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Dragging out claims for IS and Carer's Allowance (CA)


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Quick note: I was trading as self employed but due to massive downturn in income I made the decision to cease trading. My wife has standard rates PIP for both Care and Mobility so decided to make a claim for the CA. This was done 25th May 2016 just prior to me actually ceasing to trade. So please remember that the claim for CA was made before I ceased trading.

 

I officially ceased trading on the 14th June 2016 as this was the last date I was paid any money from my self employment (SE) and the date which HMRC said was my last trading day when I requested my registration as a self employed person to be removed. This was done on the 5th July 2016 and I also started my claim for IS on the same day.

 

We received a letter from CA around the 5th June 2016 with form requesting account books for 2015/16. This was no problem as we had always kept the books up-to date and they were complete and our self assessment for tax for that trading year had already been submitted to the tax office. So we filled them in got photocopies of the trading books and posted them back to them RM 1st class signed for within 24 hours.

 

On 14th June we received a letter from CA with a request for the accounting books for the period of 2014/2015 so I phoned them to find out why they needed those books and after a lot of faffing about it transpired that the request was due to me asking for the claim to be back-dated and that meant the claim went into the previous years books. OK so I got those books copied and duly sent back (RM 1st class signed for).

 

We had a one week holiday booked and paid for starting 18th June which coincided with my grand daughters last schooling day (She had just sat her exams so the 17th June was her last day of school). And we needed the break as life had not been to kind to us in the previous three years and we had not had a break during all that time.

 

Fast forward to 25th June.

 

On return from holiday we find a letter from CA and thinking it was a decision we opened it to find it was another form requiring filling in for the period 2014/2015, (why the heck this could not on come with the request for the 2014/2015 accounts I will never know. So on Monday 27th June they were sent back (RM 1st Class signed for).

 

We heard nothing more from CA for a while then out the blue on 13th July we get a letter which requested yet more information from us. This was again filled out and posted back next day (again RM 1st class signed for) because of the weekend it arrived back with them on the 18th July.

 

We heard nothing back so I followed up with a phone call just to make sure all the information I sent them was on their system. They stated that they had only got my income account figures for the period of 2015/2016 and had not received my expenditure books for that period. I got them to do a check of the system as I told them that both the income and expenditure copies of the accounts books came in the same envelope and I had a signature stating it had been delivered to them. A few minutes later they found them. Miracles never cease.

 

On August 1st After waiting 13 working days I contacted them again for an update as my local council were now wanting to know what the current situation was with the claims.

The first thing the operator says is that they are waiting for the 2014/2015 books to which I couldn't help but say "are you kidding me". I then pointed out that the books had been returned and I had proof that they had been received back at the Mail Handling site in Wolverhampton.

 

Some more searching took place and after about five minutes they FOUND them on the system and a lame duck excuse that the system was not working correctly at the moment.

 

I must also point out that I had attached a letter with one set of my books which clearly informs them that I have ceased trading and am in the process of claiming IS. So hopefully if I do not get the 3 month back dated they will still proceed with my claim on the grounds of my "in between jobs status" LOL at that statement which is now used to identify someone who is unemployed.

 

SO, that's the point I am at with the CA Claim over two months since initial claim and still no result.

 

As for IS.

 

Made claim online on 5th July (did not bother before as we had the holiday booked). Was given an appointment time at local JCP office to go sign forms on 12th July.

 

Arrived at office and to my astonishment was seen immediately. I took my time to read the forms and went over each and every question on it to make sure that the information the form contained was correct.

It was apparent that the operator on the other end the phone when I initially answered the questions just did not listen or was having a OFF day as there were errors all the way through it.

The person I was seeing was a little bit (shall we say) upset that I was taking so long and took the papers from me and read each and every question out to me and I answered each one. 40 minutes pass and there's a IS claim form in front of me with more corrections in it than there are correctly filled in questions.

 

I offered her evidence of all the bank and saving accounts we have so she could take copies of them to prove the figures which had been quoted on the forms. I actually used them to make sure that all the information on finances was 100% correct but she said she did not need them. (think she was getting a little fed up with me by now as this was not the simple signature/rubber stamp she expected). Eventually I signed it but asked for a complete photocopy of the form which she was reluctant to do. I just said as I had put my name to an official document then I am entitled to have a copy of it. (whether thats true or not I don't know but I got my copy).

