Triage seem to be keeping up their exemplary level of abuse. On Monday we met Steve who couldn’t understand why his ESA had been stopped. He is on the assessment phase: he has submitted his detailed medical form (ESA50) and is still waiting for a Work Capability Assessment. He had already had problems with his form getting lost in the system and miraculously found again, but all had seemed OK and his doctor’s lines were up to date. Only, his money never appeared in his bank account. With no credit in his phone, he went to his mother’s work-place, and after an hour-long phone call with the DWP was again told that they didn’t have his form, and advised to go to the jobcentre. I went with him into the building, and a remarkably helpful, if slightly puzzled, advisor looked up his case and told us that his claim had actually been shut down as the Work Programme Provider, Triage, had reported that he had failed to do something. Steve explained that last time he had been in the jobcentre his advisor had told him that since he was now getting ESA and had a doctor’s line he no longer had to go to Triage, and that she would inform Triage of this fact. So either she never passed on this message, or, as has happened so often in the past, Triage took the message and ignored it. He would now have to appeal against the stopped claim, but the woman who was helping us suggested that it might still be possible to get Triage to rescind their complaint. So off we went down the road to Triage. On reflection, it would have been better for someone else to have gone with Steve. As soon as they saw me they panicked and refused to let us in on the grounds that I was going to occupy the building again. I told them that I would go so they could see Steve without me, but even with me gone, they refused to let him in, and then laughed at his predicament.
We have made contact with Welfare Rights who should be able to get this resolved, and we were able to sort out immediate help in the form of a food parcel and an application for a Scottish Welfare Fund Grant. Although Steve was understandably angry, he was not surprised, as this had not been his first experience of Triage’s interpretation of ‘supporting’ people into work.