Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Would you report me?

I apologise to those of you who may have thought you had seen the last of my blogs but I have realised that while I can think I will always have something to say and a need to be heard, and I am afraid this blog may be just as contentious as the previous one that caused me problems!
You see, it was a comment that set me off yet again, it's a comment I have heard plenty of times before but it has played on my mind somewhat today.
"most people know someone who is fiddling the welfare state! Would you report them?" is the gist of it, said in many different ways but basically "would you report someone you suspected of cheating the benefits system?"

I must state here that I don't condone cheating or lying or claiming benefits falsely in any shape or form and of course those that do should be brought to justice, but what concerns me is that normal, ordinary everyday people are being encouraged to be snoops and medical experts. Could you tell a genuine person?
I could go through the invisible illnesses etc but thought I would highlight my point once again using my own situation.

You can look back at previous blogs if you wish where I have written about my medical condition in some detail to see why I claim ESA & DLA and am considered not fit for work.
But it struck me today that I write on twitter nearly every week that I go to the town with my mum on a Tuesday, what is to stop this from arousing suspicion?

If you were watching us you would see my husband drop us at the doors to the shopping mall, you would see me holding my mums arm as we walk slowly to our first stop, which incidentally is the cake shop! I limp and I need her arm for support but I expect we just look like mother and daughter holding each others arms.
You may not then see that the next place we go is BHS restaurant as by then I need to sit down. Here we sit and chat until it becomes too uncomfortable for me to sit any longer. All this to an outsider would look like perfectly normal behaviour wouldn't it? You may not notice that my mum cuts and butters my roll for me as I am unable to do so or that she supplies me with clean napkins as the effort can make me uncomfortably hot. We sit at the back as I am very conscious of what I am unable to do for myself so we must look like mother and daughter having a nice cuppa and a chat together.

Our next stop is Wilkinsons where I NEED to have a shopping trolley to lean on or I could never get round the half of the shop I can still manage. So to an onlooker I suppose I look like a normal shopper walking (ok limping) around the store. You see I don't have 2 heads, I haven't got limbs in plaster etc etc, you may see the limp but you won't see the curved spine or the damaged ankles,knees,hips, wrists, shoulders.....shall I go on? You probably won't see the look of pity, fear or disgust when the shop assistant has to take my money from my damaged hands or the fact that I now hold my purse open for them to drop change into so they don't have to try and avoid touching me.

After Wilkinsons I lean on the shopping trolley to help me walk back outside the mall and sit on the bench while mum goes to the other shops she needs to go to and gets the rest of her shopping. I call my husband after about 15/20 minutes to come and pick us up. He has to come from the car to help me walk back to it as by then nothing works.

Once safely home again I am unable to do anything at all for the rest of the day, the pain is too acute and my body just refuses to move at all. It takes me a couple of days to recover from Tuesday mornings outing and that is one reason that you will normally only find me out on that one day a week.
I will continue to accompany my mum to the town on a Tuesday for as long as I possibly can as it is our special time together and means so much to us both but if you saw me, heard me, watched me, without knowing my circumstances and my illness, would you consider reporting me?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Anonymous said...

I think anyone considering 'dobbing on' anyone to the DWP should be forced to read this and reconsider. Very well put (as always).

sally in norfolk said...

I would never report anyone as like you say we never know whats going on behind the scenes AND people should keep there noses out of others peoples business

Dougie Brimson said...

Penny, I think you are taking a point I made and taking it far too personally.

Just to repeat myself, my initial blog was not about those people who the welfare system was designed to help and support (such as yourself, myself, my partner and even my mother) it was aimed at those who knowingly abuse the system. And however you look at it, those people are stealing both financially and morally.

As for it not being my business, how rediculous. As a taxpayer it is absolutely my business because it's my money being stolen. That is an indisputable fact.

If you as an individual won't take on the responsibility of helping the system stop that abuse by reporting people you know are carrying out systematic theft, then you have absolutely no right to complain about cuts which are having to be made to services to cover the cost of that theft.

Penny said...

I am afraid Dougie it is you who is taking this too personally, I was NOT referring to you at all in this blog!

Dougie Brimson said...

