This Friday, I got a brown envelope in the post. I saw it while I was on the way out (shopping I think but I don’t remember) and so I didn’t get to open it until I got home. It was from the DWP† regarding my benefits, and said roughly that they were stopping all my payments because I hadn’t returned a form they “sent me” fast enough, and that I would not be permitted to appeal this decision. Now, it goes without saying that no such form was sent to me.
Anyway, trying not to panic (thanks Louise, for being there for me), I phoned up to say as much, and after being on hold for 10 minutes, talking to someone, on hold for another 10 minutes then someone asked why I’d not returned the form. I said it was because one hadn’t arrived for me to return, and so they said they’d send me a new one for Saturday and I should get it to the Job Centre by Tuesday. Needless to say, at 11am on Monday it’s still not arrived. Even if I can get it sorted and back by tomorrow (assuming it gets here later today), then there’s little or no chance of it being processed before the new year. Which means that rather than having to live on £71 per week, I have now had a total of £0 for the whole of December. Merry Christmas to me!
I also get to sign-on on Christmas Eve, at some time around 1pm. I won’t know exactly when until tomorrow, but it means that I can’t take advantage of advance bookings to make the train journey to visit the family for Christmas affordable. As of this moment, I don’t know whether or not I’ll even be able to get home, and won’t until tomorrow afternoon. And that’s assuming that I can get the fare together. At least there is Skype I suppose for talking to people if I end up on my own.
In other, and better news, at least I’ve had Louise here all weekend with me, so life is not all bleak.
† Department of Work and Pensions, those people whose remit it is to make sure the unemployed don’t get any ideas above their station, or god(s) forbid, manage to get a job.