Collected comments on benefits

This blog post is here to collect some of the comments that I have left on other sites recently. Mostly for my own record in case I want to re-use any of them, but feel free to read them anyway.

I was interviewed about protesting against the Welfare Reform Bill for this article in the Worcester News and Evesham Journal. Worcester News: Benefit changes will hit disabled

Latentexistence says…
4:17pm Thu 2 Feb 12

I am the person named in the article. I would like to address the question of my income. First of all, it is a joint income. My wife cares for me full time and the amount of ESA that I get accounts for that. Secondly, DLA is not an income replacement. It is an extra amount above what I need to live on to cover the huge extra costs of care and mobility needs.
Our equivalent income without DLA is £12,786.84 after tax, and with DLA is £18,023.24 after tax. My wife has attempted to work as much as possible, mostly cleaning and cooking even though she is a qualified science teacher, but she needs to look after me now. If she went to work as a science teacher she would earn about £27k which would be more than we get now but the council would end up paying for my care at thousands per year.
Finally, I receive what the government consider necessary for me to live on. If you earn less than that, then you are almost certainly entitled to benefits too.

Latentexistence says…
4:19pm Thu 2 Feb 12

Since this article I have detailed my full list of benefits on my blog with an explanation. You can find it at http://www.latentexi
For what it’s worth, you don’t have to justify every bit of your income, but I do. You had better hope you never become disabled.

Latentexistence says…
4:43pm Thu 2 Feb 12

I would like to specify exactly why I am protesting against the welfare reform bill. I don’t really have the room to explain it all here, but it isn’t that the amounts that disabled people get are being cut so much as vast numbers of people will suddenly get nothing at all.The fabled £26k benefit cap that has been in the news is the least of the problems. They can have that one. I’m more worried about the disabled children that will no longer be treated as having national insurance contributions and so won’t get ESA, and the reduced disabled child tax credits, and the charging parents to access the child support agency if they break up, which means that children will not get support or parents will stay in abusive relationships because they can’t afford to leave. I’m worried about the fact that people receiving PIP (replacing DLA) will be tested frequently even if they have a progressive degenerative disease that will never get better, or even if they are missing limbs or permanently blind. PIP assessments will cost a fortune, are largely pointless for these people, and speaking from experience assessments for ESA and DLA have a serious impact on health in themselves. I’m worried about the fact that DLA has a 0.5 (ZERO point five) fraud rate, more is lost in error by the state, but that PIP will cut 20% off the budget. That budget pays for wheelchairs and care and special food and walking sticks.
There’s a lot more that is wrong, but that will do for now.

Latentexistence says…
9:45pm Thu 2 Feb 12

Biggles wrote:
The country is bust.
The country is paying out more than it collects.
People on benefits have a better lifestyle than a lot of people working.
Why should working people pay for non working people to have a better lifestyle then themselves ?

Why do you think I have a better lifestyle than people who are lucky enough to be able to work?I tell you what, break your arms and your legs, apply a blowtorch to most of your body until you feel suitably burnt, and then let’s see if you’re enjoying your lifestyle. Don’t like feeling like that? Then why should I?

Latentexistence says…
10:10am Fri 3 Feb 12

Ushmush – I suspect that some of the commenters came here because I mentioned this article on twitter and facebook. They may be responding here to criticism that I have received elsewhere, and for some of them it is personal since they have had worse themselves.I forgot to mention about the time-limiting of contribution-based ESA. This has come up in parliament largely in relation to cancer sufferers, but it affects a lot more people than that. Those who have made national insurance contributions will only receive contribution-based ESA for one year, after which they may or may not receive income-based ESA. This seems rather unfair to those who have paid NI all their lives in the expectation that it would cover them in their time of need.

Latentexistence says…
11:49pm Sat 4 Feb 12

batchelorboy -I should point out that the 2011 plate people carrier is not an extra from the government – she will pay for that from her DLA. It is new because the Motability charity which provides it leases the cars out in exchange for the customer’s mobility allowance, and then sells them at the end of the lease. That works out the best most economical way to provide transport for disabled people. If you look further down my website you will find some of my struggles to travel in a wheelchair and that goes some way to indicate why people spend their mobility allowance – given to provide mobility that would otherwise be difficult or costly – on a car through motability.The junk food, doesn’t seem such a good use of money. It’s not my place to judge her budgeting choices but I imagine that she is skimping on something else to do it, such as heating bills.Unfortunately riding my motorbike is nearly impossible for me these days. Anyone want to buy a 97 Yamaha Diversion 900? Breaks my heart to sell it though 🙁

The next batch of comments are from a Guardian article: Benefit cuts are fuelling abuse of disabled people, say charities

Latentexistence5 February 2012 6:57PM

It is hardly surprising that abuse of disabled people has risen. Government ministers and their advisers and the DWP have been constantly feeding incomplete and twisted lines to the press. The chair of the work and pensions select committee, Dame Anne Begg, told Chris Grayling and the DWP to “take more care” with their press releases since they were misleading and allowed the tabloids to print stupid headlines. All that happened is that the DWP now publishes the more misleading items as research instead of press releases, and the tabloids use that instead.


