Have you ever had one of those days where you can’t seem to get anything done no matter how hard you try? Today was such a day for me. I had to make some phone calls on behalf of some clients which seems harmless enough, but as you will soon see, was just the opposite. To help you understand my frustration, I decided to share with you today’s experiences of making calls to the Department for Work and Pensions. Let’s take a look:
How urgent is urgent?
The day’s first call was to Matt from the DWP’s Northern Ireland office. It wasn’t to speak about someone in Northern Ireland as you would think. The client in question actually lives in London which is why we wondered why he is not being looked after by a DWP office in London. This, of course, would make things too easy for us and it seemed the DWP didn’t want to do that. Matt tells us there is an “urgent task” for the client’s case manager to make the decision, but nothing has been done. He offered to put us through directly to the case manager but, as you would expect, we get cut off. This has left us wondering “How urgent is urgent?”.
You sent it to who?
Next, we ring the Personal Independence Payment office about a mandatory reconsideration that a customer has not requested. They tell us they did a reconsideration as the letter we sent in for ESA (which was asking for a reconsideration) made its way to them – wrongly of course. The pleasant advisor says that he doesn’t know how why they acted on it when the letter is clearly not addressed to them. He assumed it was because the letter mentions “award of PIP”. The ever-helpful chap advises us to ring ESA to check that they had got it as well. On his advice, we did ring the ESA who, of course, have no record of it as they had never received the reconsideration request. Of course they haven’t because they sent it to the wrong place entirely!
How is it not clear?
Again, we place a call to PIP for a different customer with the goal of finding out why it is taking them so long to look at a decision. They received the request at the end of February and they have not yet acted on it. They promise to send an email to another team who is sure to look at it. The PIP’s excuse this time? The letter is not very clear as to what we are wanting. Let’s review. The letter is addressed to mandatory reconsiderations. The last line of the letter clearly says that we want a mandatory reconsideration. Yet, for some reason, they are still not clear as to what we want!
Final call of the day and still no results
Finally, frustrated and beyond the feeling of disbelief, we make a call to Attendance Allowance about another request to have a decision looked at. We were met with discord as the unhelpful advisor first tried to say that they didn’t have to action on a request recon from us. We quickly, and politely, pointed out that they were wrong and was given the excuse that they had phoned our client in March and she refused their assistance. Our notes clearly state that our client had explained to them that it was a bad time for her to speak and that they should contact us instead. Did that happen? Did Attendance Allowance contact us? No, of course not! When we explained this to the adviser, she replied with, “Well, it’s no skin off our nose if we do the reconsideration or not!”
What a charming person she was and the perfect way to end our busy day of getting the runaround, being lied to and becoming more and more frustrated with every phone call we made.