• Kylie posted an update 1 week, 3 days ago

    How on earth do you claim benefits? Decided I would have to bite the bullet, and make a claim. Cash has run out, and I have bills to pay. What a nightmare! It’s taken me 3hrs to find the correct benefit, umpteen phone calls to useless desk jockeys, and a fair amount of swearing and tears.
    Have finally got the correct form online, and filled it in (though incorrectly, I suspect!)
    Now I have to contact the jobcentre to verify my ID. 45mins of being on hold is soul destroying. I gave up and will try later.
    The best news is, it takes up to 6weeks to deal with the claim, and in the meantime they stop my child tax (the only income I have!)
    Bloody hell, I hope to heck this appeal goes well! Or a job comes up.
    More stressed with this than I have been about work.

    • Don’t struggle. Go straight to the job centre and they’ll help you.

    • Sadly the system is designed to be as difficult as possible imo I think the idea is to put as many people off as possible. What people never talk about, when discussing those who they perceive as claiming everything under the sun, is the amount of unclaimed benefit left in the system. This, in my experience, is because they make the system of claiming far too complicated for most to navigate. The idea that the Universal Credit “helpline” was charged at a premium rate still makes my blood boil!

    • Citizens Advice are the best ones to help you. I sympathise with you OP. Although I have never claimed myself, I volunteer in my local food bank and the majority of people who come in say the reason they’re in is due to benefit problems. If a form is filled in wrong, or an appointment missed (even if the person was in intensive care) the benefits are stopped. Like you said, takes six weeks to get reinstated or sorted out. The system is awful, and the stories we hear are heart-breaking. How do the powers that be expect people to cope for six weeks with no money for goodness sake?!

      • I help out at Food Bank too. AND (a while back) considered becoming a Cits Advice “voluntary adviser” (i.e. unpaid!!) – the commitment they were expecting, one full day or two half days, was IMO way too much commitment to be fair for a volunteer, and the training was 10 weeks where you had to be prepared to commit to two half days either training or in the bureau. So one heck of a commitment. Anyway I digress.

        Feel for your situation OP. Due to having to be medically retired from my job due to a work-related injury in 2002, I have every sympathy for anyone who has to go through the benefits minefield. Yes they DO make it as bleddi difficult as they possibly can, and it really does wind you up and stress you out; you just want to say to the prissy arrogrant little pricks who work in such places (no offence to anyone on here who does!!) that they want to try living on a pittance, or air even, and see how they find it.

        OP you should Def. go to CAB. They can give you some vouchers for Foodbank which will help tide you over for a bit.

        Don’t know if there’s a Sainsburys near you?? If you go in there later in the evening, with less than an hour to go before closing time, there should be a section of the store where stuff is marked down (ask staff, they’ll gladly tell you, or watch where there’s a bit of activity going on and a staff-member with a pricing thingey!!). This has been a lifesaver for me, on a good night you can get stuff marked right down to daft prices like 9p for a bag of stir-fry veg – popped in my freezer for a rainy day!

        Of course, there is charity shops/re-cycling centres as well, all of which will help you to save a bit of cash. I have found some great bargains there. Plus e-bay: this winter my trusty boots sprung a leak, not being able to afford new ones I was loping around with plastic bags round my feet inside the boots, but did manage to find a lovely cosy pair of winter boots on e-bay which have been a fraction of what I’d have to pay new! Also Preloved. Sorry, am probably stating the obvious here but as I personally happen to be in reduced circumstances right now (need a job and can’t find one), you do get to sniff out the cheapest way to live!

        Bargain stores like Lidls and Aldi far cheaper than the mainstream stores like Sainsburys and Tesco’s (unless you know where the marked-down/bargain aisles are and when to access them!).

        Hoping your situation works out OK…….. awwhhh, its awful I know, I have every sympathy. Having no money is a bummer, a real bummer!

    • If it make you feel better..or not when I was only working a few hours a week due to illness (all I could manage) I claimed ESA.. the work i was doing got approved etc etc then a year later they decided It wasnt approved and I should pay all the money back I had received for a year!

      The stress and all the tears after receiving very threatening letters from them made my illness so much worse. I spent hours and hours going through paperwork to try and prove them wrong. CAB helped me write a letter to take them to a tribunal and as soon as they received that they dropped the case against me.

      It was the most stressful experience I have ever been through as I KNEW i had done everything correctly, paper work etc, but they would not listen to a word I said (thats after I got to speak to a human after an hour on hold each time) .

    • Definitely go to CAB, they have paid for advisers to help, or its worth calling the Benefits Advice Team in the Council. Don’t struggle on alone, you will probably have a terrible time!

    • I’m amazed that people like my neighbour, who have so little intelligence can do so well out of the benefit system!
      A friend claimed housing benefit and not only did they make it impossible to navigate the forms etc, when she did go to the housing officer for help, they filled out the dates wrongly for her and she now has a huge overpayment to repay. I think she’ll be paying it back for something like 6 years.
      My only direct experience is Child Tax Credit. I had been overpaid apparently and only after I’d repaid it did they tell me I’d also been overpaid for the year previously. When I asked why they hadn’t told me before they said “oh we’d only chase you for one year at a time”. I did ask them never to give me anything again. I’d rather starve than have to deal with them.

    • Ah yes, the benefit system. I have 2 opinions, 1 is that those who know how to work the system and make it work for them, are those that see benefit as an acceptable way of life. Opinion 2 is that they make it so complicated, those of us who hope we never have to use it, but occasionally fall on difficult times (which is what I thought the system was there for, as an emergency backup) take 1 look at the forms and give it up as a bad job!! Once, in 40 years of working for a living I needed help, was off work for a month, single mum and no way to pay my rent. I tried to get help, was actually told there was little chance of being successful but “youre welcome to fill in the forms”, took 1 look at them and decided it would be easier to negotiate paying my rent late and catching up the arrears over a few months with my landlord that even bothering. I just hope that in your present positive and determined state of mind, you dont give up as easily as I did and “give em hell”!

      • It’s awful! I think I’m reasonably intelligent, but just finding the right thing to apply for was confusing. Not helped by office workers who were as clueless as me! Couldn’t verify my ID, so had to book an appointment to go in and show them my driving license. Then I get another appointment to chat about my options! Because combining the two, this saving time and frustration, well, that’s too simple!