Feeling of being flattened by a steamroller
Do you remember a blog I wrote a month ago? The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) summoned me to an interview. I arrived at the appointed hour and came out 30 minutes later feeling as if I had been mauled by an angry lion or flattened by a steam roller. This will definitely not rank as an enjoyable experience.
I was advised to cancel all my engagements as a service user. I felt like someone had caught me driving a car with no tax, MOT, or insurance. Now I know how a piece of driftwood feels. Also was I a criminal?
Stuck in the house
The Wife would kick me out of the house every day saying “Go and do the shopping on your Trike”. She even suggested I start playing bridge again. The DWP had successfully extinguished all my motivation Slowly I began to get my life organised and do some investigation.
I have submitted my own tax return for many years. The error or oversight I had made was not getting the form AW1 or Authorisation to Work signed off by my job centre. Apparently this is a requirement for any paid work if you receive benefits but I did not know about this form until the fateful interview.
In my defence
Since retirement events had moved forward very slowly. DWP want to know of any change to my requirements. I had understood ‘Change of Requirements’ to be a reference to my medical status rather than income. The income that I generated during the last financial year was less than £4,000. That was before expenses were deducted.
I am a Service User
The government expects Universities to use Service Users in the selection and education of Health Care Professionals. Payment is a very grey area.
- Some organisations think service users should only receive travel expenses. What planet are they living on?
- Others have no understanding of the DWP regulations.
- One University calls the payment ‘expenses’ others pay an ‘hourly rate’ as if you are an employee.
- More than one organisation deducts tax at source.
- Some require an invoice while others want completed timesheets.
Receive up to £115 and work for less than 16 hours a week
Obviously I have not yet had any response from the DWP for the work done prior to February 2017. The plan is to restart service user engagements as soon as possible. I have requested the Authorisation to Work forms which I will complete and return.
Very few people seem to know the ifs and buts and it would help if the DWP could explain things more clearly.
The story is not over yet but I’m managing to get my life going again.
Patrick I am so sorry you had to go through all this. The DWP don’t make life easy for anyone, let alone acknowledge how difficult it can be just to try to live a meanigful life.
I really do not find them terribly helpful as an organisation plus their rules are not designed to make life easy for a disabled person.
Basically I help universities with interviewing and giving talks, this is freelance work. As a service user I’m not allowed to be receive more than £115 in any week while receiving benefits. Subject to confirmation my earnings are looked at on a weekly basis and not averaged out over the year. It I earm more than £115 in a week then I have money deducted from my benefits even if I do not receive any money the following week. Where is the logic