Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sacrifice More!! Hang the "Cheats" out to Dry!!

There is a huge problem in trying to provide an evidence based approach to welfare reform.

Most people just don't want to believe the evidence.

"But if you'd just admit how many people are "trying it on" You'd get further" "If you'd just admit that fraud is much higher than official figures suggest, the genuine could be better provided for" "Why is it so hard to admit there are millions of cheats?"

So here's the problem. No matter how hard they try, no matter how cruel the policies they design, no matter how many rocks they search under or plugholes they peer into, no Government has ever been able to find this mythical army of feckless, workshy sick and disabled people. Well, not until they designed ESA obviously, where they just defined everyone as fit for work and had done with all that silly evidence nonsense.

Official DWP fraud rates stay stubbornly at half of one percent. 0.5%. From Peter Lilley in the 90s to James Purnell on the 00s to Chris Grayling today.

Nonetheless, successive Governments have been determined that they can find a further 4000% of people who are really absolutely fine. 20% is the figure of choice. From the Benefit Integrity Project in the 90s to PIP now, ideologically, politicians, blessed with rude good health and an arrogance born from ignorance have just not been able to bring themselves to believe the numbers suffering from illness or disability in the UK.

I hear it all the time on comments threads "3.2 Million??? Disabled??? Get outta here!! No WAY are there 3.2 million sick or disabled people. (Actually there are 10 million but this causes such pained outrage I try to break them into this figure gently. 3.2 million is just the number claiming DLA)

They forget that we are still largely hidden away, stuck at home or not integrated into their workplaces. They forget, that even when we are, we may not wish to tell people about our disabilities.

Surely, after 20 years you might think governments would have admitted their folly, educated themselves, maybe read a bit of evidence or looked at a few diagnostic figures?

Nope.

For those who find 3.2 million an impossible figure, in fact it is much much higher, but DLA is massively UNDERclaimed. The endless forms and questions and appeals just put most people off. If the benefit was offered genuinely to all those who need it, the amount we pay out to genuine claimants would rocket.

So for those who tell me I'd do better to admit a much higher degree of fraud than official figures suggest, I say to them that the burden of proof is surely on the accuser? Off you go, get out there and find these hoards of cheating fraudsters - because 94% of calls to the benefit fraud hotline turn out to be malicious and almost none are found to be fraudulent.

Or.....(whisper it).... did it ever occur to these Disability Deniers that..... they might just be wrong?

82 comments:

  1. Fabulous post sue really well thought out and written

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  2. The BBC programme saint& sinners does not help any & just fires up those that have nothing to lose to find those that have!!

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  3. Your too right Sue, I for one am sick to the back teeth of hearing this yet the percentage of Fruad for Mp expenses was swept clearly under the carpet, Gordon Brown and David Cameron protected MP's and allowed them to pay it back x if that have been the ordinary Joe in the street they would have been sent to Jail but they only charged 3 MP's shows you just how much of a farce and what justice provails x forever your friend
    Susanas4321

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    1. 52% of MPs were found to have 'misused' the expenses process.

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  4. Years ago I had an unannounced fraud investigator visit. She was so shocked at the state I was in that she suggested we needed higher rates of benefit. They'd had a malicious call.

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  5. I really don't know wha it would take to get people to listen, understand and believe. Facts are denied or glossed over, the tiny percentage that are committing fraud are in all the media and held up as proof and successive governments fiddle the figures to suit their own rhetoric! Truth counts for nothing in this day and age, it's all a game and you had better be one of the winners!

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  6. Forgive me. I'm on indefinite DLA. Middle rate care, lower rate mobility, effectively housebound. I have no independence. I'm not allowed out alone.

    My carer handles my finances.

    I didn't decide the amount of DLA I was granted. DWP did.

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  7. DLA seems to be throwing back all applicants at first try just now. Very difficult to get it at all. I have never understood how "so many" managed to get it fraudulently.

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  8. Great post and the comments are equally true...

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  9. Rock on, Sue!

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  10. Thde only trouble with actually getting people to realise the actual figure is 10 million with a very miniscule percentage rate of fraud and a very much higher rate in underclaims is that ...just that figure 10 million cos if the govt are whipping them up in to a fenzy over 3.2 million just think what camclegg will do with the spin machine and it misrepresenting cycle if the public do realise its 10 not 3.2.....In govt its never about the truth but how you manage it...ie use it to suit your own agenda.....its what every govt has done after all cooper brought in bloody atos and its evil twin unum so we know that all use falsehoods and misuse of actual statistics and every one of em has a short memory when in opposition so niether side can be trusted.I mean these bastards dont want poor kids on benifits of any kind to keep thier family allowance while a family on ...say for instance ....40 grand plus can keep thiers so if they can rob poor kids as well as adults and smile whilst doing so ...well you know tha rest..

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  11. You've done it again, Sue! Today I was beating my head against the wall after reading leaders in both The Mail and The Express about the vast army of benefit cheats defrauding the public purse. How I wish they could be forced to print this Blog, in the interest of 'balance'!!

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  12. I think the main issue of disbelief is that people's experience of disability is someone in a wheelchair - and people's experience of fraud is someone with a "bad back". But people have to realise some things:

    1) disability doesn't necessarily mean someone is unable to function. Here's a test - do a search on "famous people with diabetes". Or "famous people with Epilepsy". The list is rather staggering...and it's also rather long. Hugo Weaving has epilepsy. He's rich and a successful actor but he has never learned to drive...it isn't safe for him to do so. There's probably people with epilepsy working in one's office, or diabetes, or something else invisible but still needs managing with medication. They do it, and it works. Fair enough.

