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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?

saintlyjimjams Wed 29-Jan-14 11:57:54

If over the years the DWP appointee for my son "amassed a five figure sum" from his benefit entitlement I would say that the appointee is not doing their job properly

Absolutely! And that has triggered a memory of something I read recently where people in care homes were not being allowed to spend their money. Hm. Trying to remember where that was.

Owllady Wed 29-Jan-14 09:28:15

The lady isn't poor she is severely disabled and needs 24/7 care. She is part of a minority of people in our society who is extremely vulnerable.
I have been a taxpayer. My husband is a taxpayer. I would rather our tax is paid to people like this.
I can't believe it's even being questioned, let alone picked over.
It beggars belief

WooWooOwl Wed 29-Jan-14 08:42:43

Fair enough Sock. I tend to think that people who are pulling me up do so because they simply disagree, which is fine, or because they are taking something I have said personally when it wasn't.

A lot of 'pulling up' seems to me to happen because people make generalisations about anyone who believes there are significant ways in which the welfare bill could be better spent. I actually don't want the benefits bill to be reduced, (as my posts on this thread relating to the OP will allude to) but you can barely say that you don't agree with certain benefits without being called a daily mail reading, Tory loving, poor hating goader.

zebrafinch Wed 29-Jan-14 04:32:36

cannot agree with your suggestion deakymom - a logical extension of this would be everyone who receives child benefit and tax credits return their savings to the Government when they die!

deakymom Tue 28-Jan-14 23:04:55

perhaps she doesnt go out shopping often? to be fair her benefits are also there for her to be able to travel to buy clothing etc i think its great that her accommodations meets her needs but that is rare these days and the benefits are tested on people who dont have that perhaps you can encourage her to return it to the government when she dies if you think that is fair?

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 28-Jan-14 21:36:48

Actually woowoo I wholeheartedly agree with you on many many issues rather a lot of your posts have been interesting thoughtful and show consideration as well as several threads where we have both had the same stance on a matter,I also have no inclination to rage at anybody,I am far to busy planning my next sock amnesty.

However you have often been pulled up by several posters on many benefit related threads for posting unpleasant generalisations and just the right side of goading type things.and you have never quite grasped exactly what it is you have said that gets the reaction.

Misspixietrix Tue 28-Jan-14 21:30:30


ILIVEONBENEFITS123 Tue 28-Jan-14 21:25:56

YANBU. I have 6 children and am constantly skint. If the people who get benefits don't need the money, it should be put back into the pot so people like me who don't get enough can have a better income. It's only fair, if the pot can't get bigger, stop paying out to people that don't need it and people who do need it can get more.

WooWooOwl Tue 28-Jan-14 21:05:12

I agree with you candy.

Now Sock that's not strictly true is it.

I've never called anyone a crap parent, I've never accused anyone of spending taxpayers money on drugs, I've never criticised anyone for owning a TV, or accused anyone of getting everything for free, or made up figures about amounts of free cash.

You are accusing me of all sorts of crap just because you and I have differing opinions and you seem to have twisted what I have said in your own head so that you have something to rage at. It's wierd.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 28-Jan-14 20:53:16

Some posters seem to class any conversation that isn't praising claimants to the hilt as 'benefit bashing' though

That's not strictly true,is it.

The reality is that people call it bashing when the figures people recieve are hugely exaggerated or benefits that don't exist are randomly thrown into the mix,or people are criticised for owning a tv or accused of getting everything for free yet still being given a made up figure of free cash. Or outrage is expressed because any money is handed over or it's implied that families on benefits don't feed their own children because its hardworking tax payers who do,or that if your on benefits your feckless scroungers who shoud stand on your own two feet and you must be spending other people's money on drugs and your a crap parent.

