Abusers of the NHS and Benefits

I may get flamed for posting this, but I am so annoyed and getting more annoyed by the day to see people taking the "mickey" and abusing the health system.

What really gets me are those people walking really briskly down the road with a "stick". The stick is swinging along, but not actually used to put weight on. In fact they can overtake me and I am a good fast walker.

Or the ones in the supermarket, they park up their walking sticks on their arms and then load up their hands and arms with groceries or use a basket and fill it up and are quite able to walk through the stores.

The other day we were having a meal in a restaurant and this guy paid and walked out with a spring in his step. A few minutes later he came back slowly creeping through the restaurant exclaiming he forgot his stick. Yeah right.

And there are many more examples, just really gets my goat. Benefits are cut for those that really suffer and then lazy fraudsters get money they should not be getting. The government needs to hire more investigators to weed out the abusers of the system.

42 Replies

  • i know there are people who scam the system but dont be too quick to judge people....i am housebound most of the time but occasionally get a really good day when i can go out and to look at you wouldnt know there was anything wrong..but i pay the price because i then really suffer for days afterwards

  • The complete opposite Breadfruit, I agree. We live in a seaside resort with a high population of elderly people & because of that the chances of bring awarded a blue badge is nigh on impossible! Many of them seem to be awarded them for being elderly but are very spritely & we sometimes wonder when parked some distance away from shops just how they get away with it. Many on here have been refused or had to go through another assessment if refused PIP on the first occasion & desperately need the extra money it could bring to make their lives a little easier. I could ramble on but it would get really boring & make me really cross.

  • Hmmm. I have PsA and my mobility is extremely variable. I might start a walk needing a stick, then become very nimble and that might last all day, or it might not. Similarly fatigue hits me from nowhere and sometimes it eases up considerably just as quickly. I no longer have any intention whatsoever of explaining my bizarre disease to anybody who may question my integrity.

  • What makes you think that these people with sticks are on benefits?

  • Very simply put, that I have noticed, since Mr Cameron is tinkering with the benefit systems a lot of these "stick swingers" are out and about. And I am not the only one noticing this. Many people I have spoken too are stating the same, some are in the health care profession, but on the administrative side. They have some stories to tell that would make your blood boil. We need a TV show like rogue traders, called rogue sickies, or something like that.

    I do understand that people have good and bad days. I do have these myself. However these particular people are just putting it on. You just can tell. I have a few in my neighborhood as well. All pretending they are sick, but can brick up the backyard and build stuff inside their homes. Lift heavy bags full of rubble, bricks, heavy lumber. Stuff that if I were fully fit could not even lift and they are supposedly very sick, on benefits for decades and have a really bad back that they only leave the house with a scooter.

    Its different when someone needs to explain their illness to someone.

  • According to the Citizens Advice website: 'Official figures show that up to £20 billion in means-tested benefits and tax credits go unclaimed every year. Older people are most likely to be missing out on pension credit and council tax benefit.' That was for 2012 and I suspect it's much worse now. Part of the reason is the increasing stigma attached to claiming anything. Your observations are just that, observations. Of people with sticks.

    We have an 'invisible' disease. Those of us who are lucky enough to have fair levels of mobility often find it difficult to cope with the scepticism and even hostility of those who seem to think we're malingering.

    Of course there are some people who claim benefits to which they are not entitled but as the experience of many on here shows it's often ludicrously difficult to get benefits or support that we are perfectly entitled to. Why would anyone who knows what it is like to struggle with RD want to add to all the negativity and scorn that's aimed at chronically sick and disabled people?

  • I do not add scorn. I am upset at those who are perfectly well and claim benefits they are not entitled to. I have "past" friends who did this and who I have distanced myself from because they have worked out on how to milk the system really well. In fact they think we are stupid to work. They are just lazy and don't want to work. They have no ambition and just want to live a life.

    I know some of those older people who should be getting more benefits or better care but rather struggle than ask for it. I get some who want to tip me on top of the hourly rate, because I put in another 15 or 30 min more than I should have, or just because they are so grateful that I have come and sorted their garden out. I try so hard not to take the extra money. Some get really angry when I tell them not to tip me. I say they made me a cuppa so that is fine enough or let me use their loo and wash my hands after working. Anything not to take this extra money as they really cannot afford it.

