Tag Archives: wait

Universal Credit claimants have been forced to wait 11 weeks for benefits

Hundreds of thousands of universal credit claimants have been forced to wait for around 11 weeks to receive their benefits, it has been revealed:

The National Audit Office (NAO) finds that although the government has significantly improved the proportion of claims paid on time – from 55 per cent to 90 per cent in the last three years – “unclear” communication from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has caused people with complex needs and circumstances to “slip through the net”

In 2019, new claimants who were paid late faced average delays of three weeks in addition to the five-week wait for a first universal credit payment. Around 6 per cent of households – amounting to 105,000 new claims – waited around 11 weeks or more, according to the report.

There have been 2.5 million new household claims for universal credit since mid-March, with one in five adults in Britain having applied or planned to apply for benefits as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The NAO carried out the research before the pandemic hit, but the watchdog said the issues raised were only going to become more important as the economic upheaval caused by the crisis continue.

And the Tories said they’ve been handling this so well!

For the record, 11 weeks is more than twice as long as claimants should expect to wait – and it is well-known that the five-week wait is considered to push people into poverty and debt.

How much worse have the Tories made it for all the claimants they’ve had since the Covid lockdown?

Source: Hundreds of thousands of universal credit claimants forced to wait 11 weeks for benefits, watchdog warns | The Independent

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Coronavirus: Tories endanger disabled people with homicidal choice between a rock and a hard place

What charmers these Tories are! They’re telling UK-based people with disabilities they have a choice between starving while waiting for their benefit claim to be honoured, and dying of Covid-19 because the Tory government is sending them back to work too soon:

Disabled people and their carers are being put at risk of catching coronavirus by returning to the workplace after being missed off the government’s vulnerable list, the Guardian has learned.

As Britain edges back to work, employers are understood to be denying some disabled people and carers paid leave to remain at home if they cannot provide a letter from the government showing proof of vulnerability, despite being at high risk from coronavirus or caring for someone who is.

The government’s register for extremely vulnerable people, which has previously been criticised for excluding a number of high-risk disabilities, is primarily designed to help signpost the need for food support. But it has emerged some employers are using the list as a condition for allowing employees to take paid leave.

Disabled people and carers who were not on the list told the Guardian they had been required to go into work by their employer or face dismissal when they could not show proof of vulnerability, with one worker forced to self-isolate between shifts in order to protect their disabled child.

This is just plain homicidal, from a government that has been caught victimising people with disabilities – to death – many times in the past.

It’s no excuse to say that nobody asked employers to use this flawed register; it was the government’s responsibility to get it right.

But – as with so much of the Tory response to Covid-19 – the effort made was lacklustre, slipshod, and discriminatory.

Intentionally?

Source: Disabled people in UK threatened with sack unless they go back to work | Society | The Guardian

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Disabled benefit claimants are sidelined* again as DWP assessors diverted to Universal Credit

Once again the Tory government shafts people with disabilities.

More than a quarter of a million people who should be receiving sickness and/or disability benefits are falling into debt because the DWP is forcing them to wait for a decision while it deals with coronavirus-related Universal Credit claims.

Yes – it is important to help the people claiming UC because the government’s lockdown deprived them of their income. We must not hold a grudge against them because they were dumped in a bad situation.

But the Tory government has a responsibility of care – in which it failed by diverting staff to handle UC and cutting PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) claimants adrift.

Why not just divert staff who would have been working in job centres? Why not employ somebody new, on a temporary basis, if necessary?

These are rhetorical questions.

The answer is that no Conservative government will lift a finger to help people with illnesses and disabilities if it can find an excuse not to.

People who are physically or mentally infirm are unable to work for Tory-supporting employers and are therefore of no use to that party.

As Tories consider all working people to be nothing more than “stock”, we may conclude that they consider sick or disabled people to be defective stock, and therefore fit only to be scrapped.

This is the only rational explanation for the way Tories have treated people who deserve as much respect as anybody else.

The worst of it is that these overlooked claimants probably expect to receive attention as soon as the coronavirus crisis ends. This is doubtful; the Tories will find another excuse to make them wait.

Reason: making sick and disabled people wait is a great way of making them die, without any fear of blame.

Figures published by the DWP in response to a parliamentary written question show that as of 27 April there were 166,630 personal independence payment (PIP) claimants with either an assessment scheduled or awaiting scheduling. As of 4 May, 101,910 people were waiting on employment support allowance (ESA) claims.

Charities are also concerned that people who are trying to appeal decisions to reduce their sickness and disability benefits are facing longer than usual delays.

*Feel free to read in a more colourful verb of your choice.

Source: Coronavirus: Hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants facing delays as DWP staff diverted due to pandemic | The Independent

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DWP ‘didn’t consider’ scrapping five-week wait for Universal Credit – because the Tories didn’t want to?

