Income of a benefit scrounger

Since an article in the Evesham Journal has published the amount of benefits that I receive without any explanation as to why I receive them or what they are  for, I decided to talk about it here. This is what my wife and I receive in benefits each week at the moment.

  • £158.55 Employment Support Allowance
  • £74.63 Housing Benefit
  • £18.35 Council Tax Benefit
  • £100.70 Disability Living Allowance
The Employment Support Allowance listed above is made up of three parts:
  • – £105.95 Personal Allowance
  • – £20.25 Enhanced Disability Premium
  • – £32.35 Support Component
The Disability Living Allowance listed above is made up of two parts
  • – £49.30 Mid-Rate Care Allowance
  • – £51.40 High-Rate Mobility Allowance

The ESA Personal Allowance covers my wife as well as myself. If I were not married then the Personal Allowance would be £67.50, however my wife does not claim Job Seeker’s Allowance since she is caring for me as a full time job. She has been told that she may still be required to attend a work focussed interview. She saves the council thousands of pounds per year in care charges by looking after me.

Our rent and council tax are not paid every week of the year. Total annual amounts are Band A Council Tax, £960, and rent for a one-bedroom housing association flat, 48 x 74.63 = £3582.24.

Disability Living Allowance is not a replacement for income. It is an extra amount to provide for care costs and to allow me to have some mobility by spending it on things like a wheelchair or a car. Our equivalent annual take-home income without DLA is £12,786.84 and with DLA is £18,023.24. If my wife were able to find a job as a science teacher then she would earn a salary of about £27,000 per year, which would easily make us better off after tax even without claiming tax credits, contribution-based ESA and DLA which we would still be entitled to. However, I would then need someone else to look after me.

I need to make it clear that although I am fortunate enough to receive full support for my illness and disability, a great many people do not. For an example, consider Sue Marsh who has one of the most severe  cases of chron’s disease in the country. She has had 7 major life saving operations to remove over 30 obstructions (blockages) from her bowel. She takes chemo-shots every two weeks that suppress her immune system, and exhaustion, pain and nausea plague every single day of her life. She has osteoprosis and malnutrition. She has had major seizures and a stroke. And yet she was inexplicably turned down for Disability Living Allowance.

My claims for ESA and for DLA were difficult and were always in doubt despite my severe illness. It has taken me well over a year to sort out secure housing and income, and on the way to that my wife tried her best to take any and every job available. Although she is a fully qualified science teacher she was unable to find teaching work (even supply teaching) and so took work cleaning and cooking whenever it became available. Because of the sporadic and unpredictable nature of this work we were overpaid housing benefit in 2010 and 2011 and repayments for this are now taken from us every week. We were also evicted from our privately-let home possibly because of our sporadic rent payments, and just about scraped into social housing because of my illness and disability. My health is so bad at this point that my wife has to look after me full time.

With the advent of the Welfare Reform Bill and Personal Independence Payments which will replace Disability Living Allowance things will get much harder. I am much less likely to get PIP, and the process to find out will be hard and will have a negative impact on my health. Between ESA and PIP I am likely to be reassessed far more frequently and with much less chance of being awarded the help that I need. I am very afraid for my future and worried that I will be put into the Work Related Activity Group and have my mobility and care allowances taken away, simultaneously requiring me to work but removing the last bit of support which might allow me to do so.

I hope that by making this information public that I will add to people’s understanding.

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

5 thoughts on “Income of a benefit scrounger”

  1. It is absolutely diabolical that anyone in this country in 2012 has to justify publically why they need state support, and especially for someone disabled. It is very personal and emotionally devistating to each individual claimant, and I for one am totally ashamed of being British!

    This blog is factual and emotional at same time.

    Humbling to the reader and also shameful that you have to do this!

    That said, I for one am going to refer those idiots I know who believe the media shit about those on benefits, to this blog.

    Education may make them think differently!

    I am so appalled you have to do this, and wish you all the best for your future.

  2. I completely agree with Kris on this – an able-bodied person would never have to lay out their finances so publicly to justify their situation, it’s ridiculous and I applaud you for it.  My wife and I were doing some sums yesterday in the wake of the disastrous votes in the Commons – we’re in a very similar situation as yourself – and it’s scary how much is going to change at the beginning of April.  I’ll be composing a Blog myself on the subject later.

    We will not go quietly into the night.  We will not vanish without a fight.

  3. Hi, Thanks for explaining this as people just don’t get it. I call DLA ‘cheap to keep’ benefit.

  4. You get more than I do, I’ve even had my HB cut because a friend moved in to care for me. He saves the government a fortune in care costs for me and keeps me out of an institution, and their response is to penalize my household.

  5. I think it was very brave of you to write this post. Hopefully lots of people will read it and gain an understanding of how difficult some people’s lives are.

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