Category Archives: DWP

DWP Reveal How Much More It’s Paid Out in Staff Bonuses – for failures!

I was shocked, when reading The Canary, earlier on this evening, to discover that the DWP are STILL paying out millions in bonuses to their staff, despite the catastrophic failures they have wrought, while making the lives of anyone who needs to have any help to live, a living nightmare 😦

Here’s what The Canary said:

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has revealed it paid out over £6m in bonuses last financial year. But the figures are even more eye-popping when you compare it to the previous year. Because despite the DWP losing court cases and receiving international condemnation, it’s actually on track to pay out more.

Eye-watering figures

The DWP has released its provisional payroll figures for March 2018. When combined with the provisional totals from January and February, it shows the department has paid out £3m of “non-consolidated performance payments” (that is, monthly bonuses). For the same period in 2017, it paid out £2.21m. This is a 36% increase year on year. But delve deeper into the figures and the numbers make for even more interesting reading.

As The Canary previously reported, the DWP paid out £5.3m of in-month bonuses between April 2016 and March 2017. It paid out £6.1m from April 2017 to March 2018 – a 15% increase. But when you analyse the payroll costs, it shows a different picture.

Total payroll costs between April 2016 and March 2017 were £2.46bn. For the same period a year later, they were £2.52bn – an increase of 2.44% year on year. So, as a percentage of the total payroll costs, the bonuses were 0.22% and 0.24% respectively.

As a percentage of pay, the bonus increase may not seem like much. But in cash terms, the DWP has substantially increased its bonus payments, and the year-on-year percentage increase is well above the rate of inflation.

To read the rest of the article, please click on the following link:

DWP Reveal their Staff bonuses:

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Bonuses, Choices, Conservatives, Disability, DWP, DWP Policies, Financial Year, Ideology, Inflation, Payroll Figures, Self-interest, Social Security, Wages, Welfare

Esther McVey lies again – to Work and Pensions Committee | DPAC

This Site’s article about the Tories wasting more than £100 million in two years on persecuting the sick and disabled made a very important point – that the figures never tie together perfectly because they aren’t intended to.

It seems that the issue is worse than I stated: Esther McVey’s department has been found to have sent one set of figures to the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, and then sent another set – that the DWP had told the committee weren’t available – in response to a Freedom of Information request.

So the DWP has been deliberately trying to hide information from MPs.

Now, why would anybody want to do that?


My Comment:

If you want to read the complete article, posted online by Mike Silvier, at Vox Political Online, then please click on this link:

Esther McVey Lies Again . . .

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Filed under Austerity, Changes, Commons Work and Pension Committee, Disability Issues, DWP, ESA, Esther McVey, FOI Requests, PIP, Politics, Social Security, Works and Pensions Secretary

The UK government was just found to have violated disabled people’s ‘basic’ human rights. Again . . .

 On Wednesday 24 January an international body reported that the UK government had breached the legal human rights of sick and disabled people. This is now the fifth such report to state this in just 20 months.

The ECSR

A report [pdf “ECSR conclusions for 2017 – UK”] from the European Committee of Social Rights (part of the Council of Europe) details whether the UK government was meeting its legal obligations under the European Social Charter The UK signed up to the Charter in July 1996 [pdf, p3]. It covers fundamentalhuman rights, including those related to employment, housing, health, education, social protection and welfare.

The report covered [pdf, p3] the years 2012 to 2015. And overall, it found the UK government was breaching its legal obligations in two areas.

Failing on welfare

The first breach was of Article 12, the right to social security. The committee found [pdf, p19-22] that many welfare benefits – including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) – were “manifestly inadequate”. That is, people were not getting enough money to live on and were being left in poverty.

The committee made a point [pdf, p19] of noting that in response to a previous report where it had raised this issue, the UK government:

contests this finding… arguing that the benefit rates are considered in isolation, without taking into account the safety net of other benefits and credits available.

