Tag Archives: universal

One in six new universal credit claimants forced to skip meals during Covid crisis

It isn’t news that people claiming Universal Credit are forced to starve – especially in the five weeks before they receive any payments at all.

But the Tories have been making a big deal of their generosity in providing the benefit – along with a £20 uplift – to more people during the Covid-19 crisis.

Now we see the facts:

Many people claiming universal credit for the first time during the pandemic were unable to put aside enough cash to save £10 a month, eat healthily or regularly, or pay bills because the benefit payment was inadequate to meet basic living costs, a study has found.

A survey of the experiences of thousands of people who signed on after losing their job under lockdown concludes that even with the temporary £20 a week Covid-19 uplift many struggled to bridge the gap between benefits and living costs without borrowing from family, running up credit card debt, or using food banks.

Two-thirds of all claimants reported suffering financial strain, with one in six new claimants skipping a meal in the previous two weeks, and more than 60% reporting they would be unable to replace or repair electrical goods if they broke, or put aside enough cash to save £10 a month.

The fact is that Universal Credit is a sham that provides only enough in payment for the Tory government to make their claims – when in fact it plunges claimants into debt, and often into mental illness.

There are many reports of suicides among benefit claimants and the information above suggests ample evidence to support their reasons.

Source: One in six new universal credit claimants forced to skip meals | Society | The Guardian

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Boris Johnson SHOULD be blasted for thinking of plunging kids into poverty

Two-fingered salute: Boris Johnson displays his attitude to your starving children.

Bear in mind what we know about money: the government creates it in order to fund its policies, and taxes it back afterwards in order to prevent inflation.

Now read this:

Boris Johnson has been blasted for considering plunging hundreds of thousands of children deeper into poverty by ending the £20-a-week uplift of Universal Credit.

Anne Longfield, the outgoing Children’s Commissioner said the Prime Minister’s claimed commitment to helping youngsters catch up after the pandemic was “not compatible” with cuts to the vital benefit.

And she called on the government to back Joe Biden-style funding boost, aimed at families and children.

In suggesting that he won’t continue the £20/week uplift, Johnson is saying that his government prioritises funnelling millions to fake companies run by rich Conservative cronies over saving innocent youngsters from starvation that he has caused with his other policies.

We know this because the crony contracts keep being signed.

It isn’t a matter of there being not enough money; it’s a matter of priorities.

Now you know that his lie with his fat mates – and not with your starving kids.

Source: Boris Johnson blasted for considering Universal Credit cut that could plunge kids into poverty – Mirror Online

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Trickster Coffey: she says disabled people should switch to Universal Credit – where they’ll be worse-off

Therese Coffey: you wouldn’t think she was trying to get her jollies by encouraging people to quit legacy benefits for Universal Credit with a false claim that they’ll be better-off, would you?

Did Therese Coffey get her doctorate in lying to people?

Having refused calls to extend the £20-per-week Universal Credit uplift to so-called “legacy benefits” that sick and disabled people receive – Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and others – she has suggested that they should claim UC instead.

People on Severe Disablement Premium (SDP) were unable to make that move until Wednesday (January 27) – when the Tories removed that barrier.

But charities have warned that this is a trap.

People with long-term illnesses and disabilities are more likely to lose money if they switch to UC and, once they have made the move, there is no going back.

It’s just another example of Tory discrimination against people with disabilities, that has reached new heights in the Covid-19 crisis, which they have used as an excuse for persecution.

People who’ve been on SDPs can get £120, £285 or £405 per month in transition payments – depending on their circumstances. But DWP officials have confirmed these payments “will be subject to erosion and cessation” over time.

And the Disability Rights UK group has claimed that, “after transitional help is eroded after time”, Universal Credit will be “significantly less generous” than legacy benefits for disabled people.

So the two-tier discrimination against people with disabilities in fact continues, no matter whether they are on “legacy benefits” or Universal Credit.

This Writer’s advice is clear: stay where you are. Don’t give Trickster Coffey the giggle she wants to get from hurting you.

Source: Fears as DWP chief urges disabled people to switch to Universal Credit from Wednesday – Mirror Online

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MPs – including Tories – demand Universal Credit uplift retention after misleading Tory tweet

The Big Lie: Labour won a vote calling on the Tory government to extend the £20 Universal Credit uplift – and this is the tweet the Conservatives sent before the debate.

MPs on both sides of the House of Commons have urged Boris Johnson to extend an uplift of Universal Credit beyond its planned end date.

The non-binding Labour motion passed by 278 votes to none, with six Conservatives defying a Tory whip to abstain.

They were Robert Halfon, who appeared on TV vowing to support Labour’s motion…

(He has some strange ideas about the so-called ‘benefit’ but he did the right thing so we’ll cut him some slack this time, right?)

