Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Nightmare on Universal Credit.

with 34 comments

Image result for nightmares classical painting

Universal Credit Money Management.

A few weeks ago we posted this:

The alleged simplicity of Universal Credit and the lived experience of benefit claimants Kate Summers and David Young 

It noted the following,

Moreover the earmarking tools and short-term orientations are sometimes seen as deficiencies to be fixed with money management education and training. Instead they should be recognised for what they are: astute responses to managing on a very low income.

All of this was blown sky high when the series Skint Britain was shown on Channel Four.

What struck this writer in the last episode  was the entirely predictable way that some claimants immediately spent their monthly payments and had nothing left for rent. Conveniently now directly paid out, instead of to the landlord, the result was huge debts, which the letting agencies were left with, and evictions.

The Hartlepool Mail notes,

6 minutes in: Sad scenes show a tenant being evicted from a property for failing to pay their rent.

Letting agent Billy says the tenant owes him more than £2,000 in rent arrears, so he has been forced to come down to the property to change the locks.

This  problem about Universal Credit ‘money management’ is unlikely to be sorted out by pious ‘education’.

Then there was this, from the excellent coverage in the Hartlepool Mail.

Skint Britain: Police vow to investigate latest episode of controversial documentary filmed in Hartlepool

The last episode of the three part series showed people on the benefit system using loan sharks as they struggle to cope – but repaying debts sees both those borrowing money and the loan sharks themselves resorting to violence.

Scenes show people on the streets with knives and guns and now Cleveland Police have confirmed that they will be investigating the latest episode.

A spokeswoman for the force said: “Cleveland Police will be investigating the Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits episode from Wednesday night.”

Today we have more on “money management” on Universal Credit.

‘Universal credit is a nightmare – the stress is overwhelming’Guardian.

Jacqueline Widick, 47, on how osteoarthritis has left her struggling to pay her bills.

I receive £732 a month through universal credit, with £400 of it going straight on my rent. Apparently I was overpaid my jobseeker’s allowance five years ago so they’re taking £75 a month from me. So I have about £235 left to pay for gas, electricity and any other bills. It’s left me suicidal. I tried killing myself in September and tried again when I found out how much I’d be receiving a month. Thankfully when I called my best friend he came over and stayed with me. People like me used to receive severe disability premiums on top of JSA but they took that away under universal credit. Now I receive about half as much as I used to.

I live in a bungalow owned by a housing association that costs £400 a month. If I’m working I have to pay this; I get no help with rent. My bills come to about £200 a month. I can’t really afford food. My friend drives me once a week to a supermarket and pays for my food bill which comes to £20. I limit how much I eat to just once or twice a day. I can’t afford days out or to go for a meal.

I’m caught in a perpetual cycle of having to do contract work because I’d lose my benefits if didn’t. The issue with universal credit or JSA is if you don’t take a temp role you get sanctioned; you lose your money for six weeks if you don’t take it. And they check everything, all the interviews and jobs applied for, and contact the agencies. My list of jobs is enormous because if don’t take a temp role I lose my benefits. Now I’m trying to find a permanent role and the potential employers question why I’ve had so many jobs – they’re worried I’ll leave.

This is also in the news, as flagged up by our contributors.

Universal Credit claimants lose High Court ‘discrimination’ case They argued they were worse off after being moved on to the new system from their previous benefits

Three Universal Credit claimants who said they were “unlawfully discriminated against” under the controversial welfare scheme have lost a High Court case against the Government. In a test case over Universal Credit, the claimants argued they were left worse off after being moved on to the new system from their previous benefits. Patricia Reynolds, 51, who is disabled and lives alone, said she lost £180 a month, while a 38-year-old woman identified only as TD and her severely disabled 12-year-old daughter received £140 less a month for 18 months. They argued that, having been transferred on to UC because of “errors” made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), they were unable to return to their previous, higher level of welfare payments.

