Monthly Archives: November 2016

I am absolutely furious with my Housing Association, London and Quadrant Housing Trust.

I have been a tenant of theirs for almost 30 years now and they KNOW about my impairment and the fact that I am now restricted to bed 24/7. It’s on my record. Yet the way I have been treated by their employees today has been disgusting.

Let me explain.

This morning, when my carer arrived, we discovered that there was no hot water in the tank and that the heating was off. Once my carer had managed to deal with everything that needed doing – she had to boil a kettle so she could help me wash – I set about ringing to get someone round to deal with the situation.

And that is when my problems really started.

The first thing that happened was that I encountered a recorded message on the direct dial maintenance line phone. It informed me that, as it was the weekend, the Maintenance Department was now closed until Monday morning and that I should phone back then, during office hours. Not good. A long weekend of freezing to death loomed large. No thanks!

Nothing daunted I decided to search online until I could find another number with a human being to talk to at the other end of the line as I was certain there must be an Emergency, 24 hour number I could call listed somewhere. Sure enough, I eventually managed to find one for the L&Q Head Office and, when I rang that, I was immediately put through to their Emergency Maintenance Department. It was now around 11.30 am.  

The woman I spoke to took my details and, once I’d explained about being severely disabled and restricted to bed, said that she would call the boiler engineering firm they used and that someone would be round before 4pm. Sorted. Re-assured that everything would get dealt with relatively quickly, I settled back to wait for a knock on the door and the promise of warmth once more.

But, even though the minutes and hours ticked slowly and icily past, nothing happened.

Nothing at all.

Finally, at about 4.45pm, fed up and freezing, I rang the same number I’d found this morning once more. This time I got a different receptionist who, once she had taken my details, looked me up on her computer and told me there was no record of my call from this morning noted at all! Not a word. As a result, no engineers had been contacted and no-one was coming.

Yet again I explained the situation and my circumstances and the fact I was freezing and that’s when she said something that infuriated me. Despite the fact I had told her, only minutes beforehand, that I was restricted to bed due to my impairment and unable to get up or walk or go out at all she told me there was nothing she could do before Monday and that, if I was cold, I should go out, buy a heater and boil a kettle if I needed hot water.

Just what part of ‘Paralysed’, ‘Restricted to bed’, ‘Severely disabled’ and ‘Unable to walk or to move about’ is so difficult to understand?

After huffing and puffing and coming very close to bursting into tears of frustration I went through it all again and, finally, she said she’d phone the engineers and ask them to ring me and tell me when they’d be round.

And then she hung up on me!

Four hours later, engineers conspicuous by their absence, I have just finished my third call of the day to the, so-called, Emergency Maintenance Line and, yet again, I have been promised that someone will be out tonight and that I will be getting a call from the Engineers themselves to tell me when the visit will be.

It’s not looking promising and I am disgusted by the way I have been treated. If nothing hapens soon I have a pretty good idea what I’ll be doing tomorrow, and it won’t be shivering silently in a corner. 

London and Quadrant maybe a Social Housing firm but, as I’ve learnt today, if you’re severely disabled and have an urgent issue that needs fixing, ‘Don’t hold your breath’.

Same Difference

A woman who suffers from spina bifida and a couple who look after their severely disabled grandson have won their Supreme Court appeals against the so-called “bedroom tax”.

The court ruled that the government’s changes to housing benefit discriminated against them.

But five other people had similar challenges dismissed by the court.

The court said councils should be able to decide which tenants get discretionary payments to help them.

Disability campaigners have been protesting against the system, which removed subsidies for social housing tenants who were deemed to have “spare” rooms in their homes, since it was introduced by the government in 2013.

Dubbed the “bedroom tax” by Labour, tenants affected had payments cut by 14%.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had argued that it had given councils money to make discretionary payments to people facing hardship because of the policy change.

Welcoming the ruling, a DWP spokesman…

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Same Difference

Same Difference seems to have missed this last week. But we felt it was still worth sharing.

To describe our current social security system, following six years of Conservative ‘reform’, as Kafkaesque sounds prosaic. Yet I, Daniel Blake by Ken Loach shows us how in this case the description rings perfectly true. Despite having been employed as a carpenter his whole working life, Daniel faces a seemingly endless maze of barriers in making his claim for support after suffering a heart attack, with ‘advice’ delivered to him in rushed jobcentre interviews. He is told that he must sign a claimant commitment for jobseekers allowance and spend hours seeking work, despite his doctor stating he is unfit for work and still in recovery.

This is not news to those of us trying to support people through the system. In 2014, a constituent of mine suffered a heart attack midway through a…

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Same Difference

Last week, highly respected blog Vox Political asked its readers to send in the nonsense reasons their disability benefit claims were turned down. Here are some of them, reprinted with many thanks in the interest of sharing DWP madness as widely as possible. They are all anonymous.

All of the comments that follow are true, and were made by real people. I have anonymised them for obvious reasons.

Let’s start with a person who was denied a home assessment. The reason? “He can get to hospital for cancer treatment.” Have a little think about that. Where else but hospital was this person ever going to get cancer treatment? And shouldn’t cancer automatically qualify him for benefit? Apparently not.

Try this: “Can heat up a tin of beans and make toast” The person concerned had explained that if they actually ate beans on toast they would be hospitalised.

“Can sit in the…

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