And… breathe…

Posted on: September 12, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Unemployment | No comment made yet

Housing Benefit letterSo today’s fun began with a letter from Glasgow City Council Housing Benefit office.

Two weeks ago, I received a letter from them asking for a bunch of documents in support of my application for Housing Benefit.  Now, to be clear, I would much prefer not to need Housing Benefit, but having left my job with nothing to go to and currently having a household income of only £40 more than our rent, it’s kind of critical.

The letter was received on Wednesday 28th August and the deadline for submission of the paperwork was the 1st of September.  Five days.  The 1st was a Sunday.  Let me repeat that.  A Sunday.  Interesting choice of a deadline, you’ll agree.  Given that the letter was to ask for the return of information by POST, which I imagine many people would have to do and it made little mention of alternative methods beyond an email address at the top of the page.  I phoned and confirmed that I could send the stuff electronically.  Check.

One item they had requested was a signed letter from my landlord.  Phone call to landlord – letter put in the post that day and arrived on the Friday.  That would give people without access to a computer one chance to get the info to the Council.

Thankfully, I have a scanner and so immediately scanned in everything that they required and emailed it to them.  It was all submitted two days before the deadline.

I phoned the council a week later to check on progress.  Too early for a decision but they confirmed that the paperwork had been received and I should receive a decision within two weeks.  Fine.

TODAY I received a letter rejecting my claim for housing benefit on the basis of the fact that I had apparently not returned the requested information and that my income was of a ‘level that takes you out of entitlement to benefit.’

Are you fucking kidding me on?  Would it make a difference if our household income was only £30 per month more than my rent?  Are we supposed to eat soil?

By the way, the red smear on the letter is not blood.  Aurora and I were painting today.  Honest.

Angry phonecall to the Council revealed that the information I sent is on the system and is marked as being received ON TIME.  When I looked at the letter again, I realised that the letter was sent out the day after the deadline of the 1st September.  In effect, EVERYONE receives the rejection letter regardless of whether or not you do what is required!  God knows what method they used to send the letter to us as it arrived ten days after the post date.

I ranted at the wee woman on the phone (actually a nice girl called Nicole) about how the council are giving totally unmanageable deadlines and basically setting people up to fail. Basically, no decision has yet been made.

Husband has given up on us ever receiving housing benefit as he now believes (not without some reason) that there is no way to get help from the GCC idiot machine.

What a fucking system.  As if things aren’t stressful enough.

Thankfully, we have been really blessed with amazing friends and family who have been helping us out in the meantime.  So we’re not going to be evicted this month.

Leave a Reply