But the committee once again disagreed. It said [pdf, p20] that all the benefits mentioned left people below the poverty line, even with “other benefits and credits”. Therefore, this is an automatic breach of the Charter [pdf, p20].

 

 

Please click on the link below to read the complete article, posted by The Canary:

The UK government was just found to have violated disabled people’s ‘basic’ human rights. Again. ( by Steve Topple)

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Budgets, Changes, Choices, Deprivation, Disability, Disability Issues, DWP, Economy, Funding Cuts, Government Spending, Health Issues, Human Rights, Ideology, Impoverishment, Law, Liberty, Mental Health Issues, NHS, Politics, Theresa May, Tory Cuts, Tory Government, UK Government, United Kingdom, Welfare

The Universal Credit Row, and our Basic Human Rights . . .

If I’ve read this article right, then the government are preparing to roll out a Universal Credit system that affects almost all of our basic Human Rights.
If this is so, why isn’t something being done about it at the highest levels, before even more thousands of people, including children, are driven to homelessness, huge debt, and penury?

Please follow the link below, and read the article, and see if you come to the same conclusions that I did?

The Universal Credit Row and our Basic Human Rights

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Changes, Choices, Disasters, DWP, ESA, Health Issues, Housing Benefits, Human Rights, Ideology, Ill Health, Impoverishment, Law, PIP, Politics, Social Security

The Hellish Ordeal of the DWP Experience . . .

I’v just read an article in the Morning Star, and it really reflects the way I felt, and behaved, while going through my changeover from DLA to PIP at the beginning of this year.

To add to the stress and strains, along with paranoia, I was also grieving, which made my mental health so bad, I completely stopped the crochet I love doing, which helps to keep me as relaxed as my pain allows, both physically and mentally.

It took a good 8 months, from the start of my assessment period, for me to get back a, rather fragile at times, peace.

Do follow this link to the article, and see if you’ve had the same experience, too:

The Hellish Ordeal of the DWP Experience

 

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Filed under Benefits, Changes, Crochet, Death, Depression, Disability, Disability Issues, DLA, DWP, Health Issues, Ill Health, PIP, Welfare

DWP Loses Fight To Stop Claimants Appealing, But Tries To Cover Up Possible Differences Between Atos and Capita PIP Assessments . . .

I belong to an online group, called Benefits and Work, and they have been an amazingly accurate way for me to find out exactly what my rights are as a disabled person.

I get emails from them regularly, mostly when they get updates in the Law, and especially when it concerns the DWP. So their latest email gave me this following news, which made me feel so angered at the sheer waste of money being allowed to continue, while the same people accuse anyone claiming any sort of benefit as losers, users, and any other pejorative phrases they can think up – and all of this, in the so-called pursuit of saving money – by spending far too many pounds, in saving mere pennies!

The way in that the DWP are spending our Tax money, especially as it involves blocking as many vulnerable people as possible from claiming the benefits they are entitled to, is a crime, and it’s about time some Body took them to court over the disasterous actions the DWP have taken, and continue to tak, despite being shown, continuously, all the proof against their austerity-driven actions.

Here’s what they have to say about it all, with a link, immediately below, straight to their Latest News page:

DWP Loses Fight To Stop Claimants Appealing But Tries To Cover Up Possible Differences Between Atos and Capita PIP Assessments

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dear Reader,

Welcome back to the first newsletter following our summer break.

We hope you had a peaceful, if possibly rather damp, summer.

Sadly, it’s clear that peace is the last thing that the DWP has in mind. More so now than ever before, the DWP is determined to fight every attempt to challenge its decisions or to get it to disclose information.

It is an agency remorselessly at war with the people it is supposed to support.

APPEALS UNLAWFULLY BLOCKED
So, in this update, we have news of the fight the DWP have put up to prevent claimants who are late asking for a mandatory reconsideration from getting to an appeal.

