DWP tried to force teen who can’t walk or talk to travel 25 miles for Universal Credit interview

If you’re thinking this was a simple mistake, think again.

I do not doubt that the DWP official who ordered disabled Aaron Faulkner to travel 25 miles for a Universal Credit interview knew perfectly well that it was entirely inappropriate to make that demand.

But you see, if Mr Faulkner failed to appear, that’s an easy benefit saving. The DWP has been using this wheeze for years.

A teenager who cannot walk, talk or control his limbs was made to travel 25 miles for a ‘fit for work’ benefits interview.

Aaron Faulkner, 19, suffers from a rare condition called unbalanced chromosome translocation.

The youngster, from Doncaster, cannot speak or communicate in any way, cannot control his arms and is fed through a tube in his stomach.

He also suffers from cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.

Despite this, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) insisted he make the 25 mile journey to the city centre Job Centre for an interview to assess his eligibility for Universal Credit.

Now the wheeze has been rumbled, the DWP has issued a statement saying, “We are very sorry a home visit was not arranged; it should have been. We have apologised to Ms Faulkner and are processing her son’s claim quickly to make sure she and her son have the support they need.”

But you should be aware that, if the story had not been published in the press, this family would have been cut off – and nobody at the Conservative-run DWP would have thought twice.

Source: Teenager unable to walk or talk made to travel 25 miles for benefits interview – Mirror Online

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40 Thoughts to “DWP tried to force teen who can’t walk or talk to travel 25 miles for Universal Credit interview”

  1. spiderider

    You absolute Tory scum. How do you sleep at night?

    1. Yvonne Sinclair

      Friends of mine had the same issue with their daughter, she cant walk, is confined to a wheelchair, no body tone, is also tube fed and has no speech, and was told she had to attend an interview last week. I think it is disgusting how they force people who need constant attention, into these situations, they rely on help for every aspect of their lives, so I don’t know why in hell the DWP insists on this barbaric act. They must see that certain benefits are getting paid to these persons, or their parents?
      This country is a disgrace and a shambles.

      1. Hi Yvonne

        They don’t look at what benefits they claim or why, they merely look at the medical evidence.

        I’d always encourage people to contact their MP to raise these concerns.

  2. My daughter was sanctioned for not attending an interview at 9:05am 12 Miles away when she would never have agreed or been able to attend due to walking her children to school for 8:30am. She relies on public transport to get her to the rural job centre. They said the appointment was on her online UC diary. She told them she hadn’t seen it. Apparently the appointments dates are removed by DWP when tge date has passed. After being sanctioned £4 odd a day and having £100 plus removed from her UC payment she had forgotten that she had screenprinted her diary for her solicitor, the date DWP claimed the appointment was supposed to be on the diary was covered by her copy sent to her solicitor. Tge appointment was never on her diary and they had to give her the money back.

  3. trev

    Disgusting. Are such cases down to incompetence, a failure of the system, or evidence of systematic abuse? Do the Tories even care? Nope,course not.

  4. Zippi

    I see that things haven’t improved any. I had to walk, almost to Edgware, from Holders Hill Road, for my interview, after I became unemployed, despite the fact that there was a Jobcentre a mile up the hill in Finchley. Nonsense! Do these people not understand what having no money means? The system has always been bad but it beggars belief how the Conservatives could make it worse! We need somebody in charge of the system, I don’t care from which Party, who has been at the blunt end of Benefits, only then can I see the system actually working for actual people.
    This case is… I cannot find the words. A doctor’s not should have sufficed yet people who have long term debilitating conditions, that are not going to improve, are being humiliated and mantally tortured, by having to go through this process, again. My mother is such a one. These assessors are not fit for purpose. If my mother can walk across the living room, regardless of how long it actually takes her, or how difficult, or painful it is, she can walk. Nonsense! I’ll not tell you what her G.P. said but let’s just say that, if a politician had said it, they’d probably be asked to resign.

  5. Anna

    I am 61 worked all my life and they stopped my pension its absolutely diabolical but no one is botheted. I know im not the only one whose complained, but they are even picking on genuine disabled people, not good

    1. Mike Sivier

      They have always picked on genuine disabled people – since the Conservatives came into office in 2010. Are you telling us you believed all the “scrounger/skiver” propaganda before you were affected?

      1. trev

        Anna, how can a disabled person not be “genuine”?

