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Showing posts from December, 2012

The Eve of the War

Nearly new year. The only celebration of the season worth a damn in my view. I'm not a religious person, but there are definite benefits to marking the end of one year and the beginning of another. I won't be doing that in any kind of social way. I can't afford to travel to somewhere and drink something. Besides the people I know will be with their families and kids. I have neither (not sure if that's a blessing or a curse) and I don't really drink (never really formed a relationship with alcohol; I rarely imbibe except the occasional cold bottled beer).
So where do we stand right now? I could mention IDS (hashtag Tory shitbag) and his rant in the Telegraph today, but instead I'll let Channel 4's factchecker debunk his hysteria instead. 
This has been my first year on the Work Programme - technically 9 months as I started in April, 13 months after signing on, which was itself 2 months after my ESA appeal ended. I never expected to win so I barely contested…

Season of Stupid part 2

I'm bored. Really bored. I wish the end of the year phase would hurry up and pass. Come to think of it, I wish Winter would hurry up and pass. Even though it's nice that it's not fucktastically freezing cold, everywhere is muddy and saturated and it's horrible. Also I'd know if my claim has been decided as well. I could do with learning to hibernate; store some nuts under a tree or something and live off that for 3 months.
According to the human side of the Post Office my special delivery was delivered, however their useless track and trace website doesn't seem to agree. I guess I have to accept I'm being told the truth because it would be too depressing and utterly outrageous for these people to lie to me. 
My god, but I've got £140 burning a hole in my pocket! I could spend that money sooooo quickly right now - and part of me thinks 'why fucking not, keep a little bit back, they wont' refuse your claim!'. But another part of me, perhaps m…

The Season of Stupid

Seasins Greeetings! On the 17th I managed to persuade my GP to write a sick note, due to the bullshit of the Work Programme and his agreeing that it was, indeed, bullshit. The following day I rang the ESA new claims number only to be told that there is a glitch on their system preventing people that have already claimed in the past from doing so again. He posts out a form. I don't discover the reason for this until Thursday when I try my luck again. I'm 'assured' this error is peculiar to the process of applying via telephone, even though that is the preferred method. On Wednesday I post off my JSA booklet with a signature to say I'm ending my claim. I send it recorded delivery. While doing my shopping early in town (early enough to avoid the seasonal chaos) I ask in the JC to see if they have a form to save waiting. I have to explain to them why they should give me a form and not be directed, by default, to the phones. They have no forms in stock. As I said, I tr…

Carded?

On Friday morning, hapless BBC radio phone in host John Darvall presided over a discussion about the proposed welfare cash card; an idea put forward by some hapless no mark Tory trying trying to ingratiate himself with his betters. The idea of course is total bunkum and cannot possibly work; sadly that's the hallmark of good Tory policy these days. 
Naturally the discussion was filled with curtain twithers and ignorance. The comments were filled with the twitching received nonsense about welfare paying people not to work etc. These views are proffered in an almost plagiarised fashion.
At least four times, during the hour long debate, Mr Darvall (who comes across as some kind of low rent Alan Partridge, sans Lexus) explicitly referred to porn as one of the things that a card user wouldn't be able to spend their money on. Porn? Seriously? Why is this mentioned? Who has told him to refer to porn in the same breath as other things like alcohol or fags? How many benefit claimants …

...Into the Fire?

So now I have to make a claim for ESA! At the worst possible time of year to do so!
I rang on Tuesday: it's either that or pay the library a small fortune to print out the entire form (57 pages at 20p a pop). I don't own a printer. 
The gentleman starts to take my claim. You have to allow them to go through the process at their own pace because they have a very strict script that includes all sorts of legal stuff that you cannot interrupt. Ok, that's fair enough, some people will have complex answers and they need to understand what they are saying. Never mind the fact that ESA is explained as a benefit for those too sick to work which in practise it isn't (otherwise why would there be a Work Related Activity Group, which I'm trying to get into so the Government's own support systems can actually do their job).
Unfortunately there is a glitch. One that, when I tried ringing back today, is persistent: if you have made a prior ESA claim then it can fuck up the s…

Out of the Frying Pan?

Well I did it. I managed to convince my GP to sign me off. I explained just how the Work Programme were not interested in helping me, despite the vaunted covenant of the scheme, unless I was on the 'right' benefit. In the end he wrote a 3 month note. Now all I have to do is find some way to apply for ESA during the busiest time of year for the postal service (you can't apply online, so much for the IT systems).
To be fair, I have been quite critical of my GP, but today I think he finally started realising just how out of whack, out of touch and fucking ridiculous the welfare system is. In fact he was sounding quite emphatic about it and wanted to write to the local MP (a tory, sadly) to tell him just how ridiculous, as a GP, it is to have to operate this way. I'm not sure about that and wanted to wait until the claim is processed at least - one thing at a time.
I think part of it is having other patients with similar tales of woe. Certainly that's what he hinted a…

Madness!

On the 1st I wrote a letter of complaint to the Salvation Army regarding my adviser who has behaved, in my opinion, quite poorly. I feel him to be an ignorant bully. That letter has yet to arrive so this morning I had no option but to ring up and discuss this personally. Yet another insight into a world gone mad.
I get through to the line manager concerned. I try to explain how the adviser has ignored my medical information which, initially, she confirms they have, as passed on by the DWP. I say initially because when I later said that back to her she decided to hedge her bets. 
Instead of initially discussing the guy's behaviour she points out that I'm on JSA, that's what her system (correctly) tells her. This means that there's nothing they can do because people on JSA have to be treated a certain way. They have to do jobsearch, apply for jobs and basically do everything the Jobseeker Agreement sets out. I know this. I explain that's what I've been doing and…

Odd Man Out

Today was signing day. As usual I'm anxious. I'm always anxious. But no more so than dole day. There are three people before me, and vulture faced Sue is on deck. I'm anticipating the worst: that she'll be my adviser. I don't like Sue; the rest are more or less ok, as advisers go, but Sue has an attitude. She's cynical, suspicious and really quite derisory. She talks down to people, and loudly. You could apply for 1000 jobs - and have the evidence - and she'll criticise you for not applying for 1001.
Each of the three people before me are asked whether they've signed with the Universal Jobmatch. Oh dear, I think, I see what's coming. Similarly they are also asked the token 'how's it going with the WP' (a pointless question since if things aren't going well they won't be interested). In each case these people, and by extension the majority of claimants signing on there, I assume, have no problem. In the case of Universal Jobfarce…

Delivering Hope?

Perhaps it's sheer bitterness that causes me to post this. Today's post includes the Christmas appeal for charity from none other than the Salvation Army. It's not sent to me personally, just the household, that would be too much otherwise. The campaign is entitled 'Delivering hope for the UK's most vulnerable'. 
I find this extraordinary: is this the state of our society? On one hand they can talk about how much it will cost, with your/my help, to give kids a few treats for Christmas, or to house a homeless person temporarily in one of their shelters, or to give a bit of companionship to an old person. Yet on the other hand their Employment Plus department, which, according to them, is fully a part of the Salvation Army, is quite able and willing to issue 'compliance doubts' leading to the kind of poverty they claim to campaign against!?! Is this reality?
"At tghe Salvation Army, we believe that no one deserves to be cold, alone or neglected, espe…