Monthly Archives: March 2012

A form at last!!!!!!!!!!!

Well we received a new form to fill in yesterday- about a month after they lost the first one I filled in. Perhaps it had something to do with the intervention of the Welfare Rights centre. It certainly seems coincidental that despite my two previous phone calls no form arrived but only three days after Welfare Rights get in touch hey presto!!! a form drops on the mat. I have tried to find someone to complain to but in the first instance you are advised to complain to the office that has dealt with your claim. So that’s my next step – can’t say I have any faith even in the complaints system they run either. No one seems to be accountable in these government agencies, and if they are going to start altering their pay conditions I can only see it getting worse.

The council have also been less than helpful, sending us final demands threatening court action if we don’t bring rent payments up to date. This despite me being told they would put a stop in the letters until our claim was sorted by DWP. On top of this they have calculated this years housing benefit and yes you’ve guessed it used our old incapacity benefit income rates not ESA rates, so more time will be wasted recalculating this too.

What a system!! Talk about kick you in the teeth when you are down. Is there any wonder so many benefits go unclaimed? Would you put yourself through this if you had any other choice??

You couldn’t make it up !!! :(

We received the report yesterday with all the details of my partner’s claim, which they have looked at again to stop it going to appeal. Unfortunately the decision about his claim still stands and an appeal looks inevitable. I obviously wanted to scrutinise the documentation explaining this and guess what, there in black and white (well funny orangey colour actually) is a report on someone else’s claim. A paragraph in which this person is named and the details of why he’s failed the medical are explained. The next paragraph then goes back to being about my partner! How can this be allowed to happen? Clearly on the same page are the names of 2 different people! Does no one ever check these documents for errors? If I hadn’t have laughed I would have cried. Does this department’s incompetence know no bounds?

And still no sign of a form that they insist was posted  Friday 2nd March.

“It should arrive in the next few days ” said the bloke on the phone.

“Surely if it was posted on 2nd March even second class it should have arrived by now” I said

“Can’t legislate for the postal service” he says

So its pure coincidence that the post office has managed to lose two forms both belonging to the same claim. Ermmmmmmmmm forgive me for being a bit sceptical but I think the blame lies elsewhere.

Anyway have contacted a different welfare rights organization in the hope of some support since everyone else we’ve contacted doesn’t seem to care. Lets hope they can help!!!!!!!!

They lost my form!!!!!!!!!!!

Well after a conversation on Monday with DWP it appears they haven’t received my form!! Wonderful !!! So now it’s back to the drawing board and I have to fill it all in again. The new form was  posted to me Friday but at the time of this post we haven’t yet received it.  So it will probably be another couple of weeks before it’s sorted – it’s an absolute joke! If this were a business they were running it would be bust by now as I’m one of many that they fail on a daily basis. I’ve been told that it’s best to post any forms by registered post. So at a time when you’re in dire need you are expected to waste money (you haven’t got) on postage. I’m sorry but although I believe that the postal service does sometimes lose things I’m not convinced it’s on the scale that DWP claim. My form is probably in the DWP building somewhere. This is incompetence beyond belief and I for one think it’s absolutely unacceptable. Yet another reflection on our society and Government – if you’re vulnerable we’ll walk all over you and you better be grateful for it!!

Who needs enemies?

Something else that’s become apparent through all this is you find out who your friends are! I’m not thronged with friends anyway. When because of financial and circumstantial constraints you can’t do certain things people quickly become tired of being told you can’t do things and stop getting in touch. Of the handful of friends I have it’s very interesting that the only person to offer support (apart from my virtual friends online), has been someone who is himself on JSA and is really in no position to help. And yet he told us if we needed to borrow any money to let him know. He would borrow from his family to help us out – he’s been in and out of work for about 15 years so has nothing to lend us himself. It really touched us that he offered. At the other end of the spectrum I have a friend whose husband is on a very good wage, she herself is on incapacity benefit as she has a wasting disease. She has offered nothing in the way of support not even a phone call to see if we are ok. I would have to be desperate to take any offer of the loan of cash, but it’s interesting to me that the one that could afford to lend us something hasn’t offered, whilst the one who can least afford it has. Even a quick text or phone call would have been appreciated but nothing. In fact when I told her what was happening all she could focus on was herself and what she could do if the same happened to her. The same won’t happen to her. Her husband could easily afford to support his family without her incapacity benefit, so if her money is stopped it won’t be a question of not being able to pay the rent or the food bills. They can cope if they need to without her money, they shouldn’t have to but they can. We need ours to survive. If the roles were reversed, I would certainly have offered help, even if only emotionally. It certainly makes you realize who your friends are…………..

Who’s in our Corner?

Well still no word so decided to phone the DWP to see what was happening if anything. I was put through to a lady and after the usual verification of national insurance number etc the conversation went like this:

ME: Could you tell me what’s happening regarding our claim? We filled an ESA 3 form in and was told it would only take a few days to add me to the claim as it is an active claim. It’s now over a week since you should have received the form and we still haven’t heard anything.

DWP: I’m afraid I can’t talk to you without your partner’s permission.

Partner goes to phone and gives permission.

DWP: He’s just been moved to ESA from incapacity benefit, has he put in an appeal?

ME: yes

DWP: Oh yes he’s been awarded single claimant rates, were you on his claim?

ME: yes, and as you can appreciate we can’t live on £67.50 a week

DWP: No they seem to be awarding everyone who fails the medical single rate. When did you send in the form?

ME: about a week and a half ago, was told it ould only take a few days to sort out.

DWP: Who told you this ? No it takes about 2 weeks and there’s no record on-screen of even receiving the ESA3.Did you post it recorded delivery?

ME: No just normal post. How am I supposed to afford recorded delivery on £67.50?

DWP: Oh, I’ll have to email the office and see what’s happening and ring you back, could be any time up till Monday lunchtime.

ME: Ok, Will wait to hear, but am not very happy.

About a half hour later they phone me back by which time my partner has had to pop up to shop, and guess what they can’t speak to me without his permission again. They’ve just had it -only half an hour ago!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m beginning to feel really down and dejected about this. During the above phone call I had to remain calm and quietish and not really let rip like I felt like doing because I realise that the person on the end of the phone is probably nor responsible for the mess but I know if I’d begun to let fly I would have lost it. How can it be right that people with dependants are being thrown off onto single rate? They have all the details yet are having to wade through unnecessary forms leaving people with next to nothing to live on.

We have received no support from any of the help we’ve sought. The advice service that was asked to call us back haven’t called. Our MP hasn’t been in touch despite being emailed and phoned on several occasions. Its shameful the way we have been treated in all this. Irrespective of your views on whether people should be thrown off this benefit in the way that they are, no one can live on fresh air and that is exactly what I am left to do. How can this be allowed to happen in 21st century Britain? Read http://edinburgheye.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/cameron-what-the-dickens/ and see what you think. I’ve been saying this for a while. Just when you think it can’t get worse it does……….and what’s more no one seems to care.