Does claiming welfare benefits put you off getting more active?

Sharon_K
Sharon_K Administrator Posts: 322

The current welfare system puts off disabled people and those with a long-term health conditions from being physically active. Many are concerned that, if they engage in any form of activity, they will be perceived as having a lower level of need for support, their eligibility for welfare will be challenged and that their access to their current benefits will be stopped.

Share your experience so we can inform the Department of Work and Pensions.

Many thanks

Sharon

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Comments

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,760

    I don't agree with that statement at all! It seems to suggest that those of us on benefits are scroungers and not willing to help ourselves. I would LOVE to be active but the simple fact of the matter is that I am so far gone that I can't and 3 physios, a consultant and a Pilates tutor have told me not to exercise, I have even been turned down for Aqua Therapy. I will not be tarred with that brush and am shocked that such a statement would be put on the forum.

  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 325

    Totally agree with Mike, why are they trying to plunge disabled people into poverty than concentrating on bigger fish? It’s a case of beating you down until you give in rather than supporting people with a health problem the whole process is humiliating enough

  • crinkly
    crinkly Member Posts: 69

    I read the above comment a little differently as it suggests to me a level of concern among disabled people rather than being a direct criticism of them.

    I suspect there is some truth in the suggestion that we might be afraid of losing Disability Benefits if seen participating in physical activity and I am aware that popular journalism has 'outed' people who may have wrongfully claimed benefits then been filmed playing high level sports etc..

    Having been in receipt of DLA (I'm too old to have been transferred to PIP) for a long time I have taken the 'L for Living' as being supportive of activity generally so have used the benefit towards purchasing various items that allow me to be more active both in the house and outside. Over time I have purchased various useful aids for more independent living - stairlift, bath-lift and numerous gadgets. With its help I also participated in a number of low impact exercise classes at my local leisure centre (with the coach always informed about my limitations) and now enjoy cycling on level rail paths. I can ride a bike comfortably but can only walk a few yards without debilitating pain.

    There was a time when I felt occasional pangs of guilt as I played 'walking netball' or joined a 'spinning (static cycling) class' but I now recognise just how much this pursuit of exercise has contributed to my continued good general physical health, not to mention my mental health.

    I consider myself an example of exactly what can be achieved/maintained with the aid of DLA / other Benefits. I would encourage others to follow suit and regard their benefits as a positive aid to a quality of life that cannot be achieved without physical exercise.

    After jumping through endless demeaning hoops to satisfy official assessors of the need for Benefits there should be no fear of being challenged when using those Benefits to good effect. The opinion of 'many' is of no consequence but merely displays general ignorance of disability.

    Nevertheless reports of how Benefits' applicants are sometimes treated means that the suggestion is bound to leave a shadow of doubt and I would certainly seek expert advice if called upon to defend myself against a complaint!

  • crinkly
    crinkly Member Posts: 69

    P.S.

    To Mike and others who are not able to undertake exercise of the kind to which I refer above - my apologies. I should have included a sentence that acknowledged your situation so there was no hidden implication that you are not appropriately recognised. I know you do as much as you can just to get through every day and I applaud your efforts whilst realising how very fortunate I am to be able to move around as well as I do.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,271

    I'm totally with @crinkly . Maybe because I, too, have always regarded the L in DLA and I in PIP to be intended to help us Live Independently. I've always regarded exercise as being essential for this and know that my GPs and consultants would be the first to take my side if anyone suggested otherwise.

    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,760

    Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is money for people who have extra care needs or mobility needs (difficulty getting around) as a result of a disability; one does not get it for having a disability but how the disability affects one. One may get the daily living part of PIP if one needs help more than half of the time with things like: preparing or eating food; washing, bathing and using the toilet; dressing and undressing; reading and communicating; managing your medicines or treatments; making decisions about money; and/or engaging with other people. One does not get the mobility element of PIP if one can stand and then move more than 200 metres without any help or one can stand and then move more than 200 metres with a special aid i.e. a walking stick, frame etc.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,740

    When my Lucy had cancer and was using a wheelchair for the vast majority of the time she was on PIP. She was terrified to do anything on 'better days' in case someone was out there with a camera filming her ready to charge her with fraud. Especially as she was only a teenager.

    I remember one lady being blasted as having committed benefit fraud a few years ago for being out on her husband's motorbike. She clearly had quite severe RA - her hands were visible in the photo in the paper.

    How many times have we seen articles in the press about people claiming for years when they are well....maybe working as a builder etc. I am convinced this is propaganda to make the general public see people with a disability as being 'scroungers'.

    Our Drs want us to exercise I agree absolutely, but there is that fear.


    GREAT idea posting that statement for comments Sharon.

