Slow and Steady

So the benefit crackdown has begun.

Posted on: November 28, 2012

In my quest to move on to living life instead of just  existing from doctor appointment to doctor appointment, I decided to try and work again. I learnt while doing  my old job that 8 hours a week was too much, I wasn’t able to swim or anything because of the hours spent preparing and teaching the lessons.

My tutor from my CELTA course kept telling me to apply to work at the college where I taught. I told her that it would be too much right now, but I wanted to temp so I still have a hand in teaching without the commitment of exams etc. and it had to be less than 4 hours so I can continue with my exercises and well being routine. She told me about a class who needs a tutor for 3 hours a week until Christmas, maybe in the new year too. It is just teaching, no paperwork, no tutorials, no tests. I accepted that. I went through Reed as their enhanced CRB check only takes a week.

Anyway I phoned Access to Work and it’s all changed. Before, you spoke to a friendly person who took down your details, then you were assigned to someone who would sort out the payment bit. It was a very positive government department, and I really liked dealing with them because you got a sense that they were happy to be helping people get back into the workforce.

Now, I was asked loads of questions in a very disbelieving tone. It was horrible. The person I spoke to said she had gone on the tfl website and saw that there is a bus that can take me there directly. I replied that I can’t get to the bus stop because it’s too far.

Then she asked me why I couldn’t drive there. I replied that driving, then walking to the classroom, walking round doing the lesson and then driving home is too much and will leave me in a flare up.

So she said “why doesn’t one of your family drive you there?” I replied I’m the only driver in my family. Then she said that she’ll make a decision and get back to me soon.

I came off the phone worried as hell, how am I going to manage if Access to Work don’t help me? I can’t afford to take cabs, there would be no point in me working as I’d be working to pay my cab fare!

I decided to test it and drove to the college. I was in agony by the end of the lesson. Luckily my sister has a friend who goes to the college and she drove home. My sister had to help me into the house. My legs were shaking really badly.  Apparently my sister’s friend started crying because she had never seen me in a flare before. I couldn’t manage the stairs so had to go loo in a bloody Flora container.

I’m sure I’ll be able to laugh about that in a few years.

The next day I nearly fell down the stairs. My mum’s OH had to carried me down. The next time we spoke he told me that he couldn’t sleep properly that night because he could get the vision of my feet nearly coming off the step while I was clinging on to bannister and my stick.

So no, I can’t work with getting transport help. I got an email to say they will help me for the rest of the year. I’m so relieved, but can’t help wondering, what will next year bring?

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