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id665310

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  1. Can someone also tell me about this £6000 limit thingy? For example if someone won £7,000 or even £20,000 compensation in a legal claim, or inherited £7,000 or £20,000, would that mess up benefit entitlements or is there some exemption for money like this depending on its source? (Similar to how someone isn't penalised for having a whole paid-up house...)
  2. I need to make this enquiry for my friend, a woman in her mid-50s with multiple sclerosis who is hoping to set up home with her partner who is himself able and in work. My friend was a teacher and has tried to get back into teaching only to find that both the illness and the post-Gove era are thwarting her attempts. Her last week of classes made her symptoms unmanageable and she withdrew from the post with some pretty abusive-sounding treatment from the headmistress. My friend currently gets contribution-based ESA of about £70, though a letter she got this week says it will go down to £60 next January. She has just over £6000 savings and there seems to be a new hurdle of this amount affecting entitlement? She gets housing benefit covering about 4/5ths of her rent and is topping that up to of the dwindling savings. A spate of sad incidents has complicated things, like the death of my friend's mother and then her partner's surviving parent had a fall which has become a life-changing injury bringing forward the issue of her care. We've talked about how the chips are stacked against them but we don't know the facts about benefits entitlement. My friend is making a fresh ESA claim having mystifyingly lost a fight at tribunal despite an inch thick pile of medical papers and what must have been the utter obviousness of her physical and emotional/mental struggle to the tribunal officials. It seems very sad that this couple, who met a year ago, might have quite a challenge ahead. Despite knowing where the government have taken things we find it hard to believe they could be prevented from having a relationship and living arrangement many can take for granted. My friend still feels she wants to work, though friends and even some DWP staff have expressed the view that she shouldn't be, and she really does seem like pride and being currently stuck on £70 a week is causing her to be run into the ground in her attempts to work in schools. (It seems to me that if she was in the Support Group she could do some less stressful tutoring such as she has done, and manage on a small income and ESA.) I am on more ESA and in the Support Grup myself, short-term, and though I'm unwell and struggling have less to contend with than my friend. It's pretty unfair and random-seeming. I don't mind processing some links and so on myself for my friend, who due to the MS can get overwhelmed with piles of information, but equally some summaries of rights and options would be great for me to pass on to my friend. Many thanks in advance for any assistance.
  3. She understood - it had been explained verbally by the housing benefit people in contrast to what happened at the DWP - that her savings were over the limit to receive HB.
  4. She closed an ISA, believe it or not purely to pay her rent, being not entitled to housing benefit. To her mind just rational resourcefulness. As she was handing over bank statements hopefully this shows mere non-malicious naivety - she had shown a change of financial circumstances in doing so. Well anyway I suppose it's in the DWP's hands now, though the health situation and the reality of her condition as testified by MS specialists should come into it.
  5. I'm not sure of the dates at the moment and she is not available. It occurs to me though, that the fact she unknowingly sent her balance above the threshold about a month into her JSA claim and for six weeks or so runs counter to any suggestion that she was trying to effect deprivation of capital. As I think I was saying, she handed over bank statements all along, so there was no attempt to hide anything. The DWP, it seems to me, couldn't claim she was trying to get her money down to the amount that would allow her to get JSA if there was this period where her balance briefly went over. To me this is a clear sign of naivety consistent with what my friend tells me. True enough the DWP might approach this cynically, but it wouldn't make a lot of sense, and MS specialists would have input if it came to court.
  6. thanks for having a stab, and I've passed on the link you cited to my friend. She now finds she was briefly over the limit to receive JSA, for about six weeks I think. It stands that she was wrongly advised when transitioning from ESA to JSA, but I would think at worst that she would be due to pay back in hopefully manageable instalments, JSA for that six week period. Doesn't this seem likely? A middle-aged disabled woman who had a twenty year career teaching littl'uns is hardly fitting a profile of fraud, I would hope the DWP staff could see.
