20 July, 2005

Benefits

Today I want to talk about benefits. Firstly I was wondering whether the new way of getting your income support or sickness benefit was working because as I understand it from agencies I have talked to there are still one million people at least, still receiving giro payments or order book payments. 14 million people are receiving their benefits by the new direct payment method. Everyone on benefit was supposed to switch to the new electronic payment system by January 2005. This date has been and gone. It does appear that the system is benefiting the majority and failing a minority of claimants. 58% of claimants said that it has made the whole process of receiving payments easier. Some claimants said that they do receive the new method and are being penalised if they withdraw all their money one the day it's due. Then by accident lose it or are robbed they being refuse crisis loans. I have been in that situation and I know exactly what they mean. I was told that it was my own fault and that I should not have with drawn the whole amount. I was wondering if this had happened to anyone else? Because people receiving benefit struggle to make needs meet in the first place. I know I do. The thing that struck me as I went along to the DSS or as they liked to be called the department of works and pensions, anyway I went along with a man who had been mugged by a bus stop after with drawing his fortnightly payment, was the attitude of the person that interviewed the man for a crisis loan. It was a kind of bored I've heard it all before, I don't believe you attitude to me this is wrong after making his statement he had to wait for two and half hours only to be given a piece of paper telling him his application had been refused. Asking around, I found that another three people two hadn't even received their giros were being refused crisis loans. One had never lost or reported a giro missing before. If anyone else has had problems with benefit payments please comment. I would like to hear from you.

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