    2) Out of that 10 million people, the law of averages says that conditions vary, and therefore so does severity. You may know someone who has epilepsy and is able to work, gets on just fine (such as Hugo Weaving). However my friend's brother had a grand-mal seizure in 1985 which was so severe, it literally froze his brain into that year. He never matured mentally after it. He still has the maturity level of a 15 year old, and he's now 27. He's never going to be mentally older than 15, and while he is a nice guy, he's never going to be able to hold a job, or drive a car, or do much at all. He lives on his own but he has a support system that checks on him regularly.

    Someone can have diabetes and you'd never even know it - they just quietly take their injections and have their emergency candies in a drawer. But then there's other people who are on dialysis. They may have had to have limbs amputated. They're in the list for a transplant, and they're in no shape to work. Same disease, different outcomes. And therefore, the figure of people who are too disabled to work - compared to the 10 million who are doing - is actually a law of averages and perfectly in line with population.

    Again, I find it somewhat sinister that people think 10 million disabled people is scary somehow...that probably says more about our society in general than anything else. But in truth "disability" or difference isn't as rare as people imagine - indeed if anything "perfectly healthy and 'normal' " is rare and somewhat uncommon.

    Whether people will actually get that however...who knows.

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    1. I never knew Hugo Weaving had epilepsy. He's awesome. Just illustrates your point really. Why would someone go round telling everyone they meet? If they manage it then it's rarely relevant. Great comment.

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  13. The mp's will never listen the only time they will is when there in their wooden boxes

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    1. and soon no one will get benefits until they're in a wooden box - unless that is redefined as your office!

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  14. If it where your money you had to spend where would you draw the line? Is it not possible to say you don't meet the rules any more?

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    1. When someone's condition has not changed and they actually cannot survive or mobilise or work without the aids and funds to get those needs met - then no, that's not only not possible, it defeats the whole purpose of the reform to try and "get people back into work" as more people will be unable to work if they lose the support. It's not really that hard to figure out.

      In addition there are Lords who have offered - indeed, OFFERED - to give up their own payments and perks for being part of the House of Lords if it would mean that disabled people wouldn't starve. So I believe there are people who say "Yes, actually it is my money, and I want them to have it. More to the point I'm willing to give more." But they can't...and they're being shouted down by the greedy sods who wouldn't give a tuppence to someone starving on their doorstep.

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    2. When someones condition has not changed will they not get the same money as now?

      Is it a right to get benefits for life with having to have a medical check?

      So if you earn your £25,000 pounds a year you should give more to those who do not earn?

      Who is starving to death?

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    3. That's the point...when someone's condition has not changed, under the new criteria they'll lose their money regardless. They are cutting 500,000 people whether they're better or not. They just want to make a savings.

      So, going to give you some rather look-and-you-will-find facts which are, after all, all over this blog:

      - No one gets "benefits for life" without a medical check. You get checked and reviewed at one year, three years, five years, and if it turns out that, no, your liver isn't going to regrow and no, your leg isn't going to grow back, THEN you go onto indefinite. There is no such thing as someone applies once without ANY evidence from GPs, specialists, carers, and others who know how illness effects you and BAM you get DLA. Indeed, the opposite is proving to be the case.

      Secondly, £25,000? Are you joking? I sure don't get that much! I am on about £8,500. I should actually be getting more DLA but I just haven't managed to put the other 15 things I've got going to one side long enough to sort it. I know £25,000 is the number the ConDems are using but it's not a factual number.

      As to who is starving I would direct you to some of the people here on the blog. I'm sure they'll tell you.

      Now, I would suggest doing a bit more work on the facts and figures and understand what the issue is that we've been arguing against, which is DLA, a benefit for disabled people in order for them to cope with being disabled in the first place. Take that away...and it's like going into a hospital and turning off half the life support machines saying "It's too expensive to run these". I am not being dramatic...it's fact.

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    4. Lord Carey made a very valid point.

      Even those who are disabled if possible should be helped back to work. Tax Credit is support to do just that?

      Having a medical check makes sure your entitled to get the benefits your on and from reading what mrswupple said she gained. I am pleased for her, is that not fare?

      I wonder if those who are starving as you state are not getting the help they need. Not financial but genuine care from those who are paid to do so.

      Your income was not my point. It was a general question regarding paying more for those who do not work.

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    5. No, tax credit it to cover anyone, disabled or not, if they're working under a certain wage to try and stave off the costs of just trying to live as minimum wage earners with young children couldn't work at all and bring any take-home pay as childcare costs are just too high.

      I was working until recently and did receive Tax Credits but the fact of the matter is I've had to stop working - I'm just too ill. And you don't get tax creds unless you're working a minimum of 16 hours a week (and this will be changed to 20 hours). On top of that, this is going to get capped as well.

      A medical check which is being proposed with this bill is made by someone who may not even be a doctor - they may not even know what your particular illness or disability is. All they do is check in a box for a few things, maybe examine you for five minutes, and that's that. In many cases, they don't even bother looking at the sheaf of notes you already have. They may even put down you can do things even if you can't do them. The ATOS process has been slated and is actually BANNED in the US as a result. So no, it isn't even remotely fair...if anything it's a costly and silly process which is ONLY designed to kick as many people on DLA as possible.

