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Claimants are suffering months of hardship because the DWP falsely state that they have not received their claim form, Bob Doris, convener of Holyrood’s social security committee has alleged. Doris has written to Work and Pension secretary Amber Rudd, demanding urgent action.

The problem was brought to the attention of Doris by Glasgow North West Citizens Advice, according to the Daily Record. Staff there have helped claimants complete forms and sent them off in prepaid DWP envelopes, only to be told that they were not received.

In some cases the DWP suddenly “find” the form, which they then claim has only just arrived, after repeated phone calls and increasing pressure from the claimant. But this process can take anywhere from a few weeks to three months.

Doris told Rudd: “People can be waiting over 26 weeks for new claims and a mandatory reconsideration, then up to six months for appeal.

“Essentially vulnerable constituents are often left waiting a year for money they are entitled to, and have to battle a work backlog, an imperfect assessment process and the risk of forms going missing.”

The problem is undoubtedly connected the fact that DWP have cut staff by a massive 21% - a total of 19,189 job losses – since 2013, the Independent has revealed.

This means that at the same time as the department has been rolling out two massively complex changes to the system, the switch from DLA to PIP and the move from legacy benefits to universal credit, it has been cutting staff at a rate that would have made even their ordinary workload unsustainable.

No wonder then, that staff have resorted to losing claim packs.

Benefits and Work would be interested to hear readers stories of disappearing DWP documents.

Comments  

+1 #12 Animatingirl 2019-08-09 15:04
Part6
PS re: W&B membership.
Now I am at a time I individually no longer need W&B help, but because of the years of help it has given me, the years of hard work its heroes have worked through their pain to help the likes of me I today rejoined. I will also be contacting admin to see if I can pay for another 10 years in advance, while I don’t have to decide if I can afford it. Even if the site closes, I won't want any refund because its more a donation. I hope we can get more of the general population to donate, or if donations are not allowed, just pay membership to what after all is the leading/only real? fighter for the benefits rights of the most vulnerable.
Thankyou.
-1 #11 Animatingirl 2019-08-09 15:03
Part 5
With my current move to Pension Credits, the same/similar thing has happened. The initial application got, through ok then they requested information about my pension which then got lost in the post room black hole as shown by my post office receipt. Going through the same calls the assessor emailed the post room and I now have confirmation that the assessor has the information on the system. I could have saved myself the stress by just waiting if I had know the likely time it would take but past experience had made me panicky. So, now I can stop the weekly calls and wait. Next Friday will be 3 months so I may call for an update, a little reminder I have been waiting 3 months, just to be sure they haven’t posted me another request I haven’t received, but I have read on forums it can take as long as 5 months and with the panic of Pension Credits needed for free TV license this could be longer. For me, I am not on the breadline, I can now budget and calmly settle in for the long wait.
#10 Animatingirl 2019-08-09 15:02
Part 4
My Experience
Both in my ESA to PIP transfer last year and my current transfer to Pension Credits, the same black hole appeared.

My PIP forms were I am sure extremely difficult to scan because, worried about them losing my attached medical evidence (I had thankfully read about losses on B&W) I had glue and stapled everything in on each page, with various complicated fold outs etc, a veritable stiffly paged volume, about 3-2 inches thick. I hadn’t realised they would need to be scanned, something they could warn us of. I posted signed for recorded delivery and copied everything. So after a month of calls, and keeping a log of each call, who I spoke to, what actions they promised, and approximate time it would take, (which is how I began to learn how the system works) and with my post office receipt meaning nothing, I resent everything, an absolute nightmare and recost of £50, in carer help, copying and postage. To this day, while I can prove they received both copies, I don’t know which copy got scanned and acted on. (Again with the help of B&W I was successful.)
#9 Animatingirl 2019-08-09 15:01
Part 3
We need to force them to acknowledge receipt of our forms by automatic text or email as soon as their mail room received them because we need to be sure our applications wont get cancelled, or that we don’t have to do it all over again before it gets cancelled and so we can budget and have something to show council benefits and landlords that we are in fact in the system. These acknowledgement s should include approximate waiting time for scanning, ie, before assessors will see them, and approximate assessment time according to backlog. These should be updated at each point in the process, eg your forms have reached assessors, there is currently a backlog of 2 months. They will hate to admit this of course, so initially we may be only able to force 'post room receipt' acknowledgement texts/emails, and leave, further updates for the next fight. But if they were honest with waiting times, we wouldn’t be wasting their valuable time with calls. For those not set up digitally, I am not sure how difficult a creaking process could cope with them having to manually post acknowledgement rather than automatic digital acknowledgement , though still morally needed.
#8 Animatingirl 2019-08-09 15:00
Part 2
Because of staff shortages the time between receipt and for assessors to see them on the system can take weeks or even more if you don’t chase it up, but chasing it up can be a fruitless stressful process and possibly needless. If we just knew they had our forms but it was just going to take time because of the backlog, that is bad enough for those on the breadline but at least the process is happening. It can be a waste of time ringing up because both phone operator and assessor wont be able to see them on the system if they haven’t been scanned by the post room or whoever, so they will tell you they haven’t received them yet. The best you can do is give them the reference number of your post office trackable post with the online receipt details of hour of delivery and name of person who signed for it, and ask them to email the post room. (Bite your tongue over the frustration of your post office trackable post delivery online receipt meaning nothing to them because yelling at the poor front life staff who are not responsible gets you nowhere. I always try to apologise that they have to be put through these unnecessary calls caused by a bad system.) The post room is suppose to reply to the assessor's email in 10 working days. So, wait 10days, and if no luck yet, either you panic and go to the great expense of sending everything again or just wait and hope it hadn’t really been lost in the post but is just in the scanning black hole.
#7 Animatingirl 2019-08-09 14:59
I will have to enter this long response in 6 parts, if it lets me.

