...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?

Of course YANBU.

Loulybelle Sun 17-Mar-13 19:50:25

YANBU, and your right, they are just enabling her.

I have a little sister, i treat her but i would never be financially responsible for her.

YouTheCat Sun 17-Mar-13 19:50:52

How about they put in a claim for CB?

Earlybird Sun 17-Mar-13 19:51:02

How old is the sister?

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 19:53:06

They refuse to claim themselves as they feel they'll be picking up the bill elsewhere and i suppose it's easier to be giving money to a child than it is to someone to be spent on drugs.

Which I can understand But it still feels like banging your head against a brick wall.

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 19:53:35

She's 16

Earlybird Sun 17-Mar-13 19:55:54

Rather than figuring out how to give money for little sister's upkeep, think I'd be considering if there is a way little sister could live with another family member so she'd be in a healthier situation. It must be beyond grim to be a child living with an addict. Would that be a possibility?

Is the little sister's father in the picture?

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 19:59:49

Sorry I don't think I've been clear. She already lives away from her mum with the other family member, has done for a good long time and shes happy there. Father isn't around consistently so can't really rely on him, CSA is still paid to her mother despite the fact he's aware of the situation.

Loulybelle Sun 17-Mar-13 20:03:28

Ahhh so thats the fraud the bit, shes claiming for a child who doesnt live with her.

CloudsAndTrees Sun 17-Mar-13 20:04:26

If these family members choose not to claim the money that already exists for the benefit if this child, as in maintenance and CB, then they have no right to expect you to make up the shortfall.

It's up to them if they choose not to claim, but then it's down to them to deal with the consequences.

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 20:05:43


It has crossed my mind to report it but I wouldn't do it without DP agreeing, and he doesn't.

Loulybelle Sun 17-Mar-13 20:08:01

Thats fine, but you shouldnt have to pay for what they wont do, treat her yes, help raise her financially certainly not.

RainbowsFriend Sun 17-Mar-13 20:08:55

Is there a reason why they don't want the CB etc transferred to them?

Toasttoppers Sun 17-Mar-13 20:09:00

This is a private fostering arrangement of sorts that is undeclared then? They could try and officially foster her and then claim a fostering allowance.

I actually think your relative and assuming it is probably an aunt should get this or at least the child benefit. The situation seems totally unfair on the supporting relative. I can understand why they have asked as the cost of caring for your dsis must have been a lot over the years.She is obviously not your financial responsibility but I can understand why they asked you.

Earlybird Sun 17-Mar-13 20:09:04

Not saying you should contribute financially to the upkeep of little sister, but she is in this situation because of her terrible family situation. it is not of her own making (to state the obvious). Do you have a rough idea of how much this family member would like you/dp to contribute, and how frequently?

Is this other family member (who is looking after little sister) struggling financially?

AryaStarksDancingMaster Sun 17-Mar-13 20:10:31

YANBU - you need to say that the money for this child's upkeep is currently being spent by MiL on substance abuse and if you contribute financially you would feel that you were effectively funding MiLs addiction. You are absolutely corect that the benefit fraud has to stop. If the other relative starts getting all the CB and other credits that they are entitled to as the child's main carer, and are not passing any of it back to MiL but are still struggling, then it might be reasonable to contribute a bit. But not till then. Supporting DP's sister is a reasonable thing to do IF all other avenues of funding are being properly used and there is still a serious need and you can spare a little bit without causing harm to your own family - blood is blood after all.

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 20:17:37

RainbowsFriend I haven't managed to get a straight answer on that, but I do think it's because it's easier to provide for the innocent child thank hand money over for drugs, which I have no doubt she would do. I know she is already contributing to mils bills.

Earlybird the relative does not seem to be struggling financially and is open enough to tell us if she was.

We do contribute towards things like school shoes, trips etc on an ad hoc basis but I'm not really prepared to make a regular commitment until things are straight.

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 20:20:08

It should be said as well that we're not in a position at the moment to make any substantial contributions- else we'd have children of our own!

MidniteScribbler Sun 17-Mar-13 20:24:51

I was going to come in and say that perhaps there is another way of supporting her such as funding school trips or uniforms, but I see that you're already doing that. I don't think YABU to expect that the relative claim the money she is entitled to claim to support this girl. Surely you could make an anonymous call to the benefits office to get them to investigate? They wouldn't have to know who dobbed them in. Could his sister get herself some part time work to help pay for some of her extras (cinema trips, clothes, etc)?