      "People are not getting the help they need"...well yes, obviously which is why we're fighting the bloody bill in the first place because that is going to happen even more than currently, and in abundance. You don't get "genuine care from those who are paid to do so" if you can't actually pay anyone for care in the first place...and they can't. Social services are cutting care plans in staggering amounts. This is what is happening.

      "your point" seems to be against "Scrounging scum"...and if you read around at all you'd realise that has pretty much little to nothing to do with anyone here. Again, read up a bit.

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    6. Where can I find the rules for the current DLA assessments? I would like to compare.

      Thank you. 0824hrs

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  15. This government is deliberately taking us back to Victorian times, and is taking the public with it. The current backlash against the Bishops re the benefit cap proves this.
    This is what the Tories have always done.

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  16. Alas, the burden of proof is on the claimant. In my almost-finished novel, set in the future, job-seekers are nicknamed "hoop jumpers" because they are constantly forced to jump through metaphorical hoops. PS I hate Lord Carey.

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  18. Dear Anons at 08:24 and 08:45, indeed we are obliged by law to notify the DWP of changes in our circumstances that may affect our level of benefits. I have been ill for three years now, and I have applied for DLA three times, and had to appeal once. It is not true that we get lifetime awards, they were stopped a decade ago.

    You can have my DLA if you'll take my illness too

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    1. You get DLA because you qualify that's how it should be. No one wants a disability and I don't want money your entitled to. Anon 0824

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    2. Where can I find the rules for the current DLA assessments? I would like to compare.

      Thank you. 0824hrs

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  19. The problem with saints and scroungers and the like is for every Saint who gets benefits they show someone fiddling so it implies that its one for one, not 99 for one. Also most cases for DLA fruad are where someone claims at first for geniune illness say arthritis or bad back then when they get better they keep it quiet and keep claiming. You would never get DLA without medical back up of some sort, but they dont say that so people think you can say what you like and get dosh.

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    1. Arthritis is not a curable disease it fluctuates daily and generally gets worse as you age.

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    2. Seriously, arthritis "gets better"? What? Oh come now...I actually have it, inflammatory arthritis. It's degenerative, there's no cure, and all it's going to do is get progressively worse. Some days I'm fine - at least as far as fine for me goes - other days it puts me in hospital because it is not just arthritis; it's a disease which attacks my own body, starting with joints, moving to organs. There's no such thing as a miracle arthritis cure.

      As far as "bad backs" goes - that's an out-dated fallback which was used during the 80's - I know people with "bad backs"; i.e, their spines are crumbling. Some can still walk, but it's quite likely that almost all of them won't be able to in five years.

      Honestly all I'm seeing here is quoting from a certain Red-Topped paper. I invite the Anon to read back through the blog and actually read some of the facts and figures, many of which are from the DWP itself.

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    3. Dont have a go im on your side! my point was that often people claim for genuie illness when they need DLA then when they improve they keep claiming. EXAMPLE had a man who had car accident and rods in legs had difficult walking who claimed then 2y later they filmed him doing phyiscal job, he would not have been able to claim with no eveidence to start with.

      Ditto people they show who claim for such severe arthritis that they cannot do anything for themsleves, again need some sort of diagnoises for this,ok so they may have over stated their condition or they may have improved enough with drugs so they arent as incapable as they state.

      My point was that noone can claim it when they are 100% fine. I wount bother replying in future.

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    4. They way they show it on BBC is that there is nothing wrong with them at all and joe public thinks you just fill in form, to defruad in DLA you need to either over egg a condition or actually have one you later improve from. You cant just say i have x y z and go to the cashpoint.

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    5. So you're watching Saints and Scroungers. Let me assure you that the BBC is NOT at all on our side. Because showing a man on DLA who was doing a physical job as if it was proof he didn't need the DLA is nonsense. You can work AND get DLA. It is NOT AN OUT OF WORK BENEFIT, so why is the fact he was able to work and move "proof" that he didn't need it anymore? That's exactly the problem here.

      You're going on what you think you're seeing "Overstated their condition"? "Improved enough with drugs"? Drugs for arthritis eventually stop being effective, which means you have to get new ones...and deal with the new symptoms. Believe it or not (and since you've decided to state something completely not based in fact and stomp off to refuse to reply, I assume you're well aware it's not factual and you have no argument) drugs do not automatically cure you. They don't make you perfect. People who are able to work are sometimes forcing themselves to do so. And shows like Saints and Scroungers are designed to get people foaming at the mouth with inaccuracies...inaccuracies which will eventually come to light after damage is done.

      "I saw it on a show/ read it in a paper" doesn't trump actual experience, which I have, and you do not.

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  20. Frustrated Clarebelz Part 1

    I in fact received an indefinite award last March, so they must still exist, unless they have changed the rule on that.

    I fought for 9 years to get help after being turned down for all disability benefits apart from receiving Income Support 'as a sick person'. I was forced back into work during those 9 years again and again, because I couldn't live long term on an income that was the same as JSA.

    Within just a week, even a few days of starting work again I was on the verge of collapse, and then the absences would start again. Eventually, I would become incapable of doing the work, and I either had to leave or I got the sack.

    In the end, I was so desperately ill, which didn't help when I was going without food, light heating on a regular basis whilst waiting months for benefits to start again, not being able to bathe myself, prepare food, and unable to even collect crisis loans to see me through, that I called social services and asked to be put into a home.

    That's when I started to receive help, and finally I was able to claim the benefits I was entitled to. With the help of Access to Work, and the Disabled Students Grant, which provided all sorts of support, I was able to obtain a degree and move into professional work that was a little easier. Unfortunately, my condition deteriorated and I had to give up work completely just over 2 years ago, but I did my level best to stay in work over the 12 years prior to that.

