Anonymous jobseeker: Why the Universal Credit system is not working

One jobseeker, who wishes to protect their identity to avoid any potential consequences for speaking out, details the struggle with the government’s new Universal Credit benefits system.001

Universal Credit is a new type of benefit designed to support people who are on a low income or out of work. It will replace six existing benefits and is currently being rolled out across the UK. The new system is based on a single monthly payment, transferred directly into a bank account.

I UNDERSTAND the supposed benefits of Universal Credit. I realise that Jobseekers’ Allowance was sometimes not flexible enough to accommodate modern working practices and patterns. I realise the value of a benefit that allows the claimant to pick up occasional work and seasonal roles.

I do, however, have several issues about the current system and its procedures. I will illustrate my feelings about Universal Credit via examples of interactions with my adviser, Trisha* at Clydebank Job Centre, outlining my issues with, what I can only describe as an ideological assault on welfare claimants.

The first point to address about Universal Credit is the initial wait for benefits money. This wait is up to seven weeks. The claimant is not entitled to money for the first week of this delay as this is classed as a waiting period.

It is not the role of our welfare system to reflect the fallow pay periods of the private sector. The point of welfare is that it is designed to support citizens where the market fails.

So, after seven weeks with no income, the claimant receives money for only a portion of this time. The reason for this wait is apparently due to the fact that claimants need to learn responsibility, and in “real jobs” one might expect to wait up to six weeks for one’s first payslip.

The perceived responsibility imbued in these monthly payments is fairly patronising: it suggests a top-down understanding of what it is like to meet one’s day-to-day expenses on a miserly income, with no real relation to the types of jobs that are available to claimants.

It is not the role of our welfare system to reflect the fallow pay periods of the private sector. The point of welfare is that it is designed to support citizens where the market fails. It is very sad that the DWP are aiming to mirror the practices of a poor employer.

Of course, the DWP are not monsters. No, there is a discretionary fund that one can apply for should they need to, say, pay rent or buy food while they wait seven weeks for their benefits to trickle in.

A discretionary fund which is, in fact, a loan, which the ‘successful’ recipient will have to begin paying back as soon as they receive their first Universal Credit payment.

The terminology employed throughout the Job Centre is a point of interest. My meetings are termed ‘interventions’. My interventions are generally an unhelpful process where Trisha treats me with a perfect combination of suspicion and derision.

During my interventions, Trisha has twice tried to push me towards unsuitable work. As outlined in my job description, I am looking for full-time (35-40 hours) work in my field of experience.

My meetings are termed ‘interventions’. My interventions are generally an unhelpful process where my adviser treats me with a perfect combination of suspicion and derision.

At my first intervention (note: six weeks before any money was due to enter my account), Trisha pushed information on a jobs fair towards me, printed on the Job Centre’s signature thin porridgey-yellow-grey paper.

“Maybe you could pick up some work while you wait for the benefits to come in,” she said.

I politely declined, outlining that the 12-hour retail role that she was ushering me towards would be a waste of my time and theirs, and that I would prefer to continue on my own job search.

If real jobs pay every five weeks, then I would still have to wait a significant time period for my first paycheque according to the DWP’s logic. So working in the meantime would be detrimental to my current circumstances with no income to cover travel and incidentals.

This particular interaction made me question the general competence of my adviser, and the effectiveness of the system as a whole. Trisha seemed to have little understanding or respect of my existing experience. Her attempt to push me towards a part-time retail role (which was unsuitable for me for many reasons) demonstrated the inefficiencies of a target-driven system.

This process is unhelpful for both employer and employee, pushing unsuitable candidates into unsuitable roles, no doubt contributing to high turnover and thus high HR costs for businesses.

My ‘interventions’ have thus far had no evidence of any sort of informed support. I am fortunate enough that I am able to conduct my job search alone and that I do not need any help from Trisha, because I’m certain that this support would not exist if I were to seek it.

This process is unhelpful for both employer and employee, pushing unsuitable candidates into unsuitable roles, no doubt contributing to high turnover and thus high HR costs for businesses.

The current format of job-hunting under Universal Credit requires claimants to treat their job hunt much like a job itself, evidencing 35 hours of activity a week. The proof of this job hunt has to be recorded via Universal Jobmatch, a government website which has a characteristically bureaucratic log-in process.

The user log-in consists of a 12-digit number, to be entered alongside a case-sensitive password. These login details have to be obtained via a lengthy registration process, with one half of your log-in being sent to your email address, and the second texted to your mobile phone.

The Universal Credit process already presupposes that claimants have access to email and SMS, which may not be true of everybody, and that claimants are computer literate to a moderate degree.

Even if you can use it, Universal Jobmatch is not a perfect website. The search algorithm produces hundreds of results, many of which may only have tenuous links to the original search keyword. This means that claimants have to sift through tens or hundreds of often unsuitable roles in order to find the few that they can apply for.

In the Universal Jobmatch user agreement, the website even states that the jobs have not been verified, and that there may be inaccuracies in the description. In my personal experience, I have found that it is simpler, and more effective, to jettison the Universal Credit website in favour of more specialised websites where job search results are more tailored to one’s needs and experience.

However, despite spending the requisite number of hours a week searching for jobs on suitable platforms, I continue to be treated with suspicion from Trisha. Recently I attended an interview for a role in another city. I had to travel to and from the 90-minute interview, and including time spent at lunch this took the majority of the day, almost seven hours.

The Universal Credit process already presupposes that claimants have access to email and SMS, which may not be true of everybody, and that claimants are computer literate to a moderate degree.

In my next intervention I was asked why I hadn’t performed a job search on that day, which I hadn’t conducted due to being exhausted from travel, interview preparation, and the tail end of a head cold. Apparently it was not sufficient enough to have attended the interview, but that I had to somehow supplement this activity with an online job search.

In my initial meeting with a male adviser, I was told that, in theory, a variety of activities can contribute to the 35-hour job hunting quota. In practice, however, my adviser Trisha would have preferred that I had stayed at home and evidenced my job hunting activity online instead of attending my interview.

There seems to be more time spent focussing on evidencing activity than to the actual quality or effectiveness of the activity itself. Opinions on what constitutes appropriate jobseeking activity changes from adviser to adviser, meaning that the claimant is at the mercy of the subjective whims of their allocated DWP employee.

Furthermore, Trisha asked why I had not logged in over a particular weekend to perform a job search. I pointed out that in my first appointment, with the male adviser, I had been told that I could spend five days a week searching and take weekends off, or spend fewer hours searching across all seven days.

Indeed, as long as a full 35 hours a week are met, the claimant is able to structure their job search to a manner that suits them, which may involve ‘days off’ due to other commitments or care requirements.

This is not the case, according to Trisha, who expects the claimant to log in every single day, including weekends, to record their job search, regardless of the hours spent searching midweek.

As a point of feedback, if the DWP would like claimants to act like employees then they must be afforded some reciprocal respect.

There seems to be a disconnect in this logic: the claimant is expected to treat their job hunt like a job in itself. Payment is withheld from the claimant for up to six weeks to reflect the situation that one might encounter in a real job. The claimant is expected to learn responsibility from their monthly payments, and budget accordingly, like they might in a real job.

But that’s where the employee-employer relationship ends, because the claimants are not afforded the real job perks of weekends or time off, which are fairly crucial to one’s mental health.

As a point of feedback, if the DWP would like claimants to act like employees then they must be afforded some reciprocal respect. Claimants should be entitled to time off and should not be treated with suspicion should they not perform a job hunt every day.

Since my local library is not open on a Sunday, I would be very interested to know how someone without internet access might be expected to perform an online job hunt over a weekend. Indeed, if initial payment of Universal Credit is to continue to be withheld for up to seven weeks, then it seems more and more likely that the claimant may be unable to cover phone or internet costs at home.

In my personal experience, I do not find the Universal Jobmatch website useful, and therefore I do not log in every day, as my time is better spent on other forms of job hunting. I feel that it is unfair to expect claimants to evidence their job hunt solely through the online service.

There needs to be an element of trust afforded to the jobseeker, who may choose other avenues that differ from the DWP’s fault-laden online service.

There is an unbelievable amount of miscommunication within the system, and it cannot be ethical to solely operate Universal Credit from a phone line that the claimant has to pay to contact.

I tried to raise my concerns about Universal Credit at an early date after noting on the DWP website that I could register a complaint in person, over the phone or in a Letter. After noting that the required phone call to the Universal Credit service centre was as 0345 number, and therefore would cost money, I decided to raise my concerns in person.

Trisha, however, told me that I was mistaken and that complaints could not be addressed in person, ‘in person’ meant over the phone and all complaints had to go through the service centre, which is only accessible by phone.

A week or so later, after I had cause to contact the service centre for another matter, I decided to log my concerns ‘in person over the phone’, as directed by Trisha. After an excruciating encounter with a voice-recognition phone system (a request for ‘travel expenses’ took me to the department that deals with the registration of deaths) I eventually had the opportunity to register my complaint with a human voice.

At this point I was told that, no, I could not complain over the phone, but would have to do so in person. At this point I lost my patience and firmly explained Trisha’s instructions to complain in person over the phone and asked them to explain what the next step could feasibly be in this bureaucratic farce.

After a pause it was suggested that I compose my thoughts into a letter and hand it into the job centre – the letter which you are currently reading.

There is an unbelievable amount of miscommunication within the system, and it cannot be ethical to solely operate Universal Credit from a phone line that the claimant has to pay to contact.

Every encounter with the Job Centre, and specifically my adviser, has left me frustrated, deflated and defeated.

I foresee accessibility becoming a huge issue as the benefit is rolled out, especially when Universal Credit covers a wide range of needs. Logging a complaint should not require this amount of effort, and it calls into question the extent to which ordinary complaints and concerns are noted or listened to.

My main point is that I don’t believe that the system is working. I don’t know which evidence base the policy was built on, but in my personal experience I believe that it is ineffective, and will result in very hollow ‘rewards’ as it continues to be rolled out.

Every encounter with the job centre, and specifically Trisha, has left me frustrated, deflated and defeated. In our last meeting, due to a mix up in the appointment times, which change every fortnight, Trisha informed me that our meeting was “eating into her break”.

My first meeting was at 9.50am, which I assumed would be true of all subsequent meetings. But my next was scheduled for 9.20am, and the next at 9.40am. I genuinely suspect that Universal Credit is structured in this way in order to maximise sanctions, when confused claimants fail to make it to their meetings on time.

There has been little evidence of compassion or support with those who I met with at Clydebank Job Centre, and the target-driven culture within it will only serve to fail potential workers.

Universal Credit claims to offer the opportunity for responsibility but its structure does little to afford the claimant any respect in return for their efforts.

To offer a contrast, countries that offer a fair wage to their unemployed citizens experience little turnover and see claimants go into long-term roles after a short period of unemployment.

I am registering my feelings about this abhorrent system in the event that my experiences and reflections will have some form of impact before the system is rolled out further to families or vulnerable individuals.

As evidenced with trials of a Citizen’s Income, a strong welfare system means that employers are pressured to offer better roles and conditions for workers, with less likelihood of workers being pushed into exploitative positions.

At time of writing, it will be another three weeks before I receive my first Universal Credit payment. I first registered my claim on 18 September 2015. I expect to receive my first payment on the week beginning 2 November 2015.

In this time period my salaried friends, who are paid monthly, will have enjoyed two pay-days.

I am registering my feelings about this abhorrent system in the event that my experiences and reflections will have some form of impact before the system is rolled out further to families or vulnerable individuals.

* Names have been altered to protect identities, because the author wouldn’t wish Universal Credit on anybody else. Even ‘Trisha’.



#benefits, #universal-credit

Benefit sanctions – overused, harmful and unjustified

David Clapson died with no food in his stomach, three weeks after his Jobseekers Allowance was stopped due to a benefit sanction. David, a 59 year old diabetic who had served in the Army and cared for his late mother, was desperately seeking work when he fell foul of the sanctions regime. The DWP said,
“Sanctions are only used as a last resort for a tiny minority who don’t follow the rules..”

Similarly, when replying to an open letter from Catholics recently, Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith wrote,
“Benefit sanctions have been part of the system for at least the last four decades; however they are only applied as a last resort.”

This statement from Mr. Duncan Smith could lead people to believe that nothing much has changed for many years, and that the current regime of benefit sanctions is one that is long-established. But that is not the case.

In October 2012 Mr. Duncan Smith passed into law his second Welfare Reform Act. Section 46 of the Act ‘provides for the complete reform of the sanctions regime for JSA by creating a new section 19 of the Jobseekers Act.’

The Department for Work and Pensions explained, “We are transforming the sanction and hardship regimes to impose tougher and more proportionate penalties on JSA claimants who do not do everything they can to look for work, and on ESA claimants who do not do everything reasonable to prepare for work.”

So whilst we may have had benefit sanctions in some form for four decades, the tougher regime we have now has been in existence for less than three years, having been introduced by Mr. Duncan Smith.

And what of the often repeated claim that benefit sanctions are only applied to a tiny minority of claimants, as a last resort? The response to a question tabled by Green Party peer Baroness Jones suggests that this claim is highly misleading.

In may 2015 the DWP stated that the previous year had seen, “over 94 per cent of JSA claimants and 99 per cent of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants not being sanctioned.”

When asked by the Baroness how the DWP arrived at these figures, Lord Freud referred her to this explanation of methodology, which says, “The figures are based on an average monthly ratio of the total number of sanctions to the claimant count, i.e. the average number of decisions to apply a sanction per month divided by the average monthly JSA claimant count or number of ESA claimants in the WRAG group.”

Importantly, the explanation goes on to say, “The figures quoted relate to an estimate of the proportion of JSA and ESA claimants that are sanctioned in a given month. They are not designed and should not be used to infer the proportion of claimants sanctioned over a long time period, e.g. a year.”

Asked to publish annual figures of sanction rates for 2010 to 2014, the DWP refused, on the basis that “The information is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost”

However, publicly available official statistics make it possible to calculate this figure, and the Green Party Work and Pensions spokesperson Jonathan Bartley says, “far from the number of Jobseekers receiving a sanction being a tiny minority, it is actually 17 per cent, or one in six.”

This certainly reflects the actual experience of people receiving JSA and ESA, who report being sanctioned for trivial and highly unjust reasons. The government can no longer claim that they are used as a last resort. And remember what a sanction actually means – being deprived of income for at least four weeks, leaving a person destitute. If they have children, their children are effectively sanctioned too.

As the authors of the ‘Time to Rethink Benefit Sanctions’ report have written, “It is precisely because of the damage caused by poverty on human well-being that the welfare state exists. We would argue that any human society should be disturbed by a statutory system that deliberately causes harm to another human being.

“At the heart of our Christian understanding of social justice is that human society should make provision for the weakest and most vulnerable. It is alarming to discover a welfare system that deliberately sets out to exploit a person’s vulnerability in order to achieve control and compliance.”

Apart from them being unjustifiable on moral grounds, there is increasing doubt over whether sanctions actually achieve their ostensible aim of ‘helping’ people into work. Academics, MPs, and now even the government’s own advisers have called for ‘an urgent and robust review’ of the sanctions regime introduced by the Secretary of State.

As Universal Credit is rolled out, low-paid workers will become subject to sanctions, bringing over a million more people into this harsh regime.

There is also the shocking suggestion that people who are obese, or who have addiction problems, may face sanctions if they refuse any treatment that the DWP orders them to undergo. We know that many people turn to drugs, drink, or even food, as a response to trauma or abuse they have suffered in their lives. Are we now going to threaten them with destitution too?

It is urgent that benefit sanctions are fundamentally reconsidered, or better, completely scrapped

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#sanction, #sanctions, #universal-credit

Quarter of councils not prepared for universal credit

A lack of information from the Department for Work & Pensions is preventing councils from properly preparing for the switch to universal credit, local authorities have warned.

A survey of 145 council benefit managers found a quarter of respondents had not started making any plans to prepare their staff and systems for the switch to universal credit.

Since January, the government has embarked on the nationwide rollout of universal credit which brings together a range of working-age benefits into a single payment. LGC reported in March how some cities had raised concerns about the speed the scheme was being introduced in each area.

A report by Ipsos MORI, which carried out the research on behalf of the DWP between 17 November and 12 December last year, found a “source of frustration” for local authorities surrounded the fact there was a “lack of consistent or clear information” coming from the government. The report said: “The biggest challenge…was reported to be a lack of clarity about timescales and future plans from DWP. This uncertainty is said to be preventing certain decisions being made, and hindering the amount of preparation that can be done.”

