free bus travel for all ESA, JSA and Universal Credit claimants.

There is a Petition on the Government website that is asking the Government to : To fund free bus travel for all ESA, JSA and Universal Credit claimants. It was created by Maria Nelson who lives with back and joint problems and due to her semi-rural location has a 12 mile circular trip to the nearest jobcentre and a 16 miles round trip for medical and support services. Maria attends various appointments for both health and support, and with a daily bus pass being £7.50, a busy week can cost her over a quarter of her ESA.  Realising she is not alone she decided to start the petition 

Empathising with Maria’s situation, I am supporting this petition through this post; to  give you a proper insight as to its importance, below is the rationale in Maria’s words.

My name is Maria Nelson and I created this petition to ask the Government to fund free travel for people claiming  ESA, JSA and Universal Credit (UC)
The reasons are many and varied, to coin a phrase favoured by the DWP, the  Conservative Government claims it wants to support sick and disabled people, the low paid and job seekers; but the  reality is very different.
Many claimants live in rural and semi rural locations, not within walking distance to shops, advice services or the jobcentre, further many are disabled or suffering chronic pain and assorted illness and so rely on public transport to comply with UC compliance rules such as attending appointments, assessments, jobsearch programmes and training.
These same claimants often need to access support and advice services to fill in UC, Pip, ESA and other claim forms and for help with appeals; these services are usually at locations which aren’t local or within comfortable safe walking distances. JSA claimants and wrag (work related assessed group) also need to attend jobcentres to search for work and attend interviews.
Sometimes  people can claim travel money back, but obviously they have to pay it up front, also jobcentres and assessment centres won’t tell you this unless you ask?
Sick and disabled people also need to attend medical appointments and travel can be costly for this too; for example I have appointments on  both 10th and 11th September and this will cost me £12.00. The cost of travel has sky-rocketed in the past 8 years, but our benefits do not go up according to the cost of living  or inflation; many chronically sick and disabled people are living well below the poverty line, defined at 60% of average income.
I’m at currently living at about 43% below the average income, but others such as those on JSA are far worse off. Many claimants are surviving on income so low that after council tax, bedroom tax, and the money to make up Housing benefit shortfall for rent can’t afford bus travel and are forced to walk many miles. This becomes a real issue if you are one of the many middle-aged, sick, and, or, disabled who cannot walk long distances.
A  further point to note is if claimants could access the free travel scheme ran by most Councils, it would save the DWP and its many training schemes and work provider deliverers a whole lot of clerical hours and paper when paying out individual travel claims.
I feel having concessionary travel passes and it is not the least important,  many disabled people live alone and don’t have access to a car; I can personally vouch that struggling with shopping  because you can’t afford the travel cost is detrimental to health. I pulled my arm joint struggling to get a trolley on a bus; living in a village I have to use the bus to get to and from the supermarket. I also feel completely isolated, which is detrimental to and already has damaged my mental health. Other than essential travel to shop, get to medical treatment I can not afford to get out.
I would also, as per Human Right Act, like to occasionally partake in community and social events when I feel well enough.
Their are millions like me.
Regarding UC, many on benefits will be changed to UC  next year. How on earth are we meant to access help with no income for 5 weeks and having to save to pay the rent for the duration? How are we supposed to access food banks, charity support, advice without travel?
There are so many more reasons a travel pass would free us.
 Please sign my petition  and share it, ask friends to help. Don’t forget to Confirm your signature in the email from Parliament or it doesn’t count.”
On behalf of Maria Thank-you
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Time for ALL Survivors of the Hostile Environment to come Together

I’m not the first to say this, Leon  , has both blogged and tweeted as have others and I want to reiterate an belief I’ve written about before

I believe it is now time we multiple survivors of the ‘Hostile Environment, created and managed by those in power, came together. The  racist and discriminatory treatment of the people in the #Windrush generation has appalled so many, and I truly get it. 

We disabled people have spent the past eight fighting to survive as our lifelines have been slashed away and we have lost thousands of our community already as a result. But the discrimination, which I believe it is continues, just as it will for anyone considered unwelcome by the elite.

We who feel this way are no longer alone Kenan Malik in the Observer today considers how the working classes have been used by obscure the racism of the elite; Barbara Ellen raises the points of how the powers are continually abusing homeless people, and in a slightly older post Dt Frances Ryan links the Cuts and Austerity to those with low/no incomes face similar discrimination. These are by no means the only groups striving in this Hostile Environment, spare a thought for Refugees, those trafficked in modern slavery, Rape and Abuse survivors, EU Citizens, the groups are mind blowing.

I am sick of being kicked, threatened, intimidated and abused by the Discriminatory Policies and Actions of the Elite and if you feel the same, then what are the options? We come together to make the Statement of Enough heard , we continue surviving until we can no longer do so or we become as the German citizens did under the far Right; the Choice is Ours to make.

