I'm not sure there's any point in continuing to write about this. It's just every post. Not getting any money from the Job and Benefits office is now my full time career.
Sigh. So, when we last left them, on Friday, a sad faced woman was promising me a phone-call to confirm when/how/what was going to happen for my new "part time worker" payment status. You'll recall that they were supposed to pay me on Friday but instead sent me a new form to fill in which needed to be completed before they would give me any money. So I filled it in and hand delivered it, making sure that it had been completed correctly. I became very emotional, simultaneously furious and embarrassed, and on the verge of tears. The woman assured me that though she couldn't do anything on Friday she would make sure that sure that I was phoned as soon as a decision had been made. What decision, I asked? Is there a possibility that they were considering NOT giving me any money. No, no, it's just a formality. Well then the form has been filled in, as per your instruction, can I have some money now? No, I'm afraid you'll have to wait till Monday at the very earliest. Well...anyway...I go for an angry walk etc.
It's Monday morning. The phone rings at 9 on the dot. I scamper towards it. It's a recorded message talking slowly in a dead voice about a bank loan. It is not the JBO. The phone doesn't ring again. At half three I buckle and I ring them myself. I get through to a woman who asks me my name and national insurance number. She asks me what the problem is. She doesn't know anything about my case. It is the best kept secret in modern government. No wikileaks scandal here. I say I'm expecting a phone-call. She says what about. I grit my teeth and explain again. She puts me on hold. For five minutes. When she comes back she says I WAS meant to be called but the person who was due to do the calling didn't come in. Why could nobody else have called me? She ignores this and tells me that a decision has been made - I am now classed as a self-employed part-time worker. I tell her I know that already, where's my money? She seems slightly crest fallen as if her meticulous magic-trick had fallen flat. There is no money yet. The person doing the money isn't there. Well, I say, is there anyone there who can get me some money. There isn't. Can I speak to the supervisor. She isn't there. Can I have her e-mail address? I'm not sure I'm permitted to give out her e-mail address, Mr. Higgins. Isnt is a standard, governmental e mail address, I'm not after her private one. You can have mine, she says, and I'll forward it onto her. Well if I know her name and have the body of her e-mail address, surely I can just transpose her name onto your address and I'll have her direct e mail address. Er, please don't do that. You can ring her tomorrow. Surely, you mean she'll ring me, I say. If you like. What's your number? What? We have your land-line but we don't have your mobile. Do you have a mobile?
I hit the roof. I have given my mobile number about five times. The last time I did so being on the prior Friday. I start ranting like a mad man again and I'm periodically interrupted with her assertion that she "understands my frustration". I tell her she does not. She doesn't know the first thing about my life. She doesn't know anything about me other than my surname and national insurance number. And through it all, and at one point I stop even listening to what she is saying, pulling the phone away from my ear, I start to feel ridiculous. I start to think this isn't her fault. She's covering for someone else. She's doing the best she can with limited information and limited intelligence. I start to feel sorry for her.
And this is clearly wrong. I shouldn't feel sorry for her. It doesn't matter that it's not her fault. What matter's is that it is no ones fault. No one has done anything. Except, as usual, me. There has been no accountability, no one has apologised. Everyone has said this is somebody else's mistake but nobody has ever attempted to fix that mistake. So, tomorrow, a week after I've signed on, or whatever you call applying for money as a part-time worker, I shall ring them again. And no doubt become very very angry again. When I declared my self a part time worker I didn't think the work I would be doing would be begging for alms. But I'm doing a lot more of that than writing at the moment.
I may need to invoice them.