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The Telegraph: "Benefits cheat who couldn't walk caught hiking with dogs"

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Valentijn, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    It can be hard to explain disability levels on these forms, and I worry that I could be covertly filmed in a way that makes it seem as if I've lied...

    but three mile walks?!? That's some pretty clear cut dishonesty.

    it's still annoying that the media is so much keener to cover these cases, than when those with serious health problems being wrongly turned down for benefits, which seems to be a much more widespread problem. To be honest, the benefits system is now so vile now that I feel it's increasingly difficult to blame those who do lie on their forms. It's really difficult to work out the way of telling the truth which will mean that you get treated fairly, requiring all sorts of convoluted word play and semantics... I can understand why some genuinely ill people give up and just lie instead.
     
  3. Calathea

    Calathea Senior Member

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    I know someone with moderate ME who doesn't pace herself in the way that you'd expect, and has probably done the odd three-mile walk over the last few years. She's also spent a lot of time in a wheelchair, and tends to crash very hard after overexertion, with her ups and downs being much greater than that of most people I know. Some people do vary enormously.
     
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  4. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Mild to moderate ME does allow some walking. When under an experimental protocol in 1999 I increased my energy (but my fatigue was untouched) to the point where I could walk for five HOURS. The high energy only lasted a couple of days (although the protocol took weeks to get me to this point) and then I was forced to stop the protocol due to side effects (severe daily headaches). Similarly on one of my ten or so good days in twenty years, I was able to walk and probably run (but didn't) for miles. These days are rare (e.g. one day only in twenty years). Our illness fluctuates. If you suddently found yourself having a good day, it would be very tempting to go out and have a walk.

    On the other hand there will be an investigation. Its also possible that the newspaper got it right. I just worry that they will use the wrong methods for investigating this person, and draw the wrong conclusions. Its not like the authorities have a track record of knowing how to assess us.

    Bye, Alex
     
  5. maddietod

    maddietod Senior Member

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    Do you think anybody outside the CFS/ME community understands the concept: I took a walk and then had to go back to bed to recover? Can you imagine what would have happened to her benefits if she had "admitted" that she was better enough to walk her dog, as long as she went back to bed after? That she was still disabled but had a carer (husband) living with her now?

    We have a disease that is incomprehensible to the general public. I wish her all the luck in the world.
     
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  6. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I certainly think that someone can be seriously ill and still be able to sometimes walk three miles.

    The benefits system is ridiculous, particularly when it comes to dealing with variable and ill-defined conditions like CFS, but if one can choose to take ones dog for a three mile walk then it's difficult to see how one could also claim to be 'unable or virtually unable to walk'. It could well be that we're getting a skewed view of things through the media, but she did plead guilty.
     
  7. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Of course, these are the stories that the media picked up on. It makes the rest of us look bad.
    No paper will pick up my story where I was fighting to keep my disability benefits and saw in their files (which by law they have to provide) that they had me followed 3 times. (I had no idea that I was followed) They couldn't find anything. They sat in a car (van?) across the street and took notes on who came in or left from my house. They didn't find anything yet, they declined my claim anyway. My doctor wrote them that I can't be active at all and I had tons of evidence yet it didn't matter. Why did they decline me ? Because they could. They could lie and cheat and there's nothing I can d about it. I would like to see my story in the papers.
     
  8. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

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    The other side.
    Up until a few years ago I could walk more than 3 miles on an irregular basis (ie I couldnt do it every day but could a couple of times a week on non consecutive days), I could keep this up for a few weeks before the consequences got unmanageable. Around the same time I also had 8 months where I couldnt walk at all without severe pain and couldnt even step up a kerb without it crippling me.

    The next year as a result of medical "advice" I walked five to six miles a day, five days a week, it took me all day, literally, seven to eight hours, and I've been told I was virtually unconcious and incomprehensible when I got back. Never the less I managed to keep this up for just over 3 weeks until I got up one morning and fell over a few minutes later due to excrusiating pain, I couldnt stand, even supported, for over a week and couldnt stand unsupported for several months afterwards. Most of the time now the thought of walking even to the local bus stop (about 150m now, they keep moving it further away, when I moved here it was only 50m away) is a problem and anything more than 100m from a bus stop isnt going to happen.

    My point? ME is so variable, and unpredictable, that there is no way I would say someone who has been seen walking 3 miles definately doesnt have ME, TBH it wouldnt even enter my head. I'm not entirely sure that a couple of rottweilers is the ideal choice of pet for someone with ME tho. It does slightly aggrivate me that she was gettign high rate mobility when I cant even get lower rate and "apparently" is much more able to "mobilise" than I am, But thats probably just petty jealously on my part.
     