Part 1
We need need automatic acknowledgement of post room receipt, or even better be able to follow in an online account, this receipt and the stages through the process of our applications, so we know they have our forms and if they have requested anything from us in the post, in case we don’t get it. Computers can do this and it could save our sanity and many of us going under.

From my experience as a user, see below, which is where I have gained all this knowledge and anger, we need to campaign (I am contacting my MP) to force them to close the black hole between their post room receipt of our forms, and the assessors being able to see our forms on their system once the forms have been scanned digitally into the system, by sending us automatic texts/emails once their email receives our forms, with current estimated backlog time of assessment. Otherwise you go through the stress of many calls or wait while you worry about having no money if they are lost in the post and the next you hear is that your claim is cancelled because you didn’t send in the forms. For those, unlike myself, who don’t know how to keep on top of bureaucracy, this black hole can mean months of worry or even complete disaster of cancelled applications.
#6 Lisa101 2019-08-09 02:05
I was informed by my LA that I was not eligible for HB and CTS on the 19th December one year, because my ESA had been stopped. And billed for backdated "owed, overpaid" HB and CTS. This was a couple of grand with my ESA stopped.
The DWP had "lost" my ESA 50 and I got the letter from DWP later.
It was a lovely Christmas present!
I was lucky. My landlord was patient, my friends were kind and generous and the staff at my local JC+ were incredibly helpful (although they simply might not have had my snot all over their carpet!)
Make copies. Send by recorded mail and keep the PO receipt. Get the JC+ staff to send it in an internal mail bag. And use standard post.
Belt and braces, because if the DWP bods that don't see you can screw you, they will.
+1 #5 Jippity 2019-07-21 21:53
I was told not to send my second set of forms via recorded delivery, as there is usually nobody there to sign for it. They "didn't arrive" either. The third set I sent via special delivery. They arrived, then didn't arrive, then were found.

I have had forms, in the past, returned to me by royal mail because a signature couldn't be obtained.

Basically, it's all lies and it doesn't matter what you do, it's sheer luck of the draw.
+1 #4 Jan 2019-07-17 13:25
This is a regular occurrence for me. Two years running when asked for copies of bank statements to support annual entitlement review we were written to to say not received. 5 weeks ago a call handler agreed to send me a form to register as an appointee. Nothing received after 2 weeks so wrote a letter. Nothing received again for another 2 weeks so phoned again. Told no record of original call and no record of letter. Informed a form would be sent out but still waiting. Tried once to send something first class signed for but claimed it wasn’t received and no tracking available via Royal Mail. I’ve heard they refuse to accept ‘signed for’. Meanwhile my son’s mental health continues to deteriorates on top of his lifelong disability. My depression as only Carer gets worse and I don’t know how much longer I can continue to care for him when unable to function myself. Blatant disregard for claimants and their carers is completely unacceptable.
+1 #3 Phillip Richards 2019-07-17 09:45
I am sorry to say this is not a new thing. I claimed in 2012 for ESA and they claimed not to have received my forms but when I called I told them it was sent by recorded delivery and signed for at the time it stated . They paused for a few minutes and said "Oh yes we have received it" When I had to send more info I sent it though the Jobcentre internal Fax system. Which meant I had to book an appointment and could show proof. They once again said they had not received util I told them how they got it? This even went to Tribunal and I won to then after 13 months with no money they put it in the wrong closed account. Even though I added my new bank details in every correspondence. When I went for PIP it was a home Visit and a full enhanced on both. I have a life limiting conditions!
+1 #2 Rachael 2019-07-15 18:24
It's just another example of how the system is not fit for purpose. Once again the dwp will do anything to save money regardless of the hell it puts people through.
+3 #1 colinkw39 2019-07-15 18:06
My advice for claim forms is to ALWAYS send by "recorded mail" or "signed for" option at my post office I try to send my forms next day delivery..cost about £7.00 which includes an internet tracking number . Well worth the cost when you consider the above stories. The DWP cannot say they've not received the form when you have a copy of the signature, time & date. !!

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