Family misfortunes: smash the system before it smashes you

More from the wonderful world of UK bureaucracy!

It’s all very taxing

I’ve been trying to help my mother register for online self-assessment (SA) for income tax. After much hoohah, I was able to obtain her Unique Taxpayer Reference and Government Gateway login details last week. To register for SA, we then needed to get an access code from HMRC. This arrived in the post yesterday. I tried it this morning – it didn’t work.

I’ve also sent copies of the Powers of Attorney, and a signed statement from my mother that I can speak for her, to HMRC. This was delivered a week ago. HMRC now say that it will take at least another week for these to be registered with them. In the meantime, if I wish to speak with HMRC on behalf of my mother, she’ll need to verify this each time. So we’ll need to do a 3-way phone-call because I live 350 miles from her.

Giving us all the PIP

My sister’s initial application for Personal Independence Payments was turned down by DWP on 4 August (item 4). I spent a large part of a visit to the parental abode writing a reasoned request for a mandatory reconsideration. This morning I phoned DWP to check on progress. I was told:

  • They have received this request.
  • Because my sister countersigned it, it will be taken forward for mandatory reconsideration.
  • BUT my sisters signature, along with a request that I can speak for her on all PIP matters (and copies of relevant Powers of Attorney) are not enough for me to speak and act on her behalf. Instead they need my sister to formally appoint me as her representative. I’m told this process can take months.

Communications breakdown

The monitor on the family mac died a couple of days ago. Until last night, I could use TeamViewer to print anything I send them, or scan and email to myself anything they needed me to see (so long as my sister puts things in the scanner). Now TeamViewer requires me to enter a password that would appear on the remote mac’s monitor if it was working!

The comms breakdown is just a matter of bad luck and the kit being over 5 years old. But the HMRC and PIP stuff is knocking large lumps out of my state-socialist tendencies. If the current state can’t easily empower its citizens to do routine things such as pay tax and help each other engage with bureaucracy, then it is of no use. And if states generally have such failings, then they can all get stuffed.


1 thought on “Family misfortunes: smash the system before it smashes you

  1. Pingback: Family misfortunes: Bruce- or system-error? | Digital evidence that Bruce might have a life

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