My Pea or Your Pea
I’ve got another of those issues that only occur when you’re the carer of a learning disabled person and have your whole life under surveillance by the State.
As the Responsible Welfare & Financial Deputy that I am, I submitted the annual financial audit to the Office of the Public Guardian a few week’s back. Steven doesn’t understand any of this, although he is amused that Dad had another title of Deputy, which reminds him of the toy Woody he used to have. When you pulled his string, Woody used to say “You’re my favourite deputy”.
Yesterday, I received a letter from the OPG wanting more detail about Steven’s expenditure. Mainly around household expenses.
Back in the day before Hillingdon made us homeless and I was the tenant of the flat we lived in, we didn’t have a problem. (Mind, we didn’t have the OPG scrutiny then). I was the tenant. I was responsible for the bills. Like most adult children living at home, Steven made a contribution to his board but the bills were down to me.
Now, our situation is reversed. Steven is the tenant. As the State likes to distance learning disabled people from their families, I am only referred to on official documents as ” live in carer”. But I’m still living there a large chunk of the week, so should make my contribution to the bills.
This is tricky when answering the OPG questions. How do you split electricity usage between us? We probably spend equal time on the computer, do I just split the Talk Talk bill 50/50? All the furniture in the house is Steven’s – does he foot the bill for the total household insurance?
Sometimes I forget that, officially, there is no relationship between me and Steven – he is independent of me. On Saturday I ordered us both summer jackets from Premier Man and paid for them from my debit card. I wouldn’t bother to transfer money from his account to mine for his jacket. It’s just a jacket.
The biggest problem with the OPG form is how do you apportion the shopping bill? I do a weekly online shop. Do I need to separate the items? A packet of peas for him: a packet of peas for me? Does it compromise his independence for us both to eat from the same packet of peas? I buy 8 cartons of orange juice for the week. We both drink it. Do I need to label them individually? For the audit, do I divvy up the cost? If Steven squirts his armpits with some of my Brut, do I charge him?
Not since I was 18 and lived at home with my Dad, have I had any experience of this. I don’t know how non learning disabled families manage the household bills. I don’t expect they have to be so meticulous and accountable. They probably don’t have to do an annual audit. But I don’t know. I live in a world under a microscope.
I’ll leave it there. I’ve got a busy morning planned. I’m sorting mine and Steven’s Frosties into individual Tupperware containers. It’ll please the Court.
From → Social Care