Tag Archives: credit

DWP Hide Details Of Forced Transition To Universal Credit Pilot From MPs | The poor side of life

Once again the Department for Work and Pensions has been caught hiding information – this time not just from the public but from MPs as well.

Here’s The Poor Side of Life:

The DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) have once again been found to have covered up data from a forced transition pilot which took place in Harrogate.

Not only have they tried to hide this information from the public they’ve also hidden the details from MPs.

There is evidence of the DWP covering up not only the details of the forced pilot which took place in Harrogate, but also details of their incompetence.

This relates to the forced transition from legacy benefits to UC (Universal Credit). The social security advisory committee (SSAC) has been reported saying to MPs that there is a need for external scrutiny of the worrying process this month.

Steve McCabe MP for Birmingham Selly Oak has disclosed that copies of the Harrogate forced transition pilot report on the Harrogate pilot have been placed in the House of Commons library, after being entirely redacted with the exception of the words ‘Moved to Universal Credit’ and ‘User research’.

The total redaction tells us one thing, the DWP doesn’t want to let MPs know the details of the pilot and what happened. It goes without saying that they don’t want the public to know these details either.

Steve McCabe also gave details concerning a constituent who was left in a very bad both physically and mentally leaving the constituent in distress. The DWP reported that she failed to respond correctly to a migration notice despite already being told that she didn’t have a computer at home.

He went on to say that she attempted to phone the DWP but could’nt find anyone to speak to. She also sent a letter by recorded delivery at her expense which the department ‘thought’ that they didn’t receive it. This left her without any payments for many weeks.

Charlotte Pickles, a member of SSAC (Social Security Advisory Committee), told MPs that the SSAC believed that some kind of external scrutiny of the ‘scary’ migration process is needed which will then supposedly give people forced to transition confidence that the process will be fair.

She went on to say, “We are all very aware that for some groups, in particular, UC is quite a scary proposition. If you are sitting on a legacy benefit or you are a tax credit claimant, you possibly, likely, in certain groups, are very nervous and possibly reluctant to make that move to UC.”

After all who can blame them. The DWP are concealing important details not only from MPs but the public as well. The evidence from the Harrogate trial should be provided in an open and transparent way and any failings dealt with before expanding forced migration to Universal Credit.

Concealing evidence such as this will result in a failure of responsibility from the DWP and will undoubtably result in suffering and distress for those forced to move to Universal Credit.

At the time of writing the DWP are still hiding these details.

Source: DWP Hide Details Of Forced Transition To Universal Credit Pilot From MPs – The poor side of life

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Grandparents: snap up this little-known childcare benefit while you can!

Here’s more useful information from Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert:

So there’s no penalty for the parent if they’re working and earning NI credits from that.

Any good?

Cost of living crisis: good news if you receive tax credits

Rule change: tax credit claimants who can show an entitlement to tax credits will receive payments to help cope with the cost of living crisis.

The government has actually done something nice for a change.

It has changed the eligibility rules for the bonus payment to help pay energy bills, announced by Rishi Sunak when he was Chancellor earlier this year.

For tax credits claimants to get the first cost of living payment of £326, they must have been entitled, or later found to be entitled, to tax credits for any day in the period between April 26 and May 25, 2022, rather than having received a payment between those dates.

It means claimants need not have been actually receiving tax credits during that qualifying period. They could also have been eligible for tax credits but had not yet had any money, or may later win an appeal that finds they would have been eligible during that timeframe.

The bad news is that the cost-of-living payments announced by Sunak have now been entirely swallowed up by the rise in the energy price cap that is expected in October, so households will still be worse-off.

Still, not enough help is better than no help at all, right?

At least, that seems to be the Tory government philosophy, as it is not even trying to find another solution until a new prime minister is sworn in on September 5.

Source: Cost of living: Huge DWP change to £326 payment means more people entitled to it

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Is Coffey’s plan to get 114,000 UC claimants into jobs a bid to break coming strikes?

Therese Coffey: is her latest attack on UC claimants an attempt to break forthcoming industrial disputes?

I spotted this on David Hencke’s Westminster Confidential site, which you really should be reading.

Let’s set the scene:

The Department of Work and Pensions is to tighten the rules significantly to force 114,000 existing Universal Credit claimants into work as job vacancies soar across Britain.

