to claim DLA

(38 Posts)
gasfirebroken Wed 03-Apr-13 17:53:54

I think I am being U, by the way, but I'd be so interested to hear what people think.

I have a complete moral dilemma and I can't make a decision. I get DLA and to say it has been a lifeline over the last few years has been an understatement. I pretty much spend the full amount each year; it has covered a wheelchair (electric and manual), memory foam mattress (which means I can sleep without pain of which I get a lot), a carer at £1000 a year, a stairlift and even a couple of (very cheap) holidays which when I've had depression have honestly saved my life because I'm mostly housebound and see the same four walls day in day out, and have done for 10+ years.

Anyway, I don't want to go into the ins and out of my finances but basically I was on a very low income for many years, but 2 months ago my parents helped me buy a house. My mortgage is low and I've got in a lovely lodger to help pay the bills. Suddenly for the first time in my life I am financially sound. I have savings from before I acquired my disability (worked for 5 years in a good job) worth £10k too which I appreciate is a good cushion that I'm lucky to have. I do have a part time job (work mostly from home) which brings in a small amount too.

With all the horrendous cuts I've seen friend after friend lose money from their benefits, I've read on here how much people are struggling and I suddenly don't feel it's morally right for me to claim DLA anymore. I feel very torn. It's cutting me up and I feel sickened with guilt.

On the one hand, I own my house, have my savings, my very part time income and have my lodger. There is enough money coming in to cover all my basics but not more than that. I shouldn't get DLA.

On the other, although my basics are covered, my disability is very expensive, and I will struggle covering the costs of it long term without DLA. My biggest issue is having had some huge mental health issues in the past I could well find myself suddenly unable to cope with having a lodger, which would be a big loss of income. It's a very real possibilty - my lodger is nice for now but lodgers can be shit, I have experience of that and have been in utterly crap houseshares in the past. Add in depression and PTSD and it's a bad mix. And DLA is going out and being replaced by PIP and I've convinced myself that if I suddenly need to apply in the future I won't be eligible. I'm 100% unable to work more hours; it's impossible. I have tried. My disability isn't going to get better either. So I come down the side of keeping my DLA, but maybe not applying for PIP when it comes into being, or reviewing things then. Or of course there's the option of keeping it and giving it all to charity.

I really feel strongly I should give up my DLA, I feel deeply uncomfortable getting it right now. I do feel a fair, financially stable society should contribute towards an individuals costs which arise from their health but that isn't the society we have right now. I certainly don't want to receiving state money when so many people don't and have a greater need. I also don't want to be seriously struggling financially in a bit because buying, say, a new adapted car has wiped out my savings, I can't cope with getting a lodger in, and I can't get PIP. I have no dcs btw, and no partner, if that makes any difference. Not sure I'm well enough to go out and meet men so no prospect really of having a relationship.

I'd appreciate people's views. I've been reading a lot on here how if you have x amount of savings you shouldn't get any state response full stop so I have an inkling of what is going to be said, and as I've said I think the moral thing to do is to ask not to receive it anymore. I am trying to do the right thing here. Thank you.

expatinscotland Wed 03-Apr-13 17:57:29

You will likely lose it soon.

DomesticCEO Wed 03-Apr-13 17:59:14

Have you checked you're still entitled to it?

pinktabulous Wed 03-Apr-13 18:00:07

From what you say it sounds like DLA has been awarded to you because you meet the criteria - you are using the money to help manage the challenges your disability brings. Continue taking it and don't feel guilty.

Dawndonna Wed 03-Apr-13 18:01:36

DLA is not a means tested benefit if you are entitled to it, then claim it. Your savings etc are irrelavant.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 03-Apr-13 18:04:14

DLA is not means tested. It is purely based on disability. If you still have the disability - you are entitled. If you don't - you should inform them of your change in circumstances.

If you feel that you shouldn't claim it because you don't need the money, then end your claim, that's something that only you can decide, but I just want to make it very clear for anyone reading that DLA has nothing to do with how much income someone has. In fact, it is not included as income for benefit etc purposes.

mrsscoob Wed 03-Apr-13 18:06:32

If this is even real then do what ever the hell you want to, it makes no difference to anyone but you. All this thread is likely to do is to make you feel smug or "look" good to a bunch of strangers and the worst outcome is to make people feel guilty or bad for claiming themselves.

cantspel Wed 03-Apr-13 18:09:37

Dla is to pay for your additional care needs. If you still have these then you should claim.

DomesticCEO Wed 03-Apr-13 18:12:21

ImToo, thank you for that clarification. I'd forgotten DLA wasn't means tested so my question is irrelevant blush.

Thistledew Wed 03-Apr-13 18:12:34

You don't 'deserve' to be in a situation where you are risking financial hardship merely because you are unable to avoid it entirely by your own means. We as a society should be ensuring that people with the sorts of mental and physical disabilities that you have are adequately supported and don't have to cope with financial stress as well. You should consider yourself as an example of how people should be treated.

If in fact you feel that you are in a financial position to help people who are less fortunate than yourself, and you are motivated to take what steps you can to make life a little more fair for other people then donate what money and time you can afford to charity. But don't give up that to which you are entitled out of a misplaced sense of guilt.

MammaTJ Wed 03-Apr-13 18:17:20

Even if you didn't claim it, it wouldn't make those who are having benefits cut back any better off.

gasfirebroken Wed 03-Apr-13 18:18:34

I think sadly that I will definitely lose it in 18 months based on how hard they're making it to get PIP. Domestic, I'm definitely still entitled to it.

Really interested that people are saying keep it.

