/hɛðə/ (she_who_dares) wrote in bad_service,

Job Centre Suck

I work very irregular part-time hours (I'm a substitute teacher and work here is scarce), and as I've worked a couple of days recently, I've been expecting a letter from the JobCentrePlus unemployment benefits processing centre, telling me I've earned too much to be eligible for Job Seeker's Allowance for that week. That part's totally fine - some weeks you earn a lot, some weeks you earn nothing at all so are eligible for payment.

What I was not expecting, however, was to receive a copy of A COMPLETE STRANGER'S declaration of hours worked, including such confidential information as her full name and home/work addresses, her manager's name and signature, and HER NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER - the UK equivalent of a social security number.

Goodness knows.
1) My name and hers are nothing alike.
2) We do not live in the same town - indeed, she would be covered by one Job Centre office and me by another entirely. We both live in the same county, but on completely opposite sides! The only thing we share is that both our local job centres send claim forms to the same centre for processing, which is how we know it's their mistake.
3) Our National Insurance numbers aren't remotely similar, so we know someone can't have typed hers into the system, made a little mistake and got my address.
4) We don't have similar jobs, working hours, or pretty much anything!

After making about six different phone calls, the JCP call centre eventually decided which was the correct number to ring to report it, where a helpful lady said she'd get hold of someone at the processing centre to call me back to tell me what was going on, as they don't take calls from the public. Fine. However, I get a call back from one of their supervisors who doesn't have any more idea of what's going on than I do, as they've looked up me and the other lady and there is no record of them sending either of us ANYTHING over the last two weeks, so they can't tell me if they've sent something with my details on to her by mistake. All the supervisor could do was offer to send me a stamped addressed envelope to send the document back to them for their records.

What I've done is looked up the phone number of the business she works for and left a message, in case she's received something with my details on and not had the chance to report it yet/if she's not had the chance to collect her post.

All I can say is that I've had a lot of personal experience of jobcentreplus!fail, but this really takes the cake.
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