Category Archives: Benefits

Ring the DWP for FREE

Use the following numbers to contact the DWP for free.

 

ABBREVIATIONS

JCP – Job Centre Plus

NISSA – Northern Ireland Social Security Agency

PDCS – Pensions, Disability & Carers Service

TPS – The Pension Service

 

AA – Attendance

DLA – Disability Living Allowance

ESA – Employment & Support Allowance

IB – Incapacity Benefit

IS – Income Support

PIP – Personal Independence Payment

 

UPDATE 15-12-2016 *Many of the freephone numbers have been pulled by the DWP who now want you to pay for your enquiries! Numbers which have been cancelled are deleted with a strikethrough.

 

08009177777

TXT

PIP New Claims Textphone

0800220674

NISSA

Benefit Enquiry Line for AA, DLA, Carer’s Allowance & Carer’s Credit


08007317339

TXT

State Pension Textphone


08000234888

TXT

Jobcentre Plus Textphone


08000181888

 

Jobcentre Plus – Welsh


0800882200

 

DLA / AA Main Benefit Enquiry Line


0800991234

TPS

Pension Credit Application Line


08000224250

 

Customer First Line


08000556688

JCP

First Contact New Claims


08000121888

JCP

First Contact New Claims – Welsh


08000327952

JCP

New Claims Crisis Loans


08000328355

JCP

New Claims Crisis Loans – Welsh


08000856318

NISSA

ESA Fresh Claims


08000856528

 

Customer Payment Centre – Shared Services


08000857075

PDCS TPS

Method of Payment Reform


08006783682

 

DWP Emergency Line


08006783696

 

DWP Emergency Line – Welsh


08006783717

JCP

New Claims Crisis Loans


08007314811

PDCS TPS

Pension Credit


08007317898

PDCS TPS

State Pension New Claims


08007317936

PDCS TPS

State Pension New Claims – Welsh


08081002658

NISSA

State Pension New Claims


08081006165

NISSA

Pension Credit New Claims


08001690096

NISSA

IB (IS) Re-assessment


08000121573

NISSA

PIP Fresh Claims
(not operational until PIP goes live in NI)


08009172222

 

PIP New Claims Service Line


08006783675

JCP

Emergency

 

This list is currently being reviewed and is expected to be slightly amended/updated in the near future

 

FREEPHONE DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES

Did you know that there is STILL a freephone number for directory enquiries? It’s run by 118 and if you can just put up with a little advert, then you can place a free enquiry. The number is:

0800 118 3733

 

Need Extra Time Form Filling?

Remember, you are allowed an extra 2 weeks extension on form filling but you’ll need to request this first by phoning the appropriate number. This may give you extra time to contact health professionals or consultants who can support your application. If you can get support from a doctor – fantastic; but if you can get the support of a consultant – or someone higher up in the medical profession – then you stand a better chance of winning your claim.

Stop the scrapping of contributory based ESA & JSA: Benefit Petition.

Make benefits fair for those that have paid into the system with National Insurance contributions.

We are asking that the DWP does not scrap contributory based ESA & JSA as they are currently planning to.

Currently claimants that have paid enough national insurance contributions can get these benefits with little means testing; DWP analysis suggests 30% of claimants, over 300,000 families, would be £80 per week worse off if these types of benefit were scrapped. DWP predicted saving £1.3billion in 2018-19.

Imagine paying into an insurance system that promises to pay back a certain amount should you fall sick or loose your job. Now imagine that the insurance company goes back on it’s promises and pays you only a base rate. This is what the DWP is proposing by scrapping contributory based ESA & JSA. If the DWP were a company, it would be breaking the law.

According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, “Entitlement to contributory ESA & JSA depends not on income, but on one’s history of national insurance contributions. They are remnants of Beverage’s vision of social insurance in a working age social security system in which 80% of spending is now means tested. This is an area of which the coalition has made cuts, limiting the duration of contributory ESA claims (except for the most disabled claimants) to a year from April 2012. A total of£5bn a year is now spent on contributory ESA and JSA, however, abolishing them would save only a fraction of that amount since most recipients (those with low incomes) could claim an equivalent amount in means tested benefits instead. The BBC report suggests the saving could be £1.3bn a year with over 300,000 households £80 a week worse off.

This reform would represent another stage in the slow demise of the contributory benefits system: which in itself is contrary to major European countries that are more generous and reward the workers for paying into to the system: we are 8th out of ten major European countries in generosity of benefits, source EuroStat, Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development.

Why are these changes unfair?

