UC and bereaved
25 October 2019 at 12:45 pm #31993
Hi all, new here looking for advice.
I’m a single dad of two, I was claiming income support and carers, that was until mother passed away, I was then hastily rushed into UC and their meetings.
Massive ho-la during the first meeting, got caught up on the fact the UC advisor kept stating it was an interview, which I cordially asked which job was I applying to, and noted that her process was to administer my claim, rather than interview me for her own agenda and to her business targets.
I wasn’t in the best of moods having suffered anxiety, depression and well I guess the normal up and downs from suffering a bereavement that destroyed my world.
Having two kids, I will not regret every having as a single dad, but how can the JCP/DWP target one’s health as a means to pry into ones children and how they are, the school they go to etc etc, all of which I would not speak about let alone implicitly go along with, and I made the JCP employee know.
The off-shot of this meeting was that the JCP employee wanted me to address work roles I would be applying for when I stated what I am qualified for and have experience for, it didn’t seem good enough, noting the JCP employee probably had ‘0’ GCSE’s and such contact centre life choices trumped any worldly educated experiences I or anyone <i style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal;”>I would add</i>, could ever begin to experience. Which I again made the JCP employee aware of – from which she ended the meeting abruptly – when I asked why I was told I had been obstructive in her efforts to do her job – I did challenge this, and asked her: was it her job to dismiss my education and work history to such extent that my experience and qualifications means nothing, meant nothing and that one would have to take and look for ‘any job’ – noting years spent at Uni and years spent in industry was all for nothing – that a mere job any old school leaver would be looking at, I now have to compete at that said level. I removed myself from the conversation before she could answer. I managed, a very rare occasion, to see and speak to the manager of the JCP on exiting, of which we then sat and discussed what had transpired.
The manager was all to well and pleasant to help, however took my complaint and situation and went to the advisor for her side of events, on returning I was told I had been rude blah blah blah – I mentioned that these buzz words mean nothing unless this JCP employee can state exactly what I had done or said for her to end the meeting – as stating generic ifs and buts isn’t cause for possibly delaying or taking away one’s right to benefit. Right; being noted, I have paid my share of tax/NI in the past- more than most, given the roles I have fulfilled. As claiming is not a luxury, or privilege! One has to endure!!
Anyway, I raised a complaint and was told I would hear back – I never did. Hence to say I saw my GP a few days later and he signed me off, with anxiety and depression.
Which brings me to the current situation I find myself in. I was left a journal message last week that an appointment had been made for me today, 25<sup>th</sup> Oct at Coventry JCP, when I queried why, I was told that it was to go over a ‘work search review’ – I informed the JCP employee that I have no commitments (I had never set any up- noting the only meeting I ever had was ended by the JCP employee), I am signed off sick- I was told the sick note meant nothing! By the journal response I received, and I quickly understood the JCP ( a registered/unregistered sub-contracted out business to the DWP, whom itself is subcontracted out from the Ministry of Work and Pensions, can actually choose under their own t&c’s not to recognise what they will/won’t, as is their business right), so I, under duress & anxiety discussed the merits of a physical meeting via the journal, <span style=”mso-spacerun: yes;”> </span>this got complex, so I mustered up the courage to phone them- this as you can imagine opened up a can of worms.
I was question who lived with me, as they stated I had dependants, noting if I suffered from anxiety and depression; who lives with me, where do I live? Who represents me? A lot of questions, but at no point when I asked under what law, legislation, t&c’s, noted, guidelines, contracts, are they using as a premise to request me to a physical meeting (all questions ignored), I was told to go to the .gov website and look. When I told them it wasn’t my job to understand or know the ins and outs of their business, them as the fact holders, experts (cough cough) should make the info more accessible and understandable, as I noted, I needed to know their interpretation of the words, not my own, as to stay within their expectations and as they literally had a gun to my head, as they kept stating if I didn’t attend I would highly likely be sanctioned.
I informed them I would prefer not to attend, as I would feel uncomfortable in their environment, more so as they couldn’t tell me what the meeting was for, as the work search review in conversation was changed to ‘how the JCP can support you in your current situation’, I asked if the person or person I would be within the meeting are medically trained, GPs, nurses, psychiatrists, St John’s ambulance, Samaritans, to all I was told ‘no’, ‘but JCP personal’ can provide ‘support’, the new buzz word ‘support’ – when I asked what this would be I was denied an answer, and told ‘support’ with no contents what ‘support’ meant or looked like. I was told no one would ask or discuss my medical conditions, but ‘support’ would be offered, or ‘other support’ would be offered. Yet no one could tell me what ‘support’ meant– the JCP employee on the telephone kept stating if you don’t turn up it’s highly likely you’ll be sanctioned.
I asked why wasn’t a telephone meeting not regarded as feasible, I was told that a home visit could be done for future meetings, and the JCP employee pushed this agenda, I reiterated, no, please answer why wasn’t a telephone meeting offered, given in this day and age all forms of contact is acceptable, why wasn’t telephone not one of them, they literally could not answer me – I then asked if the JCP were discriminating against me then I would need a complaint raised – I was told I would have to go to the JCP office and raise it there – I said no you are the JCP, she started to then argue they are a different dept. etc etc none of which I would accept – finally I was told she would raise it as a complaint and pass the info to the JCP office dealing with my claim.
