THE SIMPLE PROCESS OF GETTING A BLUE BADGE FOR MY GIRLFRIEND SO WE CAN USE WHEELCHAIR SPOTS AT THE SHOPS By Jared A. Carnie

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THE SIMPLE PROCESS OF GETTING A BLUE BADGE FOR MY GIRLFRIEND SO WE CAN USE WHEELCHAIR SPOTS AT THE SHOPS

By Jared A. Carnie

We finally conceded
She was disabled.
 
We’d been hoping
For some speedy
Miraculous recovery
But it obviously wasn’t coming anytime soon.
 
If ever.
 
It was strange to admit
Given what she’d done in the past
But we couldn’t really get around it
Anymore.
 
Someone filled us in
And told us
To apply for Personal Independence Payment.
So we did.
 
It was the only way to get the Blue Badge
For the car.
 
With that Blue Badge
We might be able to get out a little.
 
At the moment
It was too much hassle.
Her getting exhausted just from
Being in the car
And then finding
We could only park somewhere
Where we couldn’t get
The wheelchair out.
 
As someone who couldn’t walk
Or sometimes even
Chew food or talk
It seemed like a no-brainer
She’d be eligible
Anyway.
 
Well
Six months of
Bed-ridden pain
Just flies by
And we finally
Receive a letter in September.
 
It’s calling us in
For an assessment.
 
I load her
Into the wheelchair
And we make the journey
(two buses)
To the clinic.
 
We have the assessment.
 
The woman cuts it short
Because my girlfriend is
So obviously in pain
And unable to do
A lot of the stuff.
 
A few weeks later
We receive a letter.
 
You have been declined.
 
We read the reasoning.
You can clearly walk 200 metres.
You can clearly look after yourself.
You managed to use public transport
To get here
You’re obviously pretty independent.
 
They have ignored the forms we filled in.
Ignored the assessment.
Ignored the wheelchair and
The fact I was pushing it.
 
The letter states
We can apply
For a ‘reconsideration’.
 
We do that.
 
I send in another copy
Of a letter
From a GP
Stating
‘She can not walk
Even short distances’.
 
We are told that
We will receive a phone call
To discuss the decision.
 
After no phone call
We receive another letter
Stating we have been declined.
No other text has changed.
Just a repeat of the first letter.
 
Having used up our ‘reconsideration’
It says
We now have two options:
Tribunal
Or apply again from the start.
 
We can not face
Either of these prospects.
 
(I now realise
This is their intention.)
 
We’ll be ok
We think.
We’ll survive somehow.
We’ve got this far.
We’re coming to terms with this.
We’ll just find places
Where we know we can park
Without the blue badge.
 
We’re tired
Of having to prove
How much agony she’s in.
The whole process
Just brings it all up again.
 
(like everyone else)
We’re not really political
but we decide
to write to our MP
To explain how utterly fucked the situation is.
 
We know we’re lucky.
We are young.
Resilient.
She has me to help
(I’m not playing up
My role in this
– She’s the hero)
But
The point is
Someone older and
Alone
Could not afford
To wait six months
Just to be told
To fuck off.
 
The idea terrifies me.
Makes me think of my grandparents.
 
(To his credit)
The MP contacts us
To say
Depressingly
This is the norm
And they are hearing
A lot of this.
 
I express my concerns.
This is not only not helping
It’s actively making things worse.
He agrees.
 
He decides to contact DWP
To get them to justify their actions.
 
They tell him
‘We spoke to them on October 30th
About the decision
Prior to the letter being sent.”
 
The MP tells us this.
 
“No, they did not”
We say.
We can prove it.
We have our phone records.
 
“Fine” they admit, “we never spoke to them”
(no apology)
“We’ll call them next week to discuss it.”
 
A week later
A woman calls.
I explain the situation.
 
She says that none of the information
From our assessment
Or the forms/letters we sent
Had been looked at.
None of it was in our report.
We had just been blankly refused.
 
I go over everything with her
One last time.
 
Long story short
12 months after applying
We now have a blue badge
And can park a bit nearer
At Tesco.
The system works.

Jared A. Carnie recently left the Outer Hebrides. He can be found at prettyneet.wordpress.com.

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