  7. I have used this forum a couple of times for myself but this time am enquiring for a friend who has MS and leukemia and is highly anxious at present. She had been on ESA until March, having been forced out of her teaching job in quite harrowing and underhand fashion a couple of years ago. She was put onto JSA and has been supplying bank statements to the Benefits Office here. She had been paying her rent out of rapidly dwindling savings until her savings fell under the limit preventing a housing benefit claim very recently. Despite her condition she has in the year that I've known her continued to apply for work in teaching, and is registered with at least three agencies. She has had interviews and trials which have come ot nothing. It does seem the MS is the likely reason. My friend has run herself into the ground pursuing these jobs and is clearly upset at not winning them. She is a genuine and ethically-minded person. It's clear that stress is affecting her symptoms, and this week's events have really been out of order. She has just had a 'compliance meeting' this week which has not gone at all well. The person carrying out the interview is from the 'Fraud and Error' department. The DWP employee does not seem to have been very sensitive in the way he handled things, and my friend brought the meeting to a halt and said she wanted a witness present. She then rang me. I've never heard her in the condition she was in. Despite her condition she is a tough thing and represents herself well normally, with proper assertiveness and self-respect. I scarcely manage the same myself. I got the the Benefits Office about half an hour later and the meeting was resumed. We had asked ot record the meeting. The employee said he wasn't sure that could be done and would have to get advice, and we ended up settling for my being present as a witness - my friend is burying he rmother in the next week or so and doesn't want things dragged out with all that's going on. My friend and I both referred to the misconduct we have expeienced in the last year, which is from the housing department of the council and the DWP alike, in both our cases. My friend's Maximus assessment for example was carried out by someone who was then sacked, and I've seen the lie-strewn report he wrote on my friend, a not-quite-separate matter that will be attended to. A statement was typed in by the employee and my friend asked me to read it, as she was getting befuddled both with the stress and as part of the MS. She signed the statement. It was a pretty awkward meeting. The fella didn't really seem to know what he was doing, and I would hope he feels bad for the distress he caused my friend. We would like some things cleared up. This DWP employee used the phrase 'deprivation of capital' in reference to my friend's having gifted her son with money. He did not explicitly say that the gifting would be viewed as such but it was muddily expressed, and we're wondering how arbitrary the notion of 'deprivation of capital' is. My friend is a single mother in her 50s with one son, who has mental health troubles and seemingly something on the autistic spectrum, and has been neglected by professionals. After her divorce from a man who wasn't the boy's father she has been very supportive of her son including financially. I think anyone would be the same and that my friend's gifting him money should not be viewed with cynicism. Ordinarily as far as I know - and I think I read this this week in relation to something else - there is no limit to money being gifted. The amount since my friend has been claiming JSA I would think is all that is relevent too. In no way has the gifting been a dodge of any kind, but is of a compassionate basis that it would be shocking to have to explain. The other question is asked because my friend is worried about being treated as a fraud case. We think we've established that either all or almost all of the period she claimed JSA, her savings fell under the threshold. But she also submitted all those bank statements, and from March till now nothing was said. (Weirdly today she has been asked for the bank statements again by this man, who is sitting in the building where the DWP's copies are held - why can't he just access these?) So if there was any period, say for a few weeks or so, where she recieved JSA but had over the threshold amount, this can't become a fraud case can it? She declared everything. She was in receipt of the lowest JSA amount and was looking for work. At worst this is an employee's error isn't it? She was put on JSA when the ESA ended. I understand there are two different sets of criteria for JSA but presumably my friend has fallen inisde one of them to have been put on JSA. Sorry I haven't been able to make this shorter, but it would mean a lot to my friend and me also if we could get good response on this. I'll see the friend tomorrow and would like some good, calming news if possible. Many thanks.
  8. The email I have quotes the older of the woman at the meeting, who has clearly lied. In the context of the whole situation there has just been so much underhand stuff. I think 'corrupt' is fair. The consequences of this lying are not small.