    I don't receive a large income, nothing like when I was working; out of my benefits in fact, I pay £3000 per year back to the local authority for my care. I have just enough to pay my bills and keep warm, and occasionally I am accompanied out by carers in my wheelchair, or with a friend door to door. I can just about walk (like a 90 year old) to my next door neighbours for a cuppa, but most of the time I'm stuck inside day after day coping with pain and extreme fatigue that means I am able to do nothing, managing on just a few hours of sleep per night.

    I'll swap anyone please if you would like to lead my life for a year or two...

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  21. Frustrated Clarebelz Part 2

    The comments below articles in all papers, especially the Daily Mail concerning people like me are disgusting. Apparently, we should be on subsistence levels of income only, receiving no cash payments only food stamps and grants from charities; even a minimum wage level is unacceptable for us according to such bigoted people. They ask why we should be allowed taxis, help with laundry, help with cooking, help with anything, when they work for what they get.

    Truly shocking to realise what a lot of people think about you. When I was working - the taxis paid through Access to Work - I had to endure a lecture as to why I should be allowed such support; even a friend said to me that she didn't see why I should receive any more money to help me stay in work than any of my colleagues. YOU JUST CANT WIN!!!

    We are not allowed to be disabled, even if we are capable of work. I am sick to death of being 'outed' as well in public. People who think it's ok to let everyone know that I'm disabled, with the phrase 'it's all right for her isn't it? Drinking beer in a pub and on benefits' Yes, I do occasionally drink beer (real ale) in a pub, after taking no end of pain killers so that I can sit for two hours only, and even then I'm in a lot of pain. The effort takes me days to get over, but these occasional visit are ALL of the social life I have. Even if I could afford, I cannot go on holiday any more or even for a day trip out as I can't travel for more than half an hour without being in agony. Half the time now, I don't even want to go out because of the prejudice that is rampant. People demanding to know, even strangers, what is 'up' with me, saying that 'You don't look ill'. I am sick of it!!!!

    9 years waiting for help, re applying again and again for it, makes a mockery of people who think that it's so easy to obtain these benefits. By the time you do, you're half dead anyway.

    Yes, I'm well on the way, and these reforms that will make me homeless and destitute will finish me off nicely thank you very much. I had nothing to look forward to, now I will have nothing at all.

    Sorry. I'm just so angry about the lies and this government who are slowly turning the population of this once tolerant country against each other to mask their true intention to fleece everyone, not just the disabled and poor. And, by the time that people realise what is happening, it will be too late, and millions of people will be working for a pound an hour in poundland and sleeping in cardboard boxes at night.

    I hate what this country has become. I would run off, but I can barely walk and there is nowhere for me to go.

    Sorry again.

    Really hope you are feeling a little better Sue.

    Clarebelz

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  22. I think, sadly , the PR war on this has been won hands down by the government and right wing press. The very fact Labour's Liam Byrne and Tory Iain Duncan Smith can use terms like 'Decent' and 'normal' to describe people who want tough action on people living on benefits is alarming and disturbing . The majority of people now think people on benefits can claim free cars , claim £200 housing benefit and £25 thousand per year in benefits . This is exactly the scenario the government wants , a very hostile environment for disabled people and anyone who needs to claim benefits. The fact that it is causing extreme anxiety and fear among disabled people , carers and their families matters not a jot as long as policiticians can keep the majority of voters in ignorance . People's anger is now focussed on the voiceless and not those who caused the financial mess we are in.

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  23. Really sorry for the rant, but with the rest of the family being ill too - 2 in professional work, one a pensioner who has worked hard all of her life, and one who keeps being sectioned who is severly disturbed - it is hard for us to take the uninformed repeated lies fed through the media that you hear from people on a daily basis.

    Sue quotes a figure of possibly 10 million; there are probably many more, all of varying severity. It is not that unusual. And, what do people think 'National INSURANCE' was for? Do you realise that pensions for example, that the government are trying to cut, should have a SURPLUS of over 42 billion because since many of them have started people have paid in more than they have ended getting back!!!

    This insurance is there so that, God forbid, if you ever fall on hard times or you are seriously ill, your basic income is protected. So, this is NOT scrounging, you are CLAIMING much like you do on an insurance policy!!!

    Now the government want to phase out welfare completely, and do you think they will reduce your tax and national insurance? Not a cat in hell's chance; you'll be paying more. Via wage freezes and actual pay cuts in some jobs, the value of people's incomes will reduce exponentially over the next 10 years. If you are still in work, you should be truly afraid. A tory supporter on the radio the other day said that to compete with wages in China, we need people to be on 23 pence per hour, and this tory supporter thought that entirely reasonable.

    People need to wake up as to what is happening here!!!

    Rant over; sorry again.

    Clarebelz

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  24. Hi Sue, I'm a fan of this intelligent blog and list you on my role. Today I applied for ESA having been unable to work, with depression since Dec 2011. I blog about my situation, from health to finances really openly so more people can better understand how life's twists and turns can make us quite by accident the canon fodder of the tabloids and policy makers. Keep up the good fight on behalf of honest people like me.

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    1. Depression, isn't that the new 'bad back' ?

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    2. Yes it is; because people don't think it's a problem and therefore refuse to take it seriously...right up to the point it kills someone. And it kills a lot of people.

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    3. Yes, and then they say "oh, how sad, if only we'd known something was wrong". Well, you were told, f*ckwit.

