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To ask the truth about life on benefits nowadays

(244 Posts)
ginorwine Sun 16-Apr-17 19:19:27

Too many benefit programmes on implying different things- blaming media .
Also on some fb pages reports of increased food bank use and people with disability killing self due to new laws .
My cousin who is a wheelchair user has a sister bedroom and no issues over the bedroom tax and also says she as enough money for what she needs including a fantastic car that picks up the wheelchair and packs it into her boot , sufficient money for nice things , Petrol and meals out and said to me she genuinely feels she has a decent lifestyle .
Amongst the media hype am wondering what the reality actually is these days ....

Unacceptable Sun 16-Apr-17 19:25:20

Your cousin is fortunate if she feels she has a decent lifestyle.
Many others don't. Not everyone has the same experience. I don't think you can discount the struggle and hardship faced by many due to knowing one or two people that are doing ok.

x2boys Sun 16-Apr-17 19:25:40

i have a disabled child i was a registered nurse and worked for 20+ yrs but disabillity and working didnt really mix so i,m now his carer tbh we do ok, dh works full time minimum wage and we get about
£1500 in benefits/month including d,sons DLA i also live in social housing however which helps theres pleanty of social housing in my area.

Bellybootcut Sun 16-Apr-17 19:28:18

It doesn't seem to be consistent.

I have family members experiencing both sides of it. One side struggling massively and another side living very well off it. Managed to have 5 kids comfortably. Don't know how?

Fl0ellafunbags Sun 16-Apr-17 19:29:38

Really OP? Does she also have a wide screen TV and a goat?

x2boys Sun 16-Apr-17 19:32:48

well if shes not living in london or the south east then she may well have an ok life on benefits and yes DLA/PIP can pay for a car?

RachelRagged Sun 16-Apr-17 19:34:21

Good for her .. Unlike my poor dear friend whose had her mobility car removed !

AlmostAJillSandwich Sun 16-Apr-17 19:35:33

I'm on ESA, and DLA, but i probably wont get PIP as my illness is OCD and they've just cut anxiety disorders so when i'm forced to file for PIP before October because DLA ends in October, i'll probably get almost half of my money taken away, and i get less than £10,000 a year already, only one living parent who is my full time carer, he only gets £50 a week carers allowance which he'll probably lose too if i fail to qualify for PIP. So 2 adults, due to be on maybe just £6,000 between us a year come October. Scared doesn't remotely cover it, working is an absolute no go for me, and he has major health problems and will be 55 so he can't get employed either plus he'll still have to care for me daily even if he doesn't get paid to do it.

ginorwine Sun 16-Apr-17 19:35:58

No she doesn't .
She manages fine .
I'm wondering how life is for others . I'm thinking decent people get labelled from various things I see or try not to see I'm the media and I would want the most vulnerable to have decent lives . On fb pages I've seen suggestions that people are starving which is contrary to my relatives experience and I'm trying to find out if these are political ramblings , the truth or of course different for different folks or groups .

ginorwine Sun 16-Apr-17 19:38:02

That's what I mean - why isn't it consistent ?

x2boys Sun 16-Apr-17 19:41:46

we arnt struggling i cant speak for others but my severley autistic son has a DLA award untill he ,s 16 hes nearly seven hes had it since he was three so our benefits should not change untill then but it does appear inconsistant elsewhere.

AndNowItIsSeven Sun 16-Apr-17 19:42:38

I think the main issue is housing , if you don't need to top up your rent or pay bedroom tax life on benefits is easier.
Also economies of scale, a couple on IS with one dc will have approx £200 a week to live on, with three dc is £320 .
Two young dc don't cost an extra £120 a week as you can pass on clothes, use the same utlities etc.
Again due to benefit cap, housing costs would need to be low.

