Not a great day today - a colleague had a breakdown yesterday, I have to tell someone they aren't entitled to money a colleague seems to have incorrectly told them they could get, and I'm trying to work out what someone who has an illness caused by asbestos is entitled to. Also I woke up this morning to find that my hair obviously hadn't been 100% dry when I went to bed - so it got BIG on one side. Only one side.
But having said that - I had on the whole a lovely bunch of customers today.
And then there was this woman.
Firstly she wants a solicitor for a family problem. It's a perfectly reasonable thing to see us for - except she's (a) already had more specialist advice than we can give, (b) been told she can get a free solicitor but (c) told that to see a free solicitor she must first provide X piece of evidence of her earnings.
So - Yes you can have a free solicitor. Yes you need that piece of paper. No I can't do anything without that.
Oh - your husband wanted advice too, and you didn't explain this to the receptionist and now you're blaming her ? OK, the receptionist is new and doesn't deserve hassle from the likes of you so I'll advise your husband and basically see an extra person today.
I don't like you very much.
So I start to advise her husband, accept he (a) doesn't speak English, and (b) keeps leaving the room with the crying baby. Which is nice and shows a concern for both me and the baby which I rather like, but makes it kind of difficult to get information from him.
So I'm stuck asking this loon-headed woman.
She tells me her husband is having trouble getting work because of his home office papers. She asks what he can do about this - and can he get any benefit.
Now again, these are questions I can answer. I just need to know some things first. What is her husband's current immigration status ?
She doesn't know.
She eventually says he has X status but keeps showing paperwork regarding an application. The application does not mean he was given that status, in fact it's quite possible they still haven't decided.
Every question I ask she can't answer. She doesn't know if there are any other decisions, or paperwork. She claims he can work and claim because he has done both in the past - that doesn't actually mean that was correct.
Then she tells me the reason they have no paperwork is because they've sent all the paperwork to the home office when they married. But she has no idea why
This tells me 2 things. Firstly if he had X status the home office wouldn't require them to send anything about the marriage. Secondly this woman is a complete and utter idiot.
I explain that I really need to know what application they made, she shrugs. I ask (which I know is pointless but sometimes I can't help myself) how she can not know, and she says "Well, you know, that's what you do sometimes".
No. No it isn't. No one
makes random applications to the home office, no one makes applications they don't know about. It probably cost £400 odd just to send the forms in, those where forms you had to read and put down very specific information on, you had to send specific relevant paperwork. People don't just do that!
A second brain to mouth filter function led me to actually tell her that really people don't do this, but my face/voice filter is better so I did it through a happy smile rather than while hitting her round the head.
I told her I couldn't help at all without further information, and apologised (thank you brain to mouth filter). She started saying "That's OK". She said it 3 times, then she started saying "That's OK. Complete waste of my time". Then she continued out of the building getting louder and louder until she was shouting this and something in her own language.
Yes - it was a complete waste of her time. This was not my fault.