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AIBU to be incensed at the inequalities in the benefit system? (long sorry)

(259 Posts)
Libran70 Mon 27-Jan-14 10:48:11

I read MN every day and think how awful it is that so many people are struggling to cope on inadequate benefits and of the nit picking interviews they have to go through to get anything extra. And then there's ASOS causing so much upset and forcing disabled people to justify their existence.

I know there is a very small minority who play the system but they seem to be the only ones we ever hear about. So many people are struggling, no one should have to go to a food bank to feed their children.

However, there are cases where the money could be shuffled around and aimed at those really struggling.

My cousin is autistic and she lives in a wonderful complex within the community. She has a flat (bedroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom) and there is a care worker on call 24/7. SWs call daily to help her prepare meals, do her washing, take her shopping and so on. She also has an active social life, organised by SS and a local charity. She also has a supported job washing up in an old people's home close by. She sees her remaining parent every weekend and they go on holiday together. She pays for her own holidays and some of the care from her allowances.

This really is an example of excellent care. She was recently reassessed and she is entitled to every penny she gets in allowances and benefits.

However, she has a five figure amount of money in savings. All of this is saved from her benefits and allowances. I hope she has a long life ahead of her but when she dies this money and a lot more, I guess, will go to her family.

AIBU in thinking that this would not be fair? And AIBU in thinking she is getting far too much (at the moment) and there are people out there who need it more?

WooWooOwl Mon 27-Jan-14 11:31:57

My Gran is in the same position as your mil ShooCat, I think it's great that she is able to have a decent standard of living now that she's retired and not in the best of health. She worked since she was 14, even while having 12 children (not all of whom survived).

I hope that we preserve this for our pensioners so that even if people are struggling now, they will still be able to look forward to a decent standard of living in their old age.

jacks365 Mon 27-Jan-14 11:32:03

People in your cousin's situation are few and far between and is getting that level of support because she really needs it but in some ways it also restricts her she isn't truly free to go out and do anything she wants. All her spending will be recorded and watched as part of the process of the support in theory to protect her from the risk of financial abuse. However you can't say we are going to pay you less because you have all these financial constraints on you as that in itself would be a form of abuse. If she is ever deemed able to live completely independently her costs will rocket.

Misspixietrix Mon 27-Jan-14 11:34:31

FuttheShuckup I thought that too! grin. I don't really know. OP what makes you think she gets far too much? Like a PP said the amount would make a difference to some peoples opinions. I know of a few Pensioners that are more than 'well off' and yet can remember my dear late aunt trying to rub two pennies together in order to get her weekly shopping in whilst her friends would be booking their 3rd cruise of the year. DLA etc is for the purposes of getting about e.g taxis to the hospital appointments and as some one once pointed out to me. Some look like they have more than enough because they don't use it as its intended too. Which isn't always their fault. Good on your relative I think she's doing really well for herself by the sounds of it especially the job you mentioned her doing.

coppertop Mon 27-Jan-14 11:37:16

Your cousin will need support for the rest of her life. With the cuts that are happening around us, there are no guarantees that this level of support will continue.

I'm not sure who you think would need money more than someone who has been assessed as needing to have support available 24/7 in order to carry out even the most basic tasks?


zebrafinch Mon 27-Jan-14 11:37:31

When Universal Credit is introduced people who have 6000£ in capital will lose some of their benefit. If they have 16000£ in savings they will not be eligible for universal credit

Libran70 Mon 27-Jan-14 11:41:36

Oops, sorry about ATOS mis-type.

I'm incensed that some people are struggling to survive and have to visit food banks to feed their children, Wilson

DCos has no real concept of numbers and money. She has learning difficulties as well as autism. The SWs see that her bills are paid, her mother takes her clothes and flat shopping, the SW takes her to Sainsbury's. She buys what she wants from the shop over the road - magazines and chocolate - but would not be able to get the bus to the town to bigger shops and wouldn't understand the prices or be safe carrying large amounts of money.

I only feel there is something wrong in that she has amassed money she doesn't know what to do with while others are struggling.

BackOnlyBriefly Mon 27-Jan-14 11:50:06

People in your cousins situation will be very rare and if she doesn't understand money then perhaps she only thinks she has savings. Unless you have seen her accounts of course.

The good news though is that she will be losing much of that shortly and you may even end up having to take her in and look after her yourself.

zebrafinch Mon 27-Jan-14 11:53:58

"I only feel that there us something wrong in that she has amassed money she doesn't know what to do with whilst others are struggling"

biscuit my first

GossamerHailfilter Mon 27-Jan-14 11:58:50

Why don't you keep your nose out of her business.

