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…

 

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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!