According to the ONS the poorest 20% have the equivalent of £2000 in wealth each compared to the richest 10% that are 8,500% richer on average. It’s the governments duty of care to ensure adequate food, shelter and adequate living conditions to each and every citizen. (We have in the UK signed up to the to the international convention on economic and social rights in 1976 that says the UK must provide every citizen adequate food of sufficient quality, and the stopping of benefits to at least buy food is tantamount to breaking this international agreement).

The proposal to stop contributory ESA and JSA makes a mockery of the governments rhetoric of rewarding working people, which is gross double standards and gross hypocrisy. Also the Council of Europe has criticised the UK for its welfare reform and the inadequate level of benefits.

The UN has launched an investigation of the UK’s treatment of disabled people.

The grossest hypocrisy is rewarding the bankers with a subsidy of £30bn a year according to the new economics forum through quantitative easing etc. showing their loyalty to rewarding greed.

NEED Not GREED!

Relative Spending on Benefits across Europe

or “How tight-fisted is our government with benefits?”

After its victory in the United Kingdom general election, 1945 the Labour Party pledged to eradicate the Giant Evils of society*, and undertook policy measures to provide for the people of the United Kingdom “from the cradle to the grave.”

*The Beveridge Report of 1942 had identified five “Giant Evils” in society: squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease. Beveridge recommended a national, compulsory, flat rate insurance scheme which would combine health care, unemployment and retirement benefits.

Around the same time other Western European Countries saw similar measures being taken out, and soon national insurance schemes became de rigueur across the continent.

Spending on these schemes has gradually risen over time but in many European countries the actual amount given in benefits is a hotly debated subject – generally the conservative right-wing has discouraged a welfare system, arguing that such systems are open for abuse and that they make people less independent more reliant on the state. The more socialist and liberal opinions feel that welfare systems are necessary for maintaining basic human rights and that benefits should, at the very least, provide subsistence payments to the most needy in society.

It doesn’t take much analysing to see how meagre the benefits system is in our country – considering that we are one of the richest countries in Europe. It seems that continental Europe are willing to give their citizens what amounts to a fair standard of living, whereas in the UK, we see repeated attacks on the poorest in society – taking back billions from the budget in the name of ‘austerity’.

On the continent – when workers are unfortunate to lose their jobs, or to become sick; the state are willing to continue to pay them the majority of their wage, until they are able to find work again.

Thanks to the Coalition Government, Britain now has some of the lowest benefits in Europe

benefits

Petition: Come clean about cuts affecting disabled people

Petition to Ian Duncan Smith and the DWP created by DPAC;

Disabled People have had enough…..

“I say to those watching today and who are genuinely sick, disabled or are retired. You have nothing to fear. This government and this party don’t regard caring for the needy as a burden. It is a proud duty to provide financial security to the most vulnerable members of our society and this will not change. This is our contract with the most vulnerable.”

Iain Duncan Smith – October 2010 http://conservative-speeches.sayit.mysociety.org/speech/601437

As disabled people we’ve spent the last five years enduring attack after attack-we’ve fought back in any way we can. But fear and anxiety are now part of everyday life. Over the past five years we’ve seen our support and whatever security and peace of mind we once had being slowly and methodically being stripped from us .Through a combination of ‘reform’ and the notion of austerity we have been hit by cuts and have borne the brunt of the Coalitions ideological determination to reduce the welfare state.

Basic Human Rights

There’s plenty of statistical evidence to show how the abolition of the Disability Living Allowance, the proposed closure of the Independent Living Fund, the Work Capability Assessment, sanctions and savage cuts to local authority budgets have removed our basic human rights and tried to remove our dignity and fight-and these are just some of the cuts. We’ve also been hit by cuts to our rights to inclusive education,cuts to legal aid, cuts impacting on the right to a home,cuts to our travel support, NHS cuts and many more.

Disabled people are targeted 9 times more than most citizens

Simon Duffy of the Centre for Welfare Reform has calculated the scale of the unfairness, saying simply that when it comes to cuts,‘Disabled people are targeted 9 times more than most citizens. People needing social care are targeted 19 times more than most citizens.’ http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/library/by-date/briefing-on-how-cuts-are-targeted.html

We have been dismayed at the lack of opposition to these cuts, from some politicians and from some of our fellow citizens. However, we believe the public has fallen prey to a propaganda campaign which has led them to believe that many of us are scroungers and fraudsters. Remember when Grant Shapps said that almost a million people had dropped claims for disability benefit to avoid being assessed, the implication being that they were all fraudsters? This was headline news in the Daily Mail, but when the UK Statistics Authority rebuked Shapps for completely misrepresenting the situation, there was very little coverage, so people were left with a totally false impression.

