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from bad to worse. (warning its something of a mini life story)

December 5, 2013

This may seem a bit of a rant or a rolling around in self pity today. maybe it is I don’t know, but its also a cry for help I’m at wits end now, if job centre weren’t going to get me the bedroom tax, and debts left to me by my Ex some years ago seemed to set to snag me instead.

Today I got a letter from the people I rent from. Its not privet letting as I got made homeless from that when the landlord wanted to sell up on the flat I was renting from him, and the new owner didn’t want to rent out he wanted to live there. I was with my then husband Alex, we’d run into arriers due to cock ups from our local council on housing benefit, they wanted us to send in our pay slips each week to make sure we were not over claiming then they claimed they arrived the day AFTER they calculated such things. (even if we took them in in person 2 or 3 days before!) and south hams are known for playing this BS. so they claimed and overpayment

happened and so on and we had to make up the rent difference they were not paying ect.. that should have been the end of it right? NO not only did they make us pay the difference they decided they wanted it paid back and worst of all they would NEVER give it in writing.
So upon being made homeless we managed to land a social housing house with Hastoe housing. Little did we know about the above antics of south hams council at this time, they like to keep these things hush hush until your 1 month to challenge them is up then they tell you, and claim they’ve tried to contact you about it. (they had lots of chances for that via post and in person visits). so we moved into our then lovely new home close by to my disabled family so I could go help out between work, except the stress of it all coursed me to have a miscarriage at 6 months of being pregnant and I ended up becoming unemployed because I was so ill after, my old boss well  he just wasn’t willing to wait 6 months for me to return at the time (he was a small business so it was understandable). So we claimed housing benefits to cover the rent, they still hadn’t told us about a claw back they where intending to do. so we went on thinking they were paying full rent at the time while I was looking for work, and my then husband looked for work he was permitted to do on because he was an american so it was me supporting him mostly and he was in charge of the money because I’m dyscalculer (Dyslexic with numbers) as well as Dyslexic. so I trusted him with all of that, but I’d still read the letters and so on when they came in.
It was about 6 months after having moved into the house I’m in (at the moment) before I found out south hams had NOT been paying full rent when we got a visit from our housing officer telling us we were in rent arrears and that they were taking us to court that was in 2004. they put on us a seeking possession court order where I had to pay £15 on top of rent to clear the arrears. Things were balanced enough back then for me to be able to pay that each month.
I’ve been in and out of employment since then and had my life turn upside down and go though hell and back more times then I’d like to remember. in late nov 2004 I made a move to divorce my husband things were just not working out for us, for a lot of possible reasons. He returned to the USA, and I suddenly found myself in Debts I didn’t know we had. Housing arrears of £1000+, bank over drafts and store tabs to pay off. I was up to my eye balls in it and for a little while I had my parents to help. I was only 22 going on 23 at this stage. Soon as I hit 23 in feb well things got worse from there, My dad died of a heart attack just 2 days before my birthday so I became my mums full time carer as well as my younger brothers, but that only lasted for 3 weeks or so as my mum became very ill with pneumonia and died in march leaving me with a infighting family (coursed by 1 older sibling who screwed the rest of the family over and made everyone hate each other with her lies!)
I suddenly found myself lumped with my mums pets, and a 15 year old brother to take care of. My mums dog turned from 1 dog to 3 dogs as it turned out she was pregnant despite the fact vets from the animal shelter said she’d been spayed. I had to quickly engage legal stuff so I could claim money for my younger brother to try and keep in him school, and so on, deal with my own emotions from a brake up with my husband and the loss of my parents and the worry of money, along with he bickering and aggravation from family only to find out our older sibling had run off with my mums little money that was going to pay for their funeral (still not paid off now and they still don’t have a head stone).

