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Thread: Fed up negative tv for people on benefits

  1. #1
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    Fed up negative tv for people on benefits

    Well another new program about people on benefits, is it a glowing report of normal folks making the best of a bad situation???? No that would obviously just be unwatchable. I'm not saying these folks don't exist, but i'm sure there are more normal benefit recipients out there who do not spend massive amounts on mobile phone packages that don't eat only junk food, chain smoke and drink a ton of booze aweek!! I hadn't really thought it related to me I'm disabled, and have worked in the past, but then i was talking to one of my older nieghbours it came out she thought i'd taken early retirement due to my health problems, i said obviously I have health issues but because of these i'm on benefit she said but you aren't like the people off those documentaries on tv i said a lot of people aren't and after all it is tv.
    Also wish more programs would have disabled people in and show them living normal lives dealing with every day issues in their own way. Ok that's it just wanted to put that out there.

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    These ridiculous shows really anger and sadden me. There majority of people are normal people who could not or cannot get employment despite sincere efforts. They are victims to of the economy. If there are not enough jobs, then a society should provide help without grudge. Not constantly investigate it and persecute disabled people to pay for foreign wars.

    The TV people consider all benefits to be handouts. They seem to focus on illiterate, rude, drug taking, beer swilling, chain smoking elements who seem always to be trying to get something for nothing. So anyone, on any kind of assistance gets tagged as such.
    They never focus on routine tax evasion by the wealthy. That would not be nearly so entertaining.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackball View Post
    These ridiculous shows really anger and sadden me. There majority of people are normal people who could not or cannot get employment despite sincere efforts. They are victims to of the economy. If there are not enough jobs, then a society should provide help without grudge. Not constantly investigate it and persecute disabled people to pay for foreign wars.

    The TV people consider all benefits to be handouts. They seem to focus on illiterate, rude, drug taking, beer swilling, chain smoking elements who seem always to be trying to get something for nothing. So anyone, on any kind of assistance gets tagged as such.
    They never focus on routine tax evasion by the wealthy. That would not be nearly so entertaining.
    Ah yes, the Starbucks example. bankers bonuses.........defence spending being gazillions...
    Yep i have been disabled in some way most of my life and found employment hard to find. Did not bother me till my divorce when no option but to turn to benefits. Now I'm unfit to work and they wd not have me anyway! PLEASE give my 30 yr old son,who can't get a job ,despite trying REALLY hard, the job instead. In parts of the country there aren't the jobs!
    Of course TV focuses on the outrageous and bad; that's pandering to the masses.

  4. #4
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    Group hug, anyone?


    Are we talking about the new series that started off in Great Yarmouth? (Channel 4 or 5, I forget which?)

    If so, I watched the first episode whilst otherwise incapacitated in bed, not least because I know that part of Norfolk well. It was a classic example of picking an editorial approach guaranteed to produce the intended headline - go to somewhere with considerable deprivation, pick participants with limited prospects, who are prone to making some poor life choices, who have already been sanctioned and, in some cases, are willing to articulate racially motivated sentiments, then deliberately pick out those elements for the programme.

    On balance, I think it wasn't as bad as Benefits Street - there wasn't overt suggestions of benefit fraud and outright on camera criminality from some participants. My biggest problem with this programme was that, despite the title, it really had little to do with benefits. It's difficult to say that any of the behaviour shown was motivated by a feature of the benefits system, other than the two ladies moving in together because they couldn't cope on the Housing Benefit available living in their own properties. The rest seemed more to do with the effects of poor work prospects and questionable life choices.


    If we're honest, can any of us say that we've never made a poor life choice? It's very easy to be led into judging others based on stereotypes and unthinkingly adopting the editorial messages. It's much more of a challenge if we adopt the position "do unto others as you would have them do to you".

    It was good to see the young couple living with their daughter, though somewhat debatable to get another dog when they admitted to having a payday loan. Still, it was really good to have the segment where the mum was budgeting for their standing orders and their repayments. She might have been a teenage mother, but her daughter had two parents who seemed to be putting her interests first.


    The biggest problem with this sort of programme is that, despite all the hand wringing in certain newspapers and political circles, I am far from convinced that many people's behaviour is that motivated by the benefits system.


    I have been on illness and disability benefits long term - because I'm ill and disabled. These things are hardly a lifestyle choice! I was well educated before I feel ill:
    • 9 A grades and 2 B grades at GCSE (this was in the pre A* days)
    • 3 A grades and a C grade at A level
    • a 1 grade and a 2 grade at S level (in the days when those additional papers to A level still existed - they were the way to distinguish yourself from someone who only had an A


    At the time I fell ill, I was a chemistry undergraduate at Imperial. I now have a university diploma in law and an working on converting my diploma into a law degree. Like most disabled people I know, including the regulars here, I'm doing my best to get by with as little help as I can whilst trying my best to change my life.

