Thursday 10 May 2012

Like a puppet on a string

Got a letter from the council this morning telling me they've sent the DWP an order to stop my income support and pay it to them instead because of outstanding council tax benefit (that I'm not actually liable for).

It's nice to serve some useful purpose. If my despair wasn't keeping someone at the council with a love of schadenfreude entertained I would merely be just a useless scrounger off the state who added nothing whatsoever to society.

Apparently someone who should know better has fallen for the tabloid insinuation that all benefit claimants get £500 a week.

Like my life wasn't fucking miserable enough.


  1. I've just lost about half my income. the money I had wasn't enough. Am I living it up? Well no. The bulk of my income goes on heating my home. My son, who's living with me is the result of my losing the money, works all hours on a low paid ' home' job just so he can raise the alarm if necessary. We're all just existing after a DWP employee decided on a whim tp 'check my benefit claim is up to date' I think this may be policy now to cut benefits in any way possible on the basis of a phone call.

  2. The incompetence at the DWP is staggering. It's enough to drive you to despair. There are different departments handling the same claim and they don't communicate with one another.

    My own ESA claim has been a shambles. At first I was told that I was fit for work (I am certainly NOT!) and so I had to appeal. No one I spoke to at the DWP told me I needed a medical certificate in order to claim some income at the appeal rate, so for the first month I received nothing. Eventually, I found this out from someone on twitter and got the certificate and the money back dated.

    The decision to refuse me ESA was then overturned in my favour. I got a letter on the 3rd April telling me I needed another medical certificate and on the 4th April one telling me that I was now entitled to ESA. The people at the DWP told me I didn't need to send medical certificates anymore, so I posted a copy of their letter back to them to be on the safe side. They stopped my benefit from the 3rd April! I've had nothing for five weeks. It seems that because appeals and payments are dealt with by different departments in different cities that neither informs the other of what's going on.

    In the meantime, a sick person is left without any income whatsoever. It feels as if you're dealing with a faceless heartless broken machine. I'd be tearing my hair out, except that it's already started to drop out in great clumps. I can only empathise with the stress you must be enduring and hope that they sort out their mistake very quickly indeed.

    1. In my case it's not the DWP who are guilty; it's Camden Council.

      The only fault with the DWP is that they comply when council's ask them to stop a person's benefits.

    2. I don't understand how they can leave someone without an income in any case? Surely the sensible thing would be, firstly to contact the individual and check with them, and if it was the case (which clearly it's not) that there was some money owing, to arrange a payment agreement that does not leave the individual destitute! I hope you're taking some advice on this, not that free advice is readily available to vulnerable people made penniless by government departments and councils :(

  3. Is your MP of any use? I have just had the run around with the council tax morons and contacted my MP and suddenly they are now whistling a very different tune. Virtual hugs and positive vibes sent your way and I do hope you get it all sorted very soon :0) xxxJoolsxxx

  4. Thoughtless idiots.

    Have you written to Boris and to your MP, and contacted your local media?

    Do you need any help drafting these?

    After which we can all lobby to get this dangerous law altered, so that they need some reliable evidence and to enforce the rules about leaving you with enough to eat!

  5. Just seen this, so bad, so less than professional, but simultaneously so typical. Hope there's been some progress since (but not holding my breath).

    Someone suggested writing to your MP, Councillors would be appropriate as well - both the ones for your ward and whoever holds the benefit portfolio.

  6. Write to all your levels of government and the media. In each letter, let the person know who else you're writing letters to. And be sure to document every interaction, that you have with a government official - date, time, method of communication, how you were treated...whether they committed to doing something for you, and by what date...if it's a face-to-face conversation, try to have someone with you, so that you have a witness.

    That's all a pain to do, I realize, but taking those kind of precautions and having that documentation may eventually work in your favour.