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BBC 's ""Saints and Scroungers

I rarely watch daytime TV, but this morning feeling a little worse for wear decided to watch BBC's Saints and Scroungers 9.15 am.

Why in the first do documentary productions made today find the need to repeat themselves by showing various shots several times over? Do they believe that people's memories are unable to hold information after it is given to them for over twenty minutes? So many programme makers do this, it makes me see red!

My main reason for writing this is part of the content shown in this mornings edition of ""Saints and Scroungers,"" 17th August 2009. One disability claimant is a young man of 18 who broke his back, leaving him paralysed from the waist down at 15 years of age, whilst taking part in motorbike rallies. Obviously after his accident his life was changed for ever and he and his family would require help and support so that this young man when recovered could lead a good quality of life. Whilst recovering in hospital this young man and his family were visited by an advisor who worked for CAB.

During the interview between the CAB advisor and the presenter she states that she helped the family fill in the benefit forms with the RIGHT ANSWERS so that the young man would get the higher rate of disability benefits, because the family on their own probably otherwise wouldn't have achieved this. I feel this statement rather misleading when being watched by the general viewing public, because it gives the impression that there are right and wrong answers when completing such forms. What I feel should have been portrayed is that each person's claim should be completed in such a way that the benefits department are able to understand how a person's life is affected by their disability, therefore awarding the appropriate monies.

The other thing that really annoyed me about the portrail of this young man was his lifestyle, despite his tragic accident involving motorbikes he is now being sponsored by BMW to race cars. Whilst I applaud this young man in picking himself up and doing something he loves, I feel that this makes life on benefits look like all those who have benefits live a life of luxury. And as many of us know on here from experience that is quite simply not the case. What many people may fail to realise is that sports that involve motorbikes can be very expensive, and this young man came from a family who were able to finance this hobby, and today he is still able to enjoy his hobby only this time racing an adapted car (Not the mobility one also featured). He is still living at home and if he wasn't the likelihood of him still enjoying a hobby of racing cars whilst living on only disability benefits would be impossible.

I also believe strongly that anyone who partakes in dangerous sports should be legally obliged to take out insurances that payout in the event of a life changing accident to cover future living costs. This young man has needed help from the state because of the accident, and still continues (which is his right) to pursue a dangerous sport. Already he requires a considerable amount of support to lead a good quality of life, should he further injure himself requiring yet more support who pays? Our Welfare State system is already under considerable financial pressure, and of course those who suffer illness through no fault of their own should have government support, but those in partake in dangerous sports I believe must take at least some responsbility for life changing issues.

19 Replies

I can't comment on the rest, but I'm afraid I have to disagree with you that those who choose to partake in dangerous sports should have insurance to cover potential lifelong disability simply because it would be impossible to know where to put the limits.

When does a dangerous activity become a leisure activity or vice versa? For instance, would hill-walking be classified as dangerous? Or riding theme park rides? And what about normal cycling - lots of people have cycling accidents but would we expect them to have insurance because they chose to cycle? Or normal driving?

And why limit it to dangerous sports? What about people who choose to smoke - should they take out insurance in case they get a smoking related illness? What about people who over/under-eat - are we going to penalise them for related potential long-term health issues?

I just don't think it's possible to segregate one group and say they should be responsible for their actions and not others - and then it becomes unworkable.


Have you ever had to manaully evacuate your bowel? If you feel the CAB encouraged someone to lie then I am sure the programme exposed that. I know someone who works for the CAB and they do their damnest to get the entitlement you should get.

DLA is not means tested and should remian so, the same as child benefit. Someone paralised from the waist down its a no-brainer they are going to get higher rate for motorbility. We have several Drs on this board what happens if one of them hits the giddy heights of consultant should we cut off their DLA? As far as I am concerened no-one should alter who handles the claim and gets it see another thread ""DLA again"". And how about sports where are you going to draw the line, how about skiing or horse riding, diving, surfing, kite surfing, white water rapiding, canoeing ever checked the stats on how many get seriously unjured doing those?


Taking out insurance to cover yourself incase of an accident, well not one I ever considered. I regularly cycle on main roads, some very busy and touch wood, never had an accident, apart from slipping on ice, I put my good fortune down to the fact that I don't wear a helmet, and contrary to popular opinion, cycling without a helmet is actually safer, can't find the study, but it was proven that driver think you are more vulnerable, and so give you more space.

What about swimming, a study from the states this week says that more triathletes die during the swim, than runners in a marathon.

Insurance would be nice to provide a better quality of life should one be unfortunate to suffer an accident, but should not be a prerequisite for leading an active lifestyle, but the state should also not support a lavish lifestyle that I see some get, while others more deserving, but obviously fill the forms out differently get very little. Someone near me, she claims for being unable to work, despite only having loss of hearing in one ear, why can't she work? also gets money for a dog, and others to may to mention, it makes me angry, I pay for that in tax.


