This month marks three years since Covid-19 first came to the UK. It’s been a tough time, but even more so for disabled people.
I started shielding about a week before Boris Johnson ordered lockdown. I was on holiday in Filey, North Yorkshire, when the news started getting all the scarier as the days ticked on. By Wednesday I was a shaking crying mess and my husband made the call that we were coming home.
As someone with lupus and arthritis, I was classed as clinically extremely vulnerable and shielded for most of 2020 and 2021. I barely left the house except to cautiously walk my dog. During that time, shielding people were given no support from the government. In fact, while we still cowered indoors, non-vulnerable were encouraged to eat in restaurants and pubs.
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This is why it always stung that only those on universal credit got a £20 uplift between April 2020 and October 2021 and not everyone on disability benefits including personal independence payment and disability living allowance.
As a PIP recipient, being at home for nearly two years was awful. There are no two ways about it. My income also dwindled during that time, as typically mainstream media didn’t deem stories about disabled people struggling or dying in the pandemic “newsworthy”.
The bulk of bills and food shopping – which of course rose because we were both at home all the time – had to come from my husband’s income.