|Issue 7 - July 1972|
|The Right To Live|
sign the petition let me tell you all a short story about a poor old
man of about 70 who claims Social Security. Not long ago it was discovered
that he, poor soul, had been paid just over £12 too much during
a nine month period and one of the Social Security clerks found out
and in no time at all a visitor was knocking at this poor man's door.
I'm sorry said the visitor a mistake has been made and the money has to be paid back, how about 50p a week? Well this poor man, not knowing really what to do, and too shocked, really being old, to know what the best thing was. So he signed a statement allowing the Social Security to take the money from him, out of his bit pension, and the visiting officer went off, probably smiling to himself, satisfied at a job well done.
This is a true story and there are thousands like him who are paying back money to the Social Security because of mistakes the social Security have made.
People commit suicide because of the worry things like this cause. Has it to go on? Do you care about your grandad or gran? It could happen to them.
50p a week for most of us doesn't sound like much; but to many pensioners, the great majority of them, during any week - but most of all winter weeks - 50p is the difference between life and death. I don't know if the figures are correct, but one leaflet sent to us puts the figure at 50,000 deaths per year because the elderly don't get the food and warmth they need. They are not told of the grants they can get for fuel and blankets etc and, therefore, don't ask.
The SS recognise this, because, at the moment, the social Services, according to an MP are compiling a list of people they think will need extra warmth this winter. I don't know if you care about this, but I do, and want all pensioners who need the extra fuel allowance to be given it every winter without asking for it. I also want them to get their rise back-dated a little so they have a little to spend on luxuries like meat for instance. As well as this, we want their long term allowance not to be deducted from any extra grants they might receive.
For all claimants, we want such things as toilets to be in all SS offices, sound proof cubicles so your private affairs are indeed private, and facilities for children. Anyone who sits in an SS office for up to 3 hours know it can be unbearable, worse with children who have simply nothing to do. Every item is needed on the petition. Every item should be supplied - from the A-codes to the telephone - especially those concerning pensioners.
Now to finish. I will give another short story; this time about a poor woman who at the time was in hospital, in an intensive care unit, with a very bad heart condition. Her husband works nights most of the time and sleeps during the day. This leaves a daughter in her twenties whose legs kept giving way from under her, and the mother. Well a large electricity bill arrived - over £20 - which they could not pay as the father only earns just over £18 and the daughter and mother cannot work. So in went a claim to the Social Security asking for help under Section 13 which enables people working to get a grant if they are in urgent need. "You can't have it", say the SS so in goes an appeal against the decision and we set off to the appeal tribunal a few weeks later armed with a doctors note saying that the claimant had had a serious heart condition for the last few years and that the light had to be on 24 hours a day as the claimant was sleeping downstairs due to the fact that her last heart attack was incurred going up the stairs. The bill, if the electricity were disconnected, would be over £30.
The doctor's note and the fact that we'd tried everywhere else, including the British Legion, to get the bill paid, the fact that there was no other form of cooking in the house besides electric and that it was dangerous for either the mother or daughter to cook on their open fire because of their disabilities, and the fact that the husband was on night-shift and slept during the day, were taken into account but apparently forgotten about for the tribunal made a decision which upheld the social Security decision of not to pay a grant. If there is an accident the blood is on their hands and all those concerned in the Social Security from the top man to the bottom, for being part of a lousy system and doing nothing about it.
Remember this is only one of many, and it's true - every word. To finish, the lights were disconnected and still are. When you see the petition don't say I'll leave it to another bloke or lass for they might be leaving it to you. Read it, sign it, get your friends to and send it straight back to us. If you need any more let us know. If you can visit the SS with a claimant and see for yourself - England expects every man to do his duty - and do something like signing. If they treat pensioners like this now, what will they do to you when you are one.
George - servant of the people.
We, the undersigned, demand that the 'A' codes (the secret rules by which the Social Security operate under the blanket of the Official Secrets Act) be made public. That long term allowances should not be deducted from extra benefits. That all claimants be given their heating allowance without having to ask for it each winter. That all pensioners etc have their rise back-dated, with a statement saying it will not affect their legal allowance or benefits. That all claimants should be given a refusal in writing about any claims they are refused. That the practice of sending Special Investigators to spy on unsupported mothers etc be stopped.
Also that all Social Security offices should have properly sound proofed cubicles. That waiting rooms should have toilets for claimants, facilities for children, public telephones and that the address of the local Claimants' Union be on view to all claimants.