    2. Wendy Outram

      Same here Anna. I should have had my pension 2 years ago. Now I still have 3 & half years to wait.
      My argument is.
      If the age was going to go up then we should have been told in 1973 when we started work. Not when we’re ready to retire.
      As far as I’m concerned. It was all done illegally

    3. Stevie Watson

      If you’re a drug addict or alcoholic there is no question you will receive financial help from the DWP without going for assessments or interviews.

      1. trev

        That’s not true Stevie, I knew a man with a severe long-term alcohol problem (a former neighbour of mine, now dead) who was sent for a Work Capability Assessment. He got through it alright as there was no way he was fit for work. I knew another guy, an alcoholic and heroin user with a DVT and suffered seizures but he wasn’t even on the sick, was on JSA and Sanctioned. That was 5 years ago, be surprised if he’s still living.

      2. Sandy

        @ Stevie Watson

        That’s complete and utter nonsense. If someone applies for either ESA or PIP who happens to an alcoholic or junkie then they have to attend assessments like everyone else.
        Further, it is their health problems/disabilities they are assessed on, NOT their addictions. If an alcoholic is granted ESA because of brain damage (Wet Brain) say, or a failing liver causing myriad problems, it’s because of said brain damage/liver problems that they get granted benefits for.
        Whether such problems are caused by substance misuse or not is neither here nor there. It’s no more relevant than a person with amputated legs caused by a car accident being granted disability benefits even if their car accident was their own fault.
        You may argue that lifestyle issues, including being a rubbish driver, should be relevant and disbar potential claimants from having successful claims, but that’s a different topic entirely.

        The above by the way has always been the case. I can only assume this myth sprung up of substance misusers having benefits thrown at them willy-nillly simply for being an addict is because they keep quiet about the physical problems their misuse causes; even to family & friends let alone mere acquaintances or strangers. No one, but no one stands a snow ball in hell’s chance of getting any disability benefits whatsoever unless they have supporting medical evidence which can be double-checked up on by an assessor.

        If you don’t believe me why don’t you send off for an ESA form as an experiment. State on it you’re an alcoholic/junkie, send it off and see what happens?
        According to you, they’ll write back granting your claim for ESA without a WCA purely on your say so… quids in! Except you could be done for fraud if you happen to be working.
        Therefore applying for PIP would be better as that’s not means-tested. If you end up with a letter stating you’ve been granted PIP without the need for an assessment, simply because you’re some kind of addict, I strongly recommend you go to press to publise this evidence demonstrating how easy it is to apply for, and be granted, disability benefits as a supposed addict.
        In fact, if you fill in a PIP form, and send it off without any medical evidence, it will end up being binned, so I wouldn’t waste your time if I were you, Mr Watson. That’s elementary!

  6. ColinL

    Just one more example of the ludicrous system at the DWP that now seems incapable of making sensible decisions based upon credible evidence at the first instance. Direct DWP staff are usually compassionate people I can only assume the system makes this type of case inevitable

  7. If folk get a letter from there GP to explain in detail why they can’t attend the AC then a home visit can be arranged.

    From what I’ve read the healthcare professional, not DWP, didn’t take in to account his medical conditions albeit there was no letter from the GP.

    The system is far from perfect but what system is?

    1. Mike Sivier

      Are you really trying to excuse the government for its treatment of this young man?

      1. No, I am merely pointing out how the system works.

        Why would I defend a system that is “far from perfect”, tell me, pray.

      2. Mike Sivier

        Does anybody else have a view on communitychampion’s claims?

      3. I’m not a normal Civil Servant person.

        I have assisted folk on Twitter all the time, you guys seem to wanna hang me up even though I am helping you…I thought I could do some good but its become obvious ya just wanna do harm to someone.

        How sad!

      4. Mike Sivier

        I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean!

        Should I maybe mention my own credentials when it comes to standing up for people, just to put things in perspective?

      5. “I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean!

        Should I maybe mention my own credentials when it comes to standing up for people, just to put things in perspective?”

        You can do mate but its not you who is being criticised for trying to help people is it?

      6. Mike Sivier

        That isn’t true. You were claiming that I want to harm people so I was offering to point out the huge amount of work I have done to help people over the seven years This Site has been running, just to put your comment into perspective. Let’s have a little clarity about this, shall we?

    2. trev

      @ community champion

      People shouldn’t have to attend any assessment in the first place if they have been given a Sick Note by a GP. A Doctor’s opinion should be good enough and be the deciding factor of who is fit for work and who isn’t, sickness Benefits should then be paid accordingly once a sick note has been submitted without further ado. Nowadays it’s “fit notes” and Work Capability Assessments, the DWP making medical decisions rather than someone who is qualified to do so. This young man shouldn’t have been required to trail anywhere to justify his condition to some DWP pen pusher or box ticker.

