Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Government in the Courts Again over Universal Credit.

with 40 comments

Protests at a Crime Scene of Universal Credit.

There’s been – since we posted on the Ipswich Star’s report –   a string of more news stories  in local papers about Universal Credit claimants in work (Low wage fears as 10000 North-East workers claim Universal Credit, The Northern Echo MORE than 10,000 workers in the North-East and North Yorkshire are claiming Universal Credit because their wages are not enough to live on, …More than a third on Universal Credit in work  Shropshire star. ‘Shocking’ working benefits stats show two in five Universal Credit …Powys County Times21 hours ago.

Now we have this from the Disability News Service.

DWP facing court over claimant’s universal credit ‘fit for work injustice’

A disabled man who was unfairly found “fit for work”, and then saw his benefits slashed by almost £180 per month after he was forced onto the government’s new universal credit benefit system, is seeking justice in the high court.

It is the latest in a series of legal cases that have been taken on behalf of disabled benefit claimants against DWP, as a result of a series of welfare reforms introduced under successive Conservative and Conservative-led governments.

The man, known as IM for legal reasons, had been claiming employment and support allowance (ESA), but after undergoing a work capability assessment he was told in March last year that he was no longer eligible for ESA.

His jobcentre advised him to claim universal credit instead, which he did, but he also successfully appealed against the decision to find him fit for work.

Although the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) now accepts that he was unfairly found fit for work and that he has limited capability for work-related activity – the equivalent of being in the ESA support group – he has been treated as a new universal credit claimant.

As a new claimant, he is not entitled to the severe disability premium (SDP) he previously received as a top-up to ESA.

He is also not entitled to the partial compensation of £80 a month agreed by work and pensions secretary Esther McVey for those who lost entitlement to SDP when they were forced to move onto universal credit after their circumstances changed.

IM’s judicial review case has been taken by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), which has described DWP’s policy as “irrational” and discriminatory.

It has secured permission for a judicial review of the failure to provide IM with transitional protection after his move to universal credit, or, alternatively, the refusal to allow him to return to ESA.

Another case is in the pipeline:

CPAG is taking a similar legal action on behalf of AD, a single mother with a disabled child, which will be heard by the high court alongside IM’s case.

TD gave up her job to become a full-time carer but had her income support terminated when her child’s disability living allowance (DLA) was about to end and before it could be renewed.

She was also told by the jobcentre to claim universal credit, which she did.

Despite DWP eventually admitting that there had been a mistake, TD is now receiving almost £140 a month less under universal credit than she did when receiving income support.

The two cases are expected to be heard together in the high court early next year.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) welcomed the judicial review and warned that if it was not successful, many other disabled people would be affected in a similar way.

DPAC said DWP was clearly engaged in “another cost-saving exercise”.

A DPAC spokesperson said: “Financially, the incentive for DWP is to find as many claimants as possible fit for work.

“Even if the decision is overturned, DWP is saving money by transferring claimants to universal credit.

“This is clearly just more evidence that universal credit is beyond being fixed.

“People already living on poverty-level social security payments are simply and randomly being thrown even further into destitution.”

Claire Glasman, from the campaigning organisation WinVisible – which supports disabled women – said: “Families are being devastated by abolition of income support, which is some recognition of caring work.

“We are contacted by stressed out mothers at their wits’ end when their children’s DLA and their carer benefits are threatened by the brutal personal independence payment [which is replacing working-age DLA]and universal credit system.”

A DWP spokeswoman said: “We are not able to comment on an ongoing legal case.”

This site recommends DPAC .

Their activists, all over the country, including Suffolk and Ipswich, have campaigned against injustice not just in words but by active protests.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 25, 2018 at 10:30 am

40 Responses

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  1. […] via Government in the Courts Again over Universal Credit. — Ipswich Unemployed Action. […]

  2. I was transferred last week from Universal Credit’s live service to the so-called full digital service. (Still a Beta version according to the web pages.) Basically I had to reapply all over again for UC, including having to stump up evidence of my identity since I haven’t got photo ID. My Work Coach, whom I like, confessed to having a headache all week because of the stress of dealing with upset claimants and things going wrong with Universal Credit, which she couldn’t fix for people from the Jobcentre. I shouldn’t suffer any delays in payment from one system to another but am expecting that next month, if I’m not working, I won’t get the same UC payment or maybe no payment at all if I’m particularly unlucky – which is what I expect will happen.

