If you are changing your benefit from JSA to ESA , please read the checklist at the end of the Blog .
Avid readers will know that I was made redundant in February 2009 after 31 years of working in the Print Industry. Sadly the Litho side of it was now a dying part of the trade, thanks to new technology. I was constantly told that it was a job for life, in my younger days. Well, it would have been a job for life if I had died at the age of 47. Since that time, I had been claiming Job Seekers Allowance. (JSA). This of course means that you have to be actively seeking work. I had tried to ‘reinvent’ myself studying MS Office and applying for Fundraising and Publicity jobs, which I had experience in thanks to my voluntary work, as well as applying for Admin jobs, but there does not seem to be a lot of call for 50 year olds with no actual paid work experience in these fields.
I was not keen to move over from JSA to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), as I realised that the change over could take up to six weeks without any money. It also means that they suspend your housing benefit and council tax until it is processed as well, which does not seem fair on my landlord.
The only good thing that came out of having my first operation cancelled was that it meant that I could still sign on, on the day of the now cancelled op.
I had previously rung the job centre to cancel that signing on day. They said that it was fine, but I would not get any money until I actually did sign on, which would be at least a week later, due to the condition, my condition was in.
Just before my Mastectomy , I decided to call the DWP as I realised that I would have to claim ESA, even though there was a chance that I may have been able to go back onto JSA after my recovery two weeks later.
I was put through surprisingly quick and only had to endure about 3 minutes of the shrieking version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons that they always play. I think it was recorded through a sock.
To be fair, they gave me good advice, which meant I had to go to the job centre with a green book that I had and sign it with the date of the last day I would be claiming JSA.
They then put me through to another Dept and I went about claiming for ESA over the phone. This should have been a quick job, as they already have my info on file. The only change being that I was unable to work for the time being. It will come as no surprise dear friend, that this was not good enough for them. They said that they would send me a form (64 pages) which I needed to fill in. This form of course has all the info that they already have, but what is a Brazilian Rain Forest between friends. I had hoped that I could have picked up this form at the Job Centre, but they do not allow the forms to be collected.
So there we go. I phoned them up on 1st March , got the form about four days later and sent it off and it was processed by the DWP on 2nd April. Now to reapply for housing benefit and council tax (even though they already have the info). It is enough to make a sick man sicker!
There is a footnote to the story though.
On 31st March even before I had received any money, a bulky letter came through the letterbox from our friends at ATOS demanding that I fill in the form (it is more like a book) to see if I am fit for work. This, before I had even received any money.
So much for the caring society.
Checklist for changing from JSA to ESA
- Fill in the back of the green book (ES40) and hand it in to your Job Centre as soon as you know the last date of your claim.
- Ring the DWP as soon as you know the date of your last claim for JSA so they can send you the 64 page book through the post. Make sure that you have written proof , a certificate from your Doctor or consultant should suffice. And send that off with the book to DWP. (I was told by the Job Centre that an NHS letter from the hospital detailing the date of my operation was ok , they even signed it and sent a copy to DWP head office. But it was not good enough).