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 system. Details of that claim are retained which, somehow, get in the way of a subsequent claim. To be fair to the woman on the phone today she was apologetic about it (not her fault): they know it's bullshit but it isn't getting fixed anytime soon. It's a persistent known issue.
This means they have to send out a claim form to fill in. This was done on Tuesday, but god knows when it will arrive. I wasn't sure it was actually posted since the guy I spoke to then put me on hold for 20 minutes to sort it out (he must have actually gone to the post department and put it in the envelope personally) and then I got cut off!
While in town doing my shopping yesterday morning (ie when it's less busy - though still busy enough that if I stop moving my brain feels like I'm drowning in a sea of people, supermarket shelves, indoor lighting and jingle bells - there's something about indoor lighting that really gets to me), I wen to the JC. Maybe I could pick up a form directly. Of course not! Never mind that the desk clerk couldn't just go and look, they were 'out of stock'. He tried to fob me off by getting me to use the phone, which clearly I can't. I explained this and he went and looked. I don't really understand how the JC manages to not have any ESA forms, but they didn't. I guess I will just have to wait and hope it doesn't get lost in transit like the letter I posted to the Salvation Army on the 1st which is now technically MIA. I tried the CAB but they don't have forms either.
You'd think that transferring a claim from J to ESA would be actually relatively simple; especially in the case of someone that doesn't have a lot of personal information to track whose personal details are the same in each case (where applicable). Surely I could just post in the sicknote and everything's fine. But nothing is ever easy with this system - and that's before we get Universal Credit next year!