It is not just the elderly who struggle in the weather!
A couple of days ago I was watching the BBC News at One, they were talking about the cold weather that has now hit us.
The advice was that we should look out for the elderly and how the elderly can keep warm and they spoke to an organisation that helps them with advice.
Not one mention was made about those of us who have a disability and or chronic illness, now this certainly warmed me up, in fact it made my blood boil!
Unlike pensioners we don’t get any help with winter fuel bills, the only time we do get something is if it falls below zero for seven consecutive days an in this corner of the country, that is a rare occurrence.
Now I am not saying that pensioners shouldn’t get this allowance, I think it is a great scheme but it is not means tested and that means that anyone above a certain age gets this pay out and that includes the wealthy. Would it not be better to make the Winter Fuel Allowance means tested and include those who have a disability and or chronic health condition, it would be easy to implement. It could be anyone who receives a certain reward of the PiP payment automatically gets the money to keep warm.
We struggle to pay our fuel bills, money is very tight and that is made worse by the fact that our rent isn’t paid in full by the Housing Benefit, it is not because we live in a property that is flash, in fact it is far from that, but it is a bungalow and in this part of the country, rents are very high. Then they stopped the 100% council tax award and so we have to top that up as well and so the money I receive due to being disabled goes to pay those two.
So rather than turn the heating up, I sit under blankets and wear a hoodie to keep warm because we can’t afford to get any further behind on our bills.
Of course there will be some that think ‘get a job’, I would love nothing more, I miss working because I hate the stigma of receiving benefits and I also miss the social side of working. I am housebound, I have been out four or five times this year!
So please also think of family, friends and neighbours who have a disability and or chronic illness, this weather will be effecting them as well. Many of us struggle to mobilise and so we feel the cold more, also getting provisions in will be difficult for wheelchair users and those who are unsteady on their feet, but also those with conditions that are made worse by the freezing temperatures.
We are the forgotten, we are not talked about and our government is making life very hard for us!