Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Sanctions and Benefit Freeze Blamed for Rise in Food Banks Use and Growth in Mental Health Problems.

with 104 comments

From Ken,

Benefit sanctions are increasing hunger and depression not driving down unemployment

The UK is a fairly hostile environment to be unemployed, but some might say the approach is starting to pay off. After all, unemployment is currently at its lowest rate in 42 years, with 109,000 more people entering employment in the three months to April this year.

With numbers like that, some people might be wondering if aggressive tactics such as benefit sanctions are helping drive willfully unemployed people into gainful work.

Yet that is not what the public spending watchdog believes. Last year the National Audit Office – the independent body that monitors spending for Parliament – declared that benefit sanctions are inconsistently applied across the country and that withholding payments pushes claimants into hardship, increasing their chances of experiencing hunger and depression.

 Now, the latest report by Oxford University and the Trussell Trust food bank network has revealed that almost 80 per cent of food bank users had experienced food insecurity in the previous 12 months, meaning they could not buy enough food and/or had experienced entire days with nothing to eat.

The issue of price rises and insecure incomes are major factors in ‘food insecurity’.

The former justifies our call for an end to the benefits freeze.

The latter raises the issue of Universal Credit delays and Sanctions.

This is from the Report: Financial insecurity, food  insecurity, and disability: The profile of people receiving emergency food assistance from The Trussell Trust Foodbank Network in Britain  2017

  • Financial and food insecurity: Almost half of households reported their incomes were unsteady from week-to-week and month-to-month. 78% are severely food insecure (meaning they had skipped meals and gone without eating – sometimes for days at a time – in the past 12 months), while over half could not afford heating or toiletries
  • Price rises: 3 in 5 households had recently experienced rising or unexpected expenses, with 25% of these saying higher food expenses were to blame, confirming the impact of food inflation on squeezed budgets
  • Housing: 28% of those who had experienced rising expenses said this was due to housing costs, such as rent or energy, going up. Tenants in private housing were more likely to find it difficult to keep up with rents than socially rented properties
  • Disability and mental health: Over 50% of households included a disabled person, consistent with the definition used in national surveys. 75% experienced ill health in their household. Mental health conditions affected people in 1/3 of households
  • Debt: 1 in 3 households were finding it difficult to make minimum monthly repayments on outstanding loans, and nearly 1 in 5 in debt owed money to payday lenders
  • The report found people were experiencing multiple forms of destitution. 50% had gone without heating for more than four days in the past 12 months, 50% couldn’t afford toiletries, and 1 in 5 had slept rough in the last 12 months. Over 78% of households were severely, and often chronically, food insecure.


Almost all households had experienced a drop in income in the past three months, unsteady incomes, or an unexpected expense or rise in expenses in the past three months.

  • Benefit delays: Nearly 2 in 5 people were awaiting a benefit payment, with most of these waiting up to 6 weeks, though a fifth were waiting 7 weeks or more. A third of delays were for Employment Support Allowance payments, with people assessed as capable of taking steps to move into work in the future particularly at risk of needing a foodbank
  • Income shocks: 2 in 3 people had been hit by a recent ‘income shock’, with most experiencing sharp rises in housing costs or food expenses
  • Low income: The average income of households in the month before being referred to a foodbank was reported at around £320, with 20% of households still needing to pay housing costs. This falls well below low income thresholds, before and after housing costs, and is a fraction of the national average. 16% had no income at all in the last month
 Enigma adds this:

Government welfare cuts blamed for 50% surge in mental health issues among unemployed

Exclusive: Benefit freezes and sanctions ‘are having a toxic impact on mental health’

Rates of severe anxiety and depression among unemployed people have soared by more than 50 per cent in the last four years as the impact of “harsh” austerity policies take their toll, The Independent can reveal.

The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) said the Government’s reforms of welfare payments were to blame for the rise, as benefit cuts and sanctions “are having a toxic impact on mental health”.

New analysis of data from NHS surveys of GP patients shows that in March 2017, 15.2 per cent of unemployed people said they suffered from severe or extreme anxiety or depression.

This figure has increased steadily from 10.1 per cent in June 2013, and marks a sharper jump than rates of the conditions among the general population, which rose 20 per cent over the same period, from 3.4 per cent of people to 4.1 per cent.

“The devastating impact of the benefits cap for families with children, the freezing of benefits at a time of inflation, and the cutting of benefits for the disabled are putting claimants under terrible mental and financial strain,” said Janet Weisz, the UKCP’s chief executive.

“The constant threat of benefit sanctions only adds to the pressure.”

The austerity measure, widely recognised as a key driver behind forecasts of rising poverty to come, is expected to reduce support by £13bn by 2020, above the Government’s forecast of £9bn, according to research from the House of Commons Library.

People claiming benefits can have their payments cut or stopped entirely if they miss one job centre appointment. The minimum sanction period was increased from one week to four in October 2012.

About a quarter of people on Jobseeker’s Allowance received at least one sanction between 2010 and 2015, according to the National Audit Office, which warned last year that the Department for Work and Pensions is not doing enough to find out how sanctions affect people on benefits.

These reports, signaled originally from the Independent, just about clinch the argument us lot have made here.

End the Benefits Freeze and the Sanctions Regime! 


Written by Andrew Coates

July 17, 2017 at 3:12 pm

104 Responses

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  1. The government will resist any move to unfreeze benefits because it would slow up their economic plans to cut the deficit – in fact its wouldn’t surprise me to find them trying to extend the freeze or only start uprating benefits by a below-inflation increase driving the poorest citizens deeper and deeper into poverty. If they can get away with behaviour like this they will. We all know that they will.


    July 17, 2017 at 4:25 pm

  2. Hi, I’ve seen an article doing the rounds on Twitter which – if true – is incredibly alarming. Have you heard about claimants under ‘full conditionality’ (whatever that is. People who are neither in the support group nor the work related activity group?) are given 2 years to find work and if they do not succeed, are given a one year sanction?



    July 17, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    • I just saw it now on Twitter and elsewhere.

      Will check it out for tomorrow.

      Thanks Claire.

      Andrew Coates

      July 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    • Yeah, this needs checked out. “24 months to find a job or you are on the streets with zero support”! Seriously? Sound like scare-mongering horseshit.


      July 17, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      • “UC calls this conditionality, a claimant under full conditionality has a set time to find work if they are unsuccessful then they are sanctioned for 1 year. It’s one of the most dangerous aspects of UC, that has been pretty much swept under the carpet.”


        July 17, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      • Two whole bleeding years to get a job? Would you Adam & Eve it? You can get a job on the market stalls starting yesterday up the Elephant and round the Castle. If you can’t get a job in two years you must be either lazy or fick or both like, innit?

        Market Stall Owner

        July 17, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      • Me, I flogged puzzle rings on Oxford Street as a nipper. Gaffer gave us 5 bob on every two quid we took. And helped pay our fines if we were nicked. Bish bash..dosh.

        Bleedin’ young people these days won’t get out for bed for a ESA f2f assessment. …

        Andrew Coates

        July 18, 2017 at 11:35 am

    • Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7) 17/07/2017 at 7:50 pm · ·

      I’m going to ask the DWP to confirm the substance of your article, which is already causing consternation in the sick and disabled community.


      July 17, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      • Seems like it is only the disabled who will be thrown onto the street. Able-bodied jobseekers need not worry.

        Jack & Jill

        July 17, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      • Jack & Jill

        The welfare reform – targeting everyone who receives a benefit of some sort,

        The majority of the population is being targeted one way or another.

