As you may know, it's the 12 May 2009. Since March 15 2009, I have lost my job, my home and most importantly, my grip on the little sanity I have. My mood swings are as bad as they've ever been, and sometimes I struggle to hold on. Sometimes I feel invincible, like nothing will touch me no matter how bad things get. Sometimes, I sink so far I feel like I'm drowning and no amount of anything will help me reach the surface.
It's quite ridiculous, really.
Right now, I'm waiting on a phone call. I'm waiting on this phone call to tell me my fate. I called this morning, and spilt my sorry tale to yet another call centre employee for the DWP. They told me to call back in half an hour if I hadn't received a call back from her supervisor. I didn't, so I did. Then I spoke to another woman, who told me the supervisor had gone on his lunch, and when he came back, she would talk with him then call me back.
In the meantime, Lil Miz has called me, and told me due to an internal error at the DWP (imagine!) she is registered as living in Grimsby. She's never lived in England in her life.
Still, I wait. Since March 17, two days after I lost my job, I have tried repeatedly to claim for a benefit I wish I didn't need. First the contact centre sent my claim to the wrong department. Then the wrong department refused to pass my claim onto the right department til they had looked at it, a process that take 10 working days. Then, in transit between the two departments, my files simply disappeared. All the while, as I was receiving no benefit, I was receiving no housing benefit.
**Aside, I've just been called back. The manager of the New Claims is actually walking now, as I type, to the processing department, to put it in the hands of their staff, instead of using the internal mail. I am assured I should receive a phone call from that department, and the lady I have just spoken too will call me at around 2.30 to make sure they do.**
With no money to my name, and only £76 a fortnight to live on (through crisis loans), I couldn't give my flatmate money for the bills and such. I was ashamed, and hid at my lovely G's house, reasoning with myself I wasn't using up electricity at my flat I couldn't pay for, nor use the Internet or TV. Hoping that it would all get sorted soon, and in the meantime, my flatmate would understand my difficulties. She didn't. Even after daily phone calls, sometime 2 and 3 a day (today has already been 3 phone calls), most made at the expense of G and his flatmate, I wasn't any closer to a resolution. The staff I spoke to were either sympathetic yet unable to help, or rude and downright useless. I was made to feel worthless, undeserving, yet another scrounge off the system. It was around this time I was also advised to stay off the job hunt. If I got a job, all the backdate money problems would probably quietly disappear. I'd get nothing.
**Another phone call, from the processing centre. They have my claim, and I have just recounted the history I'm telling you now. Strictly facts, of course. No emotion allowed. Since my original documents have gone missing, my old doctor refuses to sign me another sick line, to cover me from the dates of 15 March til when I had to join another practice. My new doctor will no doubt refuse too. Since I can't provide new evidence, I will not receive a backdate, equaling to over £400. I will still have to pay pack the money from the crisis loans I have received in this time. Ironic. I could have been looking for a job all this time.
So, on the 8th April, I was texted, and booted, from the flat I shared with Julie. To do as she did, when she did, I will never forgive. But I refuse to dwell on that.
Friends, true friends, rallied round. In these times, they have no money to share, but one gave me his spare room, knowing the situition, and they helped me move, got me settled, and listened patiently to me rant about the unfairness of it all.
A few days later, I informed the DWP of my change in address. Now in a different district, Glasgow requested my files from West Dunbartonshire. And requested. And requested. Finally, they filed a new claim for me, with a backdate request in the additional inforamtion, assuring me I would probably get as it was patently obvious none of this was my fault. They told ne that after I received my declaration of acceptance, basically a typed out version of the claim we filed over the phone, I was to sign it, and post it back, tout suite.
So I waited for it to arrive, eagerly anticapting a time where all this got sorted it at last and I could concentrate on getting fit for work again.
It never arrived.
Evantually, after too many phone calls, I was asked to visit my local jobcentre, where they could print out a copy of the declaration, I could sign it, and that would be that. I would receive comfirmation by post in 7 working days.
I didn't. Yesterday, I called the receiving centre. The advisor claimed I wasn't even on the system. I raged, and finally blew up. I demanded to speak to a supervisor. He told me one would call in the next few hours and discuss the matter. But, of course, there was no call.
So I'm left with today. And the news that even though I was never at fault, I will probably never see the money owed to me. With no backdate, I will also not receive any housing benefit backdate either. I had applied for a big crisis loan, on the 7 May 2009, for £380, equaling two months, as a pre-emptive attempt to make sure no matter what, I would not fall behind on my rent. I received the news this morning I wouldn't receive that either. I can appeal, of course, and I will. But essentially, all is gone, even my back up plan.
I don't know how long I can keep fighting the system for. I'm so very tired. I'll have no money to make rent, and I'll have to leave, again. They've almost won. I wonder how many people, like me, just want the help they need. Not to abuse the system... just, help.