Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly grateful for the benefits system here in the UK. Without it, I honestly don’t know where I’d be. (Yes I do, on the streets.) But what I hate, is the stigma attached.
So here it is. I’m 29 and I claim benefits. I’m probably never going to work again. At the moment my other half is also claiming benefits. Why? So he can look after me. Previous to that he had a well paid, full time, job. Now he’s stuck with my label of ‘Scrounger’.
Firstly, I’d like to address my husband (and anyone else on carers allowance). I’d like you to adjust your thinking a little here. If my husband wore a uniform and went round to a lovely old dears house five times a week, bringing home a nice little wage, he’d be employed. But because he lives with the person he’s looking after and gets paid by the government he’s a Scrounger? I think not. My partner works just as hard, if not harder, than anyone else. He is here for me 24/7 and the pay is a pittance. Honestly, life would be easier for him if he worked. He’s given up a career he loved, and most of his social life, to do this. So think about that when you assume someone who is a carer has the easy option.
Secondly, there’s me. I don’t work. I can’t work, and I’m not going to apologise for it. Why? Because it’s not my fault. It’s taken me a good few years to appreciate that I cannot control my health. I used to work. I had to leave when it was getting to the point I was collapsing in the workplace and unable to function at home. Even after that point I continued to try. I would volunteer at my daughters school so at least I felt I was giving something back. But one afternoon in school meant the rest of the week in bed. I couldn’t wash or feed myself. I couldn’t look after my child (who incidentally I had before becoming ill, but having a child whilst on benefits is a whole other debate), in order to function I had no choice but to give it up.
So now I don’t work. But, believe you me, it’s no picnic. Yes, I spend many days in bed. But it’s because I’m in incredible pain and sapped of every bit of my energy. Some days I make it out. But even then, with a smile on my face, I’m dizzy and in pain. (Which is best case scenario). Just because I don’t work doesn’t mean I have an easy life. I’d LOVE to work. I went to university. I was supposed to have a career. I wasn’t supposed to be a burden on society. I had a plan!
But the thing is, life happens. Health issues don’t care about your plans. So please, have compassion for those of us in genuine need of benefits. I can guarantee you won’t think worse of us than we have of ourselves. I wouldn’t wish my problems on anyone, but remember, disability can happen to anyone. Even people who think everyone on benefits are scrounging scum.

Responses

  1. Kristina

    Beautifully said! This is how I feel exactly. I was pregnant with my son when I was diagnosed with EDS and POTS. I can’t work right now if ever now with the addition of my daughter’s disabilities.

  2. Hazel

    You have said it exactly how it is from my point of view too. I am 27 … I want to be working,socialising … but I don’t because I can’t due to pain fatigue dizziness the list is endless.
    Did I want to feel this way at my age? Certainly not! Still people judge so easily. X

  3. John

    I’m a carer I thought that was my life but you are only 29 so I new it wasn’t. You are right disability can happen to anyone. Keep your chin up, don’t take it out on your husband after all he is only a carer us carer’s do our best

    1. Jennie (blogger)

      Yes John I am only 29.But unfortunately I suffer with incurable illness that even fully managed leaves me unfit and unsafe for work. So I’m afraid this is my life. It too is my husbands as long as he chooses to have me, which he assures me will be forever. I do my best not to take things out on him. But we are only human, and spending so much time together does mean it’s inevitable at times. We are a good team though, and very happy. 🙂

      Thank You to everyone for the comments. I really appreciate the feedback.

  4. Peter George

    I am a scrounger, too and have been for nearly 4 years. Before I gave up my paid employment, I was working six nights a week, some 50+ hours, whilst caring for my friend and former neighbour during the days, some 60 hours a week, that left me just 58 hours for sleeping, shopping, travelling to and from work, or doing my own thing. Following a stay in hospital having suffered a bleed in the brain,in 2011, my friend was decidedly more disabled and needed far more care, so I undertook the momentous decision to take early retirement and become a full-time carer (100+ hours).
    My caring duties include personal hygiene, dressing, lifting/transferring from bed to chair or wheelchair, feeding, cooking. correspondence,finances,chauffering etc.etc.plus I`m “on call” 24 hours of the day, everyday. My last “day off” was in January 2015, when my charge was admitted to hospital, but that still meant spending time visiting.
    Yes, I`m a benefit scrounger, but so what ?

  5. kerry

    I’m autistic with other mental health stuff which stops me from working. I have a dissociative disorder which can be fugue states or multiple personalities. What employer is going to take that on? I know I wouldn’t! I worked till I couldn’t any more and had to give up the care of my children to their dad who then moved to another city. I see them all the time but train fares are a killer! At the moment things are even worse cos I have physical stuff going on which is leaving me in constant pain.
    I don’t want to be on benefits, who does? Especially in these times when like you said, we are labeled scroungers and people think we have big tv’s and eat take out every night.
    I fill my time writing, making jewellery and trying to maintain a very small social world, which as an autistic person is an anxiety filled world despite thankfully having very wonderful friends.
    I don’t know what the future is. I don’t want to be in this place forever. I’ve done therapy and is take my meds as I’m supposed too, but there are so many things that can’t be solved with a handful of pills 🙁
    One day I want to be out there doing things, hsve a job, maybe someone yo love who loves me, despite my craziness and everything. Isn’t it sad that the things we want ate little things that most people take for granted? But of course. That’s not what the government want people to see, so I guess for now, we are and e ill remain scroungers. xx

  6. christina evans

    we got married in 1984 and had four children. My husband worked fulltime often I didn’t see him for weeks on end he worked all over the country and abroad. I worked part time. In 1995 our 10 year old daughter was dx with epilepsy, all the treatment didn’t help , she was referred to Birmingham childrens hospital, she had bad asthma and raynaulds as well. She was on three anti convulsants which made her overweight and drowsy, the fits were unpredictable. Our eldest daughter spent two years in hospital having osteotomies done for bilateral hip dislocation. I had been having problems with my hip and back, was dx with osteoarthritis at age 30. nine years later I and the one daughter had really bad health problems, we lost our home and my husband was paid off because he couldn’t do the 70 odd hours a week anymore. He became me and our daughters carer. our youngest daughter age 12 was dx with eds the same as I had been in 2001, she also has bleeding disorder and is under hospital. we don’t have a social life, except to visit gardens and places of nature. we live well within our means and it has got harder since 2010.checking all the time we have enough to pay for rent,electric,phone etc.as I write this we have £100 to last us for five days. all the things that used to be in place like ema for 16 year old,free school bus has gone.