The Disability News Service (DNS) has published a collection of stories highlighting the cruelty inflicted on disabled claimants by universal credit. In particular, they highlight the tyranny of the UC journal system

One article covers the death of a disabled woman left traumatised by the daily demands of the UC system.

Rebecca (not her real name), took her own life just four days after being told she would need to attend a face-to-face meeting with a work coach.

The claimant would shake and cry every time she had to log onto her online universal credit journal, which she was forced to do every weekday to avoid having her benefits sanctioned.

Although Rebecca  had been given a six-month “fit note” by her doctor that explained that she was not fit for work, she was still expected to have regular appointments with a work coach until her fitness for work could be assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contractor Maximus.

 According to DNS, the DWP had been told of her mental distress, suicidal thoughts and fear of the department and the universal credit system, but this did not affect their treatment of her.

Another article covers the struggles of disabled claimant Philip Manion who saw his income from UC cut from £1,260 to £500 a month because of a mistake by the DWP.

When he tried to attend a meeting about the issue, he was prevented from entering the Jobcentre because he was unable to log into his online journal from his mobile phone.

He was then recorded as having failed to attend the meeting and his UC was completely stopped.

Manion’s long-term mental distress had previously been under control with the help of medication. Now he cannot face leaving his flat.

He said: “I can’t work, I can’t face anyone, and if I’m really honest I don’t want to be around anymore.”

Former nurse Shirley Rudolph spent 10 years caring for her husband and had been placed in the limited capability for work category due to generalised anxiety disorder.

In July Rudolph’s husband died and she told her work coach that she would be unable to attend a scheduled meeting because she was arranging her husband’s funeral.

The work coach expressed no sympathy whatsoever, delayed the appointment for just a week and sent Rudolph a job application to complete.

As a result, she ended her universal credit claim.

She said: “It doesn’t take much for me to think that I am worthless, due to childhood trauma. This woman in particular made me feel exactly that.

In a further article entitled Universal credit: ‘Chaos, fear and preventable deaths’  DNS interviewed  disabled activists who talked about how the cruel system hounds claimants into complying with strict rules.

Particular criticism was reserved for the journal system, with one activist explaining that:

“Work coaches make demands that you have to jump to meet, but without key information, and then fail to provide that information despite repeated requests.

“The journal seems to work one way only, with the claimant’s communications simply ignored . . . So I am frequently left in states of high anxiety even though I am in the limited capability for work-related activity group due to mental distress.”

It is good news that the forced migration of ESA claimants to UC has now been postponed until 2028, but the system is urgently in need of reform for the sake of all those claimants who are already subject to its cruelties.


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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Julianne · 1 years ago
    My 48 year old son,applied for Universal Credit. Turned down.
    He was diagnised on 11th March 2023 with a Frontal Lobe Meningioma.
    Successfully removed on 28th April.
    3 weeks later,back in Hospital,with 2 large Pulmonary Embolisms.1 quite close to his heart.
    Also,a chest infection,and pneumonia.
    Resulting now in a damaged lung.
    Cannot work.No money coming in,bills piling up and could lose his home.
    It diesn't seem fair,that he has to suffer in this way.
    More stress and all while he is recovering from all the medical problems he has had.

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    David · 1 years ago
    I can't cope anymore. They have broken me in that journal, don't answer questions, don't try to help, unsympathetic bunch, 
    I told them I'm at risk of relapse (5 years off Alcohol)  but the response was that the manager was unfamiliar with my case then tried to summarise - got it so messed up and asked me if this was aboutright

    I replied "I literally threw up there, I need time away from this" 

    I have never had this feeling in my stomach before, it's left me feeling as sick as I've ever been. 

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    Tom · 1 years ago
    The new system they're planning and changing everything I just can't. If they don't change how they treat people , moving people away from other support to just UC.

    Having been there before and at job centre's they only got me voluntary in a store that I ended up bleeding on my feet due to an injury and the manager said , quote "That's commitment , what we like to see right there" not keep off your feet or clean it up just a good job. Free voluntary work for day shifts in pain and verbally yelled at if I spoke up. 