        There are thousands of able bodied ex jobseekers who were sanctioned and are now on the streets. the amount of them are rising every day. other


        July 17, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      • Enigma

        Sorry i didn’t respond to you yesterday but i was working on other stuff.

        Anyway what swankbox put out if true must be a recent addition as i don’t recall seeing it the welfare reform act the last time i had my nose in it last year. With this said i haven’t been end to end as like all things you use whats applicable to your need at the time. Now the choice of words used in the article are some what sensationalized so on first instance although not necessarily the case, it does lead me to believe an overstatement of possible facts and i will demonstrate.

        As i said, the last time i used the welfare reform act, one topic i hit upon was the initial period prior to a CC agreement regarding both parties.Like a jobseekers agreement the CC must be reasonable and achievable so if a potential claimant fills its not, they do have a right to appeal prior to consenting. According to the protocol at the time, it would be assessed by a third party and altered if in conflict with either of the two.
        If the third party however states its both reasonable and achievable and the potential claimant decides otherwise, then the application for benefit is removed if an agreement cannot be met.
        If you accept a CC you cant then later ask for a right of appeal.

        Now its hard to say what the article implies as it lacks clarity as in scenario given or any direct reference to the act itself. It could well be a conflating of the different points i just raised assuming the act hasn’t recently been altered (ie, April 2017 onwards).

        Its worth mentioning a CC works much like BS7671 works in regard to the law in that its a non statutory guide made statutory by way of another law. What i mean by this is that once you agree to a CC, its content becomes regulated and as such means as usual will fall into the domain of sanctioning if you fail to achieve any of or all its points. This is how DWP basically get to add into play things not forming a part of the original act/regulation that may contravene/contradict other regulations such as data protection for example. It also allows non regulated stuff but the gist is regardless of both or either, once you sign/consent, your allowing the contents of the CC to come into play in a way that can work against you negatively.

        Now ive and others have been recently reporting strange going on’s, well its clear now that as we speak, UC is being rolled out at pace to replace the old benefits system. Apart from the fact its liable to create pandemonium its also going to bring about the live system meaning claimants could /will be sanctioned without the presence of a work coach, so a virtual one. This means as no one has explained the process to claimants mean dealing with sanctions now takes longer to appeal against now your chance to advert them in a face to face in the first instance is effectively removed.

        With all dew respect whether or not this recent article is correct, claimants have had plenty of time to absorb what UC implies and this goes for the sites (not this one or type) who pretend to inform people of what it entails so people who waited now for the shoe to fall are going to really have a hard time of this.


        July 18, 2017 at 9:35 am

      • Important: WRAG/sanction – don’t panic yet, says skwawbox.

        Earlier today the SKWAWKBOX published an article about the application of the Universal Credit (UC) ‘claimant commitment’ to disabled people. That article was based on information from a recent DWP employee and the details were confirmed before publication by a current DWP employee of 15 years experience. It indicated that disabled people not placed in the ‘Support Group’ by the DWP’s contracted medical assessors would have two years to find work and would then face sanction.

        However, others have challenged whether the claimant commitment would be applied in this way, so the SKWAWKBOX has checked with other DWP veterans.

        And has received mixed answers.

        So the real situation may not be as bad as sources originally indicated – but it’s so unclear that the only thing everyone agreed on is that the rules are opaque and confusing.

        So don’t panic yet. We’ll bring you a definitive answer as soon as one can be obtained.

        silly git.



        July 18, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      • Thanks for your time in replying Doug.


        July 18, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      • Targeting all on benefits, Enigma will this include people who are working and the only thing they get is SINGLE PERSON discount on the council tax ?


        July 19, 2017 at 9:54 am

      • Hatzaetos1924

        Technically yes as if your not earning enough or working longer, your still under full CC. As yet though not a single source who made the claim has been able to substantiate it.


        July 19, 2017 at 10:01 am

    • No one should believe that until the truth of it appears.


      July 17, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      • Enigma

        First chance ive had all day to come back here but here’s the litmus test as so to speak to anyone.

        Go email this SKWAWKBOX editor and ask them to produce supporting material taken from whatever regulations are being cited as any reporter/editor worth their salt would have the decency and experience to know you never trust a single source. I know myself from experience there are just as many work coaches and managers of DWP, some who have been there for many a moon who don’t know and or even understand the regulations not to mention indirectly made directly associated regulations let alone what the civil service code commands them to do in the course of there business.


        July 18, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    • Can I just point out at Skwarkbox have a history of getting things wrong, or to put it more directly, fear-mongering and lying. They did it with a false claim about D Notices issued re Grenfell Tower.

      Now we see this:

      My reply:

      Andrew Coates

      July 18, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      • See: Skwawkbox — an embarrassment to the Left. Bob Pitt (I know Bob btw, he is a lot more trustworthy than Swarky)

        View story at Medium.com

        “On 16 June, in an article headed “Video: Govt puts ‘D-notice’ gag on real #Grenfell death toll #nationalsecurity”, Skwawkbox took up the claim made by grime MC Saskilla on the BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme that the number of victims in the Grenfell Tower fire was far greater than had yet been officially admitted, with as many as 200 people having died.
        Skwawkbox used this claim to give credence to rumours that the government was engaged in an attempt to prevent the media reporting the true extent of the disaster: “At the same time, multiple sources told the SKWAWKBOX that the government has placed a ‘D-notice’ (sometimes called a ‘DA Notice’) on the real number of deaths in the blaze.”
        This was followed by a screenshot of an entry from Wikipedia, which defined a DA-Notice as “an official request to news editors not to publish or broadcast items on specified subjects for reasons of national security”. The Skwawkbox article then continued: “In effect, although voluntary, this amounts to a gag on the mainstream media — and note that it is applied for for reasons of national security only.”

        “By contrast, BuzzFeed News took the trouble to contact the Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee — which, as a quick google would reveal, is the actual body responsible for issuing D-Notices, not the Home Office. BuzzFeed was able to report that it had “confirmed with the DSMA secretariat that there are no advisories issued about the fire at Grenfell Tower, that notices would not be sent in relation to civilian disasters such as this one, and that so far as the DSMA secretariat is aware there is no national security element whatsoever to the tragedy”.
        Faced with the collapse of its story, Skwawkbox was forced to back off and post a grudging retraction: “EDIT: the SKWAWKBOX is now satisfied that no D-notice was issued. No plain answer to this blog’s question of other restrictions on information about lives lost at Grenfell has yet been provided, but a ‘D-notice’ (or DSMA-notice as they are now termed) was not.”
        Did Skwawkbox apologise for getting the story wrong and offer assurances that there would be no repetition of this stupid and provocative reporting? You must be joking. Instead, Skwawkbox’s proprietor was stung by the well-deserved criticism of his article into posting an indignant defence of his shoddy journalistic methods. In a quite astonishing display of chutzpah, he declared that he himself had been the victim of “fake news”!

        Andrew Coates

        July 18, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      • Swarky was on Victoria Derbyshire or summat one sat hiding in the shadows blacked-out for “security” reasons, death threats (from the DWP) or summat.

        Joanna Gosling's Knickers

        July 18, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      • Swarky, Swanky, whatever should came the name to something we can actually remember 😉

        Joanna Gosling's Knickers

        July 18, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      • One to remember, for the future.


        July 18, 2017 at 8:01 pm

  3. Tory crap.

    Did students vote twice for Corbyn? Watchdog demands urgent action on suspected voter fraud


    July 17, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    • Meanwhile

      Theresa May to bickering Tories: It’s me or Jeremy Corbyn!!!


