Benefits UK: Are We Getting Like The US?

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
Elie Wiesel

It looks like it will be a cold winter this year here in the UK. Yesterday I saw a homeless man on the street sleeping in a shop doorway, it was 09.30 and bitterly cold. I could not afford to give him money but did so as I was worried that he was not well and needed a reason to wake him.  This country is an awful place with extreme social injustice condemned by the UN, a country where many people have no money to live on. Poverty is high and getting higher – childhood poverty has soared by 400,000 since the Conservatives came to power.  While corporations get tax concessions and tax payers fund another extravagant royal wedding poor people get their benefits cut or taken away from them.

How long I ask myself is this nightmare going to be allowed to continue. We cannot have people living in poverty in the 6th richest economy. Shameful. Anyone who votes Tory should be ashamed for you are responsible for the damage to thousands of people’s lives including children. How do you sleep at night, not like the homeless man mentioned above ? The indifference of many people to the plight of those needing benefits has also played a role in consigning many people to lives of misery and despair, not knowing where their next meal will come from or if they will have a roof over their heads.

Under cover of the announcement of the royal wedding – 0dd how there is plenty of money to indulge those who already have it in
abundance – the government announced that they intend to continue the freeze on benefits:

Benefit freeze to stay for working people costing typical family £300 a year

“Millions of people will have their benefits frozen for another 12 months from April in a move that will cost a typical working family with two children about £300 a year.”

“The freeze, which has been in place since 2015, means a real-terms cut in income for millions of people because of rising living costs.”

Continue reading:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/27/benefit-freeze-to-stay-working-people-costing-typical-family-300-a-year

Poverty and homeless increase yet who cares, most people carry on with their own lives oblivious.

How many of us were aware that back in July 100 tenants each day where being evicted as a result of cuts to benefits, this number will no doubt rise with the introduction of Universal Credit. 

“More than 40,000 tenants in England were evicted in 2015, according to a study by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). It is an increase of a third since 2003 and the highest level recorded. The research appears to confirm fears that a mixture of rising costs and falling state support would lead to a rise in people being forced out of their homes. It will raise concerns that even those in work are struggling to pay their rent.”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/22/100-tenants-a-day-lose-homes-rising-rents-benefit-freeze

It is important to note that UC is a benefit for working people paid low wages.

Three thousand people responded to an a House of Commons inquiry into disability benefits when only about a hundred responses were expected. Responses are still coming in after the deadline has passed.

Inquiry into disability benefits ‘deluged’ by tales of despair

More than 3,000 people have written to work and pensions committee in despair at system, many saying they have been driven to suicidal thoughts

“A House of Commons inquiry into disability benefits has heard from more than 3,000 people in despair at the system, including dozens who say they have been driven to suicidal thoughts by the process.

Frank Field, the chair of the work and pensions committee, said it would be usual to receive about 100 responses, but the inquiry had been deluged by people sharing stories about being denied disability benefits or battles to keep their entitlements.

The evidence includes testimony from many saying their mental health had deteriorated as a result of trying to claim the employment support allowance (ESA) for daily living costs and/or the personal independence payment (PIP) to cover the extra costs caused by long-term disability.”

Continue reading the full article:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/27/inquiry-into-disability-benefits-deluged-by-tales-of-despair?CMP=share_btn_tw

Life for many in the sixth richest economy is hell thanks to Tory polices and the indifference of other people.

Read the Story of Sue and others lives turned into a nightmare by UC

‘It’s just mistake after mistake’ – stories from the universal credit catastrophe

“It was introduced to simplify benefits and encourage people to work. Yet from a bungled rollout to Kafkaesque rules and the infamous six-week payment delay, universal credit has caused untold misery. John Harris meets people who have had their lives turned upside down. ”

With only £48 a week of child benefit coming in, Sue had effectively stopped eating. “I was trying to make stuff from the food bank last longer. I lived off cereal, so the kids could eat. That went on for three months.”

…the time it took to process her application and start paying her the right amount of money went way beyond six weeks, to almost three months.