    I have anxiety and depression and honestly if they force changes to that platform I'm concerned it would be too much as I can barely cope with daily life as it is to keep myself safe. I'd probably have to rely on no support for my health and safety but then I'd be a bigger burden to family I just couldn't live like that.  
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    Patsy · 1 years ago
    My daughter had surgery 4 years ago for nets neuro Endocrine tumour it's a rare form of cancer she lost part of her bowel she applied for pip 3 times and been turned down she had a baby 2 years ago was rushed to surgery after an urgent  c section another part of bowel removed  whoever has this cancer has to be checked regularly  it cant be cured but can be treated she eats a lot of food basically as all food goes straight through her system her  bowels dont give any warning when they are about to erupt wherever she is she has to go be it shopping centre park etc her rectum can be red raw she has to change her clothes frequently  and her bedding uses a lot of toilet tissue and soaps  has hot flushes and is most of the time exhausted she has been turned down  again  and again she feels like she is  begging  to be able to have an income to be able to live she also has bad depression  and separation  anxiety  as her baby was taken from her directly after birth so she could undergo surgery we nearly lost her twice .so what does it take to be taken seriously to achieve a pip acceptance
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Badback51 · 1 years ago
      @Patsy Hi patsy sorry hear about your daughter.I have the same thing i had my surgery yesterday im feeling awful and im meant to be going back to work in a week when i cant.Its awful and i fully get what you are saying i cant even eat food anymore just liquids.i hope everything works out for your daughter in a system that is so unfair to the genuine people.sending gentle hugs to you your daughter and grand baby x
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    Craig · 1 years ago
    I have been on uc since September 22, as i am a pensioner but my partner is still under pensionable age?
    A total nightmare, i am her carer as she is classed as severely disabled. We have lost around £300+ per month as they have not include the transitional payments, and they are only paying part of the rent! This is for a housing association house, i am having to find the extra £250/290 per month, despite having to complete this stupid journal, ive been asking since Oct for the transitional payment!! They keep fobbing us off, with oh we are waiting to hear from an outside agency re this matter!!! I have never had so much contact with the DWP in all my time of being on the system.
    This is severely affecting my partner who just cannot understand this situation we are in, and to be honest, it is affecting me, to the degree if i walk out the door, i would be on pension , plus pension credits and having less stress. And then let the dwp and local council pick up the mess and pay for my partner full time care, which would run into the thousands per month. 
    The words i would use to describe the mess are not really suited for publication!! The sytem is geard against anyone who is suffering from a disability and who is a carer.
    The DWP and successive Governments have no inclination to solve their mess, as we have no real power to challenge them other than standing up and taking the fight to them via the courts.
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      EWA · 1 years ago
      @Craig Hi Craig and All Of You,
      I just found this forum and I am sorry for all your struggling. What I want to highlight is challenging them in courts. This is not poor solutions, its the one. The problem is the finance. Once we are awaiting for award, we are struggling so much that another few months are impossible. That's right they are on power position and they know it. And indeed that is all they have and they use it to make us slaves. I have been there up to 3 years of awaiting. That has affected all my life, cos I become so in debts and later in  huge debt repayment plus credit rate destroyed, I couldn't take a mobile phone contract. I was caring for disable mother  and we had no a wheelchair for a start. It was her DLA I was fighting more than 40 months, meaning that I was not able claim Carer Allowance. She needed full time care, so I couldn't work. I lost the house and all I had in it. I can write the book about those time. The point is ,that the poverty was not even important but the humiliation . I was going to start my independent law education then to win the first case with DWP, but the money they paid back was not giving back what they stole from us. It took me a years before I gained my dignity back. I went for law university and I am still study independently. If half of us have taken them to the court it will make a difference. If it follows by compensation, the changes will be born. 