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  25. It's the just-world fallacy. For one reason or another, these people are frightened of reality wand want the world to be more fair, rational, and simple than it really is.

    In the just-world, bad things only happen to people who deserve them. That's why they so desperately want to think fraud is greater than it really is.

    And of course, there are wealthy media barons and corrupt politicians who are only too happy to play into people's fears in order to pursue their agendas.

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    1. Absolutely spot on. The Just World Phenomenon has a lot to answer for. I think people who are still slaves to it by the time they're adults are pathetic. Bear in mind that these are the same people who blame rape victims for what happened to them in order to kid themselves that it'll never happen to them. All they do is spread misery, which is ironic.

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  26. The DWP have to recover the 650million they have loaned to fund NEST.

    National Employment Savings Trust in the Department for Work and Pensions.

    Taxpayers money loaned to fund a private pension scheme run by the DWP.

    I wonder what joe public would make of that.

    Benefit cheat has a certain ring to it that goverment department cheat doesn't.

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  27. "Or.....(whisper it).... did it ever occur to these Disability Deniers that..... they might just be wrong?"

    You're more forgiving than I am, Sue, I have a shorter, 5 letter term for those who refuse to accept how many disabled people there are - begins in B, ends in -igot...

    What seldom gets talked about is the cost to all of us from the harassment, the false accusations and worse. I had an (anonymous) false accusation made against me this time last year, that triggered a major flare-up that lasted through April, and I'm not sure it isn't still affecting me a year later.

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  28. Newspapers like the Sun and Daily Mail keep reporting the crap that 80 percent of people can work, mentioning nothing about the test being unfit for purpose, nothing about the hundreds of thosands of appeals, or anything about Atos in general, purely garbage that we're all trying it on.

    It's ridiculus how newspapers can spout this anti disability propaganda.. Look in the inside page of Wednesday Sun to see my point

    - Matt

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  29. 'Keith Tilbury, 60, a man accidentally shot by a copper who lost part of his bowel and part of his kidney and suffered two heart attacks, a full blown stroke and two transient ischemic attacks amongst other things...
    .. and has been found fit for work by Atos.'

    from Private Eye


    The mass media is not reporting this, says it all

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  30. It doesn't help that our culture is obsessed with what it perceives as 'perfection'. From the size zero seventeen year old model with artificial boobs to the adonis with the muscles and the six pack stomach. A constant bombardment of advertisments and images selling you stuff to halt the aging process and stay beautiful and young and healthy. It's everywhere you look. We're not even conscious of the message that we must be perfect to fit in. It just makes people thoroughly miserable about themselves and causes anorexia and other psychological problems. We buy millions of pounds worth of self help books, diet books, and are eager to read stories in glossy mags about how the celebs manage to look forever young.

    The first thing most ask on greeting is 'how are you?. Heaven forbid that you tell the truth if you're anything but floating on cloud nine.

    Society is living a big fat lie. Ordinary people, people with disabilities, people with sickness, well we make up a huge proportion of humanity but we're not represented as role models or anything much at all by the media or by advertisers. Many ordinary everyday people are trying so hard and hoping to be something other than themselves. Better looking, healthier, slimmer, fitter, smarter, richer. Do people simply not accept that millions of people have disablities or are too unwell to work? Yes, because as far as they can see we simply don't exist at all unless we're scrounging some benefit money out of their taxes.

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    1. Great and profound comment.

      "The first thing most ask on greeting is 'how are you?. Heaven forbid that you tell the truth if you're anything but floating on cloud nine."

      I now ask "how are things with you?", which gives a much wider range of options for replying. Having said that, I am one of those people who can actually handle an honest answer to enquiries re health, so it's not entirely necessary.

      Delete
    2. We just can't win. Today an article in the telegraph suggesting that people with fibromyalgia and ME are all fakes and that they are not really in pain. That disability lobbyists are "crippling the economy". What a joke! Maybe if the government were really listening to charitable groups and disabled people for their input with the reform bill, not only would they not have to pay DEMOS and profiteering UNUM hundreds of millions of pounds, they might even arrive at a fair PIP assessement for all, and for free.

      Anyway, I just wondered. Why are the media constantly attacking us? Are we not 'sexy enough' for them? Everyone, according the the media, is simply a worthless scrounger not deserving of empathy and a right to state support, even when many of us have worked and payed equally into this rotten system. Not that it's fair. Anyone needing help should be protected. What needs to be done to get some positive press coverage??? Is it time to drop to their level? Do we roll out some attractive, fashionable, inspirational individuals who just so happen to have mental health conditions, illness and disabilities? People who claim DLA in order that they too can be one of those much praised 'hard working' tax payers? I'm finding this tricky to convey. I mean, anyone can fall ill or become disabled unexpectedly at any time. People who are well never actually believe that it might happen to them or that they will be so ill or restricted that they cannot work. It always happens to other people so it's okay to stomp all over them and shout them down because they are somehow different. Any minority or non mainstream group apparently is ripe for suspicion and derision in our culture but sickness and disability is not exclusive. It's open to everyone at any given moment.

      Perhaps we need a campaign to show this? Sympathy and compassion and principle is thin on the ground these days. How do we show them that we're not this huge economic drain on the country's finances but rather we are gorgeous and we do lots of wonderful stuff that contributes to it greatly.

      I ask people how they are. It's a habit. I'll try "how are things with you?" although I expect the answer will still be "good" even when they're anything but.

