New here and need a bit of help!

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Hi there everyone,

I have been a carer since I was 10, although it wasn't until I was 16 that I called myself a carer (I am now 21). I provide overnight care for my mother who has a range of issues including mental and physical disabilities. I have disabilities myself, but due to my mother's paranoia, she won't allow anyone else to care for her. I do not get carers allowance as the Government don't deem her disabled enough for higher rate DLA despite being on ESA support group.

The issue is, is that I live in Wales currently, and my mother in London. I make a 14 hour round trip every week. I can stay from 2 days a week to pretty much the whole week. It consumes my life. As a result, I have based my University choice around this urgent need for less travel. I will start Uni in september in central London.

My biggest problem is housing. My current lease ends on August 31st and I have nowhere to live. I live with my partner and we have been looking for months. We have everything we need bar a guarantor as we have no one close who fits the basic criteria. But we will be on LHA (Local Housing Allowance) due to our income being quite a bit short of basic rent in London. So far we have been discriminated against or told we will need to pay extortionate fees/provide an unrealistic guarantor. All because we need help topping up the rent.

What I wanted to ask was if anyone knew of any schemes to help carers live near to the people they care for. I would live with my mother, but our mental disabilities make it difficult for us to live together for prolonged periods of time. And I also have my partner now, and I cannot expect him to share a single room with me on a long-term basis.


Any help would be appreciated. And apologies for bombarding my intro post with issues!

I am more than happy to help anyone with benefit issues as I have been filling out ESA forms since I was 15! Been through a Tribunal (for my own ESA) and a quite a few WCA's. So I have a lot of experience with the DWP system.

:) Thank you all!
Why not contact your university accomodation department? They usually have lists of landlords or houses which accept students & so are used to the income/guarantor problems. Alternatively the local council housing department for the area that you are moving to may be able to give you lists of recommended landlords who are known to accept people on Housing Benefit so will be more open to your needs.
Welcome to the forum, Evie.
When you start Uni, make sure you tell your personal tutor about your circumstances as they will be well placed to help you through Uni academic support systems and regulations. There will also be an accommodation office to contact now.
Jx
Hi Evie, welcome to the forum. Did you know it is common for DLA claims to be disallowed completely, or only the lower rate awarded, unless people appeal? A relatively junior person with minimal training looks at the initial claim, then when you appeal, someone more qualified then deals with it. (Inside information!) So once you have your accommodation etc. sorted, perhaps you could support mum to reapply? I studied part time for a degree as a mature student, so I know what your workload is likely to be. Then having a partner to spend time with, plus mum to care for, is going to be a huge challenge. Most of us on the forum have had a parent who wants a child only to care for them, however this is unreasonable. Parents can be very manipulative. When you start your degree, don't let mum think that now you are nearer you can do even more than you are already. Work out how much you can do for her, without compromising your studies or your relationship, and be very, very firm about it.
SeasideDeb wrote:Why not contact your university accomodation department? They usually have lists of landlords or houses which accept students & so are used to the income/guarantor problems. Alternatively the local council housing department for the area that you are moving to may be able to give you lists of recommended landlords who are known to accept people on Housing Benefit so will be more open to your needs.

I thought of that straight away. Unfortunately, they are useless. It took 2 months for a list of people advertising private accommodation. Unfortunately none were suitable (i.e. Too expensive). The team even told me that I wont find a place in my circumstance!
I have also emailed all London Boroughs... ALL. I received 2 decent replies, the rest told me that they do not give out any information about private landlords/agencies that accept LHA. Westminster gave me a list of around 5 agencies, but none currently accept LHA.
How about phoning the uni's student union or the NUS for advice?
bowlingbun wrote:Hi Evie, welcome to the forum. Did you know it is common for DLA claims to be disallowed completely, or only the lower rate awarded, unless people appeal? A relatively junior person with minimal training looks at the initial claim, then when you appeal, someone more qualified then deals with it. (Inside information!) So once you have your accommodation etc. sorted, perhaps you could support mum to reapply? I studied part time for a degree as a mature student, so I know what your workload is likely to be. Then having a partner to spend time with, plus mum to care for, is going to be a huge challenge. Most of us on the forum have had a parent who wants a child only to care for them, however this is unreasonable. Parents can be very manipulative. When you start your degree, don't let mum think that now you are nearer you can do even more than you are already. Work out how much you can do for her, without compromising your studies or your relationship, and be very, very firm about it.

