ESA, WRAG And The DWP’s Cunning Plans

Most of the search terms that bring people to this blog are based on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and people wondering what to expect once they are given the benefit (ESA) and sent to the work program.

As I am unable to write about me at the moment I thought it would be a good opportunity to enlighten people to the idea behind this program and the genius that is Iain Duncan Smith’s plans for the long term unemployed, especially those of us on sickness benefits.

It is really quite simplistic and can best be explained in the following 7 words

IF THEY CAN FUCK YOU, THEY WILL

Sadly that is the stark reality, if by some miracle you make it through the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and are placed into the work program you will made to feel like such scum that eventually you will do something that results in the DWP/ Job Centre sanctioning you and losing your benefits.

The providers of the work program take nothing into account when it comes to your mental health, your needs and requirements. When I attended Seetec I offered them advise on how to help people with anxiety, they were having group meetings with 20+ people and one lady there had a panic attack. I spoke to the manager of the centre and suggested to them that they have one of the empty rooms in the building available as a place for people to go if things were getting too much for them. I may as well have asked them to wipe my arse with bread and make a sandwich out of it based on the reaction, and subsequent lack of anything being done.

What they will do is make you attend workshops whereby the best option they can suggest is to become self employed, nearly every session I attended they tried to force me onto this workshop. I sat in on one to listen to the wonderful success stories they could provide us with, the tales of how many people they have got back into employment….. forgive me while I go and repair my sarcasm detector which just exploded…

The biggest success story that they could tell us about was a couple they got off of benefits who now did Car Boot Sales for a living… oh yes that weekend tradition of selling off crap for pittance.. which of course can only be done during the summer months assuming that it has not been pissing down with rain the night before…..

If you are given any appointments to attend work program providers, do not expect any help if you are unable to make it. They will simply mark you down as not attending and will inform the job centre where you will most likely be sanctioned, and not even notified about the sanction until after your money has been stopped.

Attend everything they ask, grin and bare it because the big plan of the DWP and IDS is to make you come off benefits by hook or by crook. If you simple say “fuck it” and give up the benefits all that matters to them is that in the media they can proudly state that x amount of people are not claiming benefits anymore.

We are not people with feelings, illnesses, ailments we are simply scroungers to be put through as many hoops as possible, and sadly too many of us cannot cope with this treatment and lives are lost – which again results in propaganda statements about people coming off benefits.

The media are hardly going to say “55000 people are no longer claiming benefits, because they have taken their lives due to the DWP/IDS killing machine”

The worse thing about all of this is that it will only get worse, zero hour contracts will become the norm and the MP’s will continue to get pay rises…. and a change of government will make little difference. The next stage is that we are expected to spend 37.5 hours a week looking for jobs, if we cant get a decent paying full time job they will expect us to take multiple part time jobs to make up the difference, and we will be forced to sign up to a website that is full of fake jobs and scams….

Naturally as we are British and have a stiff upper lip we will continue to hold our ankles and take it…

 

Its Great Being a Benefit Scrounger

I love knowing that the percentage of the population who have never had to claim benefits think my life is all sunshine and lollipops because I claim benefits.

The rhetoric from the wankers in government is that I live the life of luxury, sauntering my money away on endless holidays, fancy food and squirreling away £50 notes like a politician hides his expense forms.

The truth is much less glamorous and part of the reason for my daily IBS attacks, stress and ultimately depression.

Last week I had to pawn my wedding ring – obviously no big deal right? I mean it is not like I need it (which was one helpful comment passed to me)… The ring that was my last remaining attachment to Sheryl. I now have zero things to do with the wedding and our marriage. It broke my heart and was probably a major factor in my slump over the past few days.

Worse of all was that the money I got for the ring lasted about 15 minutes once I factored in gas and electric, which are paid for on key meters, and a few bits of shopping to last the weekend. Yet it will take me months to save up to buy the ring back. Six months is all I have to get it back, but the way things are right now it doesnt look good.

Today I managed to go shopping with my mum who had some Iceland vouchers that I could use, it was the first time in 6 weeks that I could stock up on food. The last time I went was also paid for by my mum.

No matter how I try I cannot keep up with the household bills, when Sheryl was here her money accounted for around 66.6% of the household income and although I have reduced a lot of the bills my outgoings are still more than my incoming, especially as I am still playing catch up from being sanctioned.

I dare not look at letters from my housing association in case I am behind on rent, I am reckless with money when I do have some, especially when I am manic.