I don't think it's right to make judgements about someone else's right to DLA (or other benefits). We can't know the exact circumstances an individual faces and there are a huge number of hidden disabilities. If you have real concerns that someone is cheating the system by all means report to the relevant authorities and let them investigate, but casting aspersions about others' needs is unfair.


In the interest of fairness I have just watched the show, I am horrified at your comments Katina. Good luck to the lad and I hope the driving goes well for him. At 15 losing your ability to walk must be feel like you have lost your life, but he has got on with rebuilding it getting sponsorship and getting back on the road takes courage and determination as well as huge amount of family support and I don't begrudge him one penny.



Hi Everyone, for those of you who disagree with me, I believe you have misunderstood the point I was wishing to get across. We all know that in order to get the appropriate DLA award we need to make the people who read our claims understand exactly how our condition effects us on a daily basis. And sometimes some people require the help from such agencies like CAB in order to make people who look at these claims understand properly our needs. The way this advisor from the CAB came across on the TV to me this morning, was that she helped people put down things on paper so that they gained the highest award possible, and it seemed rather misleading to me. Maybe it was bad editing on the BBC's part, or maybe I read it differently to how someone else might.

But my other point in my original post, which I seemed to have upset some, and it is not my wish to do so, is that if we undertake hobbies/dangerous sports that pose a risk to our safety and health, we must be prepared to take some responsiblity. This doesn't mean that I don't think those who are unfortunate to suffer life changing injuries shouldn't get help because I do, but also I still feel that those partaking in such events should make provisions in case something goes wrong. I am not out to have a dig at anyone on DLA for illness/disability. Being brittle myself I have DLA too. So all of you who claim disability benefits please don't think I am having a dig at you I am not, some have a tougher time than others, and as we all know disability/illness causes a lot of financial burden, and none of us asked to be struck down or effected by our various health issues.

Ratty in respect of people who have eating disorders, just because they physically harm themselves doesn't mean that I think they should be denied help, their illness physically or mentally is still an illness that they cannot help, so of course they should be treated just like anyone with any other illness. Smokers well what ever I say someone will disagree and that is their right, two of my grandparents died from smoking related illnesses and I wouldn't like to have seen them denied help whether it be in the form of benefits or medical support, it would be inhuman to do so. But also they grew up during a time where smoking was glamorous and people didn't or weren't told of the effects it could have on their future health, but today people who start smoking now are better informed, so they do have to accept responsibility for this.

But thank you to those who have taken the time to answer this topic it is appreciated.


Katina, maybe it was Dom Jolly that got you, he does my head in! When my daughter was 12 she was skiing black runs, we had insurance to cover medical expenses and repatriation being careful it was a policy that was tailored for skiing and things but neither my daugher or I thought about taking accident or critical injury cover for her. Was I irresponsible?




No Bex I don't think you were irresponsible, you took out a policy believing that you were meeting your daughter's needs.


I strongly disagree. My best mate was knocked off his motorbike whilst travelling 10 mph UNDER the legal speed limit and lost his life at 19 years of age. He was the best person I ever knew, in the six years I knew him I never heard a bad word said about him, nor him say a bad one about anybody else, and that to me is something special. I was the last person to see him on that fateful night last August and have needed a lot of help from professionals to overcome the guilt and anger and to rebuild my life, am I not entitled because I chose to be part of someone's life that rode a motorbike?

You can't judge a situation you haven't seen for yourself, so I don't really think you should comment.


When I first read Katina's post I had mixed feelings, but my first impression was that she felt the way it was put across was that the CAB person was telling them how to get around the system as opposed to how to word the form to get the best award of DLA, which she felt was misleading to the general public.

As for the suggestion to take out additional cover for dangerous sports I had a little think about that one. My daughter who is 9 does gymnastics and is one of the best in the country for her age. The skills she does could be life threatening if they go wrong (double somersaults for example) but I believe that risk is minimised as she is in a controlled environment, taught by a highly experienced coach and has all the best safety equipment. So should I take out additional insurance (alongside the insurance we pay to British Gymnastics) to cover a life changing injury? I know of 3 cases in the past decade in Britain where a gymnast has been injured. 2 were paralysed after landing on their head, and one was fatally injured after falling off the landing mats and hitting his head on the floor. I know one of the cases of had to sue the coach to gain enough income to cover ongoing cost for adaptions and care needs. However, as far as I am aware these cases are far and few between and sports such as rugby, horse riding etc have a much higher incidence of these types of injury.

Getting back to what was originally said. My understanding was that Katina was suggesting taking out additional insurance for 'dangerous sports'. Sports where injury was likely to be life threatening if something went wrong. She accepts it is a persons choice to partake in these activities but that extra cover should be put in place. At no point was she belittling the persons condition, their requirement for DLA or suggesting that anyone who has a self inflicted injury should recieve no help.

