Tuesday, 31 March 2009

DWP = Department of Woeful Pillocks

I know that writing this here will not help my cause, but fuck it.

When I became unemployed on January 1st and signed-on, I made sure that I applied for mortgage interest payment relief. Because the lying-thieving-scum who work in the mortgage insurance industry didn't point out to me that I was no longer covered by any of their policies, even though they were happy to carry on taking £50 a month in premiums from me. Hey ho!

So, I signed-on, took all my mortgage details with me, filled-in all the forms. Hunky dory. Wait 13 weeks until they start paying out, but, hey that's OK, I won't be unemployed that long, will I?

A week later, I had another job. Hooray! Two weeks later the job was finished. Boo! Sign-on again.

This time when I signed-on I asked about the mortgage stuff. "That's OK", said the Job Centre man on the phone, "we've got all those details already from you."

This time though the job centre people realised that MLYW was also claiming and said that we needed to have a joint claim and we should be interviewed together. So I asked the man on the phone if all my previous claim details would be carried over.

"Of course", he said, "just make sure you take the paperwork along to your interview at the job centre to be on the safe side".

So I did. Any they didn't ask to look at any of it. "Oh, we've got all that already", said the slightly dim girl at the desk. So that's OK.


Flash forward, in a LOST style, to today. I ring up the incredibly-hard-to-contact job centre payments people [actually, I've been ringing them most days for the past week and a half. It's taken this long to get through to someone] to ask how our mortgage interest claim thingy is progressing. Because, with luck, we should be getting some money soon.

"Erm", says the man on the phone.

Oh, dear. Through bitter experience I have learned that "erm" is not usually a good thing.

"We have no record of you claiming for mortgage interest relief", quoth he. I tell him about my claim interviews in January and he says that, because we moved to a joint claim, which is now in MLYW's name, we should have re-claimed for the mortgage benefit.

Ah - so the girl at our 2nd interview wasn't dim-looking. She was actually sending us psychic waves of instructions as to how to proceed. You know, rather than actually TELLING us that we needed to do.

So I ask what we need to do now.

"Well, your wife needs to ask for a claim form".

Errr... Why does she have to ask for it?

"Because the claim is in her name".

Really? What about my claim? The one that I sign-on for every two weeks at the job centre. The one that the DWP send me money for, albeit into her bank account.

So, now we have to wait at home tomorrow for a call from the mortgage claim people. What time is the call? "Oh, sometime between 8am and 5pm". Nice!

What amazes me about the whole system is that the drug-addled masses can manage to weave their way through the maze of obfuscation, checks, balances and loopholes and can come out the other side with a decent packet. Despite my liberal leanings, I've always been suspicious and distrustful of dole scroungers and benefit cheats. But, as a genuine claimant, it appears that you need a Stephen-Fry-sized IQ and a Machiavellian mind for warped plots just to get £45 per week to buy baked beans - so anyone who manages to wangle more than that must be a genius and good luck to 'em.


jomoore said...

Yes - I've found that you have to physically force the pieces of paper that you know will be needed onto them, because they always say "Oh no, we won't need that, it'll be fine" and you can guarantee that 2 weeks later you'll be told you should have supplied the very thing you tried to supply in the first place. Aargh! I feel your pain.

Ironically, despite never applying for mortgage interest relief, I have been sent two sets of mortgage interest relief claim forms. You might not want to know that...

Delmonti said...

and thats why we should be learning from the likes of Abu Hamza, the bearded one-eyed mad mullah with a hook for a hand. Not only does he look like he's escaped from a dodgy 60's Bond movie but he had more benefits going on than U2's gig calender.

We could pop into London today to take some photos of MacDonnalds being ransacked if that helps?

MaryB said...

Feeling for you, guy. Brings back all the painful bureaucratic confrontations in my past - and, I'm sure, in my future. Oh, the pain. Aargh!