So again I ask is it not time or ALL of subjected to the prejudices of those in , and those who really hold the power came together to say ENOUGH, Change Must Come and it Must be For the benefit of us ALL.

The hows and means are for a later discussion firstly we must decide Together WE Can

 

From Leon (as above)

We should start using those two words (Hostile Environment) in all communications with the DWP whether that be over the phone, in the Job Centre or indeed its contractors who are contracted to create it

All you have to say is ” I feel discriminated with all this hostility”

The Killing STATE of #Tory Britain

More than 100 women in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre have gone on hunger strike over “inhumane” conditions at the facility.” This is a situation beyond despair, the last time I could find multiple women forced into going on hunger strike was in Northern Ireland in 1980/81 with three Irish women starving themselves to death. Before then we have to return to a Century ago; what have the three times in common – Tory Governments.

I’m making no judgement as to why these women were incarcerated, although Asylum seekers and other migrants are imprisoned without committing crime; nor am I suggesting all of the women are innocent. But I am committed to the idea people do NOT enter the ‘Justice system’ to DIE.

Further It is not only women who are suffering in our jails, two men have hanged themselves just in the past two days, one teenager arrested for stealing sweets! On twitter  tells of watching a man be convicted of a series of shop thefts…what became clear was that his family were on the brink of starving & his children malnourished. Hence the thefts which were only of essential items.

In appears the ‘justice system’ is not fit for purpose, and as readers will know this is not the only Government Department desperately failing people of the UK; today a series of articles from @johnpringdns  show the DWP is subverting justice’ at appeal tribunals along with a council being forced to launch an inquiry into the death of a terminally-ill disabled woman who total package of  personal care had suddenly been withdrawn just a few days before she died. And New revelations how our old adversary Esther McVey, had LIED AGAIN to fellow MPs. Pop over to John’s site for more evidence of failure.

The continuing and ever increasing articles containing the evidence and details of vulnerable people DYING  as a result of systematic Government Failure disturbs me greatly. As a life long depressive I have seriously considered ending my life on many occasions in truth I FIGHT these thoughts DAILY, I’m not admitting this for sympathy, I really don’t need or want it, I’m stating this because I Loathe being subjected into survival mode due to an uncaring, dysfunctional and bigoted Establishment. I GET why the women in Yarl’s Wood are risking their lives, it becomes impossible to flourish as a vulnerable person in the UK today; but I HOPE none of them end up life their male counterparts above nor the woman dying because her essential care was removed.

No one deserves the struggles and despair the people above go and went through – None of us, including myself should be forced to fight daily to survive because our Politicians Lie about the dismal state of welfare and justice in the UK today.

I’ll keep on Fighting until I can no longer do so and I sincerely Hope you’ll all join with me to rid the UK of this vile Killing Government

The PIP Carbuncle Proven #ThePIPFiles

Yesterday John Pring at DNS  gave us three separate reports under the header “The PIP Files“. These contained analyses of information gained from a year long Freedom of Information battle by John Slater with the DWP,  and included findings  “multiple complaints made against scores of Atos assessors” and “Nearly one in three Capita assessments were flawed“. The information also demonstrated that Atos & Capita have “been failing to request vital evidence that would help disabled people secure the benefits they are entitled to” .

I know its highly unlikely this knowledge will be of a surprise, given the amount of posts I’ve previously put out around PIP and DWP but the reality that these are the FACTS as given BY DWP might help anyone engaged in their own war for benefits. Further this evidence will add yet more credence to MPs such as Laura Pidcock  prepared to fight the case for PIP claimants in Parliament and indeed campaigners.

A separate DNS article on PIP ‘Muddle’ and ‘confusion’ over DWP’s 1.6 million PIP reviews raises many of the questions and concerns as I did in #DWP Review of #PIP A car crash waiting to happen and unfortunately so far we have no clear responses from DWP; so nothing new here.

Personally there are many positives outcomes from these reports not least, the numerous examples of problems with PIP I and many others have been sharing via blogs and other social media outlets have once again been proven to be real. We have been vindicated and those Tories who persist in scorning us, and accusing us of scaremongering must now fight yet another set of very damaging sets of data.

Overall I wish to Thank John Slater for his tenacity, and both John Pring and Anita Bellows  for their help with analysis and their reporting.

 

 

 

 

 

#DWP Review of #PIP A car crash waiting to happen.

So the ‘Honourable’ disabilities minister Sarah Newton stated in a press release (no questions people) the DWP is to review 1.6 Million PIP application forms; so the 220,000 claimants with Mental Health problems (of which I am one) should receive the Mobility element previously disallowed.

This simply Terrifies me. On paper I ought to be able to look forward to a point some time in the (distant?) future, my PIP award resembles a similar amount to that of my prior DLA – about an extra £35 a week. However  I share the fears of  fellow blogger  Joe Halewood ‏who said on Twitter “What sort of idiot thinks reassessing 1.6 m PIP claimants – and it will be a FULL reassessment not just MH aspects – is good news? PIP will go down as well as up and some will have it taken away. 1.6 m more stressed out claimants too!”

