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Please help me with my benefits problem

(15 Posts)
LissyGlitter Tue 06-Oct-09 11:59:59

I started a claim for ESA myself three months or so ago. The man on the phone said that, as DP was working, I could only claim on a contributions basis, and as I have only been working part time for the past few years (studying and having DD) I would probably only get my stamp paid. Fair enough, I thought.

Then DP lost his job, about two months ago.

He rang the jobcentre to tell them (and told them that I was waiting to hear on a claim for ESA in the course of the claim for JSA that they put him in for). I rang the DWP and told them that DP had lost his job.

About a month after that (in which time we still hadn't had a penny from ESA or JSA, but I had been awarded DLA and that had started paying) I got a letter to say I didn't have enough contributions and so would only get my stamp paid. I rang them and told them again that DP had lost his job. The person I spoke to had a look at my record and said that DP being unemployed had been added to my notes, but nothing in my claim had been changed. He said he would send me out a form to fill in.

Two weeks later (so two weeks or so ago) the form still hadn't arrived (and neither of us had had any money, although DP had been attending the jobcentre to sign on and they had been impressed at his efforts to find a job) so I rang again.

This time the woman on the phone said that me and DP should both be on his claim for JSA (even though I am incapable of work). Halfway through the phonecall, she changed her mind and said that, actually, we should both be on my claim for ESA and that we could be arrested for trying to make separate claims. This was the first we had heard even of the concept that somebody capable of work could be on an ESA claim. She said she would send out a form for me to restart my ESA claim and that DP should stop his JSA claim immediately.

DP rang the JSA dept, who said there was no hurry, and that next time he came in to sign on, he should just tick a certain box on the form.

The form from ESA never arrived. When I rang to see where it was, apparently there was a note on my file saying that after the woman had hung up, she had decided that my claim was stamp only, and so I didn't need the form. This is despite me spending about an hour on the phone to her explaining my situation in detail. She hadn't bothered to contact me to tell me of her change of mind.

The person agreed to send the form out again, plus a form for making an official complaint. But not before saying that DP should have been on JSA until he became incapable of work. I could have thrown the phone across the room, but managed to stay calm and explain that no, DP is seeking work, I am ill. We can't be the only couple in the country in that situation.

I got the form (ESA1), filled it out, and sent it back, with my latest sicknote, the complaint form and my form for claiming the sure start maternity grant (I am 34 weeks pregnant) all in the same envelope.

Today I got a letter saying there is a 10 day gap between my sicknotes (due to me not realising it was about to run out before someone casually mentioned it in one of my many phonecalls, then the usual wait for a non-urgent appointment at the GPs) I rang them, and they said there would be a gap in my payments. When I said I haven't had any payments, they were shocked, then did a bit of digging, and said that it was because my claim is stamp only.

DP also rang the jobcentre to say he can't sign on today due to having an interview, and mentioned that he will be stopping his claim anyway due to me claiming ESA. They said it was nothing to do with them, and he should speak to the ESA department.

I am now waiting (since 9.30am) for a supervisor to ring me back.

ARGH!!!!!!!! Somebody please help me. If it wasn't for DPs parents lending us money, we would actually be homeless and starving, as the council are refusing to even look at our claim for housing and council tax benefit until we are being paid our benefits, and have also said they can only backdate for a month.

What can I do?

Tortington Tue 06-Oct-09 12:05:31

i would be straight round to CAB ASAP

i would write letters and e-mails - everything in writing

contact your local councillor

and tellthe supervisor that you are contacting the local councillor and you are going to the papers.

Tortington Tue 06-Oct-09 12:05:53

ask for the name of the person you ae speaking to - every time

Tortington Tue 06-Oct-09 12:06:38

are you entitled to an emergency loan?

if you are disabled - is your dp entitled to claim carers allowence?

need to ask the cab

Tortington Tue 06-Oct-09 12:08:46

if you are in social housing - contact your housing oficer

private rented - go round to your homelessness department at the council and tell them that the benefits dept are playing silly buggers - same with home owner - go to homeless section and tell them that you are going to be made homeless because the benefits dept are playing silly bugers

hopefully someone there will be able to work out your benefit entitlement and will ring the benefits dept and give them what for

LissyGlitter Tue 06-Oct-09 12:19:42

Some brilliant tips, I will try them. There is a waiting list of two months at the CAB, and no other benefits advice office covering this area. We did have a CAB appointment, but had to cancel as it was on the day DPs brother died and obviously we were in no fit state.

We are in private rented. Luckily DPs parents have been lending us the money to pay our rent and a little bit extra for food, and the DLA, Child benefit and tax credits are just about covering the bills, but I hate owing the ILs money (they are retired, so not exactly rolling in it) and obviously I could do with buying the odd thing for the new baby, new wellies for DD, and so on.

I am sick for mental health reasons, and the stress really isn't helping.

I am seriously considering turning up at the DWP office, bump and toddler DD in tow, and not moving until they sort it out, but not even sure I wouldn't get arrested...

Tortington Tue 06-Oct-09 12:27:09

no don't bother -they are following procedure - and some of them are just fuckwits - as your acount demonstates ( not confined to the DWP of course in case i get slated)

phone your councillor now - he will know of the best place to get you some help and might put in a phone call for you.

deffo make an appointment at the homeless section today. dont forget to get all your forms together stating your financila position and write down your income and outgoings - so they have a full record to work from without you rying to remember - it will expidite things.

there may even be a homlessness prevention oficer at the council - worth asking the council switchboard.

explore all avenues

Tortington Tue 06-Oct-09 12:28:06

if you want to ( only if you want to) tell me the name of your council and i will try and get some links for you

LissyGlitter Tue 06-Oct-09 12:34:27

It's Sunderland. Thanks! I have just found my councillors email address and am emailing him now.

Tortington Tue 06-Oct-09 13:17:58

list of advice centres

Tortington Tue 06-Oct-09 13:18:44


Tortington Tue 06-Oct-09 13:20:40


Tortington Tue 06-Oct-09 13:23:20


Tortington Tue 06-Oct-09 13:24:02

from thr last link

"If you are homeless or worried about homelessness, please contact the council's Housing Options Team on 0800 731 2963. This number is also available out of office hours for homeless emergencies.

We may be able to help prevent homelessness - the sooner people contact us the more chance we can help. "

dilemma456 Tue 06-Oct-09 15:38:49

Message withdrawn

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