Wednesday 24 August 2011

We're all Cheats Now

I don't know if you saw this article yesterday, it was, after all in the Express, the Mail and the good old third wheel of benefit attackers, the BBC.

"25k "Disabled" cheat caught on water slide" is the title of the article, accompanied by a picture of pure joy as the woman whizzes down, caught on camera in what the article implies are her own holiday snaps.

Now, the woman pleaded guilty. She had claimed she was "too weak to walk any significant distance without crutches" and she was in receipt of both the higher rate care and higher rate mobility components of DLA. So that's that then, job done. Another evil scrounger banged to rights m'lud.

Except Houston, we have a vast problem!!!

Anyone with a fluctuating condition (and there are millions of us) faces an enormous quandary when filling in either DLA or ESA forms, but particularly DLA. You see, some days we might be quite well. Goodness, we might even (whisper it) be able to enjoy a water slide!!! We have to fill the forms in as though it is our worst day. Well, my worst day is an attractive montage of "nearly dead." I can't get out of bed, can't walk at all, can't eat, vomit every twenty minutes, shove needles in my buttocks to control pain and nausea every 2-4 hours and sometimes my poor little body shuts down altogether, threatening to put me out of my misery with some kind of dramatic stroke/seizure/heart weirdness.

So what to do? I still have a "disability" it just doesn't conform to their narrow little idea of someone who's legs don't work. I have been lobbying hard to make ministers see that there are other parts of the body, but as yet, we are still living in a leg-tatorship.

If the forms put me in a quandary, imagine how the assessors or decision makers at the DWP feel! DLA is meant to acknowledge the extra costs of being disabled. I have many extra costs to cover - £60 a pop for petrol to get to and from my hospital every month, around £100 more to enable me to buy the very expensive food supplements I need. Night time care (we won't go into details, but it isn't pretty)

I am told I ought to qualify for both higher rate mobility and higher rate care.

So what then? No "happily climbing cobbled hills and bounding down steep steps." for me or the millions like me? No swimming or having fun with the kids on good days? Even her red bikini was too cheerful, presumably only drab grey will do for parasites like me. 

I had countless messages yesterday from people in utter misery. The article states that "DLA is reserved for the most severely disabled members of society". Well, only lately. Now, when they say most severely disabled, they mean people who are totally incapable of any meaningful independent actions, but in fact that wasn't the point of DLA at all, it just got more and more draconian over the years.

In the last two years or so in our leg-tatorship, anyone who doesn't conform to this political definition of disability feels that they simply mustn't have any kind of life at all. I regularly get messages or comments from people who are too scared to leave their homes at all. I am constantly horrified by people who know that anything they try to do may be caught on camera and used against them. We live in a culture of fear that is just so sad. 

It didn't used to be like this. There was a respect, a sense that you deserved a little dignity. Now we all question everything we do every day. Far from enabling us, society is further disabling us - taking everything away in exchange for a few quid that keeps us living in poverty. I'm ashamed of many aspects of our current welfare provision, but this shames me more than anything else. 


A while ago, I wrote this post, and rather than write it all over again, I'll re-post it here. I hope it gives others a little strength and reminds people that just because we're sick or disabled, we're not criminals and no society that calls itself a democracy has the right to make us feel that way.  

"you can watch me if you like. Take your pictures, twitch the curtain, send me forms and summon me to assessments. Doubt me, judge me, even try to take away my dignity, but you will NEVER take away my shoes. 

If I have to use a wheelchair, then surely it's time for the 8 inch hooker heels? (Electric-blue satin with never ending chrome spike heels. If I can't walk anyway...) If I feel like wearing fake-fur and ripped leggings I will. I will wear red lipstick and paint my nails gold. If I want to go to dinner with friends and sip cocktails and nibble tapas and pretend, just for once, that I won't pay for it dearly later, then I will. I don't do hair shirts and self-denial.  

If I have a rare good day, amongst the searing pain and endless vomiting and I want to dance, then I will dance. Joyously, because I know that joy is fleeting. If it puts me on the floor, I will still dance, because I am free. You can't tell me never to dance. 