      Delete
  31. The point of what's called welfare reform is, apart from the immediate financial benefit to Atos and the workfare staff recipients, is to justify in the eyes of the public the ending of the benefits system so private insurance companies (like Unum who we know are deeply involved) can replace it, making billions in the process. If there are a few bodies left lying around, from their POV all the better, it'll encourage the others to take out insurance of all kinds. We shouldn't be taking any of this personally or expect it to make any other kind of sense. Stop saying it doesn't make sense and there's no evidence to support it. It's just men making money, and not caring at all how they do it. Happens every day all over the world, and right now it's happening here to us. Everyone needs to face the real fight.

    ReplyDelete
  32. tell the TRUTH the whole TRUTH and nothing but the TRUTH !!!! well said sue the TRUTH hurt's !

    ReplyDelete
  33. Great post Sue.

    I noticed a prime example of what you are writing about Sue happened when Michael Portillo was speaking to Francesca Martinez- "The thing there is a problem with is the Public believe there are people who get Disability benefits who are not really disabled, and it is "probably" the Government's view also. Disabled people should be more more vigilant and at least as concerned about that as the government."

    Very clever of him to point the finger at the disabled and blame us for hiding the cheats, keeping them safe under our floorboards where the Police and the DWP can't find them.

    They have been rigorously investigating these fraudulent claims for years and the highest number of fraudulent claims for DLA is at 0.5%. But the blame for this terribly low statistic lies with the disabled, and so the onus is on us to put up our hands and admit we don't have disabilities.

    It's time to stand up, even without legs and admit that you are a cheat. And if you don't admit it and give up your fake claim to being disabled, then the Government will just have to redefine what disability is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that precisely what they have done by using the Biopsychosocial Model to define disability rather than the Social Model as used in the Disability Disabled Act.

      Just another of the goal posts closing shut on us?

      Delete
    2. Portillo hasn't really changed from his 1980's version: on the same programme awhile back, he argued that benefit system should go back to the 'parish relief' a system where basically you went in front of a panel of local worthies and had to plead your case to be given 'assistance'

      We are hurtling back to the 19th C

      Delete
  34. Changes to the DSM: Part One

    Hope this is not off topic. There are proposed changes to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) which may effect some of us. The DSM is used here in the UK as a diagnostic tool along with The International Classification of Diseases 10th edition, ICD-10 (1992), produced by the World Health Organisation.

    There is particular anxiety in the autism community due to the proposal to remove Asperger syndrome AS from the DSM. You can read a report in the New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/health/research/new-autism-definition-would-exclude-many-study-suggests.html?_r=2


    I have to wonder if this proposal is nothing more than an attempt to cut costs. This thought is echoed round the autism community including the National Autistic Society NAS who says in a report:

    “For those people who currently have a diagnosis of Asperger disorder or syndrome, the APA needs to communicate clearly that this diagnosis is still valid and that the change in criteria will not require re-assessment. The changes must not create an excuse for services to refuse to provide support for people with such diagnoses, and re-assessment would put huge pressure on services.”

    Changes to autism in DSM-V
    Discussion paper
    You can find links to the report here:

    http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/all-about-diagnosis/proposed-changes-to-autism-and-as-diagnostic-criteria.aspx

    According to the above article in the new York times the new diagnosis is more narrow and may mean 75 percent of people with the diagnosis of AS will not qualify for a diagnosis under the new diagnostic criteria, though the NAS think the percentage will not be as high. The proposal is to exclude AS and also pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified,”P.D.D.-N.O.S.and childhood disintegrative disorder and incorporate them under one category of Autism Spectrum Disorder with three levels of severity.

    I am concerned that those who do not qualify for a diagnosis will not only be left without services but will not be able to qualify for benefits.

    I may be paranoid but I can well envision the government being only too keen to exploit this situation to avoid paying benefits. It indeed would be a new way to disqualify people by removing a medical condition from the DSM . Whether or not this is the purpose remains to be seen.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Changes to the DSM Part Two

    The proposal if it goes through will adversely effect the lives of anyone with a diagnosis of AS.

    At the present time these are only proposals . If you object to the removal of AS from the DSM you may like to sign a petition:


    http://www.change.org/petitions/american-psychiatric-association-maintain-the-current-definition-of-autism-dsm5


    and write to committee members responsible for the new edition of the DSM:

    http://www.dsm5.org/MeetUs/Pages/TaskForceMembers.aspx

    link to proposed new diagnostic criteria

    http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=94

    Hope this is not off topic but it is important information for others with AS who visit this website.

    I have OCD, ( obsessive compulsive disorder) depression, general, anxiety and AS I also suffer with fibromyalgia , migraine, tension headache, arthritis of the jaw and neuralgia. I am weary and stressed exhausted. I have a son who has AS, depression and severe anxiety. My husband also suffers depression and I suspect he is also has an autism spectrum disorder. So we struggle without much help or support.

    We feel that with one thing and another, welfare reforms and now the above worry concerning the DSM , the outcome of which will not be known until December, we are at the end of our tethers. My husband and I are getting older and I worry what will become of our son once we are no longer here. Our illnesses are invisible, are struggles unseen behind closed doors, no one cares or understands. Life is a struggle for me with my mind, my body, a government hell bent on seeing us all living in poverty and now the DSM changes. It seems there will never be any peace of mind or a sense of security ever again. Mind you I think there can be few today in our greedy exploitative world who feel any sense of security with job losses, low pay, rising prices not forgetting of course mass starvation in developing countries. Until we have a more fair distribution of wealth we will never have just society .

