The DWP give ,and the DWP take away

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
Had a letter from the dwp last week ,my income support has gone day a little bit (85 new pence) .Rung them up to ask why .
They said my carers allowance is going up by £2, i said it hasn't happened before ,they said it happened last year .
Not all that bothered to be honest.
Plus the call was free to get through to the DWP, don't forget

Nothing less than a win win situation for you then

Stay lucky
Hi David C,

I received my letter from the DWP (specifically Jobcenterplus based in Wolverhampton) regarding my Income Support (IS) and Carers Allowance (CA) yesterday.
It took me a while to make sense of it, but make sense of it I did… eventually!

Comparing & contrasting it to last year’s letter, plus a bit of Googling, I came to the following conclusions which I shall share with you. To wit:

CA is one of the few benefits which has NOT been frozen from April 2015 until at least 2020. Therefore, CA has increased from a current £62.70 per week (pw) to £64.60 from April this year; an increase of £1.90 pw.

IF you have no other source of income you are entitled to also claim an Income Support top-top which will bring your CA up to the Jobseekers Allowance level of £73.10 pw
However, both IS and JSA are two of the benefits which have been frozen since 2015. So each year, since 2015, as your CA has gone up, it has equally reduced the amount of IS you receive, as follows:

April 5th 2017 – April 3rd 2018

JSA of £73.10 minus CA of £62.70 = £10.40 PW IS top-up

April 4th 2018 – April 3rd 2019

JSA of £73.10 minus CA of £64.60 = £8.50 pw IS top-up; a reduction of £1.90 PW commensurate with the CA increase.

So, David C (do you mind if I call you Dave C? I promise not to confuse you with ‘Call me Dave’ Cameron, ex- Prime Minister!) you are absolutely right: The DWP gives with one hand, and takes with the other.

BUT (there’s always a but) it gets even more confusing, but bear with me…..

Income Support is a ‘Passport’ benefit, meaning that even if you are only receiving a couple of quid IS, you are automatically entitled to free prescriptions, dental stuff, etc. This is because IS is one of the benefits that is FULLY means-tested.

Some benefits are NOT means tested at all, such as Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Attendance Allowance (AA.)
For instance, the above ‘Call me Dave’ Cameron received DLA (the precursor to PIP) for his disabled son despite he and his wife being multi-millionaires between them.
So being in receipt of DLA/PIP/AA does not automatically qualify you for free prescriptions, etc, as you could be the British equivalent of Bill Gates applying for said benefits.

Some benefits are partially means-tested, such as CA. Savings/capital and a partner’s income are NOT taken into account as they are with IS. However your wages (if working) are taken into account.
If you earn more than £116 pw (after deducting tax/NI/few other things from your total earnings) you will lose all CA.
However, if you earn £116 pw, or less, after allowable deductions, you keep all of your CA. But simply being in receipt of CA does NOT in itself automatically qualify you for free prescriptions, etc. This is because £115 + £62.70 = £177.70 pw income. This is above the threshold for free prescriptions, but you may still be entitled to free/reduced cost prescriptions depending on housing costs, etc. But you will have to apply separately for this and send off pay slips, proof of rent, etc.

I did say bear with me!

The above is relevant because in order to receive an IS top up to CA you absolutely must have no other source of income bar CA (although there is a £5 to £22 ‘disregard’ but I’ll leave that well alone; says she having just mentioned it.)
Therefore, IS in conjunction with CA, is also an automatic ‘Passport’ benefit to the ‘Carers Premium’ as well as free prescriptions, dental stuff, etc.
Carers Premium (CP) is currently worth a further £34.60 pw on top of CA and IS, currently giving a total income of £107.70 pw. CP does NOT affect Housing benefit and/or Council Tax support; I treble checked that.

I like to think that CP is a sign of recognition towards the stirling work we carers do, both towards our carees and the Government itself as we save the latter, and hence ‘hard working tax payers’ (I HATE that expression) many millions, if not billions, in care costs that would otherwise be incurred if we did not exist.
Having said that, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were a lot of twisted thinking/feeling proto-psychos (some in Government or advising them) who think, “IF it wasn’t for all those pesky carers caring away then loads more people would die so much sooner saving us even more money….”