6 February 2012 1:47AM

I have said repeatedly on other threads that I would double the pay of nurses and double the benefits of the genuinely disabled but it goes ignored and all Guardianistas do is focus and riotously object to my caveat which is “paid for by clamping down on cheats”.

I’m disabled. I get ESA, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and DLA. I don’t wantdouble the benefits, even though that has to support my wife as well since she stopped work to care for me. (Incidently, saving thousands in care charges.) What I really want is for access to those benefits to be available to all the people that need it. I have so many friends who haven’t got the benefits that they so desperately need. Friends who can’t walk, or can’t get out of bed, or can’t cook for themselves. Friends who have been through the assessments by Atos and refused on absurd grounds. Friends who are in hospital near death and don’t get benefits. I was really terrified that I wasn’t going to get my ESA, and the assessment process itself made me more sick.

So your offer of doubling benefits is all very nice, but what we really need is for the government to stop stirring everyone up about “clamping down on cheats” because as EVERYONE keeps saying, the government themselves say that fraud for DLA is 0.5%. ZERO point five. Half a percent. Not much, in other words. But for fear that one of those people might get benefits, hundreds of thousands of desperately sick people go through hell and get refused, and live in poverty and fear as a result.

That’s why I object to your “clamping down on cheats.” Because it’s absolute rubbish.



6 February 2012 9:59AM

Let me get this straight, you think that if someone is disabled but has the money to buy a more expensive car, they shouldn’t? It’s possible to be a millionaire but still need to park in a disabled bay!

I just sometimes wonder at the idea that, say, a third of disabled people can afford fuck-off cars.

Motability cars are leased. Disabled people don’t own them, but they do have to hand over all of their mobility allowance out of their DLA every week for the three years of the lease. That is £51.40 per week, or £8,018.40 in total.

Motability buy the car, lease it to the customer, then sell the car. The customer has to pay any difference between the purchase price and the sale price that isn’t covered by the eight thousand pounds that they already hand over. Many expensive cars have a high resale price, so even though they cost more than the average car, they also sell for more and don’t require an extra fee for the customer.

I’ve just ordered my first car on Motability. It will change my life. I expect to go from housebound to actually able to go shopping, visit family and maybe look at going back to work or volunteering a little bit. The car I have ordered isn’t the cheapest, it’s a Vauxhall Meriva worth about £20k, but because it has a high resale value I only have to pay £200 extra to get it. I’ve chosen it for good reasons. It has room for my wheelchair. It has a seat that doesn’t hurt me. It has cruise control, which far from being a luxury extra, might be the only way that I can handle a long journey without screaming in pain. But guess what – it doesn’t cost “the taxpayer” any more than if I had chosen a £7k Kia which would be next to useless for me.


Daily Mail

“As many as eight out of ten have been judged capable of working, either immediately or in the forseeable future, given the right level of support.”

This is incredibly misleading. People placed in the Work Related Activity Group are not fit for work, as the DWP recently clarified. “In the forseeable future” is also misleading. People placed in the WRAG are expected to return to work within TWO TO FIVE YEARS, and ONLY with the right support. That isn’t fit for work.

38% of the total don’t complete the assessment. That ISN’T the same as found fit for work. Many of the drop out for various reasons, not least because by the time they are assessed they might have been sick (and correctly claiming) for nine months already. Quite a lot drop out because they cannot manage the ESA50 form.

A substantial number of the rest overturn the decision on appeal.


“Opponents of reform are now resorting to cynical emotional blackmail.”

If I exercise my vital democratic right to protest, is that emotional blackmail because I use a wheelchair?

We’ve already had wheelchair protesters chaining themselves together in London’s Oxford Circus — even though there are no plans whatsoever to target the genuinely disabled.”

Wrong, wrong wrong. The Independent Living Fund pays for the most severely disabled people to live in their own home instead of an institution. It’s gone. Have you read the draft rules for Personal Independence Payments? I have. PIP is going to exclude thousands of disabled people from the support that they need.

“Now it is claimed — in The Guardian, naturally — that ‘two-thirds’ of disabled people have been subjected to abuse and threats of violence because of the Government’s plans. Do you believe that? No, me neither.”

You don’t have any evidence, you just don’t want to believe that your rhetoric is responsible for that.

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.