the whole point of Universal Credit is not claimant support, it’s getting people off benefit as quickly as possible. All the difficulties, the waiting times and hardship is quite deliberate. Only now as the rollout affects more and more people the DWP are finding it increasingly hard to keep the lid on all of this.

    • Yes Jeff – and again I state Do not agree to dance with the Devil then his dance card will not get filled. So whatever correspondence a claimant receives (never do anything on ‘phone refuse all ‘phone contact) do not fill out any medical info mark all questions with ‘Private & Confidential with GP only’; do not sign any correspondence; cross through whole form with ‘FOR THE EYES OF DWP ONLY – DO NOT PASS TO OUTSIDE CONTRACTOR’ but most IMPORTANTLY do not send your forms back to the address given SEND YOUR FORM BACK TO THE DWP OFFICE ONLY. DWP can only take away your benefit if you agree to ‘contract’ with the distanced ‘contractor’ and that is ATOS/MAXIMUS etc. Don’t give the Devil your dance card.

      • So basically Denise you’re saying that you’re withdrawing your consent for your personal information to be shared. It’s a move that would be wise for all claimants, as the system largely works through the sharing of info. It was a very effective tool in fighting the first generation Workfare, and it’d be interesting if the tactic could be used to fight the element of Workfare that the Tories have sneakily incorporated into UC. Like under Workfare, in order to send someone to an exploiter, personal information would need to be shared, for which consent needs to be explicitly obtained.

        Even if there is a catch that when you sign for UC and there might be a clause that means you sign up for sharing of your info with third parties I think the consent could be rescinded as the DWP had basically coerced you into signing – ‘don’t sign this, get no benefit’ sort of thing.

        Only we can decide who gets to see our personal info.

  12. This Conservative government has hatefully introduced Universal Credit, solely designed to persecute the unemployed by the prejudicial tarring of them with the same brush irrespective of individual needs and predicaments. Poorly human-beings are suffering and dying because of the horrific actions of insanely insidious politicians we foolishly tolerate. The DWP, in its criminal determination to find sick people fit for work, is pressuring doctors to put its needs before the needs of their patients. When sick and disabled people are decided by the criminally corrupt system to be fit for work, they are expected to make a false claim for Universal Credit by signing a declaration stating to be ready and willing to work. Is forcing people to commit fraud by threats lawful?

  13. I too have been bitten by the dwps poor management, sat on ESA awaiting medical for nearly 2 years, when medical finally arrived, I was to ill to attend. Kicked off ESA , without a group allocation, then forced to claim uc or be penniless.
    Won my esa appeal, however, decision was not overturned, I have to remain on uc.
    So I’ve lost, whatever monies were owed to me had I been placed in a esa group(7k approximately) .
    I should add that I was awarded lcwrag with my uc medical, with no change in symptoms from my time on ESA.
    So my point is why did I go through all the stress of an appeal if its decision had no bearing on my circumstances , why was I forced to appear at court (with severe mental health issues) and plead my case , and why if the decision to stop my esa was overturned, was my esa not reinstated, add to that the loss of sdp , as uc has no provision, also the loss of mobility, from pip , I am in a massive amount of debt, my mental health has deteriorated , and I’m back feeling suicidal, and feel punished because of my mental health.
    I feel I’ve been led a merry dance , the system does not work

  14. Please can someone tell me I have left repeated messages in my journal for universal credit asking them if I’m getting a extra payment this month as I saw I the news recently that the Tories had at last decided to pay us the backdated money they took from us when I was forced to go onto universal credit in December 2016. I went to an assessment in October and was told was fit for work even though my doctor had already signed me off for six months I appeal with the help of my THT charity which with them I would never had the fight or courage to do. I won my appeal and I’m I was put a support group. This took about 9 week to sort I had no money through the whole period my mum was dieing in hospital and on top of everything my flat mate did the dirty on me and just left one day and hadn’t paid his share of the rent. My landlady being a fucking bitch evicted me eventually just after Christmas 2018 I was then moved to a hostel and try to kill myself. So the last four months of 2017 I lost my dear mum a flat and was I homeless so. What was point carrying on. The point is that I did get through it have a lovely council flat which I am so greatly for. But why can’t they tell if I’m going to have extra money this month could someone tell me please.

  15. Hello,
    This happened to me last November. My ESA was removed. On the 13th, I was placed on oral chemo, the next day received my benefits only to realise that I was missing my esa. My bday was the next day 15th. Too depressed and upset to celebrate.
    Having limited speech my bf who is also my ftcarer called the DWP and asked why this had happened, they didn’t know why…so we kept badgering for an answer. Finally got an answer stating I owed them money that is why it had stopped supposedly they sent out letters about financial advisors coming to assess my benefits. Bull they sent them because I was living with my mother who is a ‘stickler’ with anything benefitty
    Basically what they were doing was pushing us onto UC. Luckily they were quick paying us! Didn’t tell us though that it didn’t include council tax reduction, nice bill we had to pay. Oh this was all around Xmas!! My bf n I had a smashing Xmas!
    This drama is never ending we r now facing a tribunal, which has already been cancelled twice! Supposedly the tribunal is in September, yeh 🙌🏼 That will be cancelled too!!!

  16. hello,
    I ve asked for a mandatory reconsideration on esa assessment I had in march,have not heard nothing but now been made to look for work.i feel the advisor I see at job centre has not took my medical reasons seriously as to just shoving me out to look for jobs.
    she even said don’t bring no more sick notes to me from your doctor!!!
    I had 2 work capability assessments done in London y my employer and they said you cant go back to work yet.
    lord knows what im going to do.

  17. Think you’ll find the french firm who threw most people off sickness Benefits where introduced under tony blair and the Labour Party when they was in power and left the country f……. ,

  18. I just had my ESA medical the 14th of November 2019. It is day one of waiting for a decision. I put on my ESA 50 twice that they will fail me to force me onto universal death credit, I left the death off the form though.

    Once more the medical examiner said more off the tape than she did on it. I am signed off for depression, but I also have COPD, the COPD was misdiagnosed as asthma by one nurse the last time that I had my medical, however I knew that it was not asthma, I later on had the proper diagnosis of it being COPD.

    The examiner said that she is going to ask more about the COPD than the depression, and if she does not ask me about it, not to worry, that I should score 15 points straight away because of my COPD.

    I requested a taped interview so if need be then I will submit that as evidence at a tribunal. I am due to be paid on the 29th of November to which I expect not to be paid, usually they stop your money and then send you out a letter saying that you failed the medical after they have stopped your money.

    I am now expecting Christmas without any internet, which as my family are all dead is my only comfort and friend. I am expecting to not have any food or electric for Christmas as I am not going to sign onto universal death credit, I saved up some money before hand, so I will have £10 a month to live upon, as I have seen people waiting for over a year for a tribunal review.

    I will book mark this page and update this when I have my decision, however, I pretty much know that they will try and say that I am fit to work to try and force me onto universal death credit. I am ex forces and served this Country and in my youth I could run a mile and a half in 10 minutes, in my old age if my nose runs I am out of breath.

    I shall end here anyway, as I really do not care any more, I am a dead man walking with COPD but when they tell cancer sufferers that they are fit to work, then I do not have much hope.

    • Well today is the 09th of December 2019 and I just had confirmation that I have passed my medical which is a weight lifted off my shoulders.

      It has taken twenty five days to get the result but in the end the result is a good one.

  19. I suffer mental health problems after my brother died in a crash then my sister hanged her self .then her son hanged himself then my other sister got murdered then my dad died they stopped myoney and basically called me a liar and get on with it no money can’t really see point no more lost my house and car have nothing worked all my life

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