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Today’s post comes from another blogger called Lilly Cook who runs a site called journalistonwheelz.com. She is a huge inspiration, and I really hope you check out her site! I asked her to write about the financial challenges she faces as a disabled woman – as she says, it’s not fair that she should have to pay for all the extra equipment and adaptations she needs just because she has cerebral palsy.
Thankfully there is help out there, but you often need to fight for it. Preparing for emergencies is a good place to start, as we cannot ever be sure if we will need time off of work for injury or illness. The next step would then be to have an iron-clad budget and stick to it as much as possible. Benefits are sadly quite limited, so making every penny count is essential!
I really hope you enjoy today’s post – Lilly is amazing, and I’m really honoured to have her writing for me today!
I’m Lilly Cook, aka the Journalist On Wheelz!
I’m a young woman with Cerebral Palsy. I use a wheelchair to get around outside and unfortunately because of my disability my family and I do sometimes need to deal with unexpected costs.
We’ve had to pay out for equipment such as wheelchairs, physio equipment, etc. so as you can imagine it can sometimes be very expensive, not that I agree with it as no one asks to be born with disabilities, so why should we have to deal with the extra costs that comes with it.
To illustrate what I am working with, I’ll break down my expenses and income for you.
My Income – I get £508 per month through disability benefits
£13 tv license
£13 council tax
£30 I go through a lot of shoes due to the way I walk
£200 travel as it not easy for me to use public transport (absolutely my biggest expense – more on this later!)
£36 Personal care including shower essentials and boxes of pads
Rough overall speed: £565
Help With Travel
My disability makes it difficult for me to use public transport so I have a freedom pass, which gets me around London for free.
Yes, that is a good thing! However I can’t use public transport easily due to the practicalities.
So here’s what I have to do: I have something called a Taxicard. I won’t go in to this in too much detail as I have an entire post on the Taxicard scheme that you can read.
Now I’m on the subject I’m more intrigued. So I’ve taken the opportunity to ask some of my friends with disabilities to find out their opinions. So let’s meet them.
Sam Ingham’s opinion
My disability is called hereditary motor sensory neuropathy. In layman’s terms this means my nerves that are attached to my muscles are slowly shutting down and one day I will awake and not be able to feel my legs.
At the moment I am dependent on my family for feeding me and if I am going places where I am going to eat out, as my hands have deteriorated massively in the last two years, to the point where I was feeding myself, dressing myself and able to lift a cup, to now where as I said have go to be fed, sometimes helped with dressing and sometimes personal care.
I’m not going to lie it was very difficult having to adjust from doing everything myself to having to depend on everyone around me as I love to be as independent as I can, but I’ve had to adjust to asking people for help and learned that it’s ok to want to ask.
As to the financial side of things, my family really help me with this as I’m not the best with money situations so my mother, who is my primary carer, deals with the financing within my house. The only thing that I believe that I pay out for myself is if I get cabs or use a Taxicard which allows me to use my electric wheelchair out and about and doesn’t cost as much to get from A to B.
If someone was in the similar situation to me I’d tell them to not give up. Yes, there are days where it can be very tough and stressful, but as long as you surround yourself with positive people that are going to support you and be 100% real with you about life and everything then that’s all you can do. Definitely have a positive outlook on life and if you have something you want to achieve in life don’t let your disability get in the way of that. Never let anything limit you because the day you let something limit you is the day you should give up all together. I know it sounds harsh but I’ve always been told that letting your disability get in the way is just an excuse. Never give up. Push through and achieve what you wanna do.
My disability is quadriplegic athetoid cerebral palsy which means I haven’t got fine motor control of my limbs. I’m a full time wheelchair user, but with normal intellectual ability. With having cerebral palsy, I receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and incapacity benefits.
My tips and advice would be: make sure you receive what you’re entitled to get, have regular assessments for your physical needs and home environment.
There is financial support out there. You tend to have to be a bit pushy. Having a little extra support than you initially need isn’t a bad thing, as you may need it in the future. Remember only you know yourself more then anyone.
I hope this blog gives you a helping hand and tips.
Thank you so much to Lilly, Sam and Camille for giving us an insight into the financial implications of having a disability. As they have said, there is help out there, so make sure you go out and get it!
I wanted to add that the benefits that Camille spoke about are now being phased out and are being replaced by Personal Independence Allowance (if you are aged 16-64) and Attendance Allowance (if you are aged 65 or over).
Citizen’s Advice have a resource to help you find out which benefits you could be entitled to, and Scope have a helpful resource on how to apply for charity grants. There is a huge list of charities, so check them out and see if you can find some extra help.
Until next time,
Dr Nikki x
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