Thursday, May 10, 2007


I'm sure most of you know someone on benefits, specifically disability benefits. I know quite a few, at least 4 of my closest friends are on it for one reason or another, and yes they all deserve to receive it. However, I'm sure most of you also know someone who seems to be claiming it without any reason to. This really, really pisses me off, especially when I hear about someone who does need it, but gets denied.

A work colleague of mine has a teenage son, whom she has raised alone. He's never seen his Dad and he has never supported them in any way. The Mum has always worked to support them, never claimed a penny, and has has struggled and fought to bring up one of the nicest 15 year old boys I've ever had the fortune to meet. He's a credit to her.

A year or so ago he was finally diagnosed with Crohns Disease after years and years of sickness, pain and tests. He dropped about 4 stone in weight, his puberty has been delayed by the illness, he has chronic pain from the digestive side of the illness, but also has flare ups of rheumatism in his joints and eyes. He may end up in a wheelchair and blind. He has missed loads of schoolwork, spends most of his nights and days on the toilet, and can't have solid food at all(he lives on a specialist liquid diet). Every six weeks he has to travel to Great Ormond Street Hospital for various tests and checks, sometimes his appointments come through on consecutive days, so they'll have to travel to London on a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, meaning his Mum has to miss work and travel; backwards and forwards(there is no way she could afford a hotel stay).

Her doctor suggested she claim disability for him to help cover the travel costs to the hospital and to school(he has to get a taxi most days as the walk is too far), and he wrote a supporting letter to the benefits team for the her. The claim was rejected, so she appealed, and last week she had to go before a tribunal for the final appeal. It was refused, unbelievably, and that is it, no more chances. It's disgusting that they think she doesn't deserve a little help getting him the things he needs, but then other people get it for nothing. My colleague has new neighbors, who incidentaly are lovely, and one of them uses a wheelchair and claims benefits. Two days ago the lady was outside loading heavy boxes into the car. Talk about rubbing their noses in it. We've told her she should speak to her MP and to the papers, but her son doesn't like all his friends at school knowing too much about his condition, so he would hate for it to be in the local paper. I just can't understand it. :(

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