Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Snark Was A Boojum

Thanks friends for your kind comments. I should have put the Comments Barred sign up but I forgot.

I have completely lost the art of blogging, I'm afraid, but can't resist sharing with the world, one great insight I have been gifted with just recently.

Listen: the people who write the forms for official claims, have gone to the same school (probably Hogwarts) as the people who write the algorithms for computer helplines.

You know how if you need to call a helpline, they won't proceed unless you can produce some godforsaken ID number, which is invariably located at the back of the tower unit or underneath the laptop/monitor/keyboard?

Right, well, claim form designers have the same training. I have been attempting to extract some needed money from a Certain Organization, to do with my disability; seduced by the come-on that it's my right to have a bit of the folding to offset the disadvantages conferred by a caring society on those of us less handy (pun intended) than others.

Why in hell do they always want to know those little details that involve a grunting search in the depths of the documentation? Grunting because you think you've extracted every little thing and put the stuff away again, then you come to Question 98 subsection 99 and have to get it all out again.

For a start, to prove you are native-born British these days, seems to involve the most abstruse questions about When and Where; I am just waiting for some bright Civil Servant to start asking Why.

(Well, my dad mistakenly thought it would get him and mum a Council House, is Why, but that was many years ago and there's nothing to be done about me now, I'm afraid.)

Furthermore, these forms are designed by sadists. There is always one question to which, if you give the wrong answer, up comes the Go Straight to Jail pointer: "You Are Not Entitled To This Benefit!"

Yes, but couldn't you have asked me that question before page 20? One is tempted to send the form in anyway, just to make some Established creep waste his time working all the way through it as well.

Jeez, I've spent years urging other crips to take advantage of their rights: "Why not just fill out the form? You've got nothing to lose; they can always just say No," and all the other bromides. Now I am beginning to realize why people blow up in flames and sink in despair.

And another thing: all these questions: I don't remember any such inquisitions during the years when I was paying money into the system. About all they ask then is, Are you breathing? coupled with, What is the maximum we can screw out of you?


Blogger BloggingMone said...

Thanks for a good laugh in the morning!
I am just going through a very similar thing. The simple act of transferring a loan from one bank to another has kept us busy for a bout six weeks now. I have no idea what struck us to actually undergo such an attempt.
I do remember, however that we had to have all of the papers ready in about two days, when we first applied for a loan.
The upshot of all was a letter from bank A, saying they cannot hand out papers to bank B until we hadn't payed 2,50 € for the stamps necessary to post the papers in question.

8:26 am  
Blogger Sally said...

Charles, good to see you again.

We need some masculine input, this blogging world is almost exclusively feminine.

My application for a Community Care Grant triggered an IB50 - how is that for punishment !

8:53 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

At least it wasn't an ASBO, Sally!

9:44 am  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

A propos IB50s, I once read an advice column on how to best fill these out.

It included the priceless tip:

"Where the form asks for the name of your doctor, you could put your psychiatrist if you feel they know more about you than your GP does."

...and I thought how little I would like to suggest this to some of my clients!

9:48 am  
Blogger Sally said...

I decided to love my IB50 and use it to my advantage: it weighed a ton, all answers typed, 15 solid pages, and copied to social services team leader, whose comment "You can walk" still rankles.

But, not wanting an ASBO (did you guess right BM - no ? ok: Anti Social Behaviour Order) I blasted the team leader with his very own copy of the IB50 detail, not swearing or sending a noxious substance to his office.

Your clients: don't you think that by the time any of us have spent some time form filling, psychiatric or psychological support is needed.

Who do the advisors go to when they need help themselves; that is the depressing unanswered question.

10:41 pm  
Blogger Philip. said...

Great post!

I too hate forms and the ba&*&ds who create them :-)

10:20 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Thanks Philip.

Another complaint I have is, why, if you have to write a letter asking some official more than one question, they only ever answer one?

I end up sending three separate queries to the same person in order to get the answers without which no further progress is possible.

9:50 am  
Blogger Lily said...

Ah the romance of it all, your parents ... me and my beloved (he said "we may as well get married, we might get something back on the tax"). I believe it was something like £50. Was it worth it? Hmmm

9:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles! It's so nice to see you again! I'd given up, and only dropped by on a whim.

Nicely put, especially that last bit. Hope cash has begun to trickle in.

4:33 pm  
Blogger Sally said...

Charles, your comments options seems to have been left open, so

Happy Christmas - hope all is well with you.

9:38 pm  
Blogger Sally said...

Charles, I hope all is well with your and yours. The Goldfish is beginning to plan for BADD 08 - this fan, amongst many, would like to see you there too.

7:17 pm  
Blogger Jordan Rhoat said...

Please go to link and sign the petition to

Get Jordan Rhoat's Arthrogryposis Web Page added on the Open Project Directory.

Pass along to friends,

Thank You

12:26 pm  
Blogger Sally said...

Sally sends her best wishes to Charles and wishes to know how he is faring.

6:09 pm  
Blogger Sally said...

Dear Charles, as your comment box is still up, it may be that you are still receiving messages. ... so my best wishes for this Season of the year, in fond memory of Christmas 2007 and onwards blogging exchanges.

8:29 pm  
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12:29 pm  

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