I started my claim for UC on 16th July. I told ESA on the same day, or possibly a day or two before, that I had moved house, no longer had any savings and was putting in a claim for Universal Credit.
On 10th July I had received an ESA payment as per usual. I didn’t know this until checking my bank account today, as I haven’t previously needed to be aware on exactly what date my ESA payments are due.
I should therefore have received one further ESA payment, of five days, no longer deducting anything due to being over the savings threshold, because I was no longer over the threshold.
I’ve previously blogged about the ESA letter that I received, informing me that I had had a change in circumstances that affected my ESA payment, but not what change or what my payment would be. On the second page, a single sentence said I had had a payment issued for the period 25th July to 7th August. I assumed that this was a payment that finished off my ESA payments – because I wasn’t aware of when my previous ESA had been paid, and I knew that I was due a larger pro rata payment than usual because of my reduction in savings, it didn’t occur to me that this sum was too big.
I had asked UC what they knew about the payment, because I’d had to phone them after receiving my award letter (finally, and with a few days to spare to get it to the council for calculating my council tax support), due to an unexplained deduction – I’d not factored in that, whilst I was previously on ESA SG and had given in a new sick note, UC still treated me financially as a jobseeker, and therefore took 63% of my earnings straight away. My UC journal should have shown this, but someone had forgotten to specify on it what the deduction was for. It took UC some time and a call-back to work out what the deduction was for, but they didn’t know what the ESA payment was for.
Last week I was at my parents’ house, as my sister had come up to stay. The week before I was very ill. I had messaged friends several times in tears to ask for help – my dog had run out of food, the laundry needed to go out before it went musty in the washing machine, I needed some meals to eat (and the washing up would have to be done afterwards), my dog needed walking, I had received letters from utilities companies that I needed to respond to, and the recycling needed to be sorted and put in the right wheelie bins. Various friends came over at different points in the week to do these tasks for me. I didn’t do much that week except sleep, direct friends to what needed doing and cancel plans I had made for things to do.
So phoning ESA wasn’t on the top of my to-do list, which to be honest was simply ‘rest’.
Today I am feeling weak, sick, faint and shaky. There is a slight ringing in my ears, a precursor to fainting, but it isn’t getting worse so I’m not likely to faint imminently. There’s time to get on the floor first if it gets worse. I also feel weird and woozy, a strange spaced-out feeling, as though I’ve taken a sedative without realising.
Still, I logged on to my current account to make a payment, partly to distract myself as trying to sleep hadn’t worked, and saw that I’d recently had an ESA payment. If the ESA had been further down the transactions list, or I’d made my payment before the ESA came in, I wouldn’t have seen it. I thought I knew what was coming in and going out of my account without my checking every single transaction on my bank account statement.
I’m now on hold to ESA to say that I’ve had three ESA payments that I shouldn’t have had, and one that was too large.
Now I really do feel quite sick. A neighbour has just dropped by to pick up dog and take him for a walk, and I shall lie on the floor and wait for someone at the ESA helpline to answer.
Only 33mins on hold so far.
At 36 minutes in, the hold message changed to “We are sorry, but this service is currently unavailable”. And the line cut off.
So the money isn’t sorted, but I can listen to something pleasant whilst I lie on the floor.