… along with former Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb, Peter Aldous, Jason McCartney, Anne Marie Morris and Matthew Offord.

Personally, This Writer thought their decision was more impressive when contrasted with the behaviour of whoever writes the official @Conservatives Twitter feed.

Before the vote, a message appeared there, saying

Keir Starmer wants to scrap universal credit, withdrawing vital support from millions of people.

Experts say Labour’s plan would would [sic] be disruptive and cause chaos.

Conservatives are investing £7.4bn to help those who need it most.

It is a sickening distortion of the facts, as Peter Stefanovic makes clear:

But wait! The plot thickens:

He is.

That’s like paying them the uplift for 25 weeks, all at once – and it’s a dangerous thing to do.

The people receiving it are in dire straits financially. That’s a given, because otherwise they would not be on benefits.

They probably got into debt while waiting the mandatory five weeks before payment of UC began, and probably took out the advance loan of UC that is offered to people in that situation.

This means those who did this have been receiving less than even the government says they need on which to live, because they have to pay off that loan.

Now suppose they get that £500 payout. What do you think they’ll do with it?

They’ll pay off their debts and treat themselves with some – or all – of what’s left, most likely. It’s a relief reaction: “We’ve got some money; let’s enjoy it.”

And then they’ll find themselves back trying to make ends meet on UC – with £20 a week less on which to live. In fact, if they do pay off the debt, they’ll probably be in more or less exactly the same position as they are now.

And let’s just put this into context:

That’s right. The sum we’re discussing is less than one-third of the amount a member of the House of Lords gets, simply for turning up.

Finally, let’s be clear about what Universal Credit is.

Grateful?

That would be hugely overstating the obligation, considering we all fund UC with our taxes. And what do claimants of the so-called benefit get in return?

See for yourself, if you can bear it:

Labour does want to scrap Universal Credit – because it is a diabolical travesty of social security.

But Labour wants to replace it with something better. That can’t happen at the moment because we have a Tory government, with ministers who put forward the view of it that Robert Halfon expressed (above).

Retaining the £20 per week uplift is the least those Tories can do.

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Is Boris Johnson really facing a backbench revolt over Universal Credit cut – or is it a smokescreen?

Manipulative? Is Boris Johnson trying to distract us again with a false threat to take away the £20 Covid uplift in Universal Credit?

Is it just another distraction?

According to The Independent, Boris Johnson is facing a possible rebellion from backbench Tories over a plan to end a £20 per week uplift in Universal Credit.

The boost was granted to help people on the benefit cope during the Covid-19 crisis.

So doesn’t it seem strange that Johnson is now suggesting it should be withdrawn, before the crisis is over?

The story states that Johnson has made repeated U-turns over everything from free school meals to the immigration health surcharge, when faced with a backbench revolt.

Some of us see this as a sign of weakness but it is possible that diehard Tories think it indicates a huge streak of generosity – so a last-minute policy reversal could be exactly what Johnson needs to boost his sagging reputation.

To This Writer, there seems little reason for the plan to cut the payment at the end of March, when the current English lockdown is set to end – although experts say Covid-related restrictions are likely to continue for some time afterwards.

The only sense I can make of it is if it has been set up to give Johnson an opportunity to seem magnanimous.

Cynical. The question is, is he the cynic or am I?

And – again – a huge distraction for the public.

But from what?

A Tory revolt is threatening Boris Johnson with defeat over his controversial plans to cut up to £1,000 a year from universal credit payments.

The 50-strong Northern Research Group (NRG) of MPs is calling for the continuation “until lockdown is lifted” of the emergency increase that was brought in to help poorer families cope during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The support for maintaining the payments beyond March comes just days before Labour stages a Commons vote – putting pressure on the prime minister to rethink the cut.

It would hit 6 million families and push 200,000 more children below the breadline, the Child Poverty Action Group is warning.

Source: Tory revolt threatens Boris Johnson with defeat over £1,000 a year cut to universal credit | The Independent

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Well done, Tory voters now on Universal Credit! You ASKED to be made poor

 

Tory voters who are employees really are the stupidest people on the planet. If that’s you, I’m very sorry but go and look in the mirror and understand that you’re looking at a fool.

You see, these people voted for a government that dumped around one and a half million of them onto Universal Credit – the so-called benefit that the Tories actually use to persecute people who have been plunged into poverty – as soon as the Covid-19 crisis hit.

Now 63 per cent of those people – and you can bet that many of them voted ‘Conservative’ like good little sheeple in December 2019 – are having cash removed from their benefit payments.

The money is being used to repay loans they took out – advances of their Universal Credit payments are loans, you see – to cover their living costs or outstanding debts while they endured the five-week delay the Tories impose on everybody who claims.

