I had a bit of a meltdown this morning. Not huge, but enough to make my stomach so knotted I can’t even contemplate eating lunch. It was bound to happen, eventually, because I’ve had enough stress just recently to sink a ship but it still kind’ve came out of the blue.
Here in the UK we have welfare benefits for disabled people, ie those who have mobility issues or need help with bathing, dressing and/or feeding. The money is hard to come by and usually only given for a limited period before being reviewed, but as I have a brain injury, 2 genetic diseases which are never going to get better, and one acquired disease which after 26 years obviously isn’t going anywhere, I have an indefinite award. They’re as rare as hen’s teeth.
We have a scheme whereby if you have the higher mobility component of disability benefits it entitles you to a “blue badge”, which means you can park in restricted areas such as double yellow lines so that you’re closer to shops, doctors etc. I have a blue badge and it has to be renewed every 3 years.
Mine runs out in January, so I applied online last week to have it renewed. You have to send all sorts of paperwork, ie photo ID, a recent utility bill and a copy of your disability benefit award letter dated from the past 12 months. However, I have an indefinite award and already had a scanned copy of my letter from 2016 on my laptop so I sent that.
This morning I received an email saying they couldn’t send me my blue badge because I hadn’t sent a copy of my benefit award from this year. I email back it was an indefinite award and wasn’t that good enough? The reply was no, it wasn’t. I burst into tears. It was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back and I don’t have the resources to deal with it today.
This was my reply to my local blue badge team:
I cried when I received your email this morning. It was just the final straw for me, today. I’ve lived with painful, exhausting, chronic ill health for 26 years now. I live on my own, with hardly any care – the government cuts have seen to that, plus I live in the countryside and it’s almost impossible to get help even if you pay for it yourself privately. I’m currently without a cleaner, because she quit for a full time job and my house is filthy. I’m sleeping in a dirty bed.
Despite my own issues, I’m the main carer for my 80 year old parents. My Mum is wheelchair dependent with advanced heart and lung disease. I got up at 4am Friday morning to drive in the dark, fog and ice to take my Dad for a hip replacement operation – I felt so ill on the drive I had to pull over to vomit. I’ve had to wait in line for 40 minutes this morning to speak to his GP because he’s having complications and am now going to have to drive 14 miles to pick up a prescription for him, even though I don’t have the energy to get dressed yet.
Yesterday, I took my little rescue dog to the vets for an amputation of his toe. I’ve been awake half the night because he was in pain and couldn’t sleep. I’m so exhausted I can’t think straight.
I know it’s not your fault that the rules state you need a current award letter from this year. But, seriously, I have an indefinite award – that should be good enough. I’ve now had to spend 45 minutes trying to find this year’s pathetic inflation increase which was in a pile of paperwork 2 foot high in the corner of my lounge as I’ve not had the strength, or time, this year to file anything. Then I’ve had to scan every single page as it states on your website, even though this has meant 5 trips to the printer at the other end of the house to turn the pages over – another absolutely unnecessary chore when the information you need is on the first page.
You may like to bring my gripes to the attention of your boss at the next meeting you both attend. Blue badges are there to help very ill and disabled people, whose lives are hard enough without making them harder than they need to be.
p.s. no need for a reply, it’s not like anything you could say would make today better for me unless you’re offering to come and hoover or wash my bed sheets