Benefit Cheat

I suffered my brain injury in another country in Dec 1994, 18 long years ago. The instant I returned to the UK I was in receipt of Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance. My family had the foresight to make all the applications in my name while I was first comatose and then while I were in a haze of confusion.

18 years without worry, without hassle. Partial vision, epilepsy, frequent migraines, appalling short term memory, balance and co-ordination troubles, etc, et bloody cetera, all meant that aside from the occasional confirmation medical I continued to receive the benefits.

And then… The Government decide upon a radical overhaul of the benefits system, perhaps long overdue. It is time for the ‘bad back’ brigade to be wheedled out of the present system. Every claimant of sickness related benefits is apparently required to attend a medical. Absolutely understandable and nothing at all to worry about. I am called in for my own medical at 08.00 on a Saturday morning. Yes, 8am on a weekend.

The medical reaches the frankly dizzying heights of,

‘Lift your arms please’ and ‘lift each leg in turn now please’.

The ‘medical’ culminates with, ‘Now count backwards from 100, in groups of three. 97, 94 and so on’.

And that’s it, all over. No questions about vision. Not one question about short term memory. None about appalling lethargy. Not one enquiry about co-ordination and balance. Epilepsy is glossed over in one sentence.

‘Thank you for coming, goodbye’.

A week later and I receive a letter from said office informing me that I am now,

‘Fit for work’ and that ‘all benefits will cease after your next payment’.

A bolt out of the blue. Call me a cynic, call me angry, call me anything you like really, but as my health hasn’t improved in 18 years and is highly unlikely to do so in the next 18, I assume I am being called a liar, a ‘Benefit cheat’.

I’m not taking it, no way. Almost before I’ve finished reading the letter, I’m calling the ‘Helpline’ on the letterhead. I may as well talk to a brick wall. The decision is made, there is no turning back. I am fit for work and thus, I have been lying to them for 18 years. I AM a benefits cheat. But there is one course for me…

‘Would you like to appeal?’

I reply with a phrase about a bear and crapping in a woods and the appeal is duly lodged.

But it soon occurs to me that the government are ultimately responsible for slurring my name and so I hatched a plan. No, that’s a lie, I simply typed out a long and extremely informative e mail to my MP. Every detail is in that mail and much to my surprise, less than half an hour after pressing ‘send’. My phone rings…

The next day, The VERY NEXT DAY, my local DHSS office calls to tell me that the original decision has been overturned to to an ‘oversight’.

Funny that. An oversight. A brain injury and all it’s associated ailments and traumas are an ‘oversight’.

In short, I am not a benefits cheat and I am certainly no liar. I just wish the authorities would delve a little deeper before they rush to judgement.

20 Replies

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  • Well your post has managed to reduce me to a massive state of snot bubbles and complete incoherent Gibberish....I tried with my brain damaged self to count back from 100 in 3s...My snow globe state was instantly activated.I have coffee all up my kitchen wall and a smashed mug in the sink.....Oh the invisible disability. Now having wrestled the swirling snow storm that was my head space into submission,made a complete mess of my kitchen, screamed at my son on his return from school..with a " DONT LEAVE YOUR BLOODY STUFF IN THE HALL WAY..HOW MANY MORE TIMES..?" No how was your day today Honey..? I am void of all energy , my son will have to cook the tea tonight (again) I am going to sit right here on the sofa in my blanket and sleep until my violent , irrational mood and my damaged brain decides that I can once again wake in this land of Cameron...Whatever you do dont crunch a crisp packet near me within the next 12 hours or you could just find yourself disabled having been hit in the head with a low flying coffee cup. DAVID CAMERON COME AND SPEND A WEEK IN MY HOUSE......AND DO THE UNPAID CARERS JOB THAT MY 14 YEAR OLD SON DOES ,DAY IN DAY OUT....breathe , slow down Dru.....come an do the carers job my son does and I am sure you will change your mind about BRRRAINNNNN DAMAGGGGE !!!!!!.

    I would just like to say thank you son for putting up with my crap mood again when you came in today...Once again I am sorry...If only the government would listen to you and all your young caring friends once in a while ......I think maybe I should now ,take my rant else where before I say something that will have me banned from this site....So glad you got you benefit sorted BaronC.

  • what can i say it happened to me i complained to my mp who resolved the matter and secured me the benefits i wasnt paid to fight the system from the aggrieved point of view is a waste of time contact your mp

  • I was so worried about changing, but i am guessing the fact that i am physically disabled along with the brain injury made it easier, and i got through without all the hassle.

    and good on you for going to MP and getting it sorted.

    in one way i agree with the government because they do need to tackle the bad back brigade and real cheats, but i do not agree with how they doiung it

    th trouble is the cheats are that clued up on their rights and what to say and do, that they are harder to catch so the government goes for the easier target, those who are honest about having the occasional good dayor can do one thing ok, but dont take account of everything else.

  • before having to give up work I worked for a government department, and you are so right about 'clued up', so many times I found people coming to me, telling me the law and their rights, while those in need said and did the wrong things because they were desperately in need and did not know what to do or in what order. I found it frustrating at times not being able to reach out to those I knew were in need, while having to step gently around those who were playing the system. As I found it, having lost my memory and with extreme fatigue even with prior knowledge, I was making all sorts of mistakes, what I needed back then was someone to come to my home, sit down with me and talk through the process.