As always Amber Rudd is ahead of the curve.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 2, 2019 at 10:51 am

34 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Reblogged this on sdbast.

    sdbast

    March 2, 2019 at 11:37 am

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

    A6er

    March 2, 2019 at 2:37 pm

  3. Andrew Coates

    March 3, 2019 at 11:52 am

  4. At the end of the day, the architects of Universal Credit still think they are doing the right thing. Despite all the misery it is causing. To the Tories, a system that forces people into work, is still better than one which encourages long-term unemployment and benefit dependency. They spin Universal Credit on the basis of cost-savings and administrative simplicity, but these are just not true. As the National Audit Office has proven in its recent report. Universal Credit is in essence a moral crusade aimed at the basic principle of social welfare.

    Jeff Smith

    March 3, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    • Universal Credit is intended to force claimants into jobs they wouldn’t otherwise consider such as care work, cleaning, security work, asbestos removal. The shitty jobs that nobody wants. The jobs you wouldn’t catch Jacob Rees-Mogg doing. If there is a job going doing asbestos removal you will do it – or your benefits including the roof over your head will be removed. Basically, any task(s) that some bastard calls a ‘job’. And if it shortens your life or kills you – tough!

      Universal Crap

      March 3, 2019 at 2:49 pm

  5. Britains judicial mafia back evil Tory plans to use universal credit to steal money back from the disabled.

    https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/universal-credit-claimants-lose-high-14074558

    Violet

    March 3, 2019 at 5:58 pm

  6. Homeless people are dying on Cambridge streets at twice the national rate

    The shocking figures that throw light on our city’s homelessness crisis

    estimated 13 homeless people in the area died between 2013 and 2017.

    https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/homeless-people-deaths-cambridge-risen-15884147

    ken

    March 3, 2019 at 7:46 pm

  7. I wouild not trust the joke centre (I mean job centre) or 3rd party training provider pcs.. I hardly seen anyone whilst in the job centre use the pcs

    myfinalusername

    March 3, 2019 at 9:53 pm

  8. Just had a letter this morning from the DWP, advising me of changes in my social security benefits. That is to say: no change at all. The amount the law says I need to live on is the same as it was last year, and the year before, etc. – £73.10

    How much longer is this austerity thing going to go on for?

    jj joop

    March 4, 2019 at 10:24 am

    • Probably forever jj 🙁

      Violet

      March 4, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      • The law amount says I need to live on.

        Does that include the costs of IT equipment?

        The smartphone thing appear’s to employment agencies contacting and expecting the applicant to have a device in the hand,some have only basic call/text capability and a £10 phone.The agency can be miles’ from the advertised vacancy then expecting the user to enter NI numbers and bank details on a website.The problem there is it opens the opportunity for a scam.these are best checked before applying.There is no guarantee of success as other factors such as age come to the front if these ads’ are genuine.

        Claiment Commitment

        March 4, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    • Those letters are so stupid. Sending a letter to tell people of a change in their benefits, and then saying that the change is that there is no change !
      You should send a letter back saying that this is a letter to say there has been a change in DWP stupidity, and that the change is there is no change in DWP stupidity.

      Alan Turner

      March 4, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    • jj joop

      Could have been worse, could have given DWP grounds to stick you on UC assuming your benefits qualify and they haven’t already forced you onto it.

      £73.10 if that’s all a claimant takes from the state is the equivalent of is around a mere 9 hours on min wage. If you add £100 for rent is the equivalent of is around 22 hours on min wage.
      It begs belief DWP can even suggest a claimant should look for work 35 hours a week when they in equivalence to min wage receive far less.
      35 hours at nat min is £274 so if we are mimicking the world of work then why does not what one receives reflect that ?

      Doug

      March 4, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      • On Universal Credit, while your affected by the taper, you only keep 37% of whatever it is that you earn. So if you’re on the maximum minimum wage – I am not going to call it the maximum living wage – you only keep:

        37/100 x £7.83 = £2.89 per hour

        Which isn’t much of an incentive to work a small number of hours, particularly if you have to cover a bus or train fare to do the commute to work and back. Work isn’t the best way out of poverty if you’re on Universal Credit and only work a small number of hours. Work is only a way out of poverty if the work is well paid and you have enough of it to make a difference.

        White Blood

        March 4, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    • I paid £2,000 for a £450 TV’ says rent-to-own victim

      A BrightHouse spokesperson said: “We remain committed to offering our customers, who are excluded from mainstream credit, great service and the best prices possible for the products they require.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47452571

      ken

      March 5, 2019 at 10:13 pm

  9. May finally admits “for too long in our country prosperity has been unfairly spread” (all thanks to the evil austerity tory boot).

