Last week we illustrated a blog about reasonable causes for missing DWP appointments/actions with a picture of a hospital. This week we met someone who had actually been sanctioned for missing an appointment when he was in hospital. Turns out that although the DWP accepted this as a ‘reasonable excuse’, they were not happy that he hadn’t informed them at the time. May be other things were on his mind… He has put in for a Mandatory Reconsideration, and we encouraged him to continue to an appeal if that fails.
This last stall before Christmas was otherwise pretty uneventful, though we talked with Rick, who had been waiting a long time for his PIP claim to be processed because the DWP had lost his application for months, and with an older woman who told us that her daughter works in the buroo and is under constant stress.
A lot of the people we meet have health problems and have difficulties getting these recognised. At the previous week’s stall we came across two cases of the DWP refusing to accept doctor’s lines. One young man had lost benefits when the DWP had refused to acknowledge his depression – a situation that could almost be relied on to make depression worse. We suggested he take his case to his MP, which also keeps the MP informed about what I happening. Another person had just been told that his doctor’s note might not be accepted so he would have to wait and see whether his benefits were paid or not. We suggested that rather than wait in fear of having no money, he should go and see the welfare advisors at Shelter.
This time of year is always hard for those on benefits, and will be especially hard for those waiting for their first Universal Credit payment. The only positive is that public awareness of what is happening is growing – though it looks as though it will still be some time before we need to find a stockist of yellow vests.