       I had become disable 3 years ago and went through humiliation once again to decide no more .  I am 46 , all alone after my mother passed away in financial struggle, cos as you I am expected not to eat to pay the rent. I am also working very slowly on more cases relating DWP and their servants who destroyed people and who must be stop. This is my own project and it is the free of charge work. The stories of the abuse of power and treating vulnerable as trash are terrifying and I believe the time will come to face them with justice if we come together. I will spend the rest of my life on it if I have to, cos I cannot rest with the pain I feel for many of us. If you want to share more with me please do. Maybe this forum is the best place to find what is needed to end the tyranny and slavery of us. God bless you and your wife.  
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    tom · 1 years ago
    I can recall  one of my ESA claims whilst waiting for a tribunal date  i had to claim JSA  as they stopped your ESA But you still needed to send in sick notes, Lucky for me  i had studied the regs and claimant commitment and how to get a very relaxed 1, and of course what they could and count not mandate you to do Unfortunately my appeal failed to yield an award  But i made another claim  with slightly different  conditions  no more JSA  or work coach drone
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    Jacque · 1 years ago
    I remember during an assessment with DWP for ESA and PIP the assessors report for my mental health and chronic pain, that because I appeared to look normal and quote unqoute "was not rocking back and forth" her mental health appeared normal and not in pain.  The discrimination is appalling and having gone through 3 tribunals for every benefit over a number of years finally winning PIP after 20 month fight, the added stress that caused me living alone with my family living abroad, it was felt well you have no help and cope so you can.  They expect you to quit the fight because that is their strategy to save money within the DWP.  A friend even went for an interview to be a PIP Assessor and said the training was appauling and you were expected to turn down a large % regardless at every stage and if you cannot see the disabilities they're claiming for then they are not telling the truth.  I was told this despite at the tribunal the judge said she had over 300 pages of medical evidence for me yet DWP and their assessors had denied medical specialist professionals opinion was accurate.  You are made to feel like a second rate citizen and a liar and forces your mental health to deteriorate even further with suicide rates increasing as a result of the DWPs behaviour towards claimaints, we are real people, they just ticking a checklist as their job with no compassion whatsoever. Its disgusting because you never know when life can change in an instant and you need help.
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    Aw · 1 years ago
    I have told Neil Cooling, personally & in detail that I & people like me will simply not be able to claim UC. The obsessive & neurotic features of my severe mental illness mean that there is no safe way for me to comply with the demands of UC as it is currently designed. I said this in their green paper consultation, I have told my MP. I have also detailed the issues in various online surveys by MH charities. I follow Rightsnet & DNS & have seen nothing at all to suggest that the DWP have made any effort to make UC accessible for me. I simply do not know where there is left to turn. We are being slaughtered.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Andrew. · 1 years ago
      @Aw That’s absolutely appalling aw,I’m lucky as I am able too work full time but I’ve been reading around the net and until recently did not understand just how bad the disabled in this country are treated.I really cannot imagine how difficult these assessments are it sounds like this gov cannot wait too take your awards off you,and as for these so called assessors what on earth is wrong with them,surely if your local doctor who ( knows you best) is in full support of you being in receipt of benefit due too health where is the problem are they honestly going too call doctors liar s as well as claimants this shambolic shambles needs too be brought too a STOP complete and utter bullies attacking the vulnerable,,,,,shame on you all.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Liz · 1 years ago
      @dancer22 How could i get one? I need appointee myself.due to my mental health problems ,i am not able to deal with dwp anymore
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      dancer22 · 1 years ago
      @Aw Sounds like you need someone to act as your appointee. The appointee deals with the DWP on your behalf, and having an appointee on the system means the computer knows the applicant has significant problems dealing with them. Having an appointee usually means the requirement to accept a claimant commitment is waived.  
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    Kazyjacko · 1 years ago
    Wow this is not good and I’m about to sign for it tomorrow I’m not sure it’s going to be worth it 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      denby · 1 years ago
      @Kazyjacko Hi Kazyjacko, please don't be put off claiming, this is exactly what DWP want!!! 
      Try to get support on here as much as you need, we all have each others' backs here and the Mods and backroom team are a wonderful support.
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