I had a telephone call from a man yesterday who didn’t seem to know very much. He was calling from the DWP to tell me that I am no longer eligible for ESA following my recent medical assessment. Apparently, you have to score 15 points to be eligible and I scored zero! I find this a little bizarre as I had medical evidence showing that my mental health had declined from last year and he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) answer any of the questions I had, didn’t offer any advice, just kept on telling me that my benefit claim has been closed. I sort of appreciate this “personal” touch of them ringing people up rather than sending a bog standard letter but I would rather have the letter turn up as it at least tells me what I can do next whereas the man on the phone didn’t offer any options up. He did eventually tell me that tomorrow’s payment will turn up as normal and that I can appeal against the decision but I had to drag that out of him. I used to have to give this information to people face to face when I worked in a job centre and I am sure that I used to advise them a lot better than I was advised!
So, I am now waiting for a letter to turn up, stressed about how everything will go and how long the appeal will take, will it affect my other benefits etc…not a great thing to lump on someone with depression really! Thankfully, I have my first assessment appointment with my mental health team this afternoon, I think I know how that will go already!
When I moved into my little flat last January, I had very little in the way of “big stuff” for a flat. I had a bed, single mattress, vacuum cleaner, clothes and not much else. A friend lent me a washing machine and microwave and also let me relieve her of a corner sofa as she had a new one on order. I bought a fridge freezer and bingo, I was sorted. I bought other bits and pieces as I needed them, always cheaply as I am on benefits so don’t have huge amounts of spare cash to throw around.
Not that long ago, I managed to damage the seat on the sofa and am now in the position where I need to buy a new one as it is uncomfortable to sit on and I am sinking deeper into it! I sat down for several weeks and looked into any way that I could save money to buy one, even a secondhand one or, at a push, an armchair but every option was way beyond my budget.
I could have let myself get really down about this, a few months ago I probably would have done but now, I decided that I would investigate how to get it. A crisis loan is out of the question as I was told by the lady at the jobcentre that they have been stopped. I refuse to go to somewhere like Brighthouse or take out a payday loan so I took to the internet.
I found a website on one of my searches that could be used to search for charities and other organisations that would help someone in my situation. I emailed an application form to a charity and waited. Within a few days, they sent me a letter and advised me to get prices for a sofa and send them in. I got back on the internet and into the shops and sent off my request to the charity. It’s funny how nerve-wracking the waiting can be for something like this. I had a brief glimmer of hope but would they allow me to buy the sofa I wanted or would I have to go back to searching for one that they approved of? As luck would have it, I needn’t have worried, my request was approved and I am hoping to be able to order my sofa next week.
The moral of this is if you need something like this, there probably is someone out there who will be able to help but the key is to not be embarrassed about asking. If you had said to me 2 years ago that I would be getting money from a charity to buy a new sofa I would have laughed but, here I am now, excited about the chance to get a new sofa and proud of myself for asking for help. This is key, not everyone can access this sort of help, I know but if you don’t ask you don’t get.
Oh and if you come to see me over the next few months, please be kind to my sofa.