AlmostAJillSandwich Sun 16-Apr-17 19:42:44

It depends massively on the disability. Physical disabilities get much more sympathy and funding, where as mental disabilities are treated like you're lying, it's not that bad, etc. Some mental illnesses mean higher living costs, less ability to work or care for yourself, but get paid lower amounts than more able but physically disabled people, because the system is biased for physical disability. Some qualifying questions for example are about your ability to walk unaided, distance you can walk inclusive of aids, ability to get in and out of chairs yourself, ability to dress yourself. If you have any issues being able to control bowel and bladder. A lot of those a person with a mental illnesses can do, but it still doesn't mean they can care for themselves or be able to leave the house or work, but they get significantly lower marks so will qualify for only basic rate, or in some cases not at all.

ThisIsStartingToBoreMe Sun 16-Apr-17 19:43:04

It's not consistent because some people spend their money wisely and some don't

x2boys Sun 16-Apr-17 19:47:46

very true NowItsSeven i live i a council house in the northwest my rent is less then £350 /month

CrockedPot Sun 16-Apr-17 19:48:19

Can no one ask a question about benefits on here without someone jumping in with a reply involving widescreen TVs and goats?

AlmostAJillSandwich Sun 16-Apr-17 19:51:45

Support and family structure also comes in to it. I'm technically classed as living with a parent so it is assumed i have lower costs as housing/bills etc would be covered by parents in a typical situation.
As it is, one of my parents is dead, the other has health issues and cannot work as i need a full time carer and all they are entitled to is £50 a week carers allowance.
We were just getting by each month on my mums wage and my benefits topping that up when she was diagnosed terminally ill out of the blue. 2 months later she died, and my dad was left with 2 completely dependent disabled but adult children. My sibling thankfully is now in assisted living, but it means we lost all financial contribution to the household from them so it is just my ESA and lowest rate DLA and £50 a week carers of my dads we have to live on.

We don't have heating or hot water, haven't for 7 years now as boiler broke, illegally placed due to new health and safety laws and we cannot afford the job for it to be moved, new pipes laid, walls and floors ripped in to, re decorating etc. House is owned by my dad but full of damp, mold, bathroom window rotten to the point of almost falling out, and nothing we can do as can't afford to fix any of it. It's a miserable life, and my prognosis is i'll be this way and incapable of working for my entire life. I'll never not struggle with money, quite honestly the only way i'll live in a house with heating, hot water, and have any kind of financial security is if i won the lottery.

tabulahrasa Sun 16-Apr-17 19:51:53

"On fb pages I've seen suggestions that people are starving which is contrary to my relatives experience and I'm trying to find out if these are political ramblings , the truth or of course different for different folks or groups ."

Mostly it's different for differently people or groups...

For example the changes and cuts that's have happened with disability benefits mean that there are people who are no longer entitled to benefits despite having a disability that prevents them from working obvious to anyone apart from those doing the assesments...they quite often win on appeal, but in the meantime their benefits are stopped.

If that hasn't happened to your relative, she'll still be fine, just now.

Some of the other issues causing people huge problems are to different benefits, so won't affect your relative.

Becca19962014 Sun 16-Apr-17 19:53:38

Things that can vary how it goes:

1. Lack of disability/welfare advice services - in my area they've gone due to loss of funding.

2. Appeals are held in county court alongside criminal cases - which are very frightening.

3. Some NHS trusts charge for supporting evidence, my GP surgery charges £40 per page (same throughout the trust), consultant letters are over £100 per page. If appealing GP charges £100 to assess needs and then charge £40 per page for letters - money stops when in mandetory reconsideration which can take months and you're expected to claim JSA (unless they jobcentre say your limits to work are too limiting) - people in mandetory reconsideration can no longer submit a sick note if on JSA and must jobsearch straight away (which can be used against you at appeal).

4. Assessments for disability benefits are not always held in accessible centres and not everywhere offers home visits - my county doesn't due to its size. There's one assessment centre. Not accessible.

5. Jobcentres are not always accessible.

6. Not everyone has an MP who will get involved. My MP believes firmly that everyone not in work under the age of 65 shouldn't be allowed less than basic JSA rate (and no they aren't referring to the over 25s rate).

