“The Red Queen shook her head. “You may call it ‘nonsense’ if you like,” she said, “but I’ve heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!”
This is the tale of me navigating the benefits system.
Sometimes you think that you have seen or heard it all, then something happens and it makes you shake your head.
I was entitled to SDP – However when I was forced via a change in circumstances to Universal Credit I lost it, this was then deemed discrimination by the high court and eventually the DWP accepted the result. So I am due to have it reinstated
This tale begins in May 2019.
I was due to have a PIP assessment, I had this and even though I am no better I was put on to a lower rate. Knowing what the system was like, and being the way I am I did not appeal this. I just did not have the mental energy or willpower to do it.
When the news broke of the high court case I contacted UC about it, hoping to get things sorted. I had been forced onto UC in Oct 17, It is not a huge amount but not getting SDP did make things more difficult so being able to claim it again was going to help.
I got no reply. I decided that as I was fighting them for one thing, why not fight them for two. So I submitted a mandatory reconsideration for the pip decision. I sent in no documentation, not a sausage. I was expecting them to contact me to request any information they needed. My issues go through various different places in the NHS, so I did not want to hassle people for documentation when I did not know EXACTLY what I needed.
We roll on a month to August and you can imagine my surprise when the decision on my PIP has been overturned and I have been reinstated the previous amount. All is well in the world, I am happy.
November comes along and I still have not had a reply on UC. I guessed as the case was quite new it could take a while, so I was willing to wait. However July > November seemed long enough, so I contacted them again. Still no reply. So I filed a complaint. Can you imagine how they would react if I did not reply to them in over three months?
I was then told that the UC journal is not an instant messaging service. FOUR months! I’d expect to have received and replied to things via snail mail in less time.
Irregardless they told me they had contacted the SDP team and that I was on their list. To wait ten weeks and if I had not heard back from them to contact UC again.
Last week I had not heard anything, so I asked them again! A week trots past as I wait and then yesterday I got a message saying call this number.
I am not very good on the phone but I only had that one choice. I could have sent another message via UC, then waited for a reply. I would still be waiting this time next week no doubt, so I called the number.
I get through and verify who I am etc…
I am told I am not on the primary list. I ask why not, and they tell me because I don’t get PIP. “Hold on a minute” I say, “I do get PIP”
Then it must not be at the correct rate I am informed.
Once again I say to them. “That can’t be right, I have always got PIP at the same rate”
Tapping away at the computer, she then says “No I can see it was reduced”. Thinking for a moment I then reply “Ah, yes it was reduced, but that decision was overturned”
“Well that means you may not be eligible” she replies. I can almost feel her eyes rolling at this point. “It has to go through a different process”
Getting frustrated I said “Well no, hold on a minute. The PIP decision was your error that you corrected. So no I am still eligible”
“You may still be, but we cant tell at this point”
I am getting annoyed now. So I ask “What about the period from OCT 17 to May 19. I was eligible then and SDP was taken away wrongly. So at the very least I am entitled to that”
“No” she says “Because your PIP changed you are not”
I can’t quite grasp this. Through a fault of there own I am now not entitled. “You may still be, but I cant tell at this time” she answers.
“Okay… so when will you know” I ask. “No idea” comes the reply. “Weeks? Months? Years….? I ask”
“Well I hope it wont be that long” she replies.
So because of a mistake they made – and then corrected – I may not now not be entitled to what I was entitled for before. They acknowledged the mistake and corrected it, but because they mistake was made I am now in limbo.
Seriously, had I written this I would have thought it to far fetched.