    (OT: Then I have those customers who are just plain lazy to do their garden, but fit and able bodied and earning a wage. They want to settle exactly, expect change and no tip ever.)

    I am sorry, but I think there are more sticks about because to get benefits are so hard. If you need a stick or sticks then you "must" be unable to move on your own steam, therefore it "may" be easier to support the case of needing support. If you can move about without a stick or some kind of support, its much harder these days to get support.

    In fact I reported one of my customers to the powers to be as this customer is a very vulnerable person and I suspect this customer to be abused or taken advantage of. I am very protective of my elderlies. If my suspicions are wrong, so be it, at least I did my bit if I am right.

    My reasoning is that when you see people move just fine and the stick or sticks are just accessories all the time, my conclusion is that they are putting it on. Otherwise I would like to know what they are on (medication wise) to get some of it myself.

    Also just because there is a lot of unclaimed money does not mean it needs to be claimed. Its just a pot of money made available. And as I said before I have no problem to give money, even more money to those who really need it. I do not think that the amounts given are enough. But sadly the system is unable to get the abusers. Because of rigid box ticking and targets and rules, healthy people in the know are manipulating the system to their advantage.

  • The statistics don't refer to the pot of money. They are based on information about un-met needs that organisations like the CAB collect. You sound like a very caring person & it really is lovely to hear that you look out for your elderly customers, but I think we're actually encouraged to be suspicious of each other these days. I'm not falling for that. Those who get a few quid they're not entitled to may be pathetic, but they're not to blame for the uncaring system that makes life difficult for the rest of us.

  • Life is too short to sit in judgement. We've all come across unfairness in the world of health. There are those whom, because of unhealthy lifestyles and poor diet, make their diseases worse. Or those who sit in GP surgeries talking loudly about their binge drinking or their disgusting diets or popping outside for a fag. Our NHS resources are scarce and we all pay a lot in taxes. Judgements going on?...you bet!

    But at the end of the day none of us can know what makes another person tick. Their relationship between the person who is in a position to assess and pass judgment is theirs and theirs alone. Everything else has to be boxed and put up on a high shelf out of the way because wasting energy on speculating about others, where their funds come from and whether they are honest or not.. Well it is just a slippery road based on mistrust.

    A few probably lie and cheat their way to get on to benefits but I wouldn't think they are that many in number. Some climb mountains and cost the tax payer a fortune when they get lost or fall. Others exaggerate their symptoms to get onto very expensive drugs.

    But it is important to take each person at face value and try not to assume the worst. Easier said than done I know - we all do make snap judgements but have to try and let these go and not to dwell on them.

    I once sat on a disabled seat on the bus because my ankle was on fire with pain and swelling (RA in tendons). When an old woman climbed on at the next stop I had to get up and offer my seat - but asked if I could borrow her zimmer to hold self up. I had so many fellow passengers glaring at me for my healthy looking appearance.

    Two days later, once I had taken

    naproxen, I was dancing the night away at a friend's party when only that morning I had been walking with a stick. What judgement would anyone who doesn't have RA, and even quite a few who do - have made about me that night I wonder?

    I know what it feels like to be misjudged and dislike it more than words can express.

  • I need my stick, I wish it actually could get you awarded PIP or a blue badge, not my experience! I really think it is off to accuse anyone you see with a stick, that you don't think looks like they need it, to be a benefits scrounger. That is just buying into the Daily Mail style hate culture that abounds these days and adds to the problem. I was nipping to the shops on my mobility scooter today and someone shouted something nasty to me from a passing car, maybe they thought I looked quite able to walk and therefore was a benefits scrounger even though I don't get a penny from the Government?

  • the same thing has happened to me .what are you doing on that scooter and I cant get pip as yet been turned down and in real need of help

  • I know it is frustrating but I am one of those that uses a stick and most days I rely heavily on it. One day I may feel slightly better and not lean on it as much but boy those days are rare. I work full time at the moment but know that it is becoming harder and harder. I also have a mobility sticker to park close and I know people look at me like there is nothing wrong with me, but we sufferers all know this is an invisible disease. Sadly there are those that scam but I am guessing the majority are genuine and really need the help.

