Never try to claim sick pay, it's more painful than the injury!
Over a month ago I had a disagreement with a horse which resulted in me being thrown off twice in quick succession and I damaged the ligaments and muscles in my right hip. I went to the local hospital two days after doing it because I got up that morning and my leg went from underneath. At the hospital I was told to rest it for a few days (ha) but my work were very good and were very concerned when it was getting worse rather than better while it was being rested so I was signed off by my doctors for a month and went to stay with my mum while I recovered. While I was at home I went to the local hospital who said I was actually looking at 6-8 weeks for it to recover and needed physiotherapy which they got me into the next day. Fantastic hospital, I've been seen more than my mum who has cancer and a whole host of other isssues and who also needs physio has been seen at her hospital (different one)! So now I'm on crutches so I can walk without spending too much time in pain.
This all leads up to me claiming sick pay because I'm not being paid while I'm off and I need to give my mum money towards my keep to help her out. Well it's like trying to draw blood from a stone. I have the form all filled out by my boss and the sick note from my doctor waiting to go except there's no address to send it to so we rang the Jobcentre and due to them misunderstanding what happened they've sent me a different thing to claim which is basically work accident benefit but I wasn't working at the time, a friend and I had borrowed a pair of horses to ride on our time off. So I went to our local Jobcentre for advice and was told they couldn't help me so sent me away to Citizens Advice and a number to call. The local Citizens Advice will only help local residents which I'm not anymore. Next step was to call the number for the main Citizens Advice office which would have helped if they actually picked up the phone. Then tried the Jobcentre number again and they don't want to talk to me either.
I hate calling people on a good day and this was just painful. Moral of the story: Be rich when you injure yourself. It's far too hard to be poor and injured.
A little follow up to this because I need to vent. I eventually got the correct form for the benefit they said would be best for me to claim so I sent off with my two sick notes which are both for a month off work. Today I got a letter about my claim and I was very excited to open it because it would be a load of my mind so imagine my surprise when I opened it to read that I needed to send them a second sick note because apparently my sick note only ran from the 5th of Dec to 11th of Dec and I needed to send them another sick note by the 12th of Dec. So this means they have completely failed to read the first note correctly because it ran from the 5th of Dec to the 5th of Jan and I'm not imagining that because a: I read it, b: so did my boss and c: when I rang my doctor for the second sick note he confirmed the first one had been for a month. It also means they have the claim confused because they obviously misread my name and think I'm The Doctor and have a TARDIS so I can go back to the 11th of Dec and send a second sick note to get to them for the 12th of Dec. Heck, if I had a TARDIS I'd be going back in time to tell myself to sit up! (Maybe that was why the horse bucked, she heard my TARDIS arriving) Or take the winning lottery numbers so I'd have some money while I was off. I can't ring these people until Monday so I have two days to simmer about this before I can talk to them and I will be on that phone at 8 o'clock in the morning. I know schools aren't churning out a load of Einsteins but seriously how do you mistake the 5th of Jan 2013 for the 11th of Dec 2012?!
More venting because this is making my brain hurt. After waiting the weekend out to call the Jobcentre about the letter I received I was finally able to call on Monday morning as soon as the lines opened. I spoke to a very nice man who told me there was no record of my sick notes being received but he would send a message to the benefits centre dealing with my claim to look into it and to call me about the issue. He also told me that this was the third call he'd personally dealt with that morning about sick notes going missing. I waited in all day because I was told they would call me between 9:30am and 4:30pm and there was no call. So I called them again yesterday because I hadn't been able to ring on Tuesday and was very surprised to hear that the benefits centre claimed they had called me. Once I told the Jobcentre person that I was in all day and never received a call he sent them a message to call me. Then eventually they called me and confirmed that my sick notes had some how gone missing despite the fact they had received the rest of the pack and I had placed them behind the cover letter so they couldn't just slip out. So the next step was for them to call my doctor to confirm the sick notes had been issued and I offered to call the doctor myself so there would be no issue with the doctor refusing to talk to them about it on data protection grounds which I did. Twenty minutes later the benefits people called me back and said they were unable to get in touch, tried to fob me off with the "oh they're probably at lunch" excuse and said they try again the next day. I pointed out that the doctor was expecting the call so there would be at least one of the receptionists around and that there would be someone there because at that time you can ring in test results so there is someone on the desk at that time. Turns out they had mucked up the contact details so I corrected them despite me giving them the correct details in the first place.
After I got off the phone with him the first time the post has arrived and I was surprised to find a letter telling me that I was going to receive the benefit after all. It reads identically to my mum's DLA confirmation letter, same sort of wording. So when he called me back about the doctors I told him about it, only to be told it was merely an entitlement letter about what I would get once the claim was processed. I pointed out that it reads as though it has been processed and no where does it say entitlement letter only. To a reasonable person it reads as though the claim has been dealt with.
The tone of voice the benefits worker used to speak to me was so patronising and he sounded like he really couldn't be bothered to deal with it. I understand it's not the most interesting job in the world but surely they must have some customer service training which tells them make the customer feel as though you want to help them! I just felt like was wasting my time with this man. The other thing is I didn't once receive an apology for losing my sick notes, even if they don't think they did lose them surely the one of the first things you would say is "oh I'm sorry to hear about this, let me look into and we'll get it sorted." I would have felt so much better if something like that had been said if they didn't really mean, it would have made me feel if they were taking it seriously. The entire process of this took several hours and I got so tense and upset it actually caused my hip to flare up really badly to the point I'm back on the same painkillers I was taking a few weeks ago when it was really painful whereas Tuesday night I'd actually managed to go to bed without taking a painkiller for the first time.
Then today I got another letter telling me I need to send them an updated sick note by the 25th of Dec 2012. The letter is dated 18th of Jan. Now, as I said before when they sent the last letter like this, how on earth am I expected to be able to manage that?! So I plan on ringing them tomorrow to find out if they were able to contact my doctor and to get a complaints form or find out how to complain because I feel as though my case has been handled quite badly especially with regard to the letters. I don't normally complain officially about things, I'll have a moan about it yes but I never really go down the official route but this has stressed me out so much that I'm going to because it is ridiculous how they've handled this.
Rant over...Until I speak to them tomorrow.
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