I'm flat broke. To the extent that I have actually signed on. To the dole. When we first moved over I applied for a carer's allowance. It took two months to process and Kelly died within three weeks, so I rang them and told them to stop it. I didn't realise that after the initial payment they had placed a stop on the account and I hadn't received any more money anyway, and they didn't tell me at the time, and they didn't tell me when I rang to cancel it. Later, at the C.A.B., I found out that they are supposed to pay you an extra two months after the death of the person you are caring for. And, of course, me being me, and exhausted by the thought of ringing people and going through the same information AGAIN, I let it slide. When I finally got my shit together to sign on, weeks later, filled in the forms, including the part in which I said I had previously been receiving a Carer's Allowance. Went to the interview, was seen by a total of four people, was advised what I needed to do to qualify for the money (write a little book about all the ways I've looked for work, come in to the job-seekers and use their machine to find work, look it up on their web-site etc ). I spoke to my bank earlier in the week and they advised me that no monies have been paid. I asked them to send me statements about my banking activity since we moved. I was paid an arrears lump-sum from the carer's allowance people on the first of July and since then nothing. I ring them up. They tell me they have no idea why the payments have stopped. They tell me that I'm definitely entitled to the money but they can't issue it and they don't know why. A man named Cormac is going to ring me back. I ring the JSA. They tell me that it's right that they haven't paid me anything at all. The reason is that there is an ongoing problem with a Carer's allowance. The Carer's alowance is the big swinging dick of benefits, it tramples everything in it's path, despite actually being less money than the Job Seekers Allowance (we value our carers far less than those robust and fearless job-seekers in this country). I say I haven't had any money for two months from the carer's and anyway it was on my form for the JSA, why did nobody mention it then? They say they don't know. I say well do I still sign on, given that I'm not receiving any money? They say Oh yes, you have to sign on - it will effect your benefits. But i'm not receiving benefits, I say. But you will, there's arrears money coming to you from the carer's allowance. But I don't have any money now, how am I supposed to, say, eat. Their hands are tied. JSA guy, Darryl, is going to look into it and phone me back.
Cormac the carer calls me back. I'm definitely entitled to the money, he says. But he doesn't know when I can have it. The problem stems from whom I was caring about: Kelly's disability benefit claims were all made in England and Northern Ireland, despite DEFINITELY being in the U.K., has a different internal claims system which has screwed everything up. I appeared to be caring for nobody. But I made MY application in Ireland, I say. How come it initially went through? He's not sure but he's very adament that the money WILL be mine. At some point.
Darryl JSA rings me back. He solved everything! My carer's allowance will be coming through immediately. I say I've spoken to Cormac the Carer and he doesn't know anything about it and reckons it'll be twenty four hours before he does. Darryl sounds momentarily vague. No, definitely sorted. The JSA? That'll be sorted too, by the end of the week.
And it will. Because I am so fucking on it by now. I will not stop. And they'll pay for these fucking phone-calls as well.