Have you been on the end of scrounger abuse?

It’s now almost a year since the Paralympics started and we’ve been asking disabled people and their families if they feel the games made a difference to their day-to-day lives.  
There’ll be a lot of discussion next week about legacy. Scope is going to be urging journalists and the Government to listen to disabled people’s views.

One issue that keeps coming up is “benefits scrounger rhetoric”, and how this leads to people being abused in the street and being trolled online.

We asked on Twitter and Facebook for people to share their own experiences:

Bullying and abuse

Some people responded with shocking stories of unprovoked verbal and physical abuse:

“Just the other night one twitter account dedicated to highlighting the abuse of blue badge bays has decided to shut down because of the abuse it gets. One of my friends is seeking a judicial review and they tried to use his twitter use against him. I have a specific troll who tells me I am just lazy, I could work if i tried and so on. Any time there is a documentary style TV programme featuring sick or disabled people it stirs up a lot of abuse and general ignorance.” – Ema via email

“I’m leaning on my crutches by the broccoli when a lady in her late 50s walks up behind me shoves me hard into the broccoli box – face first – and calls me a disability scrounging unrepeatable in front of my children. My most embarrassing moment.” – Tinna on Facebook

“Someone walked into the back of my wheelchair whilst in supermarket queue, which apparently is my fault as “your sort shouldn’t be cluttering up the shops”.” – Teddy on Facebook

And it’s not just from strangers:

“I’ve had ‘friends’ explain how I just have to accept and expect romantic rejection because disability is ugly.” – NQ videos on Twitter

“I was told by a ‘friend’ that I shouldn’t be allowed a mobility car for my wheelchair using son with CP.”  – Naomi on Twitter

Hidden disability

Many people spoke about the problem of impairments that aren’t immediately obvious:

“I was once accused of stealing a disabled persons bus pass. It had my name and my photo on.  I am partially sighted. You can’t see the damage I have to my optic nerves, nor how much I can really see….I’ve had someone tell me I shouldn’t be on DLA because there’s nothing wrong with me. I don’t feel the need to broadcast every single medical problem I have.” – Sofie on Facebook

“People seem to think that ‘disability’ means a missing leg, or using a wheelchair/crutches; it can be, but sometimes a disability affects people more subtly and they still need assistance.” – Caitlin on Facebook

“I have epilepsy and hold a bus pass because of it – I’ve had some dirty looks off people for using it in the past.” – Kath on Facebook

Unashamed and fighting back

Some disabled people told us that they refuse to be ashamed of the money they receive and are fighting back at the bullies:

“I’m not ashamed of having claimed out of work benefits and I refuse to be ashamed of my DLA.” – Natalya on Facebook

“If anyone abuses me they get far worse back. I am sick and tired of being abused because of something that is no fault of my own. I will not be bullied or abused by people who believe the rhetoric” – Ian on Facebook

Parents told us that they didn’t care what people thought – the well-being of their children comes first:

“I have a two year old with CP. There would be no way I could take him to his physio without the extra help we get through DLA. If that makes me a beggar then so be it. I really don’t care as long as my son gets the best possible care and start in life !” – Darren on Facebook

“My daughter has CP. I listen to people going on about benefits and get fed up with listening to the constant moaning. I only want what is best for her and for those that do complain about disabled – stop and think – how would they feel if it was them?”  – Val on Facebook

Whilst some parents are taking more extreme measures!

“My son has severe CP. Rules we are working on when he is in his electric chair are

  1. If someone stares, smile at them – if they still stare, run them over.
  2. Three “excuse me”s from Mum and Dad and if they still wont shift – run them over.
  3. Three honks on his horn then …… yup, run them over” – Wag on Facebook

3 thoughts on “Have you been on the end of scrounger abuse?”

  1. Yes just last night a female idiot told me my 1 year old daughter Abby should be killed. I looked into her eyes and snapped” Who are you to say my daughter should be murdered? Dont you know that is a form of terrorism.

    She also added” Abby will never be useful to society”. To which I retorted” I dont care, My daughter has taught me about perspective”. She scowled and I glared at her. My friend patted me and said” Calm down”. I was that mad.

    Abby was blind to my anger. She was sleeping in her pram.

  2. yes recently. I live in a cul de sac and it is not easy to park as i dont have a drive. one of my neighbours was having some work done and was having a skip delivered /picked up. i parked outside on the road as did other neighbours, visitors etc, thinking that if a skip is going to be taken away/ delivered they would come and ask me or whoever was parked there to move. I was upstairs when i heard my youngest son who has autism and epilepsy talking to someone i went to investigate and the neighbour was shouting ” i had to pay £25 f ing quid cos they couldnt deliver the skip i asked him not to talk to my son like that and explained why, to which he replied ” thats not my problem “. Then his ” lovely and very charming “` partner came out and threatend to ” smash the f ing windscreen ” i closed the door saying i would call the police to which she shouted ” your an f ing benefit scrounger ” my son was distressed. The following day the local PSCO called round there and she said they were very apologetic. I then learned that they themselves have a son who is physically and mentally disabled !!!!!!

  3. No one else has yet abused me because I am disabled but I beat myself up every day because I have been made to feel that I am nothing but a Lazy Benefit Scrounger. Not only do I now feel useless to Society but I am made to feel such a burden. I did not choose to become disabled or to give up a career that I loved. I feel lucky to have been able to have worked because I only became physically disabled later in life but I would still be working if I could. Years ago, I had someone I knew who had his own mental health issues ask me a really stupid question – whether I would rather have the Benefits or not be disabled. Obviously, I would give anything not to be disabled and not to have to live on Benefits and especially not to be considered a Benefits Scounger

Comments are closed.