People With A Disability Aren’t Always On Benefits

As most readers know I don’t always post personal information on this site, but as you may know I have a spinal problem and I also run a fish pond business SEE HERE among other small business ventures Inc IT, eBay shop and even earn money from the adverts you see on this site. But last week I had something strange happen I would like to share how some people don’t understand having a disability.

Last week as I was getting back from the first pond job of the year, this has been to do with weather and also my conditions, which will go into later. I had a text from a mobile number saying the following “Surveillance cameras have been operating in your area for over a year know. Disability benefit fraud know carries a certain custodial sentence you must declare yourself fit for work to avoid prosecution.” then over the next few days had others with a very threatening tone, I knew it wasn’t real as spelling wasnt correct and when replied their response wasn’t professional at all. I did ring DWP to check and the woman just laughed when I read out the text. They told me not to reply, but I wanted to educate the person sending the messages and also to have a laugh, as did brighten up my mood, as this person didn’t know anything about me or what someone with a disability goes through each day.

Basically this came from someone who seen me loading up my car and going out to work and assumed I am on benefits that means I cannot work, which is incorrect. As I have a severe degenerative disease of my spine, along with other heath conditions for any distance walking I have to use a walking Stick and do walk bent over and also very slow, so someone has seen me like that and assumed because I have a stick that means I must be on the benefit system and therefore me going out to work is fraud.

With my condition which is going to get worse over the years, all the doctors and consultants can do is manage my pain, this is done by very strong medication through patches, tablets throughout the day, also medication that helps with muscle spasms and also control the way your brain deals with nerve pain. I have also had injections in my nerves in my spine to help the pain and also so far had one side of the nerves at the base of my spine burnt away, this does help with the pain also. I have been told by doctors to give up my job as because the pond work can be demanding on my body, which is making my condition worse. But why should I give in as I’m not that type of person. Last year and this year I have unfortunately had to turn down a lot of work as no way my body would be able to cope. Even though the services I do are never any longer than about 7hrs total, most average services are 4hrs I do come away from jobs in tears sometimes with the pain I am in and also the next day or two after that job I’m unable to move properly. I get satisfaction out of my work, seeing a pond going from being overgrown, dirty etc to looking like new I take pride in that and all my customers are happy with the work I do and appreciate the effort I put in, even though they can see me in pain.

As I am self employed having a disability and be able to work is an advantage, as I may have organised a job and that morning I am unable to move, it means I have to cancel the job, I would be the only person that looses money if I cannot rearrange, but this is to all my customers that over the past year have been very understanding and do appreciate the work I do. With the problems I have it does come and go sometimes because I have pushed my body to far, other times for no reason. There are times that 3-4 days go by that I struggle even to get off the bed even to get to the loo, even on those days I am unable to get downstairs, even if I do I have to crawl up the stairs. Trust me this is not that good and there is only so much day time TV you can watch lol. I do like video games, but that as suffered over the last year as have trouble holding the controller, even writing articles for the site can become too much. To do most jobs I’m normally at the max amount of prescription drugs I can take, and even then is still not enough to get me fully mobile.

Most of my problem is walking for distance as go so slow and very painful. But as doing a service on a fish pond the longest distance I have to do is get equipment out of car into garden, which is done in stages. The actual work I do not need to more than 10mts at any one time. This is still very painful and do just come to a halt at points and have to stop for few minutes. To see a breakdown of a full fish pond service see HERE

Me doing full pond clean from 2016

In society today there is discrimination all around, especially for someone that maybe on benefits, here is the basics I know about benefits for the disabled though now they are integrated into the universal credit system. But before this there was ESA, incapacity benefit, or sickness benefit, over the years these are for people that cannot work at all and on average is under £80 for short term and just over £110 for long term, this is per week. Now realiscally on these benefits you should not work as you are claiming you are unfit for work. There is also carers allowance this is not for the person with the disability, but for the person that needs to help that person with the disability, which is around £70 per week, they can work while getting this but really not earn that much money ie not in a full time job. Both of these both myself and my wife do not claim at all. But then we get onto PIP, this is in several sections for care and mobility, most people think of this if someone has a mobility car they are getting the highest rate of the mobility section, on this benefit there are no restriction this includes saving, other benefits, work income, and the person claiming this can work. Again the PIP mobility is a benefit I do not receive. I do not even have a blue disabled badge, and even with my problems I wouldn’t park in these space though there are people out there that don’t care and just block these space when they don’t need them.

Which as you see above this is what annoyed me getting this text, as know it it someone that likes to judge a person without knowing full details. There are people out there than do con the system and yes they should be caught and dealt with. But when a honest working person that does have a disability who makes sure they are still of use and a productive member of society that pays tax, is treated like this it does seem like discrimination. Now you may think with what I have said really I’m not in a condition to work and why put myself through that much pain, well the reason even though I’m in pain I still enjoy my job and get satisfaction out of it and there are customers that rely on me, which makes you feel better in yourself.

I hope people reading this rethink about people with a disability as not everyone is claiming benefits, but even the ones that do as I have several customers that cannot work at all and can tell you that they are not lazy like most people think. Trust me when your stuck in bed for a few days you do feel useless at least if you can still work, then it is best to as chronic pain does increase suffering from depression and exercising, getting out side has been proved to help with depression, and makes that person feel like they are not a failure. I know that I have the advantage of being my own boss, and in normal employment taking days off when the pain is too much, wouldn’t go down well with an employer, which is why I know personally I wouldn’t be able to do a 9-5, 5 day a week job, which is why I put my body through hell just to earn a living.

Writing this as gave me ideas of writing more about my pain journey as personally I have to write a personal diary to keep track of my pain, amount of drugs etc. There are people out there going through the same as me so think it would be a good idea to start sharing this so other people know they are not the only ones going through this, so to the person that sent me that text I must say thank you for giving me inspiration for a new section on this site.

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1 Response

  1. Marianne Franzén says:

    Dear Kevin.
    Have read your fate unfortunately I meet many people who have the same illness as you so I also, when people see me sitting without a walker, they can not understand that I have Pinal Stenos. I understand your daily problems, this by waking up with pain and falling asleep with pain it is difficult to understand if you are not affected yourself. The help I get from the community is travel service so I can go shopping, but if I ask for a trip outside the municipality I often get no. Have moved from Stockholm to Linköping Sweden and have my grandchildren left in Stockholm, I did not get help to go up to Stockholm when my brother was buried, what they offered me was to go by train which I have a medical certificate that I cannot. This is an acidic life the last few years you have left, I am a woman of 77 years and have paid taxes and still pay taxes to society. I have found the interest in adding puzzles, which is stimulating. If I were to be operated on, it is 50/50 that it goes well, then I choose pain medicine. My question is to you if you sell your Wasgig puzzles? Best Regards.
    Marianne Franzén
    Linköping, Sweden

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