Right now I am feeling limited, frustrated, irritated – downright pissed off, to be honest – by the incompetence of others. You’re going to need to read my previous post “Accepting Limits” to know what I’m talking about in this one.
So having spent a painful couple of hours on the phone to the nincompoop (great word huh?) at Job Centre Plus on Wednesday, yesterday I received a letter from them which I’ve only just got around to opening. In it is a 26-page document, which details all the answers I gave the nincompoop. It states that I have until 6th July to check the answers and provide the missing information.
Hang on … missing information? How can anything be missing? I answered every question in detail: explaining, spelling, explaining again.
So here’s the source of my pissed-offness. It’s full of mistakes. Why ask me a question if you’re going to totally ignore my answer? I specifically told Mr N C Poop that I bought my house on 13th August 2006, so why did he type in 21st April 2009? I took the time to spell the name of my GP, so why is it spelled wrong on the form? The form agrees that I am caring for someone with a disability, but why does it say he does not receive DLA when I clearly said that he does? The list goes on. He’s typed in the wrong start date for my own DLA. He’s spelled another name wrong. After asking me who my mortgage lender is, he’s chosen not to enter it in to the form (which is information I am now being told to provide by 6th July OR ELSE). And worst of all – after the whole discussion about my Primary Immune Deficiency and the weekly antibody replacement therapy I receive, without which I’d probably die – I am stunned to read “Specialist treatment: None”.
So now I have to type a response, providing the”missing information”, trying to explain yet again what my condition is and what specialist treatment I receive. I feel about ready to give up.
And here’s the thing. Without wanting to brag (for more on bragging see my previous post “Embracing Limits?”) I am of above-average intelligence. I went to an excellent school and achieved First Class Honours in my degree. I am a qualified teacher, and have post-graduate qualifications. I have an abundance of common sense. So if I’m struggling, how on earth is Jane Average supposed to manage? I asked myself the same question when I was filling in the 40-page form to claim Disability Living Allowance for my son. The questions were complex and confusing, and the form took me three weeks to complete.
I am not trying to claim anything to which I am not fully entitled, yet I am meeting barriers and difficulties at every stage. It doesn’t only take intelligence to answer the questions and complete the forms – it also takes confidence in one’s own ability to challenge supposed authorities, for whom it is in the job description to speak in a patronising tone and make people feel guilty for wanting what’s rightfully theirs.
So to any Sun and Daily Mail readers who like to wax lyrical about chavs “sponging off the state” I have this to say: TRY IT. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to sponge?? Believe me, I wouldn’t be forcing myself to see this through if I felt I had any other option.
So far in this fledgling blog I’ve written about accepting our own limitations whilst supporting and encouraging others. But today my right to claim what’s mine, and my chance to support my family, have very nearly been limited by one person’s complete incompetence.
OK rant over. I’d better get on with writing my response to be sure they receive it by 6th July.
Dear Mr Poop …