But I digress. Guess what? The CP is also not subject to the benefits freeze, and will be going up by 35pence pw from April 4th to £34.90 pw. Further, this 35p increase is NOT deducted from any IS top-up.
So, by the time all increases/decreases are taken into account you, DAVID C, will be a phenomenal 35p – yes a staggering 35p – per week better off; a truly life changing amount of £18.20 per year. So you see, the DWP isn’t a complete Scrooge.

My advice is to try not to spend this magnificent largess all at once. But just think! From April 4th you’ll be able to buy two thirds of a half pint of milk extra per week. That should help keep the wolf from the door.
Or, if feeling especially extravagant, you could buy a pot of Aldi’s gooseberry fool with your 35p. Mind you, you’ll have to add an extra 4p to afford that particular culinary treat. Just make sure you carry the fool out of Aldi’s in a brown paper bag to disguise it. Otherwise a fool of the DWP order, or some nosy neighbour who thinks the ‘undeserving poor’ shouldn’t have any ‘treats’ whatsoever, may be lying in wait to catch you out squandering your ‘hand outs.’

But I've digressed - AGAIN - back to the DWP letter. There are bits in it that totally bemuse/confuse me. I’m sure they’re designed to do precisely that as they’re infamous for being as clear as mud.
I receive my CA every Monday, and my IS & CP, bundled together, every other Tuesday. Currently I’m receiving £90 every other Tuesday, which works out at £45 per week. So far, so good.

But according to the letter I’ll be receiving £43.45 between 4th April 2018 until 10th April 2018. Also so far, so good, as that’s exactly what I’d calculated too.
However, it then goes on to confuse matters by stating that from 11th April 2018 I’ll be receiving £44.50 pw of combined IS and CP.
That’s £1.05 more than previously stated. There is no explanation given other than ‘due to a change in IS rates which is NOT shown on the calculations on the second page of the letter. And try as I might by jiggling all the figures around, I’ve no idea where this extra £1.05 comes from or why.

Then the DWP letter really throws in a curved ball: “But from 30 May 2018, we will continue to pay your £44.50 a week Income Support.”

Eh? :huh:
What in god’s name does the 30th May have to do with the price of eggs? Just what is so special about the 30th May that it bears mentioning? Is it one of the queen’s birthday or something? Maybe it’s IDS’s???? And he wants commemorating… the twonker!
Again, no explanation for this 30th May date is given whatsoever. Assuming this 30th May date has no actual relevance (I’ve googled it and can find none) then why not state something sane & simple like, “This sum will apply until April 3rd 2019, unless your circumstances change beforehand.”

Answers on a pin head, please! ... f_a_pin%3F

Talking of which, a not so imaginary letter from the DWP to an ESA claimant in WRAG Group.

"Please note that dancing angels upon said pin head are not mandatory, unless otherwise specified by your JobcentrePlus Health & Work Coach."
Image Image

"If insufficient angels are found dancing upon your pin head you may be subject to a minimum of a 1 month sanction for a first offence (3 months under Universal Credit) and up to a 3 year sanction if said insufficient angels refuse to tap dance to the DWP tune."

H & W Coach: You’re Sanctioned!
Indoctrinated, masochistic ESAer: YES! YES! YES! I deserve it by daring to be ill/disabled... Hit me with your Nudging Stick... hit me, hit me, hit me! (with apologies to Ian Dury.)
Poor angel could only manage salsa and line dancing, not tap; and is bereft she/he/it has caused it's earthly caree to be so punished by it's lack of Fred Astaire abilities. It's a wee bit pissed off that she/he/it has also lost it's wings thanks to the shenanigans of the DWP and the very sinister Nudge Unit which it funds most sneakily.
If I had more control over my schedule I would happily provide assistance to claimants in challenging any sort of negative outcome decisions (i.e. sanctions) made against them by the DWP where the individuals cause is just (which is 99% of the time).