I go out once a month even though I can’t really afford to because I am stuck indoors all the time and need the escape but I always end up spending more than I should.

I make sure the kids get things before me, rightly so as a parent but there are things that I can’t really do without because of health conditions that I just simply cannot afford which is making the existing problems worse. For example many years ago as a kid when playing football I fucked my knees, this means I have to wear decent trainers to protect them. Air max are the only ones that I can wear for long periods of time without being crippled at the end of the day, but the cheapest pair equate to a weeks benefit for me so I am wearing footwear that basically kills me when I wear them.

As the winter kicks in, and naturally the energy company ups the prices, I have seen a 3 fold increase in the amount of gas I use a week, to the point where nearly 40% of my ESA goes in gas and electric. Yet I can only afford to put the heating on for an hour a day if I am lucky, this flat is freezing in the winter so even wearing an extra layer does nothing. Some days your hands are numb from the cold in here.

I am on average two months behind on ALL bills, and while the easy option would be to say “get rid of broadband” imagine how isolated I would be if I didn’t have internet access, all my friends are online and it is not like they come over and see me.

I have sold anything worth selling on Ebay, I have very little of value…

Worse of all is that I cannot give any money to Sheryl for Lilybets upkeep. 

So when you hear the media and the government talking about how much easier life is for the benefit scroungers have a serious think about it, the numbers they give you are there for their own agendas.

As much as I would love to be out working, the sad fact is that currently I am unable to do so because of my health. I can barely do anything right now because of my health…

The Joys Of Work Related Activity Group (WRAG)

For those of us who were fortunate enough to have been deemed unfit for the work, yet able to work soon by ATOS we were placed into the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) as part of receiving our Employment Support Allowance (ESA) benefit.

This mean our futures were in the hands of work program provides and I was blessed to find myself in the (in)capable hands of Seetec.

Not content with being spoken to like shit, being forced into attending degrading training sessions, being ignore when emailing my adviser it seems impossible for someone to actually change me from being on Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) onto the correct benefit of ESA.

Today I had to go into their office for a “mandatory” appointment, by mandatory it simply means if you do not attend your benefits will be sanctioned for 4 weeks! yep 4 weeks of zero money!

So getting myself into a state, as normal when I have to attend appointments with Seetec I made my way there. Thankfully a friend took me as I did not have the £3 needed for bus fares! I walked into the office…

No talking to an adviser, no suggestions of how to get back into work or anything helpful like that….

It turns out I had to attend the meeting to collect a fucking letter!!!! yes the type of letter than can be sent in the post for the price of a stamp! but hey fuck doing thing easy for people, lets make them panic and spend money on travel instead!

Taken from Seetec’s website –  www.seetec.co.uk

Seetec is one of the UK’s largest and most experienced providers of Government ­funded employment and skills training programmes, helping thousands of individuals find employment or gain qualifications every year.

Seetec employs hundreds of dedicated and experienced staff across a national ­network of training centres to ensure that our customers and business partners benefit from an innovative and high quality service.

With a reputation for integrity, innovation and quality, our vision is to work with you to aspire towards, achieve and sustain your objectives through our training, employment and consulting services.­

if you put a shirt and tie on a piece of shit is it not still a piece of shit?

Now bare in mind I have been on  ESA since March 28th 2012 and we are into May 2013 is it really too much for me to have expected someone to notice that I am not on JSA? not forgetting the number of times  I have told them!

So now having picked up my letter I am being told that if I don’t attend on the following days I will have my JSA sanctioned!

14/05/13 1.00

16/05/13 1.00

20/05/13 1.00

22/05/13 1.00

24/05/13 1.00

28/05/13 1.00

30/05/13 1.00

03/06/13 1.00

Despite the facts that

  1. I am not on JSA
  2. I am deemed unfit for me
  3. I am not supposed to be searching for work

but lets not get the truth involved in this when we can instead make someone with mental health issues suffer!

Thankfully before I had even opened the letter I made the point of once again mentioning that I am not on JSA so I have been asked to attend at 12 next week to try and get this matter resolved with the job centre. History tells me I should not bother holding my breath.

Still as I am a benefit scrounger I can afford £3-£5 a day three times a week for bus fares!

Just another success story in the work related activity group that Ian Dickhead Smith swears by!