      July 18, 2017 at 7:49 am

  4. Universal Credit putting people’s financial security at risk’, claims Citizens Advice Taunton

    In a major new report – Delivering on Universal Credit – national Citizens Advice has identified a wide range of administrative challenges, including problems with the online system and long waits to get help over the phone, which can make the initial six week wait for payment even longer.



    July 17, 2017 at 10:15 pm

  5. Rises in life expectancy ‘levelling off’ – Austerity, welfare reform.

    Using Office for National Statistics data, Sir Michael, who has advised both the government and World Health Organization, showed the rate of increase in life expectancy had nearly halved since 2010.



    July 18, 2017 at 4:14 am

  6. I can’t see this ever happening because it would DEFINITELY be found to be discriminatory in court. Unlees they implement it for everybody of course! Which is what the they do in most States in America: After five years of benefits clocked up cumulatively your support ends permanently and you’re on your own..


    July 18, 2017 at 6:16 am

  7. Have heard a rumor that part of the ESA f2f assessment may also include an unannounced home visit. Has anyone else heard this too. May also be applied to PIP etc.

    philip b

    July 18, 2017 at 7:24 am

  8. UK shared data protection rules – after Brexit.



    July 18, 2017 at 7:56 am

  9. Has anyone here had experience with Work Choice? When I met my Work Coach at my signing on today the “specialised work coach” sitting alongside her who if I remember correctly is a disability adviser asked me questions and suggested that I do this to try to overcome problems with things like age discrimination and applying for jobs that require advanced work experience and qualifications that I don’t have. I pointed out that it was voluntary and that if they referred me they would have to make it a Jobseeker’s Direction. I also pointed out that according to regulations relating to Jobseeker’s Directions this only requires attendance at the initial provision and that it does not require the claimant to participate in the provision. They acknowledged that it was voluntary. Naturally I recorded everything. They said they would try and refer me next Friday. It’s likely to be either Seetec or Kennedy Scott. Frankly I don’t expect anything useful to come out of it but I’ll go along to just the initial meeting to keep my Work Coach off my back for a while.


    July 18, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    • they wont care if you want to do it or not and just want there contract signed when you go to the provider i refused when i was sent to the same thing and got a sanction for not signing there contract and got tribunal in 2 weeks


      July 18, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    • Work Choice is supposed to be rolled into the new Work & Health Scheme, along with the old Work Programme, with only about one third of the money spent on the new programme. I believe that the Work Programme has already stopped taking new people and am surprised to hear that Work Choice hasn’t followed suit. I believe I am correct in saying that Work Choice was one of the better and more successful government backed privately run schemes.


      July 19, 2017 at 12:31 pm

  10. Work Choice is the Shaw Trust.Its generally for disabled people as an enterence to the workplace.

    However a friends brother went on this who has learning problems all was going well until a manager left then it totally fell apart.People working at this company had him walking in a skip full of metal while mocking him.This lead to a breakdown and he was sectioned under the mental health act.The family had to pick up the pieces.Needless to say he never worked again.

    These situations need careful handling or they can and do go very badly wrong.Failure to supervise,someone just leaving or just bad practice and cause serious problems to arise.


    July 18, 2017 at 5:56 pm

  11. Incomes in south-east of England ‘are 25% higher than in West Midlands’

    TUC urges government to act as IFS report highlights growing north-south divide and regional concentration of poverty

    Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, said ministers could not shrug off findings from the Institute for Fiscal Studies indicating that incomes in the most prosperous part of Britain – the south-east of England – were 25% higher than in the poorest region, the West Midlands.



    July 19, 2017 at 8:27 am

  12. What is compensation mum/dad, well years ago ………………..

    Government ‘denying sexually abused children compensation’

    Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority refused payments to almost 700 children on grounds they gave consent, say charities

    The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) has refused payments to almost 700 child victims even if their attackers have been jailed, freedom of information requests have revealed.



    July 19, 2017 at 8:44 am

  13. End of the ‘rip-off’: all charges for paying by card to be banned

    All extra charges added to payments for goods and services made by card are to be outlawed, ending a “rip-off” that costs Britons hundreds of millions of pounds a year, the government has announced.

    Fees for paying with plastic – most commonly a credit card – are routinely levied on everything from low-cost flights and tax bills to cinema tickets and takeaway meals, but the Treasury announced that these would be consigned to history from January 2018.

    The government said the move, which builds on an EU directive, would mean “shoppers across the country have that bit of extra cash to spend on the things that matter to them”. However, some commentators said they expected that many companies would simply hike their prices to compensate for the loss of this money, or change the name of the fee.



    July 19, 2017 at 8:48 am

  14. Brexit

    A survey of 607 employers conducted by the REC (The Recruitment and Employment Confederation) found evidence that a growing number are taking on temporary workers to plug gaps caused by skill shortages. Some 87 per cent intend to maintain or increase their use of temporary staff in the next three months.



    July 19, 2017 at 9:13 am

  15. Terminally ill Suffolk cancer patients forced through stressful tribunals to claim disability benefits


    They will fall over themselves to rush through a flawed UC system yet still wont lift a finger to fix the existing flaws they already know about. Who does this, who based on a hypothetical and anecdotal evidence instigates what has turn into a travesty. Who despite years of having its flaws exposed will do little to absolutely nothing to rectify them.

    If it had been a private sector model, it would have already been removed from the shelves and folded.


    July 19, 2017 at 9:57 am

  16. Now that we have a female Doctor Who when are we going to see a male presenter on Rip-Off Britain?

    Angela, Gloria and Julia

    July 19, 2017 at 11:05 am

    • Cor! That Gloria Hunniford don’t half give me the horn. Phwoooor!


      July 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    • And loose women too


      July 19, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    • If you have ever wondered why they always look and sound so cheering, along with the rest of the over-paid BBC TV and radio presenters, as well as the cast of Eastenders, it is because they are coining it in, all courtesy of the mugs who pony up for a ‘TV Licence’. Is Chris Evans really worth £2,500,00, Gary Lineker £1,750,000, and that limp lettuce Nicky Campbell £half a million. Nicky Campbell £500,000 of licence payers cash?! You have got to laugh though at Danny Dyer begging Shell for ten knicker down the old market “cos am skint 😦 “. Does Shell know that this Mockney is on £500,000?



      Fuck the TV Licence

      July 19, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      • Chris Evans, isn’t he the bloke who discovered Rose Tyler who helped stop the Slitheen, who planned to reduce Earth to radioactive waste to sell as cheap fuel on the intergalactic market, using nuclear launch codes held by the United Nations?

        Money well spent I’d say.

        Andrew Coates

        July 19, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      • Amy Pond was hotter.

        The Rani

        July 20, 2017 at 11:40 am

      • The TVL goon was round here just the day before these exorbitant salaries were published. The goon knocked the door really loudly, waited for a minute, not really loudly again, waited another minute then walked off. Unfortunately for the goon we are a bit deaf do didn’t hear him 🙂 Suppose that must be the final step of the ‘investigation’ 😀 We are doubly glad we don’t require a ‘TV licence’ now.

        The Tone Deafs

        July 20, 2017 at 11:40 am

      • 250,000 cosmic atoms for me 🙂 How magical and mysterious 🙂 The wonders of the universe are indeed all around us 😀 😀

        Professor Brian Cox by Name (Cock by Nature)

        July 20, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      • Amy Pond was hot, but Karen Gillan couldn’t act to save herself.

