I'm not sure why, but regardless I'm doing a pretty good impression of a sulky, petulant child today. Perhaps it's because I'm so tired, perhaps because my hip is doing a better job of hurting me than any paratrooper PT instructor could do, or just because because.
Being turned down for the Community Care Grant I applied for back at the start of February has absolutely definitely got something to do with it though.
I phoned yesterday to try and chase up what had become of the form neighbour and I spent hours filling out. After the obligatory time on hold I got through to an unusually honest lady who told me that I could try phoning back but not to bother because I wouldn't get through. The telephone software used by Jobcentre plus* is set up to allow 70 people waiting on hold to ask for application forms but only 20 for enquiries about existing applications. If you're unlucky enough to be no's 21 or 71 in the queue the system cuts you off. Politely mind, there's no swearing or anything, just a dead phone line. Which is not good for the blood pressure after endless time spent trying to press button 1 to speak to operator 2 about issue 3 dealt with in department 5 living in corridor 6 all whilst desperately trying to stop the grinding of teeth in time to tinny classical muzak. I needn't have bothered, just holding the phone to my ear is enough to make my shoulder dislocate.
The Community Care Grant was for all the specialist bits and pieces I need to take life that bit closer to living and away from existing. A proper Tempur branded memory foam mattress, a mobility scooter, ramps and a storage shed. Oh and I think we put down a specialist shower seat too. Call it a crippled wish list if you like. I certainly wasn't expecting to get funding for all those things but was hoping if I put them all down and explained why I needed them then at least part of the grant money would be awarded.
I should know better by now than to hope for anything approaching a sensible decision from the insanely bureaucratic system we currently have in the UK. If I was naive enough to believe a change in government would make any difference then I'd wait and reapply in a few months time but that would be stupid. And stupid I am not.
It seems that my grant application was turned down in February, within a few days of the social fund receiving my application. Except no-one bothered to enter the details of that application on the system. So there it sat until I managed to get through to someone this morning by employing the cunning tactic of phoning whilst Jeremy Kyle was still on TV. The very nice and also honest lady who was trying to help me explained that I would need to appeal against the decision.
The details are a little fuzzy as I was tired after a night spent dislocating on an unsuitable mattress but let's gloss over that part. It was something along the lines of the nice lady entering a special note on the system to allow me to appeal a decision that wasn't entered on the system 2 months ago. The special note was needed because to send a decision for review or appeal it has to be within 7 days of that decision being made and I'm some 2 months late.
Yes, you did read that correctly. The system is so gagged by bureaucratic nonsense that permission has to be given to appeal a decision no-one notified me or their own system of.
Of course, designing a system so hideously complicated no-one understands it, then automatically rejecting applications anyway couldn't have been the original purpose. Could it?
*who, as part of the department of work and pensions oversee all social fund applications. Confused yet?