She is changing the rules so far more people will have to go on what is known as an intensive work search regime where they will be monitored continually by work coaches on how many jobs they have applied for and why they didn’t get them.

The [Social Security Advisory] committee approved the idea on February 4 but agreed to keep the decision secret until last week when it published the minutes of a meeting between DWP officials and the committee.

To make the change the government is using a regulation to uprate what is known as the Administrative Earnings Threshold – a device which sets the level of benefit and earnings dividing those who only receive ” a light touch” regime – ie occasional checks whether they are seeking work – from their local job centre and those put on intensive work search programmes. Those who refuse or don’t co-operate properly with face benefit cuts as a sanction.

It will move the level from £355 to £494 a month for a single claimant and from £567 to £782 a month for a couple. At present some 250,000 people covered by the intensive work search programme are in work – this will increase the number by 50 percent. The government justify it by saying the new level brings it into line with recent rises in the national minimum wage for those in work.

Some of us already knew the above. I’ve reported it already.

But here’s the really nasty part:

Questioned about the current job vacancies level encouraging this move officials said: “the vacancies position the labour market is considered by some to be hot which could be driving inflation.”

In other words by getting more of the unemployed into work, employers would have a bigger pool of labour and would not have to offer higher wages or even compensate people for the rising cost of living.

There may now be an even more compelling reason as Therese Coffey wants this to be law from September 26, since the government plans to use agency workers to break the coming strike wave. What would suit ministers would be if the unemployed could be drafted in as agency workers leading to confrontation with striking workers on trains, buses, schools, the NHS, and the post office with shouts of ” scab” and bringing the police in to make mass arrests of strikers.

How vindictive. How very Tory.

Source: Coffey sneaks through tough plan to push 114,000 Universal Credit claimants into jobs while Parliament is in recess | Westminster Confidential

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Universal Credit rule change means working people may lose payments

Therese Coffey: would you trust her to make sure you knew about a change that could affect your income, when she could just sneak it out quietly and knock you off her DWP books?

Working people who still have to claim Universal Credit may have their payments stopped because of a rule change being sneaked in by Therese Coffey.

At the moment, people do not have to continue attending regular Job Centre appointments to seek more work if they are employed for the equivalent of nine hours a week.

The Work and Pensions Secretary wants to raise that to 12 hours, meaning more people would have to return to interviews.

No specific date has been set for the change, meaning UC claimants will have to be aware of what is happening. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is notorious for failing to notify people of changes and then suspending or cancelling their benefits.

Of course, the change means the DWP will need to employ more people as work coaches – if the Treasury provides some cash for it. So that’s an opportunity for someone.

Then again, This Writer wonders whether Coffey would be happy with the advice that may be provided by people who have endured her welfare regime.

Source: Major DWP rule changes could see Universal Credit payments stopped

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More than two million people pay £61-per-month Tory ‘poverty tax’

Sanctions imposed by Tories on people claiming Universal Credit mean 2.02 million people are paying an average monthly ‘poverty tax’ of £61 from their benefit payments.

DWP figures show 46 per cent of the money was used to repay loans that the Tories force people to take because they won’t pay UC to anybody for five weeks after they make a claim.

Another 19 per cent was used to repay Tax Credits that the government overpaid people in the past and is refusing to write off.

According to The Welfare Times,

The figures were uncovered by SNP MP Chris Stephens, who is also a member of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee [who] said: “This is essentially a Poverty Tax on people who are struggling to heat their homes and put food on the table.

“Universal Credit is meant to be a subsistence benefit that covers basic living costs. If £60 a month is being taken away from it, when living costs are rising rapidly, how are people meant to subsist?”

The article stated that Tory government rules mean single adults over 25 get £324.84 per month, with additional payments for housing, children, and disability – but up to a quarter can be taken to pay DWP-created debts.

Repayments for social fund loans, hardship payments, integration loans, and other benefit overpayments may also be deducted.

Astonishingly, a DWP minister – David Rutley – responded to Mr Stephens by claiming the deductions were not debts – right after saying the aim was to “seek to balance recovery of debt against not causing hardship for claimants and their families.”