        Brad and Angelina

        July 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      • … or the planet 😀 😀


        The Daleks

        July 20, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      • With Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor Who, I can finally fancy the Doctor without worrying about my sexual preferences.

        Butch Hardmann

        July 20, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      • The Daleks

        Which planet? 😀 😀


        July 20, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      • Davros

        July 20, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      • As a lover of brunettes, Clara Oswald takes some beating.

        Doctor Stiffy

        July 21, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    • Only £200,000 knicker for us 😦

      Naga Munchetty's Knickers

      July 19, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    • Derek Thompson, Charlie Fairhead in Casualty gets paid £400,000. Who said nurses were poorly paid 😀 😀

      Holby City

      July 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      • Holby City

        Who would have ever thought pretending to be a nurse and having no nursing degree would entitle you to a bigger wage. Maybe doctors and nurses need to go work for the BBC as they treat there staff better than Jeremy Hunt.

        Even funnier is DWP said claimants need to treat job hunting and or work placements like a job yet they didn’t get no £400’000 a year.


        July 23, 2017 at 10:28 am

    • Davros

      July 20, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      • That Steven Hawking has let himself go hasn’t he?

        The Rani

        July 22, 2017 at 8:14 am

      • Looks like my ex mother inlaw.

        Happily Divorced

        July 23, 2017 at 9:30 am

  17. If work is the best way out of poverty then why are so many people with jobs receiving Universal Credit? Anybody know how many of the half-million or so on Universal Credit are working compared to unemployed?


    July 19, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    • Ergo

      Clearly they bases their lie on there own pay packets. If pushed they would most likely say you could earn my wage. The problem with that is could is an idea, not a fact and why most never earn that.

      No one deserves to earn more than they would ever possibly need to live on and if there going to try the we work all hours crap, then explain why coal miners never earned that much.


      July 19, 2017 at 4:49 pm

  18. OT: Work till drop you dead brought forward…

    State pension age increase brought forward

    Six million people in their early 40s will have to work a year longer, as a result of a change in the State Pension Age, the government has announced.
    The rise in the pension age to 68 will now happen in 2039, rather than in 2046 as was originally proposed.
    Those affected are currently between the ages of 39 and 47.

    ME: Welcome welcome roll up to the new all inclusive Reality Life Show where YOU are the contestant – your task is to live as long as possible NOT, as in this Life we are raising the pension age to see how many of you we can kill off. Anyone for Zero Hour?


    July 19, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    • I am guessing this will see off about an extra 10K per year from the figures – its just a guess mind


      July 19, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    • As life expectancy continues to rise, not.

      Rises in life expectancy ‘levelling off’ – Austerity, welfare reform.

      Using Office for National Statistics data, Sir Michael, who has advised both the government and World Health Organization, showed the rate of increase in life expectancy had nearly halved since 2010.



      July 19, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      • Well, that’s one way to save money on the old age pension. Natural wastage. Philip Hammond will be gratified.

        The Rani

        July 22, 2017 at 8:15 am

  19. i have been told on fb buy a few ppl now that when the jcp ask for a email address and is the same one used for ur ujm account they dont need the password to access it when you sign on and as my sar says my adviser was grilled on the lms to get one from me i now see why but they never got one.

    so if ur email is the same one you gave to the jcp id change it asap to a different one on ur ujm account or just open a new one to remove there access as the tick box does not stop them if they got ur email address.


    July 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    • Superted

      You noticed that one then.

      Now i have been prodding and pocking about how evidence will be submitted when UC is rolled out fully and received the answer which is UJM. I pointed out UJM is an unsatisfactory program and considering technology is all about speeding up the process of things, there’s no way im typing out my job search like letter every week, that they need to make provision to be able to upload things. They said perhaps you could email them yet couldn’t state if this would be an option.

      Ive held back at the moment but in connection with using UJM they as yet have not announced how they wouldn’t be breaching the data protection act considering no claimant has granted authority to enter said account to inspect it on a 4 week basis.

      I advise people to keep an eye on this what with UC coming area by area so expect DWP to approach this not in a straight manner.


      July 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      • Hi, doug.

        I’m sure I read somewhere that the DWP cannot force any claimant to keep their “work-search” record in any particular way and that people could keep it digitally using UJM (more fool them if they do!) or on paper if they wanted to. Unless the law is changed, if people deny the DWP access to their UJM account, the DWP will not be able to view the activities of a person with a UJM account as far as “work-search” and so on is concerned. So, as you pointed out, anybody denying the DWP access to their UJM account will have to submit his/her “work-search” details some other way. But how? By a spreadsheet or word-processor document sent as an attachment to an email? As a hard-copy by snail mail? Verbally, over the phone? Or some other way?

        To be honest the last way I would ever want the DWP tracking me is via Universal Jobmatch.

        My bet is that once we leave the EU, the Data Protection Act will be modified to allow the DWP to have much more intrusive powers and claimants forced to use UJM, or some other web-based “work-search” diary, to submit their details. Already people on Universal Credit looking for work don’t get Bank Holidays! And have to clock up 35 hours of “work-search” every week no matter if Christmas and Boxing day happen.

        Best get ready for shit-loads of sanctions as a consequence if “work-search” ends up administered remotely.


        July 20, 2017 at 9:09 am

      • Nothing you enter on Universal Jobmatch ever goes away. Once it’s there you cannot edit or delete, not really because everything you do, including deleting things, is recorded for all eternity by the look of it. You can’t even directly delete a Universal Jobmatch account yourself! And even when it expires and supposedly self-deletes (after not being used for eighteen months) it only vanishes publicly but remains stored covertly forever.

        Jobcentres can see if you are logging in and out from a UJM account.

        So even if you don’t use it, when you go online log in and log out after an hour, or whatever, to make yourself look active. The Jobcentre can’t see what you do when you’re on UJM, only if you’ve logged in and for how long you were, supposedly on the site.


        July 20, 2017 at 9:16 am

      • this is the guidance on the 35hr job search and as you can see it is a expectation and a adviser cant raise a ase doubt for not completing it as it is like how long is a piece of string so as long as you are applying for work and can prove this then that is all you need to do as if they did try it and went to tribunal they would loose.
        Expected hours
        88.—(1) The “expected number of hours per week” in relation to a claimant for the
        purposes of determining their individual threshold in regulation 90 or for the purposes
        of regulation 95 or 97 is 35 unless some lesser number of hours applies under paragraph Work search requirement – all reasonable action
        95.—(1) A claimant is to be treated as not having complied with a work search
        requirement to take all reasonable action for the purpose of obtaining paid work in
        any week unless–
        (a) either–
        (i) the time which the claimant spends taking action for the purpose of
        obtaining paid work is at least the claimant’s expected number of hours
        per week minus any relevant deductions, or
        (ii) the Secretary of State is satisfied that the claimant has taken all reasonable
        action for the purpose of obtaining paid work despite the number of
        hours that the claimant spends taking such action being lower than the
        expected number of hours per week; and
        (b) that action gives the claimant the best prospects of obtaining work.
        so if ur adviser brings it up shove that in there face and see what they say as what they are told to say and what the law really is they just out right lie to you just to make claiming more difficult and stressful in the hope you will just give up and sign off as thats all it is done for.

        as for ujm it gets to 1000 apps over 200 pages it wont store any more than that pmsl 😉


        July 20, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    • Thats True Superted.They got hold of the email adress I put on there.I didnt verify it and it could belong to anyone.Its to do with this gateway and they have been looking.Theres no guarentee that the address on there belongs to the claiment and should not be taken as is.

