Monday, June 02, 2008
This morning we went to see a welfare advisor about the DLA appeal. I had to do a lot of signatures in the space of about ten minutes. Some were for paperwork to be sent to DWP and others were to confirm that I am allowing CAB to retain my information and whatnot. Serious hand-ache by the end of it - you could probably arrange the paperwork into the order I signed it just by how legible my autograph is on each piece. As I understand things, the advisor we saw today won't actually deal with my appeal. His role was more to advise us on whether we should appeal and how to go about it. But he's starting the appeal process for us and he's referring my case to another organisation, whose acronym I have forgotten, and someone from there will contact us to arrange to come to see us to go over things in depth. It all seems rather convoluted but at least the ball is rolling now.
Also on the positive, once that referral comes through we should be working with a named advisor on the basis of appointments. The CAB do their best, but they're over-stretched and under-staffed (almost entirely by volunteers) so you can't make an appointment - you have to turn up and wait, often several hours. If you're not prepared to wait, the theory goes, then your problems aren't that desperate. It's as fair as it can be, although I do feel sorry for people who wait patiently for a couple of hours but then leave before they get seen because they have to pick up their kids or get to work or whatnot. Today Steve and I were waiting just over two and a half hours, or, to put it another way, we'd arrived at the exact time the centre opened but we hadn't been queuing outside the door. Appointments will be much easier, not to mention less exhausting.
That said, despite the length of the wait, it wasn't so bad this time round. Rather than being held at the CAB proper in the town centre, it was a specific "Benefits and Debt Clinic" being held at a community centre which houses a hundred and one other things including a little subsidised cafe (you know the ones, lots of fruit and fairtrade stuff, no chocolate, crisps or fizzypop). So our two and a half hour wait took place while we were comfortably seated and enjoying a cuppa.
Georgette the Courgette is doing well. We have spent £1.49 on a bag of compost and now we're just wondering whether we have to find a container to put it in or if we can just use it like a grow-bag - to phrase it another way, will she need more depth or more width in her new home?