Simon’s Story (Voice from the Margins)

“I was sanctioned while in hospital. I was on ESA until a couple of months back. I missed an appointment but I was in hospital at the time, and can prove that. I could not go. I am claiming JSA now, or I would be kicked out of my flat. I get £144 a fortnight. It’s not enough really to get by. I have been here to the food bank a couple of times now. If this place was not here, there would be nothing I could do – I’d probably starve to death.

man struggling and in poverty

They should be stopping sanctions like this, and not letting them go as long as this. They need to give people a little more on ESA. It’s not like I’m not unwell. Sometimes I can have three or four fits a day and I am on my own in an upstairs flat. My friend next door once had to kick the door in and phone an ambulance. I have epilepsy and I missed one appointment because I was in hospital.

They’re not listening and they’re not doing enough. They know my problems, but they are trying to keep me on JSA, when I get a lot less on JSA than ESA and with more conditions.

I am in a one-bedroom flat upstairs, and my epilepsy is bad. If I have a fit, no one can get upstairs to help me. I am trying to get to the council at the moment but I have not got access to a computer.

One time, I was texting my friend and he realised my texts were going funny and he knew something was up. He came and kicked my door in and he found me lying there. That was about four months ago. I have not had a fit now for a few weeks but sometimes it’s three or four a day. I need space so that if I am having fits, someone can come.

Sometimes it can just come on I cannot even tell it’s coming sometimes. I do not know if there’s just not enough housing but hopefully I can get somewhere, or I’m worried someone will find me dead in my flat. I want to be where my family are so if I have fits, they can stop with me that night.”

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Simon’s story is from Voice on the Margins, and the full article can be found here.

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