I had a compliance interview with the DWP. What’s the worst that can happen? Well, they could decide I owed them £10,000, cut my entitlement by £55 a week, not pay me anything for two months while they sorted my claim, and take money out of my bank account.
The worst of it was, these interviews happen after a public spirited citizen has called the anonymous information line. Not that many people know I am on the sick. I worried a Quaker, believing me capable of work from how I appear at Meeting, had reported me. This is paranoid, but believable enough to be worrying. I phoned the DWP, and they said HMRC had reported to them that I had capital. I haven’t, now, and did not have enough to affect my claim when I made it, but the “notional capital” rules might apply as I lived on savings for two years before claiming. I don’t think they do, but the Decision Maker might disagree.
I thought this morning that I am quite terrified. Mummy will be angry, and something Bad will happen. In that moment I was that child. I thought of other confrontations- have I told you of my final written warnings?- and it seems child-feelings came into play.
Elaine drove me down, we parked, had a cuppa and strolled round to the jobcentre. The displays have a primary school feel, with individual words printed on coloured A4, laminated and stuck on the wall. It helps to create an impression: Elaine admired my LK Bennett jaiket. As the woman explained at great length benefit rules I know well, I thought of interjecting but forebore. I would let her control the interview.
We did not get as far as notional capital. All she was assessing just then was actual capital. However, she is entitled to ask for evidence and withdraw entitlement if I do not give it, and she now has the evidence to consider notional capital if she wishes. I am not out of the woods quite yet. Elaine thought if someone had looked through the glass wall, they would have thought I was interviewing her, with the papers in front of me and that jacket; and the “statement” she wrote for me was poorly done, getting the figures wrong. Elaine thought I had taken control of the interview.
Up to a point, it is good to worry. I was prepared for more than actually happened, and for what might happen next. Beyond that point, it isn’t. I was terrified. I have been functioning a little less well than my current normal, anticipating it. I realise I am an adult, and that thought “Mummy will be angry” feels so terribly real but is not. “Nothing shall hold her back”- except perhaps herself. Mmm. I will think on this.