Apparently the DWP reduced the maximum deductable amount from 40 per cent to 25 per cent of monthly UC payments, and made them repayable over two years rather than just one.

But it still isn’t enough and, with the cost of living skyrocketing because of Tory political decisions, people are going to suffer. What will this government do about it?

It’s just another example of the fact that the Tories find it easier to bully poverty-stricken UK citizens than to sanction billionaires who may be connected to a warmongering foreign regime.

Source: Over 2 million on Universal Credit hit by £61-a-month ‘poverty tax’

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50,000 UC claimants sanctioned per month but the Tories haven’t sanctioned a single Russian donor

With friends like these: One of the key figures in forging links with Boris Johnson’s Tories was Sergei Nalobin, a diplomat suspected of being a Russian spy. This Site has loads of photographs of Johnson with suspected Russian spies.

It doesn’t matter whether Boris Johnson and his cronies really are secretly siding with the Russians in an act of treachery against the West; you can still be sure that they aren’t siding with you.

This Site reported that, after face-to-face meetings resumed in March last year, the number of sanctions against Universal Credit claimants multiplied 15-fold, from 960 to 15,929.

Figure to November 2021 show the number of sanctions had risen to 49,944 by November – and this is not the total sanctioned across the whole month but only those under sanction on the day the official figure was taken.

It also excludes UC claimants who are not in “conditionality” groups, like severely disabled people.

So sanctions by the UK government against its own people multiplied more than 50 times in nine months.

Contrast that with sanctions against Russians who have stashed money in the UK – including giving donations to Conservative MPs – since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine:

That Tory co-chair would be Ben Elliot, who is facing calls for him to resign or be sacked (here are some details).

The classic example of a Russian who could have his assets seized is Roman Abramovich, who is currently hoping to sell Chelsea FC for £3 billion before shifting the money out of the UK, having been warned to do so within 30 days by the Boris Johnson Advice Bureau for Rich Russians:

And details of donations to top Tories from people and organisations with links to Russians – whether sanctioned or not – keep being revealed. For example:

People have been asking what Russian donors to the Tory Party/government have had in return for their money…

It seems possible to answer that question now – at least in part.

What did the Putin-linked Russians get in exchange for their huge Tory donations? Exemption from sanctions until they have taken their money out of harm’s way.

And the contrast between the government’s treatment of Universal Credit claimants and rich Russian donors proves something else:

Tories would rather stamp down hard on their own fellow UK citizens than take meaningful action against enemies of the nation who have given them some dirty money.

Source: DWP Universal Credit sanctions soar to 50,000 a month in ‘extremely worrying’ rise – Mirror Online

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Secret DWP benefits survey cherry-picks respondents – so it can lay blame on claimants?

Too much Coffey: the Work and Pensions Secretary (right) seems to have commissioned a survey of benefit claimants in order to say their failure to budget properly has put them into hardship – not her insistence on providing starvation-level payments and using the slightest excuse to cut them off. Meanwhile, she parties.

The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a secret survey – sent only to specially cherry-picked claimants.

The reason seems to be to blame benefit recipients for any hardship they suffer, claiming that poor budgeting skills are the root of the problem rather than the political decision to fix payments at starvation levels – and then to use the flimsiest excuses to stop them.

The survey asks about debts claimants may have, what effect the debts have had on them and what support they need. It is the last question that has raised concerns, as Benefits and Work, which hoisted the red flag on this apparent scam, pointed out:

The full question and list of options is as follows:

What types of help or support, if any, would be most useful in helping you manage your finances?

  • Help with working out what money I have left to spend each/day/week/month.
  • Advice on how to spread my spending so I don’t run out of money
  • Advice on how to reduce my spending
  • Advice on how to reduce my debt
  • Advice on how to increase my income
  • Help with setting up a direct debit/standing order
  • Help with opening a bank account
  • Other (specify)

In this context, advice to increase my income is most likely to relate to those in employment.  In general claimants cannot increase their income unless there is a benefit they could be claiming that they are not aware of.

