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Don't Get Sick In Ireland

category national | housing | feature author Friday January 06, 2006 03:05author by Observer2author email observer.two at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

'"Jaysus" sez Wag "I aint seen hoop jumping as good as this since the dolphins at Seaworld."

Person caught up in red tape and attempting to cut through it


Don't get sick in ireland, a friend recently advised me. Of course my friend was referring to our antiquated and underfunded hospital service where there is a better chance of catching MRSA than getting a bed. Lo and behold only a matter of weeks after this comment was made to me and I fell ill. Thankfully my illness didn't necessitate a visit to hospital, however my doctor did advise me that I would be off work for a month and maybe longer and that I should rest and avoid any stressful situations.


Not to worry, I thought, sure I'm insured against this type of thing. I pay my P.R.S.I(almost 5 grand between my own and my employers contribution in 2005) and can therefore claim disability benefit. No problem there. But what about my extortionate rent? I could claim rent allowance from my local C.W.O. So I set about it. First, I had to find out where my local C.W.O operated from. I phoned what used to be the health board and after six phonecalls(daytime rates from a mobile at 55cent per minute) I discovered where to go. So off I set, down to the local health centre which turned out to be a short bus ride away. I would have walked but I am sick and walking any distance is a problem, naturally. No problem said the C.W.O, just get this form (s.w.a 3) filled out. One section to be completed by me, one by the landlord and one by Dublin City Council.

No problem? This is where the real problems began. I took another bus ride to D.C.C offices on the quays to get them to stamp my form for me. Simple enough one would think, but no. Sorry, says the bloke behind the counter, but you have to fill out one of our forms first and he directs me to a stand nearby containing D.C.C housing application forms. The form turns out to be a 12 page booklet that I must fill out.However before I can hand it in to D.C.C and get my S.W.A form stamped I must take the D.C.C form away with me and bring it to the tax office to get it stamped there. Another bus ride back into O'Connell street to the tax office where there is another queue. Get the thing stamped, eventually, and it's back on the bus to the Social welfare office where i must now get them to stamp it. Back on the bus and off to D.C.C again. Another queue, and eventually I hand in this application for housing from D.C.C and get my S.W.A form stamped. Back onto the bus again and home. All that is left to do now is take the form back to my C.W.O and my rent allowance should be paid to me in due course. Six phone calls, six bus rides, endless queuing and quite a lot of stress.

At my final(hopefully) visit to D.C.C I asked the girl what my chances were of being housed, none she told me. I would either need to get married and have a couple of kids or wait until I reach O.A.P status before there is any possibility of me being housed. Why all the form filling then? I asked, procedure she replied sympathetically. I mused that I was glad I hadn't got an illness that would keep me indoors or it would have been impossible for me to make my claim.The whole experience caused me to ask myself some questions: What about people who are too ill to leave their homes? What if I had been a single parent with a couple of kids, having to drag them back and forth across the city to have pieces of paper stamped?What about the phone calls and the bus fares, not to mention the stress? Who invented this ridiculous system?And is it dliberately designed to dissuade people from claiming their entitlements? Why is it necessary that in order for me to apply for rent allowance, which is a maximum of 90euro per week, that I had to go to four different state agencies to get a completely irrelevant piece of paper (a D.C.C housing application for a single person is, believe me, an irrelevant piece of paper) stamped. Why is it that a person who is certified by a medical doctor as being sick is expected to go through this ridiculous charade?

So I'm passing on the advice I received from my friend, good advice it turned out to be, do not whatever you do, get sick in Ireland.

Other stories: No time for small details in emergency

author by d'otherpublication date Thu Jan 05, 2006 21:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good article, the more of this stuff the better. I find it rather baffling as well. I mean, the whole welfare system seems to be based on forcing people to lie. Trying to get rent allowance forces the lie that you want social housing. Ridiculous. So ineffecient.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Fri Jan 06, 2006 08:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi observer 2.

I've had an interesting if common experience with housing issues.

A few years back my mother was diagnosed with cancer after going for a routine operation.

At the time she lived in an old run down cottage in Co. Limerick, which she was renting. She lived with her father, who was from Belfast, and who had after many years, retired down to the "fenian" side.

Anyway, the cottage itself only had two bedrooms, the water supply was poisonous (literally, we had a report stating as such), and basically, the cottage was in a very bad state of repair, it was impossible to heat etc.

I had offered to move in with my mother to care for her (which is a whole new feature in itself, trying to get carer's allowance etc), but it was obvious that the cottage was unsuitable.

So, admist the hustle and bustle of operations, taking care of a grandfather, who objected to my political views (he disliked non loyalists) and trying to learn about cancer and our health service, I had to try and find alternate accomodation for us.

I spent close to six months making a daily pilgrimage to the Co. Council offices in Limerick, where I hassled the poor people constantly.

We were immediately, put on the emergency housing list, though it still took six months to allocate a house to us.

Once the house (old persons bungalow, two bedrooms) had been allocated, it took a further six months for them to give us the keys.

As can be seen, the bungalow was too small to house the three of us, so after a very hard heart to heart talk with my grandfather (who had just been diagnosed with prostrate cancer himself) it was agreed that he move to England to live his remaining short time with another daughter of his. At this point we had settled our differences and had achieved a very amicable relationship. This was the last time I was to see him alive.

