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DWP Forced Man to Loan

Written By On 05/03/2014

A middle aged blind business adviser from Essex needed to rely on payday loans for help because of the incompetence of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Forty six year old Robert Powell, who lives in Dagenham, was forced to apply for disability benefits after being made redundant back in September 2011. He filled in their application and wrote down that he was ‘totally blind since birth’.

The information he filled in had no effect as the DWP only contacted him by sending him standard letters that he was unable to read. Therefore, obviously unaware of the communication, he did not reply.

This meant that both his Employment Support Allowance and housing benefit were never approved which only hindered his financial predicament.

After some time the department agreed to send his letters in Braille, but consequently that would lead to a one month’s wait in order to translate. This caused Mr Powell extra hassle because letters arrived after appointments had been arranged. Therefore these had to be put off by an extra month which held up any benefit payments.

Recent data shows that claimants are being penalised more now than ever by the DWP for not attending appointments. Penalties are anywhere between one month and three years worth of benefits.

Mr Powell was becoming more and more desperate as he recalls ‘there was no money to eat’. This was the moment that he used a payday loan to help get him through.

Yesterday the department stated Mr Powell was not officially penalised, but admitted that he may have waited longer for his payments if they had not received a reply to their post.

However Robert replied:

I received formal letters that said my benefits had been suspended because I hadn’t supplied medical ­certificates or attended Atos appointments. If that isn’t a sanction it certainly felt like one.

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