The DWP left one man so ‘destitute’ that the police had to step in to help him

The DWP logo and and image of two police officers
Support us and go ad-free

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reportedly left one man so “destitute” that police were called out because of people’s concerns for his “welfare”.

The DWP: leaving people “destitute”

Police Community Support Officer Chris Hamer works in the Irwell area of Lancashire Constabulary. He took to Twitter to expose a disturbing incident:

Nothing else is known about the man’s case. It appears that he was trying to do what the DWP asked of him, and yet the department sanctioned him anyway.

Evidence given to the Work and Pensions Select Committee shows the DWP sanctioning people for some of the most ridiculous reasons:

  • The DWP sanctioned a man for missing a Jobcentre appointment, because he was at a job interview. He had informed the department first. Due to his sanction, he could not afford to go to other job interviews.
  • It also sanctioned another man, living with learning difficulties, for not completing his job search on the computer. He hand-wrote it instead, because he did not have the IT skills to use the system.
  • The DWP sanctioned a woman with mental health issues for missing a Jobcentre appointment. This was because her mental health prevented her from leaving the house on that day.

The last example is not uncommon. Between February 2010 and February 2014, 62% of people the DWP sanctioned lived with mental health issues. More recently, as The Canary revealed, more than 83% of the DWP sanctions that went to a tribunal have been overturned.

On the edge

But Hamer had seen this all before. As he noted:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

The DWP ‘pushing people to the brink’ is becoming more and more common. As The Canary previously reported, 73% of tenants where Universal Credit has been rolled out are in rent arrears. The Trussell Trust, meanwhile, says it’s seen a 52% rise in food bank use in areas where the new benefit has been rolled out.

For disabled people, the UN said that successive governments have committed “grave” and “systematic” violations of their human rights – creating a “human catastrophe” in the UK.

Hamer seemed to recognise the chaotic nature of the DWP. He said:

Planned cruelty

But the PCSO summed up the situation best with this tweet:

It’s hard to argue that the DWP is not acting ‘counter-intuitively’. And with police having to clear up the mess left in its wake, the department is plumbing new depths with every passing day.

Get Involved!

– Support Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle, campaigning for disabled people’s rights.

– Read The Canary‘s full analysis of Universal Credit.

Featured image via UK government – Wikimedia and Rossographer – Geograph

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed