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Disabled woman to take DWP to court over ‘immoral’ automatic benefit deductions

Disabled

Disabled woman to take DWP to court over ‘immoral’ automatic benefit deductions

A disabled woman is to challenge the Department for Work and Pensions in court over what she calls its “immoral” policy of allowing landlords and utilities companies to automatically make deductions from monthly benefits payments without the claimant’s consent.

Helen Timson, 50, of Leicester said the third party deductions scheme, which allows up to 25% of people’s monthly means-tested benefits to be diverted at source to pay off arrears, was unlawful and could leave many people without enough money to buy food and pay rent.

At least 200,000 UK households face deductions from their benefits as a result of water, gas and electricity firms arranging with the DWP to have customers’ arrears paid automatically – and there are fears that rising energy prices will lead to more families becoming subjected to the scheme.

Under current practice, the DWP does not seek consent from the claimant for these deductions if they amount to less than a threshold of 25%. Nor does it conduct means tests, or attempt to agree realistic payment plans with creditors.

Timson said she had twice had deductions made without her agreement. These happened once when her water supplier had tried to charge her £2,200 because of a faulty meter; and again when an energy firm deducted £80 a month, even though she was not a customer and had no arrears.

As a result of the deductions she was pushed into near destitution and unable to pay her rent. On one occasion she had to cancel an appointment for an NHS cancer scan because she did not have enough money to pay for a taxi.

“Paying arrears should not leave benefits claimants destitute and unable to pay for basic necessities,” said Timson, who is currently in receipt of disability unemployment benefits. “There must be a viable way for third parties to arrange a realistic repayment schedule with the debtor’s consent, rather than allowing utilities firms and landlords to help themselves to a quarter of people’s benefits – including for errors where no money is owed.

She said: “It is immoral and indefensible that utilities firms plunge people even further into poverty, leaving them without enough money for rent or food, while earning interest on money paid to them in error.”

The case is expected to be heard in the next few months.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Safeguards are in place to ensure deductions are manageable for customers and they are encouraged to contact DWP if they believe a deduction from their benefit should not be made.”

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Health

12 State Governors Owing Us, Health Workers Cry Out

The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria MHWUN, has cried out that governors of 12 states of Nigeria are unfair to their members by owing them several years of salary arrears and also failed to standardise their payments .

The medical body noted that the worst of it all is that these governors have failed to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage that has become a law in the country.

They said the governors have subjected them to harrowing life.

The MHWUN National Vice President , Femi Adebisi stated this in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital at the weekend during the 2022 international youth day organized by the South West leadership of the union, under the theme , ‘Intergenerational solidarity : creating a world for all ages.’

Adebisi said the welfare of health workers remains the only recipe to the recurrent brain drain crippling the health sector.

He however, did not identify the affected 12 states.

“We have nothing less than 12 states that are owing health workers their entitlements.We are engaging them as a union and we are hoping the governors and everyone concern will do the needful soon”, he stated.

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Health

Pay Hazard Allowance To Health Workers, NLC Urges F.G

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba, has urged the Federal Government to immediately begin the payment of hazard allowance to health workers in the country.

Wabba made the call at the 2022 annual Federal Capital Territory Nurses Week/Scientific Workshop of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives on Thursday in Abuja.

At the workshop with the theme, “Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health,” Wabba said the allowance has been reviewed but payment is yet to begin.

“Many health workers have fallen victim to diseases in taking care of patients. I salute the nurses and Midwives, your reward is not only in heaven but here on earth. I urge you to learn so you can discharge quality healthcare service to Nigerians.

“The payment of hazard allowance will boost the morale of our health workers in the country”, he added.

 

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Health

Cholera Outbreak Kills 10 In Gombe

Gombe state government has declared an outbreak of cholera after ten deaths were recorded across the state.

This was made public by Habu Dahiru, Gombe commissioner for health,  on Thursday.

Dahiru, who was represented by Abdulrahman Shuaibu, executive secretary of the Gombe Primary Health Care Development Agency, said as of September 20, 236 cases of cholera had been recorded in the state.

“This year, from June, we had sporadic cases of cholera in Balanga LGA and because of the preparedness and prompt response; it has been largely subdued without escalation,” he said.

These outbreaks are recorded in eight wards across Balanga, Yamaltu-Deba, Nafada, Funakaye and Gombe LGA of the state.

“The state ministry of health has promptly initiated public health actions for prevention and control of the disease.

“As of September 20, there was an increase in the number of cases in Gombe state as 236 cases have been listed so far.”

The commissioner said increased downpour of rain and flooding in many parts of the state led to the cholera outbreak.

He said decontamination of wells and boreholes in affected communities would be carried out and distribution of water treatment tablets in all affected communities would be conducted.

 

 

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