Bare Facts (was babybear3333)

A (usually) lighthearted and amusing outlook on the real happenings (and vivid imagination) in the day to day life of a walking disaster area/accident waiting to happen/prone to 'blonde' moments 40 something single female...:)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dear IDSIOT...


(I have never seen or heard about a mass first class mailing by any government department in an effort at damage limitation such as the following)

Dear DWP,

For the attention of IDSIOT

Thank you for your letter dated 10 March 2014, which I received via first class post on 11 March 2014, the contents of which have been duly noted.

On Friday 7 March I called your offices because I received a letter from ESA regarding my benefit rates from next month. The letter included all the little bits and pieces that certain severely disabled claimants automatically qualify for when getting certain levels of DLA when claiming ESA.

After the shock of reading the letter I had a little think. My first reaction, naturally, was to assume they’re processing the DLA to PIP quickly on the straight forward or obviously worse to save time and money. How wrong I was.

I’m one of a group of claimants whose award of DLA is due for renewal next month and, late last year I received a letter from DLA asking me to ring their offices urgently, which I did. The gentleman that I spoke to assured me that this was a short call of 45 minutes duration and would be the first step in my migration from DLA to PIP. He asked me lots of questions which I answered as fully as possible and then said that I would shortly receive a claim pack with all the details I had provided him with already on it. He said that it wouldn’t be a problem as the form wasn’t very long and that I’d have plenty of time to get help filling it in if needed.

Unfortunately, the gentleman’s idea of ‘not very long’ differs quite drastically from my own. When the claim pack arrived it was a book. It would appear that DWP are competing for some sort of award as to which government department can stretch the meaning of various words and phrases to encompass the broadest possible spectrum.

(Some very good examples of this are ‘form’ meaning book, ‘not very long’ meaning one of DWP’s own nice visiting officers having to attend my house twice for separate appointments because it took her nearly three hours to complete it for me).

Alarm bells started ringing straight away because I didn’t receive the pack until 19 December 2013 and of course, everything’s closed until at least 6 January because of the way the very long Christmas break was, and, of course, civil and public servants take almost all of that off on leave. The letter included stated that the form had to be completed, as much medical evidence as possible copied and sent with it at the claimant’s own time and expense and had to be returned to DWP by 6 January 2014.

A very kind friend advised that quite a lot of people had been treated in the same way and that the only thing that could be done was to call DWP on 6 January and tell them my concerns.

When I called I spoke to a nice lady and I explained that one of my severe disabilities is that I can’t fill in forms because I can’t write legibly much more than a few words without suffering extreme discomfort and pain. She advised that DWP could send one of their own visiting officers to fill it in for me. The book example above meant that she had to attend my house twice for separate appointments because it took her nearly three hours to complete it for me.

She was very nice by the way and didn’t mind at all having to return so that I didn’t miss vital care. She even copied the limited medical evidence I had, the whole form and returned it all to me the following day by hand so it didn’t get lost in the DWP alternate paperwork universe. Apparently, there are letters, medical certificates, forms etc. roaming endlessly around in there destined never to be collated with the rest of some poor soul’s paperwork.

She put my forms and evidence in to the correct pile and DWP received it in late January.

The call last Friday did not go at all well. The lady I spoke to was very rude and insisted that, even though DWP are aware of the massive backlog they, ATOSsers and Crapita have, my benefits would all be sanctioned if the paperwork wasn’t all completed, including a home visit face to face interview by Crapita.

Fortunately, before ending the call and grabbing the Kleenex, I had just enough composure left to ask her to log a formal complaint. I was fully expecting to be told I had to go through a lengthy process but she said she’d logged a complaint and that a complaints manager would contact me in due course.

On Monday 10 March I received a telephone call from a Complaints Resolution Manager who straight away apologised for the horrible way I was spoken to last Friday, assured me that she’d already listened to the call, the information I was given was totally wrong and that my DLA has been extended until at least October or until everything has been processed properly. She said that all staff were supposed to be fully aware of the way the department are handling the backlog, extending everyone’s claims that are nearing the renewal deadlines and that the staff member would be strongly advised of her mistakes, manner, the totally unnecessary way she’d upset me for a whole weekend and would face the appropriate disciplinary procedures.

I received another telephone call on 11 March from another Complaints Resolution Manager almost duplicating the previous day’s call only differing to say that he was from a different team. He kindly gave me all the information I need to make a written formal complaint and advised that he would listen to the call as well and that there is no charge for me to get recordings of all three calls under a Data Subject Access Request which, of course, I fully intend to do.

Thank you DWP for giving me the most fun I’ve had in a long time but please be assured I will take this one all the way because, not all to do with this, but greatly aggravated by it, I’ve been very poorly lately and the added misery was needless. There is also the very great concern that many people will be extremely upset, scared and more ill unless this is brought to national attention.

Yours faithfully,

Lynda Phillips

My reply to some comments:

I was having problems posting it and the pics. last night... Probably FB having a wobbly I expect... Just thought it needs to get out there, because, obviously, sheer numbers would dictate that it can't be a small isolated incident... The backtracking with the letter and two phone calls from senior managers indicates that DWP have made a very big mistake indeed... They obviously didn't count on me posting it all over the place as soon as I got my head around exactly what they'd done... Still having to read it back, read the notes I managed to make about the two managers phoning me and the letter... I copied, uploaded and posted the letter, envelope, and my thoughts in reply letter form to prove that this is indeed happening... I feel an FOI is needed before they try to bury this one... Am surprised that no one else has come forward, or was I maybe right in stating that perhaps others are more frightened than me of putting such private info. in the public domain because they fear any possible reprisal, sanction or backlash when posting such. My view on it is 'get it out there, you have it in black and white'... Let them try to silence me... Knowledge is free and this knowledge is priceless... I give it in the spirit that's meant in order to help show others exactly what DWP are up to and what thy can legally do about it... Formal complaint, LBA and put my 'money' where my words are 


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