I was on the phone for 1.5 hrs – all recorded – at no time could the JCP employee or its manager tell me the law, legislation, regulation, t&c’s, notes, guidelines etc behind the request for a physical appointment noted on one’s journal as ‘work search review’ but verbally stated it was not, it was a meeting to see how best the JCP (apparently now they have ventured into mental health and medical practising) could support one, but they couldn’t tell me in what context!
The questioning around my kids, why I wasn’t happy to attend their office- excuse after excuse after excuse.. and for what – all because they themselves could not tell me ‘why’ backed up by suitable law, legislation, regulations, guidelines, notes, etc as I am not one for turning up to such businesses without knowing why, as I like to come prepared.
On ending the charade that was the telephone call, and within seconds I received a journal message asking for me to ‘verify my address’, as the JCP had stated they had suffered a tech issue and my address had reverted back to a previous address. Seriously couldn’t make this up. I replied, please log this as a complaint, I do not work for the JCP and I have no duty of care to provide such info, noting under the GDPR the JCP have obligation to protect my data, hence I wanted to know how such ‘issue’ had occurred, who had access to my info at the time, and what had the JCP done with said info; what they had processed against my details.
Long story short – I am called to a meeting I do not feel comfortable to attend – anxiety and uncertainty to why I am being called to a meeting- hence attempted to make it a telephone meeting, the JCP refused me – pushing their agenda for a physical meeting – later I received another journal entry from the JCP stating: that a telephone meeting was not considered given they had tried to contact me on my mobile and they couldn’t get through. I replied that when I first applied to UC I noted (of which the JCP had contacted me under said guidance before) that my mobile does not accept private or withheld numbers, but they could leave a voicemail, name and direct number and I’d get back to them – noting in Jan-March 2019 I was looking to get funding for a short course, and therefore liaised with the JCP via telephone under the same guidance, which I was told was on my claim form and record held by the JCP.
Advice needed – can the JCP legally and lawfully have someone that has a valid sick note, attend physical meetings? What are the rules applied to diversity? telephone meetings?
My fear is for my two kids too, as the JCP seemed very interested in them, of which I never commented on or retorted to said questions around them.
For the record, my two are doing well, at home as well as school, and when I am not moping about I do everything up and above for them always, they do not go without, and enjoy a stable life with me.
I just hate the undue pressure, without a valid reason for random meetings, and disclosing my private life to jumped up uneducated contact centre workers (my own experience validates my statement here) who believe their role is more than what it actually is – I may now sack my GP and see a JCP worker from now on, for my ailments.. I really do think the JCP employees do not have common sense, let alone the aptitude to administer legislation let alone a plain dry lettuce sandwich.
But where does that leave me in attending meetings I would rather have on the telephone and my two kids, noting the JCP questioning around them?26 October 2019 at 7:23 am #32024
Wow you have plenty going on there.
I had a situation with UC, when I went over to UC, that wasn’t workable. The person on the other end of the phoned asked me if I wanted them to pass it over to the policy makers which I said yes to. The policy makers amended the policy (it was a little bit of a complicated situation but didn’t need a rocket scientist to work it out) rather quickly actually. Perhaps this is something you could suggest to them?
I had my job coach tell me that I can get a job outside of school hours and my son could look after himself for a few hours when he gets home, he was in primary school at that time. I didn’t agree with my work coach. He threaten me with sanctions. I knew one of us were being an idiot and pretty certain it wasn’t me. I contacted Children’s Service’s and got their take on leaving children to fend for themselves.CS sent me a follow up letter. I took the letter with me at the next meeting I had with WC and showed him just what CS had said in the letter. Yes you are correct they do not know much but it is up to you do show them evidence to the contrary.
I have just googled Sick Notes and UC; Citizens Advice popped up, they have advice on the level of sickness and the level of looking for work depending on the level of sickness.28 October 2019 at 9:04 am #32114
I’m one of the moderators here at Gingerbread and I’m sorry to hear that you have been going through a very difficult time. I can certainly hear your frustrations. I have a couple of signposts for you. The first may link you in with other parents that may have gone through similar experiences. They are called Widowed and Young. I’m also including Cruse as they may have specific support in place for parents in your situation.
• Widowed and Young provide peer to peer support service for men and women under 50 who have lost a partner. It is run by a network of volunteers and offers a range of services. https://www.widowedandyoung.org.uk/
• Cruse Bereavement Care offers face to face, telephone and online support to those who have lost someone. https://www.cruse.org.uk/
The other recommendation I can make is that you call our helpline. We have a team of advisers that will be able to help you to explore your options. As you can imagine, they will be busy so please expect to wait up to 20 minutes before your call is answered. The call will not be charged.
I hope some of this helps and I wish you well for the future.