    Love

    Toni xxx
  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 325

    How terrible for Lucy being afraid as well as dealing with being so poorly, ill never understand why people have to be labelled I don’t think people scrounge they’re just trying to live or as they say what’s the point hope Lucy is better x

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,740

    Hi @Jona thank you you are quite right, but such is life isn't it? She could easily still be claiming as it has left her with epilepsy, but she'd rather not.

    Lucy is doing really well now thank you she had to have a shoulder replacement and hip surgery due to the treatment, but she's fine now thank you. The people on here supported us through her treatment so very very well it was wonderful. There is a thread somewhere.

    Thanks

    Love

    Toni xxx
  • I've been on ESA full support and enhanced on both for PIP for 4 years. I took a lot for me to do it and finally take advice from my Dr's, consultant and OT. I've had to adapt the way I do things but when I can I'm in my garden weeding, deadheading and planting seeds. I try all I can to stay as active as possible. I used to swim but can't even do that now because of pain in Ribs, clavicle and shoulder but I can hire the local hydrotherapy pool which enables me to walk. Never give up moving because of benefits. You've had to fight hard to get what you need. Just live the best life you can

  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 325

    Hi @frogmorton Lucy should be very strong and proud of herself as I’m sure mum is and @GCraycraft well said the benefit system is there to help you when it’s needed we all know that there are those that take advantage but people who need it try to live the best life they can I was asked the other day how do I find walking I’m in pain as soon as I stand up but I have to keep moving I hung a bit of washing out the other day and literally felt guilty that I should be at work but I was raised on feeling guilty about just everything Thank you for giving me the confidence to carry on fighting 😊😊

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,740

    Awww @Jona

    Thank you so much and bless you.

    You were probably brought up like many many of us not to take 'handouts' and to work for your living, but guess what?

    Coming in here and helping others might not be paid work, but it really helps others. Just not valued as highly as work outside the home might be.

    Take care

    Love

    Toni xxx
  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 325

    Hi @frogmorton ,

    Ive always thought a problem shared is a problem solved to a certain extent but keeping things inside it festers if I can help 1 person with my experiences some good some not so good I will , I sometimes suffer from verbal incontinence but everyone here are just smashing, warm and sincere

    love to all and a warm hug to Toni 😊❤️

  • Shaphron
    Shaphron Member Posts: 67
    edited 13. Oct 2021, 09:36

    I get PIP for mental health reasons, not physical, and it does worry me that if I go out or do better on good days and someone knew that I could be reported and have PIP removed. It's not specifically exercise, but I do worry about going out to a gym regularly or similar, as that might make people think I'm OK. So I exercise at home, rather than go out. It is a definite worry, as you have to fight to make the DWP see you as needing help, and then you worry that any little thing could be taken as evidence that you don't need the help.

    If in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout

  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 325

    It is hard enough dealing with the pain it is supposed to be a benefit to help people live a life albeit limited but to have to fight to get it your always afraid of being watched as every day there seems to be another dwp fraud reported which I’m sure with mental health problems it makes it worse I just hope they really start taking into consideration doctors reports and medical professionals input rather than how it affects someone as everyone is different like giving birth it’s extremely painful yet some women need an epidural some women just gas and air

    take care people and stay strong 😊

  • The thing is, it's recommended to try and do something every day and to move as much as possible. Otherwise you are at risk of going under completely. I'm in pain all the time, as I explained to PIP I'm in pain before I even get up to walk, walking causes the pain to increase severely. There for I cannot reliably or repeatedly do this to a suitable level, as expected of a person without pain. I use crutches for walking and have to stop frequently. It takes me 5 times longer to do 20 mtr than my sister who is 65 and 11 years older. This was also confirmed by my Physio and consultant and still I had to put in a mandatory consideration, which I got overturned. I refuse to let them rule how I live my quality of life, or lack of it. If they watch me they'll see I only go out for appointments and a bit of shopping and they will see the state of me on my return to the car. So please don't let them rule how you live your life!!

  • Jona
    Jona Member Posts: 325

    I would 100% prefer to work I hate having to justify myself to anyone but the emotional distress it causes constant humiliation in reality the loss of freedom and independence isn’t even taken under consideration, I’m now retired and I look back to last year and wonder how I did actually carry on working the stress of not making mistakes, tiredness imagine doing 6 to 8 hours a day on just 2 hours sleep I would insist on risk management but being afraid to say in case you lose your job or being older, now I don’t feel as stressed, Im finding other ways than taking pills that make me more tired and dizzy I’m adapting, mum used to say you cut your cloth according to size I totally get it I think in myself I’m adjusting and adapting and we really need to put the human back into humanity