Monday, 23 August 2010
Chasing up Job Centre Plus
After I got out of bed this morning I had a coffee and checked my emails and the news, or rather Twitter where I follow BBC Scotland and STV. Actually STV followed me on Twitter first but I cannot think why?
I then phoned Kirkcaldy Job Centre Plus who could not give me a number for Argyle House in Edinburgh. So I do my own searching on the Internet. The number I phoned was not recognised for Argyle House. Eventually after phoning a different number I was given the Job Centre Plus number that deals with Fife.
Well I was enquiring that my questionnaire form had successfully reached it's destination. I was told it had not. Lost in the post? Would it mean I have to fill out another form to see if I have to go for a medical to determine whether I am fit for work? I was told they would phone me back within three hours.
Indeed they phoned back but within the hour to say they had received my questionnaire form on the 17th August and that they wanted to know my doctor's contact details. I thought I wrote that information on the form? Never mind I was able to give the name and exact address of my doctor. The woman was unable to tell me how long they would take to process the form and when or if I have to attend a medical.
The whole process is stressing the sick and disabled people, this abolishing Incapacity Benefit and change to Employment Support Allowance. If you fail the medical you are put on Job Seekers Allowance and receive very little money as you are made available for work. Two thirds of incapacity claimants fail the medical and must look for work. I have not worked since 1996.
Anyway I will keep readers of The Rebel Scot updated about how I get on and what the medical entails. It was New Labour that brought forward the legislation in a Welfare Bill that Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell published a white paper on UK-wide welfare reform away back in December 2008. It meant that most people would be taken off Incapacity and have to look for work.
The medicals will be carried out by Atos Healthcare which this private company also uses the trading name Atos Origin.
And now with the ConDem coalition wanting to cut the welfare costs to the government while also spending billions on Trident nuclear missiles the future for us sick or disabled looks bleak.
Yours for Scotland