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47435565

    Violet

    March 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm

  10. Battening down plans on supermarkets pre brexit, is it any wonder welfare is exactly what it is if businesses did ever decide to abandon the sinking ship.
    Government would need to be able to force people to work for less now wouldnt they.

    Douglas

    March 4, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    • Douglas

      The supermarkets just want you to spend, spend, spend. Kerching! More profits for their shareholders. And when this Brexit malarkey is postponed, called off or whatever we will chuck our ‘stockpiles’ in the bin like we always do at Christmas. And then the Government will chastise us for not being ‘green’ enough when it was them that started the whole panic-buying scare in the first place!

      Don;t be fooled Douglas, despite the ever increasing presence of foodbanks, there is NO shortage of food in the UK. Supermarkets shelves are overflowing with the stuff. In fact their is TOO much. They have to shift their goods somehow. (Enter Brexit stage left or right depending on what side of the political spectrum you are on). )We are like the fatted calf they can’t shove it down our throats quick enough. No wonder there is an obscenity epidemic in the UK.

      The Money Wasting Experts

      March 5, 2019 at 2:47 pm

  11. doug

    Boffy, the simple truth is that you cannot have a friendly, robust debate or exchange of ideas with someone who’ s views on everything are first and foremost formed and rationalised through their (filtered) ideological perspective. Get over it!

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    March 4, 2019 at 2:17 pm

  12. doug

    doug, the simple truth is that you cannot have a friendly, robust debate or exchange of ideas with someone who’ s views on everything are first and foremost formed and rationalised through their (filtered) ideological perspective. Get over it

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    March 4, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    • And you managed to rise from the grave!

      I bet the DWP will do a PIP assessment.

      Andrew Coates

      March 4, 2019 at 5:28 pm

  13. As enigma posted:

    MPs urge government to end benefits freeze early to stop ‘destitution’
    Work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd to face pressure to act when she appears in front of select committee

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/benefit-freeze-austerity-amber-rudd-dwp-mps-frank-field-work-pensions-committee-a8805796.html

    From the Select Committee:

    Benefit freeze inquiry
    Inquiry status: open
    Scope of the inquiry
    The Committee has compiled evidence that shows that ending the benefits freeze – for all frozen benefits other than child benefit – a year early, in this year’s Spring Statement, would lift 200,000 people out of poverty.

    Households have seen significant actual cuts to their real income because of the various caps and freezes since 2010: a single earner couple with two children’s income will fall by 0.7% in real terms, and an out-of-work lone parent with one child by 6.7% in real terms, between 2010/11 and 2019/20.

    Witnesses have described the underlying issue of working-age benefits already set at levels inadequate to meet basic living costs, compounded by no uprating to match those costs rising annually: “the chronic problem that is driving destitution and indeed poverty is that working-age benefits are paid at far too low a level now and have been for a number of years. Obviously, that has been exacerbated by the benefit freeze, so they are losing value year on year.” The Trussell Trust said that the optimal way to reduce the need for food banks and relieve hardship is to “ensure incomes, from both work and benefits, can meet people’s living costs”. It recommended that the benefits freeze be lifted and benefits uprated in line with inflation: “in particular, Child Tax Credits and the Child Element of Universal Credit should be uprated in line with inflation to reflect the additional, inescapable costs upon families.”

    Ahead of the evidence hearing the Committee has written to Amber Rudd saying “the current freeze was originally designed to save £3bn… the Treasury would still make in-year savings of £2.5bn in 2019/20, even if the freeze was ended a year early. This, combined with the most recent monthly public borrowing figures showing a budget surplus of £14.9bn in January 2019—£5.6bn more than the surplus in January 2018, and the largest January budget surplus on record – lead the Committee to encourage the Secretary of State to “urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider ending the benefit freeze a year early”.
    The Commons holds its annual debate on social security uprating, but the benefits freeze in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 means that the frozen benefits are excluded from this process.

    https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/inquiry19/

    Andrew Coates

    March 4, 2019 at 4:57 pm

  14. I would Never advise anyone to have/keep a Bank account, it is too easy for one to be traced.
    I’ve never had a Bank account (Or Credit Cards)
    Also in times of National Crises (Where the UK is heading Now) Governments can seize Money from Private Bank Accounts,
    If you don’t have one they cannot get your Cash.
    I’ve always Lived Off-Grid in a Log Cabin deep in the Woods, hunting, fishing and shooting to survive.

