Universal Credit debit


I have received my PIP decision which is to pay me £214.65 every four weeks, that’s a loss of £95.95 from DLA which was £310.60. All else being equal, and it isn’t, I can take the hit, it’s manageable.

My first payment is due on 6 February which means neither DLA nor PIP this month, an instant hit of £214.65 from my real time income so that, in my retirement, the government can teach me how to manage on a work related system of payment in arrears.

Curiously, I managed my entire working life on payment in arrears, whether weekly or monthly, but it seems it is important that I now relearn this in retirement.

Presumably DLA was paid in advance, I have no idea, and my last payment was 12 December and with PIP starting in February, it just leaves a hole. It might all balance out in the end, but a hole is a hole which just takes something else unexpected to make that a sodding great ditch.

My Pension Credits were due to be paid on 5th January, they weren’t, so that hole instantly became a ditch of £490.73 (on top the £95.95).

I called Pension Credits on Friday and was told their system was down. That wasn’t the reason I wasn’t paid, it was just down and phone staff had no access to it.

I have rung them this morning and was asked if there had been any change in my circumstances. I told them I was moving from DLA to PIP. ‘That’ll be the problem,’ they told me. Although PIP has nothing to do with Pension Credits, it has, apparently, caused a glitch in the system which they will look into urgently and sort out as soon as possible.

Ok, so two completely unrelated benefits are linked in such a way that one disappears without notice under Universal Credit. The costs of Universal Credit over its ‘lifetime’ are estimated at £15.8 billion, much of the cost being linked to software problems of which I now have two, their system and my grey matter, neither of which is doing well.

All this is happening because the Tories decided that the old system of social security created perverse incentives to sit around all day watching super sized plasma TVs, drinking alcohol and taking drugs and, naturally, sleeping them off. Universal Credit has introduced ‘conditionality’. Claimants are faced with a series of mandated tasks, often meaningless and trivial, which they must complete or face a sanction. The government believes that people will be incentivised by being deprived of the most basic means of survival. I can see how that works, the poorer you are the harder you have to work to stay alive, which means that the loss of all income must transform people into super workers… with nothing to live on. What could possibly go wrong with that? The future is bright, if you believe that death is the doorway to the glory of heaven.

As a retired man I mistakenly thought that the pension I had paid into all my working life would provide some surcease to the daily travails of worrying about where the next penny might be coming from and enable some income stability with which to relax somewhat into my dotage and spend my time working on things that matter to me as a human being, like writing.

Grand fool that I am, I am writing. About a government that is hell bent on hounding all of us from the cradle into an early grave. Life, that most precious free gift of nature, far from being celebrated and enjoyed for the wonder it is on a planet that is capable of meeting our every need, if not our every consumer want and desire, has been turned into an inhumanly contrived man made burden we must earn our (begrudged) right to keep on a daily basis. Or else!

When I look at the Tories, a quite revolting task, I see a bunch of criminals basking in their own contrived ignorance. They are dedicated to siphoning the wealth of the nation, its assets, resources and people into the hands of the already exceedingly wealthy to stash away in Tax havens while those they have robbed die in their hundreds of thousands.

The Tories, the gateway to oblivion for the many, not the few.

KOG. 08 January 2018.

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