    I'm not being held back by the benefits system, nor do I need any encouragement to work as hard as I can within the constraints of my health. When I've completed my law degree, I will be looking for ways to move on with some combination of further study, voluntary work or paid employment. I have a wide view of what giving back to society means - I may not be in paid employment, but one of the reasons I post here is to fill a tiny part of the advice gap left by this Government's cuts to legal aid and discretionary council spending.

    In other words, I don't need the benefits system to push me towards employment - that part I can do for myself. What I need is help to remove the barriers to work that are not to do with motivation or education, but directly with my health and disability.

    I am being held back by not being able to access help I need from the NHS. My current NHS power chair is literally dropping apart and the wheelchair service locally is determined not to offer me a suitable replacement. The wasted effort on not sorting this out by other people that support me within the NHS would easily have paid for a new chair. I've also posted about my respiratory problems recently, which are still troubling me because I still can't clear my chest properly.

    I know the system cannot provide everything that people want from it, but the lack of joined up decision making and policy blights the lives of many disabled people. If I was able to work, I'd likely be able to get Access for Work funding towards a new chair. As a student, this isn't open to me, so I either have to continue fighting the wheelchair service to do what everyone else caring for me in the NHS is urging them to do, or find the money myself. Other people's lives are blighted by the lack of joined up social care policy, with differing entitlements under Social Services, NHS continuing healthcare and the Independent Living Funds.

    So often, problems get to crisis level before anything is done. I only got a decent pressure relief mattress from community loans after spending a fortnight sleeping on the sofa with pressure sores on my sacrum.


    The other thing that needs to be recognised is that some people are just too ill to work. Someone with ME may well finish up in the Work Related Activity Group, but unless their chronic fatigue lets up, the reality is that they are unemployable and bothering them about employment may well be putting them under pressure over their incapacity in a way that they find distressing and destructive.


    Unfortunately, people making good decisions in difficult circumstances doesn't fit the "benefits scrounging scum" agenda of some of the newspapers, or the "like a car crash poised to happen" template of an ideal reality television participant.

    There is an unpleasant strain within modern British politics, which is the politics of superiority. "I'm better than you because I work and pay my bills" - but, for example, the typical "hardworking family" (how I hate that phrase) will use the NHS and will likely access other public services, especially if they have children.


    A child may well entitle the parents to Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit, which are benefits. The child may well receive some government funded nursery provision, and is almost certain to attend state schools. When the child grows up, they will likely receive some sort of government loan or grant towards higher or further education.

    Of course we need children in our society, and of course we should make proper provision for them. However, I would argue that, in many cases, having a child is a choice, whereas disability is not and unemployment rarely is. What makes those enjoying state support towards their child "hardworking families" to be encouraged, whereas the ill, disabled and unemployed are often portrayed as "benefits scrounging scum"? I find it very distasteful that everyone who is not of pensionable age seems to be viewed primarily in economic terms - if they have good earning potential, that's great, but as soon as they need support, especially when it looks as if that need of support is long term and their future earning prospects are poor to non existent, they are to be seen as a burden to be blamed for the economic ills of society.

  5. #5
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    You only have to walk into a newsagent and view the headlines on display to know that UK has a worst news media in the world. TV companies are just trying to catch up.

  6. #6
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    I turned Benefits Britain off after some uneducated idiot went on a racist rant.

    "we have all these Polish, Slatvians(I admit, I nearly spat my drink out at that one. As somebody who has Latvian family..good grief! What the hell is a Slatvian?!!) Nigerians coming over here and stealing.."

    *click*
    (the sound of my tv remote turning the tv off)

  7. #7
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    It's very easy to decide upon a storyline and then find people willing to be filmed to bring it to our tv screens and I agree with whoever said that the amount of money given in benefits to people who MAY be obtaining it fraudulently is a drop in the ocean compared to the amount lost through tax evasion etc. by the wealthy. However, I think when the average person thinks about people on benefits they don't think first of disabled people but of those receiving JSA but not making much effort to find work or being picky about what kind of work they do. I don't think that is as many people as the media would have us believe, but I think there is a significant proportion of people who do fit this description. Then there's a grey area of people who are perfectly genuine and did start out seeking work but have reached the point where they have become disillusioned with lack of success in finding work and have been out of work for so long that the thought of working is quite scary. Few of us like change, even if it's something that can potentially improve our lives. Making that first step is scary and preserving the status quo is most people default setting.

