Nothing much is happening beyond the continuing attempts to battle with the benefits system while actually continuing to feed, clothe and house the family.
It is full of ironies. The first is that it transpires one cannot be ill and a single parent at the same time. By claiming incapacity benefit (for being designated as too ill to work by a doctor – “certified”, indeed) one is not eligible to be considered for help with council tax, mortgage interest repayments, school meals, prescription charges, dental care etc etc.
I applied for benefits as a lone parent with two young children and was not aware of the complexities of the situation. It seems those who make the decisions about these things are not aware of the complexities either. What I require is income support. I can’t have income support and incapacity benefit at the same time. I was awarded incapacity benefit which is for me alone, ignores the existence of the children and excludes the possibility of help with anything else beyond a payment of £61.35 per week.
So I have had to stop claiming incapacity benefit, (which unsurprisingly took immediate effect and elicited a letter a day later informing me all payments had ceased); I have opened a new claim for income support (which took four days and will take a further fortnight to process) and have appealed against the original decision to give me incapacity benefit rather than income support (which I have almost no faith will achieve anything).
It appears that now, after days of dragging the poor half-terming-holidaying children round municipal offices all over the borough of Brent, there is nothing left to do but to wait and hope.
Another irony is that if I sell anything to raise money in the interim I am deemed to have income. This then excludes the possibility of obtaining more in benefit than any object I have to sell is worth. The cut-off point for income is £25 per week so perhaps I could sell one item or group of items a week for £24.99 (just to be on the safe side).
Not ironic at all is my admiration for the principles of the ex. He regrets that it is not possible for him to provide financial support towards his child without negating more benefits than his contribution would cover. But obviously he cannot be a party to any form of benefit or tax fraud by making payments in any way other than directly into my bank account. It is inspiring to come across such honesty and devotion to the rule of law in a world where so many people think only of themselves.
Tomorrow I shall pick up my camera which, after a month away (presumably in intensive care) is now, I am told, better. (Oh yes, I mentioned that already. Well, no harm in enjoying the fact twice.) I shall have some time without the children also for the first time in a month (it’s really annoying being the only child of a disfunctional family – no relations around for childcare options) and I shall hang out with friends. I shall imbibe culture and companionship. And very probably coffee. And click, lots, I hope. 🙂