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Maternity Allowance - can't get through to anyone

(19 Posts)
Betti Fri 12-Sep-08 16:57:31

I sent off my form to claim maternity allowance about 6 weeks ago and have heard nothing from anyone. The number I have been given to call is constantly engaged, telling me to call back later (like when exactly. I've been trying 4 times a day for a week angry ). Does anyone know what's going on?

gem1981 Fri 12-Sep-08 18:45:40

yes there is a thread somewhere about MA there is a HUGE backlog around 8 weeks or so I think

I am currently waiting for mine - the number they give you is constantly engaged and when you do get through they tell you that they are very short staffed and so only have a limited amount of people answering the phones.

keep trying them - at the very least you need to make sure they have received your forms as they don't confirm receipt of forms they just add them to the list to be processed.

HTH

Betti Sat 13-Sep-08 10:44:33

Thanks Gem. Glad i'm not completely reliant on this money. Bet if I was an immigrant with 16 family members someone would answer the phone to me!!

Pontypine Sun 14-Sep-08 08:48:26

Betti, if you were in that bracket you'd be driven there by taxi, someone would fill in the forms for you and they would process your claim while you wait!

When you do get through to them it's actually incapacity benefit who take the calls and all they can tell you is if it's on the system. If it is, they can't tell you anything as apparently it crashes the system for maternity pay if they go in to it!

I have been told mine should be done in about 2 or 3 weeks now! Hurrah!!

Betti Sun 14-Sep-08 10:12:28

thanks Pontypine. It is so frustrating. Will try again first thing tomorrow.

elkiedee Sun 14-Sep-08 10:27:05

Hope you get more joy soon but I think gratuitous racism/anti immigrant prejudice is uncalled for.

mybumpsaboy Sun 14-Sep-08 12:11:00

this Maternity Allowance thing is terrifying :s How far along are you guys?? I'm 24 weeks, got all my forms so going to send them in this week coming. Was hoping I'd get my MA in time for December when I'm due but it's looking like that was a very silly expectation!!! I am pretty dependent on the money - I do have savings if it came to the worst, but have just taken on a rental property that I can't reeeeally afford :s

eek!

Teuch Sun 14-Sep-08 12:15:35

sorry to hear you are having problems - I'm hopingto get my forms off shortly so it is good to know...

But well said elkie - those kind of comments don't rest easy with me either.

gem1981 Mon 15-Sep-08 13:09:32

just tried to get through to them today and all the phones are down - there is a recorded message saying that the service is tmeporarily unavailable

grrrrrrr

MelT76 Tue 16-Sep-08 10:08:49

Not sure if this will help as I don't know which number you are trying to ring at the mo. But when I applied for my MA, I called the local jobcentre plus that I sent the forms to (they forward them on to somewhere else). They checked and told me that forms had been received. Only actually took a weeks after that. Admittedly this was a few months ago but worth a try. At least you will know that its in the system.

gem1981 Wed 17-Sep-08 10:59:25

oh for goodness sake this is geting beyond a joke now - i have been trying ALL week several times a day and they are engaged all the time.

i am worried that when i do get through i will loose my temper

Betti Wed 17-Sep-08 13:51:10

Gem - I have finally got through. My claim was sent to Isle of Wight as the 'central' office was so snowed under. They have finally told me today that they will process my claim.

When I complained about central number always being busy, they told me to call around 4:50 when I would be placed in a queue and would definitely get my call answered. Try that and hopefully you'll get through. Good luck

mrsfossil Wed 17-Sep-08 16:02:47

Hi all What is the earliest you can claim MA? and is it true you can only work for 10 days while claiming it. I need to take time off obviously but does anyone know if i'm able to hire someone to run business for me

MelT76 Wed 17-Sep-08 17:00:30

26 weeks. and yes you can work 10 'keeping in touch' days while you are off. Cant see why you cant hire someone to run business, they would be an employee wouldnt they??

LoveActually Wed 17-Sep-08 17:12:50

I was told 28 weeks (am 24 weeks and baby due 9th January) when I call the helpline last week, and told to send my claim in then?

MelT76 Wed 17-Sep-08 17:28:42

I'm sure it said 26 weeks on the form when i filled it in. Just checked online and it says the earliest you can claim is 14 weeks before due date. That make week 26 I think. hmm

gem1981 Thu 18-Sep-08 16:19:26

thanks for your advice Betti tried a bit later on today and was told that they are up to claims that were submitted on 29th July and they got mine on the 4th August so we are getting there slowly (very slowly) but surely

not great though - my ML started on 1/9/08!!!

PInkyminkyohnooo Thu 18-Sep-08 16:29:36

re confirmation of receipt of your application- I did get one. I got a letter saying they had recieved my form and everything was there that needed to be and there was a four week backlog- not sure how accurate that timescale was but I did get a letter from them.

Pontypine Thu 25-Sep-08 15:37:36

I spoke to someone at the beginning of the week who said my claim was with a processing team and i should hear within a week or 2, phoned today to be told they have written to me today to ask when i last worked! Basically because it has to be printed by one department, folded by another, put in an envelope by another, franked by another and then posted by another, it could take up to 10 days to reach me and then when i send it back immediately (giving them information they already have on my original form) it could take 3 weeks to be put on to the their system!!

so, my baby is being born on 39 days and it may be another 28 days until i get MA!! I had a complete go at the woman who said had i applied for a crisis loan, i said no i wasn't entitled to one because i have worked since i left school, paid tax for 11yrs and was born in this country (hell, i'm grateful for being allowed to have my baby in an NHS hospital, i'm susprised they don't charge us for that now). She said she was sorry but there was nothing she could do.

So now i have to decide whether to pay my mortgage and bills or feed my kids this next few weeks - any ideas? which would you do?

I also asked what i can do about the £129 in bank charges i have now had where i have not had money to cover direct debits and apparently when i have had my claim awarded, i can write to them and explain what charges i've had and why and then they MAY look to reimburse me for them but i doubt they will.

I am SOOOOO mad! this is so not what i need! Funny who the national press know NOTHING about this maternity pay backlog/scandal isn't it? they've kept it quiet! If i could actually SPEAK to someone at the MA department then i could tell them that i have already told them when i started my maternity leave and i could tell them again over the phone!

n.b -if anyone wants to write about my predujice to single parents on benefits/immigrants, don't bother, i don't care. all i care about is ME and MY money and the fact that MY kids are suffering (as am i and my health) and some people get their hands held and rushed through the whole process.

Rant over! just need to stop crying now and figure out how to survive the next 4 weeks!
Gem1981, any news on your claim yet?

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