  9. Firestormm

    Firestormm

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    I think (as I have said elsewhere) that as this lady admitted her guilt as did her own defence lawyer it has little to do with her diagnosis at the time she made the claim.

    She was claiming higher rate mobility for Disability Living Allowance! Her lawyer said she should have told them when she felt she had recovered. I mean we're talking years here and not a fluctuation.

    Some have drawn attention to this article because she had (at the time - years ago) a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Personally I think this does no harm to our condition and drawing attention to it runs the risk of making something out of nothing.

    She was guilty. She was defrauding the system. There were people with CFS who were in genuine need of these payments. I have no sympathy for her at all. The system used to be that once awarded such a benefit there was very little (if any) follow up.

    Now of course it's changed. With the 'new' Personal Independence Payment I understand (from memory) we will be assessed every 12 months to ensure our claim equates with our state of health. Rather like Employment Support Allowance.

    Examples like the behaviour of this woman play right into the hands of those driving these expensive reforms through the system and ramming them down our throats. They are bound to attract quotes from the government and make the headlines. It is seen to validate their actions.

    No sympathy.
     
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  10. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    I would not rush to judge someone on the basis of an article in the Telegraph, a paper that has become increasingly tabloid in late years. The whole truth is unlikely to be here.

    But dont worry Firestormm, soon there will be no benefits system, the Telegraph will have its wish, and the rich and powerful press barons and their backers, an endless supply of cheap, vulnerable and powerless labour.
     
  11. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    There does tend to be a pattern in some of these "benefit cheats" newspaper reports of someone who was entitled intitially to DLA and then who did not report a change in their health or circumstances.

    It must be hard for people who are not able to work, surviving on a benefit or with no other income apart from DLA, then have an improvement but maybe not enough to work, to accept that they should have a cut in their DLA. It sounded as if she could not walk at one point and then improved.

    She married during the time she was disabled and unable to work. It must be hard to have no income and be dependant on someone else. Being married or living with a partner isn't a factor in DLAs as it's not means tested. She may have not wanted to tell the DWP about her personal life. Benefit claims are intrusive enough and her being married was irrelevant to the DLA anyway.

    As she improved on medication (and I wonder what this was?) she may have started enjoying her health again and being able to walk. She may have also wondered how long it was going to last (the better health) and also worried about surviving without the extra money.

    Did she have years without the proper DLA payments at the start of her illness. Took me years to get DLA and I survived 2 tribunels. Would not want to face that again.

    The newspaper report didn't say how often she was videoed walking the dogs and over what sort of period. She claims to have to go back to bed after. Was she overdoing it and crashing? Had she just started doing this or been doing it for years? Had she been encouraged to walk by someone like this.

    I'm not defending dishonest people just trying to put myself in her shoes. As a care worker her pay would not have been very high. I could return to a really well paid job and there are enormous benefits to me from doing this. She may have faced returning to the minimum wage and an uncertain job market and the worry if her health would last.
     
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  12. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

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    And the moral of the story is: avoid graded exercise therapy, because if you go out walking, someone may video you and you could lose your disability benefits.
    :Retro tongue:
     
  13. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Somewhere near Glasgow, Scotland
    Telegraph = pondslime, up market "The Sun", that is all.
    (not like there's almost any newspaper in UK on any side, worth being used for more than toilet paper! :p)

    So, they blow stories like this up to hell, so they can end the Welfare system, while just ONE tax evasion bullshit scam by one bank, was worth 500 million
    who's the real scum and enemy of society?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17181213

     
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  14. Firestormm

    Firestormm

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    The story was originally posted in the Derby Telegraph (a local paper) and then taken on by the Daily Telegraph complete. It reported the court case with quotes from her own defence lawyer. She admitted guilt. She also lied about her co-habitation.

    Don't get me wrong, the reforms of the benefit system are deplorable. What is expected from the sick and disabled is beyond belief at times. I should know. But this story did not make a big deal about her diagnosis i.e. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It wasn't singling her out for that - unlike other opinion pieces of late.

    I just don't think drawing attention to her diagnosis as some folk have and saying that this story of fraud somehow denigrates our condition, will do anything but be counter-productive. She had been claiming High Rate Disability for years Currer.