    Christine

    ReplyDelete
  36. Changes to the DSM Part Two

    The proposal if it goes through will adversely effect the lives of anyone with a diagnosis of AS.

    At the present time these are only proposals . If you object to the removal of AS from the DSM you may like to sign a petition:


    http://www.change.org/petitions/american-psychiatric-association-maintain-the-current-definition-of-autism-dsm5


    and write to committee members responsible for the new edition of the DSM:

    http://www.dsm5.org/MeetUs/Pages/TaskForceMembers.aspx

    link to proposed new diagnostic criteria

    http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=94

    Hope this is not off topic but it is important information for others with AS who visit this website.

    I have OCD, ( obsessive compulsive disorder) depression, general, anxiety and AS I also suffer with fibromyalgia , migraine, tension headache, arthritis of the jaw and neuralgia. I am weary and stressed exhausted. I have a son who has AS, depression and severe anxiety. My husband also suffers depression and I suspect he is also has an autism spectrum disorder. So we struggle without much help or support.

    We feel that with one thing and another, welfare reforms and now the above worry concerning the DSM , the outcome of which will not be known until December, we are at the end of our tethers. My husband and I are getting older and I worry what will become of our son once we are no longer here. Our illnesses are invisible, are struggles unseen behind closed doors, no one cares or understands. Life is a struggle for me with my mind, my body, a government hell bent on seeing us all living in poverty and now the DSM changes. It seems there will never be any peace of mind or a sense of security ever again. Mind you I think there can be few today in our greedy exploitative world who feel any sense of security with job losses, low pay, rising prices not forgetting of course mass starvation in developing countries. Until we have a more fair distribution of wealth we will never have just society .

    Christine

    ReplyDelete
  37. i was in a food shop yesterday and one of the staff who had a communication difficulty was being a right pain to her fellow co worker and told her to sod off
    My belief is that the person who was told to sod off has autism as she kept repeating herself

    If you have autism and you are forced to work you run a big risk of being told to sod off which i think is way out of order but we will have to see how this disadvantaged group of people cope when being sworn at

    ReplyDelete
  38. Talking about fraud

    After 30 odd years of paying into the system I had a breakdown. This later was diagnosed as bipolar. So here I am today, stuffed full of medication, sitting at home, tired all the time, in a zombie like state, with difficulties making meals, not wanting to go out, with little energy even to watch the cricket, little patience, little concentration and a distinct lack of ability to type and problems with my benefits, which is a constant source of enormous stress - alone, no one has called, no follow up by the local mental health team, no future appointments, nothing .... is this health care in 2012?

    I could kill myslef now and nobody would know

    Exactly who is committing the fraud?????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly there is little help for those of us with mental health conditions, there never has been much in the way of care but nowadays it is just so much worse, compounded by the struggle to get benefits to which we are entitled. This adds to our already difficult lives and makes our conditions worse. The government are a disgrace .

      Perhaps you should telephone your local mental health team or your GP let them know how much you are struggling. You could also ring Mind, sometimes they have somewhere in you locality where you can go and talk to someone, I know there was when my son and I were going through the benefits nightmare last time. it is worth a try. No one should suffer alone. Though I know how difficult it is when you are depressed to even make a phone call.

      My best wishes to you I can relate to what you are going through

      Christine

      Delete
  39. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fpoliticalscrapbook.net%2F2012%2F01%2Frod-liddle-disabled-the-sun%2F&h=_AQG42kPAAQHF6cVv5HIH8fY4ERRP-OC7zitRS3g_P0aK5A

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sun column attacks "Pretend Disabled".

      Delete
    2. That is disgusting, this is relentless, we must start to draw a line, ring your MP, contact the Press Complaints Commission, I just did

      Delete
    3. The way disabled people are being portrayed in the media should have been a subject for the Levinson Inquiry into the press, is it too late for Sue to get on it...

      Delete
    4. you might find your mp is part of the problem

      a culture of abuse has been steadily growing for years now , encouraged by politicians - it is unacceptable but it is actually driving policy nowadays - it won't stop until the disabled are removed from the Uk completely - it's called ethnic cleansing

      Delete
  40. http://niceguidelines.blogspot.com/2012/01/margaret-williams-biopsychosocial-model.html


    The great Margaret Williams who many people with M.E will be aware of has done another incisive and critical article on welfare reform and the nature and failings of the 'biopsychosocial' model which is to underpin PIP(surprise, surprise')

    Its primarily about M.E but could be applied to other diseases, conditions, etc, they are trying to 'magic' illness away...

    read also about Lord Fraud and how useless he was a banker, etc

    ReplyDelete
  41. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mencap.org.uk%2Fblogs%2Fmisrepresentation-disability-benefit-fraud&h=4AQGGTj-LAQHvsTGAPpvOpj_0omqnf0uKsLoiFgML3Dr0fA

    ReplyDelete
  42. is it cos I am disabled........eh yes!. Any minute now I will hear that some of Rod Liddle's (http://politicalscrapbook.net/2012/01/rod-liddle-disabled-the-sun/) and James Delingpole's ( http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/author/jamesdelingpole/) best friends are disabled.
    It is apparently only really fine to be disabled as long as you can play basket ball in a wheel chair or walk to the North pole with amputated limbs...oh, and raise money for charity in the effort, or win Gold, and make sure you keep smiling at the cameras..........all the rest are for the Transport to the virtual ghettos of callousness and aimed and dehumanising bias bureaucracy and fair game for stoning in the street - that is how it feels right now in the UK, and I understand Europe too....the attacks in the media are akin to homophobia and racism no doubt..........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will now shop both Rod Liddle and James Delingpole to the authorities and general public at large; they are both FAKE journalists, which we all know is incredibly fashionable and just a made up job

