The DLA claim is now complete. All pages have my name and NI number on, all signatures are in place, all documents are attached.
Steve and I got the bulk of the photocopying done on Tuesday morning. That was sort of fun. Obvously the Big Document, we had simply printed off two copies. But the supporting documents, like other people's statements and my repeat prescription and whatnot, needed actual photocopying, plus of course several pages of the form itself such as the front page, the signature and the sucklike. Anyway, we sauntered into the local library and asked the nice lady at the desk if we could do photocopying. She looked across at the photocopier (obviously a complicated piece of equipment requiring years of training) and answered "well, I can do photocopying for you."
I cannot describe how very intensely satisfying it was to cheerfully say "okay then!" and whump about 25 miscellaneous pieces of paper and a big, thick form onto her desk, none of which could be put into the autofeeder on the machine.
Then Steve and I sat down on some really quite comfortable chairs (the library's just had a bit of a re-fit) and quietly flicked through some magazines for half an hour, listening to the singing of the toddler's group which was taking place in a side room, while she got on with copying each. page. individually.
This was much easier than I had envisaged.
Today, I got the physical signed copy of the last of the statements from my friends. Steve and I don't have a photocopier, but we do have a scanner and a printer, so rather than another trip to the library we took care of that one at home.
I now have two large checked and double-checked piles of paperwork, one for them and one for me.
The pile of paperwork being sent to the DWP is over a centimetre thick. This will not fit into the standard A4 size envelope provided by the DWP for the return of the form. Also, the envelope provided is a Freepost one, and I don't want to send my precious documentation via Freepost. I want it guaranteed next-day delivery, recorded, tracked, traced and signed for. I'm wondering whether my best course of action is to (a) ask the people at the Post Office, or (b) call the Benefit Enquiry Line and ask them.
I'm so glad this is over. I will send it tomorrow and then I won't have to think about it at all until they contact me with their answer, which could well be several months.
A big, big, enormous thank you to everyone who has helped me - everyone who's written a statement, or helped with phrasing of things, or signposted me to useful resources, or listened to me sounding off when I got overstressed, or left a supportive blog comment. I could not have got this done without your help and support.
I do find myself at a bit of a loss, though. I'm sat here with the laptop and this overwhelming feeling that I'm supposed to be working on my Additional Information, like I have done with most of my spare time for the last few weeks. I'm not really sure what I'm meant to do instead. Suggestions for blog topics welcome.