Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Warning: Rant Approaching

Why is the Department for Work and Pensions so bloody stupid?

I claim various benefits through the DWP. My most recent claim started several months ago, but I've also been getting DLA for the past eighteen months, so they definitely know of me. I sent them masses of information when I most recently claimed, including details of statutory sick pay that I had received. This sick pay was incorrectly paid, as I was supposed to be getting IB for that period (but this is the DWP's problem, not mine). But they know about this sick pay, and they have even just sent me a form to sign to confirm I received it so that they can sort out the error.

Today I make a claim for a new benefit, due to a changed circumstance. I have to spend thirty minutes on the phone, at my own expense (I will need the new benefit just to cover this month's mobile phone bill). They asked a ridiculous numbers of questions to which they already knew all the answers, or would have done if their systems could cope with this fact. And now they want documents to prove my identity - even though I've already sent them all these before - including the payslip proving I received statutory sick pay. But you already know about this, I say, you sent me the form. We still need it, they say. Why, I ask. We just do, they say. Right. Well done.

The government wants to save money in relation to the benefits system. It's targetting sick people who can't work, as a result. It would save a lot more by looking at how much time, effort and funds are wasted by pointless, incompetent bureaucracy.

Incidentally, this payslip is back in London, and I'm not going back there to get it. They can wait for it, or they can accept a copy of their 'you were paid sick pay incorrectly' form, which should be proof that they know about the sodding sick pay. Probably won't be good enough, but it's all they're getting.

OK, I'm done.

So I moved to Leeds a week ago. It's been fine, apart from some minor irritations (like the one described above). I have appointed PAs - one has started, and is a star; one has accepted and will start next week; I'm waiting to hear back from the third. Then I will actually have enough support to do actual things. At the moment I'm doing a lot of messing around with my computer (I knew I should have brought The Sims with me) and watching TV, on account of being short of help and having moved house, thus being rather tired. But it will sort itself out soon. Leeds is a great town, and the uni is buzzing, even though most of the students aren't here yet. It's going to be a good year.* I start early induction for disabled students today, which is a really useful-sounding thing that the Equality Service** provides. I'm hoping they will show me how to cross campus and/or the city without meeting ridiculously high un-dropped kerbs all over the place. It will also be nice to meet some Real People - here I have one flatmate who shares my kitchen and shower room (I have my own toilet room though), and someone upstairs who I don't see, and that's about it. Although others will move in soon.

Must go to library soon. Really must...

*I have decided this. Yes.

**Which will henceforth be known in this blog as Disability Services, as they should be called, because I just can't say that weird-sounding PC-friendly equivocation by which they laughingly refer to themselves.


ReineDeLaSeine14 said...

They've seriously been giving you the runaround haven't they???

Good luck today with your orientation...I miss talking to you so much!!!!!

Be sure to post (when you're up to it) about your new university :)


Lisa said...

"I start early induction for disabled students today, which is a really useful-sounding thing that the Equality Service** provides."

Useful? Sounds like my idea of hell. I didn't even make it to all the actual induction last year. I certainly wouldn't want to go to extra on top just because I'm "special".

Naomi J. said...

Lisa: Heh. I think it's practical stuff, rather than 'because we're special'. It's stuff I really need to know - I've never been a student while physically impaired before (being a student with mental illness required different skills, which I have mastered, and which are now of course mostly useless, just for the sake of irony...) I might not be so keen to attend if I was a competent wheelchair user and had had time to get good at all this - but I still can't figure out how to get round campus, look after myself, remember to eat, make it through the day without needing three hours of naps in the afternoon, and try not to fall over too often, all at once. When we add in studying, I'm going to be a wreck. Various types of practical support and advice needed. So it will be useful. Plus, you know, meeting people. Bit sick of my own company right now.

Stephanie: I know, I know, I'm rubbish at posting on the BYDLS boards these days. It's a complicated thing. I shall try to stop by, all the same. Nice to hear from you :)

Anonymous said...

Ugh, benefits and applying for them is the 7th layer of hell. Of all the things that shouldn't be overly complicated, disability-related benefits should be top of that list.

Anonymous said...

You're so right about targetting inefficiency to save money instead of making the whole system more beauracratic to deter fraudsters. Of course it's getting to the point where fraudsters are the only ones with the time and often the ability to apply for benefits leaving the vulnerable people even moe vulnerable. Now I shall take deep breaths. Calm calm calm.

Uni sounds so exciting! I hope the Disaquality folks there prove to be good!