Entirely unlawfully, the DWP has been blocking people from appealing if they miss the one month deadline for asking for a mandatory reconsideration. In truth, the deadline can be extended by a further year where the claimant has good cause for being late. But the DWP had decided that it was up to them to be the judge of whether the claimant had a good reason for missing the deadline and that tribunals shouldn’t be allowed any say in whether they could hear the case.

Happily, a panel of three upper tribunal judges have now said that the DWP must stop preventing claimants from exercising their lawful right to appeal. The case involved ESA, but will apply to all other benefits too.

MILLIONS SPENT ON ESA APPEALS
The Independent, meanwhile, has managed to get the DWP to hand over details of how much they have spent on trying to stop people getting ESA. And, in particular, on fighting appeals against sanctions of sick and disabled claimants ESA.

The cost to the taxpayer has been a staggering £39 million. And that’s just the DWP’s costs. It doesn’t include to cost of the tribunals themselves.

The fact that the DWP has been losing over two thirds of these cases doesn’t discourage them in the slightest.

Far from it. According to the Independent, spending on ESA appeals has increased by 77% in 2017.

WCA REPORT BLOCKED
We also have news of the DWP refusing to accept the ruling of the Information Commissioner that they must publish a report that shows how well Maximus, and Atos before them, carry out work capability assessments.

The reason the DWP have given for the refusal?

Publication of the report could‘give a perception of under-performance’ which could ‘damage the reputation and standing of the companies involved’.

In other words, they don’t want anyone to know how bad things are, so they are trying to use commercial confidentiality as a reason for withholding the truth.

The matter will now be decided by an information tribunal.

PIP GUIDANCE WITHHELD
Then there’s the fight that Benefits and Work is having with the DWP, which is currently on its way to the Information Commissioner.

We’ve asked to see guidance and training materials used by Atos in relation to PIP assessments.

One of the things we want to discover is whether Atos and Capita are following the same procedures or whether the outcome of your assessment depends in part on what area of the country you are living in.

The DWP are fighting to withhold the documents, however.

Their reason?

You’ve probably guessed it: the information is, in some unexplained way, commercially confidential.

The matter is now going to the Information Commissioner and then, quite possibly, to an information tribunal.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Well, as you can see, the DWP really don’t care in the least just how much Taxpayer’s money they squander – just as long as they can continue getting their own way, and causing the maximum hell to every single person who has to deal with them 😦

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Budgets, Disability, Disability Issues, DWP, Economy, Government Spending, Human Rights, Ideology, Impoverishment, Law, Politics

I, Daniel Blake . . .

Last night I was unable to sleep, because the pain in my body has become unbearable recently, and so I decided to watch a new DVD delivered to me yesterday, in order to get my mind off of the pain for a little while. The DVD is: ‘I, Daniel Blake’.

. . . and now I sit here, many hours later, with red eyes, and cheeks sore from the tears I shed watching it, while trying to put into words what I need to express after seeing it.

I wonder how anyone who has an iota of fellow feeling in them, can watch something like this, and not feel sad, or frustrated, and also totally furious, at our government – and the people they employ – who follow every machiavellian rule they can make up, without thinking of the consequences to the real people they are doing it all to, and I wonder, who can put people through all these kinds of hoops, purely for an ideology that seems to drive them into schemes that are making the poor even poorer – as the rich  get ever richer?

Ken Loach’s film has shown so clearly what is happening every single day here in the UK, and it is happening to too many people innocent of the accusations being thrown at them by their own government, as well as by their many right-wing media outlets.

. . . . and I’m one of those people. I, too, am Daniel Blake and, because of the injustices I saw in the film – while knowing they were just characters playing their parts, I also know they were based on real people going through the same, crazy, soul-destroying, routines – I want to tell you what is happening with me at the moment.

