LETTER: Thank goodness for Jigsaw food bank

Piles Of Money
Piles Of Money

I read with horror, although not surprise, that a 51-year-old lady is living on £25 a week when she should be receiving £100, although this is still not enough in this day and age. 
She totally depends on what she receives from the Government. Not only does this lady have serious and painful health problems including memory problems due to several strokes, mobility issues, fibromyalgia and nerve trouble, and is disabled, but she also has children to support. She is currently waiting to attend a medical, in just under eight weeks’ time to decide if she is entitled to benefits and still having to live on £25 a week in the meantime because she has been sanctioned.

How is she expected to work when she has so many problems should her medical assessment fail?

The assessments, in my view, are incredibly inaccurate in that you are asked a series of standard questions and usually have no eye contact with the doctor concerned. If you can walk 20 yards, get yourself into a chair and out again or can bend down, you are “fit for work” - nobody takes into account physical pain or mental illnesses, which are invisible.

I was on Jobseeker’s Allowance for the past seven years and am now on my state pension so I fully understand how incredibly hard it is to cope with being on benefits and have resorted to a local food bank many a time, and was appalled to read about this lady’s situation. She now depends on the Jigsaw Food Bank and thank goodness there is somebody out there who has compassion. I believe the Government and the DWP should be thoroughly ashamed of putting people in these impossible positions.

Sanctions are a punishment by the Government and DWP as far as I’m concerned. Claimants do NOT even get a first warning - money is just stopped and they are left without essential money for food, heating and rent bills. If they decide to make a tribunal application, they have to wait months for a result which defeats the object. There have been numerous cases of people, suffering from clinical depression (I also had that during my time on benefits) losing their homes and, worst of all, dying from lack of basic and fundamental needs. Jobs are NOT as easy to come by - this is just Government propaganda to make them sound as though they have unemployment under control. They do not.

I tried extremely hard to find employment when I was on JSA but despite my many years of experience, my age was against me although no potential employer or the job centre would admit it. I know some claimants don’t try hard enough but please don’t tar them all with the same brush. And for all you people out there who call people on benefits ‘lazy’ and accuse them of ‘sponging off the Government,’ just try walking in their shoes and see how you feel then. Don’t judge what you haven’t experienced please.

Well done to the Jigsaw Food Bank for helping so many families. They probably don’t realise how they are actually saving some lives.

Christine Kneeling

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