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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.
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.
You can get an advocate to speak on your behave when having to speak on the phone. When you post things to places like the job centre always get a proof of posting, which to my knowledge is free. I rarely ever use the phone, if it was for something like the job centre, I either get an advocate or somebody else to phone for me or I accept that it’s not worth the hassle (to me) and don’t apply for the benefit. I’m sorry you had such a hard time with them, I’ve always had a good experience but then I’m very clear with them about what I will and will not do and get people to step in for me with the things I can’t do. For example, they never phone me because they know I won’t answer and I never phone them and they always back date things etc if I send a letter or whatever. It might be wise for you to get an advocate to support you or take over any dealings with them on your behave as clearly this is not something you can deal with. It helps me a lot having someone to do the things I can’t, such as phone calls. Because you’ve made that phone call they might conclude that yes, you find it very uncomfortable and difficult and it might cause meltdowns etc, but you did it where as I just won’t use the phone with them as it stresses me out so they don’t try to get me to use the phone anymore, they usually send text messages. If you’re clear and consistent with them they will help but maybe you need the support of an advocate as well.
OMG! I was reading your post and I felt like I wrote it myself. I experience exactly the same. You are not alone!
The biggest problem I have had in my dealing with DWP is phones.
I feel much more than uncomfortable speaking on the phone or initiating a phone conversation.
I am also perfectly capable of filling forms myself.
I also feel that using phones for me is torture.
I am also very uncomfortable speaking on the phone, and I believe 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.
I have to say that as a disabled person who has difficulty using the phone, I also have been penalized. I have had a lot of situations when I have not been able to do something because I could not call.
NAS24456 said:If you go to the Jobcentre and try to ask them about the ESA application, they will tell you to phone the DWP!!!!!
I have experienced exactly the same! You can imagine how awful I felt. I instantly knew I will not be able to do this and, therefore, solve the problem.
NAS24456 said: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.
I completely agree with this.
NAS24456 said:And don't even get me started on how completely degrading the ESA50 form is.
I have experienced the same feeling. It is degrading to do the forms.
I did not know that I can get an advocate to speak on my behalf when having to speak on the phone.
How can I get an advocate to speak on my behalf when having to speak on the phone?
How can I get a proof of posting, which to your knowledge is free?
Who am I supposed to get to speak on the phone on my behalf? I have no friends, and even if I did, I certainly wouldn't keep any of them if I asked them to make my phone calls for me.
They don't care about proof of posting. They only care about when they receive the form. In my case they were counting that as the the day they got around to opening the envelope, which was over a week after they claimed to receive it, which was in turn more than two weeks after they must have actually received it. I could have walked the envelope to them in the time it apparently took the post to get to them.
I'm not sure who you are suggesting I get as an advocate. As I said, I don't have any friends, and I'm certainly not going to pay someone to help me so that I can get the tiny little amount they say I can live on but which actually doesn't even cover my monthly home payment.
I could deal with applying for benefits if they made it less difficult for people with disabilities, who are, after all, the people for whom benefits are intended. I'm perfectly capable of filling in a form or sending an email, but, for some reason, they need to make it so it's as difficult for people like me as it possibly can be.
NAS24456 said:I'm perfectly capable of filling in a form or sending an email, but, for some reason, they need to make it so it's as difficult for people like me as it possibly can be.
I am in the same situation and face the same reality.
If you would like a friend, I can be your friend. Unfortunately, I cannot help you to speak on the phone on your behalf and help you that way.
I really know how desperate and sad I feel in those situation. For me it is awful to realize that someone else faces the same misery.