I Couldn't Care Less: Part Three

1 Conversation

A hypodermic needle and a vial


My wife has not worked in... a while now. She can't lift very well, and she can't
stand for long periods of time, her fine motor skills have deteriorated to the point
of stripping her of skills she was previously quite adroit at. She is dyslexic so her
literacy is limited and her numeracy is worse. My computer, it seems, recognises the
word 'innumeracy' but does not acknowledge the word 'numeracy', which is a trifle
odd. I digress. We shall, at some point, go and speak to her doctor and ask whether,
in his considered opinion, she can still consider herself employable. He has already
advised against her working more than a very limited number of hours, so whichever
way you cut it, she can't earn a great deal of money and her employment prospects
are somewhat limited. Good start.

Money is of course an issue for anyone, but more so if you have a disability
because there are numerous costs. My wife will walk to the doctor and to the
hospital whenever she can but she has frequent crippling joint pain, asthma and a
predisposition to contracting whatever illnesses happen to be drifting in her general
direction, which means that all too frequently the only practical way to get from home
to a medical practitioner and back involves paying someone.

In fairness to the Government they have been prevailed upon to give us Disability
Living Allowance. They give us £17 a week. What exactly they imagine this pays for,
I'm not sure, but they gave it to us extremely grudgingly. We asked once and they
said no, so we appealed. They said no again. Then we asked a second time and they
said no, so we appealed again and they said no again. We asked a third time and they
said no. This time, before launching our third appeal I scouted the internet a little. Past
the Government website Direct.Gov, which tends towards offering single sentences
and a lot of links to other pages containing other single sentences and a lot of links,
past a couple of charitable sites which didn't have much to say for themselves, I
found the decision makers guide to allocated benefits. Not just the guide to how the
good people of the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions, which used to be the
Department for Social Services, I think, but God knows, frankly) allocate Disability
Living Allowance. This was information used by the decision makers as to how to
allocate every type of benefit the DWP gives anyone. This is nothing less than a
comprehensive guide to benefit fraud. Equally, it told me in clear and precise terms,
all well and comprehensively defined, that my wife was entitled to disability living
allowance, providing we emphasised the bits they thought were important.

To this day I'm not sure whether it's stupid to put this information on the internet in the first
place, or inexcusable that they don't make any effort at all to tell people that it's there.
Anyway, you've got through part one, realising you're a carer. You've got through
part two, panicking about it. That will come up in parts five, six, seven, eight and...
well, most of the rest of the bookShameless H2G2 reference..
Anyway, now you've started to manage your money. Which is to say, you've
accepted the fact that you haven't got any. Don't panic. Onwards to part four. Oh, and
if you've got a minute, why not visit Carers of H2G2.

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