I’m David, I’m 56 years old and I live with my wife Sue. I’m registered blind and have significant hearing loss. My DLA helps me to live independently. If the new criteria’s approved I’m set to lose a significant amount from my monthly budget and I’m not sure how we’ll cope, because my costs haven’t changed.
I use my computer on a daily basis. I use it to do online banking and shopping, research for my PhD and to read correspondence but the technology to enable me to do this is expensive. I have to update the software on a regular basis so I can access modern websites and often need to pay for sighted help to resolve technical issues. For example when the internet goes down it’s easy for a sighted person to just call their provider and be talked through how to rectify the problem. If I call they’ll ask me to look whether the light’s flashing – I can’t see that. Or to look at the right-hand side of the screen and the message it’s displaying – again I can’t see it! My wife is a technophobe so I have a man come round to help with issues such as this but it’s a £25 call out charge. My DLA helps me pay for these extra costs.
There are lots of extra costs involved with being blind which people don’t think of. The other day someone tried to breakdown the front door. It then wouldn’t close properly so I called out someone to fix it but in fact it just had a loose screw. If I had my sight I would have been able to see that and not been sent a £75 bill. Simple things like re-wiring a plug I just can’t do and need to pay someone to help me. I have various falls and collisions and damage my clothes which need washing more often and repairing or replacing. In fact my utility bills are higher than a normal household because I wash every piece of clothing after one wear. The reality is that I try to be careful when I’m eating or drinking but I do spill food down myself and I’m constantly washing shirts because I can’t tell whether it’s dirty or not and I don’t want to keep bothering my wife.
I have lots of accidents so buy more medical supplies than most people. I buy quite a lot of dressings which are expensive as I’m also prone to infections. I’ve recently started to have more accidents because I’m going out and about a bit more because I was diagnosed with diabetes and need to get healthier so I’ve been going out for walks. I’ve ended up walking into roads and falling over things, the other day I walked into a metal bollard and last year I fell down into a pub cellar after someone left the hatch open on the pavement. I gashed the inside of my arm and ripped my shirt. I’m having accidents like this all the time but should I not go out? There’s no such thing as a familiar route as the new PIP assessment predict. There can be hazardous broken paving slabs one day, which were fine the day before. The other day there were roadworks on a road near my house and I ended up walking into the road. It can leave me disorientated and I have had to call a taxi to take me home which are expensive.
My DLA enables me to be independent and not rely on my family for everything. It pays for the equipment and support I need to do that. Don’t let disabled people like me miss out on the support they need to live independently. Join the Hardest Hit campaign.