My reward for all of this is nut roast with roasted potatoes, onions, sprouts and carrots. You have been warned!
Spinning at LifesCycle. We cheated slightly by travelling by bus, due to the rain. I usually prefer to cycle there and back, as warm-up and cool-down from the lovely madness. (Elly and I are on the front-left bikes of that Facebook video.)
much-needed coffee and lunch
catching up with personal and family finances, sadly neglected for a couple of weeks due to work-pressures
washing our manky spinning gear. That’s the only downside!
tidying my desk area after weeks of needing to let rubbish build up
avoiding watching Strictly Come Dancing
writing a presentation on a project I’m about to finish, so I can demonstrate the outcomes to a high-powered audience. (I think I should not say what the project is just now, but I will blow my own trumpet as hard as I can when the work goes live.)
proofreading and commenting on a tender written by my ever-wonderful better half.
On 4 December, HMRC restarted paying my sister working tax credits. (She qualifies for these because of her disabilities and because she works part-time. When PIP was refused, HMRC had to take the view that she was no longer disabled, even though her conditions are congenital and hence incurable.) HMRC’s letter to my sister was along the lines of ‘we now understand we need to start paying you tax credits, and make up for the time when we didn’t’. It almost felt like an apology. A few days later, the standard ‘this is what we will pay you’ letters arrived. Also on 4 December, HMRC sent my sister a certificate exempting her form NHS charges.
DWP didn’t get around to paying my sister PIP until 14 December, over 7 weeks after they were notified of the tribunal’s decision. There was not even a hint of an apology in their communication.
I’m still scared to think what would have become of my sister without support from me and other family and friends, and especially from Worcester Citizens’ Advice Bureau. And I’m bloody angry too, for the people who don’t have such support.
The DWP received the tribunal’s decision the day after the tribunal. They will write to my sister within 28 days to advise how much she will receive. The payments (including backdate for the time she was erroneously not awarded PIP) should start arriving soon after that.
Thursday’s tribunal decided that my sister qualifies for personal independence payments (PIP) at the standard rates for both ‘daily living’ and ‘mobility’. (These are explained here.) This qualification is backdated to the date that her disability living allowance payments ceased, and has no time limit. The tribunal judge stated that this is because her condition is unlikely to change. Continue reading →
Clearly there is a lot I’m not going to say in this public forum.
On-going foot-pain after travelling on many buses and trains in the past few days.
Today’s appointment with CAB advisor was postponed because she was off sick. She says she is likely to ‘drag herself in’ tomorrow. So I’m hopefully meeting with her to prepare my sister’s PIP appeal tomorrow lunchtime, then going to hospital to visit my mother.
Just now I feel very unprepared for the appeal.
She is still in a hospital over an hour away from her home by bus or train.
Treatment for her conditions has started, now that tests taken on Friday or Saturday of last week have filtered through to the relevant specialists.
However, understandably there’s no indication yet of when she might be allowed home or moved to a hospital in her home town. That brings up some fears.
However, she is lucid and chatty, and very much herself
Also the staff at her current hospital are clearly very caring, and have time to put this into practice.
My sister’s appeal against not being awarded personal independence payments takes place on next week in Worcester. I have a meeting with the CAB staffer who has been advising us in Tuesday. So my current plans are to go to Worcester on Sunday, returning Saturday 27. While I’m away, a lot of other stuff is going to take a back seat.
On the way to a community council meeting this evening, I was cycling around a roundabout. I wear a hi-viz helmet cover and wrist-bands, and my bike has reflectors on every other spoke. It was about 4:10pm, with no hindrances to visibility. And yet someone still drove onto the roundabout, into the space I would have been in if I hadn’t braked quite hard. To this person, I can only say Fuck you very much, you SMIDSY-sucking arsewipe.
While I was at the meeting, my brother phoned to tell me our mother has been taken into hospital, in a town 30 minutes’ drive from Worcester. This was about 5pm. As of 15 minutes ago, she was still waiting to be seen by an A&E doctor. The A&E sister told me that it’s not likely that there will be any news until 2 hours from now.
This post is my digital record of the Scottish Government’s Online Identity Assurance (OLA) ‘show and tell’. The day was very informative, and provided me the opportunity to catch up with friends in civil society circles. I’m especially interested because online identity is a natural precursor to online voting, another problematic area that greatly interests me.
The post starts with a recap of what was said at the event, then notes my input at the event. Next are my reactions to the event itself, followed by my thoughts on the whole OLA programme. In summary, while I think OLA is very worthwhile, and that the Scottish Government is trying to do it the right way, I have a lot of reservations about how useful it will be for those who most need government support. Continue reading →
Here is a saga of my sister’s application for Personal Independence Payments. She applied for this state benefit in June 2017, yet 10 months later there is no sign of her receiving it.
My sister’s network includes my ever-wonderful wife. Her help has included direct support of my sister, and of our mother who has very severe issues of her own. My brother and his wife are also very supportive of our sister and mother, especially providing on-the-spot support, while I concentrate on the bureaucracy. They all live fairly close, but my wife and I live over 300 miles from them.
While I feel more about my sister’s case than about any other, she has possibly one of the most fortunate cases. I am deeply concerned for others who do not have such a strong support network.
It’s been interesting – and quite emotional – revisiting the end of a marriage and my career in publishing, various family (mis)fortunes, my time in India and Indonesia, my MSc, the start of my community council work and research career, discovering spinning, and the beginning of my current, very happy marriage. So much of this feels as though it’s permanent, and has been part of me forever – but in reality much is less than 5 years old.
There will be lots of broken links, because some material was hosted on now-dead servers. I’ve tried to resurrect what I can, but if you find any, please let me know.