I’ve been worried for a couple of years now, about the changeover this government is making, from DLA to PIP, as I’d heard that so many people on Indefinite awards of DLA, like I am, have lost their benefits completely – including people with terminal cancer, or MS, or Parkinsons!

I have, unfortunately, developed many health problems over my life, which had basically starting from a messed up immune system, brought about by the Thalidomide tablets that my Mum took while she was around 6 months pregnant with me, as it was thought the tablet would ease the terrible morning sickness she continuously felt throughout this pregnancy. The tablets actually made Mum worse, so she didn’t take them as long as she might have but, unfortunately, she took them long enough that they affected the development of my immune system and so, although I was so very fortunate to have been born with all  of my limbs, I have been prone to bouts of ill health for most of my life, and this gradually worsened, to the point that, right now, everything wrong with me is based on a screwed-up immune system, and everything I suffer with is without a cure, and will only get worse, to the point of death – hence the Indefinite award.

I’m basically 100% housebound, and 95% bedbound, and was eventually sent the changeover form from the DWP, which arrived on 23rd December 2016, asking me to fill it in, and to send it back by 16th January, 2017, at the latest. With what I’ve recently learned about the processes put into place with the new PIP, I’ve no hope that I will get the equivalent of my DLA award with this new PIP award, and will be amazed if I’m fortunate enough to get anything at all.

Due to my illnesses, I have great trouble focusing on anything nowadays, let alone long, and very complicated, forms such as this one was. I sleep more than I’m awake, and the strong pain meds I have to take (or end up screaming with pain), leave me unable to formulate thoughts and ideas in the way that I used to be able to do, before my illnesses got as bad as they are now. I struggle a lot to find the words I need, as my short-term memory is badly affected, too, which makes it very difficult for me to be able to express how I feel, or how my ailments affect me, especially if I’m under any kind of stress – me, the calm, unflappable, total wordsmith, who used to read continuously, and delighted in learning something new every day – until my illnesses took all that away 😦

The day after I received the PIP form, the 24th December, 2016, I received news that my Mum was seriously ill in hospital, and wasn’t expected to live.

As you may imagine, this knocked me for six, especially as I’d only lost my Dad the previous year, and had been too ill to be able to travel the 365 miles between us, to go and pay my last respects to him. Anyway, from the moment I was told about Mum, I spent all the time I was able to, keeping in touch with my siblings, and trying to find out how Mum was – while desperately hoping, and praying, that she would rally – as she had done on previous occasions – but, on 1st January, 2017, Mum slipped away in her sleep and, once again, I faced the fact that I wasn’t well enough to be able to travel to say my goodbyes.

In those 10 days, I’d not been well enough to be able to try and even start to fill in the DLA-PIP form. The stress and grief I felt had seriously affected my already appalling health, and I was unable to think, or to understand, anything written in the form. I’d not been able to get hold of anyone at the DWP to explain my situation to, because I’d received the form the day before christmas eve, and so everyone was now on holiday, and there was nobody available locally to help me with the forms.

On 4th January, I finally managed to get somebody at the DWP, and explained my situation, and was given an extention of 14 days, until 30th January, to give me extra time to get the forms filled in.

A few days later, fortunately for me, our daughter came to visit and, over the next few weeks, she helped me with both my grief at losing Mum and, more importantly for my health, she helped me to fill in the forms, which wasn’t easy even with her help, especially as every question asked on the form made me have to face up to everything I had lost of myself, and the life I used to lead, at a time when grief and loss of my Mum was making me so depressed I could barely cope.

I think that, if the questions I was asked had had any real meaning, it might have been a little easier for me to do, but they were so formulaic, so loaded, so unreal to the life I actually have to live, that I couldn’t relate to them at all, and it took four different people to explain to me what the questions were actually trying to lead me to say, before I realised that they weren’t being asked to help me in any way, but I really felt as if they had been written, even designed, to trip me up in some  way – as if I were living a lie, and claiming these benefits unlawfully because, of course, everyone who claims benefits of any sort are lying through their teeth, right? Wrong!

