The Great Name Change of 2016: So Many Phone Calls

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I got the official paperwork this morning, stamped and sealed, making what was legal properly official. A few weeks and I’ll have the notice from the London Gazette as well. Right now, however, it’s ‘let’s ring all the peoples’ time as I update my details.

Yesterday I started in earnest, going to my local council (finding it was bad enough), they took copies and changed my name on the electoral roll. They’re also going to reissue my council tax bill so I’ll have something with my new name and address on it. In a paperless world, this is something of a challenge but, for example, to change my bus pass to my new name I need to prove said name and residence. Fun.

I took the dog to Wetherspoons for breakfast and spent most of it on the phone to the DWP’s ESA and PIP departments. For them I need to take the deed poll to my local Job Centre and get them to fax it through (otherwise they wanted me to send the actual deed poll and I’m inclined to hold on to it for as long as possible, I need to send it with my passport application). This means having to deal with someone who will be like ‘do you have an appointment’. Oh and our Job Centre just moved to a stupidly far out of town location, up near Tescos which is served, vaguely, by a single bus per hour.

They are also very unfriendly, though the dog helps a bit.

The weirdest thing for me has been how easy it’s been to change some accounts, like my bank and one of my credit cards, and how hard others have made it. My main card company accepted it without even needing proof. My ‘spare’ card, for example, is one I seldom use but the company want a copy of the deed poll posting to them. Similarly, MedicAlert were fine with my notifying them and just emailing a copy over. My GP was similarly easy, just a matter of copying the document and updating a few bits in their computer system. Ditto guide dogs, who congratulared me and just changed the details. I should get my new ID in a couple of weeks.

I did my passport application online (short version: fuck, can they make forms any harder to understand?) The online version is, however, much easier when you’re visually impaired and can’t see TINY LITTLE BOXES or have a working black biro. I’m just hoping I didn’t mess up the form (last time, when I was 25, someone else did it for me and, even then, it was a renewal for a child’s passport).

The problem for me now is everyone wants a copy of the enrolled Deed Poll. Specifically the original. And it HAS to be the original, not a photocopy, despite the fact the DWP is going to fax it, which basically means … making a copy. Sigh. That said, if I can just get the form send out, then I’ll start getting paperwork with my new name and address on, which means I can do stuff like get my bus pass updated. I don’t really need to, of course, but it’s the principle. I take that part where you give up your old name quite seriously.

I can’t do, for example, my Blue Badge either as they only do new badges, not renewals so I have to wait until it’s within four months of expiration. At least by then I should have paperwork from the government confirming my disabled status (all my paperwork is in my previous name, though in theory I should be able to produce it and the deed poll and have no issues).

Though there have been a lot of phone calls, there haven’t actually been any serious pitfalls, just curiosity about why I’ve changed my name. Oh and if I’m still a ‘miss’. I’m like ‘please don’t make me married’. Of course, everyone assumes the name change is in relation to my status. Nope, still single.

I think I’ve broken the back of who I actually have to notify which is a relief. I’m quite looking forward to getting new cards in my new name and seeing it when I log in to my bank account, well it makes it real. This isn’t just a whim, it’s a serious life change and one I’m very pleased I made.

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