I've supported others in the past in doing so, most people that have done the same will tell you most of DWP's bullying tactics revolve around the concept of exploiting the claimants lack of knowledge of the so called "rules" while making their own up while they go along, and it does not require too much effort to make them look utterly stupid and go back on said decisions to save face.

Cannot stand seeing people that have done nowt wrong being treated poorly, it bothers me because I've been there before and can emphasize with just how hopeless the situation can feel, wouldn't wish it upon no one.. I didn't have anybody to help me through it and had to hit the ground running, but its a small comfort to be able to help others in the same spot and honestly makes me feel a bit less worthless.

IMO from experience what goes against us as claimants is for one thing, nobody expects to be in the situation they are in until they are there.. the whole benefits as a lifestyle choice is in most cases utter tosh, if I could afford 200k+ annually to cover care costs knowing my loved ones (I look after several) were safe and able to maintain a quality of life rather than being stuffed into the cheapest venue possible in the name of efficiency savings I would happily work any day of the week rather than deal with dwp.

I hate the utter contempt shown to us when you have to see them, I didn't get where I am because of being a failure, I miss working... I'm well driven, able to become good at just about anything I apply myself to and work harder in a day than most of the part timers which occupy it presently do in a month.
Hi Honey Badger (ace name, kind of reminds me of Whinny the Pooh. He loved honey even if he wasn’t a badger.)

Claimants, carers, etc, need more people like you helping them out to the best of their abilities, and time constraints, against the vagaries of the DWP.

Unfortunately, that balwark of social security rights (I refuse to use the Americanism Welfare) the CAB, have had their funding cut by over 60%. Therefore, people like you are more important than ever, so all power to you!

As for sanctions, I’m convinced these are actually illegal as they currently apply, and have been ever since that awful hypocrite IDS took over the DWP.
If not actually illegal, they definitely break all the rules that justice are based upon. Under English law you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. The opposite happens under DWP sanctions.
Sanctions don’t even apply to crimes as sanctions do NOT apply to fraud but to the breaking of so-called ‘rules’, many of which are just plain stupid and downright petty.

I can think of no other walk of life were a person can be deprived of their sole source of income, for a month minimum, for attending the funeral of their father after informing the job centre and re-arranging their sign-on time. Or attending to the sick bed of a child in Intensive Care, etc. Even the armed forces have ‘compassionate leave for such circumstances.
For me, the most bizarre sanction was given to a Scottish lady for having the temerity to attend a job interview on her signing on day. She too had informed the job centre and re-scheduled her sign-on time, yet still got sanctioned. Her case was actually bought up in Parliament… fat lot of good that did!
Correct me if I’m wrong, but surely the whole point & purpose of job centres is to get job interviews and hopefully a job? To sanction someone for trying to get a job isn’t just plain stupid, it’s downright sick!
And nor are these isolated incidences. They are happening up and down the country.

I daresay you have already read the following links, but I’ll post them anyway as I’m sure you’ll be interested in them if you haven’t already seen them.

This one’s an ace paper written by some bod describing how the current sanction regime punishes jobseekers worse than actual criminals. ... nal-system

This second paper describes the ‘target regime’ which the DWP denies having, despite whistle-blowers’ testimonies and pictures of target graphs from job centres appearing on the internet alongside ‘awards’ handed out for hitting these so-called ‘mythical’ targets. Yeh, right! Go pull the other one IDS (or Fester McVile), it’s got bells on. ... rgets.html

These papers were published in 2015 and 2013 respectively, but they are just as relevant today. Perhaps more so, now that the conditionality regime is to be applied to UC claimants; even those already in work. That REALLY is insanity.

Both the above are close to my heart as my very ill brother was sanctioned earlier this year, despite being in the Support Group of EAS because his conditions are both serious and degenerative. I got it sorted in the end, and all stopped payments were back-dated. But he’s not very good at standing up for himself, and if he didn’t have a loving family to fall back on, and stand up for him, he would’ve been stuffed. That makes me very angry indeed.