 

Universally Screwed by Universal Credits

WARNING CONTAINS SWEARING!!!! I make a massive effort not to swear on this blog but needs must this time apologies for anyone offended but you have been warned!

April 2013 will see some massive changes in the benefits system in the UK thanks to the genius of Iain Duncan Smith who has decided that the poorest and most vulnerable people in this county can go fuck themselves

Image credit: wikipedia

Yes folks this smug looking wanker who is currently the secretary of state for work and pensions also known as IDS is getting ready to screw everyone regardless or ability for work and mental health state and force everyone off benefits and into work.

The universal credits system will mean even more financial hardship for anyone unfortunate to be unable to work as the government caps the weekly level of benefits to £500 a week per household.

Sounds a lot doesn’t it £500 but consider that this includes housing benefit which for many people is a massive percentage of their benefits. Not forgetting the guaranteed fact that every year our rent increases so as the credit system kicks in we will all find ourselves even further worse off! But don’t worry we can use the other benefits we struggle to live off to fund the shortfall in our rent payments.

Eventually we will be forced to decided if we buy food, get electric, get gas or pay rent before we are evicted!

And still the good news comes..

Child benefit, tax credits (family and working) and state benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) payments will now come as one big payment and instead of weekly and fortnightly payments currently allowing people to get through each month we will now get a single monthly payment.

Which means that when the system is rolled out we will end up going a month with no money until the end of April when the first payment will be made!

From what I can gather the job centre is planing for this by making loans available to help the transition period but that money will still need paying back putting us worse off even more until the arrears are paid!

Now I am all for capping the benefits if it means people are going to find work BUT while we continue to have no immigration policy in this country and let everyone from eastern europe come into the UK and take away the jobs from the people how the hell are we expected to find work! Let alone the fact that we are not even fit for work that doesn’t come into the equation at all.

The way the new benefits system will work is that we will be FORCED to take any job suggested by the useless people at the job centres who don’t really give a shit about finding suitable work for you.

It is not an option it will be mandatory!

The plan is that you will be told to spend 35 hours a week looking for work or being sent on courses etc for 5 days a week so eventually you are working. Failure to do what the dictatorship tells you will result in sanctions for a first offence you will lose benefits for 13 weeks the second offence will see you lose benefits for 52 weeks.

And the real kick in the teeth is that it will not be ESA or JSA that is stopped but EVERYTHING!

So not only will you have not a penny in income you will also not have rent paid either! for up to 3 years if you are sanctioned for the 3rd time!

No imagine you have a child say late teens who is out of work, his benefit claim affects yours now. Say he then misses an appointment with the job centre and ends up being sanctioned, guess who else suffers? yep you do!

So what happens then? do you kick them out the house because their actions mean you have no income coming in? crazy as that sounds IT DOES HAPPEN!

Soon there will be a huge homeless problem but luckily for us there are 1000s of empty council properties available (explodes from sarcasm overload!)

Realistically we will have 3 options as a result of this benefit overhaul

forced into work

Poverty

suicide

Extreme isn’t it but not as out there as it sounds! we already know of people who have taken their own lives because of the states treatment of them in terms of benefits!

The fuckers who supposedly work for the people who elected them into parliament are conspiring to screw us with no lube and no cuddle afterwards! The same people who are being investigated for fiddling expense claims, having multiple houses and money in the bank have decided the only way for Britain to get back in track is to systematically fuck us when we need their help the most! Heaven forbid that we go after the banks that we bailed out yet continue to pay millions in bonuses!

As for Iain Dickhead Smith he is worth a reported £1 million according to his wiki page and has had such a successful career in politics that when he was leader of the Conservative party he was forced out by a vote of no confidence from his party! Yet he is now likely to have more blood on his hands than the worst serial killers seen in the UK!

Some quotes for IDS taken from interviews he has given…

In January 2012 Duncan Smith said that imposing a planned £26,000-a-year benefits cap would not lead to a rise in homelessness or child poverty. He admitted that peers may want to “vent” their feelings over the cap, the equivalent of £35,000 before tax, but said it would help families who are trapped by a dependence on benefits. “The reality is that with £26,000 a year, it’s very difficult to believe that families will be plunged into poverty – children or adults,” he told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme. “Capping at average earnings of £35,000 before tax and £26,000 after, actually means that we are going to work with families make sure that they will find a way out.”