Where preparations had started, the survey found almost three quarters (74%) of councils had established internal partnerships, such as between social services, education, and housing, while nearly eight in 10 (77%) had established joint working arrangements with external organisations like Jobcentre Plus and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

However, co-locating office space with such organisations was less prevalent – 46% said they had. This was despite the fact the report noted respondents had anecdotally told them co-locating arrangements were “viewed positively”.

The report said local authorities were “fairly limited” in the data they collected about benefit claimants’ digital usage. The survey found 41% of councils recorded the number of claimants who went online for their housing benefit, while less than one in 10 (7%) were collecting data on claimants’ access to online digital services at home. Just one in 20 (5%) councils recorded claimants’ use of digital services without support, the report said.

The above article is from . Find the original here.

#dwp, #jobcentre, #universal-credit

Universal Credit service centre staff to strike next week

More than 1000 staff at two sites supporting the government’s welfare reforms will strike for 48 hours from next Monday after DWP talks fail

Around 1,500 staff working at two Universal Credit service centres in Glasgow and Bolton will strike for two days next week over concerns about limited IT capabilities and work practices, with further ballots under consideration at other UK sites supporting the welfare reform programme.

According to the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), strike action will begin for 48 hours from Monday July 20 over an alleged lack of resources to support the project, “an oppressive management culture” and inadequate training.

The union has claimed that balloting has not been ruled out at the five other service centres in Bangor, Basildon, Dundee, Makerfield and Middlesbrough, which support the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP’s) flagship reform programme.

Universal Credit has been devised as a means to merge employment and support allowance, income support, child tax credit, working tax credit, and housing benefit into a single payment that will be supported by an entirely new IT system.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said Universal Credit was seen as the textbook example of how not to reform essential public services, adding that the DWP’s handling of the project had been “disastrous”, leading to problems for staff.

“These harsher working conditions must be withdrawn, they simply heap more pressure on staff who have battled against poor IT, inadequate training and a lack of resources,” he said in a statement.

PCS claimed that its representatives had met with the DWP last Thursday (July 9) following ballot action approving strikes in an attempt to address staff grievances.

“We put forward some proposals that would provide the cover they need but maintain flexibility for staff – which we feel is just part of being a modern employer – but [the DWP] declined to consider them,” said the union in a statement.

According to the union, a ballot of members working at the two service centres backed strike action by 84% – based on a turnout of 56%. PCS estimates that 80% of staff working at the two Universal Credit service centres are among its members.

However, the DWP clamed today that only a small minority of Universal Credit workers would be taking part in strike action next week.

“The fact is staff are already administering Universal Credit in almost 50% of Jobcentres, and feedback shows they feel supported and confident in delivering this major welfare reform,” said an official statement.

Responding last week to the PCU ballot, the DWP said it would work to ensure Universal Credit continues to run smoothly in the event of any strike action.

The implementation of Universal Credit has continued to prove controversial with the former Coalition government’s handling of the project coming under heavy political and media scrutiny over its proposed budget and timeline. The project was ‘reset’ in 2013 in order to enact a ‘twin-track’ strategy whereby a new enhanced digital service would be developed at the same time that Universal Credit was rolled out nationally by temporarily using existing technology developed for the programme by the DWP.

A National Audit Office (NAO) report released last November said the reset decision was seen as putting the project on a sounder basis – albeit at significant cost.

According to the recently released third Major Projects Authority (MPA) annual report, Universal Credit has been given an amber/red rating based on project data available in September 2014. The rating is given to government projects where successful delivery is believed to be “in doubt” over issues within a number of key areas.

However, the MPA said delivery of Universal Credit was on track based around plans announced last September, with testing brought forward on a number of key initiatives.

Find the original article here.

#pcs-2, #strike, #universal-credit

Universal Credit Could Spark ‘Substantial Increase’ In Benefit Sanctions, Warns Think Tank

Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship Universal Credit could spark a ‘substantial increase’ in the number of Britain’s poorest people hammered by benefit sanctions, according to a leading think tank.

Punitive and spurious benefit sanctions have become common place over recent years, with the poorest in society being pushed ever-further into poverty rather than supported and helped into work.

