I’m quick approaching 60 and I’ve been disabled for a few years now.
I’ve Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) sort IV – a debilitating genetic connective tissue dysfunction – in addition to osteoarthritis, arthritis, sleep apnea, bronchial asthma and lots of different situations brought on by EDS.
I used to work, however I needed to cease when the ache grew to become insufferable.
I can’t stroll in any respect any extra. I’ve a easy wheelchair that requires somebody to push me round. My husband tries to assist me transfer as a lot as he can, however it is rather troublesome for him – he additionally has mobility points and desires a hip substitute.
I’ve lengthy been attempting to get myself a wheelchair with a right-hand toggle, so I can no less than have some semblance of dignity. This has not but been doable, and I have no idea when – if ever – I will transfer by myself once more. At present, I spend 99 p.c of my time in mattress.
As we dwell in the UK, a so-called welfare state, we obtain a number of advantages from the state to make ends meet.
We’ve got my husband’s small pension, my private independence fee, carers allowance, and common credit score – a month-to-month fee for out-of-work or low-income folks. On paper, this will appear like greater than sufficient cash for 2 folks to get by. However the state deducts the pension and the carers allowance from our common credit score fee. In the long run, we find yourself with simply sufficient cash to maintain a roof over our heads and a few meals on our desk. They not too long ago advised us they made an “overpayment” a couple of yr in the past, and they’re now step by step taking that again too.
It seems like they’re doing every part they will to maintain us on the backside of the meals chain – to maintain us struggling.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government launched a brief 20 kilos ($27 on the present trade fee) weekly improve to common credit score funds in early 2020.
Once we heard on the information that this scheme will quickly finish, we didn’t suppose we had something to fret about. We had been satisfied that due to all the opposite bits and items we obtain, we had not been eligible for this additional fee within the first place. The quantity we obtain had not modified within the final yr, and there had by no means been a point out of a “COVID-19 increase” in our fee breakdowns.
However then, out of the blue, we acquired a message on our on-line Common Credit score Journal informing us that we’ll be shedding the COVID-19 fee. Considering there will need to have been a mistake, we went over our fee breakdowns from the previous yr as soon as once more. Certainly, there was no point out of this fee.
Since I wrestle to speak, my husband rang them and advised them that now we have by no means acquired any such fee. He requested them how can they take again one thing they didn’t give us within the first place. The girl on the cellphone advised him that now we have certainly been receiving this increase, and that the additional fee would cease from October.
By this time I used to be in tears. We common 255 kilos ($350) a month on common credit score. We borrow 200 kilos ($273.5) a month from my husband’s sister simply so we will get by. Dropping 20-pound-a-week, nonetheless small it might appear to others, just isn’t one thing we will afford.
My husband advised the lady on the cellphone that I used to be very apprehensive, and suicidal. Her reply to that was: “Is she going to do it now?” My husband put the cellphone down – there was nothing left to say.
Nobody has since known as or come to our home to examine if we’re OK, if I’m nonetheless alive.
Days later, our electrical energy provider knowledgeable us that it’s going to nearly double our month-to-month electrical energy funds. Two of us dwell in a two-bed cottage – we aren’t working the nationwide grid from the property.
This was the ultimate nail within the coffin. Now, we have no idea how we’re going to survive. Our common credit score funds will go down subsequent month. We should pay the extortionate electrical energy invoice. We’re determined. We have no idea what to do. I’m nonetheless suicidal. I’m struggling to discover a motive to dwell.
I want we didn’t want to assert advantages, however we do. We’re ashamed to be depending on the federal government, however now we have each labored. We didn’t select to be sick, we didn’t select to be disabled. We don’t drink, smoke or exit. We rescue and foster canine, cats and hedgehogs. We don’t have a lot, however we do our greatest to assist animals in want.
We’re not asking for a lot. All we would like is to be handled like human beings and to dwell our remaining years with some dignity.
I need the federal government to listen to our voice and perceive what that 20-pound-a-week lower means to folks like us – that it’s a matter of life and demise.
I’ve no want to dwell like this any extra.
If you happen to or somebody you realize is prone to suicide, these organisations could possibly assist.
Additionally, within the UK and Irish Republic, contact Samaritans on 116 123 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For these bereaved by suicide within the UK, contact Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide.
Within the US, the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.
In Australia, the disaster help service Lifeline is 13 11 14.
Different worldwide suicide helplines could be discovered at www.befrienders.org
The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.