    I can’t believe that the DWP is moving hundreds of thousands of people onto a Beta version of the full digital service. Here’s the dictionary definition of Beta version: “… a version of a piece of software that is made available for testing, typically by a limited number of users outside the company that is developing it, before its general release.”

    This is no way for the sixth richest economy on earth to run a social security system.

    Terrence

    August 25, 2018 at 2:23 pm

  3. Universal Credit was designed and set up to be a nasty, vindictive system. Whose main purpose was to force what Duncan Smith & Co. thought were ‘skivers’ into work. The deliberately long-term unemployed, and the not-really-disabled. The people who didn’t want to work, as he saw it. UC was never meant to support people, but to throw them off benefit at the first opportunity into crap zero-hour low paid jobs. And what is Corbyn doing about any of this misery and suffering ? Here in his own country, not in Jerusalem. Absolutely sweet F.A.

    Dave Garrett

    August 25, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    • On the last point apart from the absence of a serious policy replacement for Universal Credit – except some never-to-be-implemented ideas about Basic Income – I wish they would simply come out for an End to the Benefit freeze.

      They have not done so.

      Andrew Coates

      August 25, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      • Are they still against the Bedroom Tax? Labour said they would abolish it if they were returned to power. And what about councils charging benefit claimants council tax? What’s Labour’s position on that? Anybody know?

        Neil Milbourne

        August 27, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      • Ask Comrade Google….

        Andrew Coates

        August 28, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      • Housing quite the topic these days as if i remember right, the mirror highlighted a story today on how welfare freeze is having a bad effect on claimants working or not.
        As for bedroom tax, your only see a reversal likely if the revenue that can be gained from landlords either out strips of offsets it.

        doug

        August 29, 2018 at 3:47 pm

      • Yes, doug, that’s what I thought. The Bedroom Tax has embedded itself and is here to stay. This is what the Tories think will happen with Universal Credit. A lot of bad press, some stuff on the TV moaning about it, some protests and then, over time, it embeds itself and becomes the new normal. Personally, because of the large number of people who will end up on Universal Credit in some way, even pensioners currently getting housing benefit, I don’t think the government will be able to get away with the mess that is Universal Credit. Too many people are going to suffer misery and destitution to be able to sweep the dirt and the dead bodies under the rug.

        Neil Milbourne

        August 29, 2018 at 4:29 pm

  4. Hi all

    hope everyone is well. Finally gone to war with DWP and escalating quickly. In my case its oh the usual little forgettable stuff, lying, conspiracy, cover-up, the odd data deletion and a little direct racism thrown in as a result. No biggie really.

    Does anyone have any Media Contacts? Intend to contact MP but want a Nuke in my back pocket just in case.

    Thanks

    gazza

    August 25, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    • For Gazza’s eyes only. If you are not Gazza STOP reading now!

      Comrade Coates has Poly Toynbee of the Guardian on speed-dial 😉

      Willo

      August 25, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      • Willo

        why thank you kind sir.

        Andrew, depending on what emerges this week I might well be contacting you.

        Just a little bit more detail to whet the old appetite:

        DWP complaint system – not fit for purpose [fails Natural Justice test – appropiate, fair and I suspect legal]
        complaints not dealt with
        complaints ignored by staff, management, area manager, snr Ops CS head [silence], oh and ministers as well
        staff refusing legal requests
        staff slander

        Let me leave you with these points: SAR requests. Why take so long? Its automated. Requested information is reviewed. Why? Automation retrevial here… unless reviewed by DWP etc so nothing bad gets out to the requester….

        As for complaints, if you are denied the evidence from both side is that not unfair. What about made up stuff? Accepting it with no chance of rebuttal shows system unfair.

        Finally, complaint in verbal form is easily manipulated. In written, just a little bit harder – oh and as your name all over it have right to all paperwork concerning investigation. Ooopppsss.

        gazza

        August 25, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    • Best to try tweets to start with.

