Author Topic: Disabled people on benefits shouldn't have to fear being active  (Read 7940 times)

Sunshine Meadows

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We have been talking about this for a while but more particularily on the Letting Go thread on the Talk Board.

I am feeling mischievous and wishing I knew more about Photoshop.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/06/disabled-people-benefits-dla/print

Disabled people on benefits shouldn't have to fear being active

Asking people to report those they believe to be claiming DLA fraudulantly discourages disabled people from having fun

        Lucy Glennon
        guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 6 December 2011 19.35 GMT
       
 >downarrow<
Carsten Höller's exhibition at Tate Modern
Carsten Höller's exhibition at Tate Modern. 'I chickened-out … but I'll probably never have the opportunity to do something similarly fun and unique again.' Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

This week, a 51-year-old woman from Cardiff was sent to jail for 10 weeks for claiming nearly £20,000 in benefits after she was filmed going down a water slide while on holiday. Further footage of her walking unaided and descending rocky steps was also used as evidence against her.

She was claiming the highest rate of mobility allowance, and the highest rate of care allowance – both rates are for the most severely disabled people who need the most help, day and night. This sentence was reported just as the government urged the public to anonymously report benefit cheats. Every day, 23 people are arrested and charged for fraudulently claiming some form of benefit, and rightly so – the fake claims take money away from the genuinely disabled. However, those who are rightfully claiming benefits are fearful of incorrectly being accused of fraud, too. :-(

Many people are ignorant of disabilities, and many disabled people have fluctuating conditions that have a huge effect on how much they can do. Most people with chronic or painful conditions have to weigh up the costs of doing any activity. For some, managing at home is tiring, and just trying to cook or look after themselves can be exhausting on bad days. On rare good days, going out and doing things like going to the pub, playing outside with the kids or spending a day out with friends – even in a wheelchair or using crutches – can cause pain and fatigue the next day and beyond. Someone in good health can go outside on a whim, but for some severely disabled people many factors must be taken into account first, including the weather, the terrain, the amount of sleep they've had, the balance of their pain medication and the equipment and assistance from people they need to get around.

A few years ago, there was an exhibition at Tate Modern where artist Carsten Höller temporarily installed some slides in the main hall. My dad had pushed me to the gallery for a look around, and we watched adults and kids having a great time going down the various slides. It looked like great fun, and dad suggested I could get out of my wheelchair, position myself comfortably in the protective padded cushions, and go down the smallest one. Mulling it over, we couldn't foresee any terrible damage it could do to me. In the end, I chickened out and decided not to and I regret being cowardly and missing out on what looked like a good time. I'll never know if I would have hurt myself going down the slide, but I'll also probably never have the opportunity to do something similarly fun and unique again. But what if I had been anonymously reported by someone then?

Disability blogger Kaliya Franklin today posted a video of what it is like to prepare for and go on one of her "deathwalks", so called because of how exhausting they are. She has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a painful condition that causes fatigue, muscle weakness and dislocations of joints. She tries to go on a deathwalk most days with some difficulty, but believes it is worthwhile to get out and be mobile, as suggested by her physiotherapist.

Many disabled people are in fear of losing benefits through the various cuts or the new flawed assessments, but it is also unfair that some are now worrying about being reported because of being seen being active and having a nice time on a good day. The 0.5% of fraudulent DLA claims really do ruin it for the 99.5% of genuine claimants.

    © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.


Sunshine Meadows

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hossylass

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Yeah, my physio told me to ride as much as I can - to maintain muscle and improve core stability.
The MHF lady believes it will help my anxiety.

Joe Public (I fear) will see this as some sort of pleasure, and disabled people should not have pleasure if it is funded by the taxpayer.

Unless of course it is riding for the disabled, and the disabled person is;
1) a child
2) has CP to an extent that they fulfil the expectations of "disabled"

If the child has ADHD then they can forget it... after all they ain't "Proper disabled" are they?
As Lee Pearson said "Crips dribble, well thats what the public believe".

So before you recklessly stumble and inadvertently run a few strides before disappearing head first into a bush, ask yourself this - "Could I have contributed to the economy whilst I was airbourne?", cos you can bet your sweet arse that any video of you would only show those few quick strides...

Remember the couple who ran a stud farm? Had less than £20 a week of DLA between them? They had less than 4 seconds of evidence each week, and yet they were found guilty, and I have heard it has destroyed their lives and their business.

4 seconds.
a week.

Yep, we are in fear of activity. Not the activity itself - though that may be daunting, challenging and exciting, fun and rewarding.
We are in fear of being seen doing something  that may be daunting, challenging and exciting, fun and rewarding.
I had a gym prescription pre DLA. I wouldn't ask for one now, going to the gym is apparently sure fire evidence that you are "fine".

Golf is a no-no though in my mind - unless its for mental health reasons.

Offworld

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 :-(  Just avoid reading hostile newspapers and you will be immune.   ;-)


hossylass

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Not really... I had a FI because someone decided that I ran a business (a business that I couldn't have managed physically before I became disabled, let alone after! ).

After one high level investigation (over 9 months) that found no proof at all, I am paranoid.

And I am being treated by the NHS and the taxpayer to help me with the paranoia.

Small consolation (but I treasure it).