7. In rural areas first class post can take over a week due to closure of sorting offices. DLA-PIP transfer letters require people to apply within that period.

Any of those things would effect people's applications and outcome. I cannot stress how frightening going to court is for appeals alone.

Cluesue Sun 16-Apr-17 19:55:08

I've been on income support for 4 years as a lone parent of 2,(dad dissapeared when pregnant so no help financially or otherwise,I also got sterilized while having c section on dc2) had to leave 2nd job while pregnant as had spd and was on crutches,didn't go back to main job after maternity leave as had severe pnd (suicidal)we've never had a holiday,except camping weekend,make do over summer holidays with few day trips and local parks,activities etc,I don't smoke,drink (go out about once every 3 months)or have my hair done etc and yet still in debt by £4000.
The reality is though that when i do go back to work (actively seeking)I'll be no better off financially.
My friend with 4 children said she was rolling in money after having her 4th,came down with a bump this month when cuts came in.

Becca19962014 Sun 16-Apr-17 19:56:09

Sorry number 6 should be not allowed more than basic JSA rate (so no ESA/DLA/extra for being over 25).

SilverDragonfly1 Sun 16-Apr-17 19:56:56

It's not consistent because some people are still getting money under the old system, which was more flexible and designed to help them cope if there were genuine reasons that they couldn't work.

The new system, with Universal Credit, PIP etc is designed to be punitive wherever possible. People are judged well enough to work with conditions that before would have merited full Incapacity Benefit and High Rate DLA and when they can't manage they are sanctioned. The structure of disability payments has changed to limit the amount of time you can get payment if you are put in the Work Related group of ESA.

The latest ruse is to call people in early for PIP assessments and then stop the benefit months before the original end date set out when the claim was approved. This has just happened to my best friend, who should have had it until October but has lost it after an assessment in March. Her condition hasn't changed and won't, so now she has to appeal, otherwise she won't be able to run the tiny, cheap car she needs to get her to hospital appointments.

So, if you are disabled and actually getting the correct level of benefits for your condition, you can live in a quietly comfortable way- no big holidays or designer clothes, but you can eat and pay the bills with a little left over. But more and more people are being denied that money as rules are changed and abused and ignored and they are in poverty with no way of getting back out except appealing against wrong decisions, which takes up to a year or so for some and doesn't pay any baseline rate in the interim.

Benefits are still being changed over at the moment, so some people are still getting DLA (which doesn't have a constant rolling assessment criteria because it's actually properly designed for people with long term and permanent conditions) and the majority of people with children are not yet on UC, which is again very conditional and will certainly be a lower amount overall once everything is taken into account.

Oh, the extra bedroom thing, some councils have exempted disabled people from the LHA decrease and scraped up the money from elsewhere. This isn't going to be tenable much longer and your sister certainly shouldn't assume that she will never need to pay I'm afraid.

LouKout Sun 16-Apr-17 19:57:00

DlA.and PIP are not means tested or out of work benefits BTW.

trappedinsuburbia Sun 16-Apr-17 19:57:53

OP - if your getting just jobseekers allowance or whatever its called these days it only comes in around £70 per week and I think this is where single able bodied people really struggle to survive. They need to pay all bills off this plus clothes, food and aren't bus fares really expensive? They're meant to have internet to job search, bus fares to travel to job centre/interviews.

IamRonnieBiggs Sun 16-Apr-17 19:59:39

I think where you live probably makes a huge difference for starters.
Many of the people I know on long term benefits are supported by other family members (whether that is technically allowed or not) financially.
They aren't badly off at all (although technically that's not all benefits)

I know many of the people on benefits near me subsidise their 'income' - selling things, some of them are professional shoplifters (I know this as I have a friend who manages one their favourite shops) and many do have jobs (and no they don't get caught)

I think the people who just live off benefits are struggling. The others who aren't really give a false impression - it's why people get pissed off

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