Given the Tories track record regarding Disability Benefits, I too am concerned this review will not merely identify claims with Mental Health elements to reassess, I feel this is more of an excuse for DWP to further slash PIP payments. In the aforementioned press release Ms Newton also stated ““We are working with stakeholders to change the PIP assessment guide so that we can implement the judgment.”

Oh dear, more ‘changes’ to the assessment guide? Whilst I  think some of the expected 220,000 claimants will have their benefit increased, I also concur with Joe “PIP will go down as well as up and some will have it taken away”. The outcomes of the original ‘changes’ to ESA, as well as the introduction of PIP, demonstrated the value the Tories have for disabled people; and it is for these reasons I Fear this review.

I am also slightly perturbed that this exercise will “take years” and whilst I agree priority for the upgrade should be given to “claimants who have since died, and those who had their benefits denied entirely“. But given this, it is more likely I will be reclaiming PIP before my claim is reviewed, therefore I will presumably not benefit at all from this whole carbuncle, and I know I will not be the only one.

Overall the only thing I KNOW concerning this situation is More Stress is guaranteed.

 

From Terror Stricken to Rage – Thanks Theresa May

Imagine for one moment you have been subjected to the most draconian cuts in income, been subject to the most vile rhetoric from those responsible for supporting you and withstood being abused when you leave your home. Further more you have witnessed thousands of yours peers die as a result of these experiences; if you can do this you have a small idea of what my life, along with 13 million or more others disabled people in Tory Britain. And this is a mere snapshot of the ever growing pressures many of us find ourselves going through.

Much of these burdens began whilst a certain Iain Duncan Smith, with his loyal sidekick Esther McVey was in charge of the Dept for Work & Pensions; so imagine Awaking to the fact is BACK caused immediate Panic Attack.

An hour later the terror has settled and I’m now Furious and Disgusted, quite simply this  promotion for #McVile is the Biggest F”*K You @theresa_may could give people; and therefore I urge everyone to use their fear to galvanise them into ensuring 2018 sees the back of the Tories, because #TogetherWeCAN

There is a petition on 38 degrees –  you hopefully will support

To: Prime Minister Theresa May

Sack Esther McVey
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/sack-esther-mcvey?bucket=&source=twitter-share-button

Mental Health – Talk or Stay Silent?

Also at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jayne-linney/mental-health-talk-or-stay-silent_b_9416632.html

Today Mind have launched their “Take Off The Tape” Campaign which focusses on Anxiety; their website states “Do you talk about what’s most worrying you? Or do you keep your mouth shut about things that make you anxious?… Stop being silenced by your anxiety“.

Whilst as a mental health sufferer and counsellor  I welcome this recognition of the dangers and devastation of living with poor mental health, and can understand how talking openly about their anxieties and concerns might be of some help in some cases. The relief of ‘getting things of your chest’ can help you feel lighter and may for  while,help with the symptoms but faced with a personal trigger and you’re right back where you were, because talking does not help deal with the cause of your mental health.

Mental Health is currently being widely acknowledged, from the media to government  as a real problem, This may have something to do with the growing numbers of people experiencing poor mental health, this rise is being witnessed in children, employees, new mums and the Armed forces, to name just a few of the recognised groups , but whatever the reason, most reports concur the rise is down to  cuts to services and the pressures of the Austerity agenda; even the Governments ‘pledge’ for a revolution in mental health treatment and the accompanying investment in services,  accepts poor Mental Health is to do with poverty.

Living in Poverty from the real fears of not being able to manage financially to the social isolation it causes is extremely stressful, and excessive stress is an established trigger for depression (i). Add to this ill health, another one of the biggest causes of stress , and you regularly have a situation for mental melt down; and we at DEAEP are seeing numerous examples of this. People are coming to us trapped in this viscous cycle of poverty & depression, most of them are experiencing benefit cuts and are being offered no option other surviving with less than they need; and in the most extreme cases or being institutionalised. Is it any wonder these people are finding themselves experiencing extreme pain, exasperation of existing conditions and Mental Health problems?

What I find most disconcerting, is whilst mental health as a health issue, is experiencing the benefits of publicity and recognition;what is less acknowledged is the associated rise in penalisation of those of us with poor mental health. We are at a much higher risk of being detained against our will, with a 9.8% increase, almost Double the figures for 1013/14,  of people being detained under the Mental Health Act; We are more likely to be sanctioned if we claim benefits with a 600% rise over the past four years, and whilst 6,122 of us over the age of 10 committed suicide in 2014, the rates for both women and men outside of  institutions rose.  Given this it seems we’re equally damned if we do admit our vulnerabilities and Talk.

 

 

 

i Makosky, V. P. (1982) ‘Sources of stress: Events or conditions? ‘ In: D. Belle (ed.) Lives in stress: Women and Depression, pp. 35–53. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage