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Good news.

So I finally have had some good news. My PIP, which is the benefit I get for my disabilities has been renewed at the higher rates indefinitely. That’s a huge deal for me. It means I get to keep my car and I’m not going to have to reapply every 3 years. I opened the letter this afternoon and burst into tears I was so relieved.

Part of me though is angry and frustrated. The benefits system in the UK has faults. And a lot of those faults lie with the people whose job it is to decide “how” disabled you are. I count myself lucky that I can just about cope on a daily basis. All be it with a lot of help and sometimes more spoons than I have, but I cope. I have a friend up  in Scotland who is unfortunately in a much worse off state than me. She broke her ankle quite badly a few years ago, and as a result of neglect by her hospital, it never got treated right and to this day, M has to crawl around her flat as she’s unable to put any amount of weight through that food. M had a motability car, like me. And she was receiving the higher rates of what PIP used to be, DLA. When it came time to change DLA to PIP, she wasn’t awarded the marks she would need to continue getting her car and she has had to send it back. Now this to me is wrong. On so many levels. M suffers quite badly with her mental health, and her car was the only means of independance she had. She was able to get to wheelchair rugby in her car, was able to see family and get shopping in herself. Without her car she’s pretty much stranded in her flat. And this is why I get annoyed. I’m fortunate that I’m nowhere near that poorly. Thank goodness. But yet I get the marks needed to be allowed to keep my car based on my heart and lung issues? Nope. Not OK. But how on earth do you argue with these people? She appealed it and got nowhere. Went to MP and got nowhere. It’s shocking. I can’t understand how anyone can look at M and not see how much she struggles.

While I’m beyond appreciative of the help I do get, there is that bittersweet feeling that people who are worse off than me don’t get the help. It’s frustrating.

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A Positive Step

Finally, things are going in some direction I want. I got confirmation this week thhat I’ve been awarded Employment Support Allowance, which for the first few weeks is the same as JSA but then it’s 100quid a week and being on ESA makes me eligable for things like Housing Benefit, free scripts and a reduced rate on any courses I decide to do. I’m getting a lovely back payment on Monday of about £380 which will be a welcome addition to my bank account considering the past few months I’ve had very little money. I’m going to give some money to Bobby who’s putting me up, and I’m gonna spend some money on books and clothes and save some.

Next Friday I’m going to Newcastle with the Red cross for the Great North run which I’m really looking forward to. It’s going to be my first mega big duty I’ve been to and my first weekend away with people not family, so it will be a good test as to how people react to my asthma on a more in depth basis. Because we’ll be staying over, they’ll see me doing all my meds, physio etc. Also I run the risk of them seeing me unwell which is slightly scaring me but that’s something I’ll cross if the need arises. As far as I know I’m sharing a room with two people I really trust so I’ll probably just explain to them. But it does depend on who I’m sharing with. I have a fear I’m sharing with a friend called Dini who’s a in her last year of medical school! I’m doooooomed! That and if I end up sharing with Andrea, we’ll be having a nightly wheeze off.

I’m really looking forward to the weekend though and here’s hoping it passes without incident!