Category Archives: form filling

A4E/Seetec

After about 5 months on the Work Programme where my partner has only visited the centre delivering this service a couple of times due to health issues, he was summoned to sign off some paperwork. If you thought the jobcentre was a shambles this was even worse! People appearing with appointments left sat waiting ages, people left sat waiting because they weren’t aware their appointment was over and advisors’ calling for people who hadn’t turned up over and over again rather than attending to those sat waiting.

A number of the clients waiting had little or no chance of obtaining employment in the present climate. I mean come on if you had the pick would you employ someone on sticks who is probably going to need time off over an able-bodied person? One client was clearly distressed but it was left to the person accompanying them to sort it out as the staff ignored them and carried on running around like headless chickens looking busy but seemingly doing very little.

Look at it logically, it isn’t actually in these companies interests to get everyone into employment, (even if that were possible) because they’d be out of a job. Fortunately my partner has had a sympathetic advisor who hasn’t yet put forward anything to cause him undue pressure or stress but we are ever aware that sanctions are possible. Newsnight on Monday screened a report from a foodbank/kitchen where a number of the service users had been on the receiving end of sanctions and the conditions that a man of 62, who had worked until 2 years ago when the  factory he worked in had closed, was living in was disgusting. This man had worked all his life and now at an age when he should be taking it easy, looking after his health and enjoying a comfortable existence, he was being hounded by the jobcentre and living in squalor.

Makes you proud to be British I don’t think. Say hello to Victorian Britain in the 21st century!!

Back on the ATOS medical merry go round.

Less than a year after winning our case at appeal my partner was again summoned for his ESA medical. The first one had to be cancelled due to the stress and worry causing a panic attack, but this time we made it. The bloke doing the medical tried to make small talk as we went in but after last time we weren’t going to be drawn into that. I now have too much information on how they work and realize that you are under scrutiny from the minute they set eyes on you! The examiner was trying to be friendly but now and then his mask would slip and I could see how he was trying to trip my partner up. I’m fully expecting nil points again as most of his problems are mental health issues which you can’t see and in my opinion can never really understand unless you’ve been there. I can understand why people give up bothering to claim ESA even as in some cases I know of, they are clearly to any normal person unfit for work, because the stress really isn’t worth the very small amount of extra money gained by getting it. Our household has lost over £100 in the last month with the ESA becoming income related and my son no longer a dependant but an apprentice on a very poor wage. So once again we are in the process of cutting back spending in the face of having to pay council tax we were previously exempt from as well as the cut in money. I pride myself on being financially capable ( in fact I could show CaMORON and his friends in Westminster a thing or two) but if you haven’t got enough to live on no amount of budgeting will help! The policies of this government are and will continue to result in vulnerable people facing extreme hardship. We really are going back to Victorian values and not in a good way.

Here we go again!

Having sought advice from a welfare rights centre it seems that yes it is correct that you can be reviewed six months after winning an appeal for ESA. So it seems here we go again! Obviously the idea is to put off those who aren’t genuine but this is causing immense stress to those who are genuine and their families. It is not good for the health of anyone to be put through this stress on a regular basis. I have always borne the burden of the paperwork from DWP as my partner can’t cope with it all, but I’m now finding myself in the position of feeling as if I’m struggling to cope also. It’s beginning to affect my health and not for the better! I have been suffering with stomach problems since xmas, together with low mood/depression. I haven’t yet sought medical treatment but will have to if it continues. As the claim for ESA isn’t mine none of my problems are taken into account but all this uncertainty and stress is very hard for me to cope with so I really feel for people who have numerous medical issues as well as having to deal with ESA claims, bedroom tax problems and the impending changes to DLA. I have to come to the conclusion that this is the idea, make us all so ill that we roll over and take all that is thrown at us or worse decide this life isn’t worth living anymore, as so many have already done. I’d challenge the likes of Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and IDS to travel on buses around my deprived area of Britain and listen to what people really think and have to contend with on a daily basis. I regularly overhear people struggling to apply for the number of jobs asked for by the jobcentre, worrying about being ill in case they lose their job, talking about committing a crime so they’ll get help to find a home because they’re sick of sofa surfing and have exhausted every other avenue of help, and wondering what they have to look forward to. Do they want us all to turn to crime?
I for one know I can’t carry on like this. I am trying to better my prospects of getting off benefits but if this keeps on I won’t have the will or health to do anything. How does that help either the country or the individual?

Happy New Year!!

Happy new year everyone!! Unfortunately the start to mine has been a bit mixed, the depression/low mood has reared its ugly head again and have been left feeling less than healthy which is why I haven’t felt like posting.

Just before xmas we received a new ESA 50 form to fill in even though it is only about 6 months since we won the appeal for the last one. I’m not sure if this means we may have to go through it all again but just the thought of it fills me with dread. I really cannot go through this every 6-12 months but I suppose that’s the idea.

The stress of it all last time was immense and I don’t think the Government realizes or cares about the impact of all this stress on our health. The friends of ours who face the bedroom tax have spent the whole of xmas being ill, and having to deal with one relative overdosing due to the hopelessness caused by their situation. Thankfully they were ok after treatment.

Despite all the spotlight on ATOS, DWP and the Government regarding their treatment of the disadvantaged little seems to be changing as the case of the man with heart failure on the news a few days ago highlighted. Despite the fact he wore a box with wires fixed to his heart in order to remain alive he received no points and was found fit for work. Needless to say he is appealing but at what cost to his health. So we see the demonization goes on………

Work Focused Interview

Well I went along for my interview and it went ok. Not sure how valuable any of it will be really as most of what was said I was already aware of. Have been offered a launchpad place, not sure if I’m going to take it or continue to look for voluntary work under my own steam. I have been told I’m under no obligation to take up any of their schemes and that they are there to offer me help. The personal adviser I saw did however seem quite naive about just how bad it is out there- which I was surprised about really, surely working in the jobcentre they should be all too aware of how tough it is? I have agreed to go to a couple more appointments and this time will have my questions ready (now I’m aware what it’s all about), and will take it from there. It did all sound good but I do know that a lot of these back to work programmes are of very little value in reality and seem to be designed to put forward the view that they help when in fact they are of little or no use in securing a permanent job.

An apology!?!?

Well it’s almost D-day and yesterday I received a phone call from DWP regarding my complaint letter. Once again they never received it (so they claim!), but my MP’s office has forwarded a copy to them after I expressed concern at having had no reply. Basically the postal service was to blame was the gist of the conversation. Apparently the DWP postal  centre is in Nottingham although the claims are dealt with in Derby?????????????? Really don’t see how that’s an effective system. When I replied that although I know the post office do lose things I really don’t see how one person can be so unlucky as to have the number of things go missing that we have had -it adds up to about 6 items in all! – he agreed that it wasn’t good enough. He stated that the service is paid for by the taxpayer and it isn’t doing right by its claimants. He reiterated several times that it wasn’t good enough but at no time did he say what was going to be done about it. So although the apology is appreciated it doesn’t seem as if the problems are going to be addressed any time soon.

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??