      Their exceeding themselves at every level.


      July 19, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      • how did they get ur email addr in the first place?


        July 19, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      • Its that govenment gateway account.I walked in one day and it was on the screen.Someone must have looked into that.

        Its used to sign up to Universal Jobmatch but used in any government department such as the DVLA.

        More worrying are those digital signatures.


        July 19, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      • man you got to be more careful i dont use the same email for anything now since 2005 and every thing you do on a provider or dwp pc is monitored esp for that reason and now hacking in to ppls ujm accounts with no permission is taking the piss big time.

        E Stafford I think my email address was on my form but I don’t give out my passwords. They are personal to me. I THINK she found it using my NI number. I think for now I let them see but I might open a new one if and when I get a new work coach when my JC closes down but hopefully Ill be working by then


        July 19, 2017 at 10:20 pm

  20. Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 13 February
    2017. You asked:

    Can a Work Coach demand i present my work search evidence in a pacific
    way that they demand it in, ie web sites that the jobs was found on and failing
    to right this information in the my work plan book ws1 will result in a benefit
    sanction even tho i have met the required jobs to apply for in the claimant
    commitment, just not have listed the web sites the jobs was applied on in my
    work plan ws1 booklet.

    as my adviser is now demanding this yet have not had a problem with any
    other adviser in the last year.

    my claimant commitment states.

    use job sites and employer websites to find and apply for jobs i can do.

    it does not state that i have to provide every web site i use to look for work
    and give it to them in writing each time i sign on.

    the work coach also now says not to use the ujm web site which has jobs from
    sites all over the internet job recruitment sites anyway and has cost the dwp
    millions of pounds to create.

    as a result of not providing the other web sites i use on my work search
    activity ws1 other than the ujm site i have now got a sanction for this even tho
    i have applied for 25 jobs a week on the ujm web site and have done so for
    the last year with no problems from the 7 other work coaches i have had at
    this office.

    Before I reply to your requests it may be helpful if I explain the role of the
    Freedom of Information Act. The Act provides a right of access to recorded
    information held by a public authority like DWP (subject to certain
    exemptions). The Act does not provide that a public authority must create new
    information to answer questions; nor does it provide that a public authority
    give advice, opinion or explanation in relation to issues/policies under

    In cases where a customer does ask a question, rather than request recorded
    information, we do our utmost to provide the recorded information that best
    answers the question. Once the public authority has provided the recorded
    information or confirmed that no such recorded information is held, it has met
    its obligations under the Act. Interpretation of any information provided is left
    to the requestor.

    We have understood your requests to relate to Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
    claimants to whom the Jobseekers Act 1995 and Jobseeker’s Allowance
    Regulations 1996 apply. The recorded information which best answers your
    questions can be found in an extract from Chapter 03 of the Universal
    Jobmatch Toolkit which has been copied below – paragraphs 82 to 94 explain
    how Jobcentre Plus staff may review the jobsearch activity of a JSA claimant:

    Actively Seeking Employment

    82. You cannot specify to a JSA claimant how they provide us with records of
    their jobsearch activity and Universal Jobmatch will not change this – it is not
    therefore possible to require JSA claimants to give DWP access to their
    Universal Jobmatch account.
    83. You will continue to review jobsearch activity and record the outcome on
    LMS in the usual way for JSA claimants and look at all the evidence provided
    by claimants to determine if there is an ASE doubt. This may be in various
    forms and these are explained in the Labour Market Conditions Guide.
    84. However, Universal Jobmatch will be a key tool you can use in
    appropriate cases to review whether a claimant has taken all reasonable
    steps to have the best prospects of finding work.
    85. How you review jobsearch activity will depend on whether the claimant is
    using Universal Jobmatch and if so, has given DWP access to their account.

    Reviewing jobsearch activity – claimant using Universal Jobmatch (DWP
    has access to their account)

    86. You will look at any number or all of the following screens/pages from the
    claimant’s Universal Jobmatch account:
     Activity History.
     Application History.
     Alerts.
     Messages.
     Saved Jobs.
     Recommended Jobs.
     Saved Searches.

    Reviewing jobsearch activity – claimant using Universal Jobmatch (No
    DWP access to their account)

    87. To help assess that a claimant is actively seeking work you may suggest
    that they show you:
     prints of any number or all of the screens/pages detailed in paragraph 86
    from their Universal Jobmatch account. However, this will not be possible

    for claimants who do not have access to a printer or cannot afford to print
    out copies of these pages; or
     any number or all of the screens/pages detailed in paragraph 86 from their
    Universal Jobmatch account if they have access to the internet on a
    88. If it is not possible for the claimant to do any of the above, or the claimant
    does not wish to accept cookies and so needs to use a DWP Customer
    Computer, advise the claimant that they can login to their UJ account and
    print off copies of the relevant screens/pages from an available DWP
    Customer Computer in your office.
    89. However, the onus is on the claimant to provide evidence of their
    jobsearch activity (by whatever means they choose).
    90. Therefore if a claimant does not wish to do this, you will need to base your
    assessment on the evidence they have provided. If this is insufficient and you
    are not completely satisfied they have met the requirements to actively seek
    work, raise a labour market doubt in the usual way.

    Reviewing jobsearch activity – claimant not using Universal Jobmatch
    91.In cases where a claimant is not using Universal Jobmatch, they will show
    the steps they can be reasonably expected to take to actively seek work that
    can give them the best prospects of employment, through other means.
    92.In these cases, you will review a claimant’s jobsearch activity using the
    evidence they provide as described in paragraph 83.

    Referral to a Decision Maker required
    93.Any doubts identified as a result of the evidence provided (however
    presented) will need to be referred to a Decision Maker in the usual way.
    Action required by Decision Maker
    94.You will make your decision in the usual way.

    In addition to this I have also provided extracts of guidance from Chapters 04
    and 05 of the Labour Market Instructions used by Work Coaches which helps
    to explain that the more information a claimant can provide about their work
    search the less likely their will be a doubt about whether they have met their
    Actively Seeking Employment requirements or not.

    Chapter 04 – My Work Plan Booklet
    The My Work Plan Booklet
    4. The expectation is that the Jobcentre will work with claimants to actively
    use the My Work Plan booklet. The claimant should be actively encouraged to
    use their My Work Plan booklet to record their plans as it will help them to
    better plan, manage and review their work search activity. It will also provide a
    strong basis upon which it can be determined whether the claimant is meeting
    their requirements for actively seeking work, and make it easy for the claimant
    to provide evidence that they are undertaking reasonable steps to secure

    5. It is not mandatory for claimants to use the My Work Plan booklet, however
    Work Coaches must issue them with the booklet as it contains important
    information about sanctions and appointment times as well as useful
    information on how to plan.
    6. There may be times when the claimant has recorded their activities to the
    same standard in a different format. In cases like these, the coach should
    then encourage the claimant to revert to use of the My Work Plan booklet.
    However, this booklet is not a mandatory product for demonstrating evidence
    of work search and claimants have the right to demonstrate what they have
    done to look for work through whichever means they deem suitable and most
    7. For example, the claimant may prefer to use Universal Jobmatch to record
    their activities and their plans for what they will do to look for work or may
    bring in a CV that they have developed to demonstrate that they have
    undertaken this activity. Claimants can use their Universal Jobmatch account
    to show details of:
     saved jobs
     saved searches
     CVs created and saved
     application history, and
     activity history.
    Chapter 05 – Work Search Reviews
    Considering whether the level of activity is enough to meet the ASE
    60. The more information a claimant can provide about their work search
    activities, the less doubt there is to if they have met the requirements under
    Actively Seeking Employment.
    61. To avoid any doubts, claimants need to understand:
     what we expect of them
     what information we are looking for
     the kind of examples they can use to provide it
     what will happen to them if they don’t meet the conditions for Actively
    Seeking Employment? That is, that their benefit will stop and they will
    no longer qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance and that if they make a
    new claim after such a failure, they may not receive their benefit for up
    to 4 weeks or 13 weeks if they’ve previously had an intermediate
    sanction within a 52 week period.
    I have also included below, an extract from the Labour Market Conditions
    Guide which says:

    The evidence of jobsearch produced when they attend to have their regular
    reviews may be in various forms:
     information they have provided from their Universal Jobmatch account;
     evidence in writing from employers, employment agencies, or other
    organisations which they have contacted;
     copies of letters they have sent to employers;
     the claimant’s un-corroborated written evidence, for example an ES4;
     the claimant’s verbal evidence
     evidence from previous Jobsearch Reviews recorded on LMS.