More than 686,000 desperate people saw their benefits slashed or removed in 2014, including 37,000 sick and disabled people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Around 50% of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants referred for potential sanctioning in 2014 saw their benefit payments docked – an increase on previous years.

The ‘sanction rate’ in 2014 – the number of sanctions per month compared to the total number of claimants – stood at 5.1%, according to research from the New Policy Institute (NPI). This is a slight fall on 2013 levels, but still represents the second highest on record.

According to NPI’s research, a fall in the number of sanctions between 2013 and 2014 was mainly due to a reduction in JSA claimants and not because of ‘the system becoming less harsh’.

More than a quarter of sanctioned JSA claimants were disabled or lone parents, highlighting a lack of understanding and compassion for the ‘hardest to help’.

Primary reasons for JSA sanctions include failing to actively seek work, participate in training and employment schemes or attend interviews.

The government’s controversial Work Programme and other ‘back to work schemes’ are blamed for an emerging benefit sanctions culture among providers and Jobcentre’s, with sanctions resulting in an average loss of income of around £530 in 2013-14.

“The sanctions system has not been administered well – for example, the automatic referrals from Work Programme providers, or the high proportion of sanctions that are overturned on appeal, or the abiding reports of ‘expectations’ of reaching certain numbers for sanctions.”

Sanctions can last from anywhere between a few weeks and three years, with the average length being around eight weeks in 2013-14.

Increased conditionality under Universal Credit could result in a ‘doubling’ of benefit sanctions, warns NPI, with an additional 600,000 potentially pushed into the arms of food banks and loan sharks.

Only this time, benefit sanctions misery may not be limited to unemployed people alone. Low-income and part-time workers face the prospect of being pressurised into increasing their wages, working hours or finding another job. All of this with an ever-present threat of a benefit sanction looming over them and their families.

The report says: “Those with earnings below a certain level (normally 35 hours at the minimum wage) will be subject to conditionality, and hence the possibility of sanctions, in order to encourage them to find more or better paid work.

“This is in addition to those receiving other benefits with no work search requirements, such as housing benefit.

“According to the 2012 Impact Assessment, an additional one million claimants will be covered by conditionality.”

The report concludes: “Expanding massively the scope of conditionality and sanctions to new areas is an alarming prospect in light of this”.

#cut, #dwp, #sanction, #sanctions, #universal-credit

DWP pilots scheme to recoup universal credit arrears

Government officials are trialling a scheme to make it easier for landlords to recoup universal credit rent arrears by scrapping requirements to post letters.

The trial, which started last month, is being conducted by a number of social landlords including Golden Gates Housing Trust and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Under Iain Duncan Smith’s universal credit, which combines six benefits into one, tenants are paid their benefit for housing costs directly instead of to their landlord. Landlords have expressed concern that some tenants will be unable to manage their money and will fail to pay their rent.

If a tenant is in two months of arrears, their landlord can apply to have the rent payment switched back to them under an ‘alternative payment arrangement’ (APA).

However, until now, landlords have only been able to do this by sending a letter through the postal system. Housing associations have complained that this system is cumbersome and slow.

Under the pilot, landlords are able to send their APA requests through a secure email system. They still receive notice of rental payment from the DWP through the post.

Carmel Morris, senior financial inclusion officer at Golden Gates Housing Trust, said the initial results of the pilot were promising but that the DWP still had ‘a way to go’ on improving the administration of universal credit.

The pilot is the latest move by the DWP to make it easier for landlords to secure APAs. Last weekInside Housing revealed that First Choice Homes Oldham has begun trialling a government-backed scheme under which ‘trusted’ landlords will be able to secure APAs automatically without having to submit an application to the DWP. However, the DWP can withdraw ‘trusted partner’ status if it deems a landlord is putting a large number of tenants on APAs to secure its income.

In February, Inside Housing revealed that social landlords were experiencing long delays recouping rent payments from the DWP after applying for APAs.

The DWP declined to comment.

The above article was written by Heather Spurr for Inside Housing.

#admin, #arears, #arrears, #austerity, #australia, #bankers, #banks, #benefits, #benefits-street, #charity, #child-benefit, #cut, #cuts, #david-cameron, #deaths, #disability, #disabled, #dla, #esa, #fit-for-work, #universal-credit