Universal Credit Nightmare

A single mum with breast cancer was left with only 84 pence after a Universal Credit nightmare. Teacher Gillian Sykes found out she had cancer in January and is preparing to have a double mastectomy operation in the summer, and she has had to quit her job as a supply teacher but said that she’s been left to struggle for survival with the Department of Work and Pensions.


Gillian Sykes told how she has been turned down for assistance and was even made to take bank statements into the jobcentre only two days following her first draining round of chemotherapy. She further had money taken away because the DWP made blunders over dates, and she was eventually left with only 84 pence to live on, forcing her to rely on handouts from family and friends.

Gillian was further told she needed to be looking for work, which the DWP later stated was simply an ‘automated response.’

The 45-year-old, who lives in Ashton-in-Makerfield with her two teenage children, talked about the overwhelming moment she found out she had cancer. She discovered a lump on the 28th December when she was going to bed, and she cried herself to sleep because there is a family history of cancer, and it would have been the 20th anniversary of her mother’s passing.

Gillian was in an all-out frenzy and got an appointment soon after, then two weeks later she was sent to see an oncologist who confirmed what she already knew, that it wasn’t a cyst, it was a solid mass, and a week later she got given the news, but everything progressed pretty swiftly from there, and now shes had three rounds of chemotherapy, and her hair is coming out in handfuls every day, and this summer she will be having a double mastectomy, which isn’t nice, and yet Gillian has had to start a long, exhausting battle with the Department of Work and Pensions to get the benefits she required to support her through an astonishingly hard time.

Following her cancer diagnosis, Gillian said she was never informed she qualified for Limited Capability for Work Related Activity, which is deemed to give additional cash for those who are unable to work, so she was left fighting with the department for weeks in an effort to get the additional help.

And to be going through chemotherapy is enough, only to have to dispense with the Department of Work and Pensions, after paying into a system as a teacher, and now she’s having battles left, right and centre with Universal Credit, problems with not being told what she can and can’t claim for, in fact, she’s had more help from the Macmillan nurses than the government.

And two days after her first chemotherapy session, she was informed that she had to take her bank statements into the jobcentre to show that they had taken money from her that they shouldn’t have, and Gillian has had her statutory sick pay penalised, and she’s complained and complained and has had to talk to a different person on the telephone every time.

She simply feels like she’s struggling for survival with benefits that she shouldn’t be fighting for right now because she’s already got enough problems having cancer, and following spending weeks waiting to find out if she could get the important extra LCWRA payments, Gillian chose to apply for what is known as a Universal Credit budgeting loan, used to help those who are struggling.

So, she phoned them because that month was especially difficult and was informed by someone that nothing was accessible to her because all the buttons were greyed out and they didn’t know why. Then another time someone else told her nothing was accessible to her because she made at least £2,600 in the last six months, well, of course, she did, she was a teacher, and was working full time with her agency up until the Christmas, so now she’s actually been penalised for working, no surprise people don’t want to work now!

What she does get from Universal Credit, she’s paying the mortgage with, and she has two children and didn’t expect this to happen to her, but she’s suffered from depression for several years, which has been hugely under control and she’s been able to work, and now this is what’s happening on a daily basis, when she has to find out the next step and the next fight, makes you actually understand why people on benefits get discouraged.

But even though they’ve apologised to Gillian Sykes for the suffering caused by the delay and paying her back in full surely doesn’t include the stress that she had to go through whilst battling cancer, she should have further been given compensation as well.

She might have now been put in the long-term health condition group, meaning she gets a high level of support, and will not be expected to seek employment, but what about the support she should have been getting before? Gillian didn’t choose to get cancer, cancer chose her, but the DWP decided that they would keep her waiting for her money and take money away from her while she was battling this horrible disease.

The Department of Work and Pensions would immediately have sent a letter in the post if a claimant owed them money or if the DWP had overcompensated the claimant, they would have been on that like a pack of hyenas, but if they owe you money they drag their feet in the hope that the suffering claimant won’t bother because they’re too frail and defenceless to do so, which literally makes the DWP the rodents of society.