    This is supported by:
    Section 8(1),(b) of the Jobseekers Act 1995 which says:
     Regulations may make provision for requiring a claimant [(other than a
    joint-claim couple claiming a joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance)] to
    provide information and such evidence as may be prescribed as to his
    circumstances, his availability for employment and the extent to which
    he is actively seeking employment.; and
    Regulation 24(1) of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations 1996 which
     A claimant shall provide such information as to his circumstances, his
    availability for employment and the extent to which he is actively
    seeking employment as may be required by the Secretary of State in
    order to determine the entitlement of the claimant to a jobseeker’s
    allowance, whether that allowance is payable to him and, if so, in what


    July 19, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    • the work coach also now says not to use the ujm web

      Enough is enough of this.Mine told me she wouldn’t be able to sign into the computer in two weeks time next signing and various other statements similar.

      Its designed to be confrontational throw you off routines and to cause serious problems with someones’ claim.

      You cannot believe a word they say.

      Superted,see if you can get some representation at the tribunal hearing.Its clear to see whats happening here.This is happening to many people.Long term unemployed are constantly targetted by what ever means.


      July 19, 2017 at 11:41 pm

      • but its on my cc that i have to use ujm 😉 seen that one coming from the edge of the known universe


        July 20, 2017 at 8:35 pm

      • Get your CC revised, superted. If your Work Coach say not to use UJM make him/her put that on a new CC.

        The Rani

        July 21, 2017 at 8:45 am

      • The Rani

        Changing a CC doesn’t swing both ways im afraid. A work coach would sooner tell you to use the site even if it was worthless, if anything, just to save themselves having to type and then get out of there seat to go to the printer to collect it.

        Secondly its going to be used for surrendering evidence when UC is in town and the locals have to go full digital.


        July 21, 2017 at 9:18 am

      • Thing is a lot of people only get online intermittently, when the visit Jobcentres (that aren’t yet closed) or libraries (which only allow you one hour on line per day where I live). So people will have to write down what the have done and when as far as jobseeking is concerned and then type it all in later to Universal Jobmatch, when they get a chance to log into it. And don’t forget a lot of people can’t type very well, using a keyboard, and aren’t used to keeping a record of their activities accurately, and aren’t very IT savvy. What could possibly go wrong? My bet is that if the person miles away never sees you, and doesn’t know you, the only thing they have to judge you by is what you submit as a jobsearch, which is 100% bound to lead to a massive increase in sanctions since no allowances will be made for difficulties millions of anonymous and unseen individuals will experience when forced to do this, week in and week out, day after day.

        If Universal Credit is fucked up now it will be doubly fucked up when everybody on it subject to conditionality, working and non-working, only get to keep their entitlements if they have the administrative and ICT skills to make a good fist of it. Plus: What about evidence? Will we have to forward emails received relating to jobseeking like, say, acknowledgements from jobsites of applications made? And what about emails from employers themselves? If we forwarded them on without the writer’s permission wouldn’t we be contravening the Data Protection Act?

        This whole thing is so badly conceived as to be unworkable.

        At the end of the day I think we know that it will be the poor and the desperate who will suffer the most.


        July 21, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      • but on ujm over 95% of the jobs on there are external links so in a full service area how would you be able to provide this proof every 4 weeks ? just seems it is a complete joke and unworkable unless they change the dpa.


        July 21, 2017 at 2:17 pm

      • UJM has a diary which you are supposed to fill in, meticulously, describing everything you do for job search.

        Sort of:


        9.00am – 10.00am Walked to library
        10.00am – 11.00 am Did work search on library computer. Applied for job as Neuro Surgeon with Hospitals Trust via Indeed.com. Requested application form for job at local strip club helping the girls dress and undress,
        11.00am – 2.00pm Walked around city looking for casually advertised work.
        2.00pm – 3.00pm Walked home.
        3.00pm – 4.00pm Worked polishing up CV and covering letter.

        Total hours: 7 hours.

        And if you don’t do anything and can’t make something up to fill any gaps, so that you seem to clock up 35 hours of job search per week well, expect a sanction.

        Ain’t Universal Credit great?

        The Rani

        July 22, 2017 at 8:24 am

  21. Work Search Reviews
    Universal Credit aims for claimants to get as much work as they reasonably can do
    as quickly as possible. Work coaches (WC) will take account of individual
    circumstances and set requirements that, if complied with, give the claimant the best
    possible prospects of finding paid work quickly. All such requirements will be
    recorded on the Claimant Commitment.
    The primary purpose of Work Search Reviews is to check that the claimant has
    complied with their work-related requirements. They also provide an opportunity to
    identify anything that makes it harder for the claimant to get paid work and determine
    appropriate support.
    Conducting the Work Search Review
    A discussion with the claimant must take place to find out what they have done to
    look for paid work since their last Work Search Review. Elements of the Work
    Search Review include:
     review of work search activity and work
    preparation actions set out on the Claimant
     review of the claimant’s Universal Jobmatch
     consideration of other work search and
    work preparation evidence presented by
    the claimant

    Review of Work Search activities
    When making an assessment on whether the claimant has met their work search
    activities in their Claimant Commitment, the WC must consider whether the claimant
    has spent sufficient time doing these activities and has done all they can reasonably
    be expected to do to find work. This is based on:
     their conversation with the claimant
     evidence available including the quality of
    the activities undertaken and the time
    spent doing them
     outcomes resulting from the activities
    All available Work Search evidence should be considered, including:
     the claimant’s Universal Jobmatch account
     any Claimant Commitment Pack ‘My work
    plan’ stencils, diary or record the claimant
    has kept of their activities
     print-outs of jobs they have applied for
     letters from employers
     updated CVs

    Identifying sanctionable failures
    When a WC is not satisfied that the claimant has carried out the required work
    search or work preparation activities, they should consider whether a sanctionable
    failure has occurred.


