Category: POSTS

CLAIMANTS SURVEY 2018: YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE !

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LUS is an organisation based at and supported by the regional TUC and funded through Trust For London. The aim of the organisation is to develop self-help support groups for claimants and to campaign for changes to the Social Security system so that it works more for the benefit of claimants.

The survey results will feed into high-level forums in which claimants reps and major voluntary sector organisations are participating. The aim is to develop a White Paper (or Bill) for Government on major pro-claimant improvements to the system.

Please download your preferred format below (Word or PDF) and fill it in. The survey can be returned by post or email as indicated ideally before the END OF SEPTEMBER. Your contact details will only be kept on file if you wish to take part in our focus groups and will be kept separate from your survey responses which will be anonymous. WE CAN AND DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

CLAIMANTS SURVEY 2018 revised #2 (2)

CLAIMANTS SURVEY 2018 revised #2 (2)

‘KNOW YOUR RIGHTS’ LEAFLETS BY LUS AND UNITE COMMUNITY: UPDATES

PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO GET INFORMATION, TIPS AND ADVICE FOR CLAIMANTS ON HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF THE BENEFITS SYSTEM:

7138 Know your rights leaflet FS1 – Representation and Advocacy

7138 Know your rights leaflet FS2 – Your Work Search

Compulsory and Voluntary Work UPDATED APRIL 2018

UNIVERSAL CREDIT KNOW YOUR RIGHTS LEAFLET REVISED JAN 2018

Know Your rights FS5 – Benefits Sanctions

Know Your Rights FS6 – In-Work Benefits

They cover important topics such as the right of every claimant to representation at meetings with Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers; doing voluntary work on benefits as an alternative to compulsory workfare schemes; and the ins-and-outs of the new 35-hour worksearch.

CONTACT LUS on nickplus007@gmail.com if you live or work in London and want us to supply more leaflets and/or arrange a meeting to talk more about the issues they raise and what to do about them.

How to Complain to the Jobcentre or DWP

 

dole-queue(photo: Johnny Void)

As a jobseeker or if you are on ESA, claiming  benefits can often unfortunately be problematic. Problems claimants experience include delayed benefit payments, behavioural issues with Jobcentre staff and long waiting times to get through to the DWP’s helpline.

We encourage you to make a written complaint.  The ‘official’ DWP advice is explained in the link below:

http://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/about/complaints-procedure

It says that you can complain in person or on the phone to the Jobcentre. However, this often goes wrong, as you do not have your own written proof that you made the complaint.

So, we advise you to take the following easy steps:

  • Write down your complaint in an email
  • Include a sentence where you offer to verify this email i.e. show it is from a ‘real’ person. The DWP have a policy to ignore emails that cannot be verified. For this reason, we recommend that you state the following in your complaint email:
    “I am happy to verify this email in person with my ID.”  Don’t forget to add your National Insurance number and personal address to identify your claim.
  • Write ‘Complaint’ in the subject line of your email
  • Copy in a friend who you can trust in the email
  • Send the email to: correspondence@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
  • Allow 15-20 days for a response (15 days is the stated DWP waiting time for responses)
  • If you have no reply by then (or an unsatisfactory one), you can then write to: ministers@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
  • Wait another 15-20 days. If this  does not work for you, you can then complain to the Independent Case Examiner and after that through your MP to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. These stages are explained in the DWP ‘Complaints procedure’ weblink above

Tips for writing your complaint:

  • Don’t swear
  • Don’t make unfounded allegations (i.e. be sure to have something to back up what you are saying)
  • Describe what happened to you (calmly like a neutral witness)
  • Explain what should have happened
  • Explain what you think should happen now (to resolve the situation), or simply ask them to rectify the situation.

Why Complain?

Because it is important to inform the DWP about problems, so that they can understand that improvements are necessary. By doing so, and by copying in a friend or somebody who you can trust, you are creating a written record of your case and evidence of what you said and when, and it will be harder for the DWP to ignore your complaint or claim that they never received it. You CAN get results!

Further help: 

LUS is a campaigning organisation fighting for a quicker, more efficient complaints process for claimants.

Due to our limited resources we are unfortunately not able to do casework. But please contact your local Citizens Advice, Law Centre, trades union or other advice agency if you need further help with writing the complaint. Or if you live in these areas, join one of our local Stand Up For Your Rights groups in Southwark, Waltham Forest or Islington – or set up one of your own! Contact nickplus007@gmail.com for more information and guidance on this.

Relevant links:

http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/about-the-dwp-our-service-standards-leaflet

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/complaints_and_responses#incoming-802719

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/complaints_processing#incoming-803514

For other comments, such as compliments or feedback, the DWP gave these contacts:

Contact Centres ccscustomerfeedback.handlingteam@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
Helpline helpline.customerservices@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

Have you experienced issues with the DWP or Jobcentre as a jobseeker? Comment below or tweet us @LUSACTION and share your views.

STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS – Free Training for Claimants on 20 May

Nick Phillips of London Unemployed Strategies will be holding a training session for Lambeth and Southwark benefit claimants on Friday 20th May between 12-2pm at Stockwell Park Community Centre. Please come along to learn about the changes to the Universal Credit system, avoiding sanctions and details how the Housing Bill will impact you. The Lambeth and Southwark branches of Unite Community will kindly be supporting us. 20160309_104033 (2)

London Mayoral Elections and The Housing Crisis

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As Thursday 5 May rapidly approaches, it’s essential to understand the crux of the manifestos of the main candidates in the running for London Mayor and the direct impact they will have on you. The vital issue in this election is resolving the London housing crisis. How will the candidates protect and create homes for the vulnerable? So, let’s see how they all measure up and how your vote will count:

Zac Goldsmith – The Conservative Party

  • will tackle the housing crisis by ‘doubling home building to 50,000 a year by 2020’, giving Londoners the first chance to buy new homes built in the city.
  • Ensuring a large number of new homes built are for rent and not for sale.

For full manifesto, please see https://backzac2016.com/

Sadiq Aman Khan – Labour Party

  • will give Londoners ‘first dibs’ on affordable housing, promotes the fact he grew up on a council estate and therefore claims to understand the support needed in this area.
  • Ensuring renting becomes more reasonable and protecting the green belt.

For full manifesto, please see http://www.sadiq.london/

Caroline Pidgeon – London Liberal Democrats

  • Will ban ‘unfair letting agent fees’ and give tenants more rights.
  • Will build 200,000 new homes.

For full manifesto, please see http://www.londonlibdems.org.uk/plan

Sian Rebecca Berry – Green Party

  • Promises ‘truly affordable homes’ created by housing associations and local councils, claims to understand the needs of private tenants as a private tenant.
  • Providing London with more green, affordable energy for their homes.

For full manifesto, please see http://www.sianberry.london/

Thursday 5 May 2016 is for you to use your voice as you see fit. Please contact your local electoral office for further information on voting hours.

Let us have your views – Tweet us at @LUSACTION, comment below or follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/LUSACTION.

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