  • headway arranged for someone to come to my house, as there is no way i could have managed them on my own, and if i did, i bet i would have put the wrong thing

    its a shame that there is so much abuse

  • sadly I did not have this support, and ended up with being accused of attempted fraud; the incapacity benefit also included housing benefit attached to council tax exemption, How the hell was I to know? everything worked out ok, but I went through a nightmare of allegations before it was accepted I had done nothing wrong.

  • it is a ridiculous situation

  • yes and while it's frightening at the time, it's good to know that we are not alone it's the system that fails us all

  • if it helps your not alone, good for you to fight back

  • Cheers, thanks for that. Good luck to you and I hope you keep up the good fight in our name

  • The training for the people in the office any office to do with claims should read. bad back = questionable....Brain injury = non questionable!. pay untill the person see's fit to work! If there is a neurolgical consultant that staes that person has had a brain injusy that should be enough. Everybodies Brain is different and every injury etc can cause problems like ALLl we talk of and mental illnesses to. It's so deep . So much CAN RESULT from a TBI therefor to much to give as examples. The best way to cap benifit cheats is to secretly employ a grss/undercover tenant in a area who will get to know the people and be able to watch them and photo them,catch them out.. this would save so much money. I live in a very small village next to a larger village and if i was that undercover informer i would be doing reports on 8 people who i know are scamming amd cheating the system. The Dwp have been informed but do nothing. they need proof? I could save the goverment loads and so could others doing the same thing. Brain poorlies should be catergarised as "cannot work indefinatley". I agree with all who have commented.

  • Yep, thaty's pretty much bang on the money, no pun intended

  • I have a brain injury, i changed from incap to ESA. I got 365 days on the ESA because i was put in the work related activity group. I was put into volunteering and went to primary school that children attended. I then was offered 7 hrs a week paid work which has increased to 25 hrs.This has taken a year and has knocked the rest of daily living on the head. My other half pays for a cleaner to do the work i can literally no longer do. I come in and sleep most days. My kids or Alan cook and then i might watch tv for a while then back to sleep and start again.

    I feel good to say i am working. It is very hard and i have to be careful what i do. I have to miss work when i am too tired to drive, or suffering a bad head or when i am too exhausted. I take off at least one day a week, I am on a temporary contract that ends at the end of the school year, i dont get paid when i am not there for what ever the reason.

    I injured my back years ago and had surgery twice. It is further injured in the accident that gifted me my brain injury. I just wanted to say that bad backs are real too and like a brain injury you cant see them. There are many people being forced into work that are not fit and there are many like me that really struggle to cope doing part time work. They are not to blame for anyone being forced into the horrid situation of being treated like a scrounger, just as we brain injured should not be blamed. It a night mare that many sick and injured people are going thru. The government keep saying you dont need to worry if you are genuine, guess what? they lie! I didnt know about appealing. I believed them when they said i was fit to go do something. The support they use to get you into work is removed after 6 months so you are on your own to deal with things you have no idea how to deal with.

    I am caught between a rock and a hard place as i have to work for 3 years to be able to apply again.

  • i out in fr dla. had a letter saying that as i was in no dangerof;fits . dizziness . falls or blackoutsits a no . at the time i didnt care about the difference the money would make .but was totaly confused tht according to them i wasnt in dngrof all the above. my dghtr phoned the specialist at the hospital. to mke sure i had to tke all the tablets im on.that answer was yes.then had a lttr saying aftr reconsidering my situation it was still a no to dla . as thy chkd with my dr fr my medical conditions. n my dr didnt know wat was wrong.same dr tht has given me 4 lots of tablets that wld have killed me if i mix them.gt new drs now but thy aving trble getting my records.think the old drs are trying to cover there mistakes.as soon as i gt sorted wth new drs im gonna put bk in fr it.

  • DLA is different though. Dla is also changing so some people might get another horrible shock when they have to do medicals for that too.

    I got DLA indefinately. My doctors all said it would not be likley i would work again and if i did it was unlikely it would be a lasting position. I can see why now, i have no life except sleep and work and cubs on thursdays.

  • You DO have a life, never think any differently

  • Hi BaronC

    Well done on getting onto your MP straight away and obviously putting your point across really well too.

    I was wondering (rather really hoping actually!!!!) Please could you post your email onto this thread, as I think I may need to do something similar myself.

    My ESA medical is 9am this Thursday!! Idiots!! I have no-one to help me get there, so its going to be a fun outing, especially when they likely tell me i'm fine!!

    Please could you post or privately message me the email you sent to your MP.

    Many Thanks and thanks to for posting on here and being an inspiration and support to others.

    xxx

  • Hi veryfuzzyem/BaronC,

    If you could use the private message feature on here that'd be great - just click a username and then 'Send me a message' on the left-hand side.

    Thanks,

    Headway.

  • I'm not sure I follow what you mean. I DID reply to Veryfuzzyem via private message

  • Hi BaronC,

    That's great, and thank you for doing that. It was just with the request to post your email address on the thread, I wanted to get in there to tell you both about the private message feature in case you hadn't discovered it. Looks like you had though, so thanks again.

    Best wishes,

    Headway.

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