You know this you've done it yourself enough.

zebrafinch Tue 28-Jan-14 20:40:33

I am cynically beginning to think that the purpose of highlighting the savings in this post is to get public opinion on board so that contributory based ESA is brought into the universal credit wrapper as it is currently outside it . Whilst The OP's cousin's Housing benefit will be affected by savings under universal credit as will income based ESA, currently contributory based ESA is outside and unaffected (click on help and advice section for future changes in benefit advice)

The DWP appointee for the cousin is tasked with managing the benefit money on their behalf. Yes it can be difficult to spend money when someone cannot express their needs. The appointee should be actively meeting regularly with the cousin and her day to day Carers to plan how the money which the cousin is entitled to should be spent to enrich her life. If over the years the DWP appointee for my son "amassed a five figure sum" from his benefit entitlement I would say that the appointee is not doing their job properly.

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 28-Jan-14 20:36:01

WooWoo I'm happy to discuss examples of the welfare state going wrong but again, as I said "I saw my neighbour pull up some weeds and then drive to the shops in his motability car" is NOT failure of the state, unless you can prove that the person is actually faking their disability.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 28-Jan-14 20:30:18

WooWoo, yes, I choose to get defensive. Maybe because I've been around these parts for a while and I have had, with others to put up with various accusations. Maybe because when I was claiming more than the Carer's allowance I currently claim I was shopped and without money for six people for a period, why was I shopped, because I dared to buy basmati rice instead of the cheaper long grain. So yes, I choose to get defensive. Oh, and because I have to sit here and watch morons say 'vouchers are the way' and the disabled aren't allowed to pay extra for sky television, despite being virtually housebound, or maybe it's because the cuts have got to come from somewhere. hmm

Misspixietrix Tue 28-Jan-14 20:17:11

I've just read that the stars of a certain show.Have had to be moved to safe houses. That is why people get so defensive. Because regardless of whether someone is genuinely on the sick / dole and people thinking they've saw something is disingenuous at worst and daft at best. Only last week a dear friend who has been Housebound for 20years had defend herself in tears to people because some thoughtless cunt thought they saw her at the Post Office. tb would you mind elaborating the extra supplement your MIL was given? Only I can't think for the life of me what category it would come under. As others have said the lady in the OP probably has some savings because she has everyone else helping and managing for her.

WooWooOwl Tue 28-Jan-14 20:09:36

Some posters seem to class any conversation that isn't praising claimants to the hilt as 'benefit bashing' though.

Too many issues get clogged up together in these threads. Abuse of anyone is abuse, it doesn't matter whether it's directed at someone because they are rich or poor, black or white, fat or thin etc. abusing someone else is always wrong.

Unjustly implying abuse when nothing but a conversation about a state service is going on is also wrong.

BackOnlyBriefly Tue 28-Jan-14 20:01:38

why do people who are genuinely claiming and entitled to benefits get so wound up when people mention the fraudsters?

Because the benefit bashing encourages the abuse of people whose only crime is being poor.

And because just before another announcement that benefits will be cut there tends to be a rush of posters who know lots of people cheating on benefits. Or who say "you know, I reckon people have money left over so the benefit rates must be too high"

Could be a coincidence of course.

Even MPs make false statements to make it seem most benefit claimants are stealing so that they won't lose as many votes when they take from the poor. The government's own figures show that benefit fraud is relatively minor.

It's rare to see actual debate because those criticising benefits generally don't have a clue who gets them and why. They have picked up a few keywords from the daily mail and repeat them over and over.

saintlyjimjams Tue 28-Jan-14 19:54:23

I'm sure there's something she could spend her money on. It probably hasn't occurred to her. Would she benefit from a communication aid, or an iPad for example? Because she won't be bought a communication aid by SS or the NHS - that is definite.

But otherwise as people have said - there IS a savings threshold over which she would be paying for her care, she's not getting rich on state handouts.