1,060,000 ‘Covid claimants’ have a deduction of some kind from their UC. Of those, 810,000 are repaying an advance only, 50,000 have a deduction for another reason and 200,000 have deductions to repay a UC advance and another debt.

It means a million people are trying to live on payments that are less than their assessed benefit need.

That is to say that the Department for Work and Pensions has worked out that they need a particular amount but is refusing to let them have it.

DWP officers do this on the orders of the Conservative government – voted for, most likely, by a majority of the claimants who are now being forced into poverty and starvation.

I wonder how Tory-voting UC claimants feel if they are also parents – knowing that their vote in 2019 is also forcing their children to go without.

(The information on the so-called “Covid claimants” has been compiled by Child Poverty Action Group for the Covid Realities research project).

The worst part of it is that these absolute dimwits are so tribal that they will almost certainly defend their 2019 decision and repeat the mistake, first chance they get. There is no reasoning with them.

Source: Over one million on Universal Credit have money deducted to repay debts

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Tory message to people on benefits: have yourselves a MISERABLE little Christmas

Therese Coffey: computer says no.

The worst part of this is that Therese Coffey probably didn’t even think about the consequences of her actions.

It is doubtful she gave a moment’s consideration to the fact that the Tory government’s so-called “grace period” exempting many people who claimed Universal Credit due to the Covid-19 crisis from the benefit cap will end this month – right before Christmas.

The number of households affected by the Benefit Cap has doubled since the Covid-19 crisis started – to 170,000. And a further 160,000 will reach the end of the nine-month grace period in the remaining weeks before Christmas.

How nice for them to have to work out how to make up the sudden shortfall just when they are likely to need more!

Still, it could be worse – they could be claiming Employment and Support Allowance, like many people with long-term illnesses and disabilities.

These people were diddled out of a £20-per-week rise in benefits that was given to people on Universal Credit. Coffey babbled a bobbins “computer says no” claim – that changes to computer systems could take months.

For UC claimants, the increase will last at least until next April, although there are demands for it to be made permanent, in the light of increasing uncertainty about the nation’s economic future.

ESA claimants are already £660-a-year worse-off – each – because of Ms Coffey’s computer-illiteracy, and this could almost double to £1,000 if they don’t see the rise in April.

Now for the most insidious part: Ms Coffey hasn’t ruled out the possibility that ESA claimants may get their benefit increase in the future.

But (firstly) she hasn’t said anything about whether they’ll have the rise backdated to cover all the time they’ve had to cope without it.

And (secondly) there’s an enormous orange elephant sitting in the middle of this room: people on Employment and Support Allowance die. One could say it is what they are best-known for.

The most common reason they die, that is known to those of us who check, is lack of money. ESA claimants need more cash because their medical conditions mean their lives are more expensive than those of people who are able-bodied.

And here the Tories have said they are deliberately denying sick people the extra cash that they have said everyone else needs to cope with the extra costs of Covid!

I fear that, for many, that is the equivalent of writing a death warrant.

And, given the Tory record on these matters, I fear that death is exactly what Ms Coffey is hoping will happen to these people – whose only crime is failure to be a “functioning work unit” (as Tory jargon describes the rest of us).

AFTERTHOUGHT: Shortly after I posted this, I received the following comment on Twitter, which I think makes a very good point:

And this:

Source: Two million disabled people set to lose £2 billion in Tory benefits freeze – Mirror Online

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Thousands of disabled students could get Universal Credit after woman wins legal fight

Tactical cruelty: perhaps DWP bosses realised they were going to lose a court case so they changed the law in order to ensure that disabled students would continue to be unable to claim Universal Credit.

This is good news for many – but not for everybody:

Tens of thousands of disabled students could qualify for Universal Credit after 22-year-old mostly-blind Sidra Kauser won a legal victory over a loophole saying she could not claim Universal Credit.

To receive the benefit, she would have had to take a work capability assessment – but the DWP’s rules contained a bizarre ‘Catch-22’ that she could not take the test, because she is a student.

As a result, she could not be found to have limited capability for work, and therefore couldn’t receive the benefit.

The High Court has quashed the DWP’s decision, saying it breaches the Tory-run government department’s own regulations, dating back to 2013 – and ordered it to pay Ms Kauser’s legal fees.

But this fight is not over because the Tory government changed the law on August 5, ensuring that disabled students claiming Universal Credit after that date would not be invited to a work capability assessment and therefore would not be eligible for the benefit at all.

That will have to be challenged in a future court case.

But this is another victory for crusading lawyers Leigh Day, who explained the case:

Sidra Kauser, aged 22, from Halifax, is visually impaired and is currently studying for a masters degree at York University.

She received Personal Independence Payment (PIP) but that, combined with a student loan, was not enough to provide her with an acceptable standard of living. After payment of her rent, she had £120 a month to live on.