      1. The difference between what a GP says is “not fit to work” and what a decision maker says is “not fit to work” is massively different as people with medical conditions can work, as many people, including me do.

        The process, for those that don’t know but I am sure you do is this;

        New Claim made (with SDP now due to UC) > they SHOULD get sent to Medical Services for an assessment to be sorted which includes the ESA50 being sent out but loads never do so they get the basic rate when in reality they should be either disallowed / in WRAG / in SG > ESA50 should come back within the month, those with mental health have a Flag on their claim which means they do not have to return it but its obviously better for them if they do > that form with all the medical evidence is sent to a healthcare professional which with be a nurse, a doctor, a disability analyst, physiotherapist > they will write a report to say they either A) need more information from the GP and to do this will send a 113 form to the GP B) the assessment will be carried out “on scrutiny” which means the assessment will be done on paper so the person claiming the benefit will never know when its taken place c) the healthcare professional is not able to decide so will need to call the person in to the AC for that assessment to take place > if they need to be called in then a letter is sent out > if the claimant can’t attend due to medical reasons they need a letter from the GP to state very clearly why this is and this then goes direct to the healthcare professional who is dealing with their case > the healthcare professional makes a decision and could offer assistance in getting to the AC or they could agree with the letter and arrange an appointment at home for the customer > assessment takes place > that report which is usually made up of three different documents, a score sheet, a Personalised Summary and the Medical Report Form then goes with the ESA50 and any other evidence that has been sent in with the ESA50 or since it was sent in to the WCA team of decision makers who may agree with or who may disagree with the recommendations made by the healthcare professional > decision notice is written, normally a Decision Assurance Call (DAC) isn’t done as they were phased out > if customer is disallowed or placed in to the wrong group they can ask for a Verbal Explanation (VE) of the decision either by talking to a decision maker if they ring in and one is free or if not, HOTT sent to WCA team for a decision maker to call them back, if they still disagree they can do a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) of the decision either in writing or over the phone (better to do it in writing as you can put forward a much better argument).

        Hope this offers clarity x

      2. trev

        Blimey what a palaver, they’ve made the Social Security system as complicated as possible, was better years ago when DHSS with good old-fashioned Sick Notes, Income Support, Supplementary Benefit, SSP, DLA etc. I don’t how they expect people who are sick/ill/disabled to navigate their way through all of that. Fact is, they don’t, they expect you to stop claiming anything and just curl up and die.

    3. Sandy

      @ communitychampion

      You are half right when you say, “If folk get a letter from there GP to explain in detail why they can’t attend the AC then a home visit can be arranged.”
      Except the word ‘May’ should be substituted for the word ‘Can’ as granting a home visit is entirely at the discretion of the organisation arranging/conducting benefit assessments on the DWP’s behalf.

      However, the above presupposes that the claimant’s parents actually knew about getting a GP’s note in the first place. I believe them when they say they were ‘blanked’ when ringing up about a home visit. After all, they only applied for UC when their disabled child left school, so their knowledge of the ins & outs regarding ESA and its UC equivalent was probably zilch. I believe them because exactly the same thing happened to my bro and sister-in-law regarding their severely disabled foster child way back in 2014. Clearly nothing has changed since.

      My bro and SIL’s foster child also has cerebral palsy, cannot speak other than in grunts, etc, is doubly incontinent and cannot walk, plus various other problems. He attended a specialist school which he had to leave when he turned 18. Once he’d left school my bro applied for ESA on his foster child’s behalf. He too received a letter stating the time and date for a face-to-face WCA interview. He too rang up about this asking for a home visit instead, and he too was blanked. He was told he had to turn up for the interview or else his claim could not proceed… end of! No mention at all of doctor’s letters.
      My bro refused to believe this, so made enquiries elsewhere. Not everyone is so untrusting as to do this. He found out that he could request a home visit but would need a GP or Consultant’s letter explaining why a home visit was necessary. My bro got both to be on the safe side and immediately sent them off.
      ATOS still refused the home visit. My bro was gobsmacked at the stupidity of it all. Keep in mind that ATOS already had a thick file of info before they even sent the first letter out.
      The only reasons my bro could come up with as to why he’d been refused a home visit is because A) they cost more to conduct so less profit for ATOS. And B) If you do not/cannot attend then that’s one less claimant, and probably some kind of bonus/brownie points for ATOS by stymying a claim.
      Either way, he decided to attend the face-to-face interview with his foster child as he just wanted to get it over and done with by now. At least the interview centre was only 8 miles away and had full disabled access; many do not have the latter.
      Even the interviewer was shocked that a face-to-face interview had been foisted on my bro’s family given the severe nature of their foster child’s conditions. The interview lasted all of 15 minutes and their foster child was placed in the Support Group of ESA.

