I feel an appeal coming on…

I had a telephone call from a man yesterday who didn’t seem to know very much. He was calling from the DWP to tell me that I am no longer eligible for ESA following my recent medical assessment. Apparently, you have to score 15 points to be eligible and I scored zero! I find this a little bizarre as I had medical evidence showing that my mental health had declined from last year and he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) answer any of the questions I had, didn’t offer any advice, just kept on telling me that my benefit claim has been closed. I sort of appreciate this “personal” touch of them ringing people up rather than sending a bog standard letter but I would rather have the letter turn up as it at least tells me what I can do next whereas the man on the phone didn’t offer any options up. He did eventually tell me that tomorrow’s payment will turn up as normal and that I can appeal against the decision but I had to drag that out of him. I  used to have to give this information to people face to face when I worked in a job centre and I am sure that I used to advise them a lot better than I was advised!

So, I am now waiting for a letter to turn up, stressed about how everything will go and how long the appeal will take, will it affect my other benefits etc…not a great thing to lump on someone with depression really! Thankfully, I have my first assessment appointment with my mental health team this afternoon, I think I know how that will go already!

Avanta

So, yesterday was my appointment with Avanta. I HAVE to attend this so although I was off Uni due to a migraine, I dosed myself up with more painkillers and headed out to this appointment. I wasn’t looking forward to it, I am pretty good at looking for work myself and don’t really like being told what to do! My mum would agree with that wholeheartedly, I am sure. 

Anyway, I turned up and instant gloom descended on me, that has never happened to me before, my mood literally matched the room. Imagine if you can, a long room full of rows of tables, desks for the staff on one side and banks of computers for us to use, talk about soul destroying. I got irrationally irritated with all the signs they had up with their straplines all saying how they could help you. Thankfully, I can’t remember anything of what they said! 

5 of us were taken into a room to be told what this programme was about, I was the only woman so thought it quite amusing when he asked if I was Sarah, I felt like saying “No, I’m John” see, really not taking it seriously!

I know that the DWP say this is a service to help people on JSA and ESA to get back into work but I heard little of that really as they guy talking at us felt the need to mention several times that we could end up with sanctions if we didn’t follow the rules. That was the main thrust, I felt anyway as that’s the only bit I can really remember now. We had to then fill in some forms and do an induction thing online. 

By now, I was feeling even worse, thoroughly demoralised and although I hope it wasn’t meant that way, the tone of the induction programme was very patronising. 

Don’t stop reading though as there is some positive news coming now, my advisor was lovely, really friendly and chatty. I felt much better once I left. She assured me she would do her utmost to find me work around my studies which is good. I emailed her my CV which they can also help me rejig which is a good thing as it is 20 years old (when did that happen?!?!)

I will update you on this as I go through the work programme but I will also bore you to death about my course too, don’t worry. Oh, on that subject, anyone fancy writing an essay for me? lol