    July 19, 2017 at 6:05 pm

  22. the claimant each time they attend at the office.
    Claimant says they have created a Profile and Public CV in Universal
    Jobmatch but have not allowed DWP to access their account
    15. In these cases you will be able to check they have created a profile by finding the
    claimant in the UJ application.
    16. You will not be able to login to their account to check they have created a public
    CV (you will do this by looking at the evidence the claimant has provided by one of
    the methods in paragraphs 19 to 22). However, when you search for the claimant, in
    the UJ application it will tell you if they have completed a profile and have created an
    account because your search will open a page that returns a message which says,
    “User has not provided permissions to access account”
    17. You will also need to explain, that because the claimant does not wish to allow
    DWP access to their account (and this is their decision not ours so you cannot
    issue a Jobseeker’s Direction to gain access) they will need to provide evidence that
    they have created a public CV. To help them do this, suggest this may take the form

    prints of their CV screens/pages from their Universal Jobmatch account.
    This will not be possible for claimants who do not have access to a printer or
    cannot afford to print out copies of these pages

    showing us these CV screens/pages from their Universal Jobmatch account
    if they have access to the internet on a smartphone. Districts will need to
    consider the guidance on Restricted Use of Electronic Media in Jobcentres
    although paragraph 7 in this guidance enables offices to allow claimants to
    use their mobiles for this purpose.
    18. If it is not possible for the claimant to do any of the above, advise the claimant
    that they can login to their UJ account from an available Internet Access Device
    (IAD) in your office and print off the relevant screens/pages or show you the
    information on the screen.
    19. However, the onus is on the claimant to provide evidence that they have created
    a profile and public CV by whatever means they choose.
    20. If the claimant does not wish to do this, you will need to decide whether they have
    created a profile and public CV based on the evidence they have provided.
    21. If you are satisfied that the claimant has created a profile and public CV you will
    then need to select the ‘Pilots’ Hotspot on LMS; (or where the ‘Pilots’ Hotspot is not
    shown, you will need to select the ‘New Initiative’ Hotspot and select ‘Pilots’ from the
    dropdown menu list); then from the next window find the ‘UJ Pilot Marker’ option;
    then select ‘Vol UJ – no access’ from the dropdown menu list and select the [Save]
    button. This is required so you do not keep asking the claimant each time they attend
    at the office.
    22. If the evidence provided by the claimant is insufficient and you are not completely
    satisfied they have created a profile and public CV, you must consider issuing a
    Jobseeker’s Direction.


    July 19, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    • How can you be forced to put any of your sensitive personal data, e.g., name, address, telephone number etc., online anywhere against your will? We all know data harvesting is going on wholesale and anybody posing as an employer would be able to see your details and put them to no good use, e.g., put them on a CD/DVD with thousands of others and sell them on to direct contact companies to send mail to you or phone you. Surely under data protection rules nobody can be coerced into paking their CV public on UJM? Has anybody ever actually been sanctioned for refusing to do this? To me it sounds like yet another bluff and an empty threat from the DWP/


      July 20, 2017 at 6:45 am

  23. doug so if you give the same email addr as the one you use for ujm and the advisers now can access it with just that is it not a breach of the data protection act as you never gave permission in the first place and should be reported to the ico?

    seems its well dodgy to me what there up to if that is the case and so it seems from ppl i spoke to.


    July 19, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    • Superted

      For starters your dealing with second hand information you gleaned from facebook. You need to research how much of it is fact as civil servants aren’t allowed under code to deceive members of public. There are instances they can but none apply here. So you would have to go and ask DWP precisely “are you using email addresses given verbally that are also used in that same persons UJM account to enter the said account”. If they say yes then ask “are you doing this regardless of the person not granting permission via the tick box in the account itself”. If they say yes then ask, “what law/regulation are you enacting that gives you that legal right”.

      To answer Ergos point while DWP can insist you open an account, they cannot do so insisting you use your personal and or sensitive data unless you have agreed to at some point in your claim for benefits.
      This means as i have pointed out numerous times, you can use whatever data you like while doing so, like say using the name robin hood for instance. I also mentioned protecting your CV by removing certain data and placing a note that this is for cyber security reasons and that once a verified link has been made with said potential employer after certain checks have been carried out that the censored data will become available.

      (If people track back to my posts on the topic, they will see in more detail exactly what i mean with examples and explanations regarding UJM registering,profile and CV content).


      July 20, 2017 at 10:37 am

  24. Fears vulnerable people will suffer when Universal Credit comes to Norwich next summer

    Vulnerable people could be hit hard by the roll-out of Universal Credit into Norwich next summer, councillors have warned, as preparations are made to cope with the benefit shake-up.

    Great Yarmouth was picked as a pilot area, but there were problems with claimants going without income for weeks and landlords not receiving rent.



    July 19, 2017 at 7:23 pm

  25. Being asked about your values could lead to an ESA sanction

    BenefitsAndWork.co.uk – 19th July 2017

    New employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants subject to the Health and Work Conversation (HWC) should be aware that if they are asked to carry out a ‘My Values’ exercise then they are potentially being considered for a sanction.

    Health and Work Conversation
    Following a Freedom of Information Act request, Benefits and Work has received a large bundle of documents relating to the HWC currently being rolled out to new ESA claimants across the country. We’ve published these documents in the ESA section of the members area.

    Full roll out of the HWC is expected to happen by the Autumn.

    The HWC is a compulsory interview which new ESA claimants will be obliged to take part in at around week four of their claim, long before there has been any decision as to whether they should be in the support group and thus not required to undertake work-related activities.

    The DWP claim that the HWC is necessary because its staff do not not engage with ESA claimants until after their work capability assessment, which can take many months, but ‘People who have developed a health condition or disability are likely to be facing a stressful and challenging period in their lives’.

    In the view of the DWP, their early intervention will ‘help claimants identify small steps they can take towards their goals’ and this ‘will build motivation and resilience and increase the likelihood of work-related activity and ultimately finding work’.

    So, the DWP believe that the best way to help claimants deal with the stress of developing a health condition is to force them to attend an interview which can result in their benefits being sanctioned.

    There is a list of claimants who are exempt from the HWC, including claimants who: are terminally ill; have a life threatening illness; are full time carers or where there would be a risk to themselves or others if they were obliged to attend a HWC.

    The problem with health-related exemptions, however, is that it is likely to be a completely unqualified work coach who will have to realise that an exemption may apply and take action.

    Claimants who fail to attend the HWC without good cause or fail, in the view of the work coach, to fully participate in the conversation can have their ESA sanctioned.

    About Me
    Each new claimant will get a phone call from their work coach two days before their HWC. The work coach asks the claimant to turn up 10 minutes early for their interview in order to complete an ‘About Me’ questionnaire, which asks questions like:

    What kinds of things do you like doing in your life and at work? For example, cooking, speaking to people, being outside.

    How does your health affect your life and your ability to work? For example, you cannot sit for a long time, or you are nervous in some situations.

    What help do you need to get back to work? Tell us how and what you want to do and if you need support.

    The claimant’s ‘About Me’ answers are discussed with the work coach at the start of the HWC. Work coaches are told:

    “Start the discussion by acknowledging the claimant’s health condition but then quickly move onto something positive they have mentioned, such as an activity they enjoy doing.”

    My 4 Steps
    After the ‘About Me’ discussion, the claimant is required to undertake a ‘My 4 steps’ exercise.

    In this they think about something they want to do, say how they would feel if they achieved it, think about the obstacles that are stopping them achieving what they want and then make a plan to get over the obstacles.

    Clearly if the claimant is someone with a health condition that can only deteriorate, and which has already led to them having to stop work, this might be a rather distressing exercise.

    My Values
    Some claimants will be asked to complete a ‘My values’ exercise before moving on to their ‘My 4 Steps’.

    In this exercise they will be asked to think about ‘what they value in life beyond work and health’.

    Suggestions include:

    Being good at art.

    Enjoying sports.

    Following government or politics.

    Relationships with friends or family.

    Claimants are asked to spend 10 minutes on the ’My Values’ exercise and are assured that they don’t have to discuss their answers if they don’t want to.

