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My story

RichardDarlingRichardDarling Posts: 1Member Listener
edited May 19 in Ask a benefits advisor
I have suffered with severe reccurrent depression and anxiety for over 30 years since I was 14. I Also I suffer with chronic Degenerative Disc Disease in my lumbar spine and gout which causes chronic pain in all my joints which has got worse in the last 5 years. I also have fatty liver, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. I can also suffer with blurred vision, migraines, chronic sinusitis, mobility problems.

I was a part time family carer with mum  for the last 11 years to care for my elderly severely disabled father aged 79. This ended in January 2017 when my father requested to be housed with own flat with carers as he hates us. This has destroyed my parents marriage of 46 years and he has left us with debts and no money. My father only cared about himself and when he became severely disabled due sepsis of the spine 11 years ago he expected us to care for him. My father wouldn't go to respite to give me and mum a break. We had very little help or  support from Adult Social Services they ignored the Carers Act. My mum I have been unemployed again since August 2016.

I became suicidal in December 2016 and I referred myself to NHS Crisis Team to get help. They referred me back to Adult Social Services which was huge conflict of interest as they were only concerned with what my father wanted. My parents have been living on my fathers DWP Disabled benefits for the last 11 years. We moved into council social housing ground floor flat in July 2011 and we had our rent/ Council tax paid by the local council. The mental health services and social services for family carers is inept. Social Services allowed my father too be housed else where and they left us with no food, debts/bills, no money except my ESA of £103 per week and my mums state pension of £119 per week to live on.

We live in a small rural village with very poor public transport services. I am struggling to run my car which I need to travel and its due for its annual MOT / Service by the end of May 2017. My mum was told by CAB that she was entitled to DLA and now Attendance Allowance for her arthritis and should been claiming for it already for last 10 years. Social services stopped us receiving my dads state pension and attendance allowance, pension credit straight away at the end of January 2017.

Straight away this happened we then contacted DWP to mum to apply for attendance allowance, pension credit and housing benefits. I then applied for PIP. That was 4 months ago and we are still waiting for them to be processed and setup.  Me and mums mental health/ Physical health has been made more severe. Our bills our mounting up we too depressed to deal with any thing. We had to rely food banks which is mainly tins etc. I have had some mental health recovery support and peer support from a local charity which is helping but I can't recover with no money to function or eat properly making you house bound.

Once we have benefits setup and I can then start to function by creating a routine, eating properly, increasing my outside activities, do volunteer admin and peer support work for a local charity and return to my accountancy course. Eventually later this year I can start looking for a long term part time or full time paid admin work in Finance.

Through my recovery journey its local Charities that have helped  and cared about us. Its now inspired me to become an advocate for Mental Health Services to break the stigma, make aware where to find support and to improve services. We need to change peoples attitudes and perception of Mental Health and what poor mental health does to a person if not treated properly which will cause long term  chronic illnesses and physical disabilities.

Replies

  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 777Member Chatterbox
    edited May 26
    @RichardDarling What a terribly sad story. Can you tell us a little more about what stage your benefit claims are at so someone on here can advise you what to do to hurry things along. It's clear from what you say you need these sooner rather than later...
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 3,024Administrator admin
    Hi @RichardDarling how are you getting on? Have you seen our benefits calculator?
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 1,241Member, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hi RichardDarling,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Once your mum's attendance allowance comes through it may be worth thinking about your options. You could stay on ESA and if you get PIP (which I hope you will) then that could increase the amount of ESA you get.

    Or another option could be to claim carer's allowance and income support (instead of ESA), if you feel that you care for your mum at least 35 hours a week. Income support can be more than ESA in these circumstances. 

    Hopefully your mum will get pension credit too, and the housing benefit you need. Make sure that if you haven't already done so, you apply for help with the council tax (called council tax reduction or council tax support). It sounds though as if you have had good advice from the CAB. You might want to consider complaining to the DWP offices that are taking ages with your PIP and your mum's AA claims (and anything else which is delayed). You could ask the CAB or the other local charity you mention for help with this.

    You're absolutely right that money is incredibly important in helping people with any sort of mental health issue. Money problems so often make everything worse and it's not right - it shouldn't be so difficult to get what you are entitled to. I'm very impressed that you have now become an advocate and really hope that your benefits, and your mum's, get sorted soon.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Will Hadwen
    Lee Kempson
    Jayne Knights
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland

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