We were going to appeal the DLA decision, but as it was a few weeks before the budget, we decided not to. All that uncertainty about if they were going to tax DLA got to my mum and she didn't want to deal with it. I have an ESA reassessment due on the 30th, so I have been a bit sidetracked and ran over the appeal time!

My partner says the same thing about manipulation. I suppose I don't see it that way, but I can see how others do. But I do realise that there are limits to what I can do, and when I start education I know I have to put that first. It has taken 3 years for me to get here, I won't let anything stop me from trying. It does help that my campus is a 2 minute tube ride from mum's. So if I have time I can pop over during the day.
Juggler wrote:How about phoning the uni's student union or the NUS for advice?

That is a plan. The Student Union in my prospective Uni isn't apparently that good. But I do seem to remember that there is a website for disabled students, they were unable to help me in other issues, but this might be something they know about. Plus I can email the general NUS for help.


I move in just over a month now, and it's getting very stressful. I have to sort out my benefits, hire a van and find somewhere to live before September 1st. I've been homeless before and I don't want to be in that situation again. I've saved up £2k for a deposit/fees, but everywhere needs a guarantor. I have no friends or family who fit the criteria, and my partners dad had to quit his £60k+ a year job because he was diagnosed with throat cancer (in recovery now, all clear). So I'm a bit stuck for options. I've only ever rented from student landlords, and they've been great.

I've never been offered help with my carer responsibilities that I can accept. My mother does have a good reason for not allowing strangers in the house, and to try and introduce someone knew causes severe anxiety. She is still panicky when my partner stays, and we've been together for 3 years now. I had planned on going up North for University due to the cheaper living costs, but now I'm stuck in London where the rent is £3k more a year than my loan/grant.
I'm glad to see that your partner is aware of the issue of manipulation, as that means they are looking out for you in that regard, and 'rooting' for you. I could argue that the reason you don't see your mother's behaviour of you as manipulation is because she has manipulated you not to see it as such! I know (from personal experience!) how 'persuasive' a mother with MH problems can be in terms of getting her children to look after her, to see the world the way she sees it through her 'MH vision', and for getting them to compensate for all the woes and unhappiness etc that they themselves are experiencing. That isn't to say that we don't go on loving them deeply, and having genuine compassion and pity for their predicaments....

It is, and again I speak from my own upbringing by a mum with MH, very hard to see 'the truth' which is often not what one has been brought up to see.

Also, irrespective of the relationship between you, it is sadly true that deeply unhappy and desperate and scared people can be 'ruthless' about protecting themselves, whatever the cost to those they rope in to protect them. It's like drowning people clinging to their rescuers, even if they drown the rescuer...

However, it's also very reassuring to read that you definitely place your university education as your top priority (once you're housed!) and that you don't want to let your mother's needs interfere with that to the extent that you could not cope. Nevertheless, please don't try and 'cope' TOO much! I hope your partner helps to steer you away from over-committing to your mother, and as your studies ramp up, especially after fresher's year when the pace can get really tough, you must ensure that you are not neglecting to take essential breaks. I hope your mother sees it that way too, and is also determined for you not to forego such an essential step in your adult career path.

You say your mother has genuine reasons for being scared/paranoid of other people, but ask yourself what would happen if you went under a bus? Whom would she 'allow' to look after her then???

Remind yourself - and let your partner remind you! - of just how fortunate your mother is to have a daughter who is doing SO much for her, and who has rearranged her entire personal life to continue looking after her. At the very least, I do hope your mother is clearly appreciative of you! (And yes, 'appreciation' can itself be a method of manipulation...as in 'Oh, darling, how WOULD I cope with out you - you are an angel - I depend on you ENTIRELY' (etc)......BUT, nevertheless, it's a lot more pleasant form of manipulation than being taken for granted, or, worse, criticised for any 'underperformance of your duties')

All the very best with the coming, year, and I hope the accommodation can be sorted in time. I suppose one 'emergency' option might be for you to live with your mum, to start with, ie, without your partner, but the problem with that is that your mum might then feel bereft when you move out, alas (understandably).