  • Oh don't get me on this one :(

    Although I think most are entitled to there benifit there are some that aren't.

    I know a couple now 70+ have lived there lives claiming pip and benifits pip as it is now and pension credit I could go on.

    They have had 3 £20.000 cars in 3 years cash. New drive roof etc not supposed to have over think it's £16000 Savings ??? I wonder how it's done.

  • Hi everyone,

    well this has been a very interesting and at times heated discussion. We all know that the benefits system isn't perfect but let's not let the tiny minority that abuse it get to us. As so many of you have pointed out, RA is an unpredictable condition at times and difficult for people who don't have it to understand that you can have good times and bad times. Let's all hope that we can push awareness into the greater public domain and they gain a greater understanding of the disease.


    Beverley (NRAS Helpline)

  • People have good and bad days with conditions so we shouldnt judge. If the system was set up properly and less money cut from local government and DWP services they would be able to employ the right people to investigate fraud. Benefits and blue badges are not easy to get.

  • I had a blue badge, I was awarded this when I could hardly walk at all, I also lost my job as I couldn't hold a pen or concentrate with so much pain. Over the time I had it my RA has improved due to new meds, I still have times when I can't do anything or walk very far and I cannot carry things. Last week I had to have a steroid injection to settle my flare. When my badge ran out I tried to renew it but I was refused as I can walk the relevant distance ( a bus length or whatever it is). My partner has a serious heart condition, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy and gets breathless just getting up out of the chair. He was also refused a badge. I had the lower DLA payment this again was stopped, I cannot work as I cannot sustain any activity for long periods, so I have very little income apart from a small private pension I was able to draw through ill health. We had to sell our house and we're now living in rented property from the proceeds of our house sale, which was not a great deal. I have 2 years to go until I can get my state pension.

    Sorry about the rant but I really do not know how these people can get benefits, we can't get any help so how someone who hasn't got anything wrong with them gets away with it I just don't know!!!!

  • I do not think that it was right that you had to sell your house. Again this is an excellent example where things have gone wrong and the social system not been of help.

    Is there no organisation or charity which can help so that you can get that blue badge and more benefits to help you?

  • I think the personnel who are appointed to evaluate whether people really are incapacitated should be medically qualified...maybe retired GP, Physio, OT etc. I think it is completely unacceptable to have decisions made by " box ticking" when the person doing the ticking doesn't even understand the question. It happens! Kathy

  • Absolutely correct. I also think only a medical person should be able to do these observations.

    I have read one of those forms to get disability benefits. But that was in 2003 so quite a while ago. Some of the requirements to be classed as disabled were things like not being able to walk more that 15 feet or something like that. Not being able to wash yourself or put on socks and shoes. (All going from vague memory so may be incorrect). But it left me with a sense of despair because the requirements were so rigid. There was no flexibility at all.

    If a person who has no medical background has to make a decision about anothers well being and receiving benefit, does not seem fair at all.

  • How do you know those with sticks are faking or even on benefits?? Plenty elderly folks walk round using a stick without doing so.

    Even so, who are you to make such wide sweeping judgements? Making statements Like 'You can just tell', makes no sense, is not useful and is something you cannot profess to know for sure. Unless of course you have interviewed each and every 'sticky' as you so disrespectfully call them. Are you a mind reader and are your hospital admin staff friends not taught about 'patient confidentiality' anymore?

    Its too easy to make judgement when you are not in the other persons shoes . You cannot qualify your statements. You are making assumptions about others lives.

    Today, I can barely move. Tomorrow I may well be able to walk easily. Today I can go shopping, tomorrow I may not be able to get down the steps. Seriously, you have no clue about the folk on the street and what is going on in their lives.

    Government figures state that fraud accounted for 2% (2010 -2013) of benefit loss.

    Put the blame squarely where it belongs. On the shoulders of successive governments who have used the Benefits system as a political tool...some to use private companies with no clue how to conduct interviews and who simply want to take as much of the taxpayers money as they can while doing a shoddy job. Others to cover up and make the figures look good.

    Meantime sweeping statements and judgements not based on proven fact are neither useful nor helpful to anyone unless of course you want to make those already feeling alientated and picked upon feel worse. Those who need all the help we can give them.