If you follow me walking my kids home from school one day you might see me chase them, giggling until we fall in the crunchy piles of autumn leaves. Will you see the wince I try to hide as we carry on home? Will you notice my six year old take my arm because he's already learnt what giggle-chases cost me? But I vow to chase my kids whenever it might not kill me.

If I see your hypocrisy clearly, I will write about it with scorching fire.  I will tweet from a hospital bed, with my drips and my bleeps and my needles and tubes. Read it if you like, you might learn something. Writing is all I have then - did it ever occur to you I can dictate? 

At weddings, I will wear a hat. An enormous, wide brimmed, floppy hat, with freesias stitched into the brim. I will hold my head high, push my shoulders back, paint on a dazzling smile and sip champagne. Life and soul for the hour or two life and soul is required. But will you see me when the mask slips? When my soul can’t cover for my life any longer?

I can transform, butterfly-like with expensive skincare and will-power. The grey, clammy, puffy little face you know will emerge, glowing and radiant, my eyes sparkling, my hair shiny. Like Cinderella, the sheen will fade by midnight, but you might not notice, busy as you are marvelling at “how well I look.”

One warm, summer afternoon, when the breeze feels like silk, I will take a motorbike ride with my husband, racing through hazel lined lanes across the rolling South Downs. I will gulp in pleasure and live a year in those few, adrenaline-fuelled hours. I will pull off my crash helmet, shaking my hair and laughing at life. I wonder if you'll remember how little my life normally gives me to laugh at?

So, whatever money, or security or comfort you try to take from me, all those other things are mine. Chronic illness takes away almost everything you ever took for granted - ambition, spontaneity, careless energy, dreams, independence - sometimes even love. When any of those things come fleetingly within my grasp, I will grab them. 

Wearing an Elvis-print mini-dress and pink polka-dot Jimmy Choos"


  1. Great post, as always. I was under the impression that to qualify as unable to do something, one has to be unable to do it for 6 months out of every year, regardless of how those 6 months are distributed. I'm sure that was in some DWP guidelines somewhere. Arbitrary of course, but a perfectly usual scenario for anyone with a fluctuating long-term condition. Unfortunately for the bitter and hate-filled members of society, this means that someone can actually have quite a bit of time of feeling ok and yet still be incapable of work/in need of assistance.

    It can't be emphasised enough. DLA is not for having a disability/illness at all, it's for needing extra help because of one. ESA is not for having a disability or illness at all, it's for being unemployable. If anyone suggests, to my face, that stereotypes of disabled life and "looking ill" have anything to do with anything, unless they admit their ignorance, they'll be getting a smack. It won't help, but it'll make me feel better.

    1. hi ricky i kno exactly how you feel im going thro pre esa appeal put on pre esa rate i can hardly make ends meet from day to day i can almost hear them sayin get a job lazy sod or worse ive pulld centre disc out got siaticia down inside of both legs outside of both legs hardly walk any distance at all wont qualify 4 dla so cant get disabled what ever it is 4 car makes me very angry indeed they didnt say u dont qualify 4 these benifits so dont pay any deductions haha u got 2 laugh

  2. I went to Turkey a few years ago, before I was on esa, so there was not this fear. Had I been monitored on holiday I would have been seen enjoying an energy I had forgotten I could have, dancing, walking fast without becoming breathless, wiped out and having to sleep a lot for days, things I often thought I would never experience again. I am pretty sure if I was able to go again now I would have a lease of life there again that I do not have here.

    That presumably would make me a cheat?

  3. Jan, ESA is for those found unfit to work, not the obviously unemployable. There's a difference. Say you have a stomach ailment, two days out of four you're evacuating from both ends, two days you're ok. You don't know which days will be which. You're obviously unemployable because of this, but according to the the Atos testing which completely ignores this sort of thing you're 'fit to work'.


  4. I hadn't read your repeated post before but it speaks to me so loudly. Especially the part about "how well you look" when we all know it took three days of preparation and will knock us for 6 for another three days afterwards. If we don't look ill then we are supposed to be well. I don't think it is something you can understand until you have experienced it yourself. I was perfectly healthy until I was 27 and even though I (felt) was a fairly empathetic person I just didn't realise that you could be in lots of pain and discomfort and be smiling and having fun. I just couldn't comprehend it, until I experienced it.

  5. What a dilemma we have. I try every now and then to get out, maybe to hobble down to the end of the road and back. Or my family will take me out for a few hours to lift my spirits.

    If my neighbours see me and stop and chat they make comments like -

    "You're a fighter" "Good for you" "Keep trying dear"

    If I am too ill to get out they say -

    "You must think positive" "Don't give up" Try and motivate yourself to get out dear"

    If the Press and the Media swa me they'd say -

    "If you can walk you can work" "You don't look ill so you must be ok" If you smile or swim and enjoy yourself you must be a cheat"

    And the government would say -

    "We want to help you work, we don't want you to be left out... but we will only support you if you are at deaths door"

    How is anyone expected to negotiate that kind of maze of contradictions?

  6. Great comments, all of them. Lainey, I too have occasionally been lucky enough to feel perfectly OK in some sunny place.

    The last anonymous - I love how you summed up the "maze" of contradictions we face.

  7. I think it may have started with Peter Lilley's "I've got a little list" speech, in which he, as a right wing Tory, got stuck into people who didn't have a job, or were ill or whatever, just because he could, and it went down singing hymns at the Daily Mail gathering of pursed, thin lipped old maids, or the Tory Party Conference as it is otherwise known.

    From then on, anyone who claimed any benefit at all was a cheat and governments have been only too happy to allow us to think that for obvious reasons.

    It was rather ironic, looking at it with hindsight, given that it was about that time that the real fest of MPs stealing, left, right and centre, really started.

    Had we been privy to that information, we could have had quite a large list ourselves... starting with Pete himself, who borrowed money from his wife to buy their house and claimed the interest on it from us. If that's not a benefit cheat, what is? However, the nasty evil little toad had friends somewhere, don't they all, so he got off with it...£40,000 of it.

  8. So the high percentage of disabled people who use DLA to access work, shouldn't? And disabled people who also care, shouldn't? And hey, don't think about getting a carer to help you go to the theatre. I can't believe that all the encouragement to apply for money for choices in Independent living and needs met care are now things that make you 'not' disabled, or not enough or not in the right way. And yet none of this nonsense is directed at paraolympians in the media. So either we lie on the floor like a sausage, or take part in world beating athletics. Just don't do none of that pesky normal stuff. Good grief

  9. I have conditions which with the right combination of pacing and care should improve and allow me to return to work eventually.

    I need to build up my physical stamina (swimming would be ideal) and I also need to work on getting out of the house and beating my agoraphobia. The twitchy curtain brigade are actually keeping me on benefits because their beady eyes make me scared to go for a walk in case I get reported for benefit fraud.

    So I sit in the house and do not get much better and occasionally I chuckle at the grim irony of the situation. But mainly I rage with the unfairness of everything that being ill takes away from me. And then I have a nap...

  10. Now, now, Bill, you know perfectly well what I meant :P Subsistence disability benefits are for a lack of any other options due to illness, not for the principle of being ill. The fact that that they're not being applied in this way, leaving people destitute or dead, is just what stops our detractors being merely wrong and makes them instead scandalously, outrageously wrong.

  11. My mother paid for me to go to the United States a few years back - since she couldn't organise something like that worth a damn and just gave me the money for it - and every now and then it crosses my mind that the DWP might find out about it and it does scare me a little.

    And I totally agree; disabled people have enough to worry about, without having to worry about this kind of crap all the time. I'm sick of being made to feel that I should never enjoy anything because I can't work. Life doesn't work like that and if people have to grass on disabled people for having some small happinesses in their life, the only person that reflects badly on is the person who calls the DWP to tell them that, "Ohnoes, a disabled person is having FUN. How dare they!" Because actually, being disabled has taken a lot from me, but I won't ever live in fear or unhappiness just to suit the government, the public, the DWP, or anyone else.

  12. I've had this issue as well - nevermind the fact that when I go out to a pub with a friend, out of my gourd on chemo-medication I can't even hold a conversation, the fact is of course that I'm OUT and therefore must be better. I don't go into town anymore as I can't face the walk, but I potter around in the garden and do stuff like mow and strim the lawn - nevermind I can't hold anything in my hands for two days afterwards.

    Sod them. Fine, report me. What else can you gits possibly take away that I won't fight for tooth and nail to get back? I have nothing left to lose. I still try and work even though I know I shouldn't. I still take care of my child without help even though I know I'm entitled to some kind of care. I still get myself sorted even when I'm often so tired I kow I should sleep for 12-14 hours before I feel even remotely human.

    Kiss my thigh-highs and watch me rock on.

    1. oya 39 daughter, it is a fact that if you go into the garden that constitutes as being able to walk more then the 50 meters and as you do activities in the garden you are apparently now not disabled well acording to atos that is .steve

  13. Around here they stare at you 24/7 with both black beady eyes through the keyhole with a copy of the Daily Maul clamped firmly in their mandibles except when a real criminal act is taking place then they slither away to their kitchen and make a cup of tea.

  14. People are good at seeing the activity, but not what it costs us. My record is an entire year to recover from a holiday, and that was while I was still well enough to work. They might see the holiday, I can guarantee they won't stay around to see the cost.

  15. We all know its all part of this Govts purge on benefits and by highlighting it in the media it gets their sordid views across to countless millions of taxpayers who they say should not be footing the bill. You and others Sue do a fantastic job if you like by making more and more people aware of the everyday issues we face. Fluctuating conditions are and in my opinion never will be considered anymore either for ESA /DLA.

  16. The lady should clearly have worn a burkini and dark glasses and a sunhat. Then they would not have recognised her. Except that then she would probably have been stigmatised for wearing a burkini ...

    ... I am reminded of the recent case of the benefit cheat (where one of the things she was accused of was sky-diving. Now, I don't believe that being strapped to a trained parachutist is actual proof that she could walk well. It did turn out that this lady was a cheat, because she had been working in a caff whilst saying she couldn't work, but I was baffled as to what the sky-diving was meant to "prove" about her condition.

  17. Great post. I've been Bi Polar for 35 years and have been "my own boss" for most of that HOWEVER after a few very bad episodes I went to my GP and psych who tell me I am a danger at times so here we go - I have all these forms to fill out and I am going to document everything and blog it here

    I try to keep upbeat and am generally chipper but sometimes I can't take it....

  18. David, good luck, post a link here now and then so that I can keep up. Do get a good advocate to help you with the forms.

    Vanilla - I have a paraplegic friend who has a habit of throwing himself out of planes, sailing across oceans etc. We call him the stunt-crip. Doesn't mean he can walk though does it.

  19. I have epilepsy, another condition which fluctuates constantly. To look at me most days you would think I was fine. I laugh, I run, I am in no pain at all, and there is nothing to mark me out from every other person on the street.

    I won't deny that there is a small part of me that lived in constant guilt for years at the fact that I look and act "normal" a lot of the time, but over the last few years I have whittled it down to almost nothing, and I can finally hold my head high when I go out. Most people don't see me having a seizure or a bad aura, and don't understand what it is like to constantly wonder when the next one will be. I can't do much to change that, or to change how my health is; all I can do is just keep living one day at a time and hope that my seizures can be better controlled in the future.

    I try not to read news articles about disability benefit "cheats" and the rampant discrimination against our society's most vulnerable people. I'm not in a position to fight it at the moment, but when I am, I will give it my everything. It HAS to change.

  20. Clarification is needed here i think by DWP, Govt, IDS LOL. We cant and should not be afraid to show ourselves because someone may report us to DWP. Fluctuating conditions are a fact of our lifes.

  21. I've always been monitored over a 30 year period and to this day have to report anything out of the ordinary to those at the DWP. So i am at a loss as to how someone can be caught sliding down a water chute makes me sick. I think anyone on benefits should be getting the same treatment as myself as i don't believe it fair that there are those who have to ask permission to go out for the full day and those that don't

    Sure it's tough you would only have to look at a photo of me to see how abused i have been but you can be sure the likes of the express wont seek justice for those like myself why? because there just a bunch of bigots and when you have papers like that in your country you and your country are invariably doomed

  22. I am contantly nagging my husband not to do things because they might be watching, and filming. I am being unfair to him on his rare good days because I am terrified they will stop our money.

    I never thought it was possible to feel this afraid, every day, and still function.

  23. "DLA is reserved for the most severely disabled members of society"

    You can hear this kind of slogan in various States of Europe.
    For example in Italy the government of Berlusconi has deposited in parliament a bill that reduces in half the cost of the subsidies and pensions for sick and disabled where you can read that the benefits should be granted to the persons "genuinely in need" ( soggetti autenticamente bisognosi ).
    The goal of these "reforms" is not to contrast the benefit fraud as some hypocrites state .
    In order to comprend the effective goal of these "reforms" is necessary listen to what the italian finance minister Giulio Tremonti affirmed:" this is a Country that has 2.700.000 disabled and 2,7 million of disabled people raise the question if this Country thus can be still competitive ” .
    Giulio Tremonti like Freud wants to eliminate the subsidies for sick and disabled that consequently will become unemployeds.
    " As many as possible of the unemployeds have to act as effective competitors for existing jobs. This should lead to pressure to reduce the salaries " .
    Seems that daily mail, atos, etc are serving also the interests of some ferocious foreign owners of big companies that want to transform Britain in an African State.
    But competitiveness is a public interest ? Is it Democracy ? It is only a partial interest of very few impostors !
    Britain can not become the homeland of slave workers and the British taxpayers can not pay lavish compensations to atos in order to make happy daily mail and express !

    "Atos Healthcare’s parent company is ATOS ORIGIN who benefit from several lucrative government contracts…..including the IT contract for the 2012 Olympic Games."

  24. Grazie Mille per l'informazione. E la stessa cosa in Australia, NZ, Canada.....

    Il mondo cambia ogni journo per noi.

  25. "leg-tatorship" - I laughed out loud, loved it. Unfortunately in the real world only visible, physical impairments count, and if you're missing a limb or are blind you're disabled. If you don't you aren't! The ignorant conflate illness and disability. The Tories and Atos declare people fit to work, but ignore that fact that no-one going to employ them.

    I'm on JSA (never been on ESA) and recently went to an interview which had a computer test. I brought out my coloured overlay (a bit of plastic used by people with Meares-Irlen syndrome - tends to be those with dyslexia and/or migraine ) and got such a look you're have sworn I'd brought out a AK47 rifle and pointed it at the interviewer's chest. Funnily enough I didn't get the job. Quite how the woman who needs an oxygen cylinder 24/7 and was recently declared fit to work is going to fare when she wheels that out given the reaction to a bit of coloured plastic I dread to think!

  26. Brilliant post, as usual. Like other people, I am often scared to leave the house. I was frightened of going to my best mate's birthday party over the weekend. As someone with a fluctuating condition myself, I really do feel as if I am no longer allowed a social life, a meal out with my wife or a trip to ASDA to get supplies on a good day (so my wife doesn't have to do it for once).

    I almost feel as if we now need to be fighting public attitudes towards us AS WELL as fighting the "reforms", the DWP and ATOS.

    When I was young they used to tell us stories about how government critics in the USSR were scared to go out, scared to go to work, etc. They faced covert surveillance and worried about "informers". Yet our government, and a large part of our population, are willingly creating this attitude here.

    Because I can't work and can't afford to go back to Uni, I spend a lot of time educating myself and reading all the time. I'm really big into history, especially the history of the USSR & the Cold War. What I've learned is that, apart from the Stalin era, in the USSR sick and disabled people were often treated better and with more respect than we are now treated in our "democratic Western" country.

    It is such a sad state of affairs when we can look back and say the Soviets were, before and after Stalin, often more humane and caring towards their disabled than we are. It's so depressing.

  27. [QUOTE]Douglas
    They faced covert surveillance and worried about "informers". Yet our government, and a large part of our population, are willingly creating this attitude here[/QUOTE].

    we do indeed Douglas i personally do every day and even with a body like mine

    i am still treated badly no justice for me my lawyer tells me as i have no money but i am still alive after 30 years of illness so still remain a thorn to the DWP so must expect further abuse at any time

    As I've always said it will be a fight to my death and that's a certainty

    but on my death you will all know about it my lawyer at least will make it news for all and for free

  28. I too, have had a fluctuating condition for many years, though it's fair to say the fluctuation has been between bad and appalling, but bad did allow me some degree of functionality.

    There was no danger of my ever walking the Pennine Way again (DWP note - pre-dated benefits by a decade - calm down!). But I could drive out to look at the hills, even if I couldn't play with them - I still had memories.

    I have, then, no problem with the waterslide. I've a question, though. Usually, a waterslide is accessed via steps - often a lot of steps. So was it the steps that did for her, rather than the actual sliding part?

    Anyone know, because I don't?

    OH, and DWP, don't worry about my fluctuating condition - I'm dying of something else entirely now - I probably have a year, maybe 18 months, of increasing disability to look forward to first, if I don't pull the plug, which I well might as my plans are laid. Does that make you happy?

  29. Well in Wales a chap was done this month, he was seen on TV walking using a stick, and holding onto a wall, he was obviously struggling, but he said on the forms he could not walk, the courts found him guilty, since this he had a massive heart attack and a stroke, he's now guilty of a crime he must repay £45,000 in DLA, but he will be claiming again for his New disability.

    This is mad, but can we expect anything different, but the forms we fill in must now be seen as being critical not to make mistakes.

    I can walk with crutches but normally use a wheelchair, but under the new ESA both would be seen as being mobile, so I do not know anymore want is a disability.

    But somebody has to test this, by saying look I know I'm disabled, but I can get around.
    if found guilty they have to go to Crown court to test it if again found guilty then the house of Lords and then if still guilty to the court of human rights, it's the only way to test this.

    Being disabled does not mean we cannot do nothing, but it is DLA they are testing without doubt.

    I know a lady who won three medal at the Olympic games and I know she was getting DLA, would she now be guilty, I think she would.

    Rob the crip.

  30. "It didn't used to be like this. There was a respect, a sense that you deserved a little dignity."


    When I applied for my Mobility Allowance (which pre-dated DLA), in 1986, I asked for a home assessment - and I got one. By a genuine, if retired GP, with the experience and knowledge not to care that I still had the arm-muscles of a life-long biker, or the leg muscles of a former rambler, backpacker and cyclist - muscles take time to waste.

    He gave me such a rigorous going-over it put me in bed for three days. He also tried to take me for a walk, but abandoned the idea after a few yards as totally unfeasible.

    A few weeks later I got my Higher Rate, until my seventies (changed, with the introduction of DLA to indefinitely).

    And, at the risk of attracting the ire of Atos, I would far rather be put in bed for a few days by somebody who actually knows what he's doing that submit to some box-ticking numpty who probably holds the unfortunates whose lives he screws with in the utmost contempt, as has been revealed on Facebook of late.

    We must surely still have a pool of retired GPs on which to draw, so why isn't the DWP utilising their experience, instead of paying hundreds of millions to an IT company? IT, for pity's sake! Then, at least, we would have genuine accountability. Probably better value for money, too.

  31. well at least i have played by the rules it hasn't done me much good but I've been truthful
    I still haven't been into my town for a coffee as i said i didn't deviate from what i do each week and i have stuck to my word as you can never be sure when your being filmed and the last thing you need to happen is to be seen in a coffee bar drinking a costa's

  32. Great point about a test case i like that idea.
    But lets be honest the DWP are getting their orders from higher up the tree and highlighting cases hence the one again in the daily fail. Strange that the bill is coming up soon

  33. How do we stop this persecution, cause that is what it is, some of the comments raised by fourbanks regarding WW11 are surprising true. i am scared i want out

  34. [QUOTE]Anonymous said...

    How do we stop this persecution, cause that is what it is, some of the comments raised by fourbanks regarding WW11 are surprising true. i am scared i want out[/QUOTE]

    How you get treated as a individual is determined by your local DWP department i my self have three departments to deal with My local DWP for incapacity benefit / The Main DLA department and the main carers department who treat me well surprisingly but none the less dealing with three departments who all have different rules and regulations on how i should live and what i cant and can do in the course of a day has taken it's toll on me over the years which as left me like a prisoner of war on top of my own illness and combined has left me like this person in this picture which is not good but is a very powerful message when people step up in a conference and speak about the sick and disabled as they can then remember my image to then force the point home to those like the prime minister to who it concerns!

    We have to remember that those who persecute others or make there Life as difficult as possible have always been with us throughout history and that some of the politicians and lords that we see today in power are no different to those of the past

    There are also those at a local DWP level who just follow the orders from above and not think about the damage that they are causing to others like myself

    The main reason that over a million people in the UK take drugs and drink excessively is to blot out the pain they feel from the Establishment from lack of opportunities like jobs and bad housing ETC and we must always remember those people as well

    We need as a country to go forward with someone like myself in power someone that has always done right thing in life someone that can be trusted to do the right thing someone that will always be reliable in doing the right thing in putting the care of others first before himself

  35. I remember years ago before i joined the bank of england meeting the late Michael Foot who went onto become the labour leader who said i would have made a wonderful politician and i said why was that and he replied that i had a very unique transparency in talking which the public love but is very rarely seen in politics sad to say he also thought my deep principles were impressive that to would make me popular but i made a promise to my father to join the bank and that is what i did and with no regrets at the time of course had i known what was to come down the line i would have taken Michaels view and joined the labour party

  36. Norms bad to crips. Bad, bad norms.

  37. I guess only time will tell regarding our futures and our familys

  38. Passive resistance my dear friends is all we can give remember Mahatma Gandhi and the suffrajetts. We need to tell the world, dont give your life cheaply. DONT just talk, FAST!

  39. we live in a norm world, so why dont the norms try and live in ours for a while

  40. I live in fear even though I was totally honest on my form.

    I never open the blinds in my front 2 rooms because people can then see in and would see that I often "furniture walk" around my flat. This always surprises the uninformed as I always have to use an electric wheelchair outdoors. The DWP are well aware of both facts. And the form clearly states that indoors I only use a wheelchair 50% of the time on good days. And yet...

    On bad days I am bedbound. On a very good day I might be able to go out for a couple of hours before going back to bed. I will usually make the most of such a day by going out for lunch. Yet I feel guilty and slightly scared while I am out. If I meet someone I know, they exclaim how better I am and inevitably ask if I will be going back to work. I have to say no to disapproving looks and try to explain that this is a one off to looks of slight disbelief.

    I HATE living like this.

  41. [QUOTE]loopys
    I live in fear even though I was totally honest on my form.

    I never open the blinds in my front 2 rooms because people can then see in and would see that I often "furniture walk" around my flat. This always surprises the uninformed as I always have to use an electric wheelchair outdoors. The DWP are well aware of both facts. And the form clearly states that indoors I only use a wheelchair 50% of the time on good days. And yet...

    On bad days I am bedbound. On a very good day I might be able to go out for a couple of hours before going back to bed. I will usually make the most of such a day by going out for lunch. Yet I feel guilty and slightly scared while I am out. If I meet someone I know, they exclaim how better I am and inevitably ask if I will be going back to work. I have to say no to disapproving looks and try to explain that this is a one off to looks of slight disbelief.

    I HATE living like this.[/QUOTE]

    We all hate living like this the only long term hope we have is if we can overthrow the likes of Cameron ?
    the people of the middle east one by one are doing a grand job in getting rid of this type of dictator from their governments and we must hope that at some point like in the next election we to can rise up and unite in getting rid of those that are out to do us harm so that we can have piece of mind with our curtains open i have a dream

  42. i was under surveilance by the DWP in Blackpool. because i told them i could not walk or was virtually unable to walk...but i used to be a drummer with the City of Preton Pipe Band and they videod me walking and carrying a drum at Great Harwood rememberance sevice 2010 that was on a good day. but I have since payed the penalty for that They stopped my DLA and told me i had to pay back £18000 which i cannot do they also videod my wife who had nothing wrong with her.. can she sue DWP for invasion of privacy.

  43. is it true that if the DWP stop your benefits they are acting illegally... The DWP is taking me to court for an overpayment but I have not had any money since february 2011 so i do not know how i am going to repay this...they have also stopped my DLA higher rate mobility it is only through the kindness of motability operations that i am being allowed to keep the car i have already got it is over 3 years old.

  44. can DWP take me to court if they have not been in touch with my GP..i suffer from osteoarthritis, athsma, diabetis, angina, myocardial infarction, as well as having had a heart attack.

  45. The answer to all of the above is yes the DWP can at will stop your benefits and there is nothing you can do about it

    They will give you a reason as to why and refer the matter to their debt management team who will call and see you for the payment

    You have 28 days in which to appeal and i would advise you to see a lawyer in all of the above cases as they look very serious to me and as a expert in all matters of the DWP i know what i am talking about and good luck as you'll need it

  46. I was told that if the DWP stop my DLA they cannot do so until i have been to court is this true.... They stopped my DLA and my motobility in February and I have not had any money from them since then.

  47. I was reading recent decisions about the 'cooking test'. I get lower rate DLA as I fail the cooking test, that I am unable to cook for myself on my bad days (I'm unable to almost get out of bed sometimes, it is only the indignity of potentially soiling myself which makes me get up), yet on a very good day I might invite friends round for lunch (something simple, a roast dinner, you don't have to do anything to a roast, just pop it in the oven, vegetables are prepared), yet I feel so GUILTY at doing this; that I'm not expected to have any kind of life. Even my family have commented about me going out for drinks with friends on a particularly good day. WHAT THE HELL AM I MEANT TO DO? Live as a recluse - they don't pay me enough DLA for that. I already ask people to phone me instead of me phoning then, or if I ask them round, ask them to bring something in, as I can't afford anything but the basics anymore. It is so embarrassing; I have no dignity left. Linda.

  48. For All benefit disputes you are best advised in contacting your mp as only he or she in law has the contacts behind the DWP scenes to deal with it

    If you have money then your lawyer should be your first port of call

  49. So many of us are being persecuted at the moment, it breaks my heart.
    Thanks for your encouraging words - today I will wear my reddest lipstick (if I can find it, it's so long since I've bothered with make-up) Red for defiance! ;-)

  50. I had the audacity to find myself a small job working a few hours one week and before I'd even received my first pay, the DWP had me under investigation for fraud, which continued even after I informed them of my earnings. I contacted my MP who took my side and has sent 3 letters to the Jobcentre plus CEO, but to no avail. The DWP has no case but they proceed anyway. See you in court I suppose. What a giant waste of money. My earnings? £150

  51. Today I recieved a renewal claim form for DLA and I am petrified in fact ive cried most of today. I broke my back 17 years ago and claimed DLA, at the time it was awarded for life. I couldnt hold my weight on the toilet was turned over in bed wore a back brace, neck brace and 10years after still walked with arm crutches. I have improved since then but I am still disabled. I take strong medication rely on my family for cleaning/ironing and cooking. After a v difficult birth I had a son who is now 13 and does so much for me. I am a single Mum and struggle to look after him and if they take away my DLA I couldnt afford my house and without my motability vehicle I wouldnt be able to go anywhere.DLA was granted to improve my life as a disabled person. How do I explain to a tick box the impact losing this money would have..Is there a safety net for people like me and my son?

  52. great post sue, the test is completely flawed. if i can pick an empty cardboard box up that doesnt mean i can stack shelves all day. if i can walk more then 50 meters in pain that does not mean i can walk to the shops, or work every day. or if someone can walk up more then two steps whilst in pain does not mean they will be able to run up and down a ladder through out the day. i was told by a physiotherapist, that it would do me good to swim els i am in danger of dying of a stroke ,i am so frightened of being investigated at some kind of leisure centre, trying to get fit, it would be spun out of proportion. i would no doubt be branded a scrounger and made to pay all what i have received in benefit who knows prison? it dosent bare thinking of. i am not being helped like ca moron ,said he would, i am being left to rot, and rot in fear .steve.

  53. Great post. I have a fluctuating invisible disease. Around the house I can throw myself about on my exceptionally wobbly legs without needing to use my wheelchair or stick/s (depending on the day) if I walk to see my neighbours (family) I might only use one stick. I am terrified that because of this I would be reported, and although I put all that on my forms, and all my medicals/doctors say I am unfit for work. I worry they would try and force me back before I'm physically able. I'm only 24. I'd love to work again, I adored my job. But right now my health needs to come first and I can't help but feel that pushing me back too early would not help that. Not to mention that the stress of jobsearching/interviews would likely push me out of any remission and I'd be back in hospital.