It has been far too long since I wrote anything on here.
It’s not as if I’ve been leading a dizzying life full of trips, and shopping, and all those other things that people used to take for granted, but which I couldn’t do anyway – in fact, my life has had very little change from the last time I posted anything!
I’m still sheltering, as I wait for my first vaccine jab – which I’m assured will be next week with any luck.
I’m still struggling to cope on my own – although it helps that my daughter has come to live in the next town to my little village, so I do see her regularly, as part of my ‘bubble’, when she’s not working in her PA capacity.
And I’m still waiting for the government to acknowledge, for all of us who are still on the so-called Legacy Benefits, that we have just as great a need – if not more so – of that same £20 a week uplift, that those on UC have been getting since this nightmare started!
The vast majority of us still on Legacy Benefits, are Disabled, and so have more expenses , as we have to pay far more to cope with living with those disablities. We need extra to pay for the PPE we have to buy for ourselves, and those who help to look after us; extra for food, whose prices have shot up through the roof since the virus took a hold – and because so many of us have varing problems with our diets – at the least, trying to eat a healthier diet – and, often, not being able to cook for ourselves.
We need extra for the oil, or gas, or electric – or all three – that have also shot up in price, but which, for those disabled who aren’t tolerant of the cold, as I’m not, we need to have our homes as warm as we’re able to afford, or suffer even more pain on top of all that we have to cope with already!
These are just the things I can think of, off the top of my head – and for which we are getting the princely weekly raise of 34 pence, in April – yes, you read that right – 34 pence a week!
Really, I should be used to the way that the government either lambasts us, or makes sure that the public gets an entirely wrong view of us all. I still feel such anger at the injustice of being spoken of, as if we were theives, for taking the benefits that we are perfectly, and justly, entitled to – especially when you consider what MPs, and other government officials, claim on their expenses every week!
I will never forget the way the government used the very tiny amount of benefit fraud (around 0.4% I believe) as their justification in turning all of our lives upside down.
They used this ‘fraud’ as an excuse to create ‘new’ benefits, that not only have the most humiliating, and inhumane, processes of application, but which also make you wait weeks, if not months, to get money to live on – especially if you dare to disagree with their ‘findings’, and ask for them to look at their decisions again, because they have ‘found’ that you have had a miraculous cure for whatever has been making you deathly ill, or disabled, for years – with no hope of regression!
As a group, we disabled have only really just started to recover from the changing over of Incapacity Benefit to ESA, and then DLA to PIP – and now the government are trialing another ‘scheme’ – one where they are putting all benefits together, when the time comes for us to be ‘assessed’ for them – and please don’t get me started on the so-called ‘assessments’!
I really believe that doing this will be a worst disaster for the disabled, than anything else they’ve thought up, to make our lives more of a hell than it already is – and here’s one reason why:
Just over three years ago, my husband died suddenly. He was, apart from being my best friend and soulmate, also my Carer, despite his own health problems – these developed after years of looking after me, with no breaks (we could never afford a holiday, and were never offered respite for him to have one anyway!).
Because he was my Carer, we were told that he had to claim for us both, and the pittance extra that they gave him for caring for me 24/7, 12 months of the year, was actually taken away, bar a few pounds, because we were getting ESA.
So – basically, my husband was looking after me day and night – for bugger all – thus saving this government an absolute fortune!
Anyway, when my darling man died, the minute I informed the DWP, they immediately stopped our money – the ESA he was claiming for us both; the Carer’s Allowance (haha); and the money that was sent directly to our Landlord for our rent – the DWP even demanded back the 2-weeks payment of ESA, that had just gone into our bank account a day or two before my hubby died!
They also told me that I would have to claim ESA for myself, as well as the Housing Benefit – despite just being widowed, and prostrate with grief, and having to cope with allof the grueling processes, and decisions, that were a result of this!
I was left without a penny to my name, and if it wasn’t for the kindness of friends, buying some of my husbands tools from me, I would have been left for the 10-odd weeks it took to sort out everything, with no money bar my PIP – which I needed, to pay towards the help that I used to have!
