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Showing posts from September, 2018

A Hostile Environment - briefing to Labour on DWP's treatment of disabled people

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Briefing to John McDonnell MP, Margaret Greenwood MP and Marsha de Cordova MP on my research into disabled people's experiences of conditionality and sanctions

A Hostile Environment - my personal story

In 2014 I had my benefits, my main source of income, stopped for almost 3 months. I was a single parent and I was receiving disability benefits because I was assessed as unfit for work due to chronic illness. What happened to me is known as a sanction. I want to tell you about the impact it had on me, not just because it was one of the most stressful and distressing times of my life, (worse than divorce), but because my case is shockingly commonplace and could be on the increase with the introduction of Universal Credit.

The reason I was sanctioned is that I couldn’t physically do the activities I was being forced to do. My chronic illness causes severe exhaustion and very poor stamina. But throughout 2013 and 2014 I kept receiving letters compelling me to attend employability workshops for 18 hours a week, which involved an hour’s journey, including a ¾ mile walk, each way, three days a week. Each letter threatened that my benefits could be cut if I didn’t comply.

I’m not a natura…