Offworld

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    >hugs<   
    >rose<   

Offworld

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 >doh<   Sorry, that was meant to look sympathetic, not soppy!

hossylass

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Whichever it is, its appreciated !

The thing is, it has left me feeling very vulnerable, I feel like the next attack on me could be any day, which makes me defensive and, to be honest, is making me more disabled when I desperately want to do as much as I can to improve.
Similar to Kaliya, I try to stop the rot, and then the system attacks you, driven by spiteful, propoganda fuelled individuals...


auntieCtheM

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Hi hossy,

Are you feeling better in your new place - surely there are few people around where you now are to be able to report anything about you?

Sofie

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Yeah, my physio told me to ride as much as I can - to maintain muscle and improve core stability.

I've pretty much been told the same thing. And not keeping active does cause pain issues. (and keeping active causes grazes...)

Quote
Remember the couple who ran a stud farm? Had less than £20 a week of DLA between them? They had less than 4 seconds of evidence each week, and yet they were found guilty, and I have heard it has destroyed their lives and their business.

4 seconds.
a week.

I sort of remember that and it's scary. They only video what they want to see - they're not going to video the blind person trying to cook a meal and burning themselves...

Quote
I had a gym prescription pre DLA. I wouldn't ask for one now, going to the gym is apparently sure fire evidence that you are "fine".

That's me up the creek then...

auntieCtheM

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Are you sure you are right about doing exercise?

I have phases of going to the hospital pool to do physio.  I could go to any pool, but round here they are cold, and some are not clean.  So I pay extra to go to the hospital. 

Noone in their right minds could therefore say that I was fit to work because I exercise in a pool!

hossylass

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Problem is, whilst I thought it would be better, I am too distrustful now.
Basically, if I use my sticks or crutches, people notice.
If I dont, they notice.
For some people that would probably be enough...

If anyone was evil enough they could randomly pick someone and trace them through the council tax register, then complain about them on the off chance that they were in receipt of benefit. Sadly thats how easy it is.
Yet for the last two days I haven't been out, due to the fact that multiple dislocations of the naughty leg have meant it has tissue damage and is non weight bearing - but no-one will see that.
Neither will they see the IBS, the reflux, the anxiety, the pelvic dislocation blah, blah, blah.

Its what they do see, not what they dont.

I suspose that I also think that once you have had a complaint (and bearing in mind I have had two), then anyone accessing my file would be more inclined to think 'no smoke without fire'...
Stupidly I am now paying my rent out of my DLA, out of fear of claiming housing benefit!

I have actually not really become friends with any of the immediate neighbours, I am not a happy bunny to be honest !

Physio in the hospital pool is obviously fine - after all you cant enjoy something that is "treatment" !
(I'd keep the reciepts if it was me - the do check those things, amazingly).

I never was this paranoid, but to be honest, when you are confronted by people who want to lock you in jail because of what someone anonymous has said, then that makes you feel vulnerable and paranoid.
And I am having difficulty shaking the feelings off.

auntieCtheM

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Hi hossy,

You recognise that you are being too distrustful, don't you.  We have had this discussion before I think, when I admitted that I can develop a sudden limp when I go towards the taxi that is taking me to the hospital, to satisfy the taxi-driver that I really am disabled.  (Sometimes I do limp anyway regardless of who is there or not).

Go and get that housing benefit - you are entitled to it.  Just make sure that you do your daily health diary and take it along to the Dr once a month so that they can record it on their computer system.  Then there is an official record if anyone wants to check up on you.

I have been reported twice to the NSPCA for not looking after my pets properly.  It is evil people who want to make themselves look better.  But the inspectors come along, see that everything is as it should be, and say that they prefer to come out to 99 cases like this than to miss the 100'th that is serious.  I am sure that the DWP work the same way. 

I've been reported twice by my nasty neighbour for my dog barking all night every night.  The letter I get starts out by saying that not all reports they get say the truth (words to that effect).  The council know that people lie.  All they have to do is stand outside my house at intervals during the night and find that everything is totally silent.

Hossy, it is the same with you.  They have rigorously checked you out and found nothing wanting.  I expect they have now made a note on your file that it is a waste of time investigating you any further.  After all they have much bigger and easier fish to fry to reach their targets. 

You should now feel you are in the clear and be able to get on with your life.

 >hugs<

hossylass

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"They have rigorously checked you out and found nothing wanting."

Thank you for being the voice of reason!
Yes, I do recognise I am being irrationally distrustful, and tomorrow, leg permitting, I shall try and do something that I shall get some guilt free pleasure from !
I dont think it will be as ambitious as Kaliya's walk though :)

KizzyKazaer

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I'm not surprised that paranoia set in after all that, Hossy - I had a bit of trouble myself when someone I fell out with a few years ago threatened to report me to the DWP.  Well, they didn't do it overtly, just said something on the lines of 'The DWP will be very interested in you.  Very interested'.  Stupid little 'person'  >doh<

So what I did, I immediately phoned the DWP and explained that there might well be a malicious call about me (and why), and they were really nice about it, advising me to get that individual out of my life as soon as  ;-)

As auntie said:

It is evil people who want to make themselves look better

Pathetic, really  :-)

Hope you managed to get out and about - and enjoy yourself!  Yes, even we disabled people are allowed happiness in our lives <gasp, shock, horror>