He added that there would still be some flexibility in the system to help struggling families who were genuinely attempting to get back into work. Mr Duncan Smith said: “For people who fall out of work, we have always said there will be discretionary measures to make sure that this does not punish people but we make sure that we help them to change their circumstances. “For those who are doing the right thing who have fallen out of work, we will support them and make sure they get back to work. “Councils will be able to work with certain key families who may need a little bit more time to make some changes to their circumstances while they push them through the cap and into new housing.”

My message to this cunt and the other wankers who make up the political parties is for them to try and live on £26k a year and see how they manage to survive – hell i suspect they might even only be able to afford one house – the horror!

Sorry for the language but sometimes only certain words can be used to really express the feelings!

 

 

The Call I was Dreading has Arrived

The week from hell has now been made complete. The call I was dreading finally came today.

“This is ATOS we are calling to arrange your medical”

Just that one opening sentence and my stomach was in pieces, my good feelings evaporating before my eyes. I am about to be screwed in 3 weeks.

Three weeks! I have to wait until the 14th September before my appointment, this means I am going to be an absolute wreck between now and then.

For those outside of the UK here is how Atos work.

If you are on sickness benefits you have to attend a medical to continue claiming your benefits. Atos find ANY reason to decide you are fit for work and not entitled to benefits. They take no account of your mental state of mind, have no system in place for those of us with Mental Health Illnesses. All they care about is your physical being. People who have disabilities are being forced to find work because Atos decide that if you can use a finger to type on a keyboard you are fit enough to work.

There has been so much negative press about the medical system, Doctors are against it, the press are against it, unfortunately the Labour government introduced it when they were in power and its here to stay. Of course now Labour are out of office they are now against it – they think were are stupid that we don’t remember who introduced it in the first place. Still its much easier to blame the current government isn’t it!

I am sure people have had good experiences with their medicals and had no problems, BUT do a search on google for ATOS and you will find 100s of examples of people who have been screwed. I personally do not know anyone who has anything positive to say about Atos and the medical assessment!

Meanwhile you lose benefits, which means having no income at all, your housing benefit will be stopped which means I will fall behind on my rent and eventually start getting eviction notices. I can of course appeal if I am told that my benefits will be stopped but that will just add more stress and drama to my life. More than I can handle believe me.

Who has experience of Atos and is willing to come with me on 14th September?

 

Looking for an Outlet Suggestions Please

Today started off as a difficult day – I am not working and currently on “the sick” because of my depression and this morning I was woken up by a call from the people who work on behalf on the Job Centre about an appointment to help my job search!.

Firstly I am not searching for a job I am, according to my Dr, “medically unable to work” so why are they ringing me chasing me about looking for work when I am not supposed to be putting myself in stressful situations? There really is nothing more stressful to me than constantly being rejected by employers applying for jobs I can do in my sleep that would make me financially worse off than I am now being on sickness benefits!

The whole benefits system in the UK is so wrong because people like me are worse off in employment than we are being in a job! I worked it out before and would need to be earning in excess of £20k a year to make working worth my while from a financial point of view! Do you know how many jobs there are in my area that are available? especially to someone with depression! who also happens to have been out of work for 2 years (during those 2 years I applied for around 800 jobs!)

Anyways in 2 weeks I have to waste my day attending a work task session aiming at getting me back to work before I am ready. I wish them good luck!

I also made a big decision today and stopped playing mafia wars after 4 years and left my group behind. As much as I love the people in the group I think its time I moved onto something different as a distraction from reality, something that involves not sitting at the PC all day. My Facebook account has changed and now I have one dedicated to friends and family as opposed to game players 90% of who don’t communicate with me. I want to talk to people on a personal level again not have people not want to talk to me because they think I am unapproachable, I really am a nice person from time to time :-)

Not sure I went about my departure the right way and have upset some people about the way I went about it but it was right for me I didn’t want people to try and talk me out of it and I hope those who are upset with me will forgive me and understand why I did what I did.

So now the question of an outlet, what to do with my newly found free time. Besides the cycling of course! I am starting to think a lot about photography I am so jealous of people who can take pictures that make me think WOW when I look at them. Do I need to invest in a really decent camera? What would I choose as a subject? so many questions and I really do not think I am creative enough for something like that, although maybe my writing should show me that I can be creative. Would love your feedback on this!

The weekend went slow for me and I had a bad day Saturday, I am putting it down to the day being the anniversary of my uncles death as today I feel better. I can feel the old Garry coming back out of the shadows again he just needs more coaxing!  

Garry