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In October 2013, the Job Centre sanctioned my future daughter-in-law for failing to attend an appointment. The sanction went on and on and they kept telling her it would be lifted in December, but in December they extended it to January 2014.
She was receiving a hardship payment, but that didn’t even cover her gas and electric. They stopped paying her rent and she is now over £700 in arrears.
My husband and I have been looking after her, as she does have mental health issues due to her Dad dropping dead in front of her last Christmas.
In January they extended the sanction to February.
A couple of weeks ago she tried to take her own life.
Said she’d try again
I then needed to step in. I went with her to the GP where she openly admitted she could not carry on.
When asked if she would try to take her own life again, she sobbed and replied either tablets or I will hang myself.
She is now under the mental health team and has been given a sick note for two months, with the doctor saying that even in two months she will not be fit for work.
Misunderstanding over missed appointment
I went with her to her local Job Centre to hand the sick note in. I asked why she had been sanctioned and was told because she failed to keep an appointment. As I always drive her to the appointment, I knew that she hadn’t actually missed any.
It turns out she had turned up one day and she was only in there a few minutes when she came out and said they have told me I can go home.
When I asked why, she said, “the lady at the front desk said my name was not on the list so I may as well go”.
A few other people were turned away at the same time. She was later put down as a DNA (Did Not Attend).
No apology or explanation
When I explained all this at the job centre, the lady we were speaking to said “Oh, she was looking at the wrong list” – not one sorry nor nothing.
She then gave us a form and said, “Fill that in, you may get the back money or you may not”.
We have had to produce post office statements to the IWC to prove she was on hardship payments to get her bank rent paid.
Fear for her future
Then to cap it all, we did a telephone interview to get sickness benefit and she has received a form to fill in to say she has to attend a face to face interview to see if the doctor’s sick note can be overruled.
I am terrified at what she may do, so she is now being monitored around the clock.
It seems to me that this Government are driving people to take their own lives!