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Work Choices

I've just had a call, completely out of the blue, from the JC disability advisor (who, handily, is never scheduled to work when I'm due to sign). Caught me completely unawares and left me unable to answer as she claimed that my adviser had, several weeks prior with my knowledge/consent, arranged for her to call me. Er, nope. In fact I'm pretty annoyed that I've been lied to like this as at the very least it means I've got to look forward to an awkward confrontation tomorrow when i go to sign on (assuming I'm not being seen by the front desk).

This may seem rather a trivial thing to be critical of, but I cannot deal with being contacted out of the blue like this. Basically she wants to see me, at some point, for a discussion about all the options that are available to someone with health issues. Of course there are no options: I claim JSA and she has no means to alter the conditionality. She wants to talk about the options to the Work Programme - apparently there is a scheme called Work Choices run by either the useless Remploy or some group called 'Pluss'. But really whats the difference? It's always something with them, and it's never the whole truth. They always equivocate when explaining things; for instance after I express some preference for what Pluss seem to be offering, I'm then told there are limited places (handy way to run a scheme to help people!) and that also I'd have to meet some requirements as well, whatever they may be. But I have to go on one of these schemes, so what's the point? Either meet this bizarre conditionality for something that seems more helpful or default to the Work Programme which, by implication, isn't optimised for the needs of someone like me with, shall we say, issues. End result; Ghost Whistler is an awkward sod that refuses to engage (which is exactly what Working Links said 2 years ago, despite the exact polar opposite being the truth).

Well apparenlty the Pluss people can come out to meet people locally. Ok that's a start. Doesn't mean they are any different from the Work Programme - it's all the same thing isn't it, let's be honest. Apparently also there are only a few places on this course; oh I see, so there's the conditionality. Always some stick with the carrot. No limited places on the Work Programme which, I must assume, isn't able to deal with people with health issues (hence the reason for Work Choices as a separate scheme, presumably) despite that being the government's claim. So I'm none the wiser. I'm supposed to see The Psychologist tomorrow to find out, finally, the results of the test I had last month. She knows about Work Choices; in fact now that I think about it, she mentioned it before along with some third option as well.

Frankly it's all confusing and having all this sprung on me at the last minute is deeply confusing. I can barely speak because I simply don't know what to say. In the end I explain that I find dealing with the JC extremely difficult, I mention how they've behaved before and that I don't like people going behind my back to arrange things on my behalf like this. I don't really know why my regular adviser can't tell me about Work Choices or why I need specifically to see the disability person, but that's the only entry route. Of course that doesn't guarantee that Work Choices will be any better than the Work Programme. I think it's all the same thing: providers and their action plans/schemes just out to make money. They can't magic up jobs and will probably encourage me to work in a charity shop as a soft option.

Naturally the disability person isn't terribly receptive to my criticism of the experience and my difficulties travelling in so it gets nowhere. She says that I can discuss this wit The Psychologist tomorrow and go from there, but of course that will be after my adviser (if I see her at all) admonishes me for not immediately making an appointment with the Disability person. But the fact she can't understand why is really central to the problem I have with JC+ as a whole.

This post probably makes no sense, but then I had to get it down right after getting off the phone. Bleurgh.


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