      Also, many GPs charge to provide such a letter which, in any case, has no guarantee of success in a home visit being granted. My bro was lucky as his were provided free of change. Many GPs charge anything from £20-£50; it’s entirely up to them, even for NHS doctors. If you’re on a very low income, this charge is yet another unfair obstacle put in your way.

      I agree with you that, “The system is far from perfect but what system is?” No system run by people is perfect due to human error, and mistakes & balls ups will always happen. However, fair-minded people do not judge a system by mistakes made as these are inevitable, but by how quickly, efficiently and fairly such mistakes are rectified once discovered/pointed out.
      On that very reasonable criteria, the DWP and their enablers (Maximus/Capita/ATOS) have fallen very short indeed. Not only do they not rectify mistakes quickly (unless it hits the headlines) but they all regularly refuse to acknowledge any unfairness, etc, at all; let alone instigate changes to make the ‘system’ itself fair and equitable.

      Given that this has been going on for several years now, the only logical conclusion I can draw is that it’s an ideologically driven and deliberate policy from the DWP downwards. Combine that with the inevitable accidental oversights due to human error (which will occur in any & all systems) and you have a double whammy badly effecting many claimants, and not just a few here and there. The latter is wishful thinking as the opposite is now true, with most claimants consider themselves ‘lucky’ if they’re treated fairly and reasonably at all instead of taking that for granted. It’s not for nothing that fear of the ‘dreaded brown envelope’ heralding a WCA/PIP assessment exists.

      I suspect that those who refuse to believe this fear exists, or that it’s greatly exaggerated, have never had any actual involvement with the DWP or their minions. I used to believe that too until I did become involved, albeit with only second-hand involvement, and not just through my bro either.
      I’ve gone from being a trusting ‘This is England, that can’t happen here’ type to an outright distrustful cynic regarding the DWP and their underhand shenanigans. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the parents of the girl in the article fell in to the former category too…. until it happened to them. What’s that expression? First they came for…. etc, etc, etc.

      Rant over!

      1. Thank you 🙂

        I became rather cynical about DWP when I claimed JSA and then moved in to work, came out of work and claimed UC as a fit to work job seeker so I get the point you are making.

        I’m not gonna split hairs with you about language, if people get a letter then a home visit for a WCA (normally called a Domiciliary Visit) can be arranged, as in, it could be, its up to CHDA as they are medically trained and DWP aren’t.

        Of course the letters need to be changed to reflect a DV could be something to consider with supporting medical evidence, however, I think that one should go to the MP’s who look after the DWP as its up to them to change that sort of thing, it would help if it did say a DV was something they could look at.

        DV’s do cost a lot more and they’re short on staff to physically do them as well. So to coin your phrase, there is a double whammy there.

        NHS GP’s are contractually obliged to provide a letter of this sort and if there is an issue about charging then claimants or their representatives must report this CHDA.

        Take care.

    4. Gary Bowman

      Far from perfect? No it isn’t it is working exactly as intended 130000 can attest to that. Even the decent people at the job centre admit that the system is set up to fail the, “customer” it is the b*stars that are more interested in hitting targets than treating “customers” as people, rather than as an underclass who deserve to be treat like sh*t, that I loathe. Anybody any one of us can become a “scrounger” due to illness accidents or unemployment. I can guarantee you 100%you will not want to or deserve to be treated this way, that’s just for everyone else.

      1. Nobody deserves to be treated any less then what we would consider to be acceptable in our society, when I claimed JSA and when I claimed UC, I raised complaints due to the way I was spoken to.

        What I didn’t do was then go and verbally attack someone who worked inside the system who was trying to help.

        Anyone of us can become ill, before, during or after our working lives. I spend my days trying to ensure people get the money the administrative process has denied them and for that I feel very proud.

        I honestly want to assist you folks who may or may not claim benefits but to be honest all I’m getting is abuse so I may well give up.