  9. At present being both angered and a bit awed by the task I'm sure that not everything going through my mind is doable, hence willingness to listen. That said, if as seems likely my situation is the tip of an iceberg of habitual corruption then obtaining evidence of email correspondence between crooked council staff seems legitimate, though I'm prone to imagine a police force protecting the goings-on of a right wing council rather than myself. (I've just put in a claim for damage to property by police when they forced entry to my home during an earlier episode in this story, and in a phone call they made to me transparent lies based on naivety about the workings of the damaged item, a laptop, were conveyed, which doesn't inspire me with much faith. Someone from the Met has just assaulted my 11-year-old nephew as well. I feel both awed by what is going to have to be fought but also fuelled in an almost now pleasant way by righteous anger.)
  10. Hello again. I want to give an update on this matter because things have just taken a sinister turn as of yesterday. A brief summary for readers as I don't expect people to have me at the forefront of their minds... Fourteen months of antisocial behaviour culminating in threats made to me by the problem tenant dealt with all along very badly by the local council. Four months away from the flat and then coerced into returning with threats of housing benefit having to be stopped otherwise. (I've read since that in situations involving violence that housing benefit can be paid for up to 52 weeks if there's an agreement to return if the situation is resolved. Prior to the meeting last month nothing had been offered to resolve the matter, and so it seems to me that the threat regarding housing benefit was unlawful - that the staf were banking on my being worried into cooperating in ignorance of the law - and that a subsequent eviction order would have been found unlawful once the chain of events was revealed.) A month had passed since my meeting with the two council representatives at which there was talk of a panic alarm being fitted. Because I had not had a letter or call about the date of the fitting I contacted staff again. I got an email two hours later from another staff member, someone senior, who has been told blatant lies about what was said and done at the meeting a month ago. Blatant and obvious lies. I have replied to this senior staff member, and then sent a shorter email to the two women present at the meeting, calling the lies what they are and going through them point by point. I've asked them to think seriously about what they're doing and I've said that I have solicitors' addresses that will deal with legal aid clients. I don't want to complicate posting here too much about the nature of the lies and hope that people interested in responding will take it on trust, but basically the older woman present at the meeting is claiming that options were given to me that just weren't, in fact these options were ones I'd learned of myself from a council employee at another borough and from reading - the women present either obscured these options, as had their colleagues previously, or did not know of them. The younger woman present when I brought up the option for example of receiving council aid to move to the other county actually said that she did not know about the nature of this aid and would have to find out. Finding out this and the panic alarm were the two things agreed to, and neither of these things were done. Someone might suggest that if this does become a court case it would be a case of 'their word against yours' and there were two of them, but honestly the lying that has gone on and the prior shoddy handling of the whole matter is so comical and farcical that I would think any legal professional would trip these people up in no time. Now that things have taken this turn - going from ineptitude and laziness to outright corrupt behaviour - I feel both a bit of nerves but also fuelled by anger. A bit of me, because this is so serious to me regarding my wellbeing and having been seriously wronged, is thinking it's my David and Goliath moment, but even this is tongue-in-cheek because I'm aware that the situation is so pathetic and banal really, so small time compared to what I read on the news, and yet this is my fight and surely many other locals have been wronged by the same people and will continue to be if there is no challenge of the behaviour. I'm ready to follow this through and want to get as clued up as I can and to do things by the book and not scupper my chances. It occurs to me I could use social media to solicit corroborative stories locally as the local council is viewed very cynically by just about everyone I meet. Today I've read a pdf produced by the same council about Corruption and Fraud which ends, laughably now, with an Appendix: 'The Seven Principles of Public Life', and I've read articles today about local councils in the UK serving employees leaving service with caging orders, articles that warn against a 'coming age' of corruption in local government as a result. That age seems quite clearly to be arrived as far as I'm concerned. I want to ask the police to seize the work computers of a few of the staff members as evidence, I don't know if that can be done. I don't know if I'm missing something, some knowledge. Because one staff member now has told a series of lies in the same day is that criminal activity yet or is it only criminal activity if done in court? If she claims it in court and is found out is that perjury? I have been imagining that the older woman, in her 50s, has rung the younger one, in her mid-20s, to try and get their story straight, and am wondering if someone will be foolish enough to let a colleague drag them down. I cannot leave this situation empty-handed now. The notion of that is just too offensive. Any thoughts? If I need to clarify anything just ask. Thanks for your time.