She applied for universal credit, but because she was a student, she was refused a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which meant she was effectively disentitled from claiming universal credit.

Sidra applied for a judicial review of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) policy (which stated that disabled students shouldn’t be invited to a WCA), arguing that the law required the DWP to conduct a WCA to determine whether she had limited capability for work, in which case she would be entitled to universal credit.

Now, after the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, told the court in July, 2020 that she would not be defending Sidra’s claim, a high court judge has ruled that the SSWP had acted unlawfully and has quashed the decision to refuse Sidra’s claim for universal credit.

Sidra will now be given a WCA, and if she is deemed to be unable to work, she will be entitled to make a claim for universal credit.

The court ruling also has an impact on those disabled students whose applications for universal credit had previously been unsuccessful because they had been refused a WCA.

However, on 5 August the DWP changed the law so that other disabled students who made a claim for universal credit after that date would not be invited  to a WCA and would not therefore be able to establish their limited capability for work.

Ms Kauser said: “I am glad I decided to take a stand and pursue my claim for judicial review of the DWP decision to refuse me a WCA. Hopefully other students will benefit from the court ruling.”

Leigh Day solicitor Lucy Cadd added: “Sidra made a brave stand against the decision to refuse her a WCA and it has proved successful. It has been estimated by the charity Disability Rights UK that the Secretary of State’s unlawful policy, which has been in operation since 2013, could have adversely affected 30,000 disabled students. Other disabled students who were refused a WCA prior to 5 August 2020 and therefore lost out on their claim for universal credit, should ask the Secretary of State to revise her decision.

“Although the DWP has callously changed the regulations to prevent more disabled students being entitled to a WCA, there may be scope for legal challenge to the new regulations.”

Source: Disabled student wins right to be considered for universal credit

DWP disabled sanctions extension shows great tragedy is due to timing, too

Habitual cruelty: if you thought the Tories stopped persecuting people with long-term illnesses and disabilities during the Covid-19 crisis, think again.

The Department for Work and Pensions has employed its usual subtlety and tact – and has extended benefit sanctions against people with disabilities in time for the new English lockdown.

People with long-term illnesses and/or disabilities who fail to take part in telephone work capability assessments are now to be sanctioned. The change was brought in on November 2, days before the new lockdown began.

The change has been attacked by mental health charity Mind as an “abandonment of their responsibility to keep people safe”.

Mind’s Ayaz Manji said:

We need to see a compassionate response to this pandemic.

That has to mean removing benefit sanctions and cancelling reassessments for disability benefits so that people with mental health problems don’t face the prospect of going without income this winter.

Sadly, we are not going to see any compassion from the Department for Work and Pensions while it is under Tory control.

The Department has said nobody will be sanctioned without being contacted first – which raises interesting questions if assessors can’t even phone up a claimant properly:

People will be contacted to ask them to explain why they did not, or could not attend or participate in the assessment and where good cause is provided and accepted, support will continue.

We don’t want to sanction anyone and our absolute priority is to ensure people continue to receive the support they are entitled to.

We will contact anyone who hasn’t engaged in a telephone appointment and their support will absolutely continue if they have a good reason for not attending or participating.

We’ve heard it all before. Expect a slew of articles about the DWP failing to follow this simple routine.

Source: DWP extends benefit sanctions against disabled people just as new lockdown begins – Mirror Online

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Tory Covid-19 blunder opens opportunity for Universal Credit scammers

Loadsamoney: but if you are approached by someone claiming to get it for you by exploiting a loophole in the Universal Credit claim system, say no. YOU will be caught and they will get away with cash you’ll have to repay.

An old scam has been given a new lease of life after a glitch was discovered in the application process for Covid-19-related Universal Credit advance payments.

It seems some families looking for extra cash during the coronavirus pandemic have been able to obtain advance payments of £1,500 on up to three separate occasions.

Enter the fraudsters.

Posing as Job Centre staff or personal loan advisers, they have been offering to help UC claimants input false information into the online claim system.

Then, when the payments come through, the scammers have been taking a cut of £500 – one-third of the payments.

It’s terrific for these criminals because the money is in the name of the claimant – so the claimant will take the rap when the Department for Work and Pensions catches up with them.

And mark my words: the DWP will catch up with anybody submitting a fraudulent claim.

It’s an old scam that has been given a new lease of life by the Tory government, because their ramshackle online Universal Credit system can’t cope with a simple change to accommodate a contingency fund.

So if you’ve been contacted by someone claiming they can help you make thousands of pounds from Universal Credit, and asking you to provide the information they need to get it, my advice is this:

Don’t. You will be caught, and you will be fined. And the scammers will move on to their next victim, taking with them the money you’ll have to pay back.

Source: Universal Credit £1500 cash boost loophole – DWP issues warning to fraudsters – Birmingham Live

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