Anyway, with lots of help, the form was filled in, and I stated at the end, written in red, bold, type – in the section asking if there was anything I wanted to tell them, about coming to a face-to-face assessment – that I wished for a Home Assessment, and for this assessment to be recorded. A friend then posted it all off for me, recorded delivery, and I checked online a few days later, and saw that it had been received. I then waited a couple of days, and phoned them up just to check, and reassure myelf, that they had actually got it – they had.

After I sent off the form, I looked through the paperwork again, and saw that, if I wanted a Home Assessment, then I needed a letter from my doctor, to prove that I was ill enough to need this!

I was fortunate that my Doctor was willing to do this for me, as he knows my many limitations well and so, on 6th February, a friend posted his letter for me, which included a cover note of my own, to the DWP then, on the 13th February, I phoned to check that it had arrived. To my horror, they said that it hadn’t, but that I was to ring back in a few days, in case it was waiting to be scanned, then uploaded onto their computer system. I waited another  week then, on 22nd February,  I phoned the DWP, to be reassured that my doctor’s letter had appeared on their system on the 14th February, which was a huge relief for me.

On that same 22nd February, I had also received a letter from Capita (Capita do the assessments for the DWP in my area), dated 7th February.  The letter basically told me that they had received my form, and were now looking at my claim, and that someone would contact me about arranging an assessment for me. I didn’t do anything about it that day, as I was too unwell to cope with any more phone calls then, 2 days later, on 24th February, I had 2 more letters from Capita dropped in my letterbox. The first, dated 13th February, telling me that they had looked at my application for PIP, and that they had arranged an assessment in my nearest large town, 14 miles away, to be done on 2nd March. The 2nd letter, dated 21st February, and also arriving on 24th, was a reminder of the appointment.

I phoned Capita straight away, and explained to the lady who answered that I had just that day received the two letters, and asked her why they had made an appointment away from my home, after I’d already requested a home visit. I explained about the doctor’s letter taking time to be shown on the DWP’s computer, then asked, once again, for a Home Assessment. The lady said straight away, ‘Well, I can cancel this appointment, but you do realise that you are only allowed one cancelation, don’t you?’ I pointed out that I had only just that day received both the letters they had sent me, so hadn’t even known an appointment had already been made – and that I had clearly requested a Home Assessment on my form – but the lady was adamant that this would be the only cancellation I would be allowed, so I had to accept this, and go to the appointment already made for me, or risk having my money stopped immediately I didn’t turn up.

As I had no choice, I had to cancel the appointment, and the lady assured me I would hear from someone within 2-3 days, letting me know when the new appointment would be. While she was on the phone, I made sure to ask her if recording the home assessment was permitted and, after she had gone away to check, she told me it was, but that they would only allow cassette tapes to be used, and that I would have to tape 2 identical copies at the same time, one for me, and one for the assessor. I would be allowed to use ordinary cassette tapes, or even the micro tapes used for dictaphones, but I was not allowed to use any kind of digital recording.

Fortunately, I’d seen this written on a website, so had already bought 2 identical recorders, and the tapes to go with them, so am prepared for that, at least.

I hadn’t heard from Capita by Thursday, 2nd March, so I phoned them to see what was happening. Nothing was happening!

Once again I had to tell the person I spoke to what had already been discussed and, fortunately, he then wrote in my notes that I wished for a Home Assessment – he then promised I’d be hearing, by letter, to let me know the date of the assessment . . .

I’ll be letting you know what happens next . . . .

________________________________________

12-03-17. 3.41 am.

Thought I’d let you know that my home assessment is due on 21st March, at 11.45 am. I just hope that I’m actually awake, and my brain is in working mode when the assessor gets here! 😦

 

 

 

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Filed under Benefits, Changes, Daughters, Death, Disability, DLA, DWP, Ill Health, PIP

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