Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Who exactly are benefits for?

I want to tell you a story, a true story and then I want you to tell me if it makes any sense to you.
The reason I ask is because I have once again been astounded by the lack of help/care available from the very services I always assumed were there to give this help.

Let me explain, to do this I need to introduce you to a family I know, I am not going to use their real names so I will call them Ms B and Ms J for the use of this blog.

These two ladies are sisters, they currently live in a 3 bedroom council house where they have lived all their lives with their mother.
Ms B is 59 years old and her sister Ms J is 57, both ladies have learning difficulties and neither have ever had a relationship to my knowledge. I believe Ms J worked for a while in a factory many years ago until the factory closed down and her family circumstances changed.
Ms B has never been able to work as along with her learning difficulties she also suffers with fits, I believe these fits are epilepsy but they are frequent and often quite violent.
As the ladies mother grew older she needed help to care for Ms B and Ms J became the carer for them both.
Sadly two months ago the ladies mother died aged 95. Even though the sisters have never known anywhere else they have been told they must leave the council house and would be rehoused in a one bedroom flat each.
This caused fear among the ladies as Ms B is clearly unable to care for herself but because of the difficulties they both have in understanding neither knew what to do and so did nothing. I don't know who intervened on their behalf or wether the council worked it out for themselves eventually but this was changed recently to a two bedroom flat for them to live in together, however they are still supposed to be looking 'on line' every fortnight for a suitable place, their time is running out as they have to be out of their current home by the end of September.

Bad enough for them to be trying to get through? well I bumped into Ms J today and she told me Ms B fell out of bed during a seizure Sunday night and has broken her hip, she is waiting in hospital for an operation, Ms J was concerned as she told me that she herself had to 'sign on' for her JSA tomorrow and Ms B was supposed to be signing on next week!
Apparently they had been on JSA for the past year as they were advised by the benefits that this was the benefit they were entitled to.
Just consider this for a minute, these two ladies have no real understanding of the world, society or their lives, they certainly do not understand the benefits system and were just doing what they were told.
This means that once a fortnight for at least the past year these ladies have gone and sat down with an advisor, the advisor supposedly asks them what they have done to try to secure employment and tries to assist them to find employment!
Now tell me, is it me? These two ladies are clearly vulnerable and believe me it is clear to see that they are, so what is this advisor/advisors doing?
What are they thinking when either of these ladies sit infront of them?
What assistance do they believe they are giving them?

I am not going to even attempt any answers here, I am just asking, is this for real? Where is the help?


Miss Ben E Fit said...

What a truly sad story. This world is so heartless. I really wish I could do something, anything than just read, forget and do the same for next. Do these ladies have a social worker?

whatdebloves said...

You ask the right question indeed, Where is the help, and, what is the 'advisor'(inappropriate term, in light of the situation) doing to really help these ladies?
Is it a question of "Not my job but some other dept?"
Where is the desire to go the extra mile and help, really help?
Too many people, in too many government/council/NHS etc departments let things like this slip, because they haven't the gumption to take ownership of a situation.
I do hope they get the help and advice they need. It'll probably be some wonderful person in a voluntary capacity who steps up to the mark.

JustASpur said...

Man that sort of stuff makes me really angry. And it would appear that the advisor/advisors learning difficulties are far more acute that the two sisters' are!What a great shame this all is.

Penny said...

No social worker because I suppose the really sad thing is that whilst the mother was alive the family coped in their own way, never asked for help and obviously got by. I always assumed they were getting the benefits they were entitled to, had no idea both ladies had been put on to JSA until I bumped I to Ms J at the town yesterday. Have suggested she go to CAB for help and advice but had to write this as it shows how callous our society has become.

feline9 said...

It is really worrying when you hear things like this, and it increases the worry about what old age/illness will bring and will there be anyone there who will care, especially if you are not able to find your way round the system...

Onedartlou said...

Penny, this is a parents worst nightmare if you have a child who has a learning disability, my son has moderate autism and I am thinking about the mother of these girls. Even though she lived to 95, it wasnt enough to protect her girls was it? I will inevitably have to leave my son to the mercy of a system that doesn't work. Jesus, it's just so awful :(