To consider reporting a friend for benefits fraud

(95 Posts)
bimbabirba Thu 03-Oct-13 21:05:22

She's a former colleague who has been quite close to me and the rest of my family in the last two years. So much so that we went on holiday with our DCs and partners during summer and had a great time together.
I've always known that she has a blue badge for back pain and I was already uncomfortable about it. Not once in almost 3 years have I seen her struggle, limp, drag her feet, etc. We went hiking this summer and she didn't flinch! She regularly picks ups and carries around my toddler and not once has she struggled! I've only ever seen her "in pain" the day she went to a GP appointment and guess what? That day she was on crutches! The rest of the time she does everything absolutely normally!
I've recently discovered that she's been awarded the highest rate of the mobility component of DLA for being "virtually unable to walk" and I'm disgusted. She has had an operation a few years ago due to a whiplash injury and I really feel she's been milking it big time. She can be very persuasive so I can see how she would manage to bullshit her way through the system.
The trouble is, I work in this field and the idea that this person is on DLA HR mob is totally repulsive to me because I know what the qualifying criteria are and she definitely doesn't fit them.
I'm also considering befriending her but would I be a total bitch if I reported her?
Thanks for your opinions!

HarryStottle Fri 04-Oct-13 09:33:14

The percentage of people actually claiming benefits fraudulently is tiny; in comparison the proportion of MNetters who claim to know such a person seems quite high, judging from the frequent occurrence of these sorts of threads.

Tbh I find it hard to believe that she gets higher rate mobility. I considered applying for it a couple of years ago when I was going through a really rough patch with my joint pain/hyper mobility. Some days I could walk on, but not far, some days I could barely walk to the car without wanting to sit and cry for the pain. My gp told me that I had next to no chance of a successful claim because most days I could get around well enough to function normally, even if I was in pain from it, it wasn't severe enough to stop me from moving.

greenfolder Fri 04-Oct-13 06:55:35

Op- I hear you. A former colleague of mine did mountain climbing, boot camp and running including jumping over benches. She also, I discovered got middle rate dla from a "back injury" years ago. I did not hesitate to contact the benefit line and suggest they have a gander at her totally open facebook profile detailing what she did in her spare time. And before I get totally flamed I utterly understand the fluctuating nature of injuries. But if your back injury still allows you to do boot camp and leap benches the benefits people need to take this into account in their assessment.

MistressDeeCee Fri 04-Oct-13 06:31:15

oh and if I was a true friend Id be approaching my friend letting her know I thought the risk she is taking is too huge, and has she thought of the implicaitions if she gets caught etc etc. I wouldnt be here discussing my friend with strangers. Unless of course, I wasnt a true friend to her. If the need to report is felt, then fine. But to not at least try to give her a chance to redeem herself or have a rethink? Hardly friendship.

MistressDeeCee Fri 04-Oct-13 06:27:24

To be honest, these 'shall I report my friend for benefits fraud' threads seem to be coming up every couple of weeks. Id say the OP wants to report her friend and Id be very surprised if she hadnt read the previous threads, all with similar titles. She knows she wants to report her friend I just think putting it in here to encourage scorn and condemnation of her friend and sit back reading it is unpleasant. I thought the same thing of the other posts. I look forward to almost the exact same post title in the next couple of weeks or so.

sweetmelissa Fri 04-Oct-13 02:30:03

I just wanted to say that one of my adult children has a serious condition which manifest in a variety of different symptoms and disabilities. His greatest disability however is looking "normal", always being happy and never, ever complaining, meaning that many people judge him (and us) unfairly.

I am also aghast that someone making a fraudulent claim would go all the way to a tribunal when so much evidence has to be presented.

However, as others have said the ATOL assessment will soon be coming and they will not be fooled by crutches and a limp.

AlbertaCampion Fri 04-Oct-13 02:01:06

Like some other posters, I think OP is getting an unnecessarily harsh time here. She is on AIBU because she is unsure about what she should be doing, if anything, and is seeking advice- that doesn't make her an "anti-disability propagandist"!

Also, I am somewhat bemused by the sceptical line being rolled out here: that because the friend is a naice solicitor on a good income, she surely wouldn't fraudulently claim such a relatively piffling amount. Er, I don't think that's how humans work! We can be right idiots sometimes, especially when there is £ involved. Plenty of wealthy people have risked their livelihoods for less - Antony Worrall Thompson, referenced by another poster above, is just one example.

GobbySadcase Fri 04-Oct-13 01:25:28

It's an anti disability propagandist, folks.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 04-Oct-13 01:19:13

op

I'm really confused, I'm assuming your friend is an adult?

If so how on earth did she manage a brand new claim for a benefit that has not been able to be claimed by new claimants over the age of 16 for 6 months?

SugarMouse1 Fri 04-Oct-13 00:44:55

End the friendship if you find it hard to accept her values , or lack of them.

Have a frank talk with her and tell her what you think, be honest, don't go behind her back. Tell her if she doesn't stop claiming, you will report her.

If you genuinely like her as a friend, do you really want her to get in trouble for fraud?

Also, what is the point in the jealousy? It will just leave you bitter, so just focus your energy on something more positive.

SeaSickSal Fri 04-Oct-13 00:44:20

Is it possible that perhaps she is on benefits for something different like mental health issues but doesn't want to tell you so blames a bad back?

If so if you reported obviously she wouldn't get in trouble.

AnaisHendricks Fri 04-Oct-13 00:42:28

You can, valium. Not for a child in my county without a HRM award though and the discretionary rules vary. Which is why I was wondering if the friend had invented the DLA.

Lottystar Fri 04-Oct-13 00:35:21

The poster asked a question and agree with her or not, I find some of the hostility from a few on here a bit harsh. If you think a post is 'ridiculous' don't read on or bother replying! Simple.

In relation to the question, I'd do as a few others have suggested. Broach the subject of her back with her and ask how she's found the process for applying for the benefit. Say your she happened to mention it to you. Maybe she generally feels that your opinion would be disapproving or hard line as you work in the sector. Perhaps she's worried about your judgement of her. You'll ascertain if she's bullsh*tting I think. I'm not a softy on these matters but without real fail proof evidence your complaint 's likely to come to anything and you may lose her friendship. I'm not sure you sound close anyway but weigh up the bad feeling it could cause.

valiumredhead Fri 04-Oct-13 00:30:08

You can have a BB without claiming benefits/DLA.

SeaSickSal Fri 04-Oct-13 00:15:21

Report. People like her are the reason genuine claimants are having such a hard time at the moment.

AnaisHendricks Fri 04-Oct-13 00:14:31

I known it isn't means-tested but wondered if the "friend" had lied about the DLA award in order to excuse the possession of a Blue Badge.

OP could have seen the back of the badge and the award letter for all I know but the only person to ever look at DS' was on a toll bridge* and he checked that he was in the car because the badge was registered to him.

*Typing toll bridge was very odd. I felt as if I was breaking talk guidelines!

valiumredhead Fri 04-Oct-13 00:01:01

DLA is separate from income afaik.

AnaisHendricks Thu 03-Oct-13 23:54:13

If she's part of a high-earning couple, maybe she doesn't actually get DLA at all and has bought a black-market stolen Blue Badge! Have you seen her stamped photograph on the back of it?

Lj8893 Thu 03-Oct-13 23:42:13

Ahh the standard, "not everyone is agreeing with me so I'm going to have a strop" AIBU post.

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 03-Oct-13 23:35:49

Wow this is an err interesting thread

Take a video on your phone of her lifting a child and hill walking.
Then send it to ATOS.
Make sure you get someone to call her name and her answering
"Oi, Mrs Smith slow down......Susan your lace is undone"

And yes, with the information about her job/her DH job/ the stairs/the surgery .....it could be identifying.

GreenGiant3 Thu 03-Oct-13 23:32:33

Sod's law OP.. You did ask AIBU... You don't like the majority think YABU.

bimbabirba Thu 03-Oct-13 23:30:56

Time to go to bed. What's the point of posting if half of the people don't believe you and you have to keep telling them none of this is made up?

ilovesooty Thu 03-Oct-13 23:27:38

It just sounds as though you really don't like her much.

valiumredhead Thu 03-Oct-13 23:25:02

Top solicitor?
Plate in her back?
Climbing mountains?

Have a word with yourself !grin

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