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We Are Not Lazy Because We Are On Benefits

Not Everyone Is On Benefits Because They Don't Want To Work.

By Carol TownendPublished 11 days ago 5 min read
Top Story - May 2024
24
 We Are Not Lazy Because We Are On Benefits
Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash

My life has not been easy.

I struggled at school with bullying and school work with very little support available to me, and that continued into adulthood, where it interfered with my mental health, and my ability to find work.

The situation caused a variety of very serious problems for me as a parent, past girlfriend, wife, and as a person.

I spent half of my childhood struggling to grow up, and my self-esteem was cut short by the bullying, which also occurred at home in the streets on a regular basis.

I spent half of my adult life escaping bullying and abuse, whilst trying to build a future for myself and my children.

I was an individual with dreams and ambitions of settling into a job or career that I really wanted to do. I dreamed of writing books and magazines, singing, working in media, nursing, and working with children.

My dreams were smashed by the circumstances that seriously affected me, and at the end of it I was left with mental illness, living in several hostels and on the streets, and a repeat cycle of admissions to psychiatric hospitals.

All of these problems came at a cost. I lost my children to the system, family relationships, friends, my ability to access college or university, and my ability to get a job, and at one point I almost lost my life because I was severely traumatized.

Don't judge before you go through it. That trauma still affects me today, even though I cope a bit better now. If it weren't for the DBT I had done whilst living in Bournemouth where I moved to, with a goal of starting a new life and my husband, I wouldn't be coping today at all.

When I first moved to Bournemouth 19 years ago, I moved with the intention of starting a new life. I was supposed to be dusting off the cobwebs, begin my journey towards a career, and looking after my family.

It didn't pan out that way straight away.

I relapsed several times.

I had a lot of fears to deal with, which caused great anxiety for me. I was afraid to make friends because I feared being attacked again, my head kept going back to past traumas, I was afraid to go anywhere by myself, and I found it really difficult to manage my trauma around my family.

Even now, after therapy, I still deal with trauma, and I have a fear of getting on buses by myself.

In 2020, my husband became unwell with Covid-19.

During this time, I was just starting to get on my feet, and taking steps to rebuild my life.

My husband was admitted to the hospital because he was in triple amounts of pain, dehydrated fast, unable to stay awake, and wasn't eating or drinking properly.

He was in that hospital for three weeks because the nasty virus worsened every disability he had. Some of those disabilities were due to cancer treatment when he was very young, and also pain brought on by a car accident, which had also worsened his previous disabilities.

I was terrified to be alone and terrified that I was going to lose my husband. I couldn't concentrate on anything, including my studies, reading or writing, and I had a very hard time doing the essential things I needed to do by myself because of the deep anxiety this had triggered during the lockdown period.

Today, we are both trying to build ourselves up by pursuing writing.

We hope to build into a business so that we can move away from the benefits system, which, in truthfulness pays degrading amounts to someone who has worked looking after others for many years.

I am also registered as a carer towards my husband, and I do not get paid for this. I get Carers Allowance, which is taken from our other benefits.

We also get PIP for our disabilities, UC and the housing allowance element, which also gets deducted from our main benefits.

This might seem like a lot of money to those who have never had benefits, but it really isn't.

Many people struggle to pay necessary things, such as bills. We have little left to cover basic needs.

Once the bills are paid, we are lucky to have received some income from our writing. However, we are not past the stage where we can solely live off our writing income, because we earn below the threshold.

Benefits constantly change. I do not understand anybody who would want to remain on them, and those people committing fraud do not help.

People like me and my husband get a bad name for claiming benefits because of people who commit fraud, and we are often mistaken for doing it ourselves, even though we are not.

We confirm our income with the benefits agency regularly and on time. It might sound strange, but we are actually looking forward to the day when we will no longer have to rely on benefits, and are earning enough to become a tax-payer!

Disability can make it challenging to work.

Whilst I understand that some people can work with specific disabilities, there are others like my husband who would put their health at serious risk of harm by working.

My husband can barely do chores around the house, and he can sit down and write, but it isn't without pain. He also sleeps a lot.

He can do things like washing up if he is sat down, and he can help in the garden, but he can only do very light things with my support, and by sitting every five minutes, sometimes more.

He feels under pressure to do too much because he feels terrible about not being able to work anymore, and worse,

The government make him feel worse, by its plans to pressure disabled people into work.

I get that some people can work, but they are making people like my husband who has been permanently deemed unfit to work after 30 years of hard work as a nurse, feel bad about themselves.

There are also many people with severe mental health conditions who cannot work. I couldn't work when I was unwell. I wouldn't have lasted two minutes because of my severe state of health, and my husband needs me at home so that I can help and support him. I am the sole support network for him.

The point is that we need to stop labelling everyone who is claiming benefits as 'lazy.'

Of course, there are some people who will not even try to find work, but there are people like me who are looking for ways around it, and people like my husband who are looking for alternatives even though they don't have to.

My husband has been told by a doctor that going back to his job as a nurse could kill him because he also has arrhythmia.

Do the government really want to do that to people?

I don't think so, but I do think they need to be more considerate of the people who have a legitimate reason for not working while trying to catch the real ones who are trying to get out of doing as much as trying to find a job with no valid reason for not working.

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About the Creator

Carol Townend

Fiction, Horror, Sex, Love, Mental Health, Children's fiction and more. You'll find many stories in my profile. I don't believe in sticking with one Niche! I write, but I also read a lot too.

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Comments (23)

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  • Anna 5 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!

  • One of my family members is mentally disabled to the point that it severely affects them physically.