Or does she have savings because she CAN'T spend the money. We receive direct payments for ds1 - I have far far too much money in the account at the moment, but I can't spend it. I have a lot in there because our support arrangements for the summer holidays fell apart 2 days before they started so we had to shuffle our way through the summer rather than doing it with proper support. I can't just spend the money - I can only spend it on support workers for ds1. I don't get to compensate for the hell of no support by spending the money on other things - I'll probably have to give it back (or persuade SS I can spend it all on support for him quickly). All my spending from that account is monitored and has to be accounted for. Yes it makes it look as if I have a healthy savings account in my name - but I don't, it's not money I can use for anything except staff for ds1.

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 28-Jan-14 19:40:05

I don't mind discussing genuine fraud but "I saw John who claims DLA for a hip problem walking up 3 flights of stairs" is just tittle tattle.

WooWooOwl Tue 28-Jan-14 19:32:28

However, those of us who have to deal with benefits get tired of being put in a position whereby we have to defend ourselves. Somebody always knows somebody who is fiddling, and judging by Mumsnet the fraud figure stands at around 85%!

But you don't have to defend yourself. No one is attacking you. You choose to get defensive, and maybe that is understandable if you have had a real need to defend yourself in the past, but you certainly don't need to defend yourself because a couple of posters are aware of someone who claims fraudulently.

It's very sad that these thread always end up in an argument, and it's completely unnecessary. It stifles debate about something that we should be able to talk about freely. It's our system, and there's no reason we shouldn't talk openly about it.

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 28-Jan-14 18:19:55

Jazz Fair enough. I wasn't having a go at you btw. smile Just explaining (to the general bashers, not you) why many people in similar situations do need a little nest egg if they can afford to save a bit.

JazzAnnNonMouse Tue 28-Jan-14 13:56:59

Candy - perhaps I should've qualified that with 'at the moment'.

tb Tue 28-Jan-14 13:45:09

My late mil used to get a lot in benefits, including a supplement for extra food due to ill-health. She used to psend this on cigarettes as, in her own words, she'd rather smoke than eat. 6- a day, and 80 if she got really stressed.

My late dm used to het her oap, and had a part-time job, and paid income tax, although her total income was less than mil's benefits and mil paid no tax as only her pension was taxable.

This anomaly doesn't really seem fair. Many potential governments have said that the tax/benefit system needs to be integrated, but, once elected none of them have ever had the courage to tackle the problem.

The suggestion for integration have come from both Labour and Tories, so isn't due to political bias. The system has been tweaked, patched etc so many times that it needs a complete overhaul.

Those who remember Yes Minister will know that when Sir Humphrey wanted to encourage his minister to reverse a decision, he used to describe it as 'courageous'.

An example of this over-complication is that Gordon Brown used to increase personal allowances, but delay the implementation of the increase, thus giving with one hand, but sort of taking away with the other. At the same tax credits were introduced, and they may not have been needed if the tax allowances had been increased by a realistic amount and implemented sooner. All this sort of thing did was to complicate the system and increase the number of people on the public sector payroll.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 28-Jan-14 12:41:05

doit providing you let the dwp know that you are saving for a specific, they will be flexible and leave ringfenced money alone.

ConnectFourChamp Tue 28-Jan-14 12:34:31

Tbh I can see how the young lady with autism might save more of her benefits, particularly if she is being given help with managing her money properly. My son (with ASD) IS 7, he has a very basic understanding of things. For Christmas, he asked for a pot of moonsand. It's one of the things I love about him, he's always happy to receive things but he's not constantly wanting and asking. My older son at 7 asked for a Wii and countless other things. Hopefully this girl's family treat her to a few luxuries and treats along the way, sounds highly likely as he is obviously well loved and cared for. Most of us, on benefits or not, could probably save more money if we didn't crave the extra things in life.

doitmyself Tue 28-Jan-14 12:05:56

People on DLA who manage to save might be saving up for a powerchair. Unless you are totally incapacitated (and often not even then) you cannot get one from wheelchair services.
An adult one is around £7000
A paediatric one ranges from 9-25K.

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