Penny, I never take anything personally. Good job too, you should see some of the reviews I've had!! :-D

But I stand by my points. If a person if entitled to benefits then I have absolutely no problem with that. My issue has always been with those who are not and why some people seem to think it's ok to steal from the rest of us quite frankly escapes me.

tinysuz said...

I should like to near your views on how YOU think the cheats can be stopped because stopped they must be. They are stealing my hard earnt money.

Anyone that needs benefits as you so obviously do I have no problem with. I don't like the thought of spying on people and reporting them and have never done so myself but as it seems so easy to be able to con the authorities, I should love to near your plan for stopping the cheats.

Penny said...

I feel I must point out here I am talking about sickness/disability benefits of which the fraud rate is 0.5%
Yes I agree any fraud is wrong and should be stopped, as to how I personally would make sure only those entitled to get it would, I would trust the persons GP, medical records as these can't lie, our GP, consultants knows us and our medical condition and our medical records give all necessary information. All I am trying to state here is that not all disabling conditions are obvious.

Dougie Brimson said...

I was never talking about disabilty or sickness benefits but about unemployment benefit in my blog ( however, since you bring it up, the government might claim a fraud rate of 0.5% but I suspect it's much higher than that. How many people claim to be depressed? Or have bad backs?

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind me repeating a bit of your reply, Penny, as I really believe it needs to be heard: 0.5% of DLA claims, and 0.3% of incapacity benefit claims are fraudulent.
We are encouraged by the press to believe that these figures are nearer the 75+% mark, which then causes a large chunk of the general public to believe that most people are fraudulent.
If I KNEW someone was fraudulent, then yes I probably would report them. The thing is, and the point which Penny is making in this post, is that very very rarely do we know this for sure. People are seeing a small snippet of someones life and then making enormous assumptions about their medical record, of which they know nothing.
The corrupt government are pressuring people to report disability frauds, without knowing who is fraudulent. So let's just report people we have a gripe against, shall we? or just report people who "look ok to me".
The disabled are being victimised, the government are encouraging it, and it's truly disgusting.
I'm glad to see you aren't giving your blog up Penny *hugs*

Dougie Brimson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
feline9 said...

Take 2! I agree with what you say, while I dislike those who make fraudulent claims, it is impossible to judge others. Like you whenever I go out I go to a shopping centre with my mum, we get the bus there, but taxi back, we go to only the one place as it is on the level & you can get a trolley when you arrive and take it everywhere with you, so it carries the bags, and I can hold onto it. It is all on the one level with plenty of seating. I get asked how I am as I am looking so well - yes that is called makeup, is done, jewellery worn etc, but the painkillers have been carefully taken at the best possible time, with spares with me, the stick is in the trolley, and when I get home it is usually straight into the nightie and a lie down. But anyone who doesn't know me would probably see nothing wrong, if they studied me they would see the very bent back, the slow walk, the gradual limp building up etc etc In my case I have taken early retirement on health grounds, but if I was claiming other benefits and someone reported me, cannot imagine what it would be like having to prove myself.

@stu_art_ist said...

My lovely friend Penny, I hope what I am about to say does not offend you in any way !!!! I have read your blog with great interest as always, and I want to give you the BIGGEST HUG in the world right now xxx
I have known you for a few years now, via twitter, and I know that wanting sympathy, has, and NEVER will be on you list of wants or wishes. I do believe that people that 'know you' and follow and speak with you would never judge you, even if you told us tomorrow you were going sky diving for charity on Friday! I don't believe any of us would be surprised !
Your inner spirit is so strong and fighting, your caring and advice for others is so uplifting and rewarding, your friendship is without question so very special and appreciated. I know for as long as you can, you will shop till you drop every Tuesday to spend time with your Mum and that says so much more about the inner you than what it is that is not visible.
SO..... it is for that reason... no matter how much you may resist or shy away.... that I am giving you the biggest, most heart felt and 100% with love and respect HUGGLE Cuddle... EVER x

Anonymous said...

keep your noses out of other peoples lives how would you like it if it was your disabled parent or depressed husband who felt unable to go anywhere with out having a panic attack or braking down do u not think they feel bad enough as it is gradually losing there independance having to rely on other people and feeling like shit about it we have to rely on the doctors and jobcentres and inspectors to do their jobs which believe me they are getting tough on people i work but know lots of people on benifits and some of them look perfectly healthy on the outside so keep your noses out and live your own bloody lives