British Lung Foundation
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Prisoner of the System - Late ESA Payment

Apologies in advance for the rant!

I have been on ESA for the last 18 months and until recently, had no problem with the payments coming through on the regular alternative Friday. A few months ago I applied for DLA - the following Friday, no payment!

Apparently if you make a claim of some sort, this affects the system and someone has to 'press a button' to acknowledge the claim so that your normal payments aren't affected (something like that was explained anyway). So a phone call back the same day and the payment was put in and all was fine.

On Monday, (after DLA had been turned down a few months ago), I decided to have another go and applied for PIP and await forms to arrive to complete the application. Today is my normal 'pay day' for ESA and guess what.... no payment in the account!!! Another phone call to them, usual questions "has anything changed?" - nothing apart from making the claim on Monday, and it seems payment won't be released until Monday now.

Well in my 'new' world of becoming a prisoner of the system - this just isn't good enough.

I have worked all my life, paid my way into the system and earned reasonable money to get by. When I was struck down with my lung disease (ESA) along with BC, my world was turned upside down. I have gone from being able to do many things that I wanted to on my earnings, to living fortnight by fortnight waiting for that payment to go into my account. I am not ashamed to say that living this way on benefits has made me more than scrimp on the meagre amount we are paid.

So today - whilst I await a call back for them to (hopefully) 'press that buton' to acknowledge the claim and hopefully have the pay go into my account before the end of the day - I contemplate my emergency gas running out completely before the end of the day, my electric going into the emergency £5 - and waiting the whole weekend without a penny in my purse (literally!), no milk, no bread, no petrol, no lots of other things in my cupboard, and owing my daughter money that she is also desperate to receive today as promised....

I HATE what this system does to those genuinely require help and have paid their way. Words are beginning to fail me to describe what it means being caught up in this world of red tape all because your health deteriorates.

Anyone else had a similar experience that has affected their payment?

Grumble over but needed to let off steam! :-)


14 Replies

Words do fail you sadly. The impact of relying on the meagre handouts given and the animosity that seems to come attached has to be experienced to believe it. Trouble is that sympathy doesn't cut the mustard when you have so little. If you tell people about it they either assume you are trying to shake them down for some cash or that you really have a bit stashed away, for them having 'nothing' is having a few thousand put away for a rainy day. The concept of 'nothing' doesn't compute.

All I can give you is a big (((hug))) and pray the weekend gets a bit better by some miracle. :)



You have your rant my love. When you go from being self reliant to relying on others it comes hard, especially when they can't do things right. I hope your money comes through today alright. Now you carry on grumbling, nobody on here will blame you.

Love from Bobby xxx


A big ((HUG)) coming to you, not that you can stick it in your metre or eat it. I hope they sort it quickly.


Yep, they seem to be able to brush all complaints to one side, suggesting that it's now sorted out and the payment is only delayed a little. What they will not accept is any argument that this money is the minimum amount we are expected to live on and when it's late it causes problems !.

When I applied for ESA I got a small payment of about 3 days allowance into my account within a few days. I thought it was a brilliant system that they could sort it out so quickly, but spoke too soon as the next due payment didn't arrive. On investigating it seems that they were awaiting a medical certificate in order to clear the payment to my bank. Yes, I had had a letter to say this document was a requirement, and that I had (I think) 4 weeks to send it in, they gave a final date by which it had to be there, failing which it could affect my allowance.

I had sent the certificate in, along with other documents they requested. Because they were to be actioned by two different offices, they have sent everything to the one that dealt with pensions first, delaying the medical certificate being registered on their system, by several days. I actually had to send a scanned copy by email when my MP's office intervened, it was not until later we found out what had happened.

They can, and do, release payment the same day in these situations. It takes them all of a couple of minutes to make the transaction. It's simply not good enough to expect people to do without over a weekend and I'm afraid I would be yelling at someone by now. WE also have pre-pay gas and electric and I've had a few conversations with the energy company over these because the limits are so low. We can use £4 in electricity in a day if we're washing, need to use the tumble dryer, having a shower, cooking a meal - but they say we must not use the emergency facility unless it's a real emergency. You don't get much choice if your payment has not arrived !


i'm still trying to work out why one payment is one amount, the next has £ 2.93 more and then it reverts back to the original sum, this has been going on since I had a review in January. any ideas people, because it beets me, I have asked benefits advisor and they don't know either, plain madness if you ask me.


just testing


did it work ? :)


Yes it did work, I have a laptop and a desktop computer and was trying to use the same password on both computers, and seem to be able to post now on both computers I think.


