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Pensions & benefits advice

Diary of a benefit claimant.

(573 Posts)
MissAdventure Wed 20-Apr-22 14:13:32

Having had a change of circumstances, I am now in the enviable position of needing to claim universal credit.
A telephone appt was made for 1.30 today.
After a phone call at 10.10 this morning, I recieved a text to phone them back urgently.

So, I phoned them back, waited almost an hour to be put through, and spoke to a woman who seemed to think the 1.30 appt was my idea, rather than their arrangement.

The appointment was duly arranged for it's original time of 1.30 today.

So, here I am, plugged into my charger, a pile of paperwork around me, still waiting...

I wonder if I could sanction them, as they do for people who are 5 mins late for appointments?

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 20-Apr-22 14:21:10

Poor you. Let us know how it goes.💐

Grammaretto Wed 20-Apr-22 14:25:36

How awful.
I hope you get some joy soon.

H1954 Wed 20-Apr-22 14:28:27

I often wonder if delay tactics, late phone calls and enormously long application forms are engineered to put people off applying.

MargotLedbetter Wed 20-Apr-22 14:28:29

Here's hoping they called you and you have started you benefits 'journey'. Given my experience with the council tax department of my former council (still pursuing me for CT nearly a year after I moved house and with six emails and letters from them confirming I have paid all I need to pay) I suspect they accidentally cancelled the appointment and will blame you for it. Hope I'm being unduly cynical.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 20-Apr-22 14:34:43

I hope you receive your phone call PDQ MissA 🤞

FarNorth Wed 20-Apr-22 14:37:17

I'd phone them and record it.
I wouldn't put it past them to blame you for it not happening and sanction you.

MissAdventure Wed 20-Apr-22 14:40:38

I've just phoned them.
It wouldn't put me through at first.
I got a recorded message telling me they had phoned and I should log on to www... blah blah blah.

Finally spoke to somebody who was unable to tell me why they havent phoned, and that all he can do is make me another appointment for next week.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 20-Apr-22 14:45:56

How infuriating. And another week goes by …. It reminds me of my dealings with the Child Support Agency years ago. My words are unprintable.

MissAdventure Wed 20-Apr-22 14:47:05

I will be updating, as and when, for people who think this is some kind of lifestyle choice, and that I'm enjoying watching debts piling up every day.

What with them, and my ailments, I'm on the point of losing the will to live.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 20-Apr-22 14:50:44

No, none of us would think that. We know you well enough. You’re going through a rotten time and I for one wish I could help you. I’m sure I’m not alone in that. We’re mates aren’t we?

GrannyGravy13 Wed 20-Apr-22 14:51:53

That’s disgusting MissA I hope you will put in a complaint.

Casdon Wed 20-Apr-22 14:55:30

Have you applied online and waiting for a confirmatory phone call MissAdventure? My son had to claim when he finished university during Covid lockdown, he applied online, just had one phone call and was paid backdated to the date of the application, four weeks after the date of his application, he also had to report in person to the office (obviously masked etc.) at a set time every week. Fortunately he’s working now, but in fairness the universal credit claim process was straightforward for him, maybe because he’s single, living at home with no dependents so had no rent etc. to be considered.

maddyone Wed 20-Apr-22 14:55:57

Oh no, how absolutely horrible for you and disgusting behaviour from them.
flowers it’s all I can do for you.

MissAdventure Wed 20-Apr-22 14:57:38

If claimants are late for appointments, they can have their universal credit stopped for up to six weeks.

It's a bit rich, isnt it?

Luckygirl3 Wed 20-Apr-22 14:59:56

MissAdventure

I will be updating, as and when, for people who think this is some kind of lifestyle choice, and that I'm enjoying watching debts piling up every day.

What with them, and my ailments, I'm on the point of losing the will to live.

Hang on in there - it should not be such a battle, but it often is sadly.

I was a social worker and had endless dealing with the benefits agency on behalf of my clients - what a pain it all was.

If it goes on being such a battle, there should be a branch of Citizens Advocacy near you - they might take it up for you and get things moving.

I am sorry that you have health troubles too.

MerylStreep Wed 20-Apr-22 15:00:03

MissAdventure
Are you aware of this scheme?

www.uswitch.com/broadband/guides/broadband-deals-for-low-income-families/

MissAdventure Wed 20-Apr-22 15:01:52

I can't really claim online, Casdon
My phone switches off if it gets overloaded, and I'm having awful eye problems, and can't see out of one of them at all. I don't have a computer, and wouldn't be able to get to the library as my mobility is awful, too.

MargotLedbetter Wed 20-Apr-22 15:07:42

I'm really sorry to hear what's happened. Do you have a decent MP? I'm lucky — fantastic woman who does a lot of work in the community. I'd just have to give her a few details and she'd be down on them and getting things sorted within 48 hours. Give it a go. You can email your MP (you have to give your name and address because they are only allowed to respond to constituents) and give them the details.

Find your MP/ contact details here:
www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-an-mp-or-lord/contact-your-mp/

GillT57 Wed 20-Apr-22 15:08:12

So sorry to read of your trials and the inept, inefficient and dismissive response you have been having. Please keep us all updated, not just because most of us are obviously supporting you, but because it is an 'in' a detailed example of what people have to go through. Sadly, many still believe the right wing press propaganda about benefit cheats, lifestyle claimants, and how easy it is to fool the DWP.

How very frustrating this all is for you, and you are articulate and intelligent, just how do some people cope I wonder?

Sending positive thoughts your way, plus brew and cupcake although by the end of today, you will likely need wine

MissAdventure Wed 20-Apr-22 15:18:53

Ah, thank you all.
The trouble is, all of this stuff just exhausts me.
It takes every bit of energy just to wait around on the phone.
I just hope next weeks call a actually gets me somewhere.
It was the citizens advice who set up the call, but all over the phone as out local c.a.b has closed.

Callistemon21 Wed 20-Apr-22 15:47:42

MissAdventure

If claimants are late for appointments, they can have their universal credit stopped for up to six weeks.

It's a bit rich, isnt it?

That is dreadful

They can change the rules to suit themselves but give no leeway to someone who is struggling.

angry

Perhaps CAB can arrange something earlier than next week?

MissAdventure Wed 20-Apr-22 15:50:07

I think they will backdated it, but there is a 5 week wait as a,matter of course.
They can loan me some money in the meantime, once I get to a actually make the claim.

Luckygirl3 Wed 20-Apr-22 15:50:31

Hi - It was Citizens Advocacy that I meant. They exist in all sorts of different areas of the country. Some are just to advocate for people with learning difficulties ( I know that is not you! smile) but others also include people who have health problems etc. Worth a look to see what is in your area maybe, if you feel it would help you.

Just google Citizens Advocacy for your county.

biglouis Wed 20-Apr-22 15:52:35

My nephew had a stroke and I was trying to sort out his ESA for when he came out of hospital. After holding on for about 30 minutes I finally got an agent and just at that minute a parcel arrived. The phone is cordless so I could easily carry it to the door, continue my conversation and accept the parcel. However when I said "theres someone at the door" she just hung up. If I had had her throat between my hands at that moment i would have strangled the b***h.