Well. Where to start with this baby? First, I am going to try not to swear (other than repeating any swears that happened during reported naturally occurring talk. Second, this story follows on from The Atos Questionnaire, so if you ain’t familiar with that sad and sorry tale, click here.
So LB is now in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (despite a news blackout that he was actually entitled to it).
All good in the end then? Well maybe. If he actually received it.
Today I dredged deep (after a lovely, lovely day at an autism conference in London yesterday) and found the energy? resources? reserves? strength? I don’t know what I found really, just something (which is remarkable after about 14 years of consistently shite support/sevices) and called Jobcentreplus to ask why, after the initial back payment of three months, LB hadn’t received a bean.
“Hello,” said JCP blokey, “I need to speak to LB to go through some security questions first.”
“Mmm.. not being funny, but unless you want to ask some Darth Vader and the Death Star Canteen type security questions, you’re probably better off asking me.”
“I need to speak to LB. He is in receipt of the allowance.”
“He won’t be able to answer your questions. He has severe learning difficulties.”
“Ah.. Oh yes, I see now. I should have asked these questions in a different order, then I would have known. Then I could have avoided that embarrassing question.”
“So, let me try and work out what’s happened here then. Oh yes, there is a stop on the account because the sick note provided is dated from 16 November to 16 February. You need to go to the GP and get a medical certificate to cover the period from 16 February.”
“Er, we originally provided an indefinite medical certificate in February and we were asked to get a second one covering November to February. We sent that ages ago.”
Let’s take a moment here to reflect on what I’ve just written.
- LB is given an indefinite sick note by the GP. What is an indefinite sick note?
- Despite having an ‘indefinite’ sick note, the GP had to produce a second sick note to cover the three months before the original sick note. Backdating an ‘indefinite’ sick note? What does that mean?
-  and  had to happen despite 14 plus years of medical, health and social care reports detailing in painfully minute detail, LB’s ‘deficits and shortcomings’ (in official eyes).
- Despite  and  (and even without ) we then get a 20 odd page Atos questionnaire to complete to provide evidence of the efficacy of the ‘indefinite’ sick note.
Well, the swear constraints can fuck right off. This system is beyond shite. And horrendous to experience.
So, back to JCP blokey.
“Oh, I see what’s happened. When they got the second medical certificate, they entered that, and overlooked the original certificate. That’s here but they’ve only entered the November to February dates. That’s why there’s a block on the account.”
“Mmmm. I need to sort this out.”
“Well yes, I’d have probably said something similar myself in your shoes.”
“I’ll email them straightaway to sort this out. It will only take about 3 hours to change it. The account should then be unblocked.”
“When you say them, who do you mean?”
“Oh, the benefits people. That’s who has to sort this out. I’m just a contact person on the helpline.”
“Thank you. Goodbye.”
What else is there to say really?