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New Here - Carers UK Forum

New Here

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
I'm a 54 year old man looking after my elderly disabled mother.

My Mother lived in Northern Ireland in a first floor flat owned by my sister, the LA (Local Authority) moved a 'Vulnerable' young lady into the pensioners flat beneath her - so vulnerable that she had to have her mates round every night to have wild parties into the small hours and throw up and discard their rubbish in the communal stairway when they left. The LA wouldn't do anything about it, they couldn't move her 'she's vulnerable'. After months of complaining and getting nowhere, my mother packed her car and was heading off to live rough in Portugal, (somewhere she had lived before and liked a lot). My sister, who had been keeping an eye on her, contacted me and I was able to intercept her as she came off the Liverpool ferry and convince her to come and stay with me in Warrington for a while.

My Mother is 79, quite a large build, but unsteady on her feet and very forgetful. Officially she moved in with me in July (she arrived here in march) and has had 4 falls. First time she sat outside on the drive for 45 minutes banging a steel bucket till someone heard her and helped her into the house, next time she tripped on her own feet and broke her wrist, third time she slipped in the kitchen and broke a finger on the same hand where she had the plaster cast, and finally a few weeks ago she fell in her bedroom and couldn't get up again.

I worked full time as a taxi driver until the first fall, then went part time, after the second fall I technically quit working to stay at home. I still work a few hours a couple of nights a week when she goes to bed, really just to make enough to cover the cost of the car insurance and get myself a break.

The LA where I live are total assholes - I have been on the housing list for 8 years (3 years of that I was homeless and lived in a tent in a field - but because I'm a single male I'm not considered at risk or vulnerable) eventually when I did my taxi license the LA told me I had to get a house immediately or they would revoke my license, So I maxed out my credit card having to pay 6 months rent up front and moved into a 2 bedroom semi private rental. When my mother moved in I quickly realized this house was not suitable for her. The stairs have no hand rail and if she falls going up or down, she would probably land in the living room. I approached the LA housing section for help. "You made the choice to move your mother in with you, if the house isn't suitable that's your problem, we cant help"(sic).
With no longer working I needed help to cover the bills, they suggested I add my mum to the tenancy and claim housing benefit, it cost £400 to go through all the credit checks to have a new contract put in place, but when I went back to ask for housing benefit they disallowed my mums half of the rent (they give her £25 a week towards it). because her DLA claim is in Northern Ireland and hasn't been moved across yet I don't get carers allowance yet, they screwed up my claim for council tax rebate, so that hasn't been paid for the last 5 months, even though I get universal credit they still want the full £200 a month. I threatened to throw my mum out, change the rent back to just me then move her back in, but couldn't afford another £400.
Just received a court summons for unpaid council tax unless I pay the full £800 by the end of the month (not a snowballs hope in hell of that happening) so I guess I'm going to court. I applied for a private rental bungalow, and being honest I told the agency I was at the time 3 months behind with council tax but this would be paid as soon as the DLA was sorted and backdated, and they refused to even consider us for the bungalow. LA advice on that 'Don't mention the arrears'. So I applied for another bungalow 15 miles out of this LA region, and the credit checks are almost complete and it's looking like we will get it. But I'm annoyed that I had to lie to get it. But the new contract I got when I moved my mother in? you guessed it, it's for a year, so I have to pay £500 for the agents re-letting fee AND pay the rent until July or the property is rented, whichever comes first.

Regarding the DLA and carers allowance. I applied for carers allowance last July, but 4 months later I got a letter saying was turned down because my mum isn't on the middle or higher rate - but she is - in Northern Ireland. I called DLA and was told to go to the Citizens Advice. Who were angered that I had been referred to them by the department whos remit it is to deal with that issue. So I called DLA again and explained my mums claim was in Northern Ireland and being transferred across, and was advised to wait until the claim had been transferred then reapply..... (wait another 2 or 3 months and make a fresh claim - and lose out on the arrears I'm due??) I sent the appeal and a rather stern letter. I discovered yesterday someone in the Northern Ireland office screwed up - they put the claim on hold but didn't action the transfer of my mums claim - so she hasn't been paid for 2 months - I called them yesterday and they offered to make immediate payment then transfer the claim.

In July I approached the local universal credit and made a claim - which went amazingly smoothly (I have a lot of issues with my local office, they are the ones that made me homeless) - I get universal credit, my half of the rent paid and a £135 a month extra because I care for someone, i'm assuming the latter is in lieu of carers and not in addition to it, I let them know each month how much I've earned that month, which is usually less than zero (it actually costs me to go to work - but I go to work as an escape and have some 'Me Time'. I don't drink or go to clubs, so driving a taxi is my only contact with the outside world). We have a very nice claims manager in Blackpool, who when I send in my earnings details, always asks how my mother is. I did get a loan off universal credit a few months ago to cover the new lease when mum moved in, which I'm still paying and usually this stops you getting another loan, but when I mentioned we would really be struggling to get the deposit and advance rent for the bungalow, he wrote back to say he had arranged another loan for me and a number to ring when we are ready to move.

Well, that's my story and I hope someone can learn something from it

Regards Pat
Pat, that's way too much information for me to take in as one hit!!

However, Carers UK has a brilliant helpline, if you work out what it is you want from here on, they should be able to help you.

When did mum last have a Needs Assessment, and you, a Carers Assessment, from Social Services? What has happened to mum's stuff in Ireland, in her flat?
Needs and Carers assessment I'll have done when we move to the bungalow. My sister owns the flat my mum lived in so her stuff is safe, but she plans to travel over next week to sort out what she wants to bring back, and I'll follow a few days later with a vehicle to bring it and her back again.
I'm single so no ties or other people to worry about, and mum and I usually get on well together - shes a stubborn old f**t when dealing with my sister, but she normally listens to me.
Don't really need support (yet!) but I'm in the right place for when the need arises, and I have picked up a few tips already by reading through the forum.

Sounds like you've had a very long, and very tough journey, hopefully the move to the bungalow will be a new beginning for both of you. I hope it works out really well. My eldest son lives with me, since he split up with his partner. It works well for us, he does the DIY, looks after my car and garden, whilst I cook for him and keep the house ticking over.