Tag Archives: ice

Did DWP torture this disabled benefit claimant until he died?

There are many kinds of torture – not just physical but also psychological.

This Writer has to ask whether the Department for Work and Pensions used psychological torture on a disabled benefit claimant by its own failures to carry out its duties properly.

DWP officers had left the claimant to be supported by an elderly, disabled parent – his appointee – who also needed daily carers and meals delivered.

Departmental guidance states that they should have found another appointee – but they did not do so. Why not?

Instead, the claimant’s ESA and PIP were repeatedly stopped due to failure to attend assessments, because letters were sometimes sent to the claimant’s address and sometimes to his parent’s.

The benefits were restarted after interventions – but the DWP has apparently lost the evidence showing why the claims had been restarted.

There are supposed to be safeguarding procedures to protect vulnerable benefit claimants but – as we discovered after the death of Jodey Whiting – nothing has been done to encourage officers to follow them.

In this case, the DWP repeatedly failed to follow its own safeguarding procedures, despite the fact that officers knew the claimant was vulnerable.

In addition to physical health problems, this claimant had severe depression. At one point, a sibling contacted the DWP to say that the claimant’s GP had sent them for psychiatric assessment due to a deterioration in their mental health.

The sibling explained that they had been to the claimant’s house and found unopened post and said they weren’t fit for a PIP assessment, but another such interview was arranged – by letter.

The result was predictable: the claimant didn’t answer the door and their PIP was stopped. The same also happened in relation to their ESA claim.

The claimant died – underweight, “unkempt and dirty” – after having been denied ESA for three months and PIP for three weeks.

His parent had been providing cash for food, even though that person had their own care package, meals prepared and carers attending daily.

The claimant’s sibling complained to the DWP and the government department made a payment of ESA arrears and £3,000 of backdated PIP.

Unsatisfied, the sibling took the matter to the Independent Case Examiner, who ruled that a further payment of £10,700 in PIP be paid to the claimant’s estate and a consolatory payment of £2,500 to the family.

And a fat lot of good it dead the deceased man!

But think how much the DWP saved; one-off payments totalling £16,200 – which included arrears, remember – is much less than might have been handed out if the claimant had remained alive.

So I have to ask: did DWP officers deliberately push this claimant to death?

They knew he suffered from severe depression but chose to mess him around.

Brown envelope phobia is a known phenomenon in which depressed people avoid opening letters from the DWP – so they sent him letters that they knew he would never read.

They deliberately failed to find a new appointee, and sent important notifications to the claimant’s former appointee – knowing that he would not be able to read them.

Another known behaviour of depressed benefit claimants is aversion to confrontations with DWP-appointed benefits assessors; they believe (justifiably, as many documented cases show) that they’ll be cheated out of payments.

But these DWP officers still sent an assessor to this claimant’s address anyway. Is it really credible for them to say they did not expect what happened?

Or were they deliberately inflicting psychological torture on a man with severe – mark that: severe – mental health problems?

To This Writer, the evidence is clear: the problem at the DWP is systemic – people there are encouraged to ignore their duty of care to claimants.

But with the Court of Appeal refusing to allow another inquest in the case of Jodey Whiting, it seems impossible to bring the evidence needed to prove it into the light of day.

Is the whole of the UK’s benefit and legal system rigged to push vulnerable people to their deaths and then hide the facts, simply because they happen to be sick and/or have a disability?

Source: Disabled claimant died underweight, ‘unkempt and dirty’ after ESA and PIP wrongly stopped | Disability Rights UK

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Ice Cream giants take on Priti Patel over refugees. But are their motives really so pure?

Yes, it’s great fun watching Priti Patel losing whatever’s left of her sanity shouting at Ben & Jerry’s.

The ice cream manufacturer took a side in the debate over asylum-seekers taking to boats in attempts to get into the UK:

And Patel ill-advisedly responded:

It seems the company has a history of political activism, and recently made quite a hit by supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

But a lot of political commentators should have done a bit of research before voicing wholehearted praise for the purveyors of ‘cookie dough’ ice cream (my personal favourite, although I have to try to source it from other makers now).

Steve Topple, of The Canary is the only journo (I’ve seen) who actually understood what’s going on:

That’s exactly what this is.

It is impossible for me to support Ben & Jerry’s making a stand in support of refugees because Ben & Jerry’s has a factory on a former Palestinian village of Qastina, that was destroyed by Israeli troops in 1948. When that land was stolen, it undoubtedly turned a lot of people into refugees. Yes, it was a long time ago but I hope nobody is stupid enough to try to make a point out of that.

Ben & Jerry’s also sells into illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – land that has been occupied by the use of armed force, its rightful owners displaced.

It is unacceptable for a firm that is complicit in the creation of so many Palestinian refugees to claim the moral high ground over the issue of refugees coming to the UK – much though This Writer would wish the opposite to be the case when the other disputant is Ms Patel.

Still, we can always enjoy the fact that she’s #ShoutingAtIceCream – just for the absurdity of it:

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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Anti-Semitism ‘campaigner’ in racism outrage – and an URGENT APPEAL for help

Tracy-Ann Oberman should be well-known to readers of these updates.

After the teenage girl at the centre of my case was engaged in an argument over anti-Semitism with Rachel Riley – and had been subjected to appalling abuse by her followers, Ms Oberman sent dozens of tweets to her – all on the same (school) day – inviting her to a meal in London (as recounted in this article).

The poor teenager, who suffers from anxiety, was terrified at this unwanted attention, which she could only conclude had an ulterior motive.

