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  1. [sorry, haven't figured out how to qoute from another thread] {and as if by magic - it's quoted!! - Erika xx} I've been on the 'assessment phase' of ESA since November 2008 and should have a Tribunal hearing sometime after March the first. My understanding is that, as I don't yet get the disability premium, I'm not eligible for CWP. My last spirometry test showed my level of COPD at 'severe'. Cold weather is not friendly to me! The reason I've suddenly hit a bit of a crisis was due to having to renew my car tax [£104.50 for 6 months] a few days ago. If I take my time I can walk ok'ish but there is no way I could survive without my car. I live in a country village with minimal public transport. [it's a four mile round tip to my corner shop!] There seemed to be very few options left for me to try to skimp and limp through the next few weeks. Already skipping some bills but others have to be met. The most crippling thing at the moment is the electric. [No gas out here]. I'm on a key meter, Economy 7 night storage heaters. This is costing me over £25 a week. That's probably less than most people but it's a lot to me. I only have one cooked meal a day and have three heaters on. Apart from a few small appliances that's pretty much it. So I turned off the heating. Not an easy decision tbh, but I thought I can always wear a coat to bed! I know key meters are expensive but I don't want a quarterly bill I can't afford to meet. However I've got to reduce this outgoing somehow. So I phoned Southern Electric to enquire how I can change to a quarterly meter. They said they'd have to do a credit check first of all. I knew I wouldn't pass that and promptly burst into tears! I ended up having to explain what I'd done and, to be fair, he was pretty appalled especially with the state of my health. He arranged for me to be added to their list of 'heat dependant' customers. One of the benefits of which is that they bypass the credit check. They also run a rebate scheme for the vulnerable which he's sending me details about. And then he said he'd spoken to his Manager and he was sending me a new key with £20 credit to make sure I had heat for a while. [That was yesterday and the key arrived this morning! So I have been able to put the heating back on]. I'm grateful to Southern Electric for their help and I'll soon be off the key meter. I do have an appointment with CAB on the 12th regarding my Tribunal and I'll be speaking to them about what else I can do. Apologies for the mega post but, if someone else is in a similar situation, I hope my experience can help. Rae.
  2. I hope that those who are struggling to get DLA will forgive me this thread. But I just wanted to share my good news with those of you who have been so kind and understanding of my plight over the past few years. My DLA award letter came through today. HRM and MRC indefinately. Levels that I just didn't even dare dream of. The best part of four years trying to get by on the assessment rate of ESA has not been easy. And I know I've still got to sort that out, so some bridges still to cross. But this award means a lot to me. I'll now admit that this coming winter frightened me as I didn't know how I was going to pay for heating. That fear has now subsided. I appreciate 'indefinate' is not as long as it used to be. But, hey, that's inflation for you. It'll see me through this winter and that's as far as I will look. And please don't mention PIP - no urinating on my bonfire! Someone, somewhere, smiled on me today and I feel blessed with good fortune. I hope that that smile will broaden to encompass all the others who need this help. Again, good folk of CAG, thank-you for helping me with your words of comfort over the many months of struggle. They have meant far more then you could ever appreciate ...
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