    Pauline - UB40

    March 5, 2019 at 12:14 pm

  15. Andrew Coates

    March 5, 2019 at 1:36 pm

  16. Universal Credit Claimants Locked Out Online Due To ‘Consistent’ Digital Verification Failings
    Just 38% of claimants could sign up on their first try using the system, the National Audit Office found.

    The government’s flagship identity verification scheme has come under fire for “consistently” falling below standards.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/governments-digital-verification-scheme-verify_uk_5c7e2416e4b07fa0e234c738

    ken

    March 5, 2019 at 4:59 pm

  17. “When you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don’t want to
    eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit ‘tasty’. There is
    always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you. Let’s have three pennorth
    of chips! Run out and buy us a twopenny ice-cream! Put the kettle on and
    we’ll all have a nice cup of tea! That is how your mind works when you are
    at level.” – George Orwell. The Road to Wigan Pier

    George Orwell

    March 6, 2019 at 1:19 am

  18. “When you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don’t want to
    eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit ‘tasty’. There is
    always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you. Let’s have three pennorth
    of chips! Run out and buy us a twopenny ice-cream! Put the kettle on and
    we’ll all have a nice cup of tea! That is how your mind works when you are
    at poverty level.” – George Orwell. The Road to Wigan Pier

    George Orwell

    March 6, 2019 at 1:20 am

  19. “Would it not be better if they spent more money on wholesome things like oranges and wholemeal bread or if they even, like the writer of the letter to the New Statesman, saved on fuel and ate their carrots raw? Yes, it would, but the point is that no ordinary human being is ever going to do such a thing. The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots. And the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn’t. Here the tendency of which I spoke at the end of the last chapter comes into play. When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don’t want to eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit ‘tasty’. There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you.”

    – George Orwell on the Road to Wigan Pier

    George Orwell

    March 6, 2019 at 1:21 am

    • Very very true!

      A nice cheap Ice Cream from Iceland is exactly what you sometimes need!

      Andrew Coates

      March 6, 2019 at 10:48 am


  20. Bill Gunnyeon: Murdered of the Sick and Disabled

    Every time i hear the name Bill Gunnyeon it conjures up how my dad suffered at the hands of the dwp.
    Dad’ s only crime was to sustain an injury while doing his job, a scaffolder.
    Gunnyeon and his crew took away his right to participate in life and left him a helpless wreck.
    Sadly, he died trying to prove that the disability benefits he was awarded by real doctors should continue.

    Gunnyeon should be dragged screaming for his part in probably the worst mass killings of vulnerable human beings in history.

    Gunnyeon was responsible for the TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP formed from members of the private insurance industry and ATOS ORIGIN that made the decision for WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENTS to be introduced.
    Each member of that group feathering it’ s own nest,, the voices of dissenting disability organisations completely ignored.
    Bill Gunnyeon’ s role in the deaths of thousands is well documented, as is his job position at MAXIMUS HEALTHCARE.

    Val Squires

    March 6, 2019 at 10:17 am


  21. Bill Gunnyeon: Murderer of the Sick and Disabled

    Every time i hear the name Bill Gunnyeon it conjures up how my dad suffered at the hands of the dwp.
    Dad’ s only crime was to sustain an injury while doing his job, a scaffolder.
    Gunnyeon and his crew took away his right to participate in life and left him a helpless wreck.
    Sadly, he died trying to prove that the disability benefits he was awarded by real doctors should continue.

    Gunnyeon should be dragged screaming for his part in probably the worst mass killings of vulnerable human beings in history.

    Gunnyeon was responsible for the TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP formed from members of the private insurance industry and ATOS ORIGIN that made the decision for WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENTS to be introduced.
    Each member of that group feathering it’ s own nest,, the voices of dissenting disability organisations completely ignored.
    Bill Gunnyeon’ s role in the deaths of thousands is well documented, as is his job position at MAXIMUS HEALTHCARE.

    Val Squires

    March 6, 2019 at 10:17 am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: