...to refuse to support DPs sister financially?

(60 Posts)
Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 19:48:32

DP and I both work full time, but not flush by any stretch of the imagination.

Mil is an addict and claims benefits including child benefit, tax credits etc for DPs younger sister, who lives with and is financially supported by another family member, which is obviously not declared.

We help out quite a lot practically, but for while now this family member has been hinting more and more that we should start paying for the upkeep of DPs sister.

We would never see her go without, but we both agree that the general attitude of the wider family is enabling mil to stay in the ditch she is in.

AIBU to refuse to make any financial commitment towards this situation until the benefit fraud stops?

lastSplash Sun 17-Mar-13 20:47:39

I don't know how desperate your MIL would get if she was no longer receiving the benefits - she could potentially insist her daughter move back in with her so she could continue claiming the money, which sounds like a worse situation than now. I can totally understand why the relative does not want to rock the boat with the mother, and is just trying to bring the daughter up in a normal, stable environment.

I can also see that the relative might think that, given the support they are providing the girl by having her live with them, some regular financial support from you and your partner might not be too cheeky to suggest.

Not saying what you should or should not to, just that I don't think it is clearcut and there is no great option in this bad situation.

Earlybird Sun 17-Mar-13 20:50:17

Goodness, what a mess (but you know that already).

Seems I keep asking questions rather than offering solutions, but here is another: where does your dp stand on all of this? What is his relationship like with his Mum and what does he think should be done?

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 21:05:45

Earlybird He's quite disengaged from the whole situation to be honest. Very close to his sister but extremely strained relationship with his mum. He's been damaged by his mums addiction as well and I think he thinks getting too involved with her again would be a step back, but still wouldnt want to be the one to dob her in.

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 21:08:30

lastsplash I see where you're coming from. Something that makes the whole thing even more complicated is that it's quite hush hush that she doesn't live at home. The relative lives close by so it's quite easy to make out to everyone, school etc, that she just stays with the relative often.

DontmindifIdo Sun 17-Mar-13 21:10:58

would your DH take his sister in? would you be prepared to do that? Perhaps making a formal arrangement, removing her completely (and going for any benefits to help support her) would be best. Telling the school so they know what the poor girl is dealing with, stopping covering for MIL, I can't help but think this enabling of MIL is delaying getting her real help.

Earlybird Sun 17-Mar-13 21:13:00

Hmm - well if relative is not in financial difficulty (and has engaged in allowing the fraud to go on), I would concentrate on ways to assist your dp's sister that could give her a different sort of future.

Does little sister have any particular interests? Any ideas of what sort of career she might want to pursue? If so, help her buy some equipment that supports a hobby or interest that might turn into a job or enable her to earn. Or contribute to costs for a course, etc.

You shouldn't (imo) try to unravel this messy family situation. It is too ingrained and fallout could be too severe. I'd expend my energy on trying to help little sister and her future. <sorry not to be more articulate, but hope my meaning is clear>

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 21:18:11

It's something we've considered. Not possible at the moment due to us not having another bedroom but we are looking at moving so it may be an option.

We have tried all sorts to try and get help for her but she won't accept it and we have been told that unless she poses an immediate threat to herself there is nothing further that can be done.

As far as DPs sister goes, we are the contact with the school and DP is in regular contact with them so they are aware that home life is unstable but not of the details. I think DP plays things down with them to avoid SS.

DontmindifIdo Sun 17-Mar-13 21:21:07

I think you need to talk to DH again about it, perhaps point out he can protect his mother or his sister and he should give the school the full details. His sister is the one who needs support.

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 21:36:55

Does anybody know if school are obliged to pass this information on?

I think that would be for the best, regardless of money, because at least with everything above board SIL wouldn't be in the middle of all these lies

HollyBerryBush Sun 17-Mar-13 21:38:42

Yes school is obliged to pass information on, if they know.

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 21:39:34

And if the child is in a safe environment there would be little reason to remove her from it I suppose?

ErikNorseman Sun 17-Mar-13 21:39:48

Something that makes the whole thing even more complicated is that it's quite hush hush that she doesn't live at home. The relative lives close by so it's quite easy to make out to everyone, school etc, that she just stays with the relative often

Are you aware that this arrangement is illegal? It's a private fostering agreement that should be declared to the local authority within a month of the child moving.

ErikNorseman Sun 17-Mar-13 21:40:31

Yes the school would certainly be obliged to share it, if they had all the details.

ErikNorseman Sun 17-Mar-13 21:42:02

Why are you trying to avoid social services? They aren't likely to want to take your sil out of her family's care, and they may be able to help with advice re residence orders and financial support (not from them, but info/signposting).

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 21:46:20

I am aware that it's illegal, but it's also quite difficult to prove.

If we did report it, it wouldn't surprise me if the relative denied it completely.

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 21:47:41

I think that some sort of intervention would be the best thing possible, but the family aren't, that's the problem.

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 21:48:24

*the family don't

HollyBerryBush Sun 17-Mar-13 21:50:56

At 16 I doubt SS will care very much, that's my professional experience, no one seems to care once they get to that age.

seriouscakeeater Sun 17-Mar-13 22:14:18

Hi, I agree with dontmind MIL is defiantly being enabled here and her children are protecting her rather than dd . I would refuse to pay untill MIL stops receiving illegal benefits and gets help.
Good luck with this one x

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Sun 17-Mar-13 22:17:51

YANBU

I know it's a cliche but it is true sometimes that if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem. It will end up doing more harm than good to enable this situation to continue

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 22:46:27

I agree. If it was my family I would have gone to the relevant people a log while ago but DPs family are very tight knit as well as being dysfunctional and I do feel it has to be his decision. If I felt his sister was unsafe or being neglected in any way I would have been on it like a shot, the fact that she is happy and secure now makes things more complicated iyswim

Earlybird Mon 18-Mar-13 00:24:22

How long has your dp's sister been living with this relative? Has the addict behaviour of her Mum been a factor her entire life? Has Mum ever seriously tried to detox and go without her substance of choice?

Grinkly Mon 18-Mar-13 02:10:05

If DP's DS is 16 what is going to happen in the future? Is she able to work, go to college or whatever.

In a couple of years some of the benefits will stop anyway due to her age so I would let things rest as they are.

ddubsgirl Mon 18-Mar-13 02:41:06

My dad got in to trouble while I was in foster care for still claiming cb for me and when I was 16 and living on my own really pretty much from age of 11-16 he shouldn't have got it as I was hardly at home sad and he got a massive bill asking for it back,dp sis is 16 law is this years yr 11's have to stay on for 1 yr of college training course etc if she's not money will stop anyway you are all enabling the mothers drug habit by allowing this to carry on sad

Guiltcity Mon 18-Mar-13 07:57:45

Earlybird we've not been able to get we into any type of therapy or help. She's been like this for years but has got worse over the last 3-4 years. Despite having lost her home, job and relationships she is still in complete denial and is very good at putting a mask on when she needs to.

Grinkly she's very intelligent and has been doing fantastically well at school since being settled with relative. We're hoping that between us we can support her to get her to Uni.

ddubsgirl sorry to hear you had such a time of it. That would be a concern as well, should she be ordered to pay the benefits back, it would be the relative who footed the bill no doubt.

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