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Only yesterday, This Site criticised the claims of Scottish DWP operations manager Tahira Sharif, who insisted that benefit sanctions are “not about hurting people”.
Here is a person who is not able to anything at all for herself, who has been subjected to the ultimate sanction – being kicked off-benefit altogether – simply because her partner had a momentary mental aberration.
As a carer, This Writer sympathises. We all get overloaded sometimes; we all forget important matters that need our attention.
In most cases, if these matters involve other organisations or statutory authorities, they are reasonable, accept that mistakes can be made, and re-arrange.
The Department for Work and Pensions is not reasonable in this way. But how many of its employees, bosses and the ministers who run it can honestly say they haven’t made similar mistakes?
Take the decision-maker who refused to accept Vince Rodger’s explanation – has this person never forgotten an important appointment? Does this person not know anybody who has done so? Do they not understand that these things happen?
If not, they’re in the wrong job!
Or they would be, if the DWP had not been completely ruined by the Conservative Party in government. It isn’t necessarily the choice of the decision-maker to rule that a forgotten appointment is unacceptable; that’s a rule decided by the Conservative Party.
Even so, these people should have discretion to make their own decision – especially in the case of a woman who cannot do anything for herself.
What job is she expected to do?
Tahira Sharif said sanctions are “there for a purpose” and will be used when people on benefits are unable to meet their “obligations”.
Perhaps this person can explain how the DWP’s treatment of Julie Rodger is “supportive”?
A paralysed woman with brain damage has had her benefits stopped and told by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to start looking for work, after her husband mistakenly forgot to attend a mandatory Jobcentre appointment.
Julie Rodger is a tetraplegic, due to hypoxic brain damage, and is completely dependent on the care provided by her husband Vince and others.
Vince wrote on Facebook: “To all who know me and know my wife Julie, the Government have in their wisdom taken Julie off her employment and support allowance due to an oversight on my behalf and now has been given her P45 to start looking for a job/work.
“Julie is a tetraplegic due to hypoxic brain damage and can’t do anything for herself.
“Julie will be attending the job centre on Monday morning after the miracle worker has been and rid her of her disabilities.”
Explaining why he missed the appointment, Vince wrote: “I received the letter asking for Julie to attend an interview………. I put that letter in a safe place and on the morning of the interview I forgot all about it.
“I received a letter to explain why she didn’t attend, so I told the truth and said that I had forgotten, they sent out a reply stating that they were not accepting my reason and removed Julie from her benefit.
“I appealed for the decision to be changed and a new interview to take place, yesterday I received their reply that they were sticking to the original decision and removed Julie’s benefits.”
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