    The theory is that the exercise ‘helps people to feel more open to taking on challenges by placing those challenges in the broader context of other things that matter to them in their lives.’

    Work coaches are told to use this exercise with claimants where, in the work coaches opinion:

    ‘The claimant is quite defensive – they really aren’t engaging with me.’

    ‘I think the claimant would benefit from spending some time thinking about what’s important to them.’

    ‘The claimant just doesn’t want to open up to me at all and have this conversation.’

    Given that you can have your ESA sanctioned if the work coach considers that you have failed to participate in the HWC, you should be aware that being asked to do the ‘My Values’ exercise could be an indication that the work coach is considering a sanction unless you participate more fully.

    Action plan
    Finally, the claimant is required to create a ‘Labour Market System Action Plan’.

    This is a list of at least two or three actions the claimant can take ‘to move closer to goals that relate to work or health’. The actions are supposed to relate to ‘external obstacles’, such as training needs, housing, debt, health management or child care.

    The action plan has to include :

    1 Action (what you’re going to do).

    2 Where you’re going to do it (for example “at home”).

    3 When you’re going to do it (for example, “this Saturday”).

    Examples of actions given to work coaches are:

    “On Friday morning I will call at least two course providers and discuss doing partial study from home. I will do this at home.”

    “I will call the number for Mind that my Work Coach gave me at 10am on Tuesday. I will do this at my mum’s place.”

    Claimants should be told that the action plan itself is voluntary, they do not have to carry out any of the actions if they do not wish to.

    However, the work coach is also expected to arrange a follow-up activity, which may be another interview or a phone call to discuss how the claimant has got on.

    Clearly this will put considerable pressure on claimants to carry out the agreed actions, even if they have been clearly told that they are voluntary.

    Reinventing the – square – wheel
    The HWC bears considerable resemblance to the work-focused health-related assessment (WFHRA) which was an interview which used to take place, in theory, immediately after a WCA.

    The purpose of the WFHRA was to “assess the extent to which your capability for work may be improved by the taking of steps in relation to your physical or mental condition.”

    The WFHRA was abandoned in July 2010 due to having achieved only “mixed results”.

    We suspect the WHC will go the same way before many years have passed. However, many claimants may have suffered sanctions or undertaken steps that put their health at risk before that happens.


    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    July 20, 2017 at 12:08 am

    • If you have no legs then you can`t take steps. Insult your work coach on Equality Laws.

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      July 20, 2017 at 12:18 am

  26. Now fill out the WTF Form.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    July 20, 2017 at 12:16 am

    • Now WTF you doing you lazy person? The work coach asks. Answer. No it`s my WTF Form Work Coach.

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      July 20, 2017 at 12:19 am

  27. Tory scum shock announcement of further increases to pension age for younger workers.


    July 20, 2017 at 10:52 am

    • Young British workers face a ‘monumental savings challenge’ if they are to enjoy the same retirement income as current retirees. only they won’t.

      UK workplace pensions system ‘sustainable but inadequate’, says International Longevity Centre UK



      July 20, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    • Poor old Ros wants to give people in retirement, or near to it, the “opportunity” to continue to work into extreme old age. Seriously, folks, how many people in their seventies, or beyond, actually work… unless they are professional people like Judges, MPs, Doctors etc., who don’t even need the money? The idea that elderly people are going to do manual work indefinitely is ridiculous because employers will give such work to the young and fit.

      The Rani

      July 22, 2017 at 8:29 am

  28. Violent crime up 18% in England and Wales


    one DWP source did tell us that the measures are in fact not so much designed to get people back into work as to make it so unpleasant for them on benefit that they will simply opt out of the benefit system altogether, even if that means turning to crime or some other way of making money in order to survive.


    You have to think theres some truth in that.Much like mental healh problems the cost just shifts elsewhere.

    This government’s actions are very worrying our way or no way,refusing to change policy when its not working and ending up costing much more long term.


    July 20, 2017 at 1:02 pm

  29. Benefit fraudster ‘too weak to walk’ climbed Kilimanjaro

    A benefits cheat who said he could not walk more than 50 metres climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and won a triathlon.

    Mark Lloyd, of Ynysybwl, Rhondda Cynon Taff, claimed £6,551.80 in Personal Independence Payments, saying a slipped disc in his back left him in agony.

    At the same time, the 33-year-old competed in races, climbed Africa’s highest peak, went wing-walking and skied in the Alps.

    He was convicted of a fraud charge at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates’ Court.

    Chris Evans, prosecuting, said: “He said he can only walk between 20 and 50 metres, can’t walk on uneven ground, suffers pain when walking long distances and needs to sit down every 20 minutes.”

    He claimed the cash between October 2014 and February 2016, but the court was shown photos of Lloyd competing in the HSBC triathlon in September 2015 – a race he won in the adult taster category.

    That month, he was also pictured posing with an African guide during his five-day trek to the peak of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania which involved walking between eight and 12 hours a day.

    He also took part in the World Powerboat Championships in Malta.

    Lloyd was medically discharged from the Army in 2011 after suffering an injury to his lower back while serving in Afghanistan.

    In 2014, he applied for the Personal Independence Payment – up to £141 a week for those suffering long-term ill health to help cover costs of their care.

    The following year, he applied for more money, saying his condition had worsened and he would be bedridden for a day if he walked more than 164 ft (50m).

    Mr Evans said: “The case is not whether he has an injury or not, but if he exaggerated his condition to claim money.”

    Lloyd admitted filling in risk assessment forms to enter three triathlons without revealing he suffered ill health.

    He said: “I didn’t want any special treatment or assistance. I wanted to be self-sufficient and compete at the same level as everyone else.”

    James Harris, defending, said Lloyd had not been dishonest and was able to push through the pain barrier because of his Army training.

    “When climbing Mount Kilimanjaro he said he pushed himself and was in agony,” he told the court.

    District Judge Martin Brown called Lloyd’s defence “nonsense” and said he deliberately lied to get “every penny he could”.

    The court heard the offence took place while he was serving a 20-week suspended prison sentence for common assault.

    Lloyd denied one count of dishonestly failing to disclose information to make a gain for himself, but was convicted following a trial. He will be sentenced in August.

    A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Only a small minority of people try to cheat the benefits system, but cases like this show how we are rooting out those who are stealing taxpayers’ money and diverting it away from the people who really need it.”

    Disabilty News Service

    July 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm

  30. Benefit fraudster ‘too weak to walk’ climbed Kilimanjaro


    Disabilty News Service

    July 20, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    • We’ve all been given a mountain to climb..By the DWP!


      July 21, 2017 at 7:28 pm

  31. Coates whinging about fake news and then allows somebody to post calling themseves Disabilty News Service; deliberately misspelt but designed to smear the genuine website.

    Ipswich First

    July 24, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    • Not only that, but it is DWP propaganda designed to smear the disabled community as a whole. The guy was army trained, for crying out loud, and as Mr Lloyd’s barrister rightly said he was pushing through the pain barrier no doubt in absolute agony. Anyone who has ever seen an SAS-type TV programme will know this to be true. Honestly, those out-of-touch-with-reality, old fogey judges shouldn’t be on the bench.

      Lowestoft First

      July 24, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      • It says that he was convicted after a trial like, twelve men and women and true didn’t Adam & Eve him. The judge has just thrown his tuppence in to say that he didn’t Adam & Eve him either.

        White Van Driver

        July 24, 2017 at 5:41 pm

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