Well spent much of Wednesday on the phone or waiting for the phone to ring having left messages for people to ring me back. Eventually managed to get some information regarding our claim, the upshot being that we have to fill a form in to try to get some money for myself as ESA doesn’t pay extra for dependents during the assessment phase (or this is what we’ve been told), and my partner is only going to get £67.50 per week. So until it’s sorted I’m supposed to live on fresh air am I? The fella on the phone assured me that it wouldn’t take long once the form was filled in to sort it all out, sorry if I’m not convinced! I also phoned my MP, but to be honest her receptionist didn’t seem to know much about the rules around ESA either, and the MP herself was unavailable. She did promise to look into to and phone back so we’ll see what happens. Welfare rights centre didn’t ring us so am guessing they were too busy……….
Decided to try the internet which seems to bear out that in reality ESA is very little more than job seekers allowance, but what it does say is there should be no break in payments (http://www.direct.gov.uk/). Obviously the whole point of this sorry exercise is to get as many of the claimants on payments equivalent to JSA and it seems to work on the premise that none of them are really ill and they are all scroungers.
Fast forward to Friday and when I get back from a medical appointment I find the Form which we need to fill in is actually a 49 page booklet wanting to know how many times I have a s**t. Still no phone call from the welfare rights centre and whilst I can appreciate the problems they face at present it just makes it more stressful when you are left waiting. Accompanying the booklet is a letter with my partner’s entitlement on it stating that from January his money will change until his appeal is heard ……… wait I thought it was nearly March now……. would have been good to know this before we were left in this situation!!!
It’s now Saturday and this morning we received a letter from the MP which was basically a waste of a stamp, giving us the number of the welfare rights people and saying it would be best to give them a call. Not good enough ….I’m not leaving it there. So Monday looks set to be another busy day of trying to get some answers on where we go from here.