What is entirely missing from these options are the ones that would actually make a difference to claimants, such as:

  • Pay benefits at a rate that is enough to live on
  • Remove the 5 week waiting time for UC
  • End the long delays for PIP assessments and WCAs

Because there are no such options, this survey will produce results that say that, of claimants who are in debt:

X% say they need advice on working out what money they have left to spend

X% say they need advice on how to reduce their spending

X% say they need advice on how to reduce their debt

Whilst some people may indeed say in the ‘Other’ box that the help they need is a higher rate of benefits, this will not be listed as a percentage in outcomes as everyone’s answers will be worded differently.

In other words, all the support needs will be around claimants not understanding how to manage their money, rather than it being impossible to manage on the money they receive.

See how it works?

Benefits and Work has made Freedom of Information requests to ask how the claimants taking part in this survey are selected, how many are taking part and whether the results of the report are going to be published.

The logical conclusion to be drawn is that the DWP has been stung by having to reveal the findings of its secret report on how people on sickness and disability benefits are struggling with unmet needs.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey had repeatedly refused to publish the DWP-commissioned report on disabled people’s experiences of the benefit system – so the Commons Work and Pensions Committee ordered its authors to provide a copy to Parliament. It has now been published.

The report, received by the government in September 2020, stated that many people are using disability benefits such as PIP, which is intended to meet the additional costs of disability, for very basic needs such as food, rent and paying debts:

“The participant had kidney failure, arthritis in his back, legs and arms, depression and bulimia which caused chronic stomach pains. He lived alone in a flat rented from a Housing Association, using Housing Benefit. He was in the ESA Support Group and received PIP. He made monthly repayments for utility bill arrears and had a £5,000 bank loan which he could not afford to repay. His debt repayments meant he could not afford essential day-to-day living needs and used a foodbank. He found it difficult to wash independently due to his arthritis and needed a walk-in shower but could not afford one and seemed unaware that he may be eligible for support through the local authority. He also needed support with cooking and cleaning and received help from a cousin. His cousin would like to claim Carer’s Allowance but neither of them knew how to make an application. He had no other support networks close by.”

It said claimants with invisible disabilities such as mental health conditions often struggle even more than those with physical conditions to meet their basic needs:

“Participants with mental health conditions tended to report a wide variety of basic needs, health and care needs and social needs that were unmet. In comparison, those with profound learning disabilities and severe physical disabilities were typically in the group that identified having fewer unmet needs. While the latter group experienced a high level of need across a range of areas, these were usually being met through a combination of local authority support and informal support networks, usually parents who provided a high level of care.”

And the wellbeing of disabled claimants often depends primarily on being in a household in which another member has a well-paid job:

“The participant has recently moved in with her mother and sister, she had previously lived alone in a council-rented flat but had begun to feel isolated and found paying the rent and bills difficult so decided to move in with her mother. She has a range of health conditions and disabilities including Asperger syndrome, anxiety, ADHD, joint stiffness and IBS. She works 28 hours a week and receives PIP. Before moving to live with her mother she was concerned about how her income would cover essential day-to-day living costs. She also struggled with maintaining her personal hygiene and found it difficult to leave the house as she did not like going out alone. Moving in with her mother has helped her to meet all of her health-related needs.”

The reason Coffey and the DWP kept the report secret seems clear when one notes that last October – more than a year after receiving it – the Work and Pensions Secretary was lying to the public about the system it damns.

As Benefits and Work (again) details:

Coffey was telling the Conservative party conference that:

“PIP has certainly grown in a way that was not anticipated when it was introduced.

“To give you an example, three out of four young people who claim PIP have their primary reason being mental ill health.

“That in itself is 189,000 young people who currently receive benefit focused on that. There may be other benefits they receive as well.

“. . . people can think the benefit system is fair.

“And I think by being able to target that even more so to people who really need that support, may improve that prospect of public perception.”

Having been forced to release a report that shows – even in its watered-down form – that the benefit system is forcing hardship and related physical and psychological torture on claimants, including those who already have significant mental health problems (leading to a threat to life itself?), it seems Coffey has commissioned this new survey in order to manufacture a false justification for herself.

I think I’ll write her a letter. Let’s see how she justifies this web of deceit.

Source: DWP secret survey set to blame claimants for going cold and hungry

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#LevellingUp, #Tories? By cutting #taxes for the rich and heaping them on the poor?