Earlybird Sun 17-Mar-13 20:25:48

To get this straight - the relative who is raising little sister is also contributing financially to MIL's upkeep? In addition to MIL receiving benefit money she is not entitled to?

INeedThatForkOff Sun 17-Mar-13 20:28:32

Poor girl sad

Guiltcity Sun 17-Mar-13 20:33:21

Earlybird correct.

midnitescribbler I've suggested this myself but can't see it happening. She's actually indulged quite a bit by the relative to the point of being a bit spoiled, but I do struggle to see that as a bad thing with her situation taken into account.

ihearsounds Sun 17-Mar-13 20:33:36

I would be honest. The relative starts claiming all the money, and if they then want to hand over their own money to an addict that is their problem. Then, and only then will you make a regular arrangement to help support the girl. But the current situation is not acceptable. The money is for the child, not for an addict to chuck away.

ENormaSnob Sun 17-Mar-13 20:44:18

Yanbu at all.

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


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.

ddubsgirl Mon 18-Mar-13 08:34:09

Fraud is fraud the mother would have to pay it back somehow,morally the person looking after your sil is doing a wonderful thing but legally it's all wrong sad so do you keep shut about it sil is 16 not much ss would do now and unless sil goes to college etc the money will stop soon at most till she's 18/19

Guiltcity Mon 18-Mar-13 09:39:29

I needed to hear these opinions to make sure I wasn't reacting purely on my feelings towards mil.

This woman has damaged my DP and his sister so much and continues to cause hurt even now. She has stolen from us, lied to us and emotionally blackmailed us and it all feels like it's coming to a head.

Cosmosim Mon 18-Mar-13 10:35:43

Sounds to me like as long as mil gets the benefit money in, she's placated. If the relative were to officially foster the girl, MIL would fight tooth/nail to keep the daughter just so she gets to keep the money. Hence why relative is reluctant to fight the battle that will only leave the poor girl in a worse situation. She's his sister. He needs to help for next two years. Then the situation will be over (no more £ for MIL).

ddubsgirl Mon 18-Mar-13 11:20:40

i think helping buy stuff is better than handing cash over,so you know the sis is getting use of it,you are doing more than many would! my own family only bothered with me as my dad paid them to look after me not because i was thier sister sad be there for his sis,love her and support her,thats worth far more than cash.

Earlybird Mon 18-Mar-13 15:57:08

guiltcity - this is such a difficult situation to watch and/or be involved with.

How old is your dp's Mum? How is her health? Any significant medical scares/incidents?

Asking as there is a cumulative health effect as a result of long term abuse (obviously). Often people who abuse themselves regularly reach a point where their bodies simply can't endure - and it can happen at a surprisingly young age. Once things start going wrong physically, they often don't have the health/resilience to recover well (if at all) - especially if they continue to abuse their substance of choice.

Guiltcity Mon 18-Mar-13 18:43:06

ddubsgirl sound advice. I think it's another result of her family situation but she's very hard to get through to, talk about feelings etc. although I did get a hug off her last week which made my day!

earlybird she avoids medical appointments like the plague so we wouldn't know. She's early 50s, DP and his sister have different fathers so that's another obstacle, and she looks terrible. Her nose is wrecked, and she doesn't take care of herself physically. She's so good at putting on her face and acting like nothing is wrong, it's infuriating.

ddubsgirl Mon 18-Mar-13 18:49:49

a hug is a hug its a start trust me it means alot ;) just be there for her,let her know you are there for her but no pressure,be a sister,do some girly things together maybe? spend time even if just a dvd night,it means the world,all 16 yr olds think they know it all,remember being that age? dont mother her,she has someone doing that,even if its not her blood mother.

Yfronts Mon 18-Mar-13 18:51:02

It's your mothers responsibility, not yours.

Yfronts Mon 18-Mar-13 18:53:13

CSA must go to the carers of the child actually. The childs father and mother hold responsibility to find extra money at the end of the day

Guiltcity Mon 18-Mar-13 19:19:52

yfronts she's not my mother thank god!

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