Oh believe me - I DID shout.... but got absolutely nowhere. I got the returned call to sort it out, and expected - as last time - that it would be processed there and then and in my account within an hour or so. Not the case this time. I was given all reasons, like they'd missed the cut-off to make adjustments, etc. etc. I fought my corner (as believe me, I can!) but it's you against an arsey individual at the end of the day who has no idea how you are struggling to keep going.

She suggested I phone the bank... Hmmmm... worth a try I though? So I did - and again, got nowhere - when you're down to .99p of your overdraft I knew there was little hope - and there wasn't - not even a fiver to get me through the weekend. Needless to say I gave up and hung up in despair and tears.

My daughter who is finding things tough herself right now and relied on my pay to pay her some money back today, managed to find enough to get me through the weekend - but what about those who don't have anyone to help them out - or just anyone at all????????

My pride long disappeared as did my life of travel and joy. Yes, I appreciate things more than ever now, especially after the ride I've had over the past few years - and like the rest of you - but why are we treated this way and at our most vulnerable...

Well at least I can have some beans on toast for dinner!!!! :-)



I take back my 'words fail me' comment and say I have lots of words, none of them printable - I have never been a spiteful person in my life, but on this occasion I rather hope that karma comes into play. Unfortunately there are far too many people who have no-one to help them out and my heart goes out to them and to you. Smiling is the only way to deal with it now until Monday morning so well done for your smiley at the end :)


Thanks Scrobbity and all others who have commented. I'm sure you've been there at some point - and moan as I do at times, I am the eternal optimist and full of positivity - you have to be to keep going. My sense of humour is my saviour at times like this.

The day deteriorated - probably due to the stress. Poured myself the last glass of a cheap wine (I needed it and can last til Monday!) and put it on the worktop next to a tray I had just propped up. When I moved across the kitchen - crash! I turned and there was the ruddy glass of wine all over the floor together with the broken glass. A certain expletive was used in a rather loud voice as I started to mop it up - splinters and all.

Silly me propped what was left of the glass, back in the same spot - guess what nappened next? You got it - the tray fell again and finished the glass off completely - all over the floor. I think I can recall kicking the oven at this point and bruising my big toe in the process!

Once that was all cleared and dinner ready on the plate, I made my way to the kitchen door - but noticed a plastic bag hanging out of the lower kitchen unit. Dinner in one hand, and unit door in the other, as I opened the door.... Sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip of the plate went my pie and spuds - all over the floor...!!!

Where's those Valium and knockout pills - I think I need to take just a few.... lol :-) :-)



Oh you couldn't write the script could you. I think you have had your bad 'three' things now hopefully otherwise it's a case of go to bed, stay there and wait for Monday as it might be safer :) Chin up, Jean, though not too far or you won't be able to see where you're going :)


Been there done that Jayenne. When I asked what someone was supposed to do without any money I was told - borrow off relatives or friends! Ridiculous :(

Bev x


You're not alone Jean in having these benefit problems. I've been told I have to make up 55 per month shortfall which housing benefit won't now cover under the new occupancy rules (ie bedroom tax). They say that as a married couple we should only be using one bedroom and we have two bedrooms so must pay for the second one. I resent having to explain why I do not share a bedroom with my husband (also my carer). Problem is we use both rooms due to medical issues, and interrupted sleeping.

I sent all the supporting letters from my GP and Consultants to meet the criteria for exemption from the occupancy rule on medical grounds, only to receive a letter stating the application had been turned down because we could afford to pay for the tax (don't know how on the benefit we receive). I asked what about the medical grounds? Then told I could request a review which I did, 13 May. Called them yesterday, after a month, to be told eventually that they'd be looking at it on monday. Of course this doesn't help me to pay the arrears that are owed to the landlord who are seeking the notice of possession at the end of the month. What a farce. Fortunately the landlord knows what the situation is for many tenants at the moment. I feel very sorry for people who must cope alone with officialdom.

Sorry to vent -you sparked me off! It seems as if every time I have to interact with dwp or a government department there's some problem. I won't even mention the battle to get the atos form accepted and ESA support group approval. Or the DLA fiasco.

I'm going to go! Hope you get everything sorted out quickly.

I feel strangely at peace now. Nothing like a good rant. Ha.

Gina x


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