  8. spirit

    Don’t know if you’ve missed this one? Absolutely tragic and the contrast between his words and the response of the DWP sums up the last decade of that bastard organisation. Seriously, fuck those murderers.

    https://www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news/people/autistic-milton-keynes-man-left-suicide-note-on-computer-explaining-tragic-reasons-he-took-his-own-life-1-9072786

  9. Gary Bowman

    Perhaps it might have more of an inpact if when referring to the DWP we precede those three letters with the current minister’s name and party they work fo “The Conservative minister for the governmt’s DWP Therese Coffey was today responsible, through the actions of her departmental staff for making,……….. It might work, the pen must be mightier than the sanction. Prsonalising it in this manner may give pause for thought, I suppose there would be some legal implications though.

  10. Brian Spiers

    We all know, in the end all of these tory members who caused so much distress. WILL be made accountable. Iv had over 8 years of abuse by the DWP. And letting American out sourse anything has turned into more hardship. Ie medical records. Mine were lost 6 years ago. Hence no help due to no medical proof. Even while on chemo. They saud I was fit for work. Caused me major health issues. And after chemo sepsis and an attack that broke 16 bones in my face, and hacked my foot off with a hammer. Left for dead, all 4 got if with probation. Iv serious worries fir this country. Brian.

    1. That’s awful mate.

      God bless you.

    2. trev

      Blimey Brian, your experiences certainly put my problems into perspective. I wish you all the best.

  11. Craig

    In July I had a nine hour operation the rebuild my leg and knee following two previous failed operations and I had to go for a medical assessment at the local dwp office to be medically assessed by there doctor and nurse when I arrived I was told I was medically unfit to be medically assessed
    Which didn’t make any sense whatsoever
    The system isn’t fair for people who generally need help
    I’m still unable to walk properly and I’ve not been out since that appointment I’m not allowed to get a mobility scooter till I’ve been assessed and I’ve tried to get a second hand one yet there rather to far away from me or there spares or repairs
    And the income I’m receiving wouldn’t help to get one

  12. Mark allinson

    I’ve been fighting the DWP for over 4 years my doctor signs me off as unfit for work because of my health problems and if there is anything at all the DWP do not like is if the person stands up and fights them even when I’ve been threatened with sanctions over the phone telling me it’s gone on for far to long so drop my appeal and look for work or face a sanction I just say no I will fight in court so anybody who reads this KEEP FIGHTING.

  13. Jeffrey Davies

    Ah the wonders of aktion T4 how quaint they are never the less it’s rollings alongs without much of a ado

  14. Gary Bowman

    I was “forced” to attend less than 10 days after my wife died, as I had already cancelled a month earlier as she was coming to the end of life, I was expected to attend. Of course following the assessment they saved £30 a week by calling me fit to undertake work related activities. Despite having ptsd, epilepsy chronic pain (you get that when you’re forearm bones are sticking 6 Inches out of your elbow) clinical depression and generalised anxiety disorder, add in bereavement. I asked for a mandatory reconsideration but we all know how much that’s worth. I don’t have the energy to go to appeal and prove myself innocent when I was already presumed guilty. I no longer claim out of work benefits as they have beaten me down on that one. If I lose the small amount of PIP I receive (which is quite likely judging by personal experience and that of others) I will have a pension of £304 a month to live on. The welfare state now exists to humiliate, encourage suicide or starve you to death, for the amusement of whoever is the incumbent minister and their psychopathic civil “servants”. When the evidence of your health care professionals can be ignored and the word of a target driven box ticker that spends less than an hour with you asking questions that are largely irrelevant, because they will have made up their mind before you even start the assessment, you know that the system is rigged. If this was only my experience I might consider myself unlucky but it isn’t, it is the experience of thousands of people and. in terms of 130,000 people their job has been 100% successful I probably smiled or could walk more than 2 steps unaided. Why didn’t I have someone with me (she’d just died you idiot) How did I get there? My son had to drive from Worcester to pick me up from Bridgwater to take me to Weston Super Mare. Why didn’t I drive, because I have epilepsy and my licence had to be surrendered. How do I normally get about? By bus when I go out once a month to collect my medication. If you are reading this and thinking it’s bulls**t, it isn’t and it’s what awaits you should you suffer accident or illness.

    1. Your situation sounds disgusting.

      Did you get help from an advice centre?

      Evidence such as letters from support networks, counsellors, medical staff, can really help with these kind of situations.

      I’ve sat with decision makers and they go on what is in front of them, in a sense you have to treat them like they are stupid, their work is checked by their EO (Executive Officer) and their HEO (Higher Executive Officer) so simply passing everyone wouldn’t work.

      I am happy to speak with you off this platform if needs be, let me know and I can share my e-mail address.

      Hope you are OK.

      Take care

      1. Mike Sivier

        Would you be offering this service free of charge?

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