Tag Archive: Benefits


Christmas at the Asylum

Christmas has definitely started here.  The staff put a tree and decorations up about a week ago and today they gave our bungalow two tins of biscuits and two tubes of sour cream and onion Pringles.  They told us there was tons of food and if we couldn’t see it to ask.

We’ve also got painters in, and they are in the kitchen at the moment, from whence can be heard lots of laughter and giggles.  Last time I saw I think they were laughing at something on one of their mobile phones.  They did the bathroom and shower earlier this week.  They are starting on our bedrooms after Christmas.

At least two of this bungalow’s residents are going to be away for an extended leave at Christmas, and one is possibly going to be gone for two nights, which means I will be on my own in the bungalow for possibly two nights but definitely for a fair bit of Christmas day.  I’m getting used to being here and sharing now, it could be odd being on my own when I leave.  Hopefully it will be nice though, having my own space.  Being able to drink a glass of wine in my home space again will be nice.

All the women in this bungalow get on all right with each other.  There is none of the nastiness that existed at Macmillan Close with the two women who kept picking on me there.  Three out of four of us are homeless, the other has a home but I think some work is being done on it, if I remember rightly.  Something like that anyway.

I can’t remember if I said that my benefits have been slashed by £50 a week to £60.90.  If it weren’t for my storage I could cope with that quite happily, but things are going to be extremely tight.  I can’t afford to go out, so I’ve been staying in.

I’ve also started buying meat, eggs and cheese again from the supermarket.  I decided that if I was going to eat omnivorously when I am out sometimes I should bring the decision home and start cooking omnivorously again.  I am enjoying it most of the time, tastes that I’ve not had for ages, butter instead of sunflower spread, for instance.  I sometimes feel revolted by the fact that I am eating dead animal which stays in my digestive system, and think of all the animal fats clogging my arteries and the increased risk of diet-related cancers.  I’ve also found bowel movements more difficult.  For now though this is the decision I have taken, and am enjoying the variety of tastes and textures that are available to me again.  I have forgotten how to cook meat though, so I find myself looking things up on the internet.

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Visit to Housing Aid

I went to Housing Aid yesterday with my care co-ordinator and spoke to someone called Rebecca.  She said that I’m not eligible for housing in Nottingham but that I am still eligible in Lewisham because I’ve lived there for three out of the last five years, so she is going to try and sort that out for me. I’m not sure that I am eligible though because I’ve now been homeless for almost 27 months. She said my sister isn’t a link because she hasn’t lived in Nottingham for three out of five years.  And she gave us the name of another housing association for direct application.

My benefits have now been cut to £60.90 per week because I have been in hospital for over a year.  I’m not sure how I am going to manage if I don’t get a realistic offer soon.  I still have to pay over £140 per month in storage costs.  To me a realistic offer is a place big enough to put my things in so I can bring them out of storage.  I’m very attached to my belongings, so I don’t want to get rid of anything.  It feels as if I could lose them because I might not be able to keep up with storage costs.  If that happens, everything I have spent on storage will have been a waste of money.

Bulgaria Better Than Psychiatry

I’m thinking about Bulgaria again, and have been for a while.  I am still homeless and it is still possible to buy a house in stages there, if I can make peace with the person who was sending me details of such houses before, or find someone else who does the same thing.  I became annoyed with the last person I was talking to because he kept talking about crazy and mental, and it offended me.  In the end he said he didn’t think we could do business.  I don’t know of anyone else offering his terms.

The beauty of Bulgaria, apart from the natural beauty, is that I could shortly afford to buy a property there and it would be my own.  This would put me in a position I have never been in before, would alter my relationship with the country and its people and would greatly increase my personal stability, because the property would be my own.  Nothing to fear from landlords, and therefore not much cause for fear from anyone else really.

The UK and Bulgaria have an arrangement with each other whereby my British benefits could be paid into a Bulgarian bank account, except I would lose an element of my DLA.  I could take great joy and pleasure living in Bulgaria.  This is something I need to look into further.  When I was on Redwood 2 there was a man called John Butterworth who told me about this international arrangement.  He was the benefits advisor, but he left and he wasn’t replaced, so the job no longer exists.

We are getting to 2014, when Bulgaria comes into full relationship with the EU.  Very soon after that house prices there could soar, so I need to act almost immediately, except I can’t, because I don’t have enough money.  I need accommodation here first so that I can get all my benefits back in full, if saving is going to be a viable option.  In all my thinking I had really forgotten the stability that owning a property would give me.  I feel it as a joyful necessity and opportunity.

 

This petition closes on 20th March shortly after midday.  It is a request that people with diagnoses of severe mental health problems should be excluded from the 2013 DLA assessments in the UK, on the grounds that assessors who don’t know them may think they are well and can cope when they cannot.

I am in two minds about this, but I have added my signature.  The creator of the petition fears that losing benefits will push some people over the edge and there will be more suicides, homelessness, etc.  Among people who are really ill this fear will be justified.  Please add your signature.

https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/35092

Employment And Support Benefit

Without having received the letter I was supposed to receive I have been taken off Income Support and put on Employment and Support Benefit.  In the process I have lost £100, approximately, every two weeks.

In the meantime I am still in hospital, and because I have no Care Co-ordinator or social worker I am still paying about £150 a month for my storage, although I am entitled to have it paid for me under Section 117 of the mental health act, which is concerned with aftercare.  Having been on a Section 3 before this one I am still entitled to aftercare following that.

Obviously something needs to be done about this, but at the moment I am not sure what.  I don’t know if I can get an appointment with the benefits advisor.  I don’t know why I’m not entitled to Income Support anymore.  Until now I have been deemed to have a serious illness, in spite of all my own efforts to get them to re-examine my claim and diagnosis over the years.

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