A New Year Spat with the DWP.

At the end of my last post on this blog, after saying that cuts to mental health services and benefits had been a cause of dismay for many, I asked the question, what else can go wrong? Well, just in terms of my own predicament regarding benefits, it seems that the answer to that question is plenty.
It all started when, after receiving the relieving news that I was to be transferred from Incapacity Benefit to the new Employment and Support Allowance, I got another form in the post. This time it was a form called an ESA3. I had already filled out the ESA50 form regarding my reassessment, and, as I say, had been granted the new ESA benefit. But now it appeared I was being asked to fill out yet another lengthy form (coming in at 49 pages long). I was somewhat confused by this, as on the front of the form it stated that the DWP had sent it to me because either a) I had told them about a change in my circumstances, or b) I wanted to claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance. It also said on the front of the form that it was an "application for re-assessment". Suffice it to say, then, I couldn't work out why I had been sent the form. No covering letter was attached to explain anything, and so I first phoned the DWP and then visited my local job centre to ask why I was being asked to fill out another lengthy form when by all accounts I'd already been granted the new benefit. Both the people I spoke to could not tell me why I had been sent the form, but advised me to fill it out anyway. So, like a good citizen, I got home and spent a few hours filling out the document. All that remains for me to do is send it off.
Being somewhat naive, perhaps, I thought this would be the end of my worries. Not so. The next thing I received in the post was a P45, which as far as I knew was only issued when you have ended a term of employment. Again, there was no covering letter to explain why this document had been sent to me. Not only that, but a few days later I discovered that money which I usually receive every two weeks had not been paid into my bank account. So, another trip to the job centre to ask more questions. I was eventually told that I had received the P45 as my Incapacity Benefit was coming to an end and the new benefit starting. All I had to do was post two of the parts of this document back to the DWP and keep the other part myself. As for the more worrying aspect of all this, namely that I had not actually received any money as part of the new benefit I have been judged to be entitled to, I was told that there had been some kind of error in their system, but that I would get a phone call later that day and the payment would be made. Not surprisingly, I didn't get any such phone call and money has still not been paid into my account.
I have to assume that all this will be sorted out in good time, but the whole rigmarole of filling out more forms, and phoning and visiting the job centre, has been a frustrating, irksome and worrying experience. After all, I don't exactly know when I'll be getting that call, or when the money the DWP says I'm entitled to will be paid. I suppose the onus of responsibility falls on me again, and I'll just have to keep badgering them until the situation is resolved.
So, it's not been a particularly great start to the New Year for me, although I do wish everyone who may read or comment on this blog all the best for 2013. Hopefully my New Year spat with the DWP will be a passing, transient affair, and all will soon return to normal. After all, what else could go wrong?...        


klahanie said…
Dear David,

I'm so sorry to read all the crap you have been subjected to. As per usual, you did everything that was asked of you, made enquiries and then got assurances that all would be okay and it was, as they always say, down to some sort of error.

What they never take into account is that even though these things do eventually get sorted out, in the interim, you are without the money in your account you are rightfully entitled to. Which means, what are you supposed to do in between waiting for your money. What, for instance you had a direct debit that couldn't been withdrawn on and all those extra hassles causes by this stressful bureaucracy that is totally unwarranted.

I'm hoping this outrageous situation is sorted out very quickly. I shall phone you and have a chat. You have enough stress to contend with without this added B.S.!

I'm wishing this to be a blip and the rest of 2013 is a peaceful and fulfilling time for you.

With kind wishes,

David said…
Hi Gary,
Thanks for your concern. Fortunately for me, as I said to you on the phone, things have turned out OK. The payment has now been made and all seems to be fine. Maybe I panicked a little when I found out that my money hadn't been put into my account. Still, it would have been nice to get a call to say what was happening, or some sort of explanation as to why I've had to fill out yet more forms. All's well that ends well, though, I suppose.
Thanks once agin, and I hope you too have a good 2013.
Very Best Wishes,
Dixie said…
Hi David.
I've a similar situation going on. It is always interesting to hear them quote their job description. Amazingly it rarely has anything to do with the subject I'm inquiring about.

I detest the way they throw out the word - entitlement. Having 32 years of work credit, I find their attitude, incorrect and condescending.

Overall it does provide a distraction; making it positive has been the hard part! Soon.
Take care,

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