  11. I need to forward some materials to support the process following my medical assessment for ESA but want to try and get these to the person/department who basically saved my life last year by vetoing the decision to have me found 'fit for work'. I believe this was someone senior at the 'dispute resolutions' team, who actually phoned me to tell me that he'd spoken about my case to a woman in another department, actually on my birthday last year weirdly enough. I was not happy to have m tribunal procedure halted but gave in in relief after much stress and aggravation regarding my benefits. I am highly anxious about what will happen in the next few weeks, already feeling worn out and miserable in a freezing cold bedsit and have had two slippages back to what had already been an uncharacteristic binge-drinking habit begun during last year's stresses. I am in north Kent if it makes a difference. I can just imagine my papers coimng to nothing if I use the wrong address. Thank you for any help.
  12. Really, they're that specific about format? So if I ring tomorrow to ask to do recordings they'll tell me this? The leaflet isn't specific like that. I can see why they might hold this to be necessary, even if it's essentially b.s., but I would think also in a court of law or tribunal there is facility to assess that a recording hasn't been tampered with So the thing then really is to just do it but be shrewd. What is the legal position though with actually using the recordings as evidence later? I have told the council as well that because of their misconduct against me any future discussion is something I'd need to record but I wondered if there is some fascistic law in place to dismiss independent protection. I currently need to learn about legal attack protection but I'd be unsurprised to learn all the supposedly legal sprays and alarms advertised online aren't really legal and that safety is a matter of luck. It feels like the same kind of thing as these recording laws, an institutionally crafted way of stripping us of protection.
  13. I have got my second assessment for ESA on Thursday, presumably with Maximus this time unless they too have been sacked? I had been away for four months from the flat I've lived in for 21 years and feel a bit panicked to learn of this appointment being so near ( and this time it's due so early in the day that the train fare will be double). This is in part because I am severely stressed out because I already have another concurrent fight on my hands with the local council over its handling of a violent and antisocial neighbour (documented on another subforum here). When I was coerced back to the flats by the council I began to get heart pains of the same kind I'd got when my neighbour threatened me for making complaints. The initial period of pain died down after thirty hours but has begun again. I will go to my GP about this but I'm not happy to be reporting a more or less new health issue within a few days of an assessment, because of how it might be viewed with suspicion. Having had something very like a heart attack at 29 as a side effect of antidepressants I'm seriously concerned about this heart issue, though a visit to A&E last week showed nothing up. I am vividly aware as I type though that something is not right. There is pressure in my heart or a feeling of a knot. It's actual and not merely chemical/ psychological even if aggravated by an emotional state I'm trying to combat with breathing. But I'm more concerned about whether I have the energy for another fight over all this. I am half angry, half exhausted. I believe that if I still allowed myself to risk the involvement of professionals I would have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder by now because of the extremity of the swings but it is some bind when you are utterly exhausted part of the time and full of rage the rest of it. We could say that having been through one of these assessments I know the lie of the land - and it certainly is a lie and not a lay - but I read that for example that some symptoms/sentiments that arise from mental health issues (which I've learned I cannot discuss here, which I accept) which six months ago were cause for assessors and DWP staff to treat an individual with caution, are now indiciators that an indivisual should be pushed firmly towards the workplace, despite an apparent overall impression given in the media that there should have been a moving away from the aggression of these asessments experienced from 2011-2015. I am going to ring to assert that I will be recording my assessment as last year's assessor lied repeatedly in her report, which I was going to use at the tribunal. A leaflet tells me I can use my equipment and that's how it's going to be as I have no reason to trust these people. I was put in the Support Group last year but only short term. I had