My husband who was a veterinary surgeon died of a brain tumour and six years later I contracted chronic active hepatitis and began to struggle financially. During the first three years of my illness I received Incapacity Benefit but then it was decided that I no longer qualified for it. While the Citizens Advice Bureau were helping me through the process of appealing the decision, I had to take out a bank loan to pay my car tax and insurance because it was the only way I could get to the doctor. I then developed thryroid deficiency and muscle atrophy and the rest …. ! At the time of my application to Vetlife my income was less than £4,000 per annum and although I put on a bright face to any visitors I was often very depressed and have continued to need professional help with this.
It took me some years for me to be persuaded by my husband’s veterinary colleagues to apply for assistance from Vetlife but, once I began, the process was simple. I filled in a straight forward application form and was then visited by a Vetlife area representative who became a regular visitor in later years. Vetlife immediately awarded me a monthly grant which allowed me to keep my head above water.
One of the worst things about being on a low income is the panic that arises when “surprises” come from time to time. At one point I lost some teeth but fortunately Vetlife stepped in to help me with a special gift for the dental work.
I have had to move homes many times as my circumstances have changed but I am very settled now in a small house with a garden for my dogs on the edge of a town. My health has worsened but I have access to good local medical care and continue to live independently and now receive enough State support to no longer need Vetlife’s help. Vetlife are an essential part of my support system – not just for the financial help but because I know that they have always done all they can to support me and I have grown to trust them.
I would definitely encourage any veterinary surgeon or dependant to contact Vetlife if they are experiencing difficulties.