When I wrote about it (read the article here), Ms Oberman threatened me with a libel action – but eventually left it to her friend, Ms Riley, to take a case to court.

One has to question the validity of her position after yesterday’s (June 11) interaction with an American rapper who happens to be black.

It seems a rapper known as Ice Cube had made remarks which had been interpreted as anti-Semitic. I pass no comment on that as I have not yet seen those words. Ms Oberman responded:

 

The problem here is that the owner of the Twitter handle @FINALLEVEL is Ice T – a completely different person – and one who was completely bemused by the attention:

 

Ms Oberman apologised… if you can call this an apology:

 

 

Is that an apology? Judge for yourself.

People are drawing the obvious conclusion, though – as follows:

 

“Tracy Ann Oberman tagged the wrong black man in a post about racism because they all seem to look the same to her.”

That’s the “they all look the same” trope – on Twitter, where people are only represented by words, remember.

And it was perpetrated at a time of heightened sensitivity to racism against black people too.

All from a person who once said she was in a “gang” including Ms Riley who had started to speak out against racism.

And Ms Riley is suing me because I stood up for the girl that both she and Ms Oberman targeted – again, on Twitter.

Her current tactic is an application to strike out all or part of my defence. It will take me a day in the High Court in London to defend against this nonsense  – at a cost of up to £17,000.

And that’s cheap – the last application of hers, in December last year, cost me £28,000!

This is where the “URGENT APPEAL” in my headline comes in. This hearing could happen as early as next month (July). If you think individuals like Ms Oberman (and, by association, Ms Riley) should not get away with the behaviour they exhibit on Twitter, then please contribute to my crowdfunder – otherwise I simply will not have enough money.

And that would be a real shame, because my legal team and I have worked out a little surprise that we would love to deliver at that hearing.

Given current unspent funds, we need around £14,000. Here come the instructions, so please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

I have a chance to deliver a legally-binding rebuke to these individuals.

But I can’t do it without you. Will you help?

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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Complained about the DWP? Don’t hold your breath waiting for an investigation

The state of this.

Remember when This Site told you complaints to the DWP about the company the Tory government hired to assess claimants’ eligibility for certain benefits had multiplied nearly 15 times since 2013?

Well, it turns out that if you complain to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) about the DWP or any organisation working for it, you’ll be waiting more than a year.

In response to a parliamentary question last week, the Tory government admitted:

“In the first six months of 2019 (January to June 2019) it took the Independent Case Examiner’s Office an average of: 59 weeks to commence an investigation (from the point at which the complaint was accepted for examination); and 23 weeks to complete an investigation (from the point at which it was allocated to an investigation case manager).”

So you’ll be waiting a year and a half for compensation that totals a maximum of £200.

Did you ever get the impression that somebody wants you to think it isn’t worth bothering?

Source: Claimants wait over a year for ICE to even begin investigations into DWP

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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Global temperatures rise yet again as experts prepare for meeting on climate change

2016 has seen high temperatures lead to devastating droughts in many parts [Image: Getty Images].

2016 has seen high temperatures lead to devastating droughts in many parts [Image: Getty Images].

We’ve had droughts, temperature increases 6-7 degrees above average in Arctic Russia, a huge amount of melted sea ice, heatwaves, flooding, and an increase in “once-in-a-lifetime” extraordinary weather events.

Greenhouse gases are filling the atmosphere.

And the United States have voted in a president-elect who doesn’t believe in climate change.

At least China has seen the light and is investing heavily in renewables.

This Writer knows another country that had a renewables programme – until a gang of political bandits got into office on a “vote blue, get green” tag and cut it to ribbons.

Now, where do you think that was?

2016 looks poised to be the warmest year on record globally, according to preliminary data.

With data from just the first nine months, scientists are 90% certain that 2016 will pass the mark set by 2015.

The provisional statement on the status of the global climate in 2016 has been released early this year to help inform negotiators meeting in Morocco, who are trying to push forward with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Temperatures from January to September were 1.2C above pre-industrial levels, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The body says temperatures should remain high enough for the rest of the year to break the previous record.

[The] El Nino [weather phenomenon] has had an impact, but the most significant factor driving temperatures up continues to be CO2 emissions.

Source: 2016 ‘very likely’ to be world’s warmest year – BBC News

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A word to the wise about the weather

vulnerableIt occurred to me today that while we’ve all been having a good debate about the effect of the Work Capability Assessment, as run by Atos for the Department of Work and Pensions to cut thousands of people off from disability benefits every week, we haven’t been thinking about the effect of the current cold weather on those very people.

We have spent a lot of time recently discussing people who have to make a choice between eating and heating when – especially last weekend – cutting out either of those things could have life-threatening consequences.

Now, I’m sure that Vox readers are alert to these issues but, for the sake of thoroughness, if you know anybody who is claiming – or has claimed – sickness or disability benefits near you, and who might have had them cut off lately, or be struggling to cope with what they’re receiving, or simply be vulnerable due to their own mental health or frailty…

Why not knock on their door and make sure they’re all right?

There was a news story in my Mid Wales hometown a couple of weeks ago, in which it was revealed that neighbours saved an elderly lady’s life after realising they hadn’t seen her for a couple of days. They alerted the emergency services, who forced entry to her house and found that she had suffered injury after a fall – and had been stuck in her bedroom for two days. By the time they arrived her condition was life-threatening and she had to be airlifted to hospital.

That story had a happy ending, because the person involved survived to tell the tale.

Without wanting to seem like I’m teaching my grandmother (or grandfather) to suck eggs, let’s make sure we don’t have any sad endings because of the cold weather.

Cheers.