      Delete
  43. Rod Liddle has just incurred the wrath of the disability lobby by having a go in his Sun column at "pretend disabled" people. Included in this category, Rod decided, were people with fibromyalgia and ME. Lots of people queued up Twitter to say how horrid they thought he was, wishing he would succumb to some kind of disability himself, etc.
    I suppose, having recently suffered from an ME-like illness I should be one of them. But unlike Rod's Twitter critics I took the trouble to read the full article and I think Rod's point is well made. There really are far, far too many people sponging off the taxpayer right now with their fake or exaggerated disabilities and they're one of the reasons we're in the financial mess we're in.
    One of.
    Disability; anti-racism; diversity; anti-homophobia; anti sex-discrimination; etc: every one of these has its specialist lobby group which considers it its bounden duty to screw the economy for as much as it possibly can. Sometimes it does so directly, through entirely unnecessary government offshoots like the Equality and Human Rights Commission; sometimes it does so indirectly, via all the various forms of swingeing anti-discrimination legislation and regulation and inconvenience imposed on private business.
    And amazingly the government actually pays these lobbyists to grumble and campaign for even more stringent, costly legislation and regulation. A report last year from the Taxpayers' Alliance showed that in 2007/8 over £37 million of our money was spent on our behalf, so that hard-left organisations like Friends Of The Earth and the New Economics Foundation can campaign for more encroachment in our lives by the overweening state.
    This isn't going to last. It cannot last. Future historians are going to look back in astonishment at the lunacy of an age when, according to one government definition from the New Labour era, fully 11 million people – that's a quarter of the adult population – qualified as disabled. Where does the money come from?
    Three places: taxation; inflationary money-printing; borrowing.
    Every time the disability lobby squeals for more another few jobs are lost, another few basis points are lost from GDP growth. But these people don't care; they know better than that: the government owns a magic money tree and its ability to distribute the fruits thereof is boundless.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Sue, it is now unacceptable to comment on a person's colour or race and the last people who can be insulted at whim are disabled people. Be it Cameron and Johnson blithely describing people as 'like Tourettes suffers' or be it Osborne describing Brown as akin to someone 'with learning disabilities' or be it Gervais and his 'retard' comment. All of this makes Government's diabolical treatment of the disabled easier for some people. After all, no-one has been imprisoned for the comments so it must be right. Right?

    ReplyDelete
  45. It has taken me years, yes years, to come to terms with the fact that 'that word' applied to me. Even after accepting it and making some sort of peace with the fact that I was disabled it took me even longer to voice it out loud even now having to walk with the aid of two crutches I avoid voicing it even though I might seem totally apparent.

    Due to being born with congenital spinal deformities I narrowly avoided becoming wheel-chair bound. Now more than 20 years on I have both RA and Fibro on top of my spinal problems. I always feared the stigma of being classified as disabled and saw first hand how my spinal problems caused me to be refused work placements when on the governments original YTS schemes.

    I managed to get a job without the aid of any schemes which I kept for more than 12 years in total only loosing it when my condition (RA) became too severe.

    Now 10 years on - almost - I have three disabling conditions/diseases to contend me daily as well as the 5 different meds adding up to 20+ tablets a day to live with. I am currently undergoing two different therapies with two different hospitals to help me regain just a little independence to stay out of the wheelchair I will eventually end up in and out of social care in the future.

    Needless to say getting treated as dirt by total stranger while I attempt to do basic tasks such as food shopping doesn't help. Getting cursed at and called derogatory names in the street by people who see someone on crutches as a scrounger stealing their hard working money doesn't make my life any easier.

    I have fought long and hard struggling through several courses of therapy over the past few years avoiding giving into my degenerative disease. My award for keeping going, my DLA might be taken away if plans to reform it go through as is. The same benefit which allows me to run a small car which I rely on to do everything that means leaving my home.

    So let's think this out, no DLA = no way to keep my car = no going out = becoming housebound. But I get a free bus pass, but let's think this out. Bus stop too far from home for me to walk = no buses. Darn, doesn't look good does it?

    It's a battle to go outside my house not only due to the physical pain and exhaustion it causes me but because I fear other people. Occasionally I would get the occasional 'gimpy' or 'hop a long' or sometimes something even more rude which I won't verbalise here. Now I get whispers, pointing, shoved strongly by passers-by's while being called really disgusting names by total strangers. All on the basis that I walk with aids so must be some kind of fraudster.

    So thank you to my own government for not only possibly robbing me of the help I need but also demonizing me to total strangers who have no difficulties vocalising it to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sorry to hear of your troubles lesley
      The government like so many of their polices didn't think of that the public can be very nasty
      As for being housebound i am virtually but that's because of the DWP dont like me going out as they say your supposed to be ill so if so stay in

      If i am caught out like in the past i loose my benefit and then have to spend the next twelve months with the help of my local mp in getting it back not good but they are the rules

      My local dwp office don't like scroungers and are very tough on them

      Delete
  46. This is a great post. I personally do not think that Sue should stoop to engaging with the haters who want to pull her writing apart, there is such a thing as poetic licence and it does not invalidate the point made.

    ReplyDelete
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  50. i want to say that i am angry at those of you who all you talk about is BENEFITS BENEFITS!! if you were too sick or too disabled you won't be on here chatting this way!

    ReplyDelete