Monday, 28 June 2010


Title subject to change :)

I've been on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for some time now - Middle Rate care and Lower rate Mobility, lower rate, would you believe, because I can't walk very far.

Something I find deeply amusing. Since I'm on 'indefinite' , I chose not to appeal. As my old Dad used to say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". He was, of course, a Yorkshireman. 'Nuff said. :)

No great secret to how much I get - feel free to Google it, you'll find reliable info on the sites. You'll also find information there why it's awarded and the criteria needed for a claim to be successful.

I find it reasonable, and it helps in the way it's meant to, that is, with aspects of the help I need as I need it, and to get help getting around when I need to. Of course, a little more always helps.

I've probably said this in previous posts, but it's worth repeating, but you can work full time and still be awarded DLA. It isn't means tested. However, if you are on UK Income Support (IS), or Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), though DLA isn't counted as income, you are still bound by the terms and conditions of the other benefits, though you may be asked to speak to a Disability Advisor, who will help you find work. Apparently.

One other little quirk I came across advising someone who was on Lower Rate Care (and nothing else) who had found themselves in dire straights.

If you apply for an Emergency Loan, a small interest free loan that you can get to tide you over if you are on JSA or IS, which has to be repaid later at a few UKP a week - The income support and jobcentre people will NOT take Mobility Allowance into account as income, but WILL take the care component into consideration when making a decision as income. Never being in that position, I didn't know that.

Because I help out occasionally around the Net, I've scrutinised the forthcoming changes to the benefits regime here in the Uk very carefully.

For DLA (Disability Living Allowance) it's fairly straightforward.

You might have noticed I explained I was on 'Indefinite'. Normally, if you are granted DLA, you are granted it for anything between 1 and 3 years, depending upon your assessment of need. After that, you have to reclaim. Claiming DLA can be quite complex, means filling in a quite complex form, and I always advice using an Advice Centre.

However, every now and again, quite out of the blue, they'll grant a claim 'Indefinite'. That isn't for life, and it isn't forever.

It means you aren't required to reclaim. It does mean it could be a year, it could be ten years, but they may :) Likewise, you may be called in for what is mistakenly called a 'medical'. It isn't. It's a brief interview with medical professionals who are specially trained in 'assessment of needs' As DLA is all about 'needs', that's fair enough. If you've ever appealed against a decision, you'll know what I mean.

At the moment, there is no automatic DLA assessment of needs interview. The information is taken from your claim form, your GP, someone who knows you well, (usually a medical professional, not a GP) and Hospital consultants, physio's ect. If there is any doubt, you are called in for an assessment.

Still awake? :) From January 2013, uk gov is going to drastically simplify the claim forms.

Everyone, new claims, existing claims, and 'indefinites' will have to undergo an 'assesment of needs interview'. The idea is to "get those back into employment who can be employed".

I have no problems with this whatsoever. I'll leave the politics to some else :)

I do wonder how they will assess autism, alzheimers, aspergers, the list goes on, all who are a matter of degree, in less than an hour. For the record, those who I know who went through an advice centre won there claims, and often on appeal, received more than they had before.

Monday, 21 June 2010

I guess if you've spent time hangin' around here, you'll know that I'm a total Pickle freak. If it stands still long enough, I'll pickle it.

But I also do Soups, Piccalilli's, (mustard pickle) Jams and Chutney's too.

There's a few reasons behind it. For much of my early years I was on a low income, so waste was the last thing I wanted. Then I spent some time in a religious community, where it was kinda mandatory to feed the five thousand. Bit difficult when you have a young family, I can tell you.

I got to hate waste. Kids can be quite wasteful, and it gets worse when they eat-and-run as they get older. You can only get away with so many stews and curry's......

I hope I'm not the only one who finds fruit and veg kinda 'on the way out' in the fridge :)

Tomorrow is shopping day, where My Bear goes on a wing and a prayer with Father-in-Law and pocket full of money on a tour of the local supermarkets. So I checked the fridge (the freezer is full of meat stuffs) and found :-

3 Pears, 1 Apple, a large onion, Lemon juice, some sorry looking Garlic. In a cupboard we had half a bag of sultana's. Oldest daughter has inherited a large rhubarb patch, and is getting sick of rhubarb crumble.

Of course, I had vinegar knocking around :) So I came up with this :-

Apple, pear and rhubarb Chutney.

1.Whatever hard fruit you have - Pears and apples in my case.
2. 1lb rhubarb chopped
3. juice of one lemon, or 3 tbs bottled lemon juice.
4. 1 large chopped onion + 1 chopped garlic clove
5. 1lb brown sugar
6. ½ lb chopped sultanas
7. 1 & ½ teaspoons ginger
8. ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
9. 3 teaspoons sea salt
10. ¾ pint vinegar - I had some Sarsons clear.

Chop all the fruit and vegetables, add the vinegar, sugar and spices and bring slowly to the boil.

Simmer for about two hours, stirring occasionally, until quite thick. Pour into heated jars and seal, and leave for a couple of months, somewhere cool and dark, before eating.

Note. Open the kitchen window. It stinks, but as time goes on it smells much sweeter.
You would not believe how much the taste differs to the cooking smell
after 2 to 3 months of maturing. Think a fruity 'Branston'. Enjoy.

Sunday, 20 June 2010


I became a Great Uncle 25 minutes ago. Young Callum, apparently.

And between now and November, I'm going to become a great uncle again, and a Granddad twice.

As my Bear says, "Dray, I'm sticking to beer, and keeping away from the water - there's something wrong with it...."

I'll drink to that. :)

A new day dawns.

Saturday, 5 June 2010


I've been taking a long hard look at Facebook.

Though I have a presence there, I don't use it.

Mind, you, just about everyone I know does, including my family. 'Er 'Indoors practically lives on it.

The biggest problem I had was the constant fiddling and twiddling with the privacy controls. Far too many people I'd rather avoid kept popping up and being a nuisance - How many different ways can you say to someone "If I've avoided you for the last 15 years, there's a darn good reason for it". But nope, stick some people behind a keyboard and they lose brain cells.

Trust me, I know about losing brain cells...

I recognise the value of been part of the social networking scene, so though I had a Facebook page, if I needed to use Facebook, I used 'Er 'Indoors.

But what's clinched it for me was the comments of Facebooks founder.

Sometime in 2004, it transpires, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, was chatting online with a friend about the beginnings of the site.

He said "“I have over 4,000 e-mails, pictures, addresses,” he wrote, showing off. “People just submitted it. I don’t know why. They ‘trust me’.” Then he wrote: “Dumb f***s.”

I'm sure he was trying to be funny. But some of us remember a certain Mr. Ratner, who joked that his multi-million pound jewellery business "sold crap". He was out of a job, sharpish. An unguarded remark bit him on the bum. Mr Zuckerberg, I suspect, has 'Done a Ratner'.

'Doing a Zuckerberg' hardly has the same ring to it.

So I'm outa there.

I wanted somewhere that has much the same facilities as Facebook, where the privacy controls are easy to use, and ideally, no chuffin' targeted advertising. And I think I've found it.

Hope to see you around here ;-