Michael Gove: this Tory has been part of the government for 10 of the last 11 years and says levelling-up is needed because poor communities have been undervalued for years. Wasn’t that his doing? He’s not providing enough. And he’s busily giving tax breaks to bankers while punching working people down with the biggest tax burden in decades.

Michael Gove’s “levelling up” project is already an embarrassment to the Tories and the UK – and he’s only just provided any details?

The plan is to close the gap between rich and poor areas by 2030 through improving services such as education, broadband and transport.

The Tories say they’ll provide £11 billion for projects between now and 2030, including:

  • £100m of new investment for innovation centres to boost research and development in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Glasgow
  • A £1.5bn fund to give loans to small and medium-sized house builders for new homes mostly outside London and the South-East
  • £5bn in bus services and active travel
  • £1.8bn invested in new housing infrastructure, turning brownfield land into projects across the country
  • £230m extra in grassroots football
  • £30m allocated to improving parks and urban green spaces
  • An extra £560m in activities for young people
  • An additional £150m in a safer streets fund

Does that seem generous? Not when compared with other countries, as critics have pointed out:

It doesn’t even compare with the amounts the Tories have wasted:

But there is a solution!

Some have pointed out that Gove has been a poor choice to front this project:

But the biggest flaw in the Tory plan for “levelling up” is that party’s own ongoing project to overbalance the nation’s wealth in favour of people who are already super-rich.

On the same day as Gove announced this project, the Tory government pushed through a plan to cut taxes for rich bankers – by £1 billion per year. This is at the same time as they are inflicting a 10 per cent increase in National Insurance on working people, after cutting Universal Credit for the same workers by more than £1,000 per year.

Ultimately we come to the big question: why is there a disparity between “rich” and “poor” areas that needs “levelling up”?

One-word answer: Tories like Michael Gove.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Embattled Tories kick down hard – they want to make benefit claimants suffer

Sanction centre: the Tories are giving unemployed Universal Credit claimants just four months to get a job in the sector they want before demanding that they take what they’re offered or face sanctions. But who will profit? The jobseeker – or the employer?

This Writer has never understood why working-class people vote for the Conservatives when the Tories always attack them.

This is especially true when the Tories are themselves under attack, so it should be no surprise to anybody that they are victimising benefit claimants again.

This time it is unemployed people on Universal Credit who are taking the brunt of the pain:

Unemployed workers will be forced to take up a job in any sector or face swift financial sanctions under a crackdown designed to fill hundreds of thousands of vacancies.

Claimants will be given just four weeks – down from three months – to find a job within their preferred sector. After that point, if they fail to make “reasonable efforts” to secure a job or turn down any offer, they will have part of their universal credit payment withdrawn.

The move, which is part of an initiative to get 500,000 people into work by June and fill 1.2m job vacancies nationally, comes as Boris Johnson seeks to reassert control over the political agenda amid the “partygate” crisis.

See? It’s a distraction tactic.

The important question is: how much do these jobs pay?

Unemployed people aren’t likely to care if they take a job in their preferred sector; the priority for anybody at times of hardship is to get one that pays the bills.

And this is the problem.

The Conservatives have spent nearly 12 years, since they slithered back into office in 2010, pushing wages down – so the average is now thousands of pounds less than it used to be (in real terms).

And people are struggling.

Do these 1.2 million new jobs pay a living wage?

Or will anybody taking them still be claiming Universal Credit, simply to survive?

That’s a government subsidy for employers, of course – not a benefit for the employee.

It’s not acceptable and, as the government, the Tories should be ensuring that it doesn’t happen.

But they won’t, because they haven’t bothered at any other time since May 2010.

The remarkable thing is that, knowing the Tories are victimising the electorate, voters still send them back to Parliament. In the name of all that’s sane, why?

Do middle-class voters really think that these punitive moves against vulnerable people are saving the rest of us from supporting scroungers, benefit cheats, and people who are just too lazy to work?

Do working-class voters – the ones this police attacks – really think a Tory government provides an opportunity for them to become billionaires, by hard work and struggle? Has it not occurred to them that they work much harder than those people and still get nowhere because the system is stacked against them?

People need to think about what Tory policies actually do – and ignore the propaganda. Then they need to vote accordingly.

Source: Universal credit claimants face tough sanctions in UK job crackdown | Benefits | The Guardian

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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