Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Not working

I had hoped that once my sons grew into adulthood, my duties as a single parent would diminish, freeing up more time to take up residencies and to concentrate more fully on my fine art career.

But instead, what has happened is that my eldest son was diagnosed with depression, so now I'm also an unpaid carer, and this is the reason why I've had to take some time out.

Last year, he turned 20, and had finished a college course, which meant we had to consider the options. 
We were being pushed towards claiming JSA, but his first encounter with the Jobcentre was after he'd tried working for a few weeks at a fish and chip shop. 

The work involved long shifts without a break, cash in hand, and was paying the equivalent of £2 an hour. It made his depression worse, so he quite justifiably quit the job.

The Jobcentre were planning to sanction him for this, but we had to wait until he turned 20 to apply for JSA. 
My son quite rightly pointed out that he had a doctor's note that says he isn't fit for work, so we applied for ESA back in November, and went for an assessment with a DWP nurse, who completely ignored the doctor's note and awarded him no points.
We obviously appealed against this decision, and after months of stress, worry, debt and bureaucracy, last week our appeal was upheld and he has been awarded ESA.

Of course, it was also the week in which first cuts to ESA payments were overruled by the Lords, then forced through by the evil Kafkaesque government, so this is the next fight.

However, having been denied ESA in the first instance, we're currently celebrating that victory whilst preparing for more battles.

Portrait Of Ian Duncan Smith With Bandaged Nose 2016
Here's "Portrait Of Ian Duncan Smith With Bandaged Nose" after Van Gogh's "Self Portrait With Bandaged Ear".
Van Gogh suffered from mental illness and allegedly cut off his own ear, although more recently it was reputed to have been cut off by Gauguin in a fencing incident.

However, as the government keep insisting on cutting funding to everything except their own expenses and banker's bonuses, and in a week when they have forced through cuts to ESA for the sick and disabled, it's more like cutting off your own nose to spite your face.

My a-n blog was a featured blog at the beginning of the month, but due to the appeal, I haven't had time last week to post, and my subscription was due for renewal. I used the last of my money to renew it, after struggling to celebrate Mother's Day in debt.
It had better be worth it this year, because it hasn't been a good start to the year.

If you'd like the original Portrait Of Ian Duncan Smith With Bandaged Nose, it's worth £300.

If you can't afford that, I might consider setting you up with a regular payment plan similar to a Bright House appliance purchase, or a loan.
This seems to be the way forward.