Woman says she's forced to put cat down her jumper to stay warm amid cost of living crisis
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The cost of living crisis only seems to be getting worse, and now one woman has revealed that she's stuffing her cat up her jumper in a bid to keep warm.
Sharon Hearn, 50, who is disabled, said she can't afford to heat her home for more than two hours a day, so she's using her cat Toby to help her stay warm this winter.
The part-time wheelchair user has spinal cord damage, rheumatoid arthritis and a brain injury and said her condition means she does 'feel the cold a lot more'.
"Sitting in these conditions is making my arthritis worse and making my joints worse, and making my mobility worse," she said.
"At night and during the day, normally I have three to four blankets on.
"I normally have two jumpers on, two socks on and I'm very lucky to have a cat. Because [when] he's cold, I put him down my jumper and we sort of warm each other up."
Sharon told the BBC that despite her predicament, she's been denied the winter fuel bill discount.
The discount was created in a bid to help those who are most likely to struggle to be able to afford to heat their homes.
According to the government, to be eligible, a person must have an income below a certain level or be in receipt of a pension credit guarantee, a means-tested benefit or tax credits.
However, Scope, the charity, found that despite these criteria, around 300,000 disabled people in England and Wales like Sharon won't be eligible.
"Two hours, that's all I can afford," Sharon said. "I tend to get to hypothermic stage, end of November beginning of December."
"I will then be forced to put it on two hours a day, and even by March or April, I'm having bills of five, six, seven hundred pounds.
"If that's the case, if I have it on 24 hours a day, then how much is that going to equate to?"
Sharon said that even when she put her heating on in December, the warmest she was able to heat her home to was 10-12C (50-54F).
When Sharon asked why she was ineligible for the energy discount, she was told by the Warm Home Discount (WHD) helpline that it is because her home has a D-rating energy performance.
However, this reason was disputed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
They said the discount isn't based on a home's energy performance but 'on people's financial circumstances.'
Alex Osborne of Disability Wales said the discount 'was just a little bit of breathing space for disabled people.'
"Not having the heating on 24/7 in their homes can make them really very ill," she said.
"So they're having to either take the risk they're going to get seriously ill by turning it off, or have it on and wonder how they're going to be able to afford the bills."
LADbible has reached out to the WHD helpline for comment.
Featured Image Credit: BBC
Topics: UK News
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