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Benefit Sanctions briefing: DWP’s Mandatory Reconsiderations have “effectively destroyed” independent Tribunals

March 5, 2015

Originally posted on

Benefit Sanctions Briefing – 18 February 2015: The DWP’s latest release updates the sanctions statistics to the end of September 2014. For the first time it includes the results of mandatory reconsiderations.

Download briefing – view online

Highlight:  “The Mandatory Reconsideration system, introduced on 28 October 2013, has fundamentally changed the whole appeal process, introducing additional steps and a new Jobcentre Plus structure. MR has cut the proportion of JSA sanctions which are challenged by claimants from about one third (33%) to about 20-25%. ESA sanction challenges have returned to below their pre-MR level, at about 45%. The independent element in the system offered by Tribunals has been effectively destroyed, completely in the case of ESA and almost completely for JSA, where only 0.14% of sanction decisions are now being taken to…

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New UC ‘Six Month Earnings’ Rules Will Hit 200000

March 5, 2015

New universal credit rules which could leave 200,000 claimants waiting six months for their benefit have sparked fresh fears over increased tenant rent arrears.

The new regulations, which were quietly laid in parliament last week, have been described by social landlords as likely to lead to increased hardship and evictions.

Currently, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) calculates a claimant’s universal credit monthly. If they earn above a certain threshold in that month, their entitlement is reduced or removed. Under the new rules, the DWP will take into account earnings the claimant has made in the six months previously.

This means a person who earns a larger amount in one month, but nothing the following month, may find they are unable to claim universal credit for up to six months. The change only applies to people making repeated claims within six months of a previous claim ending.

The DWP expects up to 200,000 universal credit claimants to be hit by the change after it comes into force on 6 April 2016 – nearly 10 times the number hit by the £26,000-a-year benefit cap.

The change means claimants who receive an irregular income will have to plan and set aside savings for when they are not in work, as they may not be able to fall back on benefit.

In response to a previous consultation on the change, the National Housing Federation said: ‘Any additional delay in tenants’ ability to access the right support will further increase the possibility of poverty.’

London landlord Peabody said an ‘obvious area of hardship’ would be when claimants took up additional seasonal work. The housing association added: ‘With the accruing rent arrears, there is every chance of people facing eviction.’

Community Housing Cymru, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), Golden Gates Housing Trust and Wheatley Group have also expressed concern.

The government announced last week it had changed the finalised regulations to allow claimants to earn up to £300 more in one month than the next without being hit, halving the number of people estimated to be effected. The change is designed to prevent people who have an option on when they get paid from maximising universal credit.

Jobcentre Manager Demands More Referrals For Sanctions

March 5, 2015

I just spotted the above image on Facebook.

2015: DWP staff say targets for sanctions STILL EXIST

March 5, 2015

Originally posted on Stop MP lies & propaganda:

2015: DWP staff say targets for sanctions STILL EXIST (subtitled video)

DWP staff say sanction targets still exist. Ian Wright was a DWP work coach. Alan Davies was a DWP personal adviser. Both men had key roles in the sanctions process. Both men say they were disciplined for not referring enough people for sanctions.

Mark Serwotka who is the General Secretary for the Public and Commercial Services Union also states there is a target for sanctions referrals and the Government denies it.

He states one of those is 80% of all referrals must result in a sanction. Individuals have to compete against other individuals. Offices have to compete against other offices.  Which side is more credible – the staff expected to implement these targets or the Ministers who live in a world of their own?

2015 DWP staff say targets for sanctions STILL EXIST 2015 DWP staff say targets for sanctions STILL EXIST

This is what a Personal Improvement…

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A Tribute To Lynda Phillips

March 5, 2015

More sad news, unfortunately, readers. This time it comes from campaigner Debbie Sayers who shared it in the Disability Community UK Facebook group.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but is my sad duty to inform you all that one of our members Lynda Phillips has passed away. She was an amazing lady and a campaigner fighting against the unfair so called reforms often more than was good for her… Her contribution will not be forgotten RIP Lynda… Dxxx

As with Lotte Ryan, I didn’t know Lynda Phillips. However, with Lynda Phillips I shared membership of the Disability Community UK Facebook group, as well as over 50 Facebook friends.

My thoughts are with her family and all her offline connections, as well as the friends we shared.

Our community is a strong one in which personal connections are unnecessary. In this community we feel every loss as strongly as the last. Every name is remembered, every contribution, however small, is valued forever.

With great sadness, readers, I have written two tribute posts in two days. I have been reminded that in our strong, special community, tributes and deaths and the loss of friends are things we must get used to. Death and loss are the hardest things, for me, about being disabled- but in our little world, they are very ‘normal’ things.

We need to dry our tears of sadness and dust off our broken hearts, readers, and carry on fighting to make things better for those who are left in our community- and for those yet to join it.

RIP Lynda Phillips.

A Tribute To Lotte Ryan

March 4, 2015

Keith Lindsay-Cameron shares some sad news on Facebook today:

Lotte Ryan was being hounded by the DWP in December. Lotte has passed away and has left this beautiful message, a message for the living. How beautiful, caring and thoughtful. Rest in peace Lotte. Perhaps you are seeing us now with wiser, clearer, eyes than life gives us, if so, thank you for this stunning message.

“Dear Friendlings Don’t be spooked now, my cousin Chris, sisters Lis and Lucie, brother Jago and my Mum are writing this for me because I had to leave you all last week as you know. Sorry to go missing from here too for a while. My family have had a few things to do and wanted to get things right for me before informing you all of what’s happening.

My bash will be on Monday 16th March at 1.30 at Mendip Crematorium near Wells. You can google it to get directions because it’s not easy to find being up by the Glasto festival site and all.

Now I don’t want you spending your hard earned cash on flowers because I’ll have plenty of those from my family. If you want to bring me a rose and write me a message there will be a time and place for you to give those to me and I think I’d really like that. Nothing too ostentatious mind. You know I don’t do that stuff.

Cousin Chris has been getting a collection going for my charity of Caring in Bristol. If you want to donate and leave a message for me just go to and all will be revealed.

Share lots of happy memories and thoughts of me on this page, no arguing with anyone now or doing any naughty stuff. I’ve been hearing things (tut) and don’t forget to download any photies you may want to keep.

I love you all dear friendlings. My diary of a Mong is over. My journey is ended and I am at peace. Lottekins”

I didn’t know Lotte Ryan, but we had several mutual Facebook friends. I’m sharing Keith’s tribute in case any of you knew her, readers.

My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by her very sad death.

Updated 1145pm: I have just realised that I shared Lotte Ryan’s story here in December. However, it was a reblog so her name doesn’t show up on the post.

Maximarse- The Movie

March 4, 2015

A three-minute round-up of Monday’s protests…


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