Saturday, February 1, 2014

I've lost count of the amount of times that people have said, 'But they help you, don't they.' These people are referring to my physical predicament, and how my home no longer works for me. These people, when pressed, cannot tell you who 'they' are, and what qualifies as 'help.'

So, I'll tell you about my experience of the 'help.' Several years ago I contacted my local home improvement agency (HIA) based at my local council. I was finding the steps at the front of my property difficult, so a handrail was installed. The same was done inside, alongside the stairs. Magic! Thank you! And for a while, that was enough. But as time passed, I degenerated, and I needed more help. An occupational therapist (who'd been hired by the local council) wrote a report saying I needed a downstairs bedroom and bathroom. And she was right.

Let battle commence......

The council denied me this help because they said....

a, my house was too small.

It's a 3 bedroomed house. If I applied for a council house, I would be eligible for......a 3 bedroomed house.

b, my house is excessively cold.

This said without the council measuring the temperature. Ever. Not once. Let alone over a period of time. 

c, my house is uninhabitable.

d, my house is worth £47,000.

I am linking c and d, because my house was valued recently by 3 estate agents with an average of £180,000. And ALL of the estate agents said I didn't need to do a thing to prepare for sale, as it was presented beautifully. And what bearing does the value of my home have on my needing help?

Never once did the council back up what they were saying with facts. Probably because they didn't have any. We, in our fight back, provided facts, professional opinions of builders, architects, surveyors, solicitors and Foundations, a government body set up to oversee all HIA's. We had to go through 3 stages of complaint, and then on to the ombudsman. I had faith that here, at least, we would get a balanced view. Well, that bubble popped when it became apparent that the ombudsman dealing with our case, didn't know that disabled adaptions are VAT exempt. I wouldn't expect the average person on the street to know this, but if it's what you're dealing with in your job, then yes! You should know it!

When you work, you have no choice but to pay into the pot. When misfortune befalls you, in my case in the form of a bad luck illness, you believe the pot you paid into will be there, to support you. What you find instead, is that someone is holding the pot lid on REALLY tightly. We put up a really good fight with that lid, but sadly, the grip was not loosened. And we left the fight battered, bruised, disheartened and empty handed. But proud of the fight we put up.

'They help you, don't they?' I can honestly say, no, they do not. They have, however, made me feel like a worthless piece of shit.

So, what now?

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