Thursdays demonstration. Driven to a nervous breakdown and a 70 year old lady devastated.

As soon as I arrived outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre I was stopped by a lovely gentleman. He said to me that he had been waiting for me to arrive because he had been told that we would be there. He just wanted to tell me his story and to thank us. Here is his story. It’s not unusual by any means, but alot of people just dont see the reality of it all. You wouldn’t believe how many people still ask me what a sanction is. I suppose its the old addage, if it doesnt affet me then Im not bothered.

He didnt give me his name, that’s often the case. As Ive said before claimants want to protect their anonimity, and I respect their wishes. Not to do so would be very rude.

He had worked all his adult life, hardly had any time off sick and was loyal to whatever company he worked for. Unfortunatley he had been made redundant and couldnt find another job. This is often the case now. Work is very hard to find, a decent full time job that is able to pay the bills that is. There’s plenty of zero hour underpaid contracts to be had, which arent suitable if you have a family to look after.

He decided to sign on as he said, it was a last resort, he had no money. This was two years ago and he was placed on Universal Credit. As a result of this he said he was constantly hounded. He said that he would get at least five telephone calls a day, even when he was placed on the work programme. They would phone him up asking him if he was doing his job searches, if he was complying and if he didnt that he would be sanctioned. They told him that he wasnt allowed to turn his mobile phone off, and would phone him early, and late. He said that it got to the point where he became paranoid, that he was being controlled and that his life wasnt his own.

As a result he got very ill and had a nervous breakdown. He was hospitalised and taken care off. When he left hospital he was helped with his ESA (employment support allowance) form and was awarded the higher rate and was placed in the non work related activity group. He was very thankful of that, but he said tha he is very aware that this could end at any time, so he said he had been reading this blog, my facebook pages and others and empowering himself with knowledge. He told me that he wants to be ready for them this time, because his mental health couldnt take any more cruelty.

He is not a scrounger, he never has been. Most people who have to use a Jobcentre arent, indeed many are working and are forced to endure the work conditionality trial which is being trialed at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. This means that if you work fewer than 39 hours and are placed on univesal credit not working tax credits then you are seen as underemployed, and your children seen at risk of worklessness. Sounds obscene doesnt it? It is but its happening and I can’t stress enough that awareness is needed.

We also listened to a 70 year old ladies awful story of how she had been on DLA for 20 years or so. Because of the changes made to DLA she had been transferred over to esa and pip, she had been dissallowed it.She was crying and obviously distressed. Luckily she is already getting help with this, but she doesnt think the decision will go her way. She had been told that they had made a pre decision before it goes to court to say that she wont be awarded her payments and that “she should just get used to it”. I personally think that they are trying to scare her so that she doesnt go forward with her claim, but she is doing and I hope she wins.

Another gentleman, a regular reader of my facebook page came and said hello, and wanted to thank me for my support. We have been communicating via inbox, and I have been offereing support and advice on a personal basis. It was lovely to see him, and thank you for your kind words they always give me a boost.

Various other comments from people saying that Ashton Jobcentre is evil, they do nothing to help and they just make you feel worse. Awful, and like many say it should be called a sanction centre not a Jobcentre.

Ive placed my donate button at the bottom of this blog. It would be wonderful if anyine could donate, as I’m on an extremley low income and it would enable me to write more and to engage in more activites realted to my campaigning. Dont agree with donations? Ignore and scroll down! Many many thanks!
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17 thoughts on “Thursdays demonstration. Driven to a nervous breakdown and a 70 year old lady devastated.

      1. I was under the impression that those on the State pension could apply for Attendance Allowance when ineligible for DLA? Apparently AA includes self-attendance with no third party involved.

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      2. I do suspect that the DWP have breached guidelines here… But the rules concerning attendance allowance are changing as well. But because Ashton under Lyne is a trial area for almost everything it seems that they can do as they like. Welfare rights are helping this lady and it is ligit. Just because they are supposed to do something often doesn’t mean that they do it unfortunately.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Charlotte,

    Thank you for writing and making known all the dreadful things that people have to put up with when they talk with us about the draconian benefit system.

    I am glad that you have been able to make life, just a bit more bearable for many.

    This information, that I think you will be interested in, came from London this week:

    Owen Smith, who is the UK Member of Parliament for Pontypridd, was the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary under Jeremy Corbyn leadership. One person with a disability from Owen Smith’s Pontypridd constituency challenged his record in this area. “/I asked Mr Smith why, given that the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) has been responsible for a great many more deaths than the Bedroom Tax, Labour had pledged to scrap the Bedroom Tax but had said nothing about pledging to scrap the WCA,/” said resident and campaigner, Liza Van Zyl. “/Mr Smith replied that Labour could not pledge to scrap the WCA because this would make Labour appear weak on benefits in the eyes of the media and compromise Labour’s general-election chances./ “/I am very concerned about Mr Smith’s attitude toward disabled people and particularly to his views that the deaths of disabled people are less important than Labour’s ‘tough on benefits’ standing in the right wing press./”

    Christine xxx

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  2. Wish I had more money to donate to you. Unfortunately I have to supplement the income of my learning disabled son who has been robbed of £2,000 of his treasured savings from the “Fairer Charges” levied on him by Manchester City Council. I’m fighting it but it’s difficult and taking its toll on me and him.

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  3. Not able to donate at the minute, but will when there’s some money in my account. I know things are complicated on this mater, for numerous reasons, but would it help/be possible to put together an anthology/almanac (it would have to be anonymised ) of the tragedies that are Ashton Under Lyne Job Centre and then publish as an e-book, to purchase. Mike Silvier has done something similar.
    shaunt

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      1. Hi Charlotte, read some of your posts and blog. So glad I came across the link to it in a Facebook post. I’ve sent you a friend request. Wish I lived nearer. What you describe is inhumane and unjust. Do you have much contact with Paula Peters and DPAC? I’ve met her at demos. If you decide to write your book, let me know if you need someone to check through your text, as I used to be a desk editor. I’m retired and disabled, so it’s great to ‘meet’ people such as you.

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  4. as a retired civil servant working in dwp the 70 yr old lady should have been receiving her state pension and because she was born before april 1948 her dla would not have been reassessed.

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    1. Yes that should be the case. She is receiving her pension, but like I said her DLA has been changed over. Either wrongfully or knowingly. Things change all the time and I am looking into this.

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