      Andrew Coates

      August 26, 2018 at 12:07 pm

      • Locally people are being sent to providers’ on what appears to be a complete waste of time and money.The Jobcentre are even attempting to send people on courses’ they have previously been on in the past.

        Don’t agree to anything or sign anything.They are also attempting to send people to DWP psychologists another act.If someone is already disabled they should not be forwarded to these tests which has the potentially to undermine.

        ken

        September 2, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    • Gazza

      Any event occurring in JCP that results in action against an individual must be recorded. If it isn’t its known as hearsay which a tribunal wont entertain as evidence. If JCP/DWP defer making a report then they must be able to explain why. This must also be documented.

      doug

      August 27, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      • doug

        how are you old chap? Hope ur well.

        doug, come on, you know me…

        And update time:

        Very amusing to me [not to dwp] event. [must point out stated written explanation, made no comment about anything else – same day old trick of “Can we Talk” Ooops].

        Well anyway got the first contact.

        Nice Chap, seemed a bit confused, could not work out what “S c u t Work” meant. Had to explain using little words.
        Very confused as still at stage deciding if there was any need for a investigation at all, two weeks in. You know when you email the ministers office, the head of operations, the area manager, the FoI Team saying Institutional R, conspiracy there really is no need to investigate. Its all confused, you know?
        The confusion extends to deciding that theres seems no need to talk to anyone about anything, its so confusing you know!!!
        I imagine its confusing to him and everyone else that all DWP staff ICT activity is logged, no need to use that to verify Advisors as it so confusing and might muddy the waters further.
        Only now after two weeks has come up with a idea that there are areas need to ask that are unclear.
        As he’s so confused that after studying said 2,900 words letter will probably not be able to create a list of said unclear areas in two three days. He’s really really really busy and its so confusing.
        Even my new advisor, you know the one that started that day, which I thought was really really lucky for me, was actually there for ‘several’ weeks before that.
        Its all very Confusing.

        Like I am Confused at what is going on.

        gazza

        August 29, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      • Gazza

        So just another day on the farm then.
        I don’t know if your aware but JCP and DWP are two arms of the same tree as so to speak so often what one has, the other does not and why a claimant should always be aware of whom they are dealing with.

        doug

        August 29, 2018 at 3:42 pm

      • doug

        nice to hear from you – yeah true about the structuring between the two [for those not aware think of JCP as the shop front & DWP as head office, though I would point out the shop front is doing exactly what head office wants them to do].

        they are so laughable: have now established manager not sure should investigate & two people out of contact, but have confirmed [despite not sure should investigate as it so important, yah know] that one of those persons is not doing s c u t work. Well at least we’ve got the important stuff sorted, Right?

        I am a bit puzzled, one of these is going on the UC training course twice in 3/4 months… it’s almost like they’re keeping them away from me for DWP safety…

        gazza

        August 29, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      • they dont even bother with me anymore cos they dont want another ass whooping and sure as hell wont be sent to a 3rd party provider pmsl.

        that tribunal letter i got is as good as a nuke i go around showing that to the sheep there will be mass profit loss for the providers.

        i also got it in black and white they unlawfully sanctioned me and the provider tried to cover up there end trying to get me sanctioned on the lms records with out right lies.

        superted 28 wins
        dwp 0

        😉

        superted

        August 29, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      • hiya all

        update [doug don’t you dare laugh now].

        got call saying after two weeks has not been able to decide if its worth investigating.
        looks like it took him all of two weeks to read the 2,900 words.
        has also in that time been unable to separately list out areas he is unclear about.
        is clear however that there is no need to call adviser on course to gather information [i stated clearly unable to use modern technology like mobile phone etc – i’ll explain who too below] this clearly is way way more important than investigating what I told them.
        did not as has happened twice before resurrect the data at issue
        and was finally unable to write list of areas he stated were unclear.

        I sent this again to DWP Ministers etc….

        Oh and to the Prime Minister pointing this all out and pointing to original complaint – which was titled Complaint

        so what are the ways?
        – failed to investigate
        – failed to respond in line with internal guideline
        – but thankfully to save the Country from the Horrors of miss-identification established that person does not exist by investigating that important issue by not asking questions of anyone.
        – we can be thankful that DWP officials who in this case are kept in the loop are on the case
        – we can be proud there are DWP officers who lack an understanding of technology like, mobile phones, emails etc

        Got MPs address wrong will see next week.

        It’s All good.

        gazza

        August 31, 2018 at 4:57 pm

  5. $hitcoin produces as much CO2 a year as a million transatlantic flights. ‘Cryptocurrencies’ are utterly bonkers.

    Hash

    August 25, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    • Bitcoin you say?

      Oh that truly ultra secure bitcoin, favoured by criminals! The one the FBI caught Farage’s Aide engaging in the usual… Fraud, tax evasion, money laundering etc?

      Well I never

      /s

      gazza

      August 25, 2018 at 5:47 pm

  6. Company bosses who dissolve their firms to avoid paying off staff or meeting pension commitments will risk being hit by fines, under new government plans.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45302629

    Violet

    August 26, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    • The government also said that worker representatives should attend board meetings of companies and it didn’t happen when business rose up against it. My bet is that changing the law to bring company bosses to justice when they do wrong will go the same way.

      Neil Milbourne

      August 27, 2018 at 11:57 am

  7. Something to be warmly encouraged:

    Andrew Coates

    August 26, 2018 at 2:31 pm

  8. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating!.

    A6er

    August 26, 2018 at 7:29 pm

  9. Father dies weighing just six stone days before he was due to appeal government benefits refusal – UK peasants being murdered en masse by Tory tyranny.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-45100070

    Violet

    August 27, 2018 at 12:32 pm

  10. Scottish government seek ‘anti-terror’ powers to spy on benefit claimants
    The powers are typically reserved for protecting the public against terrorism and serious crime.

    Scotland’s new social security agency is seeking permission to use special “anti-terror” laws to spy on benefit claimants suspected of fraud, in a controversial move many will see as a betrayal of the SNP’s Government’s promise to build a compassionate and non-judgmental welfare system.

    The powers are typically reserved for protecting the public against terrorism and serious crime, but the Sunday Post reports they are increasingly being used to combat anything from fly-tipping to prosecuting dog owners whose pets soil in public places.

    The SNP Scottish Government has launched a public consultation on the proposals, but insisted that any use of the powers would be fair and proportionate.

    But liberty campaigners fear the powers may be exploited to carry out the kind of “covert surveillance” normally only used against suspected terrorists and organised crime gangs.

    “The use of covert surveillance legislation to target people on welfare is disproportionate and extremely intrusive”, said Griff Ferris from the civil liberty campaign group.

    Westminster has given the Scottish Government powers to administer eleven social security benefits, as well as the freedom to create new benefits should it see the need to do so.

    Social Security Scotland is now seeking permission from MSP’s to use the anti-terror laws against possible benefit cheats, but said any decision to prosecute would be made by the Crown Office.

    They added that, unlike the Department for Work and Pensions, no financial penalties will be levied against claimants whilst investigations are carried out.

    But Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton warned that any use of the “investigative powers” must be “proportionate and warranted”.

    “Authorities shouldn’t be resorting to covert surveillance unless absolute necessary, and they certainly shouldn’t be involved in mass snooping”, she added.

    A Scottish Government spokesperson told the Sunday Post: “Our current consultation sets out how we propose to use our powers while ensuring people are treated with fairness, dignity and respect during any investigation.”

    Wee Nicola & Big Fat Alex

    August 28, 2018 at 8:02 am

  11. Scotland’s new welfare agency applies for anti-terror surveillance powers to spy on benefit fraudsters

    SCOTLAND’S new welfare agency wants to use anti-terror powers to spy on benefits cheats.

    Social Security Scotland has applied for the power to use the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act (RIPSA) in a bid to combat welfare fraud.

    The laws were introduced to combat serious crime and terrorism but have been used by a string of public bodies to mount surveillance operations on anything from dog fouling to fly tipping.

    The Scottish Government last night said there were more checks and balances in the approach it is proposing compared to what currently happens with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

    But critics said there was still cause for concern.

    Griff Ferris, legal and policy officer for the civil liberty campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “The use of covert surveillance legislation to target people on welfare is disproportionate and extremely intrusive.”

    RIPSA allows public authorities to install hidden cameras to bug or photograph someone in a public place, use undercover agents and secretly follow people who are suspected of breaking the law.