Mrsscoob I seem to have touched a nerve. I can absolutely assure you I don't wish to feel smug or look good in front of anonymous strangers, I have nothing to gain from that, or to make anyone feel guilty, I am genuinely very torn. It's been horrible every time a friend loses their ESA or says they're going to struggle to pay their council tax when I'm in this very fortunate situation. I feel so guilty being comparatively so comfortable. I think this government has successfully managed to make a lot of people on benefits feel very guilty, inadequate and uncomfortable; I hate that that has happened.

Branleuse Wed 03-Apr-13 18:20:37

claim it. Youre entitled to it. Im sure youd much rather still not be disabled

gasfirebroken Wed 03-Apr-13 18:20:59

Thistle I think that's a good idea, perhaps at the end of each financial year whatever I haven't spent I could give to charity (preferably one helping people who have been affected by these bastard cuts). I already volunteer for one measly hour a week.

You meet the criteria and I urge you to continue to claim - simply because it could be very hard to RE apply and you have no idea what the financial costs of your disability will be in the future.

gasfirebroken Wed 03-Apr-13 18:21:38

Branleuse - definitely. Ten times over. I'd like to be married, I'd like to have children, I'd like to have a career. I'd sell my soul for those things.

WishIdbeenatigermum Wed 03-Apr-13 18:22:03

Claim it. I for one am happy that my taxes, in a minute way,
support you. If its really stressing you out can you 'repay' some of what the DLA allows you to do with your time and expertise? Find a helpline where you can do the odd evening from home, or be a volunteer befriender for the elderly or reader?

Babyroobs Wed 03-Apr-13 18:22:10

Can you give it to charity or something, but keep claimimg the money in case you need it at some point in the future.

buggerama Wed 03-Apr-13 18:24:33

There is going to be a hell of a lot of people newly on the breadline thanks to the benefit cuts but thats not going to change because you decide to tell the DWP to keep the DLA you are intitled to.

You will be assessed for PIP and you may no longer qualify, less people will who currently get DLA. If you get higher in care and mobility that wont happen till 2015. So you may find yourself in a bad situation, no DLA, dodgy lodger you want rid of, depressed, need a break but cant afford one. I for one think you would be mad to revoke the ruling of the DWP that you are entitled to DLA, but as someone else said, its something only you can decide.

thereonthestair Wed 03-Apr-13 18:25:22

For heavens sake don't give it up. You didn't chose to be disabled, nor to have the additional costs of your disability, you have needed a carer. It's there because you are disabled, and this current we're all in it together crap is going to make more and more people who are entitled to a non means tested benefit give it up. It won't stop people choosing to minimise their tax, as morally people seem to see that as different. If you are entitled to it keep it. I would bet you actually spend more than dla on the additional costs of your disability as it is especially once you factor in your loss of earnings. (I claim dla for my son and have no qualms about it at all despite the fact I am wealthy. I spend every penny and then some on ds's disability. My son needs it, just as you do.). I am so cross that society has got genuine claimants believing that there are "undeserving" poor.

gasfirebroken Wed 03-Apr-13 18:25:24

Laurie that's the thing I keep coming back to; even if I'm ok now I simply have no idea what things will be like in 5, 10 years time and if I'm going to lose my DLA in 18 months it makes sense to keep getting it for now. I certainly have no confidence that if I ended up in a bad place and ran my savings down I'd end up with any benefits at all given what my friends have been through. Things could become dire very quickly and I'd bitterly resent having given up money which could help make life bearable. To be honest I'm scared of what might happen in 10 years time if I had no income from lodgers, poorer health, not being deemed ill enough to get state support, no partner as I age - I think my future could be very bleak. It slightly terrifies me (I should stress I have a lot of good things in my life at present though including a good family and nice hobbies, so life is definitely worth living at present)

lunar1 Wed 03-Apr-13 18:25:54

I think you should continue to claim, my first husbands disability was unpredictable (severe diabetes and had lost a leg, kidney transplant etc) he could go for weeks where he could work then weeks/months where he couldn't. he put the money aside for a rainy day. It meant I was able to buy an electric bed and other things when things took a turn for the worst, and it allowed me to keep him at home till the end.

If you are eligible to claim then put the money aside, you never know what's around the corner.

MMMarmite Wed 03-Apr-13 18:28:03

Well it's up to you. I think you're feeling the effects of the government and daily mail's successful demonisation of disabled people. Unfortunately the 'scroungers' rhetoric makes honest people ashamed to accept help.

Just as we have free healthcare for all, DLA is intended for all people with severe disabilities. It's original purpose was “a financial contribution towards the generality of extra costs experienced by severely disabled people as a direct result of their disabilities”; clearly you still have those large extra costs compared with healthy peers. If the NHS provided free wheelchairs and free carers, would you turn them down? DLA is essentially the same thing, just giving you the money to choose your wheelchair instead. You have a severe disability to deal with, you should be able to receive help for mobility devices without waiting until you are on the breadline.

So I don't think you should feel guilty for claiming, I think it's David Cameron who should be ashamed of the additional stress and stigma his rhetoric is putting on disabled people.

Nonetheless, it's up to you, if you don't feel like claiming you don't have to. There's also the issue that your financial situation might well worsen in the future. Perhaps for now, if you strongly feel that others less well off than you need the money more, you could claim the money and pass it on to a charity for disabled people or a food bank? But it would be totally reasonable to just keep it.

crashdoll Wed 03-Apr-13 18:28:18

mrsscoob Wind your neck in!

gasfirebroken Wed 03-Apr-13 18:28:23

Wow, you have no idea how much your responses mean to me. I was absolutely convinced that every response would say 'it's not morally right to claim it'. I am actually astonished.

Thank you. I really, really hate the government for what it is putting people through but that people are generous enough to be responding to me like this when everyone is affected by cuts is really moving.

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