One of her most vivid memories is of explaining what was happening to her eldest son. “I sat down with him, and I was crying my eyes out. I said: ‘I’m so sorry – I’ve got no money at all for anything for Christmas . It was only through our church’s generosity, giving us bits and pieces for the kids, that they actually had presents on Christmas day. None of it was from us.”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/20/mistake-universal-credit-catastrophe-misery

This is the tip of the iceberg. People’s lives have been made hell on earth since Tory changes to welfare, so many people do not know where to turn or have the wherewithal to write to committees, either worn down by the misery of draconian welfare assessments, by the severity of their illness often made worse by the nature of these assessments or they simply do not have the ability to write about their situation.

The Tories are on a mission to dismantle the UK’s welfare state.

I get sick of hearing that the Tories are out of touch with reality. The implication being that it is incompetence rather than a deliberate attempt to destroy our welfare state. The truth is the Tories are using cuts  as a means of destroying the welfare state – including the NHS which they detest.

Read

How to dismantle the welfare state in five easy steps – and ways to spot the Government doing it

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/how-to-dismantle-the-welfare-state-in-five-easy-steps-and-ways-to-spot-the-government-doing-it-a7025711.html

The above article is eighteen months old but the points it makes are valid now as they were than.

Don’t be fooled with the misleading implication of Tory ineptitude, even by those opposed: benefit cuts and cuts to NHS funding are deliberate a attempt to end our welfare state.

Universal credit is not the only problematic benefit. The Tories new Personal Independence Payment PIP which replaced Disability Living Allowance DLA has left thousands of disabled people without this extra support or with a less amount of money.

The government are slowing dismantling our social security until it resembles the US –  virtually nonexistent.

If you think this is far fetched, such abuse of sick and disabled people would not happen in the UK think again.

Read the following

The staggering rise in PIP complaints shows there’s rot in the system

It’s not just the scale of the complaints, it’s the increasing evidence that disability benefits are being removed on fabricated grounds

‘Almost 80% of disabled people put through the PIP test have seen their health deteriorate due to stress or anxiety.’

Complaints about the personal independence payment (PIP) assessment process rose by nearly 880% last year,

For the past four years, I’ve been reporting on the radical changes to disability benefits orchestrated by Conservative governments. The lack of humanity is glaring: there’s the Open University student with agoraphobia, Asperger’s and complex mental health problems living without a washing machine, oven or television after benefit cuts left her destitute; the 14-year-old child carer listening to her disabled dad crying because he doesn’t know how he’s going to pay the bills after having his disability benefits taken. But as the DWP’s complaints show, the scandal of this goes even further: there’s increasing evidence that benefits have been removed from disabled people based on entirely fabricated grounds.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/30/staggering-rise-pip-complaints-rot-system-disability-benefits

Note in the above article that there are “claims of  widespread dishonesty in the disability benefit system, with more than 250 PIP claimants alleging assessors repeatedly lied, ignored written evidence and dishonestly reported the results of physical examinations. ”

Claiming PIP is a harrowing and degrading experience added misery, anxiety, stress and depression to the lives of vulnerable people whose lives are already difficult as  consequence of their conditions

After reading this story why you might ask why did this person receive zero points

Cece’s epilepsy last May left her bed bound for three months!

Her “focal onset seizures ranging from between once a week to sometimes ten to fifteen a day – these leave me confused, exhausted, emotional, unaware, and unable to speak or move. I’ve caused harm to myself many times, being alone in my flat while my partner is at work.”

“The assessor was shocked when she saw that I struggled to write my own name because I’d had a seizure three days prior to the assessment; she was shocked when I told her about my job; she was shocked to hear that on bad days I can’t even walk to my GP surgery which is only a 15 minute walk away, or stand in the shower which is why we have an unbecoming IKEA stool in our lovely bathroom, that when my partner is away I can’t cook for myself because I can’t be by the stove unsupervised; she was shocked to hear that if I have a seizure while out, I become confused and lose my way and struggle to read maps – even a tube map, yet I grew up in London. Every Londoner knows that a tube map is like their children’s Bible and by the time you hit adolescence, you don’t even need that bad boy because you have it memorised. Well, not when you have recurrent seizures.