applied to go to tribunal but this was cancelled without my say-so when the one year Support Group was decided upon. Someone senior in the Dispute Resolutions team actually rang me, and even by coincidence had agreed with a colleague on calling the dogs off on my birthday. I want to ask to speak to him tomorrow or am considering writing a letter to ask for this to be viewed in conjunction with Thursday's assessment. I do not have room for manouevre financially for any ESA cut. I have thirty quid in the bank to last nine days and no savings. I have nothing left to sell because the other business with the council led to me selling everything to pay to keep a roof over my head somewhere safe over the last four months, though I slept outside sometimes too. Last year as I was under attack by the DWP and my neighbour's behaviour at once I developed for the first time in my life a period of binge-drinking. In the second half of my 30s I didn't touch alcohol, and for most of my adult life I could take or leave it and went for weeks without a pint. For several months last year I was losing my memory about three times a week, falling over, having to bin clothes that became scuffed and torn. I was shocked out of it once a friendly waitress saw me staggering around, and then when a stranger approached me who'd guided me home. I'm not ashamed but it's pretty horrifying to be pushed into uncharacteristic behaviour without personal precedent, and I resent this period. I hadn't slipped back into this until Thursday just gone, and hope that was only a blip and not new stresses. Additionally, being angered by this new medical I have decided to stop being a mug over something that happened around twelve years ago. Before the advent of ATOS and the like I had a medical in the same building when I was on SDA. The doctor who did it carried out an act of aborted sexual abuse. I don't know if you can understand but at the time I could hardly believe it, and then felt fearful of rocking the boat due to my need for my benefits. Now though, feeling harrassed and angry I want to go to the police and pursue things. If a celebrity's abuse form forty years ago can be pursued then so can this. I would have no trouble identifying this person because I remember his manner vividly. At present I'm intending to go to the police station on Tuesday, will explain what happened and then ask if there are records of other complaints having been made with reference to the same building. I am not going to back out of this now but I suppose need to prepare myself. There are no doubts in my mind regarding what happened - it was nothing whatsoever to do with the medical and a clear assertion of power. I am absolutely aware that people do worse as one family member suffered horrifically and so did someone I was engaged to, but as this person has or had a position of power which has continuity with the comparatively respectable veneer of Maximus's power I want him dealt with. I will soak up anything helpful anyone wants to say here but at times I feel like walking off the grid altogether nowadays. I have thought of turning myself in to a hospital but fear losing autonomy regarding diet and medication. I spent a weekend in a particular creed's monastery a decade ago and remember they had a 'lay monk' there, a man who basically mucked in but had not adopted the garb, and who seemed to have retreated from comparable aggravation in the regular world. I've considered going there but do not really have the conviction of that creed despite sharing some agreement with it. Sick enough also, despite being aware of what I'd been put through last year several people in my family voted Conservative and didn't hide the fact. Sometimes sitting down with them and acting like they hadn't put a cross in box that could have a very dramatic consequence you do feel that family life has become farcical. Thanks for your time.
  14. I have found with only a few days to spare (four months spent away from 'my home' due to a violent neighbour, documented in another subforum) that I've got my second medical on Thursday. As I established that the woman working for ATOS last year repeatedly lied I'll be recording my assessment, legally or otherwise. I will ring them tomorow to request this, and I'll be attempting to assert using my equipment, but if it doesn't pan out there's no way I'd go through this [problem] without protection. Last time I actually got permission to record well in advance but was told on the day that I couldn't, amazingly enough, which surely must entail misconduct. She said she had no record of the request to record. She also said only they could record and not me, when I had clearly remembered seeing that we an make our recordings, and in view of the reality of these procedures it would be a potentially grave error not to.
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