The fortnightly trip to the Canning Town Jobcentre (or any Jobcentre for that matter) has become an ordeal for most claimants, not knowing what to expect on arrival; most times you are in and out after signing the declaration, but still one must approach the trip these days with apprehension and the fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen, you do feel sick with anxiety and worry, especially if you have been on the receiving end of a sanction and I’ve had two last year alone, so you could not even imagine how I felt when four weeks ago I was told that my JSA was inactive because I had failed to turn-up for an interview. It wouldn't be so bad had I been informed by post or verbally that my presence was required, but I had received nothing from the local office.
Being the person that I am in the first instance, I questioned the adviser why I had no knowledge of the interview, however this was not bearing any fruit, so I asked what her advice would be, she told me to make a Rapid Reclaim which I did that day online and as this is now the criteria for all new claims, only problem with that is my claim ended up in the pile of new claims income based’ so when I attended the office for a job focused interview my Rapid Reclaim could not proceed and I had to make another new claim, still keeping my cool I did this.
During the course of that weekend I resolved that the whole matter should be taken up with the DWP first at local level and then if need be at a higher level. Since then I have sent in a number of emails and to save time let me reproduce some of the text so you get an idea and handle on what is going on the first was sent on the 10th August.
“I am writing to you in regard to my missed managed claim for JSA which was closed by your office on Freemasons Road, Canning Town.
This is a complaint in regard to the closing down of my JSA and the subsequent sending of a P45 to my home address.
On the 20th July I attended your office to sign on, called over to WP desk I was informed by the adviser that my claim was inactive, she the adviser told me that a letter was sent out to attend the office for some sort of meeting and that because I had not attended and my JSA claim had been closed; I said that I had not received any letter, she advised me to open a rapid-reclaim which I did on-line.
Since then I have spoken to DWP call center worker re-my new claim and informed that no letter was ever sent out in the first place and further to that there is no record evidence on the computer system that I was informed verbally, and of course I had not ever been informed ever, or I would have attended.
Trying to keep this short and to the point - things have gone from bad to worse a work-focused meeting could not take place because the automated system that DWP use had wrongly recognized not as a rapid-reclaim but as income-based JSA claim, subsequently I had to make a new claim, and all being well have a work-focused meeting on Tuesday morning coming. The DWP worker who helped me fill in the new form on the phone has taken a brief statement that is included, this email is both a complaint and a supporting account on my side to be used by the decision maker as I would like my JSA to be backdated, as fault lies with the DWP not on my part and that my claim has been very clumsily mismanaged in the Canning Town Office, causing me stress, anxiety as well as not being able to buy food pay bills and so on, I have no gas and the council have cancelled my housing benefit and I have now received a bill for £499.90 council tax.
In addition I will CC this letter to my local member of parliament in the event that I decide to take the matter much further like to the ombudsman and to the courts.
So in conclusion would you be so kind as to attach this email to my new rapid reclaim before my work-focused meeting that takes place on Tuesday, thank you.”
Hi Mr Lawrie
I am contacting you further to your enquiry about the appointment letter that was issued to you.
The letter was issued 11.7.13 via 2nd class post.
We have a business account with the Royal Mail so invoices are paid centrally.
The letter was for an appointment at Canning Town Jobcentre on 22.7.13.
Royal Mail collect our mail from our office every evening at around 4pm for distribution the next day.
The address we would have sent it to is your home address
We would not have any proof of posting from Royal Mail.
I cannot confirm that your claim will be backdated. You would need to apply for your claim to be backdated on a separate claim form called a JSA5 which you can collect from our office when you come in for your new claims interview. The decision regarding backdating would be made by the benefit centre.
“thank you for your reply and all your help thus far.
However yet again I'm going to say, that your reply on behalf of the DWP and Canning Town Jobcentre falls short of any except-able conclusion, and now I am more determined than ever; that this whole matter will have to be taken on to its fullest limits, terminal point and boundary, which may be the courts if the DWP fails to provide any evidence that a letter was sent out in the first place, and particularly because this has plunged me into debt and hardship.
I'm in the process of filling in the form for missing mail with Royal Mail, they will in due course be in contact with Canning Town as part of their inquirers into this matter.
In the meantime let me say this to you, it looks as if Canning Town office has no evidence to support either way whether or not a letter was sent out in the first place, even the small amount of 42 you say has no supporting evidence that a letter addressed to me was amongst them. - therefore it can be realistically put that no letter was sent. .
A note on a computer does not indicate that that letter was dispatched.
So can I ask you some questions.
1) do you have a copy of that letter
2) When was That letter generated (date time and supporting evidence)
3) May I have a copy ASP”
Well the emails (exchange) went on a bit longer and I will not bore you with all the details, only to say that I think that the Canning Town Office has been caught on the back foot they cannot produce any evidence that supports their (forceful) assertion that a letter was sent out, they have no copy and cannot say when that letter was generated and to top all that off yesterday I received a new letter informing me that they have looked at my backdated claim and decided that I have satisfied the Labour Market conditions for JSA from 20 july to 8 August.
The letter also went on to say:
“We have also decided that you have not shown good cause for the delay in making your claim for 20 July to 8 August.”
But they are pleased to tell me that I will be given National Insurance Contributions for the said period - you could not make this up - or could you?
Of course I will be lodging an Appeal and ASP, will keep you all informed. Just one thing that I have left out and thats regarding Royal Mail, who are investigating the lost or missing post, that’s if it was ever it was sent out?"