It has only been three months since I did my first Job Seekers Allowance form and today was my third visit to the job centre to attempt a third signing of the declaration. I gathered up my paperwork, including a copy of the online application form I had done just in case I’d been axed from the system again and hurried out of the door.
As I introduced myself to one of the assistants she looked at her clip board and greeted me with, ‘Oh, you are the woman who hasn’t turned up for appointments.’ Instant hackles up, as I realised I was going to be reliving ground hog day, I explained politely that the first time I missed the appointment it was my mishap with a diary entry, but that I had turned up, just on the wrong day! The second missed appointment they had for me was not an appointment I had made, the true second appointment I had made, I turned up for, but was ill-advised to claim for Universal Credit and not Job Seekers Allowance, so this was my third appointment, where I finally hoped to sign the declaration for job seekers allowance. She shut up after that.
I was told the person I was meant to be seeing was not there, so I would be seeing a stand-in instead. Some days you just know that things are not going to go to plan. I was waved over to the gentleman’s desk and the woman who had previously inappropriately advised me to apply for Universal Credit appeared next to him. She told me that it had transpired that my online application no longer existed as for data protection purposes, all applications are deleted after they are a month old (but mine wasn’t!), and that she wanted me to fill in pages and pages of a paper booklet instead. Flicking through this I realised I would need to supply details of every bank account I own, my business account information and more – far more than had been on the online application and I didn’t have half the information with me.
Sighing with utter disgust at the process, for a benefit which I supposedly have been entitled to receive since my first surgery back in November 2017, I said I’d fill in the application at home and walked out of the door wanting to cry. Instead of wasting my time filling in the ridiculous application form, I’ve decided instead to apply for PPI before it is too late, as I definitely took out a policy in my student years and paid into it right up to my mid twenties. This is hopefully worth as much to me as job seekers allowance and the forms look far easier to complete!
Thankfully I’d made my favourite Green Citrus juice so drank the 500ml bottle quickly and soon felt much better. It amazes me still how juice can revive you and change your negative emotions to positive in just minutes.
The end of the day turned out much brighter as a school Mum friend had us all round for a playdate with her two children. She went to town and cooked the children roast poussin with both roast and steamed vegetables, and the lovely smells in the kitchen made me feel very happy despite knowing I wouldn’t be able to taste her delicious-looking meal. One carrot was particularly special, so it escaped being eaten:
My kids had a wonderful time kicking a ball, building towers with blocks, playing football on the playstation and watching part of a film before being called to eat. My three then consumed full platefuls of roast dinner before asking for seconds and thirds! My daughter even asked my friend if she could come again, and helped herself to a fifth roast potato!