    We were saying elsewhere that one thing it did raise concerns over is when exactly - given the nature of our condition - we would be expected to inform the DWP of any relative improvement. There seems to be little guidance on this. I mean would you wait a fortnight, a month, two months just to ensure you weren't about to relapse, before reporting you were out of bed and able to get about a little easier? Before thinking that being able to brush your teeth without pain was an improvement? When?

    If I went from being in bed to being able to walk for X number of miles and was still on high rate disability, I would be reporting it. As well as jumping for joy! But at what point do you report a relative improvement? When you no longer meet one of the descriptors? When?
     
  15. Boule de feu

    Boule de feu Senior Member

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    I saw this article yesterday and I did not think much of it.

    As someone mentioned it earlier, there are crooks and con artists everywhere (I'm not saying she is!) but it has nothing to do with us and our illness.

    But one point comes up, and I don't know if everyone else feels the same.
    When I do have a good day and i'm up to it to do something in the house, I start feeling guilty being at home when I could be at work. Or I wonder, what would it be like to meet someone at a restaurant when I feel better? They would probably judge me on my appearance. "She looks too well to be that sick!..." What they don't know is that I had to cancel 4 or 5 times before being able to do this and I will be in bed for at least 5 days (if not more) afterwards.

    However, it's feeling guilty about going out + worrying that someone will get the wrong impression (when I finally do venture out) that really bothers me.

    Another problem with surveillance is that we get filmed when we do feel better. We would not go out if we were too sick to get out of bed. They always get us during our "best moments". I try to go for a walk right after a long afternoon nap, otherwise I can't make it to the corner of my street.
     
  16. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    I suppose I find these tabloid articles very distasteful (as well as being in bad taste)

    I dislike holding people up for judgement, I dislike prying into peoples' most personal suffering.

    It is worth thinking whether there is a good reason to repost them here, and to make that point for discussion clear when reposting.
    Otherwise I find the reposting of such sad stories prurient and insensitive.

    Am I the only one who finds stories of poor ME sufferers dying horribly and pointlessly, unpleasant to read on this forum?
    Is it because I have been involved in ME advocacy for twenty years, have read and re read these stories, (as well as being persopnally involved in some) and find this focus on them sensationalist and unproductive?
    Is it because nothing has changed in all that time?

    I dont enjoy it.
     
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  17. markmc20001

    markmc20001 Guest

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    Its possible the lady is disabled. Hard to say without a test for physical and cognitive aspects.

    I used to run with ME. I had chest pain, couldn't see straight, and my brain was numb, but I could do it.

    The hardest part for me is THe mental stuff. Everytime I post here, I have to log in again becasue it takes so long.

    I can;t even remember all my symptoms because they come and go, fluctuate, and increase or decrease from minute to minute.

    I can see how one can mis-state ones abilities. Epsecially the way those sheets are worded from disability.
     
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  18. Boule de feu

    Boule de feu Senior Member

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    It's sad to say, but sometimes this is what it takes for some people to get involved in advocacy... :-(
     
  19. markmc20001

    markmc20001 Guest

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    OK. Read the first paragraph of the article. this is probably more propaganda. Make doctors and people wonder if we are faking it.

    Subtle isn't it?

    They select a lady who was complaining of fatigue or lack of mobility, and then how she was out walking her dog sometime later. Isn't that the perfect article for judges and government disability review employees to see......
     
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  20. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Somewhere near Glasgow, Scotland
    Exactly!

    as I posted in other thread

    That's from very famous book on war, but, it lays the basis for other forms of conflict/control (damn good read actually), and alas, scumbags, especially certian types, use it a lot
    "The Prince" and "Art of War" are read by corporates and psychobabblers, and Public Relations etc

    Also as I keep saying, as one infamous bag-le-douche said, if you tell a big enough lie, often enough, most folk will believe you.
    Alas, it's true. So, our twisted media is hammering on such cases
    it's like how they also hyped child abduction/murder by some deranged lunatic, every parent is terrified of such, so it makes great sales for the paper...but reality is, it's INCREDIBLY rare.
    We've got 65 million people in UK, so yes, you will have some freaks out there, biggest risks to kids are their own damn family though by many ordersof magnitude, not "stranger danger", always has been.
    But it sells newspapers so hey they don't care.


    On the main point, after a shower I take Poppy a walk, usually about 400 to 600 yards, doesn't damn well mean I cna work, I can walk that far once a damn day.
    On a rare "very good day" I can walk up to a mile, but that's literal handful of days in a year and I have to walk very slowly.
     
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