This week has been exhausting and physically demanding. I told my parents that they had better speak up about any jobs which needed doing because after this week nothing is getting done for a very long time. I need to rest up before my surgery, not arrive there shattered and ill, then of course I’m facing a long recovery period when I’ll be able to do very little. So they gave me a list as long as your arm and I’ve been there every single day this week getting it all done.
I contacted Social Services to ask for some home care while I recover. They only provide help with bathing and meals, the cost of which is partly borne by you and part by them. They’ll wash you, but put you back in dirty clothes and a dirty bed because they don’t do laundry. And they’ll cook for you, but not provide you with any food. It’s fucking insane. Private care companies provide all the other care tasks and charge you £16.50 an hour for the priviledge – where I’m supposed to get that money from I don’t know.
Which brings me on to the financial assessment for Social Services funded care. They want to know every penny you receive in income………..but aren’t really that bothered about your outgoings. There are no questions on how much your food bill is, or the fact you need to own a car as there is zero public transport. Eating and getting to the bank to actually draw out money are obviously unimportant considerations. There are loads of questions about rent and hardly questions about having to pay a mortage (don’t get me started on that……you can claim housing benefit if you live in a rented house, but nothing if you have a mortgage. Yes, once you’ve spent 40 years paying off your morgage you may have capital in your house – which you can’t access unless you sell and buy somewhere smaller, which in my case would be a tent, or when you’re dead). The whole thing is a farce.
Speaking of farces, the UK is implementing a ‘living wage’ in April. This will guarantee workers £7.20 per hour which, over a 40 hour week, equates to £15,000 ($21,500) a year. This is the very minimum the government thinks you need to survive on. However, if you are sick and unable to work you receive Employment and Support Allowance of £108 per week, which equates to approx £5,500 ($8,000) per year – £10,000 ($14,500) less than a ‘living wage’. As far as I’m aware, a loaf of bread costs a sick person just the same as it costs a healthy person, yet we’re expected to survive on a third of the money a healthy person needs for a basic standard of living. The reason ESA is so low is to “incentivise” ill people back into work – it can’t pay to be “on the sick”. I’m not quite sure what job someone in their fifties with early onset Alzheimers, or someone with advanced Multiple Sclerosis, is supposed to do? Professional street begger perhaps?
I had my Orthotics appointment this week to have my custom-made insoles fitted – it’s only taken 6 months. I have to wear them in gradually and I think it will take a long time to get used to them, despite the fact they’re as soft and cushioned as they could make them.
In the UK, in addition to ESA which we get when we’re sick we can also claim disability money called PIP. This is supposed to help with transport, care in the home and aids and adaptations although it’s such a small amount (£250 or $360 per month) that most people use it to pay for cleaners, shoppers and other really useful help. The Government, in their infinite wisdom, are currently trying to decide if PIP should be scrapped because any aids, adaptations and care we need is already provided by the state. Are they fucking kidding me? As you can see above, barely any home care is provided by the state. Wheelchairs are provided, but not mobility scooters – I can’t self-propel a wheelchair so need an electric scooter to get around, not withstanding the fact I live in a village with no pavements. I am allowed 1 pair of orthotic insoles per year, despite the fact I need at least 3 pairs for my wellies, boots and slippers. My wrist braces wear out after about 6 months, but again I’m only allowed 1 pair per year from the state – so I buy the rest I need on Amazon. And so on, ad nauseum. The whole thing would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening.
I really do think that my Government wants all sick, disabled and old people to just hurry up and die because we cost the “hardworking taxpayer” far too much money. The fact that we all used to be “hardworking taxpayers” before we got sick (I was working 3 jobs) and have paid National Insurance contributions towards the cost of our care is apparently irrelevant.