We already knew the DWP hasn’t had any intention of scrapping the five-week wait between claiming Universal Credit and receiving the notice that you’re not receiving anything. But this is revealing:

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has come under renewed pressure to scrap the minimum five-week wait for Universal Credit after a Tory welfare minister admitted the Government ‘didn’t really consider’ the measure.

The welfare delivery minister Will Quince MP was challenged over why the DWP hasn’t scrapped the five-week wait or turned advance payments into grants, which opposition MPs claim would help to protect families affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, during a Work and Pensions Select Committee meeting on Thursday.

Quince told MPs that due to administrative costs of introducing the changes “it wasn’t even really considered as an option” and that the structure of the Universal Credit system is unlikely to change during the crisis.

He said: “Even if we were able to secure the £2.2 billion a year that would be required to do that, it is not operationally deliverable.

Hang on!

Universal Credit was supposed to make the benefit system simpler to administer – and therefore cheaper.

This is an admission that “administrative costs” make even the simplest changes – ending a pointless wait for benefits that we were told was only imposed to make UC emulate payment of the salaries received by middle-class people who were unlikely to claim the benefit… until now.

Alternatively: isn’t it more likely that the Tories are squirming because the real reason they won’t scrap the five-week wait is simply that…

They don’t want to?

I’ve already explained that the five-week wait, for people who are already desperate for cash, means claimants are likely to have to request an advance loan (the Tories are refusing to change them into grants). Paying back these loans will plunge them further into debt in the long run.

The coronavirus – and the lockdown that the Tories have imposed – mean that many people have lost their source of income and are looking to the Tories to help them.

Instead – it’s worse than letting them down – the Tories are actively harming them.

Source: DWP ‘didn’t really consider’ scrapping the five-week wait for Universal Credit – Welfare Weekly

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Tories refuse to help Universal Credit claimants left dangling due to coronavirus

Thousands upon thousands of formerly-working people are learning the realities of the UK benefit system, after being told by the Tories to wait months before their first benefit payment.

If they hoped the Tories would speed up the four-week assessment period for Universal Credit – because of the coronavirus crisis and the cash crisis it has created for millions – they thought wrong.

And they need to remember that they won’t get paid until a week after the assessment period ends; it’s a five-week total wait.

The Tories could make the wait shorter – but they won’t.

The usual excuse is that UC is supposed to mimic the salary system in which people get paid once a month (except of course we know that many people are paid weekly, or fortnightly).

The current excuse, sported by UC director general Neil Couling is “If you play about with the architecture of Universal Credit you won’t be able to pay the vast millions we have to pay every month.”

Nonsense.

It’s an automatic system. If you qualify, you qualify – and it can pay you straight away.

It doesn’t, because the Tory system is to make you wait; to push you far enough to take out an advance loan that will take months to pay off; to push you into permanent debt.

It seems the coronavirus is a perfect opportunity to get 1.4 million people (at current count) servicing a needless debt for months to come.

Hopes new Universal Credit payments could be made faster have been dashed after the Government said the four-week assessment period was ‘integral’ to the benefits system.

Many campaign groups had been hoping for an accelerated process to help alleviate the pressure families found themselves under after the coronavirus outbreak forced businesses to close and people to stay at home as part of the lockdown.

Speaking at a press briefing, Universal Credit director general Neil Couling said: ‘If you play about with the architecture of Universal Credit you won’t be able to pay the vast millions we have to pay every month.’

Source: ‘No chance’ wait for Universal Credit payments can be shortened | Metro News

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Coronavirus crisis won’t persuade Tories to axe the five-week wait for Universal Credit

97,386th in the queue: one claimant’s Universal Credit agony caught in a screenshot.

The Conservatives have insisted on forcing financial instability on hundreds of thousands of people – by refusing to ditch the five-week wait for Universal Credit.

The Tory government has claimed it is helping people who have lost income because of the coronavirus crisis by saying they can claim UC while the UK is under lockdown.

But their refusal to waive the five-week rule means the half a million or more people who have claimed in the last 10 days will be severely out-of-pocket.

Indeed, according to the PoliticsHome article (see link below), 70,000 people have already applied for an advance on their payments.

This is a loan. Good luck to all of those people when they try to pay it off!

This Writer can’t understand Therese Coffey’s comments.

She said: “The design is meant to be based on your general income. We need a month to assess what your monthly income is likely to be.”

No they don’t! They know exactly how much claimants have earned in the past and exactly how much they are likely to earn while they are claiming – it’s all included in the claim information.

I don’t even accept the excuse offered by Peter Schofield, Permanent Secretary for the Department for Work and Pensions.

He said it was impossible to change the conditions under which UC is paid because the system is working at full capacity and changing it would require “reprogramming, resetting or manual processes which we simply, at those levels of volumes, wouldn’t be able to manage”.

It’s a computerised system. Any such change should only require the equivalent of flicking a switch – otherwise what was the point of making it a computer program in the first place?

The intention was to make it easily-adaptable – or at least that’s what we were told.

So… what are we to conclude?

