Features, Life, Opinion, Politics, Society

My Taxpayer Funded Brew

I’ve been thinking today – why am I so scared to tell people I’ve had a good day?  Essentially, it boils down to one thing.  I’m scared they will judge me for being on benefits.

Every time I want to, for example, post on Facebook about going to a cafe for a lovely brew, I get a wave of self doubt.  What if somebody reads it and thinks I have too much money?  What if they read it and think I am too happy and so can’t possibly be mentally ill?

Teacup full of british copper coins 1p 2pEven if I look at my bank account and it isn’t at exactly zero, I start feeling guilty, as if me having that £250 savings for a rainy day means that I must somehow have money that I shouldn’t.  So that is guilt if I spend the money, and guilt if I don’t.

Being on benefits seems to make you into public property.  Suddenly, people feel that they are personally funding your every hot beverage and newspaper, and so resent you for having it. Every good day is marked down in thier heads as evidence that you must be swinging the lead.  Every time they see you do anything productive, even leaving the house, they think you could be working.

Of course, I know it isn’t everyone (before this gets filed under “Alicia being mental again” 🙂 ) but I know that a significant amount of people feel like this.  I have had so called friends tell me to my face that, if they were claiming benefits, they would be too ashmed to admit it.  I have heard people slagging off thier aquaintances.  I have even had direct abuse, from people who know me and my husband personally, about us having two children before we had some kind of magical guarantee that neither of us would ever get ill.  This is all without the general background rumbling of various newspapers, websites and so on, and thier paranoia about scroungers on every corner.

Here’s my message to them all.  Listen up world.

“SOME of your taxes go towards a safety net, so that the weakest in society can still have some quality of life.  Tomorrow, any number of things could happen to you, and you will be glad that the welfare state is there.”

The majority of families who receive benefits have at least one member in paid work, it just happens that that person isn’t deemed “valuable” enough to an employer.  Sometimes there either isn’t the work, or isn’t the work that the person could do, or they are just too ill for any work.  Sometimes, the person needs friends, family and the wider world to just see them as a person, not as faceless “dole scum” and give them a chance.

Yes, there are fraudsters.  But, you know what, there are many more people who cheat taxes.  Just think of them next time you see your payslip – take off the cost of all those millions not paid in tax that you are taking the strain of.  Leave me, and my brew, alone.

About Alicia J Duffy

All purpose northern lefty guardian reading feminist single mum.


5 thoughts on “My Taxpayer Funded Brew

  1. I remember sitting in a friendly little coffee shop with a certain ‘all purpose northern lefty guardian reading feminist’ when i was off long-term sick and she was off on maternity leave many moons ago. Despite the fact that i was on company sick pay and not benefits when I was questioned by the owner (someone i deemed a friend) about what exactly it was that I did (other than spend long hours in his coffee shop talking rubbish and drinking tea) I was too ashamed to say exactly what was wrong. I told him my job title. it took another 6 weeks before he found out why i was never in the office. Being ashamed of not being capable (if even only for a short time) of doing what society expects of us is pretty much universal in my experience. When you want to work, would love to be able to do more, that only compounds the guilt, and as Alicia rightly says, if you are seen to be relying on others to support such a ‘lifestyle’ they do somehow think it’s ok to voice mad opinions. I am guilty of it myself on occasions when my gob opens with gut reactions before my brain engages. what people fail to recognise is that the money being spent on that brew is often better invested than any money spent on counselling and therapies, the £2 spent in that coffee shop is the £2 which makes a recovering person think, ‘y’know what, I’m getting there, I’ll be able to tackle this soon.’ It’s the social interaction which makes you fe’el part of society. It’s a step, a positive step and one we should support.

    Posted by Kait Leeming (@Eternal_minor) | December 28, 2011, 11:15 pm
  2. You are charged VAT on your brew! So you are paying taxes. I suspect the amount that is defrauded by soi-disant benefit scroungers is a drop in the ocean that is tax avoidance by large corporations and the rich.
    I went right off Lewis Hamilton when he moved to Switzerland for tax purposes. I think that was a slap in the face for his fans, him begrudging to pay more tax in a year than many people will earn in a life time.

    Posted by madreleche | January 1, 2012, 10:41 am
  3. Speaking as a Yankee in the same proverbial boat, I have so far survived two different cancers and subsequent treatments that have left my body wracked with pain and weak beyond my imagination. I’ve just had a conversation with a fellow blogger in America about our scum-sucking healthcare situation that has left me on “benefits” as you call them, “food stamps” as we do. I have no healthcare because I live in the only industrialized country in the world that does not have universal healthcare and I cannot afford insurance nor the anti cancer drug I’ve been without for the past 3 months. Enjoy your coffee and tea, my friends. I honor and respect you.

    Posted by ssaaty21236 | January 9, 2012, 11:04 pm
  4. I can really understand how you feel, although it hasn’t been quite as hard for me, I’ve had similar experience with the ESA. I constantly was made to feel like I was somehow making it up, and then then canceled without any warning or even telling me at all in fact. This was after I had to attend the analysis with THEIR doctor who must’ve decided MY doctor was making it all up!
    It’s that horrible feeling of guilt when on benefits that holds us all back. Exactly as you say, you don’t want to appear ‘too happy’ or people might think that you’re obviously not ill, and you can’t have fun at all!! No no, you must sit at home miserable and filling out forms to prove you’re not a liar. Prft. Fed up of this British Upper Lip if I’m honest!

    Posted by tash | January 11, 2012, 12:43 pm
  5. Reblogged this on aliciajduffy.

    Posted by Alicia J Duffy | May 30, 2015, 9:47 pm

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