I spent one of the worst fifteen minutes of my life this morning. Now, if you know anything about my life you will know that this is no small thing. I’ve been gang-raped, drug-raped, beaten and almost killed so not a lot scares me.
So what could leave me sitting there on the floor – my legs having given way, shaking like a leaf in a full-blown panic attack? Yes, that’s right – I had to phone the DWP.
A friend of mine is homeless so I have said he can live in my spare room. He’s been sofa surfing waiting for his girl but the relationship fell through leaving him homeless. Meanwhile I have asked for a change of circumstances form for both of us. This week he wasn’t paid and I was terrified I would not be paid either til they’d investigated. You see, the DWP don’t tell you if they are stopping your money. You only find out when you go to the bank to withdraw it. Imagine that… You go off to the bank, electric key in hand, looking forward to that one treat you are planning – a walk round Arnos Vale with the dog and a coffee. Imagine how you feel when there is nothing there.
No warning, you are now penniless. So I had to ring. I have a loan re-payment due out and really needed to know if it would be in there. The sheer terror of this morning, waiting for eight o’clock and then waiting for an answer, was horrendous. About seven fifty-five I felt my mood plummet. The room became oppressive, cold, darkened. I thought ‘Nearly time to ring up.’ This thought was accompanied by a bucket of freezing adrenaline down the spine. I started to shake. My breathing became laboured and I had to use my inhaler to keep breathing. I sat on the floor. Too shaky to do it myself, Dean got the number and rang it. After over seven minutes of waiting and of almost passing out through lack of breath, I got a person.
Well at least they haven’t stopped my money. I will be getting paid on Monday. The forms and shit will be back with them for next time so, fingers crossed, starvation is once again averted.
I guess poor people always lived in this terrified state before the Welfare Provision and now its going, here we are again.
Time to re-build my stock cupboard.