    Perhaps you think it best that those with less 'obvious ' health problems shouldn't go shopping or eat in a restaurant, or walk down the street.How about those with mental health issues who are on benefit?

    How about the terminally ill many of whom can walk and talk and just want to live out what remains of their lives.

    Everyone you see with a stick is not on benefits, and everyone you see does not have an obvious health issue.

  • I do see. I see people not working, pretending out the front door they are ill, but party like its no tomorrow out the back where they think the benefits police cannot see them. They build the new fence and concrete posts and an awesome rockery with waterfall. And dont forget the nice lean to for the verandah. Oh, and that shiny new car, plus 3 holidays a year..... But maybe I am wrong and they won the postcode lottery.

  • As the saying goes 'You cant judge a book by its cover'

    Just by looking at someone can you tell what's wrong with them, if anything at all. I have RD, OA im my knees & hands & use a stick, especially for climbing stairs, even a kerb. My O/H has broke his back twice (rta's caused by someone else, 4 brain bleeds, metal plates, Diabetes type 2, high blood pressure/ cholesterol) He gets full rate mobility DLA, medium care, walks with a stick. we help each other as much as we can. He has a mobility car, but the other day after getting out of it, we overheard someone say ' get a stick, put on some weight You can get a free car' Judged by someone who doesn't know us, who doesn't know his/our medical problems, doesn't see the pain, doesn't see the difficulties we have trying to live each day. We are not 'old' so why have we a stick? Me & my O/H are 51, either one of us or even both could end up in a wheelchair............... then we'd look the part!

  • This thread is really judgmental. It's actually quite nasty to post on here knowing that some people here use mobility aids. How dare anyone assume that a person who is not fully leaning on their stick is an abuser of the NHS and or the welfare state?! This has made me quite cross. Isn't this meant to be a safe space?

  • It is a safe space. And what about free speech. I dont think my post is nasty. Just an observation I have made. Plus watching what is going on in my neighborhood and out there as I see a lot being out there.

    Plus I am cross that people who need desperately help are being fobbed off, whilst others can milk the system and get away with it.

  • Of course I cannot tell If someone is ill or not when they move about like a spring chicken. But one can tell if someone is ill when they are ill.

    Someone said that I am disrespectful for calling those using a stick "stickies". I am not doing that, what I am saying that I am calling the fraudulent ones "stickies". Because they don't know how to use a stick, thats why they are being noticed. Its hard to put in words and one would have to see a person like that to understand what I mean.

    Yes, some old people have a stick with them but could manage without. Its more of a security blanket, but they are using it to support themselves on it. They are butting weight on it.

    I used to be one who was running up stairs and if someone was in front going real slow I had thoughts like "too fat to get up the stairs" etc. I know I am not the only one. Lets be honest here. But since I got older and wiser, plus my own health issues, I understand when someone cannot make it up the stairs etc.

    I totally understand that people think I am generalising. I also dispute the 2% of benefit fraud they found. Because no one is checking properly the fraudsters can get away with it. I believe there is a lot more than the 2% quoted.

    One of the posters above stated their illnesses and cannot get a blue badge. I do not think that is fair. They clearly have a need. If I were them I would fight that decision and ask to be re-evaluated by another person.

  • Of course you cannot tell if someone is ill, you don't have X-ray eyes, you can't see my joint damage for example.

  • No I do not have x-ray eyes. But a sick person carries themselves differently. Even on a good day one still takes care. I have this sixth sense. Also maybe because I am around sick people all the time everyday.

    Also I think you are getting the wrong end of the stick. Have you read all the replies? I am not complaining about sick people. What is the point in that. I am sick myself, so is my husband (cancer, glaucoma, arthritis), my mom (cancer, nerve damage), my aunts (cancers), all the old folks in my family really.

    I am ranting about the fraudsters. They upset me. And it upsets me when sick people are being denied the care or benefits they need. Something is wrong in the system and it needs fixing.

  • That's not true Breadfruit. I think I'd defy your sixth sense - I seem to have fairly serious liver problems right now, you'd not see them. On good days I walk really well, really normally - I love that that has finally happened and am not going to put on a bit of a hobble just in case someone who thinks they have extra-sensory powers thinks I'm a faker. Casting aspersions on people based on a 'sixth sense' is really not very convincing.

  • Quote"Of course I cannot tell If someone is ill or not when they move about like a spring chicken. But one can tell if someone is ill when they are ill. " unquote

    ??? Ok. Yet you insist that because you see someone not using a stick 'properly' that they are swinging the lead.

    I find your comments extemely predjudice and lacking in any thought or concern for others. You can tell if someone is ill when they are ill? How.? Are you a physician? A trained nurse? Physiotherapist?

    Can you tell me how you know someone has terminal cancer? They are walking talking, laughing, shopping, going on holiday, doing their housework, leading what is left of their lives as normally as possible? How do you know they are ill?

    How do you know someone carrying a stick isn't carrying it just in case they need it. ie: Someone with neurological issues which means one leg sometimes develops a life of its own and gives way unpredictably. They don't need the stick all the time but carry it just in case.

    How about the pensioner who has suffered oesteoarthritis but has never sought treatment or benefit, but bought their own stick and has never been taught how to use one?

    You quote

    "Yes, some old people have a stick with them but could manage without. Its more of a security blanket, but they are using it to support themselves on it. They are butting weight on it." Unquote.

    How do you know they could mangage without? Are you their physician?

    You quote.." Because they don't know how to use a stick, thats why they are being noticed." unquote.

    So not knowing how to use a stick means you are a fraudster?

    You may feel safe on this forum to post your assumptions and predjudices, but quite clearly from some responses others don't feel its safe at all.

    I say again, your opinions (which you are perfectly entitled to of course) are just your opinions. They are not based on facts. They are based on assumptions and myths.

    Try to place yourself if you can, in the place of the person with an illness that is not immediately obvious, and listen to some of the things you have said.

    How would you feel?

  • I have to see a 'therapist' today to see if I still qualify for a blue badge as they no longer take doctors letters alone. I think it's an age thing as I am 60. Maybe if I were older I wouldn't have to go through this. I have some days where I can walk to the end of my road without a stick. Other days I have trouble walking up the drive. It's not set in stone. I agree that 'spongers' should be prosecuted. There are jobs about that people could do. I am fortunate that I still work full time and if I have a bad day colleagues will bring anything I need into my office. Please don't assume that those that look ok actually are ok! I am far more annoyed with those that park on yellow lines or in disabled spaces when they don't have the appropriate badge!

  • Yeah that is another one of my bug bears. And those that park in special parking spots without the badge are so out of order.

    The other day they had a programme on TV where people bought stolen blue badges so that they could park without having to pay. I would crush their cars.

  • YOU ARE 100% CORRECT and justified for your thoughts and opinions ! I TOTALLY AGREE!! and just vented to my friend TODAY OVER THAT>.. this guy "bee-bopping along with cane" .. NOT ONCE did the cane touch the ground, but he NEEDS it because of his knee ! Now, mind you , last week he had athroscopy done on is knee.. NOTHING MORE than just a surgery to investigate the problem... Makes ME SICK ! My father has had R.A. for over 25 years... has VERY LARGE KNODULES on his hands, elbows, feet and has hip replacement as well.. HE DOES NOT USE A CANE !! But these people with "problems" use them and there is NO PROBLEM at ALL .. MAKES ME SICK TO MY STOMACH! JUST A MOCKERY of ALL of US that LIVE in CONSTANT, CHRONIC PAIN~!! Makes me feel sorry for people like that because they are so ignorant and stupid and don't KNOW what its like to REALLY, GENUINELY HURT!!!! Just try to stay positive and pray for people like that ! KNOW that people with GOOD HEARTS and GOOD INTENTIONS are STILL HERE IN THE WORLD and THEY HAVE COMPASSION, LOVE , EMPATHY and GENUINE Caring for PEOPLE WHO DESERVE IT! Thank YOU FOR speaking from your heart and Letting People KNOW its NOT OK TO FAKE IT!!!!

  • Thomas I am truly sorry to hear about your fathers pain and discomfort, and your own. I wish you both well.

    You say the man you are talking about had an arthroscopy? That would suggest that he does have a problem of some kind in his knee. Arthroscopy is not something any surgeon would carry out without real evidence of an existing problem. In the end the only way to investigate the problem is to carry out the procedure, surely?

    There is, no doubt, a small percentage of people who have and do fake health conditions and that is disgraceful, I agree. But the figures are not as large as many would have us believe.

    The reason so many genuine people are having such terrible problems getting the benefits they so desperately need is that successive governments have given private companies contracts to conduct interviews and medicals. Companies with little or no idea what they are doing. Companies who use untrained staff to conduct interviews. Companies who are pocketing millions of taxpayer pounds every year, and who have no other goal other than to make a profit.

    I hope you and your father stay as well as you can.

  • Coming back to this with a fresh head, I still think it's in very poor taste. It's not the topic but the judgmental words and tone. People who cry "what about free speech?" clearly do not understand the power of words. You cannot - for example - stand in the street and shout racial slurs and then use free speech as an excuse. You cannot sit on an airplane and 'joke' about terrorism and expect it to be allowed because of free speech - a man was recently arrested for this.

    I am 26 and walk with a crutch. It was given to me by a specialist in rheum physiotherapy at my hospital, so I was taught how to walk properly. I know I am justified in using it. I know I have severe and erosive RA. I know I am not a fake. So, why do these threads on a supposed SUPPORT forum make me doubt myself and feel bad?

    I really hope NRAS removes this because it's not a great endorsement of the amazing work they do. We need to stand together and not make cruel judgments on other people based on a tiny snapshot of their lives.

  • I've revisited this thread a few times now & partly regret my initial reply. Coming from one who should know better with both my h & I having problems which in the main aren't obvious I've considered how I would feel if we had blue badges & overheard someone questioning in a snidy way why. I still stand by why some park some distance from shops when the entitlement allows closer parking but since thought, having read some replies, maybe a closer space wasn't available when they chose to park there. Fresh perspective I suppose & for that maybe the post has benefited me but I think, & I hope we can all agree, the time has come to stop adding to it. I for one am getting a bit concerned that our normally happy band is fracturing as some awful words are being used & it's become a popular post for all the wrong reasons. Please, let's go back to supporting one another, certainly my main reason for coming on here.

    I hope we can draw a line under this & learn from it. x to you all

  • Hi all,

    wise words from nomoreheels. This forum is here for people with RA to support one another in a safe and happy environment. It's OK to have a rant sometimes and people do need to express their feelings and views sometimes, even if we do not agree with them. Just as we must not judge people we see in the outside world, please do not judge one another here. People have bad days and bad experiences. Time to end this thread and as nomoreheels says, get back to the real purpose of this forum which is to support one another.

    Kindest wishes

    Beverley (NRAS Helpline)

  • well said nomoreheels let keep thing on a happy note thing are hard for most of us and we are all friends on here so keep the positive threads comming

  • Sad to say i agree with you there. It makes it hard on us that really need the help and they stigmatise us all as scroungers when we are not.

  • This is going to be my last comment on this.

    Again I am not saying that "everyone" who uses a stick is a fake. I just want to make this really clear again. If someone still thinks this, then I am sorry, but they are interpreting it incorrectly.

    I am saying that those who fake it use a stick to "enhance" their faking it. Only they are not doing it right (their faking it). Because its so obvious when you see them compared to a person who is ill (even on a good day sick persons carry themselves differently). To me it just seems so obvious, plus I see what else they are up to which does not make sense if they truly were sick they could not do those things.

    Also removing the post or thread would come to censorship. And to compare this thread with racism or terrorism is a bit far fetched. It is just voicing of opinion. The first sentence of my post was that I may get flamed for it.

    I have seen post on here were people complained about the costs of things or why they cannot buy something etc. I did not agree with it but did not post that I did not agree or added my own opinion to it.

  • reading something like this makes me feel sad i didnt want ra i didnt want to take all the drugs i didnt want to struggle going to shops or even play with my granchildren tell you what incase people see me as a scrounger i will go and sit in a corner and slash my wrists rant over sorry if my words have upset anyone its just how i feel

  • No meandb, but I think we've all agreed we've exhausted this subject & possibly having a talk with one of the wonderful people on the NRAS helpline would help you not to feel as you do Freephone Helpline: 0800 298 7650 or if you prefer to write your feelings they can be contacted by email on helpline@nras.org.uk

  • yeh your right nomoreheels i just get fed up with people trying to say the ill and sick are the ones to blame for the state of this country

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