But I do think that govening bodies for sports should offer insurance that will cover ongoing costs in the event of a severe disablement, and the higher that risk the more the insurance will cost.


I do think that katina has been misunderstood here a little bit by some people - she was just trying to get accross the fact that basically i think that if you go on holiday - you take out insurance, if you do a high risk sport then you should take out some insurance policy to protect yourself if anything dangerous did occur. So not necessary skiing for kids etc but if you were doing huge slope ensuring that the risks are well balanced and any possible risk assessments have been done etc.

I dont think it was intended to cause any offence to anyone.

Lv Kit Kat Xxxx


I’m with Katina here too. I believe I understood the point about the DLA form filling assistance. Some do need help with DLA claims and they really do need the additional financial assistance. There are always, though, those that just want whatever they can get for nothing and their needs are not genuine. I saw nothing in Katina’s postings that suggested anything else.

I also have to agree heartily about insurance for dangerous activities. I put myself in this position over 30 years ago and I feel that it was totally correct that my insurance companies picked up the tab for the ensuing medical bills and that they still do. Why should others subsidise my risk-taking? Why should all of you pay for my risk-taking? I didn’t bring asthma on myself, so had no choice about that, but my injury was something brought upon myself. It was my risk and it was up to me to accept it. I do have to say that I am extremely grateful that my travel company insisted on the insurance and would not have let me travel with them if I did not comply.

My injury was hardly life-threatening (more life-changing), but it was serious enough for one operation, followed by over 2 years as an out-patient and regular physio ever since.

Fortunately the really serious injuries in “everyday sports” and that does include rugby, are rare, hence the insurance cost is little.

I am a great believer that cyclists should have insurance – I live near a major road that has far more than its share of extremely serious road accidents (including a number of fatalities each year) and cyclists have, unfortunately, been implicated as contributing to far too many of those accidents. However, I think this is probably a subject for a separate posting.

Oh – my activity? Ice skating. Hardly what you would think of as a dangerous activity, but it is a winter sport where people fall and hurt themselves, and, just like football, it is classified as a dangerous sport by most insurance companies – read the Ts & Cs.



Well I just don't think it's for us to judge a situation that we don't know, I'm not surprised by the reactions on here, most people think bikers ""bring it all on themselves"", although nearly 70% of road accidents involving motorbikes are actually caused by car drivers, not looking at junctions, checking mirrors etc. If some is disabled then that's that doesn't matter how it happened, fact it is they are and they are entitled to their money, I think that lads got massive courage to even think about driving after such a bad accident.

People that smoke or are fat are hardly turned away at the GP surgery are they, so why is this lad not entitled to his share?


Hello Clare Mich

Sorry Clare Mich about the loss of your friend, please accept my apologies if you have misunderstood my original posting, it is not that I believe that someone who has had an accident whether it be on the open road whilst riding a motorbike, or partaking in motor cross like lad mentioned in my original posting shouldn't be in receipt of disability benefits. My point is that if you partake in a dangerous sport like motor cross it would be sensible to think about your long term future if involved in a life changing accident. And the best way would be to take out an insurance policy to protect yourself!


Finally, thank you to everyone who as read my original post, and thank you to those who have taken the time to reply publicly or privately. Whilst my opinions remain the same, I have learnt a very useful lesson from this, writing long posts, isn't always a good thing, this one had too many sub topics! And as a result of this some of you might have sped read this post and probably found it a little insensitive. So to those of you who have been offended please accept my apologies.

Kind regards



Well if you took up smoking tomorrow, (not that I think you would, but hypothetically) then I'd still pay my tax every month to keep you wouldn't I? And I wouldn't begrudge you that, you've got as much right to smoke as anyone else, just like this lads got a right to choose. You don't know what he's been through. Should people that are overweight, smoke, drink, take drugs take out insurance too? They're all a lot more likely to make you die or seriously ill than any sport.

No amount of money will ever make him walk again, so no amount of money will be enough. I'm sure he now realises how certain choices can change your life and he probably regrets his decision every day, like I regret my decision to let my mate get on his bike in the rain, won't bring him back though will it, like this lad will never walk again.

I'm just so shocked that someone who has something dabilitating themselves can be so insensitive, if someone said you didn't deserve your money because of something you chose to do or not to do years ago, then you wouldn't like it.


I do think this topic has got slighly out of hand (and context).

Are we going to start throwing around quotes such as ""If someone has a liver transplant through excessive drinking should it then be their choice to continue drinking?


I just give up, how many times have I got to explain myself. It appears what ever I say now someone is just going to take it out of context and I am going to be hung, drawn and quartered! I agree with Kool Kat, this is just getting silly now. As far as I am concerned now, regarding this topic this will be my last posting. If others feel the need to carry on, please do. But personally think, it's time we ended it, and chat about something else!


Modding Message

I think this topic has got slightly off-course and discussion is becoming rather circular.

Time to close it, thanks everyone.




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