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Holly - Moderator
I have had so many problems with the DWP in my life. They are so bureaucratic.
Even hearing about the DWP and the Jobcentres make me feeling sick. They kept pushing me into unsuitable jobs. I found myself a better job.
I am struggling so much in the workplace but the DWP does not care. They prefer me to keep suffering.
A big problem with them is phones. They keep pushing people to use phones. That is horrible.
Would you be happy to speak to me about your difficulties
The biggest problem I have had in my dealing with DWP is that they provide no other means of contacting them than by phone. They can process an application for ESA properly only if it is done by phone. I really don't feel comfortable speaking on the phone or initiating a phone conversation, and, besides, it seems completely stupid to answer someone's questions over the phone so that they can fill in a form for you, a form which you are perfectly capable of filling in yourself. With a form as long as the ESA form, it would probably take over an hour of that kind of torture.
Because they can't be bothered to set up their website so people can fill in the ESA form for themselves online, the only other way to apply for ESA is by sending in the paper version of the form. After I sent my form in, using a first class stamp so it would arrive that much sooner, they claimed they hadn't received my form until nearly a month after I sent it. Therefore, I was denied several weeks of benefits to which I was entitled, and the delay was caused by someone there who just didn't bother to open the post.
When I complained about this, first the supervisor admitted that they had actually received my form several days before they claimed that they had, but still over three weeks after I sent in the form. The supervisor said that I should have phoned to make my application for the ESA. I told him that I am very uncomfortable speaking on the phone, and that the DWP should be more sensitive to people with a disability that makes phone calls very difficult, given that they deal with disabled people all the time.
Another thing that happened with my application is that they sent the letters and forms to my previous address (it was perfectly clear on the form that it was my previous address and not my current one) so basically a bunch of strangers now know my personal details and that I applied for benefits. I complained about that as a breach of my privacy, not to mention the law, and they didn't bother doing anything about it. When I complained about that, the same supervisor told me that that wouldn't have happened if I had applied over the phone. It also wouldn't have happened if people employed by the DWP could read. Why do they ask for the previous address anyway? I moved away from there three years ago, so the fact that I lived there has no bearing whatsoever on my current benefits application.
Then, to add insult to injury, they finally sent some of the forms, but not all of the information I needed, to my correct address. They didn't bother telling me when the form was due, and dated the deadline from when they first sent the forms to the incorrect address!!!! So I had no chance of getting the form in on time, given how long it takes for them to open their post, but they sent a letter threatening not to give me benefits at all if I didn't return the form on time.
So, basically, as a disabled person who has difficulty using the phone, I was triply penalised for not using the phone to apply for the ESA benefit. That is the very definition of disability discrimination. Perpetrated by a government agency intended to cater to disabled people.
It says on the written documentation that people that have applied for the ESA can go to the Jobcentre to communicate regarding their ESA application (for example, if someone needs more time to return the ESA50 form, as I did, because it had originally been sent to the incorrect address), but that isn't the case. If you go to the Jobcentre and try to ask them about the ESA application, they will tell you to phone the DWP!!!!!
Then I was told I would have to have a face-to-face assessment. They booked the appointment at the same time as a medical appointment I already had booked. So, of course, the only way to contact them is by phone. Again. Did I mention I feel very uncomfortable using the phone to contact people? I even put it on my ESA50 form. No doubt, the fact that I managed to phone in order to change my appointment will be counted against me, even though I had no choice but to phone them, as they offer absolutely no other way to contact them.
This is the twenty-first century. There are websites and email, and even text messages, but they force people to use the phone to contact them. If that weren't bad enough, it takes about half an hour for them to finally answer, and all that time, I am paying for the call. I've had no income since September, and I have to pay to call the DWP so that I can get benefits. RIdiculous.
And don't even get me started on how completely degrading the ESA50 form is.
I hope that gives you some examples of possible training topics, Angie.