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The Insanity of the Jobcentre

I think I'm at my limit. The cup is full, sir. No more can I take of the Jobcentre and their bollocks.

Where do I start? Well when last I signed I had the meeting with The Psychologist to discuss the results of the test. That results seem to say nothing other than I might have ADD/Dyspraxia/Aspergers/all three/something else/'Non Verbal Learning Disability/Anxiety/Depression/Stress - or...? Well who knows. She told me the waiting list for an official diagnosis is around a year so having this test has really not accomplished much, but I presume it's meant as supporting evidence toward that end...if and when a diagnosis slot becomes available. Meanwhile I have to deal with the DWP, including facing the Work Programme. Barring anything else I'm meant to get referred to that tomorrow.

However another choice presents itself, by way of The Psychologist, a scheme called Work Choices. This is sold to me on the basis that a) they can meet me locally (which has worked out well before when I self referred to organisations in the past, and b) they are (apparently) better suited for people with problems, like me. Presumably then that's she told me about them. Ok fine.

So the day before I signed last the Disability Adviser, who works part time and not on the day I'm actually in the bloody JC, rings me up out of the blue because apparently I'd agreed for her to do this. I hadn't. She tells me about Work Choices as well. So the following day, during the meeting with The Psychologist, I say 'yes I'll meet with them' (as opposed to a Work Programme referral - those are the choices). She then agrees to sort out a referral; between her, the DA and my regular adviser, she says that'll happen and I won't have to come in to meet with the DA in person, which is something the DA seems to want me to do, insisting it's necessary though incapable of explaining why. The Psychologist knows I find the JC a difficult environment and seems sympathetic and, more importantly perhaps, helpful.

So I just get another phone call from the DA again wanting me to come in and talk to her. She asks me if I'm free to talk; I am. Then when I ask her what information she needs, as she seems to claim, for a referral, she can't tell me. Why? I'm free to talk, I've just agreed to that. I tell her that The Psychologist said she would arrange the referral without me needing to see her and that it will all get sorted out. To be honest I was expecting to receive a letter from them to that end sometime this week perhaps.

Nope, they can't even do that. The Psychologist hasn't said this so of course, as the untrustworthy claimant, I'm talking bollocks. I don't relally understand why there needs to be all this hassle. I don't understand why I need to be physically present in order to give her the information she seems to want for a referral and she refuses to ask me over the phone (as opposed to an open plan office where anyone can hear). The DA claims it's her decision whether to refer me to Work Choices; she says there are limited places. I don't get why that's relevant - am I supposed to be grateful, like I've won a concert ticket and backstage pass or something? I've already expressed interest in this scheme (which may well turn out to be crap, but at least I'm prepared to meet them), what more do you need?

But here's the real kicker: the only other choice is the Work Programme. I'm sold Work Choices because I'm told it's more suitable for someone with mental health problems. That's why The Psychologist brought it up as an option. I have to go onto one of these schemes, so wouldn't it make more sense to refer me to the most suitable one? If that's Work Choices then sending me to the WP must mean that the WP isn't suitable - so how is it meant to help me? The DA defends her reticence by saying that she's signing off on DWP funding for this course and so therefore it has to be suitable. Well it might not be; it could be crap like all the rest of their efforts - but at least I'm willing!

Again, what is the alternative? If Work Choices - a course sold to me on the basis of being more suitable for my needs - isn't appropriate (and therefore I'm wasting the limited places on offer, and the DWP's money), what is? The Work Programme? Well if that's the case, why are we even having a conversation?

If this makes any sense to you, then please explain it to me, because I'm lost! I really cannot deal with this crap anymore. In fact even though my GP isn't much more help because he doesn't get it and doesn't want to listen when I explain things (he keeps interrupting me), though that's another discussion, he doesn't understand what The Psychologist is meant to be doing. She wrote a letter, pending and promising a fuller report (I've no idea when that will be), for me to pass on to him. He read it and was completely lost: just what are these people doing?

It makes no sense. They seem to offer help (and all this assumes it is worthwhile help) and then take it away. They say they can do something, and then don't. They tell you that you need to get referred and then don't want to know. I've had it now. I think I really need to get my GP on side. So far he has been reticent to write sick/fit notes because he thinks that it's better to get the right kind of help from the likes of the JC, but I think - I think - even he's beginning to see what I mean when I explain they don't help. He's meant to be contacting The Psychologist, but god knows when that will happen. I need a lie down or a stiff drink.

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