“grave and systematic violations” of the Human Rights of Disabled People

In 2014 we learned that the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is said to be conducting a confidential inquiry into the “grave and systematic violations” of the human rights of disabled people in the UK. https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/stuart-weir/britain-faces-un-investigation-over-systemic-violations-of-disability-rights

Welfare Reform Deaths

Every week we learn of more people who have lost their lives due to government policies. We try to keep a records http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2014/10/21/uk-welfare-reform-deaths-updated-list-october-21st-2014/ although we know there must be more, and we know that these deaths represent just the peak of a mountain of misery that is being heaped upon people whose lives are already difficult. We believe that if they knew the truth, the ordinary people of this country would be appalled at these policies and their results.

We know there are more cuts to come, both the Tories and Labour have vowed to continue their notion of austerity. The Tories have said there will be 12 billion pounds of further cuts

​The IFS have said we face cuts of 21 billion by 2020.​ Leaks say that again these will target disabled people and what’s left of the vital welfare support that many of us have contributed to so that there is a welfare state and safety net in place for all when they need it. We’ve had enough…

Its time all political parties came clean on further cuts to disabled peoples support, instead of false promises and lies

Please, oppose any further cuts to vital support for disabled people and those with chronic health conditions by signing with us below.


March for the Homeless 15 April 2015

 

JOIN THE PROTEST!

Protests going on all over the UK:

GLASGOW | NEWCASTLE | NORWICH | BRIGHTON | LONDON | MANCHESTER | LEEDS | HUDDERSFIELD | HULL

For more information visit: https://marchforthehomeless2015.wordpress.com/uk/

 

MAKE SOME NOISE

If you can’t make it to any of the demonstrations on the day, then why not motivate discussion about the shocking state of homelessness in the UK and abroad. Remember: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social media sites are all good strategies for getting the message across. Why not email your local MP? Use this link to find out their email address: https://www.writetothem.com/.

 

PETITION WARWICK DISTRICT COUNCIL

Join this local petition on change.org made by Leamington Claimants Union to Warwick District Council. We asked the council to: “Be Aware of your Duty of Care to the Homeless and Vulnerably Housed.” This is a petition to ask Warwick District Council to either abolish the Spare Bedroom Tax and the Council Tax for benefit claimants in the Warwick District area (they are, after all, totally draconian stealth taxes) – or – Set up a Night Shelter.* Follow the link below to SIGN THE PETITION…

 

homeless-family-2

#marchforthehomeless2015

#NoMoreDeathOnOurStreets

 

*In Warwick District, if you are homeless, there are a few services which may be able to help you: A Night Shelter for two nights a week – Wednesday & Sunday nights – Radford Road Methodist Church – Run by volunteers. Rough Sleeper Outreach Team – Run by Midland Heart and the Way Ahead Project – Street Homeless support – Run by Salvation Army. THERE IS CURRENTLY NO NIGHT SHELTER OPERATING ALL WEEK.

How to Handle an Obnoxious Jobcentre Adviser

Too many people are being mistreated at the hands of obnoxious, incompetent, and often malicious advisers. If you have ever had to claim benefits then you probably know the type I mean.

This Welfare Survival Guide gives you tips on how to handle an obnoxious adviser and counteract any unlawful behaviour targeted against you.

Always Record Any Interaction

This is the single most important tip I can recommend. I strongly recommend covertly recording as this prevents any further hassle for you from the Jobcentre Plus/DWP staff and security, it also allows the adviser to feel more secure in displaying the behaviour you are trying to prevent.

You are entitled in law to both covertly and overtly record video and audio in a public place. There are exceptions to this law where children and other vulnerable individuals are involved, however, filming an adviser in person or over the phone is entirely permissible in law.

This Freedom of Information request, shown on the excellent What Do They Know? website, clearly show that recording is allowed (also see the comments by John Slater).

Also, the police have released this useful guide, which also shows the police have no powers to interfere with members of the public who record or take photos in public places, such as the Jobcentre Plus.

No matter what anyone else may say, you are within your lawful rights to covertly record at the Jobcentre Plus. Never tell the staff that you are covertly recording and if they attempt to assault you by grabbing your recording device, call the police immediately, or give them a clear warning that if they attempt to assault you again you will act in self-defence.

Stay Calm, Speak Softly, Annoy Them

For those advisers who are maliciously targeting people, nothing annoys them more than staying calm and non-aggressive when they try to “agitate the customer” in order to unlawfully sanction them.

All customer facing DWP staff have professional training in how to handle “obnoxious” claimants in order to set them up for a sanction or a benefit stoppage. I have had this confirmed on good authority. This means all the reports we hear of the targets is true and the DWP are specifically targeting those they see as “easy targets”, such as those suffering cancer, mental health issues, or simply those whom forget to take their job search diary.

Stay calm, no matter how the adviser is trying to agitate you. Remember, this is a battle of wills and you have the upper hand because you can simply refuse to play their game. If you feel you may not be able to remain calm, take someone with you who can act as a calming influence should you become harassed by the adviser.

