On Being A Benefit Scrounger
In May of 2000 - after a few months of getting steadily worse. I was signed off of work. After a few months - once my Sick Pay was used up - I was officially moved onto Incapacity Benefit. A benefit that is deemed as a payment for someone that is sick, but with expectations of getting better.
Twelve years later, I am still getting Incapacity Benefit. I have diagnosis of Degenerative Spine, ME/CFS, Depression, and Anxiety - and the first two, the actual reasons I am properly poorly, are not filed under any section of "You're going to be fine, here's a cure"
Even with my own GP and now my CBT Specialist stating that yes I am ill and won't be "fixed" I am tarred with the stigma of being on benefits because it's easy, pays more than working, and I can live an easy life claiming money from "The Taxpayer" No, to look at me - aside from a shitty day when I am hobbling around - I do not look sick. If I've had a few days of chilling out, I can chat and have a laugh and seem like a normal person, but after a couple of hours of leading a normal life, I am then wiped out for two or three days.
According to pockets of the population, I shouldn't be on benefits, I should go out and get a job. "Get over it" and similar.
At no point have I sat here chuckling, watching people going out to work while thinking "Suckers! I get more than you!" You may notice that Kellie works... Why? Because being such a brilliant benefit scrounger, the money I get each week covers precisely shit. Even with her wage, we struggle to make ends meet some months.
But yes, being on benefits is SO much easier. I'm not going to go into how I feel on a daily basis - you can read it in posts like this one and get an understanding of my daily life. I would love to work. I would love to be able to get up in the morning (for starters) and get ready, sort kids out, get to work, spend the day working, get home, sort dinner and the house, and so on. HOWEVER. You find me an employer that is going to be willing to get a call from me saying I can't get my socks on in the morning because my body won't move properly. Or an employer that will accept after three or four hours, I will need to go home and collapse in bed with a handful of meds - not to mention, require the following three or four days off because I can't move or function.
And while we're on the subject of meds, find me a boss that will be willing for me to be IN work, take a handful of meds at half ten in the morning, and spend the next four or five hours spaced out, unable to focus and struggling to stay awake. And I don't mean "I get tired" but I nod off regardless of what I am doing - even if I am stood up.
And let's not forget the time off every few weeks to go to my therapy appointment, or to see my GP about tweaking my meds...
I am so sick and tired of being labelled a benefit scrounger, but I retort with: FIND me this employer. FIND me a job in IT or Customer Service that is prepared for me to be one day then off sick for two or three days.
This government has managed to convince so many people in the country that someone on Benefits is probably not entitled to receive them, everyone is now sure people like me are lazy, scrounging, skiving, cheats, lying about a disease or illness or whatever in order to get money for doing nothing.
And who do the government employ in order to examine people like me? Do they send in health care professionals, trained in the ailment that is troubling someone? Do they consult with the doctor that has been trying to sort it for a dozen years? Do they contact the specialist in the area to find out how I am affected?
Do they f$ck! They send in people that have a list of questions to ask, a series of "Bend this body part" or "Move this body part" with no understanding of mental health, physical problems or anything else - and they base their WHOLE decision on this one forty-five minute meeting... In 45 minutes, they can tell that I am actually healthy and there's nothing wrong with me. Sod the reams and reams of paperwork at the doctors office they could look at. Sod page after page of therapist meetings. Sod the actual letter from the ACTUAL specialist that states what's wrong and how I am affected daily... No no, 45 minutes is all it takes to reinforce the Benefit Scrounger label.
I wish I was healthy. I wish someone would give me a job. I wish people would stop looking at me, telling me I don't look sick, I need to get over it, that they pay for me to be lazy and so on.
I am so sick of it. Sick to the teeth of it. Of the labels, the looks, the idiot determining that I am actually healthy, of surviving on f$ck-all money, and mostly, I am sick of feeling like this ALL the time.
As an example - today, I had to have my boiler serviced, so I've been in knots screwing over someone I don't know coming into my house and pulling something apart. I've written a Musical Monday post. I've written this post. I've listened to music.
And yet, I have done too much, I am in agony, stressed out and totally miserable with it all. Find me an employer that will deal with someone in a state like I am, sobbing in pain and stress - but I can't take any meds for another two hours.
But yeah, I'm fine, nothing wrong with me. I'm just a Benefit Scrounger.