Saturday, 10 February 2018

Children's Mental Health Week / DWP woes

The last day of Children's Mental Health Week 2018 is tomorrow. Obviously I have no children of my own, but I have friends who do. You don't need to have a son or daughter who is at crisis point to find this website helpful. Mental Health is as important a part of children's and adult's lives as physical health.

It's great that adults and children are being encouraged to speak up about mental health problems. If I'd have been encouraged as a teen I wouldn't have half the problems I've got today. If this campaign saves people the strains I went through, it's a great thing.

Meanwhile, I still haven't got any sense out of the DWP as to why my Working Tax Credits were stopped, and whether or not they are still under review. I'm going to appeal the fact that they were stopped, and I've written a complaint letter about the procedure. To make a comparison, I had a similar problem with ATOS when I applied for PIP. At first I was flat out rejected, but ATOS sent a letter breaking down exactly why they wouldn't pay PIP. (Their opinions were awful- anything I'd ever managed to achieve was used against me.) I applied for mandatory reconsideration, and was awarded one element of PIP, about half of what I was getting under DLA.

In comparison, the DWP have offered no explanation as to why my Tax Credits were stopped. 'A change in my circumstances' is the closest I've got.

I don't know what to do. I've booked a GP appointment to attempt to get a referral to Social Services, on the rock-solid understanding that the help I need is with tax, benefits, employment and legal issues- NOT emotions. I've been in SS before and the person I was put with didn't have a clue what to do with me. I won't let that happen again.

The DWP have given me a deadline of 23rd Feb. They've given me a separate deadline of 26th April in relation to a £416 fine from apparent overpaid WTC. THEY pay ME the Tax Credits. How am I supposed to know if they're overpaying me? Why can't they get it right first time? I don't know, but the plan is to pay this and get it behind me, then hopefully get it cancelled and refunded.

Now. Adding to the confusion, I have savings in an ISA. These savings have come from being incredibly careful with money- in 2011 when I was first awarded DLA, I was afraid of spending it as I knew that at any point the Tories might arbitrarily decide to strip me of benefits. Unsurprisingly, this has (partly) happened. I now can't apply for Universal Credit, the replacement benefit, because my savings are too high. These savings, for the record, are in an ISA, not my current account. If you try a cashpoint robbery, a) I've only got about £300 in my current and b) I'll just snap my debit card and deal with the consequences. It won't be long, though, before these savings diminish, especially if I have to pay for dental treatment, prescriptions and eye tests- and, who knows, maybe more fines. I have no idea which boxes I've ticked on which forms.

I was advised to contact Turn2us, a benefit charity, who in turn suggested I go back to Welfare Rights, who have given me a certain amount of help in the past. I've filled in a Welfare Rights Service Contact Form online. There is apparently a 2-3 week wait list on this, so I'll have to wait for their call. The problem is, I don't know what exact questions I need to ask them and what, in detail, has happened with the DWP and my case in the last few months. I can't remember the details. I can show them the notes I have, though.

It's a shite state of affairs, as Renton would say, but I'm moving forward steadily.

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