    I'll be honest. While I have no problem at all with those who are in genuine need receiving benefits (disabled or otherwise) I am a tax payer and I do want to feel that government money is going to those who genuinely can't work and not those who won't work. I have worked out that I would be financially better off not working. I am on a low income but earn just too much to get working tax credit. If I was getting benefits I would be eligible for things like free prescriptions (currently paying £10 a month for a pre payment certificate, have to pay for dental treatment) etc. Heck, I'd even be able to get my cat treated by the PDSA if I was on housing benefit (I currently have pet insurance). But I drag my body to work every day no matter how much it hurts because I am determined to pay my way for as long as possible. Since leaving university I have had 2 periods of unemployment, both lasting only a couple of months. Of course not everybody is able to work and I am lucky that my disabilities aren't severe enough to prevent me from working, although they do limit the type of work I can do. But it also required the right state of mind. When I first started working I used a wheelchair full time but I never saw that as a reason not to work although I knew it would limit the kind of work I could do and where I could work. I have over the past 20 or so years encountered people who have tried to explain to me why they can't work and in many cases their arguments just don't hold up. Sometimes they genuinely can't see how they can work because they can't do the job they used to do and in other cases they are just lazy.

    Just to stress, I'm not implying anybody on here who is on benefits should be working or that there are loads of disabled people out there who should be working instead of receiving benefits. Just that there are some and unfortunately they give everyone else a bad name.

  8. #8
    Senior Member flowerangelx's Avatar
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    I know of people who definitely play the system, so to speak...In reality, it is only a small minority who do claim fraudulently..it's nothing like the media claim. It still makes me angry, though.

    I do, however, think that if you are on benefits, your priority should NOT be smoking and drinking. Almost everyone I know that claim benefits smoke and drink. I don't smoke anymore - I quit when I realised I couldn't afford to be too ill to work AND smoke. I understand that addictions are hard to kick - but I'd rather be able to afford a taxi to go out somewhere over a packet of fags.

    I'm looking at hopefully getting a part time job in the new year - new year, new start type of thing. For now, I'm just *not* quite there yet mentally.

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    catlover - I drag my hurting and tired body to my desk to study for similar reasons to you dragging yours to work. I refuse to give in to my illness.


    You open up the broader issue of resistance to change and barriers to change. This is an area where I have grave doubts over the approach the system is taking. It seems that the system is swinging increasingly towards wielding a stick, not holding out any sort of carrot.

    Vast sums are being poured into initiatives such as the Work Programme, backed by sanctions for non cooperation. However, even if we accept that the first step of the employment ladder is likely to be an unattractive job at minimum wage that may well leave you little better off than on benefits, I question whether this approach really works.

    The providers are paid by results, which tends to distort their behaviour in order to hit targets. What they most care about is identifying those most able to succeed in the workplace and trying their utmost to keep those people in a job for long enough to get paid. They'll go for what they see as low hanging fruit, rather provide bespoke support to those with more deep seated issues in accessing the workplace.


    What we're asking people to do is take often scary and difficult steps to change their lives, often with minimal support and sometimes being confounded by the benefits system. Working a few hours a week, which could be the ideal stepping stone into the workplace, can:
    • lead to costs without any extra income for those on means tested benefits (as you lose a pound of benefit for every pound you earn but have travel to work costs)
    • sometimes result in the loss of more than you earn (especially if you lose means tested benefit)
    • have time limits (those on ESA who are not in the Support Group can only do permitted work of up to 16 hours a week earning more than £20 per week that is not special supported work for disabled people for up to 52 weeks, at which point they cannot do it again for 52 weeks)
    • if the work reaches the point where it is incompatible with staying on ESA under permitted work rules, rapidly lead to loss of benefit rights that are difficult or even impossible to recover (you only have 12 weeks to reclaim ESA under the linking rules - after that you have to make a new claim, with the need for reassessment and the contribution rules for Contributions Based ESA being assessed again, so working for 12 weeks after a break in employment spanning the end of a tax year can make it impossible to return to Contributions Based ESA if the job does not work out

    In some cases, it is possible to fall into a gap between what is allowed as permitted work on ESA and being able to get Working Tax Credits as a disabled person.

    The general problem is that understandable limits for those coming onto the benefits system become barriers for those who have been on benefits for a long time. Some of these problems are addressed by Universal Credit, but UC has its own issues (notably, it has no Severe Disability Premium).


    Some of the most upsetting pieces I've read on unemployment are from people with sensory disabilities. They have no health related barriers to a full time job - they're fit and well. They are willing to work and often are well educated, but their vision and/or hearing loss means employers see them as impossibly difficult and expensive to support in the workplace.

  10. #10
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    Not to mention those hard working carers also on benefit. Without these the NHS would collapse. The majority of disabled were, are or will be also be 'taxpayers' in some form at some time.
    I really cannot see that someone just getting a job improves society. Nobody should be forced to take an unsuitable or menial job. Having a job does not automatically mean you are a better human being. Often it is the opposite. As said previously tax evasion costs society more.

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