    Holyrood is to take control of 11 benefits as part of the post-independence referendum deal on new powers. This accounts for about 15% of current social, security spend, roughly £3 billion in total.

    Social Security Scotland has asked Holyrood for the right use the spying powers but the Scottish Government said the set-up will be different to what currently happens with DWP fraud probes.

    Under the Scottish system, decisions relating to the prosecution of offences will be taken by the Crown Office and unlike the DWP there will be no fines issued in lieu of prosecution.

    The Scottish approach will also see the owner or occupier need to give permission for investigators to enter a property when trying to secure evidence of an alleged fraud.

    Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Public authorities must be able to assure people that the use of investigative powers is proportionate and warranted.

    “Authorities shouldn’t be resorting to covert surveillance unless absolute necessary, and they certainly shouldn’t be involved in mass snooping.”

    A Scottish Government spokesman said:“Our current consultation sets out how we propose to use our powers while ensuring people are treated with fairness, dignity and respect during any investigation.”

    The Sunday Post

    August 28, 2018 at 8:10 am

  12. I notice using the Universal Credit’s full digital service that you can record all you job applications and activities just like Universal Jobmatch. With Universal Jobmatch you could opt out of doing this and I’m wondering if the same thing is true of Universal Credit? I read somewhere that the DWP couldn’t make you record your jobseeking activities in any particular way and as long as you kept a record somewhere, e.g., writing what you’ve done on paper, that gets you off the hook. Anybody know? I can’t find anything definitive on the web that says one way or the other.

    Neil Milbourne

    August 29, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    • you can provide proof of work search ect anyway you like it dont matter if ur on jsa or uc as it is your personnel data so they can not dictate how you provide this.

      they will not like this of course but it is there rules and regs at the end of the day.

      i print out all the reply’s i get via email so that way they have no chance of a sanction for ase.

      superted

      August 29, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    • Neil

      Ran across what I think you want on whatdotheyknow.

      Will trawl through and link to the info – note I was coming at it as a JSA person [one of the reasons It’s kicked off between me and DWP].

      gazza

      gazza

      August 29, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      • https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/460828/response/1115310/attach/html/3/FOI%20408%20attachment%201.pdf.html

        https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/uc_job_search_evidence_format

        DWP Response

        DWP has been clear that there is no specific information or legal requirements that compels all
        Universal Credit claimants, in every case, to use the journal. However some claimants can
        have a requirement set, to provide information and evidence as part of their work-related
        requirement for claiming Universal Credit. This requirement can be set by a Work coach under
        Section 23 of the Welfare Reforms Act 2012, Chapter 2 but it does not compel this evidence to
        be supplied in a particular way, only that it must be supplied if and when requested.

        superted

        August 29, 2018 at 6:53 pm

      • Neil

        superted beat me too it.

        I would also have a read of:

        https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/can_a_work_coach_demand_i_presen

        this is dated Feb 2017.

        and remember the mantra – record, record, record ALL interactions with DWP.

        Good Luck.

        gazza

        August 30, 2018 at 11:37 am

      • It will be interesting to see this issue further down the road when the only time you ever see a coach is either to finalize a claim or some serious matter as they intend to do away with signing on in person eventually.
        Anything you put in the journal they are allowed legal processing to which includes retention of said data, metric of said data. Now while it may serve many purposes or claim to be, Please be aware that say using it by stripping our personal details for statistics is not the same thing as using it to decide whether or not a person is entitled to a payment in a particular month.
        This means DWP have yet to answer how long the latter is in play in the use of said data. Technically DWP should assess said evidence prior to payment otherwise they are lending to the over-payment problem they claim they are actively reducing.
        If they indeed do so prior then the data there after should only need to be used for non personal reasons and stripped of any personal attachment (means cant be used against the specific person it was generated from anymore).
        I don’t believe anyone as yet has asked via FOI but its a bridge worth crossing as to how exactly they intend to process (please look up what processing constitutes under GDPR) this specific data throughout a persons claim as you know, give DWP an inch, they will take a mile.

        doug

        August 30, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    • Good news, chaps. Thanks.

      Neil Milbourne

      August 30, 2018 at 11:10 am


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