Thanks Nemonie. At first I thought ringing the DEA would be a waste of time as they all seem to be so brainwashed, but then curiosity got the better of me and I just had to know whether the DEA thought I should cancel my long-awaited hospital appointment in order to be able to sign in the little box on the right day!
At least I only had to give my NI number once this time and wasn’t passed around the building. The DEA (different to the one I have seen before) was quite reasonable to speak to which was so refreshing. However, after he’d been to see if anything could be done (seems exceedingly rare even for a disabled jobseeker to need to attend a medical appointment and just not something that had ever happened before) he rang me back brainwashed with the party line that a jobseeker’s top priority is to turn up at the Jobcentre on the right day. This is far more important than looking after your health so you can work, working, or going to job interviews. You could be mistaken for thinking that the JobCentre is anti-employment. You absolutely have to show up on the right day and can NEVER be excused. Rules are rules. I told him I knew people who had been excused but he said that’s not possible. If you don’t show up on the right day, then procedures are that your file is put in the naughty cupboard and you have five working days to show up at the JobCentre for an unpleasant grilling (his choice of word) elsewhere called the failure to attend interrogation. You then can’t have a normal signing on because your file is in the naughty cupboard so you have to go to the naughty department. It is the computer’s fault, of course, that you get a grilling as to your whereabouts every minute of the day and was it really necessary, because the questions are set out on the computer that have to be asked, in order for a decision maker in Surrey to be in a position to make a decision. Your file is allowed to go to the naughty cupboard twice a year and mine has already been once when I had two interviews and work on the JobCentre day which was bad of me. So really no more interviews or medical appointments for nearly a year I hope the world knows.
The good news is that having missed the special day, it doesn’t matter which of the next five days you show up to get your file moved back to its normal cupboard or else your claim is closed and you really don’t want the aggravation of starting a new claim the DEA advised. So I don’t have to make a special trip on Friday, but can wait until I am passing on Tuesday or Wednesday for my ‘grilling’ and waste of time, and time is taxpayers’ money. The other good news is that they have recruited yet more staff with the ever-increasing number of jobless so I am promised I won’t have to stand waiting for more than an hour this time.
What annoys me is that there is no difference between having good reason and telling them in advance of why you can’t make it on the day and asking them what they want you to do such as turn up on another day of their choice, ie being a good jobseeker and just not bothering ie being a bad jobseeker. It is not at all to do with jobs as people think.
I also asked in case I end up going to an operating theatre on a Jobcentre day (50/50) and what if you are not well enough to go to the JobCentre for a grilling in the next five days, eg if I can’t drive. The DEA was rather dumbstruck and this just can’t ever happen. I did mention I have treatment every two months or so when I am not well in addition to the fluctuations in my disability and we came back to the issue which kicked off this thread that I really shouldn’t be on JSA. People on JSA should be fit and well at all times even with a variable disability and never the equivalent of off work sick a few days as you would be in work. However, I can’t see me getting ESA, which I understand as incapacity benefit and I’m not incapacitated. If I am offered a full-time job tomorrow I will grab it, so how can I claim ESA? Yet with my restriction on not commuting more than 30 minutes, medical appointments and treatment and variability in disability it seems again I shouldn’t be claiming JSA even though I am jobseeking! That was per the Disability Employment Advisor!
Joint group leader for South Central (Bucks, Oxon, Herts)