The DWP tell everyone that they ensure that anyone with a health condition gets the help they require, but the problem is, they don’t because the DWP hopes that the claimant might die before they sort their money out that they were actually entitled to in the first place.

It’s unquestionably repulsive treatment for such a severely sick woman with such a tremendous burden before of her, and if the government are going to roll out this whole new Universal Credit, they should at least have the respectability to contract people who know what they’re doing and who realise that suffering people don’t choose to claim welfare, and it wasn’t a lifestyle choice, and Universal Credit is demeaning and ruthless in the way they handle people.

When is this idiot government going to wake up and smell the carnage they’re creating, and now local charities are having to support them with food, electricity, and other basic essentials, and the state of these defenceless people, essentially families come to the charities, and it’s pitiful.

In numerous instances, the parents haven’t slept for weeks with the endless worry of when they’ll be able to feed their children, let alone pay the bills. The problem is the government are completely vigilant and knowledgeable and embrace the scent of their destruction and funeral pyres of the poor unemployed, and the sick, as they open their morning newspaper with their morning cuppa and a smirk on their faces!

But of course, we have to be submissive citizens. Just be happy, and remember that Prince Harry and his new wife just got to restore their new home from taxpayers hard earned cash, and his granny got 369 million pounds to begin improvements on Buckingham Palace, so that she can live there with her Greek sweetheart rent free because the brain fogged old Queen knows how to freeload off her subordinate subjects, and so does Harry and his family, so don’t you think it’s time for the government to quit calling 56 million hardworking citizens subordinate subjects?

No wonder there are people out there attempting to deceive the government, let’s face it, you have to be an MP or possibly a billionaire tax dodger because some of those wealthy people didn’t get rich through hard work, they got rich on the backs of hard working, low paid serfs.

And the government should actually hang their heads in disgrace. They won’t donate for cancer treatments, but it’s okay for us to house immigrant killers, rapists, and subversives who are presently in our prisons at the taxpayer’s expense, but they’ll begrudge cancer treatments.

The Tory chains are there to shackle us to poverty, we don’t actually have much of a voice, and the Tories are running on borrowed time, and back in the day the government would attempt to erase all the evidence before it was put in front of a court of law, the only redemption today is that everything is done and leaves an electronic footprint, and these vile far right wing Tories give out their orders to punish those in need of help, so whatever you do, don’t become ill under this wicked immoral Tory government, because you’ll be penalised by them.

Published by Angela Lloyd

My vision on life is pretty broad, therefore I like to address specific subjects that intrigue me. Therefore I really appreciate the world of politics, though I have no actual views on who I will vote for, that I will not tell you, so please do not ask! I am like an observation station when it comes to writing, and I simply take the news and make it my own. I have no expectations, I simply love to write, and I know this seems really odd, but I don't get paid for it, I really like what I do and since I am never under any pressure, I constantly find that I write much better, rather than being blanketed under masses of paperwork and articles that I am on a deadline to complete. The chances are, that whilst all other journalists are out there, ripping their hair out, attempting to get their articles completed, I'm simply rambling along at my convenience creating my perfect piece. I guess it must look pretty unpleasant to some of you that I work for nothing, perhaps even brutal. Perhaps I have an obvious disregard for authority, I have no idea, but I would sooner be working for myself, than under somebody else, excuse the pun! Small I maybe, but substantial I will become, eventually. My desk is the most chaotic mess, though surprisingly I know where everything is, and I think that I would be quite unsuited for a desk job. My views on matters vary and I am extremely open-minded to the stuff that I write about, but what I write about is the truth and getting it out there, because the people must be acquainted. Though I am quite entertained by what goes on in the world. My spotlight is mostly to do with politics, though I do write other material as well, but it's essentially politics that I am involved in, and I tend to concentrate my attention on that, however, information is essential. If you have information the possibilities are endless because you are only limited by your own imagination...

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