5 February 2012

Citeria for cold weather payment has changed.

I woke up this morning in my freezing cold flat and worried about the electricity which is going to run out before I next get a giro. Decided to look online to see if we are getting a cold weather payment next week. Last year we got 3 around Christmas when it was very cold. Back then the criteria were that it had to be "an average of zero degree's celsius or below for 3 days in a row". I logged onto the DWP site this morning here to find that has changed to "average of zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days in a row" in times when the cost of electricity and gas have doubled. I also found the page that tells you if one has been triggered where you live here, ours has not, so no cold weather payments for us.

I always thought it was crazy that it had to below freezing for 3 days in a row, as just because it's not freezing it doesn't mean you can have the heating switched off and not be cold enough for it to make you ill. True we might not get hypothermia and die instantly but cold damp housing causes respiratory problems, so it could potentially cause widespread health problems amongst the poor like we haven't seen since the 60's. But now I find the criteria have changed to 7 days in a row at freezing or below before we get any help which is even worse.

So now I'm sat here worrying about how I'm going to buy enough electricity to last us until our next benefit payment, as there's already nothing left of the last one.

Meanwhile MP's have the gall to claim there is no poverty in this country on television, and I see comments from the public on my other disabled friends blogs saying they think everyone on disability benefits is "riding the gravy train" and we are "self pitying". When in reality we are more anxious and distressed over what is happening to us than ever before, and struggling to survive just like everyone else in the country who isn't rich during these tough economic times.

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