It's not just the NZ Determinations Officer who's been issuing forms lately. They're all at it. Pensions administrators, the tax office, credit card agencies, insurance companies.
Used to be not a problem.
Used to be I could at least breeze through the first couple of questions anyway. Those later parts, the parts needing dates and details, and previous reference numbers and previous employers addresses... yeah they could slow me down, but full name, title, date and place of birth, telephone number yep I know those. Lately though, I've been getting stuck at the "Marital Status" bit...
I dunno which box to tick....
Only one of the usual options does not apply. I am very definitely NOT married. No wedding certificate, no quick Balinese beach ceremony or Las Vegas quickie to note. Which has quite obviously, saved me a small fortune in lawyers' fees and expensive new clothes. Hell, let's look on the bright side.
But "single"?? Single sounds like you are unattached but ready to get attached. Maybe if I was filling in a for for Soulmates R Us. com.. but I'm not. Nope, no thanks. Single sounds like I have a completely unfettered existence, no ties, no dependants, which, you know, if you are filling in the life assurance forms ain't the case... cheese, if I was single I wouldn't be applying for life assurance would I?
For a while back I was "separated" on forms. That was a nice, useful definition for bank accounts, and other interested parties who should know that I am filling in this form for just me, but there is this other bastard out there who could be trouble. "Separated" says "Please do not confuse my bank account with the Dybbuk's constant overdraft."
It was also a nice definition for anything to do with the cherub, the tax credit forms, the school records, parties where they needed to know there was another parent. We are separated, so we will need two copies of the forms and reports thanks very much.
The trouble started when "separated" stopped applying. I needed a category which meant, "separated, but we've ironed it all out, and now I'm caring for him here while we wait for him to die, and I'm really, really, Big Time, sorry"
For awhile the Jobcentre people kindly obliged by designating me W's carer - and even paid me £50 a week because I cared (who knows.. maybe if I'd cared less, been in a professional capacity, they'd have paid me more...). But you can't be separated from someone who's dead... can you? And as far as the Jobcentre is concerned you stops caring two months after date of death.
That would leave ... what, "widowed"? Nah. Obviously being a Scottish Widow carries a certain cachet around Edinburgh and it seems more appropriate for motor insurance - because you would not believe how carefully I drive now... but nah.. full circle.. no marriage licence.