That the Conservatives are perfectly capable of changing Universal Credit to make it payable at once – but they refuse? Now why on Earth would they want to do that if we’re really “all in it together”?

Source: Government insists it won’t ditch five-week wait for Universal Credit despite coronavirus outbreak

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DWP is swamped by half a million Universal Credit claims in coronavirus crisis

Another back-of-a-fag-packet Tory scheme falls apart.

Boris Johnson told us that Universal Credit would be available to self-employed people who become out-of-pocket as a result of his coronavirus lockdown. It’s a con, because they will receive just £94 per week, whereas employees whose firms sign up to the government’s wage guarantee will receive 80 per cent of their normal pay, up to £2,500 per month.

That’s a big difference – but the wage guarantee isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either; think what happens in firms that don’t sign up to it.

What a shame he didn’t find out whether the Department for Work and Pensions could cope with the extra load first.

And how strange that senior DWP official were reportedly sent to Job Centres, when the Job Centres are closed to appointments and assessments.

So what do you think has happened?

According to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, the department has processed almost half a million claims in nine days.

And what do you think that means for the average claimant?

Here’s one now:

“Been trying to apply for Universal Credit and get my £95pw,” he writes.

“I started 4 hours ago.

“The number of people ahead of me in the queue has fallen by roughly 1,000.

“At this rate it will take 16,230.8 days to get to the front of the queue.

“Isn’t it great being self-employed?”

This story suggests Ms Coffey has been overoptimistic about the speed with which her people are processing claims.

I find the deadpan of the DWP computer system unintentially comical: “Number of users in queue ahead of you: 97,385.

“Your estimated wait time is: more than an hour.”

And of course people contacting the DWP about their continuing claims have been caught up in the delays.

A commenter to This Site told me they needed to contact the DWP before March 21 to meet a Universal Credit deadline – but was unable to do so because of the delays.

So the DWP sent a message saying the benefit had been stopped.

Fortunately it was possible to reinstate the payments in this case.

But the message is clear:

This was another promise Boris Johnson simply couldn’t keep. He is a menace to the public.

Source: Almost 500,000 people in UK apply for universal credit in nine days | World news | The Guardian

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Oh, Colin! Losing freedom of movement through EU airports is EXACTLY the Brexit you voted for!

Poor Colin Browning! He clearly seems to have voted for Brexit without having the faintest idea how it would work.

For example: leaving the EU means UK citizens no longer have the right to freedom of movement between EU countries and their own.

Officials had warned before Brexit happened that this could lead to long queues in airports like Schiphol, near Amsterdam.

But that seemed to have passed over Colin’s head as he tweeted the following, without a sign of irony:

You can see for yourself the number of replies he has received.

But you really need to read a few. You can find them by searching the Twitter hashtag #OhColin.

There are a lot along these lines:

How about this? See:

Trouble is (for Colin), this is the Brexit reality:

This has been confirmed by Schiphol’s official Twitter feed:

But there are some there, it seems, who still can’t avoid joining in:

But there is a downside and here it comes:

and

https://twitter.com/pgchipperfield/status/1228391387932090369

Fortunately that’s not true.

But there are millions of them out there.

And they’re all in line to have surprises as nasty as that experienced by Colin.

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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

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RAF hero wouldn’t have spent 12 hours on a hospital trolley if Tories hadn’t messed with the NHS

Stan Solomons: This 92-year-old war hero spent 12 hours on a hospital trolley waiting for help because of Conservative government policy, not NHS failings.

You’re going to see a lot of stories like this in the future, if you haven’t already. But you need to remember some important facts:

Absolutely right.

The Tories have been defunding and weakening the NHS – by privatising services – in order to provoke criticism of the services that are left in public hands.

The ultimate aim is to claim that the public service is unviable and should be privatised.

But we know – don’t we? – that the public service was hugely popular when it was properly-funded, and it is only since the Tories took over that incidents such as that involving Stan Solomons have become commonplace.

So let’s all remember that Conservative government is the reason for this:

It’s approaching midnight inside Leicester Royal Infirmary, and 92-year-old RAF hero Stan ­Solomons is still waiting on a ­trolley.

He’s been here for almost 12 hours, admitted to A&E via ambulance at around midday.

Stan, who trained at the ­codebreakers’ HQ Bletchley Park during the Second World War and went on to serve with the RAF and later at a ‘listening post’ in Hong Kong, is not one to complain, but his feet are hanging off the edge of the trolley.

“I grew up in the years before the NHS was set up, when healthcare was ‘hit and miss’,” Stan says.

“My ­generation built the NHS to take the worry out of being ill, and to make sure that everyone has access to good quality healthcare.”

shocking new figures showed a record collapse in ­emergency care across the NHS – with Stan just one of tens of thousands of people left on trolleys.

In December, the number of people waiting four hours or more on hospital trolleys reached 98,452 while 2,347 people waited more than 12 hours. Both figures are the highest on record.

Source: RAF hero, 92, left on trolley for 12 hour in crisis-hit NHS

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