Tag: Jobcentre Plus

Someone cleared a paper jam at the DWP!

I have had one of those collections of letters you can only get from DWP (Jobcentre Plus.) You know the type, it’s as if someone has cleared a printer jam and they have sent you all the rubbish the system sent to print!

It is so silly when you get multiple letters at the same, often containing contradictory information. Anyway, reading between the lines it looks like they are backdating my Support Group ESA payments after all. You get a four page letter each time a payment setting is changed. “From [Random Date] your payments will change to [Random Value] a week, if you disagree then you can appeal etc…….” it always seems that these dates are plucked out of the air and it’s almost impossible to work out if your getting the correct amounts. When you put all the letters together you have multiple dates, some only a day or so apart, the only true approach you can take is to total what you think you should be paid over a certain period, total what you have been paid and if there within a hundred quid of each other then accept it, if not, (deep breath) complain! Whoever thinks this process is fit for purpose needs a health check. Wouldn’t it be nice to have it layed out bank statement style in over a page so you can see exactly what’s going on! People say fuel bills are confusing…….

I will share a little story with you, my mum received a pile of these letters for her ESA, basically they all said from [Random Date] your payments will be £0.00, if you disagree……. Blah, blah blah!
There was no explanation as to why her ESA had suddenly stopped, there was no change in circumstances or further information at all. Obviously she rang them and got nowhere……. well after two days and HOURS on the phone she got through to someone who said “ah, I know what’s happened, we needed some information from you but the system isn’t capable of printing a letter out to ask you to provide it. So what we do is make the system send you a letter saying your benefit will be £0.00 as that usually makes people panic enough to call us, that way they will eventually get through to this department and we can ask them for the information over the phone. Then you will get another letter saying your payments will be the correct amount and if it’s put on the computer correctly it will be from the same date the system stopped the payments from!”

HOURS she was on the phone for! Bouncing from department to department getting false explanations until they got to the correct department! How much time and money is this wasting, can’t they just pick the phone up and ask for the information? Instead they send letters out to panic people into calling them? I’m surprised we’re not in some sort of national financial crisis where they are paying out more than they get in in taxes…………………….. “Oh, now wait a minute!”


The Brown Envelope of…….. Success (rare as it is)

I will cut to the chase……. I’m in the Support Group for Employment & Support Allowance!!! It’s taken a matter of days short of Three Years to get it though!

That’s right, three years of hellish backwards and forwards communication, involvement of MP’s threats of legal action, national and local media involvement, and even threats to publish my entire case file online have paid off! The truth is, since I left employment as a Police Constable I have been unfit for work and work related activity and as such I contacted the benefits hotline all those years ago and was advised that Job Seekers Allowance was the correct benefit from an adviser who hadn’t even heard of Employment & Support Allowance! This set the tone and was the standard of service I have received from “Jobcentre Plus” and the DWP at almost every turn. Looking at my file its sheer thickness is about the same as a pack of 500 sheets of A4 paper and my success is down to my painfull journey to learn about the law so I know what should happen, better than most of their paid “advisers” and hold the DWP to account at every turn.

One major objective for this site is to educate and inform, so that suffers of Fibromyalgia don’t have to do what I have done and can benefit from the lessons I’ve learnt, as its almost impossible to get the correct benefit unless you learn everything about the system and the law behind it. This is because the system does not work, the staff are incorrectly trained and the computer system that manages all claimants is unfit for purpose!

Obviously for me it’s not all good news, for some reason I can not fathom just yet I won’t be in the Support Group until the 28th August. I don’t yet know why I can’t be in the Support Group from now or even from the date of appeal. I also don’t know why my benefit isn’t being backdated, my latest appeal started last year and all my ESA was cut back in April/May time. Another thing I don’t know is how long I have been awarded it for, from experience I know it can be for as little as three months at which point I will have to start again with an ESA50 form and another probable ATOS medical. It is a joke that classification can take longer than the award is for and the appeal process can take over a year for an award of three months! So chances are a claimant will either be in the assessment phase or an appeal phase rather than being in an confirmed awarded phase! It’s o wonder the DWP have completely overloaded themselves with assessments and appeals is it?

I will now have to fight for my award to be backdated so the fight is far from over! I also want to write a comprehensive guide in PDF form on benefits like ESA & DLA. This will include advice on how to prepare for an ATOS medical, how to write a successful appeal and how to prepare for a tribunal. The truth is that this is going to take quite some time, my health means most of my time is spent in bed and incapable of working on such a document as frustrating as it is. In the meantime a lot of the advice I would write in a guide can be found on the benefits sections of this website. I can not stress enough how important it is to do your own points assessment using the links I have provided before you fill in an ESA50, attend a medical, file an appeal or attend a Tribunal. Also remember its all about evidence, your word is not taken at face value so get statements from medical professionals and inform all consultants etc you require a copy of all reports to your GP as trying to get them all copied afterwards takes time and probably money!

Of course, I will keep you updated with how I get on! Use the site and get in touch if you have any questions!


ESA Update

After my frustrating post on June 15th I wrote another letter of complaint to the DWP (Jobcentre Plus) I told them the situation literally meant this letter was a complaint about a letter of complaint that was not acknowledged about a complainant and appeal that was acknowledged. Thats how absurd the situation was. I said I would have to consider writing to my MP to start another investigation, the Highest person in the DWP, publish my entire case file online (circa 400 pages) and write to local and national media!

Isn’t it stupid when you have to go to these lengths?

Well I finally heard from them, (first time since November when they told me they were dealing with it only to have my ESA cut in may) by means of a phone call. Hurray, someone is going to communicate! He was very polite and assuring and explained there had been a catalogue of errors by Job Centre Plus and ATOS healthcare with respect to my case. Basically a decision was made in December but I wasn’t informed. Then no one acted upon my first letter which to be honest I’m not sure it’s even made it to my file, then my complaint and appeal was not auctioned because I hadn’t signed the letter personally (due to my illness that day I asked my other half to print and send it) and that no-one had taken it upon themselves to tell me anything until three complaint/Appeal Letters were received!

So, he took my verbal evidence as reason for “late appeal” so he could actually submit it and sent me copies of all paperwork for signing. I took the opportunity to send a batch of medical reports through as well. It was a pleasant conversation and I think we both understood each other but I suppose only time will tell!

So I’m again officially in Appeal Status for ESA, still not in the correct group, time so far……. 2 years 10 months


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