It was a long, long morning as I waited for my 2pm CAB appointment; I was filled with a sense of foreboding and feelings of panic kept looming over me. Now just a few hours later I feel 3 stone lighter and almost feel happy!....I don't think I've said that for a while.
The lady I spoke to at the CAB was wonderful; during the 10 minutes of floods of tears as I explained the situation (I felt so angry at myself for that) she stayed calm, sympathetic and gradually I got back into business mode.
She seemed pleasantly surprised that I had all the paperwork she needed to see with me and we went through it all step by step. The first weight off my shoulders came when she stated that I am in no way liable for Mick's debts. As I have informed all the companies of the position that is the end of the matter as far as she is concerned. Mick has no estate save for the £100 in his account and they can fight over that with no input from me.
The CAB are going to write letters to all my creditors explaining the position and asking them to put my accounts on hold until such time as I know what income I have. IF at that time after household bills; everyday expenses and food costs I have any money left then an "offer" of payment will be made by me for them to accept or decline...but that's in the future...for now they cannot hassle me further. She gave me some identical photocopies of Authorisation Forms to fill in....she suggested I do 10...filling in my name, address, telephone number etc. on each....knowing her time was limited I suggested that I fill in one and photocopy it 9 times...she liked that idea...far quicker! Then all I had to do was quickly sign all 10.
We went through the expenditure sheet I had to fill in...she wanted to know why I hadn't put anything down for food, clothing,fares, furniture and presents. I explained that as I have no income I can't really be spending money on such things....and even if I do receive some benefits there won't be money to spare for clothes etc. It seems I have to put figures down though and over the course of the next fortnight I need to keep a record of my food expenditure to give me some idea. I had to laugh when the figure of £15 per month on clothes was mentioned......I didn't spend that much on clothes for myself over the whole of last year!!! It seems even the £6 every six weeks to have my hair trimmed can go down as an allowable expense. I'm sure there won't be much "left over", if I put all these things down, to offer to my creditors but she says not to worry......and shall I tell you something....for the first time in over 2 months I'm NOT worried. Just having everything on hold makes all the difference and I felt about 3 stone lighter as I left her office.
Another incredible thing happened when I got home...I received a phone call from the Head of Babergh District Council Customer services...it seems my blog had come up as having made mention of them and he asked would I mind speaking to him about the treatment good or bad that I had received from them. I had to be fair....as you'll see by Monday's post (and others) B.D.C. have always been courteous and sympathetic when I've spoken to them and it's not their fault that the Bereavement Payments Office is dragging their heels. In fact today I also received a letter from B.D.C. putting it in writing that they agree I've received no allowance to date and have readjusted my payments to ZERO for both my rent and council tax until such time as receive any money. Another problem solved.
Yes it's turned out a good day all round and for now I feel slightly back in control of my life.