Before I knew what was going on my arrears had claimed so High by this point £2600 because I just didn’t know if I was coming or going or where I was in my own head, Everything was Chaos. it took me a few months to get on track and start paying rent properly again and getting on top of all my out going bills, changing of benefits from JSA to income support and child tax credits (which also got screwed up by DWP) and I had to send back repayments which screwed up other things. Then I think I must have been so close to a mental brake down but still holding it somehow together for the sake of my brother, except he wasn’t, he’d become addicted to the internet and that erupted into a Violent argument because the router had shut down for some reason knocking my younger brother off line from some unknown life important event going on on the internet. It had also knocked me offline while talking to a then very close friend who was trying to help me though my emotional hell from all the way in Sweden. as a Result my younger brother wound up finding himself in Care of family friends until they got him into Youth care in Torquay. I was left on my own by this point, no money at all! no electricity,  my 1 remaining bank account became so over drawn with bank charges they closed it, so no phone line, no internet and the only food I could get was when my dog managed to catch rabbits when I went out walking, this went on for 3 months before someone realised I was missing from my usual social gatherings and decided to track me down and find out what was going on. Then I found myself back on JSA, where I languished for a while and then was sent t A4E, My head was still all over the place and my self esteem shot to hell, not very employable to say the least.
I had legal battles with south hams trying to prove to them I was in a time of no income, CAB were less then helpful as they gave me appointments to get to and we got snowed in and couldn’t get to them that was it, they wrote me off as being someone who doesn’t show up to appointments, never mind I PHONED them and asked for a new appointment due to the weather conditions, so I was once again on my own with no help at all and still no idea how I was going to pay things. South hams council then said they’d write off the housing benefit claw back. Again wouldn’t give it in writing and once again proved true to their practices not their word as they carried on running me even deeper into arrears. it went on like that for another 2 or so years and in 2007 I met my current partner at A4E who could not believe how I was living, he told his friends at A4E and be for long they’d started buying me lunch when I was there just to make sure I’d have something to eat at least once each day, and he started coming around to my house and bringing food with him when he did and would not take no for an answer. We both finished our A4E time in the same year within a week of each other in fact. He uped and moved in and we turn our JSA into a joint claim and that started the process anew we spent 6 months with out money while they worked out what the hell they were doing with our claim. (they did back date it) we must have taken out a number of crisis loans and budget loans at that time and if it wasn’t for His mother I don’t think we’d have made it at all she gave us the odd £20 and south hams lifestyles the odd £10 here and there and sometimes food parcels as well but only after they found out how bad things were. But I’m still thankful for all that small help because it helped out big time at that point. when the JSA was finally sorted there was still a claw back attached to it for crisis loans and child tax credits. we struggled to pay off any basic bills but little by little we got a few things back, we got the electric changed to key meter so I could pay for that at a pay point and thus get electricity. then we got a phone line up so we could start making those important legal phone calls, but we still spent 5 of 14 days in the dark ages with out electric (can only top it up as much as I can afford).
then we had to change our claim to housing benefit and so on, they stopped that while they made a decision  on the amount we should get being both on JSA and living to together and south hams took their sweet time with that. and before long we had another court order slapped on us from Hastoe housing. the’d taken us to court to force us to pay £15 on top of rent. needless to say I couldn’t get to Cardiff to represent myself! So my struggle with arrears continued. and things have been going on and on like that with us managing to work in 2011 at woodlands for the summer which made financial problems worse because our pay slips got lost in the post to south hams council, no one told us about tax credits so we never claimed those when we could have. and we found ourselves much worse off as a result as we’d run into massive debt with south west water as well as housing and council tax and its been one thing after another. and this year 2013 has been as bad for me as the year 2005. my neighbours have taken it upon them selves to course me trouble. up until june this year I had 3 cats and 2 dogs. next door love to call the RSPCA for the most tiny thing they can think of. my dog ebby had skin problems these problems had been known about when she was adopted from rescue and she was under life long treatment for them, which with her age was making her loose her hair. in the end it resulted in the vets bullying me to have her put down (but only because the RSPCA had forced them to come out to me) in July we lost 1 of my two old cats to heart problems. (I had him PTS as it was getting unfair on him) then just a few days ago 1/12/13 I had another one put down after she went into fits we couldn’t get her to wake up from. in the space of 6 months I’ve lost 3 of my furry family members who have helped me battle with my own mind and kept me going, but the pain is the same as the loss of any human family member.  and to ad into this whole hellish mix my Partners dad has leukaemia and things are looking very bad for him due to his age, so we can’t contact his mum and dad very often as she likes to turn the phone off to get 5 mins to herself. (VERY understandable).
now topping that off with having to dodge Job centre at every turn trying to sanction us for any reason they can think of rather then helping us to FIND work, jumping the hoops working links put in front of us I am now being made Homeless by Hastoe Housing because the council wont send us a discretionary housing payment form to beg for help they just say we’ve sent one” but I’ve never SEEN it. and now I’ve got to find £294.30 in 7 days and I’m at a total loss, I’ve been bled dry and not even had the chance to get on my feet. not even once and when I have tried I’ve been kicked back down again before I can even stand I haven’t even had the chance to learn to drive properly in all this time, just never been able to rub the copper coins together to save for it.

Hastoe letter

I don’t know where out government get the idea from that people can possibility like living like this. I HATE it I’ve tried going self employed, they put stoppers in that when ever we have tried, When I find work everything demands money so fast and they want it “now” that I end up financially worse off at every turn. I’ve been stuck in what can only be called the poverty trap for some time, I’ve eked out an existence and found work from time to time, but nothing I can sink my teeth in long term. I can’t move because of the arriers (And  I’ve tried) I’m very latterly trapped and I want to get out there and live.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2013 3:52 pm

    Contact Ty Arian Solicitors. They specialize in welfare law, including housing,n debt n its a free service. Ring 01792 484200. They are amazing. Good luck

  2. Nicola permalink
    December 5, 2013 4:28 pm

    Oh hunnie I really feel for u if u ever need to talk here’s my email we are in arrears with bedroom tax and been refused dhp I lost my dad to a heart attack 05/03/12 my mum 01/02/93 and lost my dog nala to cancer 07/12/12 so I understand Ur Loss xx

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