To start this blog off, I’d like to start at the very beginning.
I am self-employed. An artist. I love my work, and for many years I managed to get by on my modest income, supplemented by my weekly Working Tax Credit payments to which I was (and still am) entitled. As a disabled person, I met all the requirements for incapacity benefits, but I desperately wanted to work.
So I chose to work (that is my prerogative after all), often when I really wasn’t well enough to do so. But at least it was a job that I loved doing, and being self-employed, I could be much more flexible with my time.
The important thing is that it worked… just about… albeit a delicate balance between managing my symptoms and running my business. Even when the recession started, I scraped by. However, one fateful day, HMRC decided to stop my Tax Credit payments.
No sensible answers were ever forthcoming from HMRC as to why my payments had stopped. After many telephone calls in which I’d be promised that someone would write to me and explain everything, nothing ever materialised. Given that I was already surviving on limited means, with the recession biting harder all the time, I eventually ran out of time and ended up losing my home. Even so, I fought hard to survive, using public libraries to work during the day, and sleeping in quiet wooded areas during the night, so as to remain warm and undisturbed. Heck, I could fill a whole other blog with my experiences of the appalling way that local councils handle homeless applications, but that is for another time.
Throughout the entire ordeal, I have recorded every single telephone conversation and amassed a catalogue of evidence against the Tax Credits Office. They have had every opportunity to make things right, but they are now out of time and I am out of patience.
HMRC are about to discover why they have trifled with the wrong person…