The trials and tribulations of applying for a Care Allowance in Sweden

Monday morning, I was exhausted. I had sat up way too late, Sunday night, not keeping the Sabbath day holy at all. About an hour and a half before midnight, I realized it was the last day that H & M was having 30% off one item of clothing. Since I was contemplating buying the shorts variety of jeans dungarees for “Gubby, I realized how angry I would be if I did not get them 30% off, when I could have. Every little penny counts! But while I sat there looking at them, I remembered “Dollie” mentioning wanting modest shorts, going as far down to the knee as possible. So I surfed in on the ladies department as well, found the shorts “Dollie” had seen, only to discover that they were sold in inches and not in the regular small, medium, large sizes or 36, 38… So, I had to walk upstairs and wake her up, asking if she knew what she wears. She did not. After contemplating not getting any shorts for her at this point, I went up to her again with a measuring tape, and she had to wake up once more, so we could get the inches. And me getting the 30% off the jeans shorts she wanted, since they were not as cheap as I would have liked them to be. This forced me to pay full price for her little brother’s shorts instead.

While I was on the computer, I finally remembered that “Boo” looks immodest in his underwear, him being wider hipped than “Kitty”. For a while I have contemplated getting boxer shorts for him instead of the briefs that all his brothers have worn. But in Sweden, only the rich can afford boxer shorts for little boys! They cost an arm and a leg. So, I turned to British “NEXT”, for them, and also knickers for “Cookie”. She has grown out of and worn out everything of hers. I’ve promised her new ones from Next for the last six months, but keep forgetting. Well, now I was on an ordering spree, so I finally got to do it. In Sweden, when you become a teenager, the knickers become hipsters, only my daughter has no hips. She is tiny, skinny as a fish finger and need proper knickers, not the ones that hardly covers anything or sit as a bandanna across the lower regions! So, Next is the only answer for her as well. Only the British seem to understand that children are children and need to dress like children to be comfortable. They let their children remain children. And thank heavens for that since Swedish children’s fashion equals that of prostitutes or what you see 20-year-old girls wear on MTV. I have never accepted that fashion for my children and I never will. Even if it means buying all their clothes from abroad!

But going to bed at midnight, Sunday night, is never a good idea when you suffer from Hypothyroid! I was as exhausted as one can be Monday morning. I really, really needed to take a nap, after dropping “Gubby” off at pre-school. I did lay down but soon the phone rang and it was my doctor, telling me that she had been too much of a coward when she upped my dosage for my medicine. I went for a blood test two weeks ago and it was not good, it was worse as a matter of fact. So she wanted to add on 25mg to three more days of the week. But that is a hefty jump and I asked her if I would be alright. Or my body that is, since it can come as a shock to the system. She backed on her decision and decided 25mg two more days instead. So, Monday I take 50mg and then Tuesday-Sunday I have to take 75mg. When she had hung up, I could not stop thinking about it. I got depressed, started crying and wondering where this is going to end. Will they be able to keep me alive with these artificial hormones or will I just have a heart attack and move on? That morning I just felt like quitting taking the medicine and have it all over and done with. If I quit, my metabolism slows down to a stop eventually, which means that the organs all stop.

There was another reason to why I felt this way, though. After I went back to bed, and I had finally calmed down a little, the phone rang again. It was from BUP, from the special ed teacher L. Background information: Many years ago, the parties on the right side, voted through Care Allowance. I suspect it was done, in order for numbers to look better, statistics showing that there are not as many unemployed in this country as there really is. If one could get a Care Allowance for taking care of a family member, who needs help above the normal, then one would not be looking for a job anymore? Be employed sort of? And one would wait to demand a place at a pre-school for one’s child, so government would not have to rectify that problem, that there is not room for every child at the pre-schools.

I was not told until last year, that I was entitled to apply for Care Allowance, as far as “Kitty” is concerned. (Even though he had had a real diagnosis for over 4 years.) He wears and tears on everything and demands so much extra work, which a normal child does not do. But to think that a person could stay home and look after their child, instead of working, and come out on the plus side anyway, is a joke. When you have a child with ADHD, you get 1/4 of the Care Allowance. No more. It does not matter how many things your child destroys, that he uses his socks for shoes, that he looses things everywhere and that you need to read book after book, to be able to handle your child. They say that they look at the individual applications and take a decision, but everyone knows that you only get 1/4 no matter what you say or write! It is 2068:-/month minus the 25% tax of course! (€229 ,$318, 189 Pounds before tax) In other words, keep your daytime job if you have one!

When “Gubby” got his diagnosis over a month ago, I was told that I am entitled Care Allowance for him as well. I have no idea if one gets 1/4 for him, or more/less. It all depends on the mood of the person at Försäkringskassan, and which part of the country you live in. To start the entire process of application, you must have that magical document called, a medical certificate which states your child’s diagnosis. Now, tell my exactly why they did not bring that document to me, on the 19 March when they threw his diagnosis in our faces? They could easily have brought it and if we had said, “so what, you say he has Autism but we don’t care!”, then they could just have put the paper through a shredder. But they did not bring the document. Nor did L. bring it to the pre-school on the 10th April, when she told them about his diagnosis, and I was in attendance. Nor has the paper been sent home to me. You can’t apply without the paper. Then anyone could just waste those people’s time. Monday, 28th APril, Special Ed teacher L., phones me when I am already upset, and says “I’ve just discovered that you have not received the medical certificate yet. I will add that information to his file today, but our doctor has so much to do, that it will take a long time till you get the paper.” I just informed her in a solemn voice, that without that paper I can not apply for any Care Allowance. What planet exactly do these people live on? Do they really think I can call Försäkringskassan and ask them for an interview because BUP says my child has Autism, and then they should sacrifice one hour of their time, on interviewing me, only to find out that he has nothing wrong with him. Sure, I am going to get a paper that states that he has the diagnosis, but Försäkringskassan doesn’t know that. They trust NOONE. They have people spying for them, to see if people are really as ill as they say. They bring people to court for cheating and claiming money they are not entitled to, after neighbours, family and friends, have turned them in anonymously. Sweden is the worse Gestapo state.

Once you have turned you application in, with the medical certificate stapled to it, then you have to wait for an interview date. That will be months away. They phone you and ask you about everything that you have stated on the application form. Then they will take their time to decide.  Their goal is 160 days but that means nothing in some parts of the country. Yes, they will sometimes award you the Care Allowance, from the day that you applied, so you get a whole chunk of money retroactively, but if you need the money here and now, well tough luck. On this page I found, they state that a 1/2  Care Allowance is 4135:-(€459 ,$637, 377 Pounds)  and a full 8271:- (€917 , $1,275 , 755 Pounds ). As this magazine states, forget about quitting your job, at the most you might be able to go down a couple of hours each week. I must apply, but I dread it. It was the worse hassle I have ever gone through, last autumn, and for what? I just got what all the others get as well. They told me to go borrow the books at the library. They could not care less that the boys pumped water in to the vacuum cleaner and that we had to take a special insurance on the new one, in case they get some other wild ideas. They could not care less that “Kitty” carried all our gardening tools over to the council playground, just left them there, whereupon they got stolen. That it took one week for him to destroy brand new trainers, so that he had to walk around looking like a hobo on his feet, till it was time to get winter boots, and then he had to put them back on this spring, till it was time for me to invest in summer shoes for him. I just can’t keep up with his destruction. Thousands of kronor down the drain. And now I am supposed to get energy to go through the entire process once again. And then again when “Boo” gets his diagnosis…

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “The trials and tribulations of applying for a Care Allowance in Sweden

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