Sunday, 13 July 2014

I'm still around

 Long time no see.  It's been a shaky road since I last posted. To cut a long story short I am no longer on JSA (Job Seekers Allowance). After seeing a disability adviser and being told that it would be very difficult for me to find employment and be better off financially....the job centre made concessions to my conditions. Not much but a start. I also attended a  mandatory "group session opportunity" to apply for work experience. Well I applied for 2 and waited.Ii was contacted by the job centre and told that my applications had been rejected on the grounds that the businesses concerned were not willing to "employ someone with health issues and could only work limited hours".  Employ?  They were getting free labour!!  I also had to start a mandatory computer course for 2 full days. I told them that would be extremely difficult for me to do, so they made it 3 hours once a week for 6 weeks. The aim of the course? to write a CV...huh?  Anyway, a couple of weeks into that and really struggling with the other appointments at the job centre and having to log in every day onto the computer for job searches, being threatened with sanctions for not applying for job, I received a call from the job centre. Would I like to apply for ESA (Employment Support Allowance) at the appeal rate.  YES I WOULD.  So now I am on ESA at the same rate as JSA and not having to sign on and stress my self out. Money is still tight.....I lost £30 a week when they stopped my Incapacity benefit...but at least my blood pressure is staying down and my GP is happier with that. Managed to sort out the mess with Housing and council tax benefit that always happens when your circumstances change. And even electricity supplier is reducing my monthly payments by £18!!
During all this my mojo disappeared so not done any crafting which has been frustrating. I have been doing the garden...but as it's been so hot I've been going out there for an hour in the evening when it's been a little cooler.  I'm going to try and make some crafting time this week....just get stuff out and play a bit...see what turns out. I have my Making Cards magazines so they should give me some inspiration, and I could just follow the samples they show using the papers that come with it.
Hopefully things can only get better .

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Things are getting worse....

I made my claim online for JSA (jobseekers allowance) online and got a phone call within half an hour giving me an appointment. 2.30 the following Monday...and was told to arrive ten minutes earlier. No problem. The morning of my appointment I received a phone call telling me that as the person who I was supposed to be seeing was off sick, so my appointment would be delayed by ten minutes. I got there at the allotted time only to be kept waiting for.. 45 Minutes!! I wasn't happy.The interview took 1 hour and I didn't get back home until getting on for half past 5....with an armful of paperwork.
The conditions for receiving JSA are very specific, and although I told the adviser that I couldn't reasonably meet them I had to sign the agreement or I would be refused.  I could still be sanctioned if, at my next appointment, they think that I have not "reasonably done enough" to find work. One of the most important conditions is that you have to find work with at least 40 hours a week. There is no way that I can be expected to work these sort of hours. I have M.E. A medical condition which has, as it's main symptom, severe fatigue, amongst others. The adviser has requested an appointment with a disability adviser ASAP..but when that will happen is any ones guess. In the meantime I face losing any benefit. All I can do in the meantime is hope for the best. And it doesn't end there .Because my circumstances have changed, my claim for housing and council tax benefit has been suspended and could take 6 to 8 weeks until it's sorted. That means it will be a repeat of last years fiasco with the housing association threatening eviction for non payment of full rent, and the council taking me to court for non payment of full council tax. Can't win really.  On top of all that I went up to the doctors surgery with a repeat prescription request, only to realise that there are 2 bank holidays and I wont be able to get my prescription until Tuesday...DOH!!!!    Will be without some of my medication over the weekend.....and..yes there is more..I have been asked to make a GP appointment for a prescription review, so I duly waited in the queue to told that there are no appointments for the next 2 weeks. OK..not urgent ....what about after that?  "We don't make patient appointments that far ahead"   Gobsmacked....good job I'm not really ill then isn't it!                     Rant over.

 A couple of cards I've made.  Crafting helps keep me sane......I think.

The first is a Hunkydory card for my sister-in-law.  Matted with some black card and I think it worked.   Linda Chapman's (Create and Craft) influence here.

This one I made for the Crafters re-united monthly inspirations.  Any occasion, any size, but no main image. Just embossing and/or die cuts and any embellishments. My photography makes it look a bit paler than it is in reality

Thank you for visiting.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Spoke too soon...

Just when I thought things were getting back on an even keel after the last year.  How wrong was I? Last month I had to attend a Work Capability assessment....not a medical.  Well the powers that be have decided in their ultimate wisdom that I do not have" limited capability for work,"  and that my Employment and Support Allowance...formerly incapacity benefit will end on the 8th of March.  So now I have to claim jobseekers allowance..... if I meet the criteria... while a "mandatory reconsideration" is made and then an appeal.  To be able to claim ESA you have to achieve 15 points, the same as when attending a medical for the former incapacity benefit......but I have scored..NIL points!  The health care specialist decided that I can "sit or stand ..or a combination of a workstation and using a stick, crutches or propelled wheelchair for one hour."   Watch this space.

Now onto a few cards I've made.

Blue and yellow for eldest son.

One for grandson. Love this Woodware Owl stamp.

 A Hunkydory handbag for youngest's girlfriend.

Building blocks for great-nephew.

Pretty in pink...for great-niece.

Another son..another birthday 

Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Things getting back to normal...

...I hope. Last year was a bit of a disaster for me. Financial problems with the council taking 8 to 10 weeks to sort out a claim for housing and council tax benefits. This started when youngest son found work. Any changes to your circumstances means that any claim you currently have is suspended. Meaning that during this time I was liable for full rent and council tax. Well this caused a lot of problems with the housing landlords constantly phoning and visiting, demanding full payment and threatening eviction. I could have understood their insistence if I hadn't been paying anything but as it was I was paying over the odds which left us very short. No wonder my doctor got a bit worried when my blood pressure went sky high.  Finally got things sorted when I spoke to another member of their "management team". So much for them saying" they are always there to help"...NOT!!!  Suffice to say Christmas was a quiet one all round for us.
During all this I had no computer and it made me feel very  isolated. I'm getting out much less now due to the pain and fatigue caused by the ME and arthritis.  Not been able to get out in the garden either ..and it really does need some work before spring.
I have managed some crafting but not a lot. Got to get a wriggle on though as I have a few family birthdays coming up. Any way here a few pictures of some of my work.....not many 'cos I forgot to take pics.
First off....a card for granddaughters birthday. It wasn't as bright as it looks in the rubbish photography.

Next a few Christmas cards

And finally  a card for grandson.

Well that's all for now. May I take this belated opportunity to wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.