When the time arrived to hand over the keys to the house, my mother was recovering from an operation to relieve a twisted gut, which had resulted from another operation, a week or so previously. To put it mildly, my mother was quite ill. However, the Co. Council would not hand the keys to me. They insisted on visiting my mother at her hospital bed, where she was drugged up and in lots of pain.

They made her sign for the keys, and congratualated her on her good fortune. She tried to tell them to fuck themselves, but the drugs had messed with her ability to speak, so they didn't understand her.

I was means tested and the rent adjusted accordingly, and was subsequently means tested each Christmas. This to me suggested that I was being treated as a tennant, the fact that I was secretary of the local tennants association, kinda reinforced this opinion I had.

I cannot remember what happened, but for some reason I was prompted to check out my status as a tennant.

So I did.

I wasn't a tennant, and would have to move when my mother died.

Close to three years after moving into the bungalow, my mother died. I was told the bungalow would have to be vacated, and was given two weeks to do so. And that it might be advisable to pay a visit to the Co. Council to apply for housing.

I empathise with you my friend.

Sláinte,

Seán Ryan

author by Keith Harris - newsmedianews.compublication date Sat Jan 07, 2006 01:20author email newsmedia at eircom dot netauthor address author phone 00447716737522Report this post to the editors

I am a former journalist who was registered disabled while in Ireland.

I returned to the UK in June at the invitation of my former wife but after a few weeks found myself homeless when it didn't work out.

It is now January and my claim for an incapacity allowance - the UK equivalent of the Irish disability allowance - is still in process of being agreed. Papers were sent back by the UK to Ireland as the 'qualifying authority' to OK my claim but they may have well have been sent to the moon or further into the heavenly chasm of the cosmos.

If you think your experience was bad my friend, you should be here looking at what has happened to a registered disabled individual in the UK.

The bottom line to all this is that nobody fucking cares. They are happy in their own little world and screw anybody else and their misfortunes.

'Luck
KH
editor
http://www.newsmedianews.com

author by Fionapublication date Mon Jan 09, 2006 18:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've been through exactly the same system, with the exception that even after all the form filling and hoop jumping, I didn't recieve a penny in rent allowance as the CWO was too busy to call around a verify where I lived. This was last April and I'm still waiting.........

In addition, I don't qualify for Disability benefit due to the fact that I was in full time education during the relevant PRSI year - despite the fact that I have over the years paid a fortune in PRSI and tax. I was in receipt of SWA for a grand total of 6 weeks [ I've been disabled and out of work for 58 weeks] but this was immediately cancelled when I went into hospital, not to be reinstated until I was well enough to actually visit the CWO in person - a little tricky as at this point I was unable to walk and had to be carried from one room to another. Add to this the fact that I was refused a medical card for months the reason given that I am essentially "too poor" to qualify as I have no income. After several expensive daytime phonecalls and a snotty letter from me outlining the inevitable consequences of my being unable to afford the medical care and medications which I require on a daily basis, I have finally been awarded a "temporary" medical card. After a year of illnes I have also been awarded disablilty allowance to commence in February - allegedly. My medical bills are astronomical with monthly medications costing in the region of 800 Euros. I have accrued debts trying to survive whilst waiting for various government departments to get their acts together,and all the while have been treated like a piece of dirt. I did not ask to be in this situation. I had a fantastic job and career ahead of me and would much rather be pursuing that than to be bedridden and struggling to breathe at the age of 27, but nobody in social welfare cares and the general attitude that I have encountered is derogatory and disdainful. If you must get sick in Ireland, it's best to recover swiftly!

author by Johnpublication date Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was wondering has anyone else comee across this rip off. My sister went to hospital recently to have her first baby. She is covered for medical expenses by either BUPA or VHI through her job. She was allocated a private room and informed that she was due to be visited by a consultant and this would cost €1,000. She asked was it not covered by her insurence and was told no. She then asked not to see the consultant and was told she had to, she had no choice!

author by jimpublication date Wed Jan 11, 2006 17:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Again we come to the old thing of not blaming the person at the coal front but it seems that these CS seem to have no interest in using their knowledge to advise him in his attempts to get even temporary help, they do this so often at it you think they were doing it on purpose?

author by jazz queenpublication date Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:00author email jazzqueen at o2 dot ieauthor address author phone 0876455552Report this post to the editors

The goverment wants to keep the disadvantaged- disadvantaged, the poor- poor- the sick- sick. Is it any wonder why there are so many private hospitals spotting up all over the country? This country has the second largest social gap in the world behind America, and the fact of this is hiden behind all the forms and waiting involed in trying to get some benifit. Capitalism is taking over, implimented and approved by our government for figures of wealth, but the truth of the matter is that the born rich will get richer, while the people striving to earn a living and get housing will be backed up against a waiting system that will see no turn in events. Will our country in ten years be that of the highly rich, and the devestating poor?- It won't last long though, an economy won't tolorate that>?
Its up to us to fix the government

author by sharpublication date Tue Feb 27, 2007 16:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i had been a tenant of a local authority house for nearly twelve years and had to leave because of severe anti-social behaviour inflicted upon us . i took all the right steps to try stop this prior to leaving but nothing ever changed so we left we rented private paying ourselves then my partner had a brain haemorrage and shortly after i was in a bad car crash after much trouble trying to get assistance and back on a housing list as we were not entitled to assistance unless we do we have been told that even as a family of six we will be waiting seven to ten years to be re-housed. my three eldest will be in their early twenties by then.
Ironically our niece who has a one year old has more housing points than we do!
go figure

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