By an anonymous author in The Guardian.
I’m a call handler for the DWP, where empathy isn’t a trait that’s valued very much. But I’ve been on benefits and I know how difficult it can be looking for work while trying to survive on a minimal amount of money.
I wish I was the one who made the rules, especially after dealing with universal credit claimants for more than two years.
From day one, I’ve been told by long-standing colleagues and managers that it’ll get easier to deal with calls, that I should “shut off” and “not get involved”, but that isn’t the case.
I want to say to the claimants: I do empathise with you when you explain to me what’s happening to you, and how hard it is.
To the young lady I spoke to a few weeks ago regarding her childcare costs, I’m sorry the process wasn’t explained to you properly when you started your claim. I’m sorry you had to speak to four other people before me who all gave you the wrong information.
I tried to explain the process to you by using my own knowledge, since I am a working mother myself. But I was told by my manager I can’t use my personal
situation to relate to you, I must keep myself detached from anyone I deal with.
To the gentleman I spoke to recently regarding his claim, I’m sorry you lost your home because of the way the system works and lack of information. I’m sorry your landlord wasn’t more understanding about the seven-week delay on your housing benefit payment.
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