  • Andy Potts7 days ago

    You're not wrong at all. Unfortunately, too many people in the UK at the moment are happier to punch down rather than demand accountability from the people in charge. I'd like to think a change of government will help, but it's going to be a slow process.

  • Billie Whyte7 days ago

    Thank you so much for writing this piece as you have. You've done many of us a justice. I have a fear of leaving the house if unattended, due to trauma's of my own and I'm desperately trying to find a way to get back to work self-employed but the system simply isn't designed to support such cases. Fantastic piece, well written and a well needed topic of discussion too. Congratulations on the top story!

  • First Carol congrats on a top story. Well deserved. Why is it so complicated and difficult to help people that need and deserve it, yet so easy to hurt them. This is a "feature" of our world that has always puzzled me and pissed me off. The thing is, it doesn't have to be that way. It really doesn't, and yet, because of people's jealousies and fears and insecurities and hatreds and whatever other bad thing, it is that way. And it really, really sucks. I know many people have given up. They don't believe anything can or will ever change. But I don't have to believe that, and I don't and I won't. They can get better. I wish I knew how, but I don't, I only know it is possible. I have not been where you are Carol, nor seen what you have seen, experienced what you have. But, I have been in some terrible, lonely, awful places in my life. Places I never thought I could get out of. But there are other places, and writing helped me to find them. It didn't save me, or put food on the table, or miraculously make me whole. But it was always there for me when the system and people and everything else failed. It never did, and to this day, it never has.

  • Mika Oka7 days ago

    I hope they'll find a better way to do this

  • Manisha Dhalani7 days ago

    Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you well. Congrats on top story - hope for many more to come your way to ease your burdens in any way possible.

  • Babs Iverson7 days ago

    Heartfelt and honest article!!!❤️❤️💕Congratulations on Top Story!!!

  • Edi Rustandi7 days ago

    Luar biasa, berani mandiri adalah hebat...

  • Andrea Corwin 7 days ago

    I forgot to say congrats on TS, well deserved, very brave story.🎉👏

  • Andrea Corwin 7 days ago

    Oh. Gosh. I'm sorry you went through and now still go through troubles. I hate it when people judge those who get assistance. It is there for a reason. Do people cheat? Yes. And it ruins it for those who truly need assistance, just like the cheaters ruin other things for everyone. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty!! Life is hard enough, then add in a disability, and ugh. Maneuvering the hurdles to get assistance is a full-time job in itself. Everything now is SO EXPENSIVE.

  • Rene Peters7 days ago

    Thank you for sharing this! I also have benefits and feel guilty for needing that help even though it really isn't much.

  • Ian Vince8 days ago

    Very brave writing from a vulnerable perspective. I wish you well with your writing career

  • The government doesn’t care it’s a very disgusting thing to see how they treat veterans and disabled people of all backgrounds, it’s so horrible. My heart goes out to you and your family

  • kp8 days ago

    this is so vulnerable and important. thank you so much for sharing this relatable and heart-wrenching journey. as someone who struggles with an invisible disability and working consistently because of it...i completely understand where you are coming from. thank you for your bravery.

  • Nicholas Bishop10 days ago

    I can totally identify with this article.

  • Karen Cave10 days ago

    Hear hear. This is brave writing, thank you for being so honest. Can relate to a lot of what you have said, and many people are lucky enough to have never needed government support, though most people are only a couple of unfortunate circumstances away from needing to! You are absolutely right - people should be cautious of judging groups of people on benefits and tarring all with the same brush. When I was in my twenties, and working full time, I never would have predicted the mad twists my life would take in the future, from severe mental health, to abusive relationships, to marriage, divorce, lots of house moves, infertility, a traumatic birth, and then years of progressive chronic illness which in turn has become disability. My finances were comfortable until I moved in with my partner, and our finances completely changed for the worse. How fair is it to have to choose between financial comfort, or love and marriage? I am grateful for the few pence or few pounds I make a month from my writing. We are pretty frugal but occasionally able to do nice things, and I am grateful for that :) All the best my lovely! x

  • I'm there with you Carol. Right now I am living on almost every benefit out there. I have a small income through a program called In Hone Supportive Services, we get food through Meals on Wheels and CalAim, plus we get some caregiving services through CalAim also. Despite those benefits we are scraping to get by. If my mom weren't so sick I would be working a job outside of the house. I am grateful for the benefits. A lot of misinformed people say that the government just had the money out to anybody. That is so not true. You have to go through so much just to get very little. They do not just hand the money out to anybody. And also undocumented immigrants are not getting benefits. I don't care what anybody says the undocumented immigrants are not getting Social security and other benefits. That is just not happening. The truth is the majority of people living on benefits are people that actually need them.

  • This is an excellent expose of what every Tory government has been doing in the country since WWII and before. The sick and disabled are easy targets for them to bully. Have to be reliant on social security while not ideal should not be a stigma because when you have been working you paid tax and National Insurance that helps you when you need it. It is not a hand out but this government like Republicans in the USA try to tell you it is, same with pensions. This should be a Top Story.

  • Kageno Hoshino11 days ago

    Hmm, idk about this one

  • Hm. Actually your are telling the truth.

  • Yeah, I definitely believe the government wants all disabled people to die. Otherwise, why else aren't they trying to help more?

  • I totally agree! I’ve been on benefits before and it’s because people don’t want to hire people with “autism” not because I’m lazy’! I tried hard to get a job and needed benefits until I found one! I have one now but who knows how long it will last, benefits are helpful to people who can’t work!

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