 

Fast-forward 13 WORKING days to August 1st and I decide to follow up the IS claim as it was now well beyond the 10 working days which the Gov quote on their website.

 

Lo and behold they are waiting for proof of our banking and finances which I should have supplied when I filled in the form. I politely told them that I had taken this proof of finances with me when I signed the form but the woman at the JCP who dealt with me said they did not require them.

 

So I am now waiting for another form to drop through my letter box which I will promptly attached the printouts to (which have all got printed dates on them relating to the 11th July) I took with me to the JCP. and just to be on the safe side am also going to send ones dated 1st August just in case they want up to date ones. (RM making some money out of me with all this postage).

 

So there we have it

 

CA claim now over two months old and no decision made

IS claim should have been completed by now but looks like going to be another xx days before done as waiting for yet another form from them requesting finance details.

and my local council pushing for information concerning these claims, I took them a update letter after I finally got some answers from the CA and IS which I got the council to rubber stamp so I had proof that I had handed it in.

 

This is fun....... it's frustrating that the system is faffing me around like this.... but it's fun

 

Motto : don't let the system get you down, grit your teeth, have a laugh at how comical it has become and then do what needs to be done.

 

Will update to to let people know what happens in the future.

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No helpful advice im afraid tho the term 'dont know their elbow from their backside' springs to mind. They do not seem to have the ability to share information between departments which im sure would save the tax payer a pretty penny each year. Just take comfort in their ability to employ staff is about as far fetched and frustrating as having to make a claim.

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You won't get IS until the CA is payment so thats probably holding that up, unless you meet another elgibility criteria other than being a carer.

 

Your LA should be able to assess you claim on a nil income, pending CA and IS being put into payment.

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FYI :

 

I initially tried for JSA but they found out I was going through the carers allowance claim so they said I could not get the JSA on the basis that I could not fulfil the availability for work criteria.

 

The area I live in only offers Universal Credit for Single Persons Only so could not get that, that is why the income support claim is in progress. It's really not the Income Support dept at fault, it's the stuttering way in which CA people have asked for the information in small pieces instead of all of it at the same time hence the 9 weeks and counting period that the claim for CA has now taken.

 

Hopefully when the letter arrives from IS asking about our finances I can get it on it's way back same day and then it should only be at most 10 working days before that is settled. Here's hoping.

 

The only reason the IS claim is taking longer is because the person I dealt with at the JCP did not take copies of the financial information I had taken in with me.

 

Actually not really pushing for it to be finished all that quickly just hope I get them as it will keep me away from the JCP offices except for the odd occasion that I know I will have to go in, They already arranged me a meeting for October to see some person or other, just hope it isn't the woman I dealt with on the 12th July as it could turn a little tense.

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The saga continues,

 

Well on the 1st August I phoned both departments for an update (2.5hrs total on phone)

No decision for CA at present, Income support sending another form out.

 

August 3rd forms from IS arrive and and duly filled in and dispatched back (1st class signed for) early 4th August.

 

August 5th decided at 4pm to get update on Carers allowance. YIPPEE that claim has been awarded but it will probably be another 10 days before I see any payment into the bank. (missed this weeks payout day so be next week before it's issued) don't mind that. Just glad there's good news for once.

 

As for the ongoing IS claim as of 6th August I know the forms I just sent back are with them after just checking with the RM track and Trace.

 

Hopefully within 2 weeks the IS will be sorted.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well the IS saga continues,

 

A full nine working days have pasted since they received the above mentioned forms back and so thought I would ring for a update,

 

Usual 25 minutes wait listening to the dreadful music playing (while I did something better at other side of room).

Eventually someone answered and after going through the normal routine of answering the "security" questions I get to ask about the current status of the claim.

 

Are you sure you made a claim for IS and not ESA she asks.... eh nope it is clearly a claim for IS (well thats what it says on the form, I got the JCP to given me a full copy of it when I went to sign it).

