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Hello, nice to be here. - Carers UK Forum

Hello, nice to be here.

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
Hello! My name is Dee. I have peeked at this site many times over the past few months, but never actually registered to participate.

Sadly, my caring role has now come to an end - my elderly father died on 12th June this year. I had been his full-time carer for about 18 months, having supported him from a distance for three years before that, from the time he was widowed in 2003. I am now back in full-time work (started this week), but remain very interested in carers' issues, having been profoundly affected by the changes that becoming a carer (particularly a full-time carer) made to my life.

I miss my Dad terribly (still can't quite believe he isn't coming home from hospital this time), but at the same time I am just beginning to believe that it is possible for me to move forward into a new phase of my life. I wonder how other former carers manage to cope with this difficult transitional stage?

On a practical note, I have found that most professionals I have had dealings with since Dad passed away, eg. Register Office, Funeral Directors, DWP, Tax Office, have been very helpful and courteous. But there are one or two exceptions: I had been paid Carer's Allowance until about three weeks before Dad died, when it was stopped because he had been in hospital four weeks and was no longer entitled to Attendance Allowance. I had to move onto JSA and start looking for a job. When I reported Dad's death to the CA unit, they didn't even offer me any condolences, just repeatedt that my entitlement had been suspended and made it very clear that I was not to expect any more help from them. Also, the Council Tax office haven't been very helpfu; I made it very clear to them a few days after Dad's death that I would be the sole occupant of the property (Dad had been the Council Tax account holder and had qualified for a 25% reduction as I was disregarded, being his carer). They promply sent me a bill for the full amount and when I contacted them, accused me of not telling them that I was the only occupant - despite the fact that I had advised them verbally and in writing! I then claimed Council Tax Benefit in my name for the period i was claiming JSA and they are still managing to lose copies of my documents between various departments and writing to me asking me to provide totally irrelevant info. I wouldn't mind, but I have always kept them accuarately and promptly informed of every change of cirucumstance, and still it isn't good enough for them! Arghhhhhh!

Sorry to ramble on, but at least it has got it out of my system. Look forward to having a good natter with you all!

Cheers

D
Welcome aboard, Dee. Sorry about your father but glad you found us.

It's always hard to lose a loved one, and sometimes it's made harder by the pencil pushers who seem to think the day wasted if they don't screw up someone else's day.

You have the right to complain about the way you've been treated by the Council Tax people: I hope you have copies of everything you sent, because evidence like that is always useful in making your case for someone else's incompetence!
Hello Charles, thanks for your kind words of welcome and advice. I do indeed keep copies of letters and notes of people's names, dates etc. On Mlonday, I sent the Council Tax and Benefits Dept. a fairly strongly worded email, threatening to complain to the relevant director as part of the officials complaints process and lo and behonld, before vey long I had a Senior Benefits Officer on the phone to me, assuring me that both the 25% discount and the CT benefit are now sorted and the correct bill should be with me shortly. We shall see.

My first couple of weeks back at work have gone well, and I have enjoyed getting out of the house and back into the swing of working in an office again. The company is a small, fairly specialised recruitment comnpany and have a very friendly team. It is normally very easy to get there, just a 6-7 minute bus ride from the end of my road, and then 5 minutes walk at the other end, but there are major roadworks at the moment, and this is making the homeward journey in particular a bit more complicated, but otherwise everything is going really well. We finish at 4 o'clock on Fridays, which is great!

I am looking forward to going to see my friend in South Wales over the Bank Holiday weekend, haven't seen her for over a year. It is a bit strange having this sort of freedom to travel again. I am also planning to break the habit of a lifetime and do some DIY, starting with painting the front gate. It fell off its hinges a couple of weeks ago and I could just hear Dad saying "I dunno, I've only been gone five minutes and the place is already going to the dogs!". Fortunately, my cousin came and fixed it last weekend, so as soon as we get a forecast for a few hours of dry weather, I shall be out there with my metal paint and brush - surely even I can paint a gate!!!

Alll the best.

D
Well done, Dee. Hope they actually have sorted it out!
It is surprising what you can do when you have to Dee Image
I'm sure the gate will look beautiful, if we ever get a day dry enough, long enough, to paint it Image
Shocking day today, weatherwise, so no chance to paint the gate! On a positive note, I have now received the Housing Benefit statement from the council and this now appears to be all sorted out, which is a relief.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Cheers

D
Hi Dee

I know exactly how you feel, having lost my husband 5 weeks ago, I've had nothing but hassle off the local authorities. I have coped quite well under the circumstances, but have to admit, that they have managed to reduce me to tears.

First of all, as we were paying for the carers that my husband needed, they still can't understand that the invoice they keep sending is wrong, my husband was in hospital for nearly 2 weeks of the care being charged for. I have been on the phone 3 times asking for them to send out an ammended invoice, and what do I get a final demand notice!

Then don't forget the Council Tax, they have sent that many bills, I feel that I have a new pen pal, every time they get notification of a change ie: AA stopped, pension credit stopped, husband has died, they write to you with a different amount to pay.

However, on a lighter note, I could have paid my bills with my backpay from my new widow's pension, if only it hadn't got lost in the system, I waited and waited, I phoned last week, oh yes, it's all sorted, but found out to-day that my arrears had gone down the black hole in the computer system, so is it any wonder that the local authorities get to us at out most vunerable time.

Hope you're feeling better after the loss of your Father, it's always sad to lose someone you love, and I think when you have been a carer 24/7 there is always a big hole left in your new life.

Good luck for the future.