I've already had a productive morning so far, I was up at just after 7am, got straight into the shower, then dressed. If you can call tee-shirt and boxer shorts "dressed" 😄.
I was on the phone to the DWP shortly after 8am, which is when their phone lines open. When I've contacted them in the past, I've had to wait in line for an hour or so, so I've asked the operators whether there is a "best" time to call. I've been told that the best time, compared with all other times, is pre-9am. It seems to be true, as my wait today was a mere 30 minutes!
My question? Well, my PIP benefit is due for renewal. I sent the forms back a month ago, but haven't heard anything back from them. Also, my form would have arrived a day or two after their deadline, so I wanted to make sure there wasn't a problem in that respect. They put my mind at rest. They received the form ok, it was a couple of days late, but had been passed on to my local assessment centre anyway. Because of backlogs at assessment centres, I can be waiting 8 weeks or longer for a response (which will probably be to invite me for an interview). But, as long as the form is received, the benefit continues in the meantime, so I'm not out of pocket.
I must admit, I have heard some terrible horror stories about the DWP, but, so far, I have found them perfectly reasonable. In both their rules and their customer service. I can criticise the length of time it takes them to answer the phone, but at least it is a freephone number. And, I have the time, of course. In the cold light of day, these benefits are the thing that saves me from eating away at my savings, so really, they have to be priority #1.
I'm conscious that I've been in a couple of work environments where my direct colleagues have said "so-and-so is a real bastard", and I've originally thought "they seem ok to me", only to come around to colleagues' thinking over time. But I do try and see the best side. So I wonder if there'll be a moment like that with the DWP? Maybe I get "gold" treatment because I've aleays paid NI throughout my working life? Maybe I get a response which seems reasonable, just because I try to be very reasonable with them myself? My daughter, for example, has such a negative opinion of everything that I can easily imagine her rubbing people up the wrong way. I try not to - I might think it, but fortunately there is a disconnect between my brain and my mouth.
The reason my form was late, by the way, is because I'm unable to write and need to sort out a scribe to help me out. So, I'm reliant on another person, and can't really expect their priorities to fit in with mine. I must mention this at the assessment, to see if they can help.
BEFORE YOU START: Please note that although I currently volunteer for both the Stroke Association and Age UK, the views expressed in this blog are strictly my own. I am not a spokesperson for either (or, indeed, for any) organisation. I am based in the UK and the blog therefore has a UK bias - I've tried to use the Glossary to explain any terms which might be ambiguous, but if you think there is anything I've missed, please message me. Lastly, you'll find typos here, although I do my best to correct them. There are reasons for this, which you'll discover as you read.