Believe me, if it hadn’t been for the PIP, I would have soon been starving!
As it happens, I had also gone through the awful process of changing over from DLA to PIP, late the previous year. After the amount of detail I’d had to go into, in order to prove to them that I needed that help, they had every single detail about myself in their records already – but the DWP insisted that PIP was totally separate from ESA, with different assesment priorities, and so I must apply for the ESA from the beginning!
I won’t even mention the so-called Widow’s Pension, either – what a joke that was!
Because it took so long, as I said, without that PIP, I would have been starving by the time it was all sorted out – and that was only done as ‘quickly’ as it was, because I had friends helping me to push them to get it done!it
So, if the government do change things again, and everyone who is on ESA, UC, as well as PIP, have to have joint assessments – given the fact that the DWP insisted to me that ESA and PIP are totally separate benefits, with different priorities of assessment – then just how are they going to make these assessments fair for everyone – and how will they guarantee that everyone will be able to live, while they go through what will be an even longer assessment process?
The way that things are right now, as bad as they are, at least it gives you something to live on, if you are assessed for one benefit, while the other is still going, and while you go through the herculean task of claiming the benefit! If the various benefits are put all together, we will have nothing to help us survive all of those weeks, possible months, before it’s all sorted!
And, no, there are very few people on benefits, who can save to put something away for a rainy day, as was suggested by a very rich, entitled, MP – especially as it rains every single day when you have nothing!
The government keep spouting that they can give ‘loans’ to people, while they wait for their benefits to be sorted out.
But what they don’t tell the public, is how much of your weekly benefits – which aren’t even at a survivable rate in the first place, especially as the cost of living is not being taken into account each year – that they are going to take away each week, to repay those ‘loans’!
Benefits are set at a so-called rate of survival – take even a penny away from that, and it’s desperation time!
I read recently that the DWP are having to reduce the repayment rates for these ‘loans’, from 40% a week, to 25% a week but, probably, this is only because half of those on UC, now, are those who have lost their jobs because of the Virus – and so the government are trying to make it appear as if UC is a very well thought out thing, indeed – which, if you asked anyone who has been on it since the beginning, they could tell you otherwise!
How can anyone, who is unable to save even a penny, and with no rich family or friends to help them out, afford to live on what would be left after the ‘loan’ is taken away every week? It baffles me that people aren’t aware of this or, if they are, can’t see just how bad a situation it is leaving people in!
I was so very fortunate that I only had the usual things to pay out, when I went through this dreadful process – utilities, food, oil, etc.
If we had been in debt at the time my hubby died, I really don’t know how I could have survived.
The level of Benefit payments in the UK, despite the government spouting huge figures overall is, literally, paid only at a survival rate, not a livable one – we all know how low people’s wages are, here in the UK, so imagine having to survive on much less than that? Especially as workers today are having to claim UC, or working tax credits, in order to make up their wages in the first place!
I still can’t get my head around the fact that there are still countless amounts of working people, who support a government that only feel contempt for them!
If they were a decent government, they would insist that workers have a decent wage – at least £15 per hour is needed for a Livable Wage, let alone all of those people who are stuck in zero hour jobs, who have no choice but to claim UC in order to eat – when they can afford to even do that!
While the rich have quadrupled their wealth, if not more, in this last year – making money hand-over-fist, while countless thousands of us all died – they have made little, to nothing, in contributions to our taxing system – while those workers who are paid the least, pay a huge percentage of what little they earn, in taxes of one kind or another.
The fact that there was a big hoohah, recently, over the suggestion that the rich should pay a higher rate of tax on their Capital, says it all really, doesn’t it? What didn’t surprise me, was Starmer – our so-called LOTO’s stance on it, either!
I do believe that Brexit is partly at fault for our problems here, too, as too many people listened to the lies of those who wanted to break away from the EU – but, I hate to say it, so much of the fault lies with those who are keeping this government in power, year after year, with their ‘I’m all right, Jack’, attitudes
What will it take, to rid us of this greedy, amoral, theiving, band of Bullingdon Boys?