If her supported living place melts away, she is going to need her savings, and as £10000 is 5 figures, if its closer to that end it wont last very long will it.

frugalfuzzpig Mon 27-Jan-14 12:03:45

Thing is surely everyone should be encouraged to save. It's a good thing and in most cases (admittedly not your cousin)

You could have two people in council houses on exactly the same benefits and rent/bills, but person A fritters the remainder, person B lives as sensibly as they can and puts any remainder into savings.

Person B has a chance of getting a mortgage and no longer needing their housing, but person A might be there for life.

Grennie Mon 27-Jan-14 12:04:32

The issue of savings from benefits is a hard one. My gran was in a home and was entitled to the small amount residents with no savings get in benefits - something like £10 a week? This is to pay for toiletries, clothes, etc.

My gran had lots and lots of clothes, and got special shampoo and soap prescribed by the Dr. The only thing she spent money on was a hairdresser that came to the home, and a few chocolates. So over the years it accumulated into savings.

Others in the home who came in with very little, really struggled to buy what they needed out of that amount, especially if they had no family to help out. My parents ended up buying and bringing in stuff for some elderly people.

Whenever you have a blanket rule, which benefits have, some people will do better than others because of their individual circumstances. Particularly if they have family to help out. And yet for elderly and disabled people, those without family need to be properly looked after too.

frugalfuzzpig Mon 27-Jan-14 12:05:11

Sorry I forgot to finish the first paragraph:

Thing is surely everyone should be encouraged to save. It's a good thing and in most cases (admittedly not your cousin) it could lead to a future where they don't need as much help anymore.

Libran70 Mon 27-Jan-14 12:09:17

Back that's a really shitty thing to say.

I have looked out for her all of her life and will continue to do so. I am a signatory on her savings account and also her NoK after her mother. She is living where she is because her family fought for her rights from the age of 2. If she needed to move I'd have her here with us in the blink of an eye. We wanted her to have somewhere of her own because the rest of the family are a lot older than her and won't be around forever.

WilsonFrickett Mon 27-Jan-14 12:11:27

I'm incensed that some people are struggling to survive and have to visit food banks to feed their children

I am too. But I don't see that cutting your cousin's benefits and support is a way to fix that. Because that is what you are suggesting. Which is, frankly, what the Tories want you to think...

We are a wealthy country. We shouldn't need to have food banks. But we should also look after people like your cousin and not grudge the fact she's been able to save a little from what she has. We don't have to take away from her to give to hungry children.

ReallyTired Mon 27-Jan-14 12:18:36

Do you really want to swap lives with your cousin because you are jelous of her "savings".

Your cousin is severely disabled (yes.. autism is a disablity!) She works and recieves disablity allowance. Having a five figure amount in savings could mean that she has 10K. A nice amount, but she is hardly rolling in it.

I civilised country looks after its disabled citizens. I would save your wrath for those who truely abuse the benefits system.

horsetowater Mon 27-Jan-14 12:21:30

Hmm my db had a lot of benefit money when he died that he saved up. It was divided between his nephews and nieces. However if my dps had died first he would have needed every penny to set himself up again. Families deserve this money, they have lost out too.

horsetowater Mon 27-Jan-14 12:22:11


BackOnlyBriefly Mon 27-Jan-14 12:22:13

Libran70, If it came to it I'd be arguing for her to continue to get full care, you are arguing against it.

Libran70 Mon 27-Jan-14 12:24:35

FFS, I'm not jealous of her savings. I certainly wouldn't want to swap lives with her. I'm concerned for people struggling on inadequate benefits when she has everything she needs and more. She will always be looked after, we will make sure of that.

horsetowater Mon 27-Jan-14 12:27:36

Are you saying that DLA should be means tested?

Binkyridesagain Mon 27-Jan-14 12:30:15

Altering benefits, like your cousins, will not mean that someone struggling and visiting food banks will get an increase in theirs.

You should be thinking about the people who do not have a decent level of income and how that should be addressed, not how someone who is on benefits who appears to have a decent life can have their benefits reduced.

AmberLeaf Mon 27-Jan-14 12:31:18

YABU because you are almost giving the impression that every adult with a disability of that sort is in the same position.

how your cousin lives is how it should be, most adults with learning disabilities and their families do not have it so easy.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Mon 27-Jan-14 12:31:40

She didn't ask to be born disabled, the funding doesn't automatically come to people you know.

DS is autistic and trust me if I could have a NT child and give up the DLA money I would in a heartbeat.

I don't think you have a fucking clue how hard it is for people with autism.

Libran70 Mon 27-Jan-14 12:31:57

Maybe it should be, horse.

I can't agree that the families deserve the saved money. We're all very comfortable and don't need it.

Grennie Mon 27-Jan-14 12:34:43

I agree actually that the families don't deserve the saved money.

But benefits need to be enough so that those without family support are still okay.

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