Speaking softly shows that you are not being verbally aggressive and this will annoy the adviser no end. If they ask you to speak up, simply request that they lean closer. Never raise your voice or they may use this as a reason to eject you from the building.

Annoy them by refusing to play their game and asking them obnoxious questions back. You can be as sarcastic as you like as long as you are calm, speaking softly and refraining from profanity.

Arm Yourself With Knowledge

If you can read up on the relevant legislation and find out in-depth knowledge specific to your case, you will probably know more than most advisers. I aren’t saying it is all their fault because a lot of their incompetence comes from improper training (or deliberately improper training) and bad management, however, if you have more knowledge than the adviser, you will win 10 times out of 10.

It can be difficult to know how to interpret the relevant legislation, however, the Freedom of Information requests found on What Do They Know? are invaluable sources of welfare information which relate to the many issues suffered by benefit claimants.

Advice given by http://www.thesanctionedjobseeker.co.uk/.

 

A list of completely ridiculous benefit sanctions

  • You work for 20 years, then because you haven’t had the process clearly explained to you, you miss an appointment, so you get sanctioned for 3 weeks. (source: Councillor John O’Shea)
  • You’re on a workfare placement, and your jobcentre appointment comes round. The jobcentre tells you to sign on then go to your placement which you do. The workfare placement reports you for being late and you get sanctioned for 3 months. (Source: DefiniteMaybe post on Mumsnet forums)
  • You’re five minutes late for your appointment, you show the advisor your watch which is running late, but you still get sanctioned for a month (source: Clydebank Post)
  • You apply for more jobs than required by your jobseeker’s agreement, but forgot to put down that you checked the local paper (which you’ve been specifically instructed to do via a jobseeker’s direction) so you get sanctioned (source: Steve Rose on twitter – part 1 . part 2)
  • You’re on contributions based JSA (which is JSA paid on the basis of National Insurance you’ve paid in, not on your level of income) and get your appointment day wrong and turn up on Thursday instead of Tuesday so you get a four week sanction (source: Cheesy Monkey comment)
  • It’s Christmas Day. You don’t do any jobsearch, because it’s Christmas Day. So you get sanctioned. For not looking to see if anyone has advertised a new job on Christmas Day. (source: Poverty Alliance)
  • You get an interview but it’s on the day of your nan’s funeral. You have 3 interviews the day before, and you try to rearrange the interview, but the company reports you to the jobcentre and you get sanctioned for failing to accept a job. (source: @TSAAPG on twitter – part 1 . part 2)
  • You get given the wrong forms, get sanctioned for not doing the right forms. (Source: Adventures in Workfare blog )
  • You’re sick and miss an appointment, but you’ve already missed one so you get sanctioned (Source: @thinktyler on twitter. Rules actually state you can miss a grand total of two appointments for illness each year – particularly harsh if you’re sick and have been wrongly kicked off ESA by ATOS)
  • You don’t apply for an IT job that needs skills you don’t have so you get sanctioned. (Source: Geminisnake on Urban75 forums )
  • You volunteer in a youth club. For some reason the jobcentre thinks this is paid work so they sanction you. (source: @ukeleleKris on twitter )
  • You attend a work programme interview so you miss your jobcentre appointement and get sanctioned (Source: CAB )
  • You’ve got no money to travel to look for work so you get sanctioned (source: CAB)
  • You have an interview which runs long, so you arrive at your jobcentre appointment 9 minutes late and get sanctioned for a month (source: jsdk posting on Consumer Action Group forums)
  • You’ve been unemployed for seven months and are forced onto a workfare scheme but can’t afford to travel to the shop. You offer to work in a different branch you can walk to but are refused and get sanctioned for not attending your workfare placement. (Source: Caroline Lucas MP)
  • You attend a family funeral and miss your jobcentre appointment so you get sanctioned. (Source: Derek Twigg MP)
  • You have a training appointment at the same time as your jobcentre appointment, you tell the jobcentre you won’t be coming but they say you have to, and to get a letter from your new training organisation. Your training organisation says they don’t provide letters. (Source: Russell Brown MP)
  • You are easily confused or have poor English language skills, you will be disproportionately targetted for sanctions (Source: Fiona Taggart MP)
  • You retire on the grounds of ill health and claim ESA. You go to your assessment and during the assessment you have a heart attack, so the nurse says they have to stop the assessment. You get sanctioned for not withdrawing from your assessment (Source: Debbie Abrahams MP)
  • You get a job, isn’t that great? The job doesn’t start for two weeks, so you don’t look for work in those two weeks, and get sanctioned for it. (Souce: The Guardian )