We decide that the time has come to get some help for Dad. Carers will need to be paid for.
I go online to the Gov.UK website and find the form to claim for Attendance Allowance*. It has to be filled in accurately, not missing out any detail, so that DWP can see exactly what the situation is.
The form is a 28 page document, taking a Very Long Time to fill in. I fill it in using a PDF file, printed it out and take it round to Dad for him to sign it. "What am I signing for?" he says. I tell him and he immediately forgets, asking me the same thing twice again.
I return to the Gov.UK website to find out where I should send it. The wording on the web page is:
Nick takes it into the post office to hand it to the post mistress (Nisa shop assistant) who gives him a telling off. It seems that the Post Office advice is that they should not accept items with a hand written Freepost address on it. They are only supposed to accept them if in a printed Freepost envelope or with a printed Freepost label.
Nick points out that that is what it says we should do on the Government website and she agrees to take it "at your own risk with no guarantee that it will be delivered".
This means that, having followed the instructions on the DWP website properly, there is a possibility that this document, containing very personal information about my father, including his bank details, might not be delivered and could go astray.
I write a polite but succinct letter to our MP about it. Meanwhile, instead of thinking "job done" and being able to sit and wait for a decision, I now have to worry about what happens to the blasted form.
Why does EVERYTHING have to be so damn hard?
A reply comes from our MP's office very quickly, after only two days in fact, saying they are writing, in the first instance, to the Post Office, to seek clarification on their policy regarding this matter and will keep me informed.
I can't help wondering if this incredibly prompt response has anything to do with the beating the government is taking for their appalling record on Social Care. And that maybe our MP's office staff have their computers set to filter out and prioritise any emails that contain the words "social services" or "care for the elderly".
Not that it will help one bit if my dad's bank details end up somewhere they shouldn't.
*Attendance allowance is a non-means tested benefit that can be used to pay for help with certain tasks in someone's own home.