An army veteran has blasted the Government’s questionable Universal Credit rules after alleging he was made to live on only £8 a week. Former combat medic Daniel Johnson has been struggling to make ends meet since July after the six-in-one benefit left him with only £32 a month spare.
The 45-year-old, who served with the Royal Army Medical Corps, picks up weekly payments of £155 but says £147 of it is used to cover bills and accommodation.
Daniel, of Leominster, Herefordshire, was forced to start claiming the handout after being injured at work on October 31 last year and lost his home as a consequence.
The Department of Work and Pensions had since declared he is fit to work despite him suffering from severe neck pain and being diagnosed with PTSD.
This week he wore his army clothes to stage a one-man demonstration outside Leominster Job Centre to assert his displeasure at Universal Credit rules and the way military employees are handled after leaving the forces, and it’s shocking that this father of three presently has to survive on £8 a week.
He’s been living like this since June this year and it makes him feel useless, and nobody who has served their queen and country should be treated like this, and Universal Credit is superseding a consultant, a GP and mental health specialists who are saying he is unable to work, and he has an A4 binder full of doctor’s notes stating that he’s not fit to work.
He’s still on extremely large doses of morphine, and no one taking that much morphine would be fit for work let alone his issues with PTSD that he’s been diagnosed with, but how is he supposed to live on £8 a week particularly at this time of year? Especially when he’s reached out for help from the country that he’s served, then to be told, sorry, tough luck!
Grandad of one Daniel had taken on additional work as a lorry driver after the cold weather last year affected his garden maintenance business, but an unstable load from one of the lorries fell on top of him, leaving him with three fractured vertebrae in his neck.
Daniel was further diagnosed with PTSD in 2006 after serving with the army for seven years and remains under the supervision of mental health specialists, and was certified unable to work by the doctors because of the amount of morphine he was on.
During his health assessment that he had in June this year, they asked him questions like, could he stand unaided? Could he sit unaided? And could he make a cup of tea unaided? But he can’t actually do any of these things without being in a lot of pain, but with his military training, he simply attempts to get on with it, and from the examination, he was only entitled to the most basic amount of payment.
The money he gets goes on bills such as gas, electric, water, service charges, TV licence and that would all be before the basics such as food, toiletries and clothing, and then he wastes an hour on the telephone simply attempting to get through to someone at the Department for Work and Pensions, which is why he went down to the job centre to protest.
Ex-mayor of Hereford and ex-paratrooper, Jim Kenyon, 49, has now taken up Daniel’s case in an effort to support his fellow serviceman.
The problem is that decisions are made in government offices, and it’s people at the front line who take the brunt of it, and Universal Credit has pushed Daniel over the edge.
Jim Kenyon is an army vet himself, so he knows what it’s like for these chaps, and Jim sees Daniel pretty much every day to see how he’s getting on and he hopes that he’s not on Universal Credit for much longer.
In Daniel’s case, Universal Credit is not a handout, this man has paid his National Insurance while serving in the army and qualifies for help now, and if this is how Universal Credit treat an ex-serviceman of 7 years, then Joe Public doesn’t stand a chance for any quality of life, and this is totally unacceptable for all in need.
This is an utter disgrace when every week we see programmes about immigration and people coming to England and being housed, being given homes because they have so many kids, they are being given lavish benefits, yet asking for and getting more. Yet these people have paid no National Insurance contributions and have never worked in this country, and our government is keen to look after these people rather than looking after their own people first.
Lots of people fail the assessment because Atos and the like get rewarded to do so, making a business out of people’s despair and suicidal tendencies are shocking and cruel. Appealing takes months of continuous energy which the sick and disabled do not have in them, and the policy fails the very people it was set up to help, so what’s next, will he be asked if he’s able to breath unaided?
Most of these men were sent to war on a lie, treated like crap and then once they’re out they’re still treated appallingly, it’s shocking, and this is how the Tory government treats those who serve their country, the Tories don’t have a measure of shame between the lot of them.