Monday, February 24, 2014

Brown Envelopes & Bureaucratic Bullshit (Journey to work, Part 2)

Two DWP envelopes in the past two days. Nearly gave me a heart attack when I spotted them. The first was what used to be a standard 'rates of benefits will change' letter - but the language and order of information is both intimidating and confusing. It wasn't until I got to page 3 that I realised I didn't have to follow the 'mandatory reconsideration' process outlined on page 1; in fact I don't have to do anything. Good job I've got an LLB/Hons, its only three years training in how to read legalese nonsense that has equipped me to occasionally be able to translate DWP speak.

The second letter was better news - my equipment will be funded by Access to Work. Which is great. Even the expensive bits of it I explained I was highly likely to be unable to use. 'Just try it out' is good advice, apart from the bit where what you're trying out costs hundreds of pounds, isn't the answer and is really being imposed instead of providing support worker support.

As for when I'll know about support worker hours, your guess is as good as mine. The battle over the 20% limit continues. All the guidance read by myself and other disabled people leads us to the same conclusion - the 20% limit is being applied incorrectly. The consistency in the incorrect application by advisors in different locations leads me to speculate that the advisors have been trained to provide the incorrect application, perhaps to limit the costs of Access to Work despite its financial return for the Treasury. Oh, and that small matter of 3.5 years of 'work is always best' rhetoric..

Ah well, my employer and I have only been waiting for this since early January. What's another few weeks when you're waiting to come off benefits and start work?!

5 comments:

Jacqueline Evans said...

I, and many thousands of people know that fear of the brown envelope, and the DWP, mainly indecipherable, wording.
I'm glad that you got work, and hopefully it won't be too much longer before you can start. I cannot understand why ATW aren't jumping through hoops trying to get things sorted asap!
I'm keeping everything crossed that you do get to work very soon, and it sounds like you new employer is really accommodating.
Make sure you let the world know when you do start work, we'll all be really happy for you :)

Jaimie said...

Hello! I found your blog while searching for blogs written by others with EDS. I work in assistive technology in the states and was just wondering what sort of technology ATW recommended that you try? We don't purchase equipment until it has been tried in an assessment, a formal report has been written and it's been approved by a number of people. However, sometimes we will lend people equipment to try if a longer trial is needed to determine if it's a feasible solution. Oftentimes these are pieces of equipment that things that are in inventory already. Interestingly enough, I'm meeting with my boss tomorrow to see what sort of tech they'll be willing to provide me with to make work less painful. One of my coworkers did an assessment on me, which was interesting.

em-jay said...

I really think you should e-mail this through to Private Eye (I reckon JonnyVoid will have a contact there). Other contributors to this debate all seem to be having a similar experience to you and they (PEye) might be able to take this further.

It'd add yet another nail to IDS' truck full of nails that will eventually ensure the bugger a coffin comprised entirely of metal. Surely a bit of FoI sunlight could only advance the corse (see what I did there?)

em-jay said...

*ensures the bugger is buried in a coffin comprised entirely of metal*

Need edit function

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Hi Jaimie, here I think Access to work use some sort of approved equipment list - they come and do an assessment but didn't seem to offer trials of equipment. They've ordered me a custom sized/supportive office chair which I'm hoping will make a big difference to sitting pain levels. Also a very lightweight laptop/tablet combination that I can take away to conferences etc, Dragon speech software, a digital voice recorder to make notes and a high quality headset to use with the phone to reduce neck problems. Hope you get the support you need!