Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Department for Work and Pensions denies me a Crisis Loan

Things just get better and better: yesterday Declan was barred from the Sisters of Mercy Dellow Day Centre (see previous blog “Declan barred from the Dellow Centre”); and this morning I was denied a £40 Crisis Loan by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) … to last me two weeks! If I had to give my opinion on the matter I would say “someone” wants us out of the UK (see, for example, blog of 6 August “The Department for Work and Pensions is putting us back to the street”). Throughout our almost three years sleeping rough we dealt with the City of London Police on countless occasions, but we were never told there was something negative about us on their system. Oh, well!

I didn’t leave Broadway Homelessness and Support empty-handed though: the DWP awarded me £20 to last until next Tuesday – the DWP has lost my National Insurance Number (NINO) and suspended my benefits pending allocating me new one; we have been waiting for almost a month for Broadway to receive a NINO allocation appointment for me (see previous blog for Declan’s email yesterday to the CEO of Broadway).

With respect to the DWP, this is the background: We came to England in 2003 and for two years attempted to get NAC up and running; we went on benefits in July 2005; the DWP terminated our benefits on 27 September 2006 because Declan did not “sign on” two days before he was due to do so on 29 September. Declan exhausted the appeals process: the case was dismissed by the High Court (Judicial Review), Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights, despite that we were denied the internal appeal process by procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority.

On 12 July, things got serious when the police threatened us with forced removal from Salters’ Hall (see blog of 12 July “Police threaten us with physical force at the place we sleep, Salters”) and the next night Dr. James Fetzer, a NAC Honorary Associate, who is Distinguished McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, found us a place to stay, through the extreme generosity of Belinda McKenzie, who was reached by a friend of his in Ireland (all is explained in the blog of 26 July “We are interviewed on The Real Deal”).