None of this was in this assessment report however… No mention of my awkward crying either, or the constant prompting for answers, because of my slow brain. Furthermore, my mobility problems, medical history and mental health issues were also relegated to thin air, and in the end I scored zero points.”

This World Isn’t Made For People Like Me – My PIP Assessment

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/this-world-isnt-made-for-people-like-me-my-pip-assessment_uk_5a11b32ce4b0e30a958507fe

While it’s bad here in the UK it could get worse. Sadly I rather think this is what the government intend for the UK

Read the following from the Washington Post

10,000 people died waiting for a disability decision in the past year

597 days.
And still waiting.

10,000 people died in the past year while stuck
in a backlog of judges’ disability cases.

What will happen to Joe Stewart?

“Stewart had first applied for federal disability benefits on May 21, 2015. The application was denied, and so was his appeal. When he appealed the second rejection, he went to the back of one of the federal government’s biggest backlogs, where 1.1 million disability claimants wait for one of some 1,600 Social Security administrative law judges to decide whether they deserve a monthly payment and Medicare or Medicaid. “A death sentence” is how Stewart, who has no health insurance, has come to think of another denial.

For other applicants, the wait itself may be enough to accomplish that. In the past two years, 18,701 people have died while waiting for a judge’s decision, increasing 15 percent from 8,699 deaths in fiscal 2016 to 10,002 deaths in fiscal 2017, according to preliminary federal data obtained by The Washington Post. The rising death toll coincides with a surge in the length of time people must wait for a disposition, which swelled from a national average of 353 days in 2012 to a record high of 596 this past summer.”

Please take time to read the full story

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/local/2017/11/20/10000-people-died-waiting-for-a-disability-decision-in-the-past-year-will-he-be-next/?utm_term=.16e88fbb0b2c

Write to your MP and demand change:

http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

Remember anyone can be ill at any time, lose their job, become homeless. None of us are immune to the suffering that is taking palce here in the UK as a result of vicious tory policies which are taking us back to a time we had hoped had faded into history.

Related Links

Apparently universal credit claimants will now only have to wait five weeks instead of six! BIG BLOODY DEAL when you have no money. Housing benefit to continue for an extra two weeks after the start of a universal credit claim. Again hopelessly inadequate, not everyone has savings for a rainy day, thousands of people here in the UK live from week to week . By way of comparison, in 2015-16, government targets for the waiting times for income support, jobseeker’s allowance and employment and support allowance were between 10 and 14 days).

An insult, a joke. .These changes as pathetic as they are  will not come in time to help claimants struggling before Christmas, as they only take effect from next year.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/22/universal-credit-wait-reduced-to-five-weeks

Keep in mind also that UC the new system’s shift from a mixture of benefits paid monthly, weekly and fortnightly, to a once-a-month payment will make people’s budgeting even more difficult.

The fact that UC depends on an internet connection makes it very difficult for a lot of people to access, not least because of the government’s closure of hundreds of public libraries.

 

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2 thoughts on “Benefits UK: Are We Getting Like The US?

  1. It’s a horror story. So many people suffering while the Tories don’t give a damn. I’ve heard appalling things about the PIP assessment too. Health Service no better. Heard on the radio today that people referred for mental health assessments and treatment are waiting 2 years to be seen. A woman with severe mental health problems who absolutely couldn’t cope any longer waited 9 hours in A&E, only be told that unless she had declared that she was about to commit suicide, the mental health team’s hands were tied, and they could do nothing for her. She was sent home again. Thank you for continuing to air these failures of a supposedly democratic and wealthy society.

    • You have summed up nicely the callous indifference of the Tories and its effect on vulnerable people. There has never been much in the way of help for sufferers of mental illness but far better than what we have today, now it is virtually non existent . Two years is far too long to wait for help with mental illness. Yet they expect sick people to live on nothing, bully them into applying for jobs they are not well enough to do. What makes me most depressed about the whole situation is the indifference of so many people to this grave social injustice . Few people seem to care or are even aware of what is happening. All the new PIP assessment is about is getting as many people off this benefit as possible.

      It also shocks me how many continue to support the Tories and how there is very little anyone can do to stop it all. It’s all very well the UN condemning the UK but what are they going to do about it I would like to know.

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