 

Then she says have you actually made a claim...eh YES thats why I went down to the JCP offices to sign the papers. really starting to get a little peeved about this whole matter.

 

The she says she's having difficulty accessing any information regarding the claim and so is going to request that someone from the actual dept that is handing the claim to get back to me. Says it will be between 9- 11:10am Thursday.

 

Less than an hour later I get the phone call from some woman who says shes going to get a decision maker to look at it and try to get it sorted.

 

Won't be getting the Thursday phonecall now.

 

So, 30 working days have past since I initially made the claim and there's still no decision made.

 

Getting so fed up I have got to the point that I am going to see if I can take this higher, SO, looking for a course of action to follow should I find no joy in the next 4 working days.

 

Anyone make any suggestions of how I can get their attention and get them to actively do something about the situation.

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Well the IS saga continues,

 

Decided late Friday to make another call to DWP (IS) so to try and get some indication of how the claim was going and to make sure that the forms sent back a full 11 working days previous were now on the system.

 

You know what, they said they waiting for me to send the forms back yep thats right a full 11 working days have past and they still waiting for me to send the forms back despite the fact that I sent them back by Royal Mail 1st Class signed for and the track and trace clearly indicates they have had them back and I have a (single letter signature).

 

Think I may have upset them a little when I said I had made copies of the forms I sent in. Reckon they were going to say we will send you out these forms to fill in so has to delay the whole process yet again.

 

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH THESE PEOPLE.

 

So, I said I would give them to Thursday morning and then I would ring to see whats happening with the claim.

 

SO, what can I do to complain, how can I get to someone higher in the chain so that things get moving.

 

Please someone give me a plan of action to make these people sit up and get something done.

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If the docs have gone to a mail scanning site, it take ages for docs to get scanned. You can ask for a team leader and there should be a contact for them to speak to the scanning site, but beware it is not quick!

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Update:

 

Given that the average time for a IS claim according to the DWP is 10-14 days the fact that they have my B16 form for 14 working days and still not on the system does make you wonder what sort of time span should actually be taken as the average.

 

As of today I am at 36 working days (that puts me at the start of the 8th week) and today after a phone call to them, an arrangement was made for me to get another B16 form delivered in the post. This means that because of the bank holiday Monday and the 2nd class post they use means a Wednesday delivery. So looking at it being Friday before the Mail site gets it back and I would then probably have to wait god knows how many more days before they even get to make a decision.

 

Anyway got to discussing the form during the phone call and I asked why it says JSA claim on the declaration page. Apparently it is a form they also use when someone stops being self employed and claims JSA. So, I asked if the local JCP offices would have this form and she was not exactly sure but she did say that if they did I could get it filled in there and they would scan it over to them and they would have it within three working days.

 

So, I trotted off to the JCP offices in the pouring rain with all the information I had including the copies of the original B16 I had sent them and managed to get hold of the B16 from them. I then spent the next 20 mins or so coping the copies of the original B16 to the new B16 (oh fun days). I made sure there was information added to the new B16 to show it was the second time I had filled one of these in and made sure they had information in it that showed the actual date that they had received my original B16 back.

 

The woman (who I will admit was pretty helpful and pleasant) then took the forms and scanned them in with all the relevant statements that they asked for in the original B16. She showed me the scans after she done them and added additional information to make sure that the people who made the decisions were aware of the situation, She then showed me that they were in fact sent.

 

So, now I am hoping that I will receive a phone call tomorrow morning and that they acknowledge that they have the forms and will then process the claim forthwith.

 

Hopefully this will save me around 3 working weeks waiting for the forms to get put onto the system by the old method.

 

We wait in hope but, sometimes hope can take a long long time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Final update:

 

Well 43 actual working days from making the original claim the IS finally got sorted and the back payment is now in my wife's account. (I always have the benefits I get paid direct to her account as she takes care of the bill paying etc.)

 

It been a long time coming but finally it is over maybe.....

 

Well we thought all the form filling and whatever was over but my wife got the dreaded PIP 1043 today a full year before